30 novembre 2008

Windpipe transplant breakthrough

source: BBC News

Surgeons in Spain have carried out the world's first tissue-engineered whole organ transplant - using a windpipe made with the patient's own stem cells.

The groundbreaking technology also means for the first time tissue transplants can be carried out without the need for anti-rejection drugs.

Five months on the patient, 30-year-old mother-of-two Claudia Castillo, is in perfect health, The Lancet reports.

She needed the transplant to save a lung after contracting tuberculosis.

The Colombian woman's airways had been damaged by the disease.

Scientists from Bristol helped grow the cells for the transplant and the European team believes such tailor-made organs could become the norm.

To make the new airway, the doctors took a donor windpipe, or trachea, from a patient who had recently died.

Then they used strong chemicals and enzymes to wash away all of the cells from the donor trachea, leaving only a tissue scaffold made of the fibrous protein collagen.

This gave them a structure to repopulate with cells from Ms Castillo herself, which could then be used in an operation to repair her damaged left bronchus - a branch of the windpipe.

By using Ms Castillo's own cells the doctors were able to trick her body into thinking the donated trachea was part of it, thus avoiding rejection.

Two types of cell were taken from Ms Castillo: cells lining her windpipe, and adult stem cells - very immature cells from the bone marrow - which could be encouraged to grow into the cells that normally surround the windpipe.

After four days of growth in the lab in a special rotating bioreactor, the newly-coated donor windpipe was ready to be transplanted into Ms Castillo.

Her surgeon, Professor Paolo Macchiarini of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Spain, carried out the operation in June

He said: "I was very much afraid. Before this, we had been doing this work only on pigs.

"But as soon as the donor trachea came out of the bioreactor it was a very positive surprise."

He said it looked and behaved identically to a normal human donor trachea.

The operation was a great success and just four days after transplantation the hybrid windpipe was almost indistinguishable from adjacent normal airways.

After a month, a biopsy of the site proved that the transplant had developed its own blood supply.

And with no signs of rejection four months on, Professor Macchiarini says the future chance of rejection is practically zero.

"We are terribly excited by these results," he said.

"She is enjoying a normal life, which for us clinicians is the most beautiful gift."

Today Ms Castillo is living an active, normal life, and once again able to look after her children Johan, 15, and Isabella, four. She can walk up two flights of stairs without getting breathless.

I was a sick woman, now I will be able to live a normal life ~ Claudia Castillo

Professor Martin Birchall, professor of surgery at the University of Bristol who helped grow the cells for the transplant, said: "This will represent a huge step change in surgery.

"Surgeons can now start to see and understand the potential for adult stem cells and tissue engineering to radically improve their ability to treat patients with serious diseases."

He said that in 20 years time, virtually any transplant organ could be made in this way.

US scientists have already successfully implanted bladder patches grown in the laboratory from patients' own cells into people with bladder disease.

The European research team, which also includes experts from the University of Padua and the Polytechnic of Milan in Italy, is applying for funding to do windpipe and voice box transplants in cancer patients.

Clinical trials could begin five years from now, they said.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 people are diagnosed with cancer of the larynx each year in Europe, and scientists say about half them may be suitable candidates for tissue engineering transplants.

Spain reports breakthrough using adult stem cells

Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 11/24/2008 7:00:00 AM

A major medical breakthrough involving adult stem cells has occurred in Spain.

Medical researchers in Spain replaced 30-year-old Claudia Castillo's windpipe by growing her own stem cells in the shape of the damaged body part, and her body has not rejected it. According to The Independent, Castillo's bout with tuberculosis left her with a collapsed lung and unable to breathe or do many daily activities such as look after and play with her two children.

Dr. Robert Scheidt is with the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) and applauds the so-called "new age in surgical care." "I just can't get over the marvel of recreating an organ -- and an organ that's compatible because it uses the patient's original DNA and tissues -- and it works," he notes.

This accomplishment, according to Scheidt, is just another reason why research on human embryos will not work, while adult stem cells are already successful. "We found out that stem cells have a peculiar property that, if they're placed in an organ -- it can be one of several organs -- they assume the identity of the organ into which they are placed and then start to work accordingly," he explains.

Castillo is also the first patient to receive a whole organ transplant without needing to take strong immunosuppressant drugs to aid in the body's adjustment. Dr. Scheidt believes the success brings healthcare officials closer to recreating and transplanting organs such as the heart and liver.

"I can envision a day that we could replenish the body with substitute parts that are not harvested from another body but are grown from our own stem cells," he concludes.

29 novembre 2008

Sought: Wal-Mart shoppers who trampled NY worker

Colleen Long - Associated Press Writer - 11/29/2008 6:25:00 AM

NEW YORK - Police were reviewing video from surveillance cameras in an attempt to identify who trampled to death a Wal-Mart worker after a crowd of post-Thanksgiving shoppers burst through the doors at a suburban store and knocked him down.

Criminal charges were possible, but identifying individual shoppers in Friday's video may prove difficult, said Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, a Nassau County police spokesman.

Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.

At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries. The store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.

Police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the Wal-Mart doors before its 5 a.m. opening at a mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the employee, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

"This crowd was out of control," Fleming said. He described the scene as "utter chaos," and said the store didn't have enough security.

Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help Damour were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said. Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store.

Damour, 34, of Queens, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 6 a.m., police said. The exact cause of death has not been determined.

A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital, where she and the baby were reported to be OK, said police Sgt. Anthony Repalone.

Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages."

"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling `I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., called the incident a "tragic situation" and said the employee came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store. It said it tried to prepare for the crowd by adding staffers and outside security workers, putting up barricades and consulting police.

"Despite all of our precautions, this unfortunate event occurred," senior Vice President Hank Mullany said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted."

A woman reported being trampled by overeager customers at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in Farmingdale, about 15 miles east of Valley Stream, Suffolk County police said. She suffered minor injuries, but finished shopping before filling the report, police said.

Shoppers around the country line up early outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving in the annual bargain-hunting ritual known as Black Friday. It got that name because it has historically been the day when stores broke into profitability for the full year.

Items on sale at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart included a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9.

17 novembre 2008

Waltzing on the Titanic

by Larrey Anderson, American Thinker
America's young people helped elect Barack Obama. Way to go kids! This article is for you. Let's take a look at your future.

We won't need a time machine. We will just need to visit Europe and talk to the youth of France, Italy, and Greece. Don't worry. They won't mind. They have plenty of time to talk. They don't have jobs.

Young people in Western Europe tend to sit around, smoke Marlboro cigarettes, drink espresso (and Coca Cola), and (at least until this election) bitch about America.

They have been taught, since their first day in school, that capitalism is evil -- that the government can, and should, provide health care, employment, and eventually, guaranteed retirement benefits for everyone.

In their leisurely conversations when they have finished condemning capitalism, they go on to praise the idea of socialism. They do not praise their own countries. They are not stupid. The health care stinks. (Young people don't care much about that.) There are no jobs. (But there are unemployment benefits.) And the retirement systems are bankrupt. (But old age is way, way, way in the future.)

So, they argue, in the next election they are going to replace the loser socialists who currently run their countries with some real socialists -- politicians who will finally keep their promises. I heard this discussion in France thirty years ago. I heard it the last time I was in Italy. It is taking place in Greece right now.

The last time I was in Rome I listened as a very bright young man explained to his friends, over lunch at a sidewalk café, what was really going on: Most European countries have become, essentially, plutocracies. The socialist governments give lip service to wealth redistribution but they are tightly interwoven with the "old money" in the banking system and in big business.

This came as no surprise to his educated friends. Their response was (same as it always is): Of course the system is corrupt. We will throw out the old socialists and put in some new ones. It played in their minds like a broken record. I have heard it for years and years and years.

The only thing that stopped the conversation from becoming a perpetual loop was that one of the conversationalists eventually proclaimed, "Ah. But at least we are not America!" The Marlboros got lit up. The espresso and Coca Cola were sipped. And they got back to the serious business of bashing capitalism.

Well, not all of them. It turned out that the bright young man who had so eloquently described the current corruption was the bus boy at the café. He had a university education ... and a job!

I had the opportunity to speak with one of these young people alone. Actually, this fellow was not so young anymore. He was thirty-four. He still lived with his parents.

He could not afford his own place. His family was having problems even paying their electrical bills.

The reason the price of electricity was so high was that the "greens" had for years stopped the Italian government from building nuclear power plants.

He drove a taxi a few days a week (the only job he could find). He had a girlfriend but could not afford to marry her. He was not planning on having children. But in the next election, he assured me, a brand new socialism was coming. He started to rattle off the names of the experts he had read in the newspapers (and he had studied in the university) who had told him so.

I felt sorry for him. I had had this exact conversation many times before. He was brim full of hope and change.

Listen up young Americans: What is coming to the United States is what has been happening in Europe for decades. The ships of state have smashed into an iceberg called socialism and they are sinking.

This is not a Republican versus Democrat thing. Republicans had ten years to clean up the mess. They made it worse. I don't blame you for wanting to throw the bums out. I did too.

But putting in a new and improved and ever more aggressive socialist like Obama is not the answer. (Don't argue about his socialism. Go to his website and show me some free market proposals.) They have been trying this in Europe for three generations. It has not worked.

That trillion-dollar "bi-partisan" bailout passed by our Congress did not go to the people who cannot make their house payments. It is being handed out to the big bankers and to big business.

That is how socialism works. Politicians, bankers, and big businessmen do an age-old dance in triple time. There is no trickle down economics in socialism. Almost all of the money stays at the top.

America will soon be, like Europe has been, waltzing on the Titanic. Thanks for the dance.

Larrey Anderson is a writer, a philosopher, and submissions editor for American Thinker. His latest award-winning novel is The Order of the Beloved.

16 novembre 2008

Infanticide exposed: Planned Parenthood's secret endorsement

Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 11/12/2008 8:15:00 AM

YouTube is yet again boycotting pro-life videos, according to Students for Life.

Executive director of Students for Life of America (SFLA) Kristan Hawkins videotaped a meeting with personnel at a Freehold, New Jersey, Planned Parenthood organization that is federally funded under Title X. In an undercover video, one staff member admitted that some aborted babies are born alive and then permitted to die, which violates federal law. SFLA then posted the footage on YouTube. Hawkins adds details to the story.

"YouTube banned our video. We put up two versions of the video and they banned both," she explains. "So we have put it up with Eyeblast, so it's Eyeblast.tv. If you go to our website at StudentsForLife.org, you can see it there."

YouTube told Hawkins it dropped the videos because of inappropriate content. "If you go to YouTube and look up what inappropriate content is, it's something that has nudity, graphic sexual references, violence, or hate speech -- nothing which is included in our video," she points out.

