Welcome to the Reading Room

Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kagan’s Abortion Distortion

How the Supreme Court nominee manipulated the statement of a medical organization to protect partial-birth abortion.

By Shannen W. Coffin

When President Obama promised in his inaugural address to “restore science to its rightful place,” he never explained what that rightful place would be. Documents recently released in connection with the Supreme Court nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan suggest an answer: wherever it can best be used to skew political debate and judicial outcomes.

The documents involved date from the Clinton White House. They show Miss Kagan’s willingness to manipulate medical science to fit the Democratic party’s political agenda on the hot-button issue of abortion. As such, they reflect poorly on both the author and the president who nominated her to the Supreme Court.

There is no better example of this distortion of science than the language the United States Supreme Court cited in striking down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion in 2000. This language purported to come from a “select panel” of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a supposedly nonpartisan physicians’ group. ACOG declared that the partial-birth-abortion procedure “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.” The Court relied on the ACOG statement as a key example of medical opinion supporting the abortion method.

Years later, when President Bush signed a federal partial-birth-abortion ban (something President Clinton had vetoed), the ACOG official policy statement was front and center in the attack on the legislation. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf, one of the three federal judges that issued orders enjoining the federal ban (later overturned by the Supreme Court), devoted more than 15 pages of his lengthy opinion to ACOG’s policy statement and the integrity of the process that led to it.

Like the Supreme Court majority in the prior dispute over the Nebraska ban, Judge Kopf asserted that the ACOG policy statement was entitled to judicial deference because it was the result of an inscrutable collaborative process among expert medical professionals. “Before and during the task force meeting,” he concluded, “neither ACOG nor the task force members conversed with other individuals or organizations, including congressmen and doctors who provided congressional testimony, concerning the topics addressed” in the ACOG statement.

In other words, what medical science has pronounced, let no court dare question. The problem is that the critical language of the ACOG statement was not drafted by scientists and doctors. Rather, it was inserted into ACOG’s policy statement at the suggestion of then–Clinton White House policy adviser Elena Kagan... Read the whole article.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Unengaged President

Obama’s lack of interest in the world is evident in his handling of the oil spill and the Afghan War.

By Mark Steyn

What do General McChrystal and British Petroleum have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re both Democratic-party supporters.

Or they were. Stanley McChrystal is a liberal who voted for Obama and banned Fox News from his HQ TV. Which may at least partly explain how he became the first U.S. general to be lost in combat while giving an interview to Rolling Stone: They’ll be studying that one in war colleges around the world for decades. The executives of BP were unable to vote for Obama, being, as we now know, the most sinister duplicitous bunch of shifty Brits to pitch up offshore since the War of 1812. But, in their “Beyond Petroleum” marketing and beyond, they signed on to every modish nostrum of the eco-Left. Their recently retired chairman, Lord Browne, was one of the most prominent promoters of cap-and-trade. BP was the Democrats’ favorite oil company. They were to Obama what Total Fina Elf was to Saddam.

But what do McChrystal’s and BP’s defenestration tell us about the president of the United States? Barack Obama is a thin-skinned man and, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, White House aides indicated that what angered the president most about the Rolling Stone piece was “a McChrystal aide saying that McChrystal had thought that Obama was not engaged when they first met last year.” If finding Obama “not engaged” is now a firing offense, who among us is safe?

Only the other day, Sen. George Lemieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, over-manned, and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something on the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States: Weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “super-skimmers”: Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Senator Lemieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” reported the senator.

He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” wrote Richard Cohen in the Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. . . . The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.

“This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”

Gee, if only your newspaper had thought to ask those fascinating questions oh, say, a month before the Iowa caucuses... Read the whole article.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Latest Thievery: Best Friends

Removing best friends from childhood is a barbarous and inhumane act.

by Jonah Goldberg

There’s a great moment in the 1993 movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. Ben Kingsley plays a coach for a seven-year-old chess prodigy named Josh. Kingsley wants the boy to stop playing chess in the park and devote himself completely to Kingsley’s tutelage. Josh’s mother doesn’t like the idea, because she’s a jealous guardian of her son’s childhood. “Not playing in the park would kill him. He loves it.”

Kingsley complains that her decision “just makes my job harder.”

“Then your job’s harder,” she responds.

As the father of a seven-year-old myself, I think of that scene all the time — most recently, when I read a profoundly depressing story in the New York Times about how “some educators and other professionals who work with children” don’t think kids should have best friends.

“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at a St. Louis day school. “We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”

“Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend,” she continued. “We say he doesn’t need a best friend.”

As a result of this thinking, best friends are broken up. Buddies are put on separate teams, assigned to different classes, etc. It’s not quite the sort of thing cult leaders and North Korean prison guards do, but in principle it’s not too far off either... Read the whole article.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Barack Obama's Square Box

By Daniel Oliver

When John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane crashed into Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, in July 1999 some observers said he had gotten himself into a "square box," meaning that he had run into the limits of his experience and his imagination.

Barack Obama is in a square box, and observers are now beginning to talk about his inevitable crash.

There was some question about JFK Jr.'s flying experience. There's no dispute about Barack Obama's executive experience: he has none. In fact, he is the least qualified person ever to be elected president.

Prior to being elected, he had done almost nothing. Certainly nothing requiring, or teaching, executive ability.

He served in some capacity as a "community organizer," which Sarah Palin might say is like running a Sunday-school picnic, but without the kids.

He worked as a civil-rights attorney, whatever that means. And he taught at a law school, which may be why he always sounds as if he's lecturing to twenty-somethings.

He served in the Illinois legislature for a few yeas, but spent most of his time voting "present." Then he served in the U.S. Senate, but for only two years.

Would the directors of any mid-sized company have asked him to be its CEO? He wouldn't even have qualified for -- in Ross Perot's memorable phrase -- middle management.

He is a man without significant executive experience in life.

He also seems to have little imagination. His supporters say he is tremendously brilliant. Maybe. But how do we know? Obama has never released his college or law-school grades, and, given the educational institutions he attended (Columbia College and Harvard Law School), we are entitled to assume he may have been an affirmative-action admittee. As he was to the White House.

Besides, the relationship between brains and imagination is not clear. Harvard brains are obviously not a necessary condition for a fertile imagination. President Reagan went to Eureka College. But he had the imagination -- the vision -- to reduce taxes and win the Cold War. He inspired America and was the most successful president of the 20th century. (Roosevelt only won a war. Reagan won a war and saved the economy.)

Certainly nothing Barack Obama has done since becoming president shows much imagination. He is a complete knee-jerk liberal. Not a single action he has taken makes you say, "Wow, that was clever."

His economic policy is straight from the FDR-progressive mold. And although, like Roosevelt's, it has failed miserably (skyrocketing deficits, persistent unemployment), he lacks the imagination to try something else. Even his speeches are turning into liabilities. Exhibit A (or are we up to Exhibit Q now?): his Oval Office speech on BP, which his friends panned... Read the whole article.

Monday, June 14, 2010

N. C. Congressman assaults a student...



Last week, Democrat Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC2) attended a fundraiser headlined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He was asked by some students on the street whether he supported the “Obama Agenda.” He didn’t take it well.  Read the article here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The well-trained President

Bo, the White House dog, has the President trained to sit up and beg...


AtonementOnline

About Me

My photo
Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.