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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Washington Supreme Court Gets It Right

Today, the Washington Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is, if fact, constitutional.

The ruling follows a similar July 6 ruling by the New York Court of Appeals upholding the constitutionality of New York's marriage law. I commented at the time that the New York ruling was a victory not only for the protection of marriage, but also for the legislative process. The same can be said of today's Washington decision.

Writing for the majority, Justice Barbara Madsen said,

"Personal views must not interfere with the judge's responsibility to decide cases as a judge and not as a legislator... While same-sex marriage may be the law at a future time, it will be because the people declare it to be, not because five members of this court have dictated."
In a concurring opinion, Justice James Johnson wrote,

"At its core, the claims (by gay-marriage backers) involve not only the purported right to a `marriage' with a person of the same sex, but also a claim of raw judicial power to redefine public institutions such as marriage.

"The lower courts, and the dissenters, cannot create a fundamental right to same-sex `marriage' without assuming in the courts the power to redefine marriage and presumably any other right of our citizens under the United States and Washington Constitutions. This court does not possess that power - no court does."
Both of these judges seem to understand what far too many activist judges seem to have forgotten: that their job is to interpret the law, not to write law.

Mike Hewitt, writing as a guest columnist in The Seattle Times, said it very well.

Our Legislature passed a law several years ago that clearly defines marriage this way, and it would have been a travesty if the court had ignored the will of the people and those elected to serve them in Olympia…

We have to remember that this case is as much about the separation of powers and upholding the constitution as it is about marriage. When you take the intense emotions out of this issue, what remains is the fact that it is the Legislature's duty and right to define marriage, not the court's. While the judicial branch has a history of legislating from the bench, I am very pleased that in this case, they recognized the clear and concise separation of powers and upheld the Legislature's intent.
While we certainly have a long way to go, it's encouraging each time we see a court get it right.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Lies and Truth about Stem Cell Research

If you ask most people what they know about stem cell research, they are likely to say something about the great promise stem cell research shows in treating all sorts of terrible diseases. They're likely to mention Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's as two diseases for which a cure is just around the corner. Finally, they're likely to state that President Bush will not allow stem cell research to continue, thereby dashing the hope of those suffering from these terrible diseases.

The factual inaccuracy of such a response is astounding. However, this is the kind of misinformation that we are being constantly fed.

So what is the truth?

First, the kind of stem cell research that is being touted as the key to various medical miracles is embryonic stem cell research, the kind of stem cell research that requires the killing of human embryos in order to extract the stem cells. There is another kind of stem cell research that we hear very little about: adult stem cell research. Adult stem cell research does not require the killing of human embryos because adult stem cell are extracted from umbilical cord blood, from the human placenta, and from various human tissues such as bone marrow, lung, brain, fat, and skin, to name a few.

Second, there is no ban on stem cell research, not even on embryonic stem cell research. The only limitation on embryonic stem cell research is on taxpayer funding of the research. Private and corporate interests are allowed to fund as much research as they desire.

Third, embryonic stem cell research is far from producing any positive results. Not one human being or one disease has ever been treated with embryonic stem cells. In fact, there is not even one human clinical trial under way for embryonic stem cell treatment, and there is a major roadblock to any human clinical trials being conducted in the foreseeable future; that roadblock is the fact that embryonic stem cells have proven to cause cancerous tumors in laboratory animals.

Fourth, in contrast to embryonic stem cell research, adult stem cell research has proven to be very promising. There are 1181 human clinical trials for adult stem cells, compared to zero for embryonic stem cells. Furthermore, adult stem cells have already been used to effectively treat patients with a number of various diseases.

In one study, 48 severely ill lupus patients, who weren't expected to improve, were treated with their own stem cells. At an average follow-up period of 29 months, 42 of the patients were still living, and of those 42 patients, 33 were in remission.

