Sunday, March 30, 2008
The April 7, 2008 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, March 31), "Womb for Rent." Newsweek explores the often-misunderstood practice of surrogacy and the reasons why it is on the rise in United States, especially among military wives. Plus: the two sides of John McCain, the crusader and the pragmatist; Barack Obama's record and stance on affirmative action; why poor Afghani girls are becoming opium brides; and a review of Martin Scorsese's film, "Shine a Light" about the Rolling Stones. (PRNewsFoto/Newsweek) NEW YORK, NY UNITED STATES 03/30/2008
30 Mar 2008 18:07 Africa/Lagos
NEWSWEEK Cover: Womb for Rent
Number of Surrogate Mothers on the Rise in the United States
Controversy and Negative Stereotypes Do Not Deter Many Women from Helping Others And Themselves
NEW YORK, March 30 /PRNewswire/ --
The concept of surrogacy is decried by conservative Christians, viewed as a form of prostitution by far-left feminists and debated by medical ethicists and lawmakers, but the practice is on the rise. For the April 7 Newsweek cover, "Womb For Rent" (on newsstands Monday, March 31), Senior Writer Lorraine Ali and Associate Editor Raina Kelley found more women than ever before are having babies for those who cannot. At the high end, industry experts estimate there were about 1,000 surrogate births in the U.S. last year, while the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology counted about 260 in 2006, a 30 percent increase over three years. But the number is surely much higher than this -- in just five of the agencies Newsweek spoke to, there were 400 surrogate births in 2007. The discrepancy in the figures stems from the way these births are counted.
For the High Resolution Photo: Click here
Newsweek discovered that many women who have turned to surrogacy are military wives looking to supplement the family income while their husbands are serving overseas. Several agencies reported a significant increase in the number of wives of soldiers and naval personnel applying to be surrogates since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. These women can earn more with one pregnancy than their husbands' annual base pay (which ranges for new enlistees from $16,080 to $28,900).
Military wife Gernisha Myers, 24, says she was looking through the local San Diego PennySaver circular for a job when she saw the listing: "Surrogate Mothers Wanted! Up to $20,000 Compensation!" The full-time mother of two thought it would be a great way to make money from home, and it would give her that sense of purpose she'd lacked since she left her job as an X-ray technician. She loved the feel of her belly with a baby inside, and that natural high that comes from "all those rushing hormones." Despite some negative reactions from her family members, Myers says she is "OK with it because I know I am doing something good for somebody else. I am giving another couple what they could never have on their own -- a family."
IVF clinics and surrogate agencies in Texas and California say military spouses make up 50 percent of their carriers. "In the military, we have that mentality of going to extremes, fighting for your country, risking your life," says Jennifer Hansen, 25, a paralegal who's married to Army Sgt. Chase Hansen. They live in Lincoln, Neb., and have two young kids, and Chase has been deployed to Iraq for two of the last five years. "I think that being married to someone in the military embeds those values in you. I feel I'm taking a risk now, in less of a way than he is, but still a risk with my life and body to help someone." Surrogate agencies target the population by dropping leaflets in the mailboxes of military housing complexes, such as those around San Diego's Camp Pendleton, and placing ads in on-base publications such as the Military Times and Military Spouse.
Military wives are also attractive candidates because of their health insurance, Tricare, which has some of the most comprehensive coverage for surrogates in the industry, and agencies may offer a potential surrogate with this health plan an extra $5,000. Last year military officials asked for a provision in the 2008 defense authorization bill to cut off coverage for any medical procedures related to surrogate pregnancy. They were unsuccessful -- there are no real data on how much the government spends on these cases. Tricare suggests that surrogate mothers who receive payment for their pregnancy should declare the amount they're receiving, which can then be deducted from their coverage. But since paid carriers have no incentive to say anything, most don't. The subject of Tricare surrogacy coverage is becoming a hot topic throughout the military world, and fiercely debated on Web sites such as militarySOS.com.
Another reason for the rise in surrogacies is that technology has made them safer and more likely to succeed. Clinics now boast a 70 to 90 percent pregnancy success rate -- up 40 percent in the past decade. Rather than just putting an egg into a petri dish with thousands of sperm and hoping for a match, embryologists can inject a single sperm directly into the egg. The great majority of clinics can now test embryos for genetic diseases before implantation. It's revolutionizing the way clinics treat patients. Ric Ross, lab director at LaJolla IVF in San Diego, says these advances have helped "drop IVF miscarriage rates by 85 percent."
There is still a lot that is not understood about the world of the surrogate. The culture still stereotypes surrogates as either hicks or opportunists whose ethics could use some fine-tuning. Even pop culture has bought into the caricature. In the upcoming feature film "Baby Mama," a single businesswoman (Tina Fey) is told by a doctor that she is infertile and hires a working-class gal (Amy Poehler) to be her surrogate. The client is a savvy, smart and well-to-do health-store-chain exec while Poehler is an unemployed, deceitful wild child who wants easy money.
To better understand them, Newsweek spoke with dozens of women across America who are, or have been, surrogates. What we found is surprising and defies stereotyping. The experiences of this vast group of women range from the wonderful and life-affirming to the heart-rending. One surrogate, Gina Scanlon, is the godmother of the twins she bore, while another still struggles because she has little contact with the baby she once carried. Some resent being told what to eat or drink; others feel more responsible bearing someone else's child than they did with their own. Their motivations are varied: one upper-middle-class carrier in California said that as a child she watched a family member suffer with infertility and wished she could help. Another working-class surrogate from Idaho said it was the only way her family could afford things they never could before. But all were agreed that the grueling IVF treatments, morning sickness, bed rest, C-sections and stretch marks were worth it once they saw their intended parent hold the child, or children (multiples are common with IVF), for the first time. "Being a surrogate is like giving an organ transplant to someone," says Jennifer Cantor, "only before you die, and you actually get to see their joy."
Read cover story on Newsweek
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN1
PRN Photo Desk, email@example.com
CONTACT: Brenda Velez of Newsweek, +1-212-445-4078,
Web site: Newsweek
Cover Story Link
The Zimbabwe Guardian reported that Tendai Biti, secretary general of MDC is claiming victory in the Saturday polls in Zimbabwe.
"We have won this election; we have won this election," Tendai Biti announced at a press conference on Sunday.
The results from the polling stations after the Saturday polls, show that MDC has won majority of the seats in Parliament for the main cities of Harare and Bulawayo. The MDC has claimed victory in the Masvingo province, Mashonaland West, Bindura Town Council in Mashonaland Central, and other strongholds of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front(ZANU-PF).
Papa Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe
From all the indications, Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni, the independent presidential candidate backed by Arthur Mutambara's faction of the MDC are going to end the notoriety and monstrosity of President Robert Mugabe after 28 years. They are confident that there will be no sixth term for Mugabe.
Thousands of Zimbabweans in Chegutu, Chitungwiza and other parts of the country are already jubilating on the streets.
The International Herald Tribune has more reports.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Senator Hillary Clinton
BILL CLINTON: I believe those are the three reasons you ought to be for her: She'd be the best for the veterans, she'd be the best commander in chief, and she would certainly be the best at managing this economy. And finally, according to the evidence today, she's also the most electable. She's running ahead of Senator McCain in Ohio; her opponent's running behind. She is ahead in Florida and Arkansas, a state that voted for me twice, 'cause I was the governor -- they sort of had to, I guess -- and voted for President Carter once. They haven't voted for another Democrat in 44 years. This week's survey in Arkansas: Senator McCain is leading Hillary's opponent by 16 points; Hillary's leading him by 15 points. So she can win this election. And, and, we need to change the direction of this country.
