Friday, February 29, 2008

Rockefeller Endorses Obama

CNN has just announced that they have learned that Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has endorsed Senator Barack Obama's candidacy.

Is Jay Rockefeller endorsing change?

This news should set the blogosphere abuzz. Stay Tuned.

Related articles:

Jay Rockefeller's Unintentionally Revealing Comments
by Glenn Greenwald for Checks The Facts on NAFTA & Healthcare

Emi Kolawole of separates the fiction from the facts offered during this week's Democratic Candidate Presidential Debate.

Related posts:

Was Twenty Too Many?

Companion Guide to the Democratic Presidential Candidate Debates -- Part II

For more on the US primary elections check:

Informed Voters

Ethiopia Silences Aid Workers

excerpt from:

Aid workers in Ethiopia's remote Ogaden region are currently facing an impossible dilemma. In order to carry on helping people in the east of the country, the government has warned them that they better keep quiet about allegations of army atrocities in the area.

International humanitarian staff have spoken anonymously to the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor about public executions, rapes, torture, arbitrary detentions and beatings of civilians by government forces in Ogaden, where most people are ethnic Somalis.
Aid workers also accuse separatist rebels in the Ogaden National Liberations Front (ONLF) of terrible crimes against civilians who refuse to help them.

Relief agencies were expelled from Ogaden during Ethiopian government crackdowns on the ONLF in late 2007. They are now gradually being allowed to return with food and medicines - but only if they stay silent about what they see.

"We have two options: either we come out with a nasty press release tomorrow on protection of human rights, and we will have to leave behind a substantial population still facing atrocities, or we just do our work," an aid worker said to the Monitor.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The "Thank You(s)" that We Meant to Say

"There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation
in this world than for bread" -- Mother Teresa

Over the years there have been dozens of people who have played an important role in my life and to whom I wish I could turn today and say thank you. Sadly, sometimes I did not realize just how important they were until they were long gone.
So in this post I'd like to publicly say a few "Thank You(s)" that I meant to say.

A Heartfelt Blessing from Kate Nowak

A Kind and Gentle Place

In the daily business of living, we are each thrown in with a wide cast of others, some of whom bless our lives immeasurably by tiny acts of kindness that impress and change and help us make a difference in the world. When we spend just a moment or two out of any given day expressing our appreciation to those who have gone out of their way to help us, we not only make them feel better, we change our own vibration, as well, raising it to reflect the goodness for which we are grateful. The first step in making the world a kinder and gentler place to be is to acknowledge the kindness and gentleness we've already been shown.

May you always be willing to show your appreciation.

And may you always be aware that you are loved beyond measure and a cherished blessing to me.

Until tomorrow,

May your day be filled
with all things good

Kate Nowak

Live More Abundantly Productions, P.O. Box 58, Strawn, Texas 76475, USA

The following video was made for a thanksgiving luncheon for the parents of the youth group, Joy Fellowship.

" Have you ever wanted to say "thank you", but didn't? Next time, say it.."

This post is dedicated to Aunt Nessy, Addie Brown, Bernice Kemp Bell, Jack Butler, Anna Cooper, Sharon Johnson White, David Johnson, Milna Johnson, Barbara Demps, BJ Walker, Ellen Dubin, Jill Gabbe, Debra Iannotti, Daniel Bloom, Ruth Samzoric [ I know I just butchered your name :-) ], Elaine DiBonis, Lucille Lonardo and, the terrific Professor and Unitarian minister who taught "History of the Bible 101" at Emerson College in the late '70s.

If there are a few people who you meant to thank, why not add their name to comments.


* updated 3/4/08

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Underreported Truth About the Beef Industry

excerpt from:

AlterNet: 143 Million Pounds of Beef Recalled -- Will the Industry Finally Change?

Maybe you're one of the more than 200,000 people who have seen this disturbing video revealing the animal cruelty caught on tape by a Humane Society investigation at a California slaughterhouse. (I, personally, couldn't stomach to watch it).

Whether you saw the video or not, you most certainly have heard the response: Prompted by public outcry, the company that processed meat from this slaughterhouse issued the largest beef recall in U.S. history even though -- oops -- much of the 143 million pounds recalled has already been eaten, including possibly by children in school lunches.

The animal cruelty was disturbing enough, what it revealed about possible threats to human health adds even more reason to be wary of the burger. The Humane Society investigation proved --they've got it on tape -- what many have been saying for years: that a loophole in federal legislation was being used to feed slaughtered "downer" cows into the food supply. Now, downer cows -- those too old or sick to walk or produce milk --are not supposed to find their way into our food. Why not? Because the symptoms of downer cows are the same as other diseases, including mad cow disease. And those slaughtered downers in the video were destined for a processing facility that provides meat not just for average Joe, but for other customers, like the National School Lunch Program. Sloppy Joe's just got that much less appealing.

Drug giants warned: Tell the truth on medicines

Don't hold your breath waiting for the pharmaceutical industry to develop a conscience now.  They only tell the truth when forced to do so. 
excerpt from:

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The pharmaceutical industry came under assault from senior figures in medical research yesterday over its practice of withholding information to protect profits, exposing patients to drugs which could be useless or harmful.

Experts criticised the stranglehold exerted by multinational companies over clinical trials, which has led to biased results, under-reporting of negative findings and selective publication driven by the market, which was worth £10.1bn in the UK in 2006, amounting to 11 per cent of total NHS costs.

The latest attack was triggered yesterday by an analysis of published and unpublished trials of modern antidepressants, including Prozac and Seroxat, showing they offer no clinically significant improvement over placebos (dummy pills) in most patients. But doctors said patients on the drugs should not stop taking them without consulting their GPs.

It was the first time researchers – from the UK, Canada and the US – had successfully used freedom of information legislation to obtain all the data presented to regulators when the companies applied to license their drugs.