In another case, Blayke and Garrett LaRue, two brothers with X-linked lymphoproliferative disease , a deadly immune-system disorder, were both cured after receiving a transplant of stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

A 61-year-old Japanese heart attack patient , who was thought to need a heart transplant as his only chance of survival, was instead treated with stem cells from his own bone marrow. The patient recovered without the heart transplant.

Dr. Dennis Turner, who had suffered for fourteen years from Parkinson’s disease, testified before a U.S. Senate committee that, after being treated with stem cells taken from a small tissue sample from his own brain, his "trembling grew less and less, until to all appearances it was gone, only slightly reappearing if I became upset." Turner went on to say, "I have no doubt that because of this treatment I’ve enjoyed five years of quality life that I feared had passed me by."

The Washington Times reported on five other Parkinson's disease patients who were treated with adult stem cells. "Symptoms improved in all five after three months. One year later, they had experienced a 61 percent improvement in their ability to perform daily activities…"

The same Times article also reported that of 250 diabetics who were treated with cells from the pancreases of deceased human donors, "more than 80 percent were able to stop their insulin shots for more than a year…"

These are just a few examples of successful treatments of humans using adult stem cells, compared to not even one human clinical trail for embryonic stem cells.

So why is it that we hear so much about embryonic stem cell research, while adult stem cell research is largely ignored?

1. If government refuses to fund embryonic stem cell research on the grounds that it destroys a human embryo, then government has acknowledged that the human embryo has value as human life. That acknowledgment is threatening to the abortion industry, which refuses to acknowledge that human fetuses have value as human life, even up to the point of birth.

2. The mainstream media, which is by and large clearly the voice of the left, is eager to advance the position of the abortion industry concerning embryonic stem cell research.

3. Many politicians receive enormous amounts of financial support from abortion industry organizations. In order to continue receiving these contributions, these politicians must continue to call for government funding of embryonic stem cell research and must continue to downplay the promise of adult stem cell research.

The abortion industry game plan, which is to misinform the public concerning the facts on stem cell research, has worked well. Many people have never even heard of adult stem cell research, or if they have heard of it, they wrongly believe that the real hope for miracle cures lies with embryonic stem cells. It is the job of those who truly value life to educate people with the truth.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Right Thinking Flashback

On July 12th, Hezbollah launched a barrage of rockets and mortars into northern Israel, then penetrated Israeli territory and attacked two Israeli Humvees, killing three soldiers, wounding three, and capturing two.

That event ignited the current battle between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

When you understand that Hezbollah, funded and armed by Iran and Syria, is dedicated to the elimination of Israel, and in turn to the elimination of the United States, it's worth revisiting a little-published news story from March of this year. Here is the story as it was posted on Right Thinking at the time.

Friday, March 31, 2006
Operatives Associated with Hezbollah Succeed in Crossing U.S. - Mexican Border

Want a reason to close the U.S. – Mexican border? How about FBI director Robert Mueller's statement this week to a House Appropriations subcommittee. According to Mueller, a group of operatives from a Hezbollah-organized group had succeeded, with the help of Hezbollah, in crossing the boarder from Mexico into the United States.

"This was an occasion in which Hezbollah operatives were assisting others with some association with Hezbollah in coming to the United States.”

Fortunately, according to Mueller, the FBI was successful in thwarting whatever intentions these operatives had (I don't think they were coming here with the intention of filling low-paying jobs that Americans won't do.)

Considering the fact that Hezbollah is a terrorist group believed to be responsible for the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in April 1983, the suicide truck bombing of U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983, the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985, various other bombings, and numerous kidnappings, the fact that they had succeeded in smuggling operatives with whom they were working into the United States should be particularly disturbing to all Americans. Yet this information has barely made a ripple of news. To my knowledge, this has not been on any major network news. Even on the internet, the only place I can find anything about this is on .

Has anyone seen anything about this anywhere else? I suspect the mainstream media would not want to say anything about this because it would just be more ammunition for those who want to secure the border, but why isn't there more about this online – or have I just missed it?