But it won't be an easy race. John McCain is an honorable man, and as all of you know, he has paid the highest price you can pay for the United States, short of giving your life. And he and Hillary are friends; they like and respect each other. They have big disagreements on foreign policy and economic policy, they have taken reluctant Republican senators all over the world to prove that global warming is real but there is a way to deal with it that grows the economy and doesn't shrink it. And we now have a bipartisan majority in the Senate to do something about this. That's the kind of leadership this country needs.
And I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who love this country and were devoted to the interests of the country, and people could actually ask themselves, who's right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics. So that's my argument for her. She'd be the best for veterans, the best commander in chief, the best for the economy, and is the most electable.
You can watch video of Clinton's comments here.
From Media Matters
Let us be very frank and base our analyses of the chances of the two Democratic presidential candidates against the Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain on facts.
The issues the former President, Bill Clinton addressed were based on facts and not on assumptions.
The presidential election will be decided by logic and not political rhetoric.
The weaknesses of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been exposed in the course of the Democratic primaries and caucuses since January 19 to date and he has lost in all the major states, except his home state of Illinois and his superlative victories over Hillary Clinton have not helped him to prove that he can beat John McCain in November. In fact, the recent national polls show that his popularity is waning and he is trailing John McCain.
The realities do not favour Barack Obama and most of the traditional Democrats are still in favour of Hillary Clinton.
Senator John McCain
22% of Democrats Want Clinton to Drop Out; 22% Say Obama Should Withdraw
62% of Democrats aren’t ready for either candidate to drop out of the race.
Senator Barack Obama
If the Democratic Party fails to nominate Hillary Clinton for President, John McCain will certainly become the next President of the United States of America.
I have alread stated why John McCain can beat Barack Obama. See Nigerian Times: Barack Obama Cannot Beat John McCain.
The majority of American Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, Latinos and baby boomers are most likely to vote for Senator Hillary Clinton than Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. They are also the largest groups among American voters.
Friday, March 28, 2008
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe
"My message to the people of Zimbabwe is very, very simple. We have come a long way in this democratic struggle. We have another fighting opportunity against this dictatorship for food and jobs - give it a try. If Mugabe steals it the people of Zimbabwe will know that their vote has been stolen and that he would be ruling by decree. But this is a referendum on Robert Mugabe's misrule over the last 10 years. I don't think that any sane Zimbabwean will cast a vote in favour of Zanu PF or in favour of Mugabe."
~ Morgan Tsvangirai , Presidential Candidate and the leader of a faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change in an interview by Violet Gonda of SW Radio Africa on Friday March 7, 2008.
Millions of Zimbabweans will go to the polls tomorrow, but, will the ruthless life President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugaabe allow a free and fair election?
I have chronicled the agonies of those who are suffering and dying in "Bye Bye Mugabe". The victims of the despotic rule of Mugabe will continue to gnash their teeth in agony until Mugabe is no longer in power.
I hope President Robert Mugabe will lose in the presidential election. This would be the answer to the prayer of everyone who wants to see the end of the evils plaguing Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has boasted that more than 90, 000 polling officers have been employed and deployed to the 8, 998 polling stations countrywide.
8, 000 postal ballots have already been sealed on March 24, 2008, in the presence of various political parties. The postal ballot papers will be counted with other ballot papers cast on Saturday, March 29.
2, 400 local and 70 foreign observers have already been accredited.
400 local journalists and 5 international reporters have been accredited.
Read the full report.
The following report by the Cato Institute is a good analysis of what to expect after the elections in Zimbabwe.
24 Mar 2008 15:07 Africa/Lagos
Cato Institute: Despite Having Destroyed Zimbabwe, Mugabe Likely to be 'Reelected'
Zimbabwean member of parliament estimates conditions are worse than in Darfur
WASHINGTON, March 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --
Robert Mugabe will likely remain in power after this weekend's elections despite being largely responsible for Zimbabwe's implosion, finds a study released today by the Cato Institute.
"Few people believe that [the elections] will be free and fair," writes David Coltart, a Zimbabwean member of parliament for the main opposition party -- the Movement for Democratic Change.
In "A Decade of Suffering in Zimbabwe: Economic Collapse and Political Repression under Robert Mugabe," Coltart points to the atrocities committed by Mugabe's government -- including the massacre of 20,000 Matabeles in the early 1980s -- and concludes that Mugabe cannot give up power peacefully out of fear of prosecution.
Unfortunately that means that Zimbabwe's political and economic decline will likely continue. Already, Zimbabwe suffers from 150,000 percent inflation and an 80 percent unemployment rate. Life expectancy is now among the lowest in the world, having declined, since 1994, to 34 years from 57 years for women, and to 37 years from 54 for men. Moreover, Coltart estimates, more Zimbabweans have died from the combined effects of malnutrition, crumbling healthcare and HIV/AIDS than in Darfur.
According to the author, institutional weaknesses, which characterized colonial rule and were enshrined in Zimbabwe's 1980 constitution, are the root of the current crisis. The constitution provides little balance of power between the branches of government and does little to restrain governmental abuse. That has allowed the government to introduce many policies that have crippled the economy, undermined the rule of law, stifled civil liberties and squashed political opposition.
According to Coltart, Western countries and international financial institutions are complicit in the country's downfall. They have poured billions of dollars into Zimbabwe despite meager results. Other African countries also "ignored very serious deficiencies in governance and in so doing assisted in the perpetuation of the culture of impunity and violence [in Zimbabwe]."
Coltart suggests a number of solutions to rectify the current situation, including restructuring Zimbabwe's political institutions, limiting government's interference in the economy, protecting property rights and redressing past injustices.
This study can be found at: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9274
Source: Cato Institute
CONTACT: Laura Osio, Manager of Media Relations, +1-202-789-5200,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or Marian Tupy, Policy Analyst, +1-202-789-5250,
email@example.com, both of the Cato Institute; or David Coltart, MP,
Web Site: Cato Institute
Thursday, March 27, 2008
~ by Robert Novak and Timothy P. Carney (more by this author)Posted 03/25/2008 ET Updated 03/26/2008 ET
The overriding question in the Democratic presidential contest is whether Sen. Barack Obama(D-Ill.) has overcome the slump resulting from the controversy about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-N.Y.)supporters are hoping for further controversy to slow down the Obama express.
It is clear now that the nominee will be selected by the super-delegates prior to the Denver convention late in August. They will be guided in no small part by polls to determine which candidate is more electable. It is not the happy choice between two acceptable candidates it seemed a month ago. Rejecting Obama risks alienating the vital African-American vote.
Accepting him is increasingly seen among Democrats as a risk.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is benefiting from the Democratic distress, but he and his campaign are a long way from being organized for the general election. He is being advised to lay off the "straight talk," such as admitting that he does not know much about the economy. McCain has made a decision not to craft the platform to his own wishes and to let it stand. He won't make the mistake Bob Dole did in '96.
McCain won't pick a running mate any time soon. But the front-runner in the VP derby may be Rob Portman -- former Ohio congressman, former U.S. trade representative and former OMB director. He appears to have fewer negatives than any other possibility.
McCain's big problem is fundraising. He raised in all of February what Obama raised in a week. Does this reflect delayed acknowledgement of McCain's securing the nomination, or does it reflect real Republican luke-warmness about their candidate?
The conventional wisdom among Republicans is that they would much rather run against Clinton than Obama. But McCain insiders see Obama as more vulnerable to McCain than Clinton in the West, partly because of the Hispanic vote -- in California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Future Primaries: Nine states plus Puerto Rico have primaries or caucuses remaining. Here is an early glimpse at these contests:
Pennsylvania, April 22, 158 Delegates:
In one glance, you can see this is Clinton country. Like Ohio, Pennsylvania is more geriatric, more female and whiter than America as a whole. It also has a stagnant population and in many places a stagnant manufacturing economy (or former manufacturing economy).
