A religious liberty case involving candy canes, pens, and pencils with Christian messages — which has been dragging on for eight long years — has finally made its way to the highest court in the land. The conservative legal advocacy group Liberty Institute is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hold school districts accountable that violate the free speech rights of students who wish to express their religious faith in school.
The case in question began in 2004 when first grader Jonathan Morgan was banned by the principal of Thomas Elementary School in Plano, Texas, from handing out pens, shaped like candy canes, to fellow students at his class “winter party” because the pens had the name “Jesus” imprinted on them. The principal, Lynn Swanson, had met with the youngster’s parents before the party and explained that teachers would confiscate any religious-themed materials or items, and that the school children would also be prohibited from using the word “Christmas” during school activities.
Two years earlier, another student at the school, Michaela Wade, had faced similar repercussions when she tried to hand out treat bags that included pencils with the inscription, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
Former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is making some desperate efforts to wrest independent voters from the surging Rep. Ron Paul in New Hampshire. The latest salvo in that effort is Huntsman's "The Ron Paul Chronicles," a Web-based video series of out-of-context quotes from Paul and other observers designed to make Paul look like a conspiracy nut, complete with a Twilight Zone-themed introduction.
The first installment of what promises to be a weekly series has clips of Ron Paul discussing the Civil War, where the Texas Congressman dismisses it as a case where "600,000 Americans died in a senseless Civil War." Huntsman's video subsequently includes a second clip of Rep. Paul suggesting that an alternative to the Civil War would have been less costly: "You buy the slaves and release them, how much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans?" This, apparently, represents an outside-of-the-mainstream view to Hunstman's campaign, though the Huntsman video doesn't explain how not killing 600,000 Americans could be a bad or crazy thing — particularly considering the evil institution of slavery was ended elsewhere in the Americas without the horrific bloodshed that occurred in the United States.
The video also includes a clip of Paul saying that "President Bush said that the New World Order was in tune, and that's what they were working for." Of course, President Bush did famously call for what he called a "New World Order" back in 1991, on the eve of the Iraq war, saying in a nationally televised speech:
Rick Santorum has been far from alone among the GOP presidential hopefuls in questioning rival candidate Mitt Romney's credentials as a conservative, his reversal of positions (often referred to as “flip-flops”) on key issues, and stressing the difficulty he would likely have as the party nominee in explaining the difference between the “ObamaCare” health care law that he wants to repeal and a similar law that Romney, as Governor, steered through the Massachusetts legislature — a law that Obama's political allies have hailed as the model for the federal legislation. But two days before Tuesday's voting in the Iowa caucuses, Santorum was still trying explain his own “flip-flop” on Romney.
On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Santorum was asked about his endorsement of Romney as a presidential candidate in 2008 — two years after Romney had signed the controversial “RomneyCare” into law and after his earlier positions on issues such as abortion and “gay rights” had been well publicized.
"Governor Romney is the candidate who will stand up for the conservative principles that we hold dear. He has a deep understanding of the important issues confronting our country today, and he is the clear conservative candidate that can go into the general election with a united Republican Party," Santorum said in the press release announcing his endorsement in 2008, when Romney was in what had become a three-way race with Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. In the current campaign, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory noted, Santorum has been describing Romney as a liberal Massachusetts Governor.
I’m not going to review all the dastardly lies, misstatements, and gross exaggerations Barack Obama has made since he assumed the highest office in the land. That would take a lot more pages than we have room for today.
No, for now I want to mention just two of his most recent assaults on the truth. I’m afraid they will set the tone for what may be the dirtiest political campaign in our country’s history. And considering some of the mudslinging we’ve witnessed in the past (remember the commercial for Lyndon B. Johnson in which a little girl picking petals off a daisy morphed into a mushroom cloud?), that’s saying something.
Two doctors who traveled to Maryland to perform late-term abortions have been arrested on multiple murder counts, in what the Associated Press called an “an unusual use of a law that allows for murder charges in the death of a viable fetus.”
Police took Dr. Steven Brigham into custody December 28 in New Jersey, while Utah authorities arrested Dr. Nicola Riley in Salt Lake City, where she is awaiting extradition.
