Live Chat Test Post: video chat code & facebook widget

Continue reading Live Chat Test Post: video chat code & facebook widget »

Was it a mistake to use interrogation techniques such as waterboarding?

Federal civil servants take an oath of office modeled on the president’s own, which begins, “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies.” At great personal cost since 9/11, our intelligence employees have been pursuing terrorists and preventing more homeland tragedies — and it’s shocking that they have now been undermined and demoralized by the president himself.

Our protector in chief has said it was a “mistake” to use coercive interrogation techniques on Al Qaeda masterminds – despite the fact that the resulting information saved us from another 9/11 on the West Coast. President Obama said we surely could have gotten the information another way. Really? Presumably, any techniques would need to be coercive or the terrorist would have answered the first time we asked. Yet our president has now banned their use.

Terrorists worldwide probably share the same disbelief as Americans at our …

Continue reading Was it a mistake to use interrogation techniques such as waterboarding? »

Was the federal court right to lower age restrictions on Plan B?

Picture if you will: a 17-year-old girl in a pharmacy, the morning after, not a little horrified by her current dilemma. Whatever transpired the night before—carelessness with a boyfriend, date rape, stranger rape—she now finds herself in a race against time to keep from getting pregnant. “Plan B, Plan B” she tells herself, scanning the shelves, remembering that this high-dose birth control can effectively block a pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse (although it’s most effective within 24 hours).

Nearly all major industrialized nations have approved Plan B without restrictions for many years, recognizing it’s efficacy in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Now, thanks to Tummino vs. Torti, a recent judgment from the federal district court, the day will soon be here when 17-year-olds won’t have to get a time-wasting prescription for this perfectly safe contraceptive, once erroneously tagged as an abortifacient. Gone are the years of …

Continue reading Was the federal court right to lower age restrictions on Plan B? »

Should the gay marriage movement become more tolerant of other viewpoints?

For years, the gay rights movement was about “live-and-let-live” tolerance. But the Miss USA flap showed just how much ill-will has built up among activists, and how much the need for tolerance has shifted.

Even though the majority of Americans simply want to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and themselves have no ill will in the process, gay marriage activists have been successful at redefining disagreement as hateful bigotry. Ironically, this has given those crying “tolerance” the permission to treat others with thinly veiled (or outright) derision and loathing.

This bizarre reality is only possible because of how the mainstream entertainment and news media present the issue. Editors and producers jump on traditionalists, yet don’t even notice slanted pro-gay reporting. For example, in an April 23 Associated Press report about gay marriage in Connecticut: “A decade-long battle for marriage equality in Connecticut ended when the General …

Continue reading Should the gay marriage movement become more tolerant of other viewpoints? »

Should ’sexting’ be decriminalized?

Good news! Our courts are going after child pornographers with a vengeance, using technology like cell phones and social networking sites to locate and trap these heinous criminals and throw the book at them. The only glitch in this admirable fight for justice? The “scum” appear to be our own kids.

Youthful hormones and high-tech communication have dovetailed as of late, and “sexting” is the result — racy pics teens send each other via cell phone. Think this dangerous and vile behavior is part of an edgy subculture? A recent survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned pregnancy claims that 20 percent of our teens are involved in “sexting” activities. “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity,” Einstein once said, making me wonder if he saw this one coming.

I’m shocked by how widespread this activity has become and grateful to live in a community filled with adults who are “on it” in a big way, …

Continue reading Should ’sexting’ be decriminalized? »

Does a family need a collective spiritual life?

It is Easter Sunday as I write this, and during today’s packed and joyful service, I found myself wishing that it wasn’t so easy to let regular life get in the way of the New Life that many are so conscious of – and conscientious about – during holidays.

Most people believe in God. Addiction recovery programs such as AA have found that they don’t work without relying on Someone greater than yourself. Numerous studies have found that every member of a family is more healthy, has more friendships, and a more positive outlook on life with more regular spiritual practice. And in a family, a collective spiritual life is very influential. For example, a study by Dr. Sung Joon Jang found that children whose parents were more religious in practice were less likely to use drugs later on.

If belief was just a collective delusion, studies would have found no difference from those whose parents said “just say no” a lot. But it makes perfect sense if there really is …

Continue reading Does a family need a collective spiritual life? »

Will U.S. standing in the world rise once we exit Iraq?

John Mayer’s tepid anti-war ballad “Waiting on the World to Change” always bugged me, a slacker’s lament that makes excuses for its own lack of passion. At least now the once-popular song is dated, and we’re no longer waiting to see if the world’s attitude will change towards us. It already has.

President Obama has clearly contributed to this changing world his first 100 days. He’s authorized a staged withdrawal from Iraq, incorporating advice from top military commanders. This policy, earning grudging approval from Sen. John McCain and some concern from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is bound to sit right with moderates everywhere. He’s communicated unequivocally and directly to the Arab world, starting with an inaugural address that proclaimed a need to “responsibly leave Iraq to its people.”

The Decider has given way to the Diplomat, and the world likes what it sees. Yet gaining global approval hardly requires turning tail; our buildup in Afghanistan …

Continue reading Will U.S. standing in the world rise once we exit Iraq? »

Should we do more to encourage women to keep Down syndrome babies?

When I was growing up, seeing people with Down syndrome was common, and as a Special Olympics volunteer I was touched by how much they loved life. But today, at least 90 percent of women expecting a Down syndrome baby get an abortion, according to journals such as the American Journal of Medical Genetics. As in-utero screening has advanced, terminating Down syndrome pregnancies has become almost expected.

But should it be? Or are we as families and a society losing something important if we become a nation of more and more perfect people, preventing those with even the most livable disabilities from being born? As we get further away from recognizing that everyone is precious no matter their handicaps, we become less compassionate and accommodating toward those who are imperfect. And that makes it harder and harder parents to visualize how they could possibly navigate life with a Down syndrome child.

Forty years ago, that was easy to visualize. And those parents …

Continue reading Should we do more to encourage women to keep Down syndrome babies? »

Was President Obama right to reverse Bush’s stem cell policy?

One could imagine scientists tossing lab coats up in the air as President Obama signed an executive order lifting restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. I believe that all of us will benefit from the gains that are bound to come from this essential position.

Those morally opposed to the use of discarded embryos want cures for diabetes, cancer and heart disease as much as the rest of us. So they’re putting all their hope in the power of adult stem cell lines, an experiment in wishful thinking. To be fair, adult stem cells are invaluable in providing blood-replacement treatment. Yet they just don’t provide all the answers — if they did, why would scientists seek out the use of embryonic stem cells? Do we think they have some nefarious, ulterior motive?

The bottom line is that embryonic stem cells have the potential to replace any kind of cell that has been damaged, a flexibility that adult stem cells simply can’t replicate. That’s why …

Continue reading Was President Obama right to reverse Bush’s stem cell policy? »

Are Obama’s policies responsible for the stock market slide?

Every now and then, the stock market exhibits irrational exuberance or pessimism. But these days, the market’s long-term trend is not irrational. For the first time since the Depression, events have aligned to create the very real possibility of something previously impossible: that the United States could fundamentally transition toward a more European welfare-state model.

“The market” is simply millions of decision-makers buying or selling based on future expectations. And they recognize a perfect storm when they see one. First, take vast economic upheaval and pain demanding attention. Second, add a popular new president with the “Old Keynesian” belief that solutions lie in major government spending and growth (where modern Keynsian models demonstrate limited impact of spending). Third, add the highly rare occurrence that both legislative bodies are of the same mindset with each other and the president, and the even rarer ability to veto most opposition to …

Continue reading Are Obama’s policies responsible for the stock market slide? »