Obama can call on the black vote in Philadelphia and the liberal white Democrats in the collar counties. Offsetting Obama's natural advantage in the suburbs is Gov. Ed Rendell's endorsement of Clinton. Rendell, former Philly mayor and long-time Clintonista, won many of these socially liberal, fiscally moderate voters over to the Democratic Party.
Clinton has long held a large lead in polls here, and that lead has slightly expanded since her March 6 victories. Clinton could make a big dent in Obama's national lead here, possibly netting 30 delegates. On the other hand, it's possible that Obama could end the race with an upset win here. Likely Clinton.
Indiana, May 6, 72 Delegates:
This, too, is Clinton turf. This is a shrinking state in many ways, with many ethnic white Democrats worried about the economy. Demographically, the state is not as bad for Obama as Ohio or Pennsylvania are, but it's still an uphill climb.The black population is not huge (9 percent) and the pool of white liberals is also limited, with a pocket in Bloomington. On the other hand, the elderly population and female population are on par with the rest of the country.
Sen. Evan Bayh, the state's leading Democrat, has lined up behind Clinton. Chances are that the delegates here will break fairly evenly, with neither candidate getting a significant bump. However, coming on the same day as the North Carolina primary, this one will matter for spin purposes, which are crucial for Clinton at this point.
The media presentation of this as a fair-fight, 50-50 state helps Clinton spin this. Leaning Clinton.
North Carolina, May 6, 115 Delegates:
Clinton is eyeing the Tar Heel State as a major upset possibility, and the polls are becoming muddled.By all rights, Obama should win here. This is a fast-growing state with both a large university population (in the Research Triangle and elsewhere) and a large black population (22 percent). While there are pockets of depressed manufacturing, the economy is, in general, doing well.Overall, Obama holds significant leads in polls here, but few of the surveys are reliable, and the reliable ones show him below 50 percent. If he ends up losing here, it will reflect a serious swing in momentum, exactly the fodder Hillary needs to win over super-delegates nationwide. Leaning Obama.
West Virginia, May 13, 28 Delegates:
Clinton figures to dominate here. She could possibly gain a net of 10 delegates. Likely Clinton.
Kentucky, May 20, 51 Delegates:
This white rural state without much of a liberal base leans strongly towards Clinton. Obama's chances here are slim. Likely Clinton.
Oregon, May 20, 52 Delegates:
Oregon, packed with West Coast liberals, leans towards Obama. There are no recent Clinton-vs.-Obama polls here, but the general election polls show his advantage (he beats McCain, while she loses to McCain). Leaning Obama.
Puerto Rico, June 1, 55 Delegates:
This contest has been moved from June 7 to June 1 and changed from a convention to a primary. Clinton is the favorite here because neither of Obama's bases have a presence. There are no reliable polls of the island, though, and Gov. Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá and his Popular Democratic Party are backing Obama. Leaning Clinton.
Montana, June 3, 16 Delegates:
A conservative state with liberal Democrats, like much of the Mountain West this state tilts towards Obama. Leaning Obama.
South Dakota, June 3, 15 Delegates:
Obama won every state that borders South Dakota, and he is the early favorite here. Leaning Obama.
California-4: State Sen. Tom McClintock (R) will face off against former Rep. Doug Ose (R) in the fight for the GOP nomination in the district of retiring Rep. John Doolittle (R).
McClintock -- a long time conservative soldier in the battle for the heart of California's ailing GOP -- has stepped on the toes of an ally, former state Rep. Rico Oller (R), who jumped in the race immediately upon Doolittle's retirement announcement and was the early conservative in the primary. Oller, who would have been in a tough battle against the popular and well-funded Ose, was nudged aside by McClintock and has endorsed him to unify conservatives. Oller, ironically, was one of the last people to be standing behind McClintock in his bid for governor in 2003.
Also dropping from the race and endorsing McClintock is Eric Egland, an Iraq War veteran.A critic of the Republican establishment from Gov. Pete Wilson (R) to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), McClintock has failed to win state office three times: for lieutenant governor in 2006, governor in 2003, and controller in 2002. The primary looks like a tougher fight than the general election.
Ose, a wealthy developer who started the race with nearly $500,000 on hand, will need whatever advantage he can get to overcome the name recognition of McClintock, a perennial hustler. In McClintock-commissioned polls in early February, McClintock showed a 43 percent to 11 percent edge over Ose.
Neither candidate lives in the district currently: Ose lives in a neighboring district and McClintock had a residence in Placer County. With the carpetbagger attack likely disarmed, the primary could focus on issues, where there are significant differences.
Once the dust settles in the battle of conservative versus moderate factions for the Republican nomination, the winner will face Democratic candidate Charlie Brown, who narrowly lost to Doolittle in 2006.
New York Overview:
The announced retirement of Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) creates a second open congressional seat in upstate New York, setting up Democrats for further conquest of the Empire State.
1. Democrats' three pickups last year continued a decade-long trend of their progressively dominating the congressional delegation. Their 17-to-14 majority after the 1994 elections has grown to a 23-to-6 majority (two seats were eliminated in reapportionment after the 2000 Census), with Democratic gains almost every election since Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D) knocked off freshman Rep. Daniel Frisa (R) 1996.
2. The early stage (1996 to 2002) of the Democratic takeover was centered in Long Island suburbs. This was part of the Democratic takeover of white, upper-middle-class suburbia. Democratic takeovers here brought Long Island in line with Westchester County and the other demographically similar bedroom communities in New York and New Jersey.
3. The more recent spate of Democratic pickups has been in upstate New York, in blue-collar cities surrounded by rural counties. These are some of the most economically depressed parts of the country, with voters who are more socially conservative. The three-seat pickup last year and the two to three seats likely to go Democratic this year suggest that the Bush Administration, the Iraq War, and recent Republican incompetence and corruption play a real role here.
4. The upstate districts -- in their demographics and in the issues that helped Democrats win -- mirror much of the turf Democrats conquered in 2006, such as the Ohio River Valley seats. Cast in terms of the presidential election, this is Clinton country.
5. While Republicans will probably have only three or four U.S. congressional seats in New York after the 2008 elections, things can certainly get worse. The three safe New York Republican representatives this year -- Peter King in Long Island's Nassau County, Vito Fossella of Staten Island, and John McHugh from the Northern end of the state -- all occupy seats that could go to Democrats upon these GOPers' retirements.
6. Although they face real troubles these days, thanks to disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), Democrats in Albany could control both legislative chambers and the governorship in 2010. Redistricting that year (which could involve the loss of a seat in reapportionment), could bring New York's Republican congressional delegation down to zero.
7. Below are analyses of the most competitive House races in New York this year. This chart tracks Democrats' progressive takeover of the delegation:(D) favored.
Read the full report
--Posted By Orikinla Osinachi. to American File at 3/27/2008 08:25:00 AM
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Most of the Republicans and Independents who were voting for him are now wiser and they are now returning to the GOP. The polls have shown that John McCain is now the most popular of the three presidential candidates.
If Hillary Clinton is not the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the GOP will retain the presidency.
The only way to defeat the GOP is the united front of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Hillary Clinton should be the President and Barack Obama, the Vice President.
Barack Obama boasting about his lead in pledged delegates, states and popular votes is schoolboy logic.
That kind of political rationale cannot win the presidential election.
Most of the supporters of Hillary Clinton will vote for John McCain if she is not the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.
John McCain knows that he would be favoured by the instability in the Democratic Party, because Hillary Clinton will not step down for Barack Obama and Barack Obama is too proud to step down for her.
Whoever loses the Democratic nomination will be John McCain's gain.
Hillary Clinton still has more supporters among the Latinos, Roman Catholics, White Protestants, Gays, White Baby Boomers, blue collar workers and never-say-die Democrats and their population is more than the total population of the African American voters.
