During the Thanksgiving Family Forum (TFF) this past Saturday, moderator Frank Luntz asked the Republican candidates a very interesting Tenth Amendment question: “Do states have a right to do wrong?” In case you missed it, the TFF was another unusual event in what is proving to be a very unusual campaign season. Held in a church in Des Moines, Iowa, and with all the GOP contenders in attendance except for Mitt Romney and John Huntsman, it was not a debate as much as a discussion – and a rather intellectual one. The candidates were asked about their faith, trials and tribulations, and talked frankly about Jesus, family, and personal failure. And with social issues front and center, moderator Luntz posed the following question, initially addressing Herman Cain:
The California Supreme Court issued a ruling November 17 clearing the way for champions of traditional marriage to continue defending Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2008 that stipulates that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
In August 2010 a district court overturned Prop 8, and when then-Governor Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to take up the law’s defense in federal court, the amendment’s official sponsor, ProtectMarriage.com, stepped in to do so.
As the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals took the case in hand, it was soon faced with whether ProtectMarriage.com had legal standing to defend the amendment before the federal court. That was the question it put before the California Supreme Court, which answered in the affirmative.
The Obama administration has flaunted its advocacy of the Islamist parties that have been gaining power since the Arab Spring overturned several governments in the Muslim world the past year, and that skewed perspective is contributing to a misrepresentation of the violence that is now taking place in post-Mubarak Egypt. In the words of Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), President Obama “seems to have completely missed the point” of the massacre of Coptic Christians. “This is not a situation of equal power and equal responsibility for violence," he points out. "The Copts called on the military government to treat the Copts as equal citizens and protect their rights; the government itself turned on them with a massacre.”
Citing the uncertain economy and the scarcity of needed capital, the company that launched the first government funded embryonic stem-cell trials announced that it is halting further stem-cell research and will lay off nearly 40 percent of its staff. The California-based Geron Corp., which began the first FDA-approved stem-cell trials in 2010, said that it would shift its focus to cancer research.
Explaining what he insisted was purely a financial decision, Geron Chief Executive John Scarlett told the Wall Street Journal that the “time frame for meaningful value inflection [for stem-cell programs] would occur substantially further in the future than for our oncology products.” Suspension of Geron’s research, which involved patients with spinal cord injuries, still leaves at least two other companies invested in the controversial project.
Pro-life activists have been vocal in their opposition to the research because it requires the destruction of human embryos. While it has received the lion’s share of attention from the scientific community and the media, embryonic stem-cell therapy “has yet to produce any treatments or cures,” reported Baptist Press News. “By contrast, pro-lifers say, research using non-embryonic forms of stem cells — such as adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells — has been far more promising. Adult stem cells — found throughout the body — have produced 73 medical treatments, according to a tally by the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics. In induced pluripotent stem cells, researchers reprogram adult skin cells into stem cells that have virtually the identical properties of embryonic ones.”
Why did it take 17 years? Here’s the timeline in the Jerry Sandusky case: 1994: A boy “about the age of 10,” identified as Victim 7 in the grand jury report, met Penn State defensive coordinator Sandusky and subsequently reported that he was subjected to a series of unwanted sexual advances. The boy was from The Second Mile, a charity founded by Sandusky to help at-risk kids from dysfunctional or absent families.
1996-1998: Victim 5 and Victim 6, “8 to 10 years old” and “11 years old,” respectively, were taken to locker rooms and showers by Sandusky, according to grand jury testimony. Both boys met Sandusky when they were in second or third grade. The mother of Victim 6 complained to university police about Sandusky showering with her son and inappropriate touching. After investigating, no charges were filed by Centre County district attorney Ray Gricar (gone missing since 2005, along with his computer’s hard drive).
1999: Sandusky retired from Penn State and was awarded emeritus status, a campus office, and access to all Penn State facilities. A young boy, known as Victim 4, was repeatedly subjected, according to grand jury testimony, to indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. The boy accompanied Sandusky to the Alamo Bowl in Texas.
After decades of helping to place children in foster homes, Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, announced on November 14 that it would be transferring all of its current cases to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Across the state, Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency in Wheaton found that they would no longer be able to continue playing a role in placing children in foster care because the state government was going to require them to place children in the homes of same-sex couples — a practice that both Roman Catholics and Evangelicals believe to be contrary to their faith.
Nashville-based mixed martial artist Ed Clay underwent waterboarding after last week's GOP presidential debate where Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain announced they favored waterboarding terror suspects. He emerged a critic of waterboarding and said that if the the pro-family values Bachmann agreed to be waterboarded "I bet you would get Bachmann to admit that she supports gay marriage." Bachmann told the press November 16 that submitting to waterboarding would be "absurd."
"Until I'd been waterboarded," Clay said in a YouTube video where he underwent the procedure. "I really didn't have an opinion whether it was torture or not. So I wanted to find out for myself." He emerged with a clear verdict: It is torture.
Waterboarding is the forcing of water down the nose and throat of prone prisoners involving the pouring of water, usually with a wet cloth over the nose or mouth of the immobile prisoner. The procedure is generally described as creating the sensation of drowning, but it is more than that since water seeps into the breathing passages and lungs. The gag reflex is induced immediately.
The state legislature of Massachusetts passed a measure on November 15 to extend discrimination protection for transgender people in matters related to housing, credit, and employment. Further, the bill will include such individuals in the definition of a “hate crime.”
After a nearly party line vote of 115-37 (the Democratic party is currently in the majority in the Massachusetts House by a split of 127 to 33 Republicans), the legislation, known as the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, was passed by the House and sent on to the state senate. Upon being passed by the upper house, the bill was sent to the state’s Democratic Governor, Deval Patrick, and he signed the measure making it state law.
Said the Governor: "I think we have hate crimes on the books today," he said. "They, in the case of transgender people, don't go far enough.” He continued, calling the matter a “question of human and civil rights."
According to the provisions set forth in the act, no person may be discriminated against on the basis of gender identity. The protection does not extend to the area of public accommodations.
When the police department from the municipality of Ahome in the Mexican state of Sinaloa were summoned to meet with the director of state police, they thought they were going to discuss routine operations. Instead, they were disarmed and the 32 officers and commanders who make up the entire department were arrested for their connection with Los Zetas and the Beltran Leyva cartels.
The ACLU’s Nebraska franchise is demanding that a school district in that state put a stop to prayer at its high school graduation, even though the ceremony is sponsored and run privately by parents. Ten years ago the ACLU targeted Lakeview High School in Columbus, Nebraska, for its graduation prayer, arguing that the practice violates the U.S. Constitution’s supposed separation of church and state. To appease the secular watchdog group, the school district spun off the graduation ceremony to parents, making the ceremony a private event at which they believed prayers would be beyond the ACLU’s self-commissioned purview.
But the ACLU called the move a sham, reported the Associated Press, and sent a letter of protest to the district charging that the private ceremony carries the implied endorsement of the district, and that the prayers are still illegal.
“The current ceremony coercively subjects students to religious messages as the price of attending high school commencement,” said ACLU spokesperson Amy Miller. “This leaves some students and their families feeling like second-class participants at their own graduation.”