Was Twenty Too Many?

Yes, I too watched last night's MSNBC Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate from Ohio but I was in no rush to write about it. There was very little to discuss. In fact, in you didn't watch the debate you didn't miss much. And if you did watch the debate you may be asking yourself the question -- are twenty debates just too many?

Of course, there were the standard general questions about Healthcare, NA
FTA, who's playing naughty and, Iraq. Tim Russert even tried to spice up the night, without success I am happy to say, by asking a question about controversial Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan's comments about Senator Barack Obama. That pretty much sums it up.

What was most notable about the event were the questions that weren't asked. There were no direct questions on the US budget deficit, the weak US dollar, home foreclosures, the credit crunch, skyrocketing oil costs, the aging power grid, food safety, impending water shortages, the privatization of US utilities and highways, illegal immigration, education, securing US borders, domestic spying, you know, all of the other issues that the next President will have to address.
Some of this issues received a casual reference but most received no mention at all.

Today, the mainstream political pundits will have fun discussing whether " Hillary did what she had to do" or "whether Barack faltered" but most Americans won't learn anything new about the candidates or their qualifications. Maybe that's the point. When debates are promoted as if they are prize fights haven't they become more infotainment than information.

After all, if you're really interested in the candidate's views you can always go to their websites, check their voting records or research the issues yourself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Demand That Manufacturers Take Back Your TV

This year, more than 50 million new TVs will be purchased. Flat screens, high-definition plasmas and LCDs -- Americans buy more than anyone else.

But have you ever wondered what happens when you throw away an old TV? You put it in the trash or out on the street and then what happens?

You won't believe the answer.

Chances are your old TV will end up on the other side of the world in Africa or Asia. Once there, workers strip out any useful metals and other components and then set the pile on fire to make room for more waste on the next barge. You can't imagine the scene as black smoke full of dangerous chemicals fills the sky and pollutes the water supply.

See for yourself by watching this shocking video

-- and then help demand change now:

TVs are often the center of American households -- but on the other side of the world, they're creating an environmental and health crisis that can't be ignored any longer.

Today, Just 12 percent of electronic waste in the U.S. is recycled. Other first-world countries, including all of the European Union, Japan, and Taiwan require manufacturers to collect and recycle their old products, but here, TV manufacturers are not held responsible at all. That needs to change.

Join the Take Back My TV campaign today by sending a letter to the executives of TV manufacturers telling them to take responsibility for their hazardous waste:

Each one of those millions of TVs headed for the garbage contains large quantities of dangerous chemicals. Older cathode ray tube TVs contain between four and eight pounds of lead apiece, and newer flat-panel TVs contain high levels of mercury. When TVs get dumped into landfills, these chemicals seep into the surrounding soil and water supplies. Just 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury can contaminate a 20-acre lake and make its fish unfit to eat.

The problem is only getting worse. Soon, an FCC-mandated transition to digital TV signals will make millions more TVs obsolete, and Americans will begin discarding them even more quickly.

TV manufacturers have a responsibility to help deal with this waste safely. They earn billions of dollars off these electronics, so they must play a major role in their disposal.

Sony has already committed to the first television take-back program in the United States. That's a major step in the right direction, but the rest of the TV manufacturers have resisted the producer responsibility movement in favor of programs that shift the burden to consumers.

Tell these TV makers to help safely dispose of their products:

Advances in technology have improved our lives in so many ways. But as we move forward, we must be aware of what we leave behind.

Thank you.

The Fragile Nature of the Internet

For  a few hours the Pakistan government blocked the world's access to YouTube.  Now if that doesn't make you pause you're not living in the 21st century. 
excerpt from:

If you happened to be searching for a video at Sunday afternoon, there's a good chance your browser told you it was unable to locate the entire Web site. Turns out, much of the world was blocked from getting to YouTube for part of the weekend due to a censorship order passed by the government of Pakistan, which was apparently upset that YouTube refused to remove digital images many consider blasphemous to Islam.

According to wire reports, Pakistan ordered all in-country Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to, complaining that the site contained controversial sketches of the Prophet Mohammed which were republished by Danish newspapers earlier this month. The people running the country's ISPs obliged, but evidently someone at Pakistan Telecom - the primary upstream provider for most of the ISPs in Pakistan - forgot to flip the switch that prevented those blocking instructions from propagating out to the rest of the Internet.

To understand how a decision by bureaucrats in Islamabad could prevent the rest of the world from accessing arguably one of the Web's most popular destinations, it may first help to accept the basic notion that when the Internet was designed decades ago, everyone on the network pretty much knew and trusted one another. While the close-knit family of individuals responsible for keeping the Internet humming along has since grown into a larger community, it is still a fairly small community based largely on trust and everyone playing nice with one another.

So, what happened? From everything I've read and heard, the YouTube situation appears to have been due to an innocent -- if inept -- mix-up, which allowed Pakistan's ISPs to effectively announce to the world that its Internet addresses were the authoritative home of, and for about an hour or so, most of the rest of the world's ISPs incorporated those updated directions as gospel.

(ISPs manage Internet traffic coming in and out of their networks using expensive hardware devices called routers. Most ISPs have a set of routers that manage the traffic within their network, and a separate set of routers designed to hand off traffic to and from the larger Internet.)

In a country where the government more or less can tell resident ISPs what to do, blocking citizens from visiting certain sites is simple: The ISPs simply tell their customers that if they're looking for a censored site, they either receive an empty page or are redirected to wherever the ISP or government deems as an appropriate substitute destination.