Most of them are going to vote for John McCain if Hillary Clinton is not the presidential nominee.
The wound that the racist and terrorist outbursts of Rev. Jeremiah Wright inflicted on the presidential campaign of Barack Obama is deeper than what the ignorant supporters of Barack Obama think. John McCain has gained from the crisis.
Barack Obama's rhetoric is not what the Democratic Party needs to win the presidential election, but the logic of political ratiocination.
26 Mar 2008 08:30 Africa/Lagos
National Office Week Says: Stop the Clock!
LONDON, March 26/PRNewswire/ --
- With Photo
The clocks go forward 1 hour to British Summer Time this Sunday 30th March.
National Office Week is calling on the government to end the annual 'spring-forward - fall-back' clock change by permanently securing the UK to British Summer Time (BST).
An on-line petition - which has so far gathered 40,000 signatures - on Stop The Clock - enables UK workers to add their voice to the growing groundswell for change.
The petition will be taken to Downing Street during National Office Week, which takes place this year from May 12 - 16.
Debi Arnold, director of National Office Week, says: "The arguments for changing the clock each year are diminishing whilst the arguments for change are gathering increasing momentum. Not only would it put the UK on a time zone parity with mainland Europe, which would suit the business community, it would considerably reduce the nation's carbon footprint as well as put an end to the misery caused by leaving and arriving home in darkness which affects millions of workers throughout the UK."
Anyone can vote for or against change by visiting the on-line petition at: http://www.nationalofficeweek.com/stop-the-clocks
Note to Editors:
A picture accompanying this release is available through the PA Photowire. It can be downloaded from http://www.pa-mediapoint.press.net or viewed at http://www.mediapoint.press.net or http://www.prnewswire.co.uk.
Source: Tomorrow's Business LTD
For Further Information Please Contact: Jason Lunn at Jason Lunn PR on +44-(0)7899-992144
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
A Big Win for Judicial Supremacy, a Big Loss for Government Language Lawyers and Another Example of Real Change
A Big Win for Judicial Supremacy, a Big Loss for Government Language Lawyers and Another Example of Real Change
Parents "do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children."
So wrote a California judge in a case that has ominous potential for the estimated one million-plus American families who have opted out of the public education monopoly and choose to educate their children at home.
Although the ruling is being appealed to the California Supreme Court, as it now stands, the 166,000 California children who are home schooled are truant, and their parents are criminals. Welcome, as the Wall Street Journal editorialized, to a "strange new chapter" in the "annals of judicial imperialism."
No Teaching Credentials? No Home Schooling.
For background, you should know that although California's compulsory education law requires that all children between the ages of six and 18 attend a full-time day school, the state law also contains provisions for parents to legally teach their children at home. Under these provisions, homeschooling by unlicensed moms and dads has flourished in California, as it has across the nation. But all this began to change when the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services recently investigated a claim of abuse by a homeschooled child. Lawyers representing the child invoked the California compulsory education statute to send the child to a public school and a judge eventually agreed, ruling that homeschooling by an unlicensed parent teacher is illegal. Thus, writes the Journal, "a single case of parental abuse is being used to promote the registration of all parents who crack a book for their kids."
The long and short of it:
A California court has ruled that if you haven't spent four years attending a teaching college and getting the proper licenses from the state, you can't homeschool your children.
Another Case of a Special Interest.
Using the Courts to Do What It Can't at the Voting Booth
The merits of homeschooling speak for themselves. Homeschooled children dominate academic competitions and get superior scores on standardized tests. They excel at all the things compulsory education laws are meant to promote, such as school attendance, academics and civic education. But the California homeschooling decision is important in another respect -- even those of us who don't homeschool our kids should be outraged and concerned.
The decision represents yet another case of a special interest
-- in this case, the education unions and bureaucracy
-- using the courts to get what they can't get through the popular vote.
This is yet another example of judicial supremacy: Rule by an out-of-control judiciary rather than the will of the people. It joins court rulings such as the removal of "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance on a long list of usurpations of the freedom and self-determination of the American people.
What You Can Do About It
The good news is that citizen activism can be a powerful tool in fighting judicial supremacy.
A good example is the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a group fighting for the rights of homeschooling parents in California and states across the nation.
They initiated a petition drive in the wake of the California decision that attracted a quarter of a million signatures in 10 days. The effort was so successful that they've stopped gathering signatures. But you can still learn more and help their cause by going to HSLDA.org. And don't stop there. Homeschool regulations are overwhelmingly developed at the state-government level. Call or write your state representatives and let them know that this is one case of judicial supremacy that will not stand.
Alexander Leads Fight to Protect English in the Workplace
For months now, I've been telling you about the legal harassment by the United States government of charities and small businesses that ask that their employees speak English on the job.
It all began when a Salvation Army thrift store in Massachusetts put two of its employees on notice that they must learn to speak English when they were at work. But after six years, when they had failed to do so, they were let go. That's when the government lawyers got involved.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the Salvation Army, claiming it had discriminated against the fired employees by requiring them to speak English at work.
And the Salvation Army is not alone in facing harassment for promoting English. The number of these kinds of discrimination cases filed with the government has quadrupled since 1996.
'The Federal Government Ought to Be on the Side of Valuing Our Common Language, Not Devaluing It'
But now, congratulations to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) are in order. His amendment to stop the government persecution of small businesses who ask their employees to speak English on the job was approved by the Senate by a vote of 54 to 44. But the Alexander bill doesn't punish people for speaking other languages, it supports people learning English. It neatly takes the money the EEOC uses to file lawsuits against English-only workplaces and puts it into the Department of Education grant program to teach English and civics to immigrants.
Sen. Alexander describes the motivating idea behind his bill best when he says, "Several things unite us as Americans -- our common history, the principles in our founding documents, and our common language -- and the federal government ought to be consistently on the side of valuing that common language and not on the side of devaluing it."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: 'Another Momentous Session'
Earlier this month, I told you about newly sworn-in Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's historic overhaul of Louisiana's notoriously corrupt state politics.
Jindal brought the majority Democratic Louisiana legislature into special session and passed an ambitious ethics reform agenda, taking Louisiana from the ranks of the states with the worst ethics standards to ranks of the states with the best.
The achievement was historic. But Bobby Jindal was just getting started.
Last week, he completed yet another special session of the legislature -- and it turned out to be what the New Orleans Times Picayune called "Another Momentous Session."
This time, Jindal took on the task of making Louisiana friendlier to business and investment by lowering business taxes and investing in long-term infrastructure.
Like I said before, Bobby Jindal was an agent of change before "change" became a cliché. He's one to watch for all of us who believe in the endless possibilities of America when government is accountable, entrepreneurship is rewarded, creativity is encouraged and real achievement matters.
That's Bobby Jindal's America, and that's real change.
P.S. -- Last Thursday, I wrote in a special edition of "Winning the Future" that Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's speech last week in Philadelphia was an invitation to a national dialogue on how to help every American pursue happiness, an invitation that conservatives should accept.
Please join me this Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute when I describe how the cost of bad government has caused such ruin and broken lives in cities like Detroit and how the challenge of helping the poor to create prosperity with their fellow Americans won't be solved with the attitudes, policies and institutions of the left, most of which have been a disaster for so many, especially children. I will also outline some of the solutions that will be required so the poor and the powerless in America can have a new birth of freedom -- based upon principles, policies, and institutions that actually work. My talk will begin at 12:30 pm at AEI in the Wohlstetter Conference Center.
P.P.S. -- I want to share with you a letter from a reader in North Carolina that shows in a very gratifying way how Real Change is effecting the way citizens view their government and its responsibilities. The following is a recent letter to the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer:
Recent headlines support the premise of Newt Gingrich's current best seller Real Change: Government (for which we pay royally) is broken. Two stories, superimposed upon years of state government scandals, are illustrative.