The Israeli-Hezbollah battle is only one battle in a global war. The world had better wake up and support Israel because while Israel is fighting for its own survival, it's also fighting for the survival all free people.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ditch Mitch? Vote Democrat? I Don't Think So!

First, a little background for those who do not live here in Indiana. Indiana's governor, republican Mitch Daniels, was sworn into office in January 2005. President Bush had earlier referred to Daniels as "my man Mitch," and during Daniels' gubernatorial campaign, "My Man Mitch" became a popular campaign slogan.

However, during Daniels' first year and a half in office, I have noticed on some bumper stickers two anti-Daniels slogans that have caught my interest. One says "Not My Man"; the other reads "Ditch Mitch." I even saw one of these on the window of the local Democrat headquarters.

In addition to these anti-Daniels slogans, I have recently noticed some local democrats, including one who is running for state office, wearing a sticker that reads "Had enough? Vote Democrat."

I find these anti-Mitch Daniels and anti-Republican slogans interesting in light of recent state economic news.

Daniels' predecessor as governor was democrat Joe Kernan, who took office in September 2003 when democrat Frank O'Bannon died in office. O'Bannon began his first term as governor in January 1997.

Under the democratic leadership of O'Bannon and Kernan, Indiana ended fiscal year 2004, with a structural deficit of $824.2 million. Additionally, the state owed $717 million to K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and local governments.

Now, just 1 ½ years into the Daniels administration, with the help of a republican controlled state legislature and without any tax increase, Indiana has ended fiscal year 2006 with a $371 million structural surplus, the first annual surplus since 1998. Daniels has already ordered the state to fully repay the $160 million owed to K-12 schools.

It should be noted that the surplus does not include any proceeds from Governor Daniels "Major Moves" program, a $3.8 billion lease of the Indiana Toll Road which will fully fund over 200 highway construction projects during the next ten years. In addition to fully funding these construction projects with money paid up front, the program, which passed the Republican-controlled state legislature in spite of fierce opposition from Democratic leadership, has already earned the state over $6 million in interest from July 5th through July 16th and is continuing to earn over $500,000 per day.

"Ditch Mitch"…"Had Enough? Vote Democrat" What are they asking? Had enough of what? Enough prosperity? Go ahead. If you like $800 million deficits, under funded schools, and unfunded road projects, then go ahead. Ditch Mitch and vote Democrat.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Social Security

I recently received an e-mail from a cousin explaining some facts on social security. It's worth everyone reading and passing on to others, so here it is.

Our Social Security

Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program. He promised:

1. That participation in the Program would be completely voluntary,

2. That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the Program,

3. That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,

4. That the money the participants put into the independent "Trust Fund" rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and,

5. That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month -- and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to "put away" -- you may be interested in the following:


Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent "Trust Fund" and put it into the General fund so that Congress could spend it?

A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically controlled House and Senate.


Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

A: The Democratic Party.


Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?

A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the "tie-breaking" deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the US.


Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?

A: That's right! Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

----- -----------------------------------------------------------------

Then, after doing all this lying and thieving and violating of the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!

And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe changes will evolve. Maybe not, some Democrats are awfully sure of what isn't so.

If you feel this information is worth passing on, feel free to copy it and send it in an e-mail to as many people as possible, or simply direct as many people as possible to this web page.

Bruce, thanks for the e-mail.

Friday, July 07, 2006

New York Ruling is the Proper One

On Thursday the New York Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of New York marriage law, which limits marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

While this ruling is a victory for the protection of marriage, it is an even bigger victory for the legislative process.

"We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives," Judge Robert Smith wrote.

Gov. George Pataki commented that he was "pleased that the court has reaffirmed that the Legislature is the appropriate branch of government to initiate and make any changes to existing law governing marriage."