But, if those same ISPs allow their internal blocking instructions to propagate out to their externally-facing routers - the ones that communicate with the wider Internet - such actions can have far-reaching implications, as we saw with YouTube on Sunday

Monday, February 25, 2008

An Injustice In Afghanistan

Is this the brand of "justice" and "democracy" that US and allied servicemen and women are fighting and dying for -- a young man sentenced to death for downloading a report on women's rights from the internet?

excerpt from:
How he was sentenced to die
By Kim Sengupta in Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan
The Independent, Monday, 25 February 2008

'What they call my trial lasted just four minutes in a closed court. I was told that I was guilty and the decision was that I was going to die'

Clutching the bars at his prison, Sayed Pervez Kambaksh recalls how his life unravelled. "There was no question of me getting a lawyer to represent me in the case; in fact I was not even able to speak on my own defence."

The 23-year-old student, whose death sentence for downloading a report on women's rights from the internet has become an international cause célèbre, was speaking to The Independent at his jail in Mazar-i-Sharif – the first time the outside world has heard his own account of his shattering experience. In a voice soft, somewhat hesitant, he said: "The judges had made up their mind about the case without me. The way they talked to me, looked at me, was the way they look at a condemned man. I wanted to say 'this is wrong, please listen to me', but I was given no chance to explain."

For Mr Kambaksh the four-minute hearing has led to four months of incarceration, sharing a 10 by 12 metre cell with 34 others -- murderers, robbers and terrorists – and having the threat of execution constantly hanging over him. His fate appeared sealed when the Afghan senate passed a motion, proposed by Sibghatullkah Mojeddeid, a key ally of the President Hamid Karzai, confirming the death sentence, although this was later withdrawn after domestic and international protests.

I spoke to Mr Kambaksh at Balkh prison, under the watchful eyes of the warders in their olive green Russian-era uniforms. Here 360 prisoners are packed into a facility for 200, in conditions even the Afghan prison authorities acknowledge are "unacceptable". The inmates, who include 22 women, many convicted of deserting their husbands and adultery, sit around with the forlorn demeanour of those caught up in a vast bureaucratic system with little chance of an early exit.

Since The Independent exposed the case of Mr Kambaksh, eminent public figures such as the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. and Britain's Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, have lobbied Mr Karzai to reprieve him. A petition launched by this newspaper calling for justice for Mr Kambaksh has gathered nearly 90,000 signatures.

* * * * *

Click here to add your support to the petition

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Companion Guide to the Democratic Debate - Part II

More on the Opening Comments

In their opening comments during last Thursday's debate from the Univ. of Texas in Austin, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama touched on several topics many of which involve corporate corruption, greed, and/or poor government oversight. Among the issues raised by the candidates were:

  • Greedy Health Insurers and Heartless Providers;
  • Predatory Lenders, Subprime Loans and the Mortgage Crisis;
  • NAFTA;
  • and, Children's Healthcare.

So let's take a look at these topics.

Greedy Health Insurers and Heartless Healthcare Providers.

During her opening comments Senat
or Clinton mentioned that she want to fight against health insurers who discriminate against people because they're sick. She was not exaggerating.

Last November the LA Times exposed a health insurer that was tying employee bonuses to dropping sick policyholders. The Times reported:

" Woodland Hills-based Health Net Inc. avoided paying $35.5 million in medical expenses by rescinding about 1,600 policies between 2000 and 2006. During that period, it paid its senior analyst in charge of cancellations more than $20,000 in bonuses based in part on her meeting or exceeding annual targets for revoking policies, documents disclosed Thursday showed."
Earlier in the year the Times reported that similar shenanigans were occurring at Blue Cross.

" Blue Cross of California "routinely" violated state law when it canceled individual health insurance coverage after policyholders got pregnant or sick, making no attempt to determine whether they did anything to merit such "harsh" treatment, according to a state investigation of practices that appear to be industrywide.

State regulators plan similar investigations of other health plans in California, and the findings against Blue Cross ratchet up the risk of liability for other insurers, many of whom face lawsuits from consumers who claim they were illegally dumped and subjected to substantial hardships.

As a result of its unprecedented investigation, the Department of Managed Health Care on Thursday said that it had fined Blue Cross $1 million -- an amount immediately criticized by canceled policyholders and consumer advocates as too small to matter to an insurer whose parent company, WellPoint Inc., earned $3.1 billion in profit last year on revenue of $57 billion."

And today the New York Times reports:

In some cases, doctors say, patients who could make more informed health care decisions if they learned whether they had inherited an elevated risk of diseases like breast and
colon cancer refuse to do so because of the potentially dire economic consequences.

Of course not all insurers are trying to drop policyholders. Some are just denying individuals the type coverage that they need.

The following video is of an emotional town hall meeting in Manchester, N.H., John and Elizabeth Edwards were joined by the family of Nataline Sarkisyan, who passed away in December after her health insurance company ( CIgna ) refused to pay for the liver transplant that she needed.

Predatory Lenders

During his opening comments Senator Barack Obama referred to a San Antonio couple of whom he stated "as a consequence of entering into a predatory loan are on the brink of foreclosure and are actually having to cut back on their medical expenses, because their mortgage doubled in two weeks. "

Today many people immediately associate the term 'predatory lending" with the subprime mortgage scandal. However, predatory lending practices take many forms -- from "payday loans" to "high interest credit cards" to "subprime mortgages."

In her article "Predatory Lending: A Virus We Can Eliminate", Ellen Schloemer of the Center for Responsible Lending examine the predatory lending practice of "payday loans."

The CRL has determined that this form of p
redatory lending "costs American families more than $25 billion every year." It further states: "By 'renting' a bank's charter, payday lenders avoid usury limits in the states where they operate - thumbing their noses at the intentions of state lawmakers and continuing to take hard-earned dollars from people who don't have any dollars to spare."
As the CRL reported:

" After the Pentagon reported that widespread abuse of military borrowers by predatory lenders was hurting military families and undermining military readiness, Congress moved to cap annual interest rates for loans to military borrowers at 36%, the usury cap many states enforce on their smallest loans to prevent loan sharking.