Last month, we learned that state government paid companies that employ high school graduates $61 an hour to take mental health "clients" to shopping malls. While the governor ducked responsibility and his Department of Health and Human Services secretary went over the hill, shady entrepreneurs recruited door-to-door and made millions.
Now we find that one of the suspects in the killing of a UNC student is a multiple felon, allowed to remain on the street by a broken justice system.
This is outrageous, and we have a right to be darned angry.
It's an election year, and the same shopworn names are in the news as the entrenched politicos jockey for position. Gingrich's book should be required reading for everyone running for state office. Then each candidate should be made to answer this question: Do you agree that government is broken, and if so, what would you do to fix it?
We deserve nothing less.
Fred F. Holt, M.D. Raleigh
Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of "Winning the Future" (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).
Eye On The Ball? While Bin Laden Urges Followers to Fight in Iraq, Clinton and Obama Deny That It Is A Key Terrorist Battleground
Osama bin Laden
25 Mar 2008 00:10 Africa/Lagos
Eye On The Ball? While Bin Laden Urges Followers to Fight in Iraq, Clinton and Obama Deny That It Is A Key Terrorist Battleground
WASHINGTON, March 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --
The following was released today by the Republican National Committee:
Late Last Week, Osama Bin Laden Urged His Followers To Go To Iraq And Fight Alongside Their Fellow Terrorists:
Bin Laden Urged His Followers To Fight In Iraq, Which He Terms "The Nearest Field Of Jihad Today." "Bin Laden added that Palestinians who are unable to fight in the 'land of Al-Quds' a Muslim reference to Jerusalem should join the al-Qaida fight in Iraq. 'The nearest field of jihad today to support our people in Palestine is the Iraqi field,' he said." (Maamoun Youssef, "Purported New Osama Bin Laden Audio Urges Holy War To Liberate Palestinian Territories," The Associated Press, 3/20/08)
-- "[Bin Laden] Also Called On The People Of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan And Saudi Arabia To 'Help In Support Of Their Mujahedeen Brothers In Iraq, Which Is The Greatest Opportunity And The Biggest Task.'" (Maamoun Youssef, "Purported New Osama Bin Laden Audio Urges Holy War To Liberate Palestinian Territories," The Associated Press, 3/20/08)
Despite Bin Laden's Message, Obama Says Iraq Is Not The Central Front In The War On Terror, And That The U.S. Should Be On The "Right Battlefield" In Afghanistan:
Last Week, Obama Questioned The Extent Of The Threat Posed By al Qaeda In Iraq. Obama: "[President Bush] keeps on conflating al Qaeda with all that's going on inside of Iraq. In fact, Iraq is a majority Shia country that is violently opposed to al Qaeda. The Sunnis inside of Iraq are now opposed to al Qaeda. There's no doubt that al Qaeda would try to get another foothold in there. But to the extent that we've brought Sunnis in and got them to buy into the central government, we can start making some progress. ...So the notion that al Qaeda would run roughshod over Iraq is just not correct." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 3/20/08)
Obama Said "The Central Front In The War Against Terror Is Not Iraq, And It Never Was." Obama: "Above all, the war in Iraq has emboldened al Qaeda, whose recruitment has jumped and whose leadership enjoys a safe haven in Pakistan, a thousand miles from Iraq. The central front in the war against terror is not Iraq, and it never was." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks On Iraq, Fayetteville, NC, 3/19/08)
-- Obama: "As president, I want us to fight on the right battlefield. And what that means is getting out of Iraq and refocusing our attention on the war that can be won in Afghanistan." (Sen. Barack Obama, AFL-CIO Democrat Presidential Candidate Forum, Chicago, IL, 8/7/07)
Sen. Clinton Says Iraq Has Been A Distraction From Fighting The War On Terror In Afghanistan:
Sen. Clinton Said "Part Of The Reason That We Didn't Go After Bin Laden As Aggressively As We Should Have Is We Were Distracted By A War Of Choice." Sen. Clinton: "But I think one of the things that's been left out is Iraq. And part of the reason that we neglected Afghanistan, part of the reason that we didn't go after bin Laden as aggressively as we should have is we were distracted by a war of choice." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, ABC Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08)
-- Sen. Clinton: "[W]e took our eye off the ball. I mean, we diverted resources and attention to Iraq and we didn't finish the job. That, to me, is one of the great missed opportunities and I don't understand why that happened, but it did." (CBS' "The Early Show," 9/11/06)
-- Sen. Clinton: "Then there is our work in Afghanistan, yet another casualty of the war in Iraq. When I first visited there in 2003, I was greeted by a soldier who said: 'Welcome to the forgotten frontlines in the war against terror.'" (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Temple For The Performing Arts, Des Moines, IA, 7/10/07)
Sen. Clinton Says She Would Redeploy Troops From Iraq To Afghanistan. Sen. Clinton: "Clinton has blamed the Bush administration for diverting troops to Iraq, and she has pledged to redeploy to Afghanistan the troops she would withdraw from Iraq." (Editorial, "Don't Forget Afghanistan," [New York] Newsday, 8/18/07)
Military Commanders Have Warned About The Threat Of al-Qaeda In Iraq And Its Ties To The International al-Qaeda Network:
Gen. David Petraeus, The Top Military Commander In Iraq, Said al-Qaeda Was "The Enemy Closest To The Sled" In That Country. Sky News' Adam Boulton: "I mean who is the enemy now as far as you are concerned?" Gen. Petraeus: "Well, the enemy closest to the sled, if you will, for us is still al-Qaeda - Iraq. Now that does include other Sunni insurgent groups such as Ansar al-Sunna. Certainly a lot of what used to be referred to as the Sunni resistance in many cases has actually turned against al-Qaeda because of the indiscriminate violence and because of an extremist ideology that Sunni Arabs in Iraq really can't embrace." (Gen. David Petraeus, Interview With Sky News, Baghdad, Iraq, 3/5/08)
-- Gen. Petraeus: "And again, the upper echelon, the top few percent of al-Qaeda - Iraq is, indeed, foreign and has links... direct links with al-Qaeda's senior leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan area. They indeed have sway, if you will, beyond just the borders of Iraq. [They] do talk to facilitators in Syria and in other countries in the Levant and source countries in North Africa and the Gulf states." (Gen. David Petraeus, Interview With Sky News, Baghdad, Iraq, 3/5/08)
Maj. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, Multi-National Force - Iraq Spokesman: "There has been significant progress against al-Qaeda over the last several years. And most recently, in the past year, we have made a significant effort to disrupt and put more pressure, not only on their networks, but geographically on places where they have sought to operate from: their safe havens and operating bases. And we continue to keep that pressure up because, as you heard from Ayman al-Zawahiri's statement this past weekend, this is an organization that is perpetuating and dependent upon a continued focus on violence." (Maj. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, Press Conference, 3/5/08)
Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, Commanding General Multinational Division, Baghdad And 1st Cavalry Division: "Now, I want to be absolutely clear that while we have seen significant progress during our tour here, we are very mindful that it is fragile and that there is very tough work ahead. al Qaeda is down, but it is by no means out. It remains a very dangerous enemy that maintains the ability to conduct attacks against the innocent, and we must continue to pursue them, to attack their networks even as they're trying to regenerate." (Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, Press Conference, 12/17/07)
Paid for by the Republican National Committee.310 First Street SE, Washington, D.C.20003- (202) 863-8500 www.gop.com. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Source: Republican National Committee
CONTACT: Republican National Committee, +1-202-863-8614
Web Site: http://www.gop.com/
Monday, March 24, 2008
23 Mar 2008 17:04 Africa/Lagos
NEWSWEEK: Cover: When 'Barry' Became Barack
Newsweek Reconstructs Time When Obama Moved from Using 'Barry' to Formal Barack and Impact it Made on Him
'It was when I Made a Conscious Decision: I Want to Grow Up,' Obama Says
NEW YORK, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- When Sen. Barack Obama moved from using the name Barry to Barack, his formal name, it was part of his almost lifelong quest for identity and belonging -- to figure out who he is, and how he fits into the larger American tapestry. Part black, part white, raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, with family of different religious and spiritual backgrounds -- seen by others in ways he didn't see himself -- the young Barry was looking for solid ground. At Occidental College, he was feeling like he was at a "dead end," he tells Newsweek, "that somehow I needed to connect with something bigger than myself."