Hawkins believes YouTube's actions represent nothing short of censorship. "YouTube's bias is clearly visible with these actions. YouTube is no friend to pro-lifers," she contends. "If Planned Parenthood isn't doing anything wrong and illegal, then why are they and their allies aggressively hiding videos from the public that show their staffers explaining their medical procedures to patients, the women they claim to care about?"

The video can be viewed at http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/video.aspx?v=e46UqG8zSU. An extended version is available at http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/video.aspx?v=e46UZuaGSU.

Elderly Prop. 8 supporter roughed up, filing charges

Allie Martin and Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 11/14/2008 6:00:00 AM

An elderly California woman will file charges against homosexuals who attacked her during a protest against the passage of Proposition 8.

Last Friday evening, homosexual activists and their supporters gathered at the Palm Springs City Hall, protesting voter approved Prop. 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Phyllis Burgess went to the rally, and carried a Styrofoam cross through the crowd.

As ABC affiliate KESQ-TV carried that rally live, homosexuals surrounded the 69-year-old woman, began pushing her, reportedly spit on her, and grabbed the cross from her arms and threw it on the ground. (See video report)

Burgess remained calm throughout the melee. "I was really so overflowing with peacefulness in my heart that I just couldn't see this," she says. "It wasn't in my mind, it really wasn't."

Initially, Burgess said she did not want to file charges, but changed her mind after authorities encouraged her to do so (see related video). She says she went to the rally "just to get my remarks across at my city hall, where I have lived for 30 years." She adds: "If it takes endangerment, should that stop me? I'm a senior -- we respect elder abuse in this city."

Police are reviewing video in hopes of identifying suspects. Charges would be assault and vandalism, both misdemeanors.

The 'true face' of opponents
Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for Children and Families says the attack on Burgess is one of many incidents in California directed at supporters of traditional marriage. He notes that, among the rage and shouting displayed at the rally, protestors also used the "n-word" against black people.

Thomasson equates their behavior with a toddler's temper tantrum, saying that homosexuals are demonstrating their deep intolerance for not only people who believe real marriage exists between a man and a woman, but also for people of faith and color.

"America needs to see the true face of the homosexual activists who are intolerant against people of faith and anyone who believes in real marriage between a man and a woman," he contends.

According to Thomasson, the peaceful marches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are drastically different than the recent violent displays, mainly because King was seeking natural civil rights and homosexuals are demanding public endorsement of their "unnatural sexual behavior."

15 novembre 2008

My Temperament

I took a temperament test on CatholicSingles.com (why I was there is another story, probably obvious enough that I need not explain) and I am:

Phlegmatic / Melancholic

The phlegmatic-melancholic is introverted (though less so than the melancholic-phlegmatic), which means that his deep emotions and anxieties tend not to be clearly expressed. They tend to react extremely slowly when confronted by antagonism or strong emotions. They are personable, quiet, and gentle. They value harmonious relationships. When you are first entering a relationship with a phlegmatic-melancholic, you may be struck by how easy-going and agreeable they are, but be aware that they are not revealing the depth of their emotions to you. They are deeply sensitive and value harmony and high ideals within a relationship. As a result of his delayed and sometimes dull response, a phlegmatic-melancholic will be slower to speak out, tempted to procrastinate, and reticent. They may appear – or believe themselves -- at times to be “lazy.” At times when the melancholic aspect dominates, he will have plenty of time in which mull over in his mind what his response should have been. He may become easily offended (though he may not reveal this to you) or discouraged. The phlegmatic attentiveness to relationships, and to getting along and keeping the peace, will “take the edge off” some of the melancholic tendency to perfectionism and critical judgments of others. On the other hand, because he may be more easily offended, he may want to be critical of others yet hesitant to confront directly. The dominance of the phlegmatic temperament may also drive the melancholic proclivity to order and neatness out of the picture.

If you are a phlegmatic-melancholic, you will show a cooperative spirit and a desire to please, and will value harmonious relationships. You are particularly gifted in teaching, mediating among groups, and at counseling individuals. And though yours isn’t the most dynamic temperament, your lack of defensiveness, calmness under pressure, and gift for mediation in critical situations can make you a very effective servant-leader, one who is willing to roll up his sleeves and work along with those he leads by example.

This temperament combination can face at times a greater challenge to his confidence than other temperaments (especially the choleric or sanguine). For this reason, when you are facing a major challenge or have been given a multi-faceted and demanding project, it will be absolutely critical for you to maintain your level of energy and motivation — not to mention your prayer life-- to complete the project. You will want to anticipate the way your moods can get you off track, and take concrete steps to maintain accountability in order to remain focused and energized throughout the task. Motivational tapes, exercise and a healthy diet, spiritual guidance, and a strong sacramental life will be critical. You will also need to maintain your focus on the big picture at all times, and not be distracted by the “urgent” demands of the moment, or by what other people may ask of you. To this end, it is always wise to seek regular professional, personal, and spiritual guidance from qualified individuals. In order for the phlegmatic temperament to achieve success and reach his goals, he should always work with a motivational program that provides structure, inspires confidence, and ensures accountability.