Senators Jim Talent (R-MO) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, which passed Congress on September 30, 2006. In addition to the 36% cap on annual interest rates, the amendment prohibits use of a personal check or other method to access the borrower’s bank account, or the title to their vehicle as collateral for a small loan. The law will take effect October 2007, unless the Department of Defense works to make it effective sooner."


Also mentioned during Senator Obama's comments was NAFTA. This acronym for the North American Free Trade Agreement has become a dirty word for just about anyone whose job has been outsourced to an offshore firm, whose plant has been shut down and replaced by one in a third world nation, and anyone who can't find a blue collar job at a reasonable wage.

In all fairness, NAFTA seemed like a good idea to most people when it was conceptualized. However, it seems that everyone in Washington was asleep or in a corporate lobbyist's pocket when it started to work to the detriment of American workers and small businesses.

A great resource for information on NAFTA is the website of the organization "Public Citizen."

The Children's Health Insurance Program

And finally, Senator Clinton proclaimed that "350,000 children in Texas get health care every month because (she) helped to start the Children's Health Insurance Program."

According to
: "Clinton is ... on solid ground saying that she helped to create SCHIP. Much of the credit for SCHIP usually goes to Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who shepherded the legislation through a Republican-controlled Congress. But the Clinton campaign has said previously that she used her influence behind the scenes to push for SCHIP, and there is evidence to support that.

Soon after the legislation passed, the New York Times reported, 'Participants in the campaign for the health bill both on and off Capitol Hill said the first lady had played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in lining up White House support.' "

Related posts:

Insurance, Healthcare, Greed & the Corruption of th
e Capitalist Soul

Banks Will Pay Less to Borrow Money While Consume
rs Will Pay More

For Minorities, Signs of Trouble in Foreclosures
published February 2006

What Would Lincoln Say Now?
a commentary on the report of deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Veterans Hospital

A full transcript of the CNN/Univision Democratic Presidential Debate is available in the CNN Presidential Election Center

Friday, February 22, 2008

Are You Scared Yet?

Here they go again! What some members of the GOP won't do to protect their friends in the telecom industry.

Will you allow them to scare you into giving away your privacy?

Related posts:

FISA Fact vs. Fiction

Companion Guide to the Democratic Debate from Texas -- Part I

As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to take a slightly different approach to discussing Thursday night's CNN/Univision Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate.

Quite often during a debate the candidates will reference people, past accomplishments, policies and stories that may be unfamiliar to someone who is new to US politics and history. So I decided to take a look at a few of last night's comments and expand upon them. However once I started writing I realized that this is going to take a lot more than one post. So I hope that you will find this series of post informative, interesting or at least a little fun.

Part I -- Honoring Legends

During her opening comments Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton paid tribute to two of my personal heroes; the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan of Texas and former Texas Governor the late Ann Richards.

Senator Barack Obama also mentioned Barbara Jordan in his opening comments.

Both Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards were down to earth, straight shooting women and politicians who had a command of their facts and great oratory skills.

So for those of you who are too young to remember them, or who may not have been US residents during their eras, let me introduce you to two amazing figures in American history.

Barbara Jordan

Click here to listen to Congresswoman Barbara Jordan’s powerful Keynote Address to the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

Wikipedia notes: “Her speech at the 1976 Democratic National Convention is considered by many historians to have been the best convention keynote speech in modern history and was ranked 5th in "Top 100 American Speeches of the 20th century" list. She was the first African-American woman to deliver the keynote address.[1]

Here’s a brief excerpt from that speech:

“In other times -- In other times, I could stand here and give this kind of exposition on the beliefs of the Democratic Party and that would be enough. But today that is not enough. People want more. That is not sufficient reason for the majority of the people of this country to decide to vote Democratic. We have made mistakes. We realize that. We admit our mistakes. In our haste to do all things for all people, we did not foresee the full consequences of our actions. And when the people raised their voices, we didn't hear. But our deafness was only a temporary condition, and not an irreversible condition.

Even as I stand here and admit that we have made mistakes, I still believe that as the people of America sit in judgment on each party, they will recognize that our mistakes were mistakes of the heart. They'll recognize that.

And now -- now we must look to the future. Let us heed the voice of the people and recognize their common sense. If we do not, we not only blaspheme our political heritage, we ignore the common ties that bind all Americans. Many fear the future. Many are distrustful of their leaders, and believe that their voices are never heard. Many seek only to satisfy their private work -- wants; to satisfy their private interests. But this is the great danger America faces -- that we will cease to be one nation and become instead a collection of interest groups: city against suburb, region against region, individual against individual; each seeking to satisfy private wants. If that happens, who then will speak for America? Who then will speak for the common good?”

Ann Richards

In an article announcing the death of Ann Richards, the Washingpost wrote: “ “She was nobody's fool,’ then-New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen wrote the next day. ‘ She made them listen and she made them listen good, with precisely those qualities that we often try to iron out of politicians in general and female politicians in particular: a sense of fun, irreverence and general cussedness.’ “

Click here to listen to Ann Richards’ Keynote Address to the 1988 Democratic National Convention.

How did the Democrats lose that election? Listen and enjoy.

Here’s an excerpt from her speech:

“This Republican Administration treats us as if we were pieces of a puzzle that can’t fit together. They've tried to put us into compartments and separate us from each other. Their political theory is “divide and conquer.” They’ve suggested time and time again that what is of interest to one group of Americans is not of interest to any one else. We’ve been isolated. We’ve been lumped into that sad phraseology called “special interests.” They’ve told farmers that they were selfish, that they would drive up food prices if they asked the government to intervene on behalf of the family farm, and we watched farms go on the auction block while we bought food from foreign countries. Well, that’s wrong!