Far too often, we see judges who essentially create law from the bench. This ruling is a refreshing return of legislative power to where it belongs: the legislature.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Response from Bill Lafferty

On July 1, I posted an e-mail that I had received from concerning Jaime Pickering, the Oregon firefighter who claims that he was demoted because he refused to be forced to learn Spanish. In that post, I asked everyone to whom it is important that the United States maintain its national identity to e-mail or call Oregon Forestry Department's Fire Program Director Bill Lafferty to protest this action against Mr. Pickering.

I did e-mail Mr. Lafferty and, to my surprise, received a response. In fairness to Mr. Lafferty and the Oregon Forestry Department, I am posting Mr. Lafferty's response. I'll leave it to you to decide whom you believe.

Here is the e-mail I received from Mr. Lafferty:


I am writing in response to your recent email regarding the Oregon Department of Forestry’s language requirements for the leaders of private contract fire crews. Recent television coverage has caused confusion and concern, prompting numerous calls and emails to our office. Here is some information that I hope will explain the situation and address concerns that you may have.

An inaccurate report in the news media was circulated widely during the week of June 19, causing widespread concern. Jaimie Pickering appeared in several regional and national TV interviews in which he misrepresented our language policy. In addition, he misrepresented his own credentials. Let me briefly go through the falsehoods and clarify our actual policies.

Mr. Pickering’s claim: Jaimie Pickering represented himself as a fire crew boss of a private contract fire crew. He claimed that because he does not speak Spanish, he was demoted.

Dept. of Forestry response: Mr. Pickering has never been a fire crew boss. He lacks the training and experience to hold this position. We are not aware of anybody that has ever been fired or demoted from any contract crew because they could not speak Spanish. English is the language of firefighting in the U.S.

Mr. Pickering’s claim: He implied in statements to news media that he was an employee of the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Dept. of Forestry response: Mr. Pickering has never been an employee of the department.

Mr. Pickering’s claim: He claimed that he was dismissed as a firefighter trainer because of his “whistle blowing” against the Department of Forestry regarding our language requirements.

Dept. of Forestry response: Mr. Pickering began making this public claim in late June 2006. In mid-April of this year, he asked the Department of Forestry to review his fire training credentials, because he said he wanted to work as a fire crew boss. At his request, we reviewed Pickering’s records and discovered several deficiencies to meet the national certification standard for a crew boss. Our review revealed that he did not possess the requisite training and experience to be a fire crew boss. He was informed in April of the courses needed and the on-the-job experience necessary to become a crew boss.

During the review of his credentials we found that he had been providing training for hire to other contract firefighters beyond the level his accepted credentials (Basis Firefighter) would allow. There were also a number of deficiencies with the training he provided and irregularities in the documentation that he was providing. These deficiencies revealed a significant pattern of actions by Mr Pickering’s training business that did not comply with the standards of the profession. As a result of the months-long investigation, the Pacific Northwest Wildfire Coordinating Group terminated Mr. Pickering’s agreement to train contract firefighters on June 27.

Language requirements for private contract fire crews: English is the language of firefighting in the U.S. It is the standard throughout the country and we adhere to it. Each year, the Oregon Department of Forestry administers a contract to procure fire crews from private companies to fight wildfires. In recent years, a number of private contractors bidding on the contract have been U.S. citizens of Hispanic decent and many of them train their leaders from within their company. If a private fire crew company chooses to hire non-English-speaking firefighters, we then require that they provide crew leaders that, in addition to reading and speaking English, also speak the language of those non-English crewmembers. This requirement is for the safety of the firefighters and effectiveness of the firefighting effort. These leaders must be able to understand the briefings and orders they receive as well as be able to communicate in English effectively on two-way radios. Migrant farm workers with bilingual crew leaders have been a part of the nations firefighting workforce since the early 1960s. It is nothing new.