If you are phlegmatic-melancholic, it’s likely that you are a bit more upbeat than the melancholic-phlegmatic, a little less introverted, more trusting, slightly less moody, more generous with your time, and a more gracious host. You will rarely find yourself angry (though your feelings may be easily hurt), forgive more readily, and do not hold onto hurts in the same way that a more dominantly melancholic temperament would. You are compassionate, sensitive, caring, and tend to gravitate to the helping professions. You are a patient and caring teacher. You are not as “perfectionist” as a pure melancholic, and generally struggle with organization, planning, and a tendency to procrastinate. You find it difficult to set limits or turn someone down who asks a favor of you; you may be especially drawn to volunteer or missionary work, the apostolate, or other works of mercy. Though very generous, you may find it difficult to set priorities or limits. Your phlegmatic side makes it hard to say “no” – although you really want to. Sometimes your generosity can result in not enough time to “get organized,” be prepared, or to relax. Burn-out and feeling overwhelmed may result.

If your temperament is phlegmatic-melancholic, for a better understanding of your temperament it is recommended that you read the full descriptions of the phlegmatic and melancholic.

Famous Phlegmatics? Um, none other than St. Thomas Aquinas!! Proud to be in his company! St.Thomas Aquinas

He is often thought to be a brilliant phelgmatic. He was careful in thought and speech, methodical, precise, quiet, even-tempered, simple, and dry-witted. His friends once played a trick on him, because he was so trusting and innocent (hallmarks of the easy-going, sweet phlegmatic): “Look! Out the window! There is a flying cow!” St. Thomas looked, and they all burst into laughter. He calmly and dryly replied, “I would rather believe that the cow is flying than that my friends would lie to me!” As G. K. Chesterton wrote, “There is not a single occasion on which he indulged in a sneer. His curiously simple character, his lucid but laborious intellect, could not be better summed up than by saying he did not know how to sneer.” (102) He was a man of common sense, logical and methodical, yet trusting and innocent. It is said that his last confession was the confession of a five-year old child, so pure and simple was he. “Whenever he was interrupted, he was very polite, and more apologetic than the apologizer” (p 99).

14 novembre 2008

'Gay fascists' storm church, attack members

Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 11/13/2008

Homosexual activists recently attacked a Michigan church during its worship service.

The attack occurred at Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan, by a group of self-described homosexual anarchists called "Bash Back!" Susan Fani of the Catholic League describes what happened.

"Outside they were chanting 'Jesus was a homo' on a megaphone. They were beating on buckets, presumably to drown out what the pastor was saying inside the church, and carrying an upside-down pink cross," she explains. "They set off the fire alarm. They unfurled this big banner because they apparently were hiding in an unused part of the church, like the balcony area."

A Catholic League article also notes the "gay fascists" stormed the pulpit and shouted obscenities at church members. The protesters carried a banner that read, "It's okay to be gay! Bash Back!"

Fani contends the group's activities were illegal. "The police did show up and, as far as we can tell, no one was arrested, which we also don't understand because apparently most of the 30 or so people in this group fled before the police got there, but some were still there," she adds.

President of the Catholic League Bill Donahue laments the refusal of the biased, mainstream media to report on what he calls one of the most disturbing events this year. "If an organized group of gay bashers stormed a gay church, there is not a single sentient person in the United States who wouldn't know about it."

The league is contacting Mike Cox, Michigan's attorney general, for an investigation.

Press Release from Mount Hope Church

El Salvador Rejects Anti-Family, Pro-Abortion Youth Convention

By Piero A. Tozzi and Neydy Casillas Padrón

(NEW YORK – C-FAM) The President of El Salvador, Elias Antonio Saca, affirmed at an Ibero-American leaders’ summit late last month that his country would not sign the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth (ICRY) , as it violated El Salvador’s Constitution. His decision cheered Latin American social conservatives who have been wary of articles in the Convention that they say promote homosexuality and abortion.

The ICRY is backed by Spain’s socialist president, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and has the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Proponents tout the treaty as enhancing the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Critics focus on provisions like Article 25, which labels “sexual and reproductive health” a “right” and calls for “confidentiality” with respect to this right. “Sexual and reproductive health” is used by United Nations (UN) committees and UN agencies to promote abortion. They also point out that Article 23 mandates a “right to sexual education” that includes “full acceptance” of the youth’s “identity,” a term another article defines as including “sexual orientation.” Given that the ICRY encompasses minors within the scope of “youth,” critics view the Convention as undermining parental rights and the family unit.

While President Saca’s constitutional objections concern provisions of the Convention that would allow youths to evade military service and forbid capital punishment of adults under the age of 24, the Salvadorian Constitution also states that the family is the fundamental base of society and entitled to protection by the State, language similar to that used in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Although El Salvador rejected the ICRY, the nations participating in the 18th Annual Iberoamerican Summit also issued a non-binding “Declaration of San Salvador” and a corresponding Program of Action that critics find ambiguous and therefore troubling. The Declaration calls for education in “sexual and reproductive health,” and, though it does not mention “sexual orientation,” calls for an open-ended “Ibero-American Year Against All Forms of Discrimination.”

Critics also point out that neither the Declaration nor the Program of Action were circulated publicly in draft form prior to their release, despite calls that governments do so to allow for greater citizen input. Julia Cardenal, a Salvadorian pro-life and pro-family activist, asked if the summit documents were “such a good thing for youth, why was everything done so secretly?” While she credits the Declaration for stating that sexual education should be conducted in conformity with the “moral values and internal legislation of each country,” she told the Friday Fax that the Declaration would have been stronger had such language been incorporated elsewhere in the document as well.