(Newsweek: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080323/NYSU001 )
The name Barack tied him more firmly to his black African father, who had left him and his white mother at a young age and later returned home to Kenya. But that wasn't the primary motivation. In the March 31 Newsweek cover, "When 'Barry' Became Barack" (on newsstands Monday, March 24), Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe reports on that time in Obama's life when he began using the name Barack. It happened in a period when he was at Occidental College in California and heading to New York, to finish college at Columbia. He was trying to reinvent himself. "It was when I made a conscious decision: I want to grow up," Obama tells Newsweek.
Newsweek reconstructs Obama's journey from one name to another and explores what light that journey sheds on his character. The identity quest, which began before he became Barack and continued after, put him on a trajectory into a black America he had never really known as a child in Hawaii and abroad, Newsweek reports. In the end, he would come to see and accept that he was in an almost unique position as an American -- someone who had been part of both the white and the black American "families," able to view the secret doubts and fears and dreams of both, and to understand them. He could be part of a black world where his pastor and spiritual mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., expressed paranoid fantasies about white conspiracies to spread drugs or HIV, because he understood in his gut the history of racism that stoked those fears. He could, for a time, shrug off Wright's more incendiary views, in part because he knew that whites, in their private worlds, often expressed or shrugged off bigotry themselves, partly because of fears that might seem irrational to African-Americans.
Obama's friend at Occidental, Wahid Hamid, tells Newsweek that even before he became Barack, most friends simply called him "Obama." "It wasn't surprising to me that he decided to embrace that identity because 'Barry' could be perceived as trying to run away from something and trying to fit in, rather than embracing his own identity and, in many ways, kind of opening himself to who he is." For Wahid, an immigrant from Pakistan also trying to find his way in America (he is now a corporate executive in New York), the name Barack was perfectly natural and "somewhat refreshing."
For friend Eric Moore, Obama struck him as a person who could glide in and out of any social circle on campus. This was the thing about being of "mixed race," Moore says. "You have the benefit of knowing both cultures firsthand and it opens your eyes."
Occidental -- like Hawaii before -- became too small for Obama. "I think the Oxy environment and L.A. in general seemed not to be enough for him," Moore says. He remembered asking Obama when he was a sophomore what he planned to do the following year, since many upper-class friends of Obama's were graduating. Obama told him he was planning to transfer to Columbia University. "I remember trying to convince him to stay at Oxy," Moore says. But Obama had made up his mind that he wanted to move to a more urban, intense and polyglot place. "He said something to the effect that he needed a bigger and more stimulating environment intellectually."
Obama wanted a clean slate. "Going to New York was really a significant break. It's when I left a lot of stuff behind," he says. "I think there was a lot of stuff going on in me. By the end of that year at Occidental, I think I was starting to work it through, and I think part of the attraction of transferring was, it's hard to remake yourself around people who have known you for a long time." It was when he got to New York that, as he recalls it, he began to ask people to call him Barack: "It was not some assertion of my African roots ... not a racial assertion. It was much more of an assertion that I was coming of age. An assertion of being comfortable with the fact that I was different and that I didn't need to try to fit in in a certain way."
Read cover story at www.Newsweek.com
Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080323/NYSU001
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN1
PRN Photo Desk, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT: Jan Angilella of Newsweek, +1-212-445-5638
Web site: http://www.newsweek.msnbc.com/
Arthur Miller once described a good newspaper as “a nation talking to itself.” If only in this respect, the Huffington Post is a great newspaper. It is not unusual for a short blog post to inspire a thousand posts from readers—posts that go off in their own directions and lead to arguments and conversations unrelated to the topic that inspired them. Occasionally, these comments present original perspectives and arguments, but many resemble the graffiti on a bathroom wall.
The notion that the Huffington Post is somehow going to compete with, much less displace, the best traditional newspapers is arguable on other grounds as well. The site’s original-reporting resources are minuscule. The site has no regular sports or book coverage, and its entertainment section is a trashy grab bag of unverified Internet gossip. And, while the Huffington Post has successfully positioned itself as the place where progressive politicians and Hollywood liberal luminaries post their anti-Bush Administration sentiments, many of the original blog posts that it publishes do not merit the effort of even a mouse click.
~ Out of Print: The death and life of the American newspaper, by Eric Alterman
As I have said before, the future of the American newspaper is on the Internet.
The Internet will not exterminate the newspaper, because most of what is posted on the Internet are often lifted from the newspaper.
The worst thing that can happen to the newspaper would be the transition from print to digital. But a newspaper will always be a newspaper, no matter the media of communication.
News will always be news no matter how you report it, online or offline.
Just report it to the target audience.
In Nigeria, where over 76 million of the population are non-literates, and over 100 million are Internet-illiterates, the daily newspapers, television and radio dictate the news and not the Internet. The frequent power outages have made most of them to rely on the daily newspapers for news and information. The most popular Nigerian website is not even a news website, but a free for all online forum where about a million people visit weekly to gossip and rant over incidents, events and other interesting issues in Nigeria and other parts of the global village. The website only depends on Google AdSense for revenue. Millions of literate Nigerians read newspapers daily. Millions of homes in Nigeria cannot watch the TV, because of frequent power outages and the nearest source of news and information are the daily newspapers. The Nigerian press dictates the news in Nigeria and most of the advertisers prefer the newspapers, magazines, radio and television to the Internet. So, the Internet is not yet a threat to the print media in Nigeria.
The Huffington Post actually helps many of the traditional newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times by linking to their news reports.
What I do on my website and blog is to preview the latest print edition of the Newsweek and prompt readers to buy the copies.
The Cosmopolitan, Vogue and other trendy magazines are still selling in millions and the Internet can never replace the perfumed copes of the Cosmopolitan or Vogue. Being seen with the latest copy of Vogue is a social status symbol and I have seen where visitors rushed to grab the only copy of Vogue on the table at the reception of an office in Lagos, Nigeria.
The New York Times, Washington Post and other popular American newspapers can actually sell millions of copies daily in English speaking African countries by printing in these anglophone countries where most Africans still read daily newspapers, because power outages interrupt the regular TV news report. They read the newspapers first before turning on the TV to confirm whatever they have read in print.
The New York Times can actually sell over two million copies daily in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya combined, because Africans believe that American newspapers are the best reporters of facts and accurate details of news. They would rather accept what an American journalist has reported than what a local African journalist reported. A book review of an African writer in the New York Times is a big deal in Africa. Many local newspapers will link to it and even boast about it. A New York Times book review of an African novel is like an endorsement by the Oprah Winfrey Book Club. In fact, if the New York Times makes an ordinary reference to Robert Mugabe, millions of Zimbabweans will be anxious and curious to read it.
American newspapers should not be afraid of the Internet, but to capture it and use it to increase the mileage and patronage of their newspapers.
Rupert Murdoch should tempt the Huffington Post with $1 billion and see if Arianna and company can resist his billion dollar temptation.
So? ... A Note from Michael Moore
Monday, March 24th, 2008
It would have to happen on Easter Sunday, wouldn't it, that the 4,000th American soldier would die in Iraq. Play me that crazy preacher again, will you, about how maybe God, in all his infinite wisdom, may not exactly be blessing America these days. Is anyone surprised?