They told working mothers it’s all their fault -- their families are falling apart because they had to go to work to keep their kids in jeans and tennis shoes and college. And they’re wrong!! They told American labor they were trying to ruin free enterprise by asking for 60 days’ notice of plant closings, and that’s wrong. And they told the auto industry and the steel industry and the timber industry and the oil industry, companies being threatened by foreign products flooding this country, that you’re "protectionist" if you think the government should enforce our trade laws. And that is wrong. When they belittle us for demanding clean air and clean water for trying to save the oceans and the ozone layer, that’s wrong.

No wonder we feel isolated and confused. We want answers and their answer is that "something is wrong with you." Well nothing's wrong with you. Nothing’s wrong with you that you can’t fix in November!

We've been told -- We've been told that the interests of the South and the Southwest are not the same interests as the North and the Northeast. They pit one group against the other. They've divided this country and in our isolation we think government isn’t gonna help us, and we're alone in our feelings. We feel forgotten. Well, the fact is that we are not an isolated piece of their puzzle. We are one nation. We are the United States of America.”

Can you believe that these speeches weren’t made yesterday?

Thank You Madams Jordan and Richards. You served your state and your country well.

And, yes, I have been a political junkie for as long as I can remember.

Related posts:

Quick Post Debate Thoughts

A Voice From The Past

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Quick Post Debate Thoughts

Tonight's CNN/Univision Democratic Debate from Austin confirmed one thing.

If Senators Clinton and Obama can not find a way to create an Obama\Clinton or a Clinton\Obama ticket they will miss one of the greatest opportunities in history, not just American history but world history.

They both have a vision for America, they are both the face of change, they both have concrete plans and they both can reach across the Congressional aisle to get things done. So what's the difference?

Barack Obama can move and inspire the American people, and he doesn't bring a lot of political baggage. Hillary Clinton is the seasoned veteran of political wars, the passionate fighter (like the mother lion of America), the savvy politician and the master of facts. Combined they are what American will need to face it's monumental challenges.

At this point both candidate's strengths and shortcomings are obvious to anyone taking the time to read and listen. Nothing emerged from tonight's debate that could not have been discovered on the candidate's websites or from watching the previous debates. The candidates themselves admit that they are 95% in agreement on the key issues, and in the areas where they disagree, they should be able to reach common ground.

In her closing statement Hillary Clinton paraphrased John Edwards' phrase that when this campaign is over both she and Barack will be okay. That is true. But American will not just be okay, but could be better if Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can come together.

Since you'll be able to read and see a recap of the debate on several networks, newspapers and blogs I won't add to the repetition. Instead, I hope to offer a companion guide to all of the post debate analysis.

Talk to you later.

Stop Telecom Immunity -- There's Still Time

Dear Friends,

I just signed a petition to urge my elected officials to say no to telecom immunity!

The Senate passed a FISA reform bill last week that not only falls short on adequately protecting Americans from warrantless surveillance — it also shamefully grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that may have aided the Bush administration’s illegal domestic wiretapping.

Join the effort to stop telecom immunity by signing the emergency petition at the link below.

Thank you very much for your help.

Senator Chris Dodd's Floor Speech on FISA, Dec. 2007


From Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office (pdf):


Republicans Try to Stampede America Once Again

Republicans have resorted to fear mongering in an attempt to stampede America on a key national security issue – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Democrats are working hard to craft a bipartisan modernization of FISA that protects America, while protecting Americans’ fundamental rights.

Let’s set the record straight:

Fiction: “By not giving the professionals the tools they need, it’s going to be a lot harder to do the job we need to be able to defend America.”
- President George W. Bush, 2/15/08

Fact: All sides agree that the intelligence community should have the tools it needs to protect America. Indeed, right now, intelligence professionals have what they need to conduct surveillance of terrorists. Expansive authorizations to conduct surveillance of all known terrorist organizations and targets are already in place. All surveillance being conducted today can continue for at least another six months, and new targets can be added under existing authorizations. In the unlikely event that new warrants for new surveillance against previously unknown terrorist organizations are needed, they can be obtained quickly from the FISA court. In an emergency, surveillance can begin immediately and permission can be obtained from the FISA court later.

Fiction: “There is no longer a way to compel the private sector to help us.”
- Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, 2/14/08

Fact: First, telecommunications companies surely want to continue to help protect our nation. In addition, under current law, telecommunications companies can be compelled by the Administration to help with surveillance. Lastly, these companies have had, and continue to have, immunity from prosecution when legally providing information to the government.

Fiction: “When this Protect America Act expires, we are going to go back under the same set of rules and regulations that were in place before 9/11.”
- Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee, 2/15/08

Fact: Even with the expiration of the PAA – which Democrats offered to extend and Republicans refused – surveillance that began under its guidelines will continue for at least another six months. Democrats agree that FISA needs modernization, and we have invited Republicans to work with us in a constructive manner to quickly achieve that goal.

Fiction: “We can’t go up on new targets. Let’s say, for example, you’ve got a terrorist in Baghdad communicating with a terrorist in London. You can’t go up on a new target without going through the extensive warrant provisions at FISA that have made this law not work in the first place.”
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 2/17/08

Fact: In fact, in the slim chance that intelligence officials become aware of a currently unknown terrorist organization not already under surveillance, they can get an emergency approval to begin surveillance within minutes. There is no backlog of cases to slow down getting surveillance approvals from the FISA court, like there was last summer. In the case of an emergency, surveillance can begin immediately, and approval from the FISA court can be obtained later, within 72 hours.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Will Oprah Invite Bill O'Reilly Back To Explain This One

Never say never. I just know that I would have to watch.