The ICRY went into effect in March of this year, when Costa Rica became the fifth country to ratify it. In addition to El Salvador, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia have refused to sign the ICRY, and Peru’s legislature debated and rejected ratification. Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua have also balked at ratifying the Convention.

For more news, visit us at www.c-fam.org.

13 novembre 2008

Bishops Oppose Freedom of Choice Act

Call It Divisive, "Bad Legislation"

BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops criticized the Freedom of Choice Act as "bad legislation" that would ultimately cause more division in the country.

Cardinal Francis George, the president of the U.S. episcopal conference, said this today in a statement published on behalf of the nations' bishops. The conference approved the statement upon concluding their three-day fall assembly, held in Baltimore.

Pledging to work with the Obama administration on issues of economic justice immigration, education, health care and religious freedom, the cardinal reminded the president-elect that a "good state protects the lives of all."

The statement called the Supreme Court's decision in favor of the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade a "bad court decision," and warned that it could soon "be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself."

Referring to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), Cardinal George said the law would "deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry."

He continued: "FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.

"Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated.

"The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life."


He said the act would "have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities."

"It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil," said Cardinal George.

"On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will," the conference president said. "They are also pastors who have listened to women whose lives have been diminished because they believed they had no choice but to abort a baby.

"Abortion is a medical procedure that kills, and the psychological and spiritual consequences are written in the sorrow and depression of many women and men. The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted."

"The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world," the cardinal continued. "If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve.

"Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion."

12 novembre 2008

Obama surfs through

The Obamas are a warm vision for the White House -- but he should strive toward full transparency. Plus: Yes, I still like Sarah Palin!

Nov. 12, 2008 | Camille Paglia |Salon.com

Dazed and confused. A week after the election of Barack Obama, millions of American news junkies are in serious cold turkey, the big bump of withdrawal from two years of addiction to the dizzying ups and downs of a campaign that threatened never to end.

Eat dirt, you sour Clintons, who said Obama was "unelectable." Obama's 8 million vote margin over his Republican opponent -- miraculously sparing us endless litigation and chad counting -- was an exhilarating testimony to his personal gifts and power of persuasion. And the formidable Michelle Obama, with her electric combo of brains and style, is already rewriting first ladyhood. The warm partnership of the Obamas (wonderfully caught by the camera as they disappeared offstage after his victory) has set an inspiring standard for modern marriage.

Yes, it's true we know relatively little about Barack Obama, and his triumph is a roll of the dice. But John McCain (like Bob Dole) was a major Republican misfire -- a candidate of personal honor and heroic sacrifice who was woefully inadequate for the times. McCain's lurching grandstanding during the Wall Street crisis made him look like a ham actor on a bender. In debate, McCain was always pugnacious but too often bland or rambling, and he often missed glaring opportunities to score off Obama's vagueness or contradictions.

McCain's brusque treatment of his long-suffering wife, Cindy, was also off-putting -- nowhere more so than after his concession speech, when he barely remembered to give her a perfunctory hug. Probably no one is more relieved by McCain's defeat than Cindy, who seemed too frail and tightly wound for the demanding role of first lady. Now she can slip away once more into blessed privacy.

No one knows whether Obama will move to the center or veer hard left. Perhaps even he doesn't know. But I have great optimism about his political instincts and deftness. He wants to be president of all the people -- if that is possible in so divided a nation. His natural impulse seems to be toward reconciliation and concord. The big question will be how patient the Democratic left wing is in demanding drastic changes in social policy, particularly dicey with a teetering economy.

As I've watched Obama gracefully step up to podiums or move through crowds, I've been reminded not of basketball, with its feints and pivots, but of surfing, that art form of his native Hawaii. A photograph of Obama body surfing on vacation was widely publicized in August. But I'm talking about big-time competitive surfing, as in this stunning video tribute to the death-defying Laird Hamilton (who, like Obama, was raised fatherless in Hawaii). Obama's ability to stay on his feet and outrun the most menacing waves that threaten to engulf him seems to embody the breezy, sunny spirit of the American surfer.

In the closing weeks of the election, however, I became increasingly disturbed by the mainstream media's avoidance of forthright dealing with several controversies that had been dogging Obama -- even as every flimsy rumor about Sarah Palin was being trumpeted as if it were engraved in stone on Mount Sinai. For example, I had thought for many months that the flap over Obama's birth certificate was a tempest in a teapot. But simple questions about the certificate were never resolved to my satisfaction. Thanks to their own blathering, fanatical overkill, of course, the right-wing challenges to the birth certificate never gained traction.

But Obama could have ended the entire matter months ago by publicly requesting Hawaii to issue a fresh, long-form, stamped certificate and inviting a few high-profile reporters in to examine the document and photograph it. (The campaign did make the "short-form" certificate available to Factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.) And why has Obama not made his university records or thesis work widely available? The passivity of the press toward Bush administration propaganda about weapons of mass destruction led the nation into the costly blunder of the Iraq war. We don't need another presidency that finds it all too easy to rely on evasion or stonewalling. I deeply admire Obama, but as a voter I don't like feeling gamed or played.

Another issue that I initially dismissed was the flap over William Ayers, the Chicago-based former member of the violent Weather Underground. Conservative radio host Sean Hannity began the drumbeat about Ayers' association with Obama a year ago -- a theme that most of the mainstream media refused to investigate or even report until this summer. I had never heard of Ayers and couldn't have cared less. I was irritated by Hillary Clinton's aggressive flagging of Ayers in a debate, and I accepted Obama's curt dismissal of the issue.