4,000 dead. Unofficial estimates are that there may be up to 100,000 wounded, injured, or mentally ruined by this war. And there could be up to a million Iraqi dead. We will pay the consequences of this for a long, long time. God will keep blessing America.
And where is Darth Vader in all this? A reporter from ABC News this week told Dick Cheney, in regards to Iraq, "two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting." Cheney cut her off with a one word answer: "So?"
"So?" As in, "So what?" As in, "F*** you. I could care less."
I would like every American to see Cheney flip the virtual bird at the them, the American people. Click here and pass it around. Then ask yourself why we haven't risen up and thrown him and his puppet out of the White House.
The Democrats have had the power to literally pull the plug on this war for the past 15 months -- and they have refused to do so. What are we to do about that? Continue to sink into our despair? Or get creative? Real creative. I know there are many of you reading this who have the chutzpah and ingenuity to confront your local congressperson. Will you? For me?
Cheney spent Wednesday, the 5th anniversary of the war, not mourning the dead he killed, but fishing off the Sultan of Oman's royal yacht. So? Ask your favorite Republican what they think of that.
The Founding Fathers would never have uttered the presumptuous words, "God Bless America." That, to them, sounded like a command instead of a request, and one doesn't command God, even if they are America. In fact, they were worried God would punish America. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington feared that God would react unfavorably against his soldiers for the way they were behaving. John Adams wondered if God might punish America and cause it to lose the war, just to prove His point that America was not worthy. They and the others believed it would be arrogant on their part to assume that God would single out America for a blessing. What a long road we have traveled since then.
I see that Frontline on PBS this week has a documentary called "Bush's War." That's what I've been calling it for a long time. It's not the "Iraq War." Iraq did nothing. Iraq didn't plan 9/11. It didn't have weapons of mass destruction. It DID have movie theaters and bars and women wearing what they wanted and a significant Christian population and one of the few Arab capitals with an open synagogue.
But that's all gone now. Show a movie and you'll be shot in the head. Over a hundred women have been randomly executed for not wearing a scarf. I'm happy, as a blessed American, that I had a hand in all this. I just paid my taxes, so that means I helped to pay for this freedom we've brought to Baghdad. So? Will God bless me?
God bless all of you in this Easter Week as we begin the 6th year of Bush's War.
God help America. Please.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I have already sent a formal letter of protest to the Government of the People's Republic of China and signed the petition of the Human Rights First on the complicity of China in the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. China sold over $55 million worth of arms to Sudan from 2003-2006. China supplied the assault rifles, heavy machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, anti-tank weapons, and mortars used by the ruthless Sudanese military and the Janjaweed in Darfur.
For decades, hundreds of Tibetans have been arrested and incarcerated for their dissenting opinions and religious beliefs. Tibetan nuns have been raped in detention and in 1994, a Tibetan nun was tortured to death. The recent attacks on Tibet have only made things worse and I am now calling for the boycott of the Beijing Olympics by all people of conscience.
We must petition the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF, to support the boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
There is no guarantee of the safety and security of lives and properties and the athletes would be at risk.
We must not let the oppressive and repressive regime of the Chinese government use the 2008 Beijing Olympics for image laundering and continue to perpetrate crimes against the civil liberites of the citizens and the independence of Tibet.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon (반기문/潘基文) has been hypocritical in addressing the atrocities of China. The new United Nations’ (UN) Special Representative for Sports, Mr. Willi Lemke, said he will visit China "as soon as possible". What an excuse! He said Ban Ki-moon wants to be informed on how the Olympic Games can be used as a platform for peace. That is another lame excuse to overlook the dangers in Beijing.
Mr. Lemke has already insisted that he is not in favour of a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. "I know I will go to Beijing without heavy armament, I have only the power of words," Mr. Lemke said.
Words will not be enough to stop the ruthless Chinese government from commtting more atrocities after attacking the Tibetan capital of Lhasa where over 13 people have been killed since the Chinese authorities disrupted the peaceful demonstrations of the human rights activists in Tibet.
US Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi said the Chinese attacks on human rights activists in Tibet is "a challenge to the conscience of the world."
"As a freedom-loving people, if we don’t speak out about the Chinese oppression, then we have lost our right to speak on human rights."
~ US Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during a meeting with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and other leaders of the exiled Tibetan government in Dharamsala, India, on Friday March 21, 2008.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole
In a historic judgment on Thursday March 20, 2007, The Chairman of the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal, Justice Peter Umeadi, ruled that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress political party scored 166,577 votes against 129,057 for Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, the gubernatorial candidate of the incumbent People's Democratic Party, therefore Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was the actual winner of the 2007 April gubernatorial election in Edo state.
Justice Umeadi said:
"The First Petitioner, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is hereby declared the elected Governor of Edo State of Nigeria; he is the candidate who has scored the highest number of valid votes cast during the April 14, 2007 governorship election in the state, and has satisfied the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, and the provisions of Sections 40 and 147 (2) of the Electoral Act 2006.”
"The election of Senator (Prof.) Oserheimen Osunbor as the Governor of Edo State is hereby declared null and void, and nullified."
The Chairman of the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal, Justice Peter Umeadi, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the elected governor of Edo state.
Comrade Oshiomhole and other aggrieved members of the Action Congress (AC) and other opposition parties have challenged the electoral victories of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), because of the rampant cases of electoral malpractices, irregularities, hooliganism and violence witnessed and documented during the 2007 April elections in Nigeria.
"With the language of the judgment, the depth of the analysis and transparent manner in which the issues were addressed, I think the judiciary has done not just me, but the average Nigerian proud," Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other national bodies have applauded the nullification of the fraudulent election of Senator (Prof.) Oserheimen Osunbor as the Governor of Edo State.
~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima
I am happy to congratulate Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress (AC) and the entire people of Edo state as they celebrate his declaration as the rightful winner of the April 14, 2007 gubernatorial election in Edo State, Nigeria.
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole deserves the support of all well-meaning citizens of Nigeria, because his victory is the victory of justice and a beacon of hope for true democracy in Nigeria.
You American supporters of Senator Barack Hussein Obama are the most naive, ignorant and unrealistic voters on planet earth.
There is no way Barack Obama can win the presidential election without Hillary Clinton, but Hillary Clinton can win the presidential election without Barack Obama.
The political uproar over Jeremiah Wright is enough reason for the GOP to turn all Republicans, Independents and other Americans against the election of Barack Obama. All they need to do is to keep on pressing play to repeat the video on YouTube, MySpace, and other mass media channels till November.Facts are facts.Facts do not lie.Barack Obama's speeches cannot delete the audio-video record of what his Spiritual Adviser for over 20 years said and this is the man Obama looks up to for guidance?Americans may be naive, but they are not fools.
Senator John McCain is already behaving like the President-elect by going on tour of Iraq, meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and looking ahead to leading the United States of America, because he knows that the GOP can use Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama and they still have more revelations to show Americans the political realities against the election of Barack Obama.
Senator Barack Obama made a terrible mistake when he joined the Black racist church of Jeremiah Wright 20 years ago. He was lured by the religious political rhetoric of the Black prophet and even imitated him to compose his "Audacity of Hope" speech. But speeches without facts are mere words without truth.
What Americans need most now are not mere speeches, but solutions on how to tackle the looming recession, how to end the war in Iraq and how to stop the lawlessness of illegal immigrants from across the borders, from Africa, from Asia and from Eastern Europe.
Stop nodding like political zombies to the speeches of the political spin doctors of Senator Barack Obama and his cartel of surrogates who are political opportunists.Face the existential realities of daily lives and vote for true American patriots who have the records to prove that they are proud Americans and not mere political Americans.
Sentiments do not make great leaders, but achievements do.