Just one year ago, Bill O'Reilly was on the Oprah show trying to explain away his comment implying that child abuse and kidnap victim Shawn Hornbeck "
liked his life with his kidnapper".

Now O'Reilly has said something else just as egregious. As Media Matters reports:

In a discussion of recent comments made by Michelle Obama, Bill O'Reilly took a call from a listener who stated that, according to 'a friend who had knowledge of her," Obama " 'is a very angry,' her word was 'militant woman.' " O'Reilly later stated: "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down."

Now Mr. O'Reilly I don't think you're a racist or an idiot who opens his mouth before he speaks.
I suspect that you actually think about everything you say and just how it will be interpreted by your viewing and listening audience.

So who do you think is worst the racist, the race baiter, or the race baiter who does it for the money?

Despicable Journalism

By now many of you have heard about the New York Times article that leads with innuendos about Senator John McCain and a lobbyist Vicki Iseman.

I am not a supporter of Senator McCain and can certainly list a number of reasons why. However, quite frankly I find this article to be a despicable piece of "journalism" which epitomizes everything that many people have come to dislike about US politics.

If the New York Times has concrete evidence to challenge John McCain's ethics then they should write about that. But leading a political story with a titillating bit of gossip is unworthy of the Times and more in line with a Rupert Murdoch owned rag.

This article leaves me wondering whether this attack came from the far left or the far right both of whom would love to sink the McCain candidacy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chalk Another One Up for Obama and McCain

Obama and McCain win Wisconsin primaries - Yahoo! News

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 18 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama has won the Wisconsin primary, his ninth straight triumph over a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in their epic struggle for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Associated Press made its call Tuesday night based on surveys of voters as they left the polls.

Cultivating Your Garden

graphic courtesy of Bella from

I know that for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere it's still cold, and in some places, the ground is still covered with snow.

However, if you're a gardener you're beginning to imagine and plan for your Spring garden. In fact,you probably think about your garden all year long.
And to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere -- Enjoy your gardens.

A Harvest Story

At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories.

"What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.

"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"

Why Tell Stories?

The disciples came up and asked, "Why do you tell stories?"

He replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it.

I don't want Isaiah's forecast repeated all over again:
Your ears are open but you don't hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don't see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
so they won't have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
so they won't have to look,
so they won't have to deal with me face-to-face
and let me heal them.
"But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance.

The Meaning of the Harvest Story

"Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn't take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person's heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.

"The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

"The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.

"The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams."

Matthew 13:1-23 (The Message)

Be An Angel for A Beautiful Girl

I get dozens of these appeals everyday but this sweet little girl grabbed my heart. Please help her if you can.

Neglected Girl KW7000 has 10 days left to live!

Euthanasia date: 2008-02-28
Reason for euthanasia: Space
Breed: Labrador Retriever (mix breed)
Age: Adult
Gender: Female
Size: Medium

This poor girl has been severely neglected. She was rescued from a irresponsible owner who kept her starving in a pen 24/7. She is extremely underweight at only 31 lbs and needs a kind hearted person to help her regain her strength and weight. She would be forever grateful and loyal. She can still have a long healthy life as she is only 3 yrs old now.

Be her hero and adopt her today...She must have somewhere to go by Feb. 28th.

If you have any questions and/or can help this homeless pet, please contact:

King William Pound
1242 Sharon Road
King William, VA
Contact tel: 804 769-3200

Ask for Shelter dog ID: KW7000

Apparently Verizon Finally Heard The Congress

Verizon: Copyright infringement may be good for business |

by Preston Galla for ComputerWorld

Has Verizon decided that copyright infringement will help its bottom line? In a backhanded way, the company seems to be saying that sharing copyright-infringing video files on its network could, in fact, be good for its business. At least, that's what Tom Tauke, Verizon's executive vice president for public affairs, implies in an interview with the New York Times.

In the interview, Tauke tells the New York Times that it will refuse to act as copyright enforcers for Hollywood, and won't put any system into place for being Hollywood's cops.

AT&T has agreed to be Hollywood's enforcer, and one of its reasons, in the words of the New York Times, is that "illegal sharing of video is a burden on the network."

Tauke, however, disagrees, and sees it as a business opportunity. Here's what he said:

We see substantial increases in the volume of traffic. Generally we see that as a good thing. We have more customers paying for more services we provide.

This increase in traffic, Tauke told the Times, would mean that Verizon would have to invest more money in its network. And this, the Times notes, "may encourage the company to replace unlimited-use broadband plans with plans tied to bandwidth use, as Time Warner Cable is considering."

In other words, those who download big, copyright-infringing videos may be more likely to spend more for bandwidth.

Verizon has invested enormous amounts of money in its high-speed FiOS network. That high-capacity network gives it an advantage over broadband competitors, because it can offer much higher-speed downloads. It may be that because of that, Verizon has pinpointed copyright infringers as being ideal customers, and will try to lure them away from competitors.

It's not as far-fetched as you might think. In the Times interview, Tauke says that Verizon won't slow down files being exchanged by the BitTorrent protocol, something that Comcast is doing.

This means that Verizon won't police its network for copyright infringement, won't slow down BitTorrent protocols, and has the fastest download speeds of any competitor. Sounds like a business plan to me.

In the interview, by the way, Tauke gave other reasons for not checking for infringing files being downloaded on its network. Among other concerns, he says that if Verizon starts being Hollywood's enforcer, it will have to become a cop for many other reasons as well. Here's what he told the Times:

Once you start going down the path of looking at the information going down the network, there are many that want you to play the role of policeman. Stop illegal gambling offshore. Stop pornography. Stop a whole array of other kinds of activities that some may think inappropriate.