Hence my concern about Ayers has been very slow in developing. The mainstream media should have fully explored the subject early this year and not allowed it to simmer and boil until it flared up ferociously in the last month of the campaign. Obama may not in recent years have been "pallin' around" with Ayers, in Sarah Palin's memorable line, but his past connections with Ayers do seem to have been more frequent and substantive than he has claimed. Blame for the failure of this issue to take hold must also accrue to the conservative talk shows, which use the scare term "radical" with simplistic sensationalism, blanketing everyone under the sun from scraggly ex-hippies to lipstick-chic Nancy Pelosi.

Pursuing the truth about Ayers, I recently rented the 2002 documentary "The Weather Underground," from Netflix. It was riveting. Although the film seems to waver between ominous exposé and blatant whitewash, the full extent of the group's bombing campaign is dramatically demonstrated. It's not for everyone: The film uses gratuitous cutaways of horrifying carnage, from the Vietnam War to the Manson murders (such as Sharon Tate's smiling corpse, bathed in blood). But the news footage of the Greenwich Village townhouse destroyed in 1970 by bomb-making gone wrong in the basement still has enormous impact. Standing in the chaotic street, actor Dustin Hoffman, who lived next door, seems like Everyman at the apocalypse.

Ayers comes off in the film as a vapid, slightly dopey, chronic juvenile with stunted powers of ethical reasoning. The real revelation is his wife, Bernardine Dohrn (who evidently worked at the same large Chicago law firm as Michelle Obama in the mid-1990s). Of course I had heard of Dohrn -- hers was one of the most notorious names of our baby-boom generation -- and I knew her black-and-white police mug shot. But I had never seen footage of her speaking or interacting with others. Well, it's pretty obvious who wears the pants in that family!

The mystery of Bernardine Dohrn: How could such a personable, attractive, well-educated young woman end up saying such things at a 1969 political rally as this (omitted in the film) about the Manson murders: "Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach. Wild!" And how could Dohrn have so ruthlessly pursued a decade-long crusade of hatred and terrorism against innocent American citizens and both private and public property?

"The Weather Underground" never searches for answers, but it does show Dohrn, then and now, as a poised, articulate woman of extremely high intelligence and surprising inwardness. The audio extra of her reading the collective's first public communiqué ("Revolutionary violence is the only way") is chilling. But the tumultuous footage of her 1980 surrender to federal authorities is a knockout. Mesmerized, I ran the clip six or seven times of her seated at a lawyer's table while reading her still defiant statement. The sober scene -- with Dohrn hyper-alert in a handsome turtleneck and tweedy jacket -- was tailor-made for Jane Fonda in her "Klute" period, androgynous shag. Only illegalities by federal investigators prevented Dohrn from being put away on ice for a long, long time.

Given that Obama had served on a Chicago board with Ayers and approved funding of a leftist educational project sponsored by Ayers, one might think that the unrepentant Ayers-Dohrn couple might be of some interest to the national media. But no, reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.

How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee -- what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry's nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama's pick and who was on everyone's short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin's. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.

The U.S. Senate as a career option? What a claustrophobic, nitpicking comedown for an energetic Alaskan -- nothing but droning committees and incestuous back-scratching. No, Sarah Palin should stick to her governorship and just hit the rubber-chicken circuit, as Richard Nixon did in his long haul back from political limbo following his California gubernatorial defeat in 1962. Step by step, the mainstream media will come around, wipe its own mud out of its eyes, and see Palin for the populist phenomenon that she is.


for full article see: http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2008/11/12/palin/print.html

Vatican Aide Cautions Obama on Ethics

Says Some Humans Shouldn't Be Used for Others

By Carmen Villa

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry is warning the president elect of the United States that it is unethical to give the green light to embryonic stem-cell research.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán said this today during a press conference to present the dicastery's upcoming international conference on child illness. He was responding to a question regarding an announcement Sunday from Barack Obama's team that the future president would reverse the policy of George Bush and give the go-ahead to embryonic stem cell research.

A basic principle of bioethics, the cardinal recalled, is that "what builds up man is good, what destroys him is bad."

Noting that human dignity is an end in itself, and not a means that can be manipulated, the Vatican official affirmed: "One person can never be used as a means for another."

It is not possible to kill one human being to save another, he insisted.

Moreover, Cardinal Lozano Barragán noted that there are many other ways to get stem cells, such as by extracting them from the umbilical cord or other organs.

"When we're dealing with transplants that endanger neither the donor nor the receiver, everything is welcome; there is no question to the contrary," he said.

Furthermore, the prelate noted, there is misinformation in the public sphere about stem cells. They were initially presented as a "panacea," he said, but stem cells taken from embryos have yet to give any of the promised results.

Professor Alberto Ugazio, coordinator of the department of pediatric medicine at the Bambino Gesù hospital of Rome, seconded the cardinal's affirmation.

With the use of embryonic stem cells "not even one study has given positive results," he said. Meanwhile, the doctor explained, lives have been saved with stem cells taken from other parts of the body.

One comment from me: George Bush allowed embryonic stem cell research, he just banned federal funds - taxpayer money - from being spent on it. Obama will likely sign an executive order to reverse Bush's order from 8 years ago. Which means that taxpayer money will now fund both abortions AND embryonic stem cell research. The shadow of the culture of death creeps ever forward...