America was not built by sentiments, but by achievements.
Speeches did not make the FM Radio.
Speeches did not make the Steam Engine.
Speeches did not make the Transistor.
Speeches did not make the Jenny (Train) Coupler.
Speeches did not make the ordinary Plastic.
Speeches did not make the Steam Locomotive.
Speeches did not make the Telephone.
Speeches did not make Gramaphone.
Speeches did not make the Pacemaker.
Speeches did not make the Browning Rifle.
Speeches did not make the Analog Computer.
Speeches did not make the Transistor.
Speeches did not make the Nylon.
Speeches did not make the Air Conditioner.
Speeches did not make the Peanut Products.
Speeches did not make the Colt Revolver.
Speeches did not make the Locomotive.
Speeches did not make the Airplanes.
Speeches did not make the Motorcycle.
Speeches did not make the Tractor.
Speeches did not make the Vaccume Tube.
Speeches did not make the Penci.l
Speeches did not make the Horseless Carriage.
Speeches did not make the Dry Plate Photography.
Speeches did not mae the Light Bulb and speeches did not make the following inventions.
Electron Microscope and speeches did not land America on the moon.
Speeches will echo back and forth, but our deeds will determine the fate of the earth.
The American Dream was not made up of mere speeches, but of the great sacrifices of the heroes of the American Revolution and the labourers who toiled in the vineyard of liberty.
May God save the United States of America from false prophets and political opportunists.
by Newt Gingrich
Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama gave one speech in Philadelphia this week, but he made two different presentations.
The first was an apology and attempted explanation for his 20-year relationship with a preacher, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who is viciously anti-American, racist and anti-Semitic and for his membership in a church which had honored Louis Farrakhan.
The second presentation was an eloquent but fundamentally inadequate speech about racism and poverty in America. It was an invitation to a national dialogue that conservatives and all Americans should accept.
A Failure of Judgment? Or a Failure of Honesty and Courage?
Sen. Obama's first presentation was very troubling. It offers two possibilities for judging his character, both of which are unsettling.
The first possibility is that Sen. Obama did not notice the racism, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism coming from the pulpit in 20 years of attending Pastor Wright's sermons. He failed to register as troubling Pastor Wright's trip to Libya with Louis Farrakhan to see Muammar Qaddafi or the church's giving Farrakhan a lifetime achievement award. But if this is true, it is a devastating insight into any possibility that Sen. Obama is ready to be President. How could we expect him to act with judgment and responsibility in Iran and Iraq, to pick a Supreme Court Justice or to undertake any other complex act under the pressing reality of being president when he could not notice reality in 20 years at his church. On the other hand, if he noticed the goings on in his church but failed to act on them, what does that tell us about his honesty and his courage?
Pastor Wright Falls Short of Obama's 'Don Imus' Standard
After all, it was Sen. Obama himself who set the standard. As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby noted, "When Don Imus uttered his infamous slur on the radio last year, Obama cut him no slack. Imus should be fired, he said. 'There's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group.'"
I understand this standard. When I first became speaker of the House, we hired a House historian who turned out to have written very controversial things. We asked for her resignation within 24 hours of learning what she had done.
Clearly, when it comes to Pastor Wright, Sen. Obama has fallen short of his own standard by about 20 years.
Still, the fascinating opportunity Sen. Obama offers is to begin a genuine dialogue on race and poverty in America. The Opportunity of Our Lifetime to Engage With the Left in How to Help
Every American Pursue Happiness
The sections of his speech on race and poverty were eloquent -- but they were fundamentally inaccurate and inadequate.
As such, they create a real opportunity to engage Sen. Obama in a national dialogue about why poverty exists on the Southside of Chicago, why Detroit has been a disaster and why there is so much crime in Philadelphia.
This is the best opportunity conservatives have had in our lifetime to engage a serious politician of the left on a national dialogue about how to help every American pursue happiness.
Sen. Obama's analysis in his Philadelphia speech was so filled with inaccuracies and was so inadequate in its proposed remedies that it must be responded to. However, the event could be the beginning of a major national effort to discuss how we can help poor people, poor neighborhoods and impoverished Americans.
What Would Sen. Obama Do About the Tragedy of Detroit?
In Real Change (which with your help has now entered its ninth week on the New York Times bestsellers list), I outline the disaster of Detroit, which has dropped from 1,800,000 people in 1950 to fewer than 900,000 today (the first American city to drop below one million in our history). Detroit had the highest median income of all major cities in America in 1950. Today it ranks at No. 66 out of 68 major cities in media household income.
The tragedy of Detroit can't be blamed on the decline of the auto industry alone. Grand Rapids -- another Michigan city dependent on the auto industry but one with good government -- is prospering. African-Americans in particular have been impoverished by the bad government policies of Detroit. What would Sen. Obama do to reform the bad city government, failed public safety policies and terrible school system?
The Challenges of Racism and Poverty Won't Be Solved With the Attitudes and Policies of the Left
As speaker, I helped pass the welfare reform bill. On the 10th anniversary of the passage of welfare reform, Christine Kim and Robert Rector highlighted some of its achievements:
During the late 1990s, employment of never-married mothers increased by nearly 50%, of single mothers who are high school dropouts by 66% and of young single mothers (ages 18 to 24) by nearly 100%;
The child poverty rate fell, from 20.8% in 1995 to 17.8% in 2004, lifting 1.6 million children out of poverty;
The poverty rate among black children fell from 41.5% in 1995 to 32.9% in 2004 (a stark contrast from the period 1971 to 1995 when this poverty level had not changed much);
The poverty rate also fell from 53.1% to 39.8% for children from single-mother families;
The once explosive growth of unwed childbearing has ended. The unwed birthrate was 7.7% in 1965 and increased about one percentage point per year for the next thirty years. Had this rate of increase been sustained, the unwed childbearing rate would have hit 41.6% by 2003, but welfare reform interrupted this process. Between 1995 and 2003, overall unwed childbearing inched upward by only 2.4 percentage points, a fourth of the pre-reform rate of increase. The black unwed childbearing rate actually fell from 69.9% in 1995 to 68.2% in 2003; and
Welfare caseloads began to decline in earnest after 1996 and have fallen by 56% since then.
Let's Have an Honest National Dialogue About What Works and What Fails in Helping People
Today at American Solutions, we are using the Platform of the American People to help develop a series of fundamental changes designed to help poor Americans pursue happiness and achieve prosperity. We can meet the challenge of racism and poverty in America but we cannot do so with the attitudes, the policies and the institutions of the left.
My message today to all conservatives is this: We should accept Sen. Obama's invitation.
Let us have an honest national dialogue about what works and what fails in helping people.
Let us visit the sites of institutions that are failing and the sites of places where people are doing the right things and having a positive result.
Let us have the courage to challenge conservative ideas and institutions but let us also have the courage to challenge left-wing ideas and institutions.
Stay Tuned for More Analysis of Obama's Speech Next Week in a Speech at the American Enterprise Institute.
Sen. Obama has opened a discussion that could be very good for America. It may turn out to be a discussion that forces him to confront the degree to which today's problems are the problems of bad government, bad regulations, bad tax policy, bad litigation policy and bad attitudes.
American playwright David Mamet has just written a remarkable essay titled "David Mamet: Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal,'" in which he explains his own confrontation with his changing views on the role of government and what works in society. Mamet writes: "What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow."
This is such a complex and important area, and Sen. Obama's speech had so many inaccuracies and false assumptions about poverty in America that I will give a speech next Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute with a more detailed analysis of these sections from Obama's speech.
In the meantime, everyone should eagerly respond to the invitation to have an honest dialogue about how to help all Americans achieve their Creator-endowed rights.
~ Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of "Winning the Future" (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).
Click here to get his free Winning the Future e-mail newsletter.