He also worries that if Verizon agrees to police copyright infringement, it could ultimately be held liable if it doesn't block all infringements:

When you look back at the history of copyright legislation, there has been an effort by Hollywood to pin the liability for copyright violations on the network that transmits the material. It is no secret they think we have deeper pockets than others and we are easy-to-find targets.

Finally, he says that Verizon won't block infringing files, because to do that would mean it would violate its customers' privacy. Given that Verizon cooperated with the National Security Agency's massive privacy-violating scheme, though, that rings a bit false.

Why Being A Democrat Can Be Heartbreaking

You like the Democratic candidate.

His/her campaign seems to be sailing along smoothly.

The incumbent Republican isn't well liked.

Momentum for the Democratic candidate is building.

This time the GOP has little or no strategy for waging a campaign

and then...

you wait for it .. wait for it ... wait for it...

and suddenly here it comes

--the OOPs moment.

The sound bite that the GOP machine was waiting for.

I'm still cringing and seeing images of Michael Dukakis in a tank and John Kerry windsailing.

Now I know what Michelle Obama meant. And you probably know what Michelle Obama meant. It's a sentiment that is shared by millions of people born post 1968.

But do the old folks back home know what Michelle Obama meant. You know, the old folks, who election after election turn out to vote in November. The folks that fly American flags, not just on Memorial Day, Flag Day and Independence Day but all year round. The folks who tied yellow ribbons around trees and have loved ones in the military.

Oh well maybe it will all just fade away.

Don't count on it. Faux News couldn't wait to jump on this.

Give the GOP an image or a soundbite and they'll run a campaign.

Game on.

Something You Should Already Know, But Just In Case You Don't ...

Please share this with every young person that you know.

an excerpt from:

Facebook can ruin your life. And so can MySpace, Bebo...

People will post just about anything on social networking sites. And the information can be used against them. David Randall and Victoria Richards report

An American insurance company, in defending its refusal to pay out a claim, is seeking to call in evidence personal online postings, including the contents of any MySpace or Facebook pages the litigants may have, to see if their eating disorders might have "emotional causes". And the case is far from a lone one. Suddenly, those saucy pictures and intimate confessions on social networking sites can be taken down and used in evidence against you in ways never dreamed of.

In the US, a sex assault victim seeking compensation faces the prospect of her MySpace and Facebook pages being produced in court. In Texas, a driver whose car was involved in a fatal accident found his MySpace postings ("I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a drunkaholic") part of the prosecution's case. From Los Angeles to Lowestoft, thousands of social network site users have lost their jobs – or failed to clinch new ones – because of their pages' contents. Police, colleges and schools are monitoring MySpace and Facebook pages for what they deem to be "inappropriate" content. Online security holes and users' naivety are combining to cause privacy breaches and identity thefts. And what all this, and more, adds up to is this: online social networking can seriously damage your life.

Just ask the 27 workers at the Automobile Club of Southern California fired for messages about colleagues on their MySpace sites; the Florida sheriff's deputy whose MySpace page revealed his heavy drinking and fascination with female breasts – and swiftly found himself handing in his badge; the Argos worker in Wokingham fired for saying on Facebook that working at the firm was "shit"; the Las Vegas teacher at a Catholic school fired after he declared himself gay on his MySpace page; the staff of an Ottawa grocery chain fired for their "negative comments" on Facebook; the 19 Northampton police officers investigated for Facebook comments; and Kevin Colvin, an intern at Anglo Irish Bank, who told his employers he had a family emergency, but whose Facebook page revealed he had, in reality, been cavorting in drag at a Hallowe'en party.

What these and other cases show is that employers and authorities are now monitoring what people imagined were private websites – and using the contents against them. Last September, David Rice, Britain's second-ranked tennis junior, and Naomi Brady, national U-18 champion, had their funding pulled and coaching suspended after the Lawn Tennis Association found pictures of them drinking beer, partying and, in Ms Brady's case, posing at a nightclub with her legs wrapped around a vending machine. And last summer, Oxford University proctors disciplined students after pictures of them dousing each other in shaving foam, flour and silly string in post-exam revelry were found on their Facebook pages.

At Cambridge, at least one don has admitted "discreetly" scanning applicants' pages – a practice now widespread in job recruitment. A survey released by Viadeo said that 62 per cent of British employers now check the Facebook, MySpace or Bebo pages of some applicants, and that a quarter had rejected candidates as a result. Reasons given by employers included concerns about "excess alcohol abuse", ethics and job "disrespect".

Viadeo's UK country manager, Peter Cunningham, said the results should act as a wake-up call to anyone who has ever posted personal information online. "Millions of people are leaving personal information online, much of which is cached and remains available via search engines even after the author has removed the web page," he said. "When people who are not the original intended audience – such as potential employers – find this information, it can have a major impact on their decision making process."

In America, the monitoring of social networking sites for content that may interest employers and officialdom is now so routine that software is being put on the market that will automate the process. Sure enough, software to try to defeat the snoops is also emerging – offering the prospect of a privacy "arms race" in the years ahead. ReputationDefender, for instance, offers the embarrassing personal information equivalent of credit reports, claiming it can help expunge from the online record material you regret revealing. Michael Fertik, the firm's CEO, said demand for their service is now "ridiculous", with hundreds of UK clients already.

How Voters Can Get Fairly Balanced Political Information

In the following video
clip, panelists Joe Tuman, Art Torres and Ron Nehring discuss ways in which voters can get informed about candidates, issues, and political parties in general. It's worth a watch with an open mind and a critical eye.

Complete video at:

Monday, February 18, 2008 under injunction

Wikileaks Press Release



Mon Feb 18 00:00:00 GMT 2008

The following release has not been proofed due to time constraints.

Transparency group Wikileaks forcibly censored at ex-parte Californian hearing -- ordered to print blank pages -- '' name forcibly deleted from Californian domain registrar -- the best justice Cayman Islands money launderers can buy?