11 novembre 2008

Uruguay Prelates: No Eucharist for Abortion Backers

Point to Canon Law

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, NOV. 10, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Uruguayan bishops are recalling that those who vote in favor of abortion exclude themselves from communion with the Church.

The prelates appealed to canon law in recalling the Catholic position on abortion during their Nov. 5-12 plenary assembly.

In a communiqué Friday, the bishops responded to a bill regarding "reproductive and sexual health" currently under consideration.

They cited a declaration from last year, titled, "In Defending Human Life, All of Us Win." There, the prelates affirmed, "Legalizing abortion doesn't change bad into good. Once it is made concrete, things go badly for everyone. A human life is lost. The mother ends up with wounds that do not easily heal. The doctor goes against the essence of his noble profession. Society loses a life because of not opening its arms to receive it. The culture of life is attacked."

The bishops go on to say that no "honest law can justify the elimination of a defenseless being who has the right to life and to be born."

Regarding Catholics who promote and/or vote for laws in favor of abortion, they recalled that such a person breaks the link that unites them to Christ and the Church. While he remains committed to this position, the bishops affirmed, he is impeded from approaching Eucharistic Communion, according to what is established in the Code of Canon Law, canons 1341 and 1398.

"Uruguayans need to multiply the signs of favor for human life in the midst of emigration and the demographic winter that compromises our future," the prelates concluded. "The well-being of our people requires sons and daughters to bring joy to homes, to fill the classrooms and playgrounds. We are in favor of the integral development of human life, which as Catholic bishops we see from the perspective of Jesus Christ, who came to the world to bring worthy and abundant life."

07 novembre 2008

McCain's Concession Speech

November 4, 2008

Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening.

My friends, we have -- we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.

In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer in my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day, though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.

Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.

It is natural tonight to feel some disappointment, but tomorrow we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again. We fought as hard as we could.

And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours.

I am so deeply grateful to all of you for the great honor of your support and for all you have done for me. I wish the outcome had been different, my friends. The road was a difficult one from the outset. But your support and friendship never wavered. I cannot adequately express how deeply indebted I am to you.

I am especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother and all my family and to the many old and dear friends who have stood by my side through the many ups and downs of this long campaign. I have always been a fortunate man, and never more so for the love and encouragement you have given me.

You know, campaigns are often harder on a candidate's family than on the candidate, and that's been true in this campaign. All I can offer in compensation is my love and gratitude, and the promise of more peaceful years ahead.

I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I have ever seen and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength. Her husband Todd and their five beautiful children with their tireless dedication to our cause, and the courage and grace they showed in the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign. We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country.

To all my campaign comrades, from Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, to every last volunteer who fought so hard and valiantly month after month in what at times seemed to be the most challenged campaign in modern times, thank you so much. A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.

I don't know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I'll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I'm sure I made my share of them. But I won't spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.

This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life. And my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Senator Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.

I would not be an American worthy of the name, should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone and I thank the people of Arizona for it.

Tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama, I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president.

And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties but to believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history, we make history.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.


What Happened to the Catholic Vote?

Interview With Fidelis President Brian Burch

By Karna Swanson

CHICAGO, Illinois, NOV. 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).- More than half of U.S. Catholics voted Tuesday for a presidential candidate at odds with the Church's stance on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, despite the urging of more than 50 heads of dioceses to support pro-life candidates.

Brian Burch, co-founder and president of the Catholic-based think-tank Fidelis, spoke with ZENIT about the results of the election, and why he thinks a majority of Catholics voted for Democratic candidate Barack Obama, an admitted supportor of abortion rights.

Burch also comments on the success of CatholicVote.com, a voter education effort launched by Fidelis to encourage Catholics to vote for candidates supporting life, faith and family.

The site included a short video, as well as resources to help voters research candidates, statements issued by individual bishops, and an invitation to prayer.

Q: An estimated 54% of Catholics voted for Barack Obama, despite the strong stand of over 50 heads of dioceses against candidates who support abortion. How did Obama successfully win the majority of the Catholic vote?

Burch: The notion of what constitutes the "Catholic vote" is widely debated. While Obama won the Catholic vote overall 54% - 45%, among Catholics who attend mass every week, McCain won 55% - 43%. Clearly the main reason Obama succeeded overall was the fact that Catholic voters echoed the concerns of the rest of the electorate in citing the economy as their top issue.

They concluded that Obama’s economic policies would benefit them more, and ignored the teaching authority of many bishops who explained that concerns about the economy do not justify a vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

Q: Did the strong stance of the episcopate have any noticeable affect on the election? What could the Church have done more of?

Burch: The results of the election seem to indicate that, for the most part, Catholic voters ignored the guidance of their bishops. The results simply do not show any dramatic shift away from the larger trends seen during the past several election cycles.

One area of concern was the document "Faithful Citizenship," which was used by many organizations to improperly justify support for pro-abortion candidates. The shortcomings of the document forced many bishops to issue their own pastoral letters, leaving many voters confused. Regrettably, I believe the net effect of "Faithful Citizenship" was more confusion than clarity.

We must also remember that the bishops can only do so much. The teaching of the Church is clear, and the laity must be equally dedicated to pastoral efforts in this area. The task of evangelization is most effective, where possible, person-to-person, in a spirit of charity.

You probably have heard the saying that all politics is local. In the same sense, the moral witness of individual Catholics, in their families and in their parishes, will likely do more good than any teaching document from our bishops.