The two doctors were indicted by a grand jury following a nearly year-and-a-half investigation that began after a botched abortion at Brigham’s Elkton, Maryland, clinic near the Delaware border.
According to documents filed by medical regulators, an 18-year-old woman who was 21-weeks pregnant suffered a ruptured uterus and other internal injuries while under the care of the two doctors. But instead of calling 9-1-1, Riley drove the woman to a local hospital, where, according to documents, both she and Brigham refused to cooperate with medical personnel. Investigators searching Brigham’s clinic found a freezer containing 35 late-term, pre-born babies, including one estimated to have been aborted at 36 weeks — or nine months.
For those Iowans supporting Ron Paul's campaign for the presidency, there's only one thing better than a Paul, and that's two Pauls. On Monday, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) will be joined on the campaign trail in the Hawkeye State by his son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.). The Ron Paul 2012 campaign is calling the father-son stumping "a daylong whistle-stop tour."
After ringing in the New Year at home in Texas, Ron Paul will hit the ground running for a final swing through Iowa one day before Republicans in that state cast votes in the nation's first caucus of 2012.
Regarding the senior Paul's surging poll numbers, the campaign's Iowa spokesman, Drew Ivers, issued a statement claiming that the former obstetrician and reliable champion of the Constitution will achieve "a strong top-three finish" in Iowa.
That seems to be an attainable goal as recent polling data shows Paul running neck and neck with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Ron Paul is clinging to a one-point lead over Mitt Romney, with Rick Santorum hard on the heels of both just before the voting in the crucial Iowa caucuses, according to Public Policy Polling survey released last night. The latest results show Paul, who surged to the lead in the PPP polling in mid-December, has lost four points since the last survey, but remains ahead of Romney 20-19 percent, with Santorum but a single point behind Romney at 18 percent. Newt Gingrich at 14 percent and Rick Perry with 10 percent are the only other candidates in double digits. Michele Bachmann (8 percent), John Huntsman (4 percent), and Buddy Roemer (two percent) remain at the back of the pack.
“The Republican caucus in Iowa is headed for a photo finish” among the three top candidates, PPP said in a statement accompanying the statistics, though the pollsters seem to be looking for a continued surge by Santorum to bring the former Pennsylvania Senator an upset win in the first major voting event in the presidential nominating process. Santorum gained eight points since the PPP survey of a week ago and among those who said they've decided in the last seven days, he is ahead of Romney 29-17 percent, with Paul and Gingrich tied at 13 percent.
The last Des Moines Register poll before Tuesday's voting in Iowa shows former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul in a virtual tie for first place and three other candidates competing for a third-place finish before the battle for the Republican nomination moves east to New Hampshire for the first-in-the-nation primary one week later. It also shows Paul well ahead of the rest of the field in attracting Independents to his candidacy. A CNN poll released last week, meanwhile, has drawn criticism for leaving out Democrats and Independents and likely underestimating Paul's strength with caucus voters.
The commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Rear Admiral David Woods, has suggested a fundamental rule change regarding the military’s right to access and review written communication exchanged between Gitmo prisoners suspected of being co-conspirators in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the attorneys representing them.
According to details of the rules published by the Associated Press, all the covered correspondence sent back and forth between any of the five detainees categorized as 9/11 co-conspirators and their legal counsel would be thoroughly reviewed by law enforcement and Department of Defense personnel.
The new policy has not yet been promulgated as Woods has yet to sign it. However, he has sent a draft copy of the proposal to the appropriate lawyers and has attached thereto an order for them to sign if they agree with the changes to the currently applicable standard operating procedures.
In response to the request from Admiral Woods, the attorneys for the five prisoners have written a memo opposing the new rule based on their averment that such a scheme would violate the privilege afforded communication between attorneys and clients. Furthermore, were the rule to be enforced, their clients would be deprived of the right to counsel afforded to individuals by the U.S. Constitution.
President Barack Obama signed a law on New Year's Eve granting him power to detain Americans indefinitely.