When the transparency group Wikileaks was censored in China last year, no-one was too surprised. After all, the Chinese government also censors the Paris based Reporters Sans Frontiers and New York Based Human Rights Watch. And when Wikileaks published the secret censorship lists of Thailand's military Junta, no-one was too surprised when people in that country had to go to extra lengths to read the site. But on Friday the 15th, February 2008, in the home of the free and the land of the brave, and a constitution which states "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press", the press was shutdown:

                    BANK JULIUS BAER & CO. LTD, a Swiss entity;
and JULIUS BAER BANK AND TRUST CO. LTD, a Cayman Island entity,


WIKILEAKS, an entity of unknown form;
WIKILEAKS.ORG, an entity of unknown form;
DYNADOT, LLC, a California limited liability company;
and DOES 1 through 10, inclusive,


                             IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: 


       Dynadot shall immediately clear and remove all DNS hosting records for the
domain name and prevent the domain name from resolving to the website or any
other website or server other than a blank park page, until further order of this Court.

The Cayman Islands is located between Cuba and Honduras. In July 2000, the United States Department of the Treasure Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued an advisory states stating that there were "serious deficiencies in the counter-money laundering systems of the Cayman Islands", "Cayman Islands law makes it impossible for the supervisory and regulatory authority to obtain information held by financial institutions regarding their client's identity", "Failure of financial institutions in the Cayman Islands to report suspicious transactions is not subject to penalty" and that "These deficiencies, among others, have caused the Cayman Islands to be identified by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (The 'FATF') as non-cooperative in the fight against money laundering". As of 2006 the U.S. State Department listed the Cayman Islands in its money laundering "Countries of Primary Concern".

The Cayman's case is not the first time Wikileaks has tackled bad banks. In the second half of last year Wikileaks exposed over $4,500,000,000's worth of money laundering including by the former president of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi (see which became the Guardian's front page story in September 2007 and swung the Kenyan vote by 10% leading into the December 2007 election and reported in the Nairobi paper The Standard and now the subject of a High Court Case in Kenya).

Christianity, Politics & Abortion

 this post has been extremely difficult to write and even harder to publish.  In fact, after having completed, proof-read, previewed and seemingly saved the entire post, it totally disappeared from Blogger when I tried to publish it. That certainly makes you wonder.

I am not writing this article in an attempt to change your views on abortion. I am writing this with the hope that it will be food for thought if you are tempted to judge a person’s faith by their political views on this issue.

Abortion has been one of the most politically divisive issues in US politics over the past 30 years. Persons on all sides of the political issue have, more often than not, manipulated the truth to advance their cause. And some, on the far political right of the evangelical community, have tried to use a person’s views on abortion as a litmus test of faith. 

Prior to the 2004 US Presidential election, “ the Roman Catholic bishop of Colorado Springs issued a pastoral letter saying that American Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for politicians who defy church teaching by supporting abortion rights, same-sex marriage, euthanasia or stem-cell research. “

As the New York Times reported Bishop Michael J. Sheridan stated:

''Anyone who professes the Catholic faith with his lips while at the same time publicly supporting legislation or candidates that defy God's law makes a mockery of that faith and belies his identity as a Catholic,

The article further states: “In a telephone interview, the bishop said: ‘I’m not making a political statement. I'm making a statement about church teaching.’ “

Well, whatever the Bishop might have meant, his comments were perceived as a political statement. His actions, without a doubt, had a political impact that was not lost on Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk. And, for the record, I don’t agree with his “statement about church teaching”.

Where do I stand on the issue of abortion, both as a matter of faith and politically?

  I am a Christian, pro-life and opposed to overturning Roe V. Wade. A contradiction -- not in my mind or in my heart.

Science and the dictionary define life as:

The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.

According to Wikipedia:

An embryo (from Greek: ἔμβρυον, plural ἔμβρυα, lit. "that which grows," from en- "in" + bryein "to swell, be full") is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination.

And the Christian Bible says the following about conception:

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day. --- The Message (MSG) Psalm 139:12-14 (in Context) Psalm 139 (Whole Chapter)

Based on these definitions, I believe that at the instant of conception, the embryo is a life. Therefore, an abortion ends a life – a life which had immeasurable potential and inherent value.

So if I controlled the world and controlled people:
    •    all life would be valued,
    •    young men and women would be taught to value themselves,
    •    men and women would give more thought to the consequences of their actions,
    •    no woman would be raped,
    •    every child would be wanted from the moment of conception,
    •    there would be loving individuals willing to adopt every child who was not wanted by their     birth parents,
    •    every child born would be loved, cared for, appreciated and given every opportunity to achieve their destiny and,
    •    there would be no abortions.

I am pro life.

However, I do not control the world or its people. No human does. Christianity teaches that God gave man-kind “free will” or freedom of choice. So while I may not agree with another woman’s choices, I do not think that her life should be in jeopardy, if she chooses abortion as an option.
  The argument advanced by the religious right is that the unborn child is “innocent”. It is easy to view the child as “innocent” and the woman as “guilty” but is this what Christianity really teaches? 

Does Christianity teach that we should have more compassion for the unborn child than the mother?
I certainly do not condone the practice of using abortion as a method of birth control but do I believe that I can legislate behavior or conscience.  No I don’t.

So how do I believe Christianity views the woman who has had an abortion?

John 8:3-11
The Message (MSG)

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, "Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?" They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt.
They kept at him, badgering him.
He straightened up and said, "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone."
Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?"
"No one, Master."
"Neither do I," said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."

To me the only political argument left on the issue of abortion is whether it should be taxpayer funded, not whether it should be a legal option in every state.

 Churches should continue to teach the tenant of their faith. Parents should continue to instill their values in their children. And people of faith should stop letting people with political agendas manipulate them.