Oregon Department of Forestry is working with the Clackamas Community College to develop an improved language verification process for fire crew leaders. We want to ensure that these leaders possess the English reading and speaking skills they need to perform safely and effectively on the fireline. To date, of the 80 potential crew leaders tested in the pilot program, 17 were found to have a need for improved English skills before we could accept them as a crew leader. When the verification process becomes mandatory in 2007, crew leaders who cannot meet the English proficiency standard will have an opportunity to take English language classes at the Community College at their own expense.

A note about immigration status: Contractors bear the primary responsibility for ensuring that their employees have legal work status. We believe that most contract crew members have such status. However, knowing there are illegal immigrants in many labor pools throughout this country, we are working increasingly with federal immigration authorities and other partners to monitor the immigration status of contract crew members. We have contract language that will hold private contactors accountable if found to use illegal immigrants.

I hope the above information addresses your concerns about Oregon’s private contract fire crews.


Bill Lafferty, director
Protection from Fire Program

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

We hold these truths to be self-evident...

Today, as we celebrate another anniversary of the formal adoption of America's Declaration of Independence, I recall these words from that revered document:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…
As I recall these words, I am reminded that 230 after they were written, we still deny Life to over 1 million babies every year.

My prayer is that we can one day bring ourselves to elect a government that will once again secure this most basic unalienable Right for the most innocent among us.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

This is Ridiculous; Please Help

I just received this e-mail from and am copying it in its entirety. If it's important to you that the United States maintain its national identity, please help by taking one or more of the simple actions listed below and by e-mailing this message to as many people as possible, putting it on your blogs, and spreading the word in any other way you can.

ALERT: Back in 2002, PBS did a report on the growing use of ILLEGAL aliens to fight fires. Private contractors, hired by western states to train "hand crews" of fire fighters, began hiring migrant workers from Mexico and Central America, many of them illegal aliens who speak almost no English, who are in the U.S. with fake ID cards purchased on the black market.

In 2003, concerned that having large numbers of people on fire crews with limited English skills may compromise safety if instructions are not understood, the Oregon Department of Forestry decided to take action. Did they decide to require new hires to be able to speak English, the language of this country? Did they decide to enforce the laws already on the books, against hiring illegal aliens?

Nope. According to a new report from KATU-TV, they enacted a new law that requires firefighter crew bosses to be BILINGUAL... or lose their jobs.

You read that right. Instead of requiring new firefighter recruits to speak English -- or even be here LEGALLY -- they decided to require crew bosses to speak SPANISH, or be demoted or fired.

And now it's actually happening.

Jaime Pickering, a Crew Boss overseeing 20 firefighters, was demoted in rank to Squad Boss because he refused to be forced to learn Spanish -- and then was busted all the way down in rank when he went public with his story. Others are actually losing their jobs over this.

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. At a time when Americans are demanding that the federal government secure the border against the illegal alien invasion, English-speaking heroes like Jaime Pickering are being demoted, and even fired, for refusing to bow to politically-correct pressures from pro-illegal alien forces inside the government.

TAKE ACTION: Pickering was willing to step forward and tell the world what these government officials are doing -- and now he's paying the price. Isn't it time the government officials "paid a price" of their own?

We've set up our site so you can send a FREE message, directly to the Oregon Forestry Department's Fire Program Director, protesting the demotion and firing of firefighters, just because they speak English instead of Spanish. Click below NOW to send a message demanding that the Department *reverse* its new enforcement policy on requiring Spanish-speaking fire fighting contractors:

NOTE: You can also call the Fire Program Director, Bill Lafferty, at 503-945-7435 to voice your opinion. For more information on this issue see:

"Oregon Fire Officials Demoted for 'Not' Speaking Spanish!" (FoxNews Channel)

"Bilingual Fire Boss Rule Stirs Controversy" (KATU-TV News)

"Fire Policy" (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer)

Be sure to send this Alert to everyone you know who wants to protest the demotion and firing of non-Spanish-speaking firefighters. Thank you!


William Greene, President

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