Q: Was the selection of Senator Joe Biden, a Catholic, instrumental for Obama in garnering support from the faithful?

Burch: I don’t believe Senator Biden's Catholicism had any significant impact on Obama's success. His faith was mentioned early on after he was selected as a running mate, but the campaign quickly dropped the references after his misguided statements on Meet the Press in order to avoid a public debate with Catholic bishops and controversies over his support for abortion.

The impact of Biden on the ticket in all likelihood may be felt down the road, as the Catholic bishops must now wrestle with a vice president who publicly disagrees with his Church on several fundamental issues.

Q: The good news is that three state constitutional amendments defining marriage as only between a man and woman passed: in California, Arizona and Florida. Is this an encouraging sign for Catholics?

Burch: This is a very encouraging sign, and represents one issue at least that transcends party lines among voters. For example, some polls suggest that as many as 65% of African American voters support traditional marriage. Thus the large turnout for Obama may have helped these marriage protection efforts. The marriage issue is a uniting issue, and should be celebrated as such.

Q: You launched CatholicVote.com to urge Catholics to vote for candidates who are pro-life, pro-family and pro-faith. You said in a commentary on the site Tuesday that the initiative has been a success. In what ways?

Burch: CatholicVote.com recorded nearly 4 million visitors in just 8 weeks. The 3:30 minute film was the primary reason people flocked to the Web site. In our film, we tried to convey the teachings of the Church in way that not only was educational, but inspirational.

Many Catholic voters continue to ignore the teachings of the Church because of political party or family loyalties, or even distrust of the Church over the past several years. We wanted viewers of our film to not only understand the authentic teachings of the Church, but to rejoice in them! If we want to effectively reach Catholics, we must appeal to their intellects, but also their hearts.

Secondly, we tried to connect the "foundational" issues of life and marriage to the larger social justice issues. Too often Catholic voters who affirm life are accused of being "single-issue voters," when in fact it is the very defense of all human life that allows us to honestly address the issues of poverty, health care, and the economy.

The images of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and other graphics in our film were not phony political ploys, but instead attempts to connect the priority of the issues of life and marriage to the great number of concerns that require our attention in protecting the common good.

Q: What is CatholicVote's mission and role now that the election is over?

Burch: Like all those who were involved heavily in this election, right now we are focusing on getting more sleep and seeing our families again. We do however have some big plans for CatholicVote.com, and will be making them known in the weeks and months ahead.

The new political climate requires that Catholics be engaged like never before to demand that the dignity of all human life be respected. Our educational mission will continue to make sure that Catholics and all people of good will understand what the Church teaches, and why they must be engaged in public life. Stay tuned!

Q: What are the issues on which the Church and President-elect Obama will be able to work together?

Burch: One of the promises made by Senator Obama involved his pledge to assist women in crisis pregnancies. I am hopeful that he will follow through on this pledge without succumbing to the inevitable demand by pro-abortion groups for more taxpayer money.

Catholics also have a keen interest in a workable immigration solution that respects the dignity of the immigrant, and favors the reunification of families while also creating an environment in which the rule of law is upheld.

Finally, I am hopeful that the new administration will recognize the charitable contributions of Catholic organizations and faith based programs, while respecting their religious identity. During the campaign, Senator Obama expressed a willingness to work with religiously affiliated agencies, and many people expect there to be new funding for social service organizations of this type.

Because of the huge contribution by Catholics in the areas of education, health care, and concern for the needy, I expect a number of new programs will be created that could benefit those involved in this important work.

Again, I am hopeful that the religious identity of Catholic organizations, particularly the rights of conscience of those involved in these organizations, is respected and protected in any new programs undertaken.

--- --- ---

On the Net:

CatholicVote: www.catholicvote.com

Fidelis: www.fidelis.org

06 novembre 2008

Kindergartners given homosexual 'pledge cards'

from page 231 of the "Gay Agenda"

Pete Chagnon - OneNewsNow - 11/6/2008 6:00:00 AM

A pro-family advocate is outraged that a California public school teacher would pass out homosexual pledge cards to her kindergarten students.

The pledge cards were produced by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, and featured oaths that students would not use "anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender language or slurs," that students would intervene on behalf of homosexual students when possible, and that they would actively support safer schools efforts.

Tara Miller is a kindergarten teacher at Faith Ringgold School of Arts and Science in Hayward, California. She passed out the pledge cards to her students, which she then asked them to sign. Peter LaBarbera, the president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, is outraged at Miller's actions.

"First of all, why is homosexuality as an issue being raised at all in kindergarten? These are students who don't even know what sex is yet, and this teacher is talking to them about homosexuality," he contends. "This is an abuse of these students' minds, and it's just wrong."

According to a report on FoxNews.com, one parent was angry when she found her child's signature on the pledge card. LaBarbera believes this instance highlights the real agenda of the homosexual movement.

"This is just bizarre, and it shows how the teachers with their radical sexual agenda want to start early to reprogram these kids' minds. They want to undermine the faith teachings that the kids have at home; this is part of a plan," he suggests. "To me, this is like Hitler with Nazi Germany and the Soviets wanting to get to the youth and change the kids by getting to them at a very young age."

In the same report on FoxNews.com, a spokesperson for the school agreed that the pledge was inappropriate for the kindergarten students and said that the pledges were meant for middle school and high school students.

McCain's efforts in 2005 to regulate Fannie Mae

Senator John McCain on May 25, 2006, on behalf of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005:

"Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.
The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation."