The war for moral superiority

Townhall.com Diana West June 26, 2006

I can see it now — I think.

It’s on the right-hand page of a book by or about Winston Churchill, and it is a quotation by Churchill on the subject on war — specifically, what happens to a civilized society when it goes to war with a barbarous one. I can’t find it (yet), but what I remember as being the main point was that if — if — the civilized society is to prevail over the barbarous one, it will necessarily and tragically be degraded by the experience as a vital cost of victory. Partly, this is because civilized war tactics are apt to fail against barbarous war tactics, thus requiring civilized society to break the “rules” if it is to survive a true death struggle. It is also because the clash itself — the act of engaging with the barbarous society — forces civilization to confront, repel and also internalize previously unimagined depredations. This is degrading, too.

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A Noble Virtue Under Siege

Wall Street Opinion Journal Josiah Bunting III June 6, 2006

Do Americans still understand the meaning of honor?

In our culture of therapy, self-absorption and celebrity, “honor” has very little cachet. An abuse of honor–say, by perpetrating a public fraud or acting duplicitously in private life–is but the occasion for the administration of comforting words of understanding, the application of medicines to assuage lingering anxieties and the invitation to appear on “Oprah,” the better to explain the forces that, overwhelming meager resources of conscience and character, impelled a dishonorable act. Next may come an invitation to undertake the labor of a book, more fully to explore and expiate the fall from grace. Closure (as it is called) will then, at last, be obtained.

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Biopolitics: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Christianity Today Nigel M. de S. Cameron April 27, 2006

For years, some of us have been saying that the issues raised by advances in biotechnology will dominate the 21st century—not just because new technology is always fascinating, but also because they will become the key issues in our culture and our politics. Think of the culture war over abortion, and then think much, much bigger. We will move from taking human life to making and finally faking human life—by design.

. . . more

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Russian population in steep decline

BBC April 24, 2000

Russia’s population fell by more than half a million, or 0.3%, in the first eight months of the year, new statistics show.
Figures from the State Statistics Committee predict a further population decline of 11 million, to about 134 million, in the world’s largest country by 2015.

“It’s altogether a pretty terrible situation,” said Moscow-based journalist Oleg Glebov.

. . . more

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Judge rules against Christian group

San Francisco Chronicle Bob Egelko April 18, 2006

UC Hastings College of the Law is entitled to deny funding and official recognition to a Christian student group because it bars gays, lesbians and non-Christians as members, a federal judge ruled Monday. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White rejected the Christian Legal Society’s arguments that Hastings’ denial of student activity funds and its refusal to let the society use the school name and certain facilities at the San Francisco campus violated freedom of speech, religion and association. Hastings’ nondiscrimination policy, which the school cited in denying recognition to the religious group, “regulates conduct, not speech,” White said.

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California Bill Is ‘Sexual-Agenda Bomb,’ Group Says

Townhall.com Randy Hall April 7, 2006

Legislation approved Wednesday by the California Senate Judiciary Committee is “a sexual-agenda bomb dressed up as a child-caring Easter egg,” a conservative group charged.

SB 1437, which would amend the state’s education code by adding the words “gender” and “sexual orientation” to its anti-discrimination policy, would force school districts to “teach school children as young as kindergarten to accept and embrace transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality in all its forms,” according to Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF).

. . . more

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Overwhelmed by orphans

Read it at the Acton Blog

Where will they go?Churches and religious relief organizations are playing a much more active role in U.S. foreign policy. And that has been obvious in recent months in the recovery efforts for the South Asian tsunami and the Pakistan earthquakes.

In March, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life invited Andrew Natsios, who recently left the U.S. Agency for International Development as chief administrator, to talk about his five-year term there. This is a must-read for anyone who works in this field, or donates money to religious relief organizations. Some of Natsios’ most fascinating observations are about the way “Beltway Politics” influences aid policy in remote corners or the world, and the conflict within Islam about its relations to the West.

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Russian Orthodox Church Suspends Relations With Swedish Lutherans Over Gay Marriages

MosNews

The Moscow Patriarchate has suspended relations with the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Sweden after it decided to establish an official ceremony to bless homosexual couples, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday.

“We have received with great disappointment and grief the news that not only does the Lutheran Church of Sweden not oppose so-called homosexual marriages, but has even ruled to establish an official blessing ceremony,” the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement at a session in Moscow.
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Testing Drugs on India’s Poor

By Scott Carney

India has been the focus of medical research since the time when sunburned men with pith helmets and degrees from prestigious European medical schools came to catalog tropical illnesses.

The days of the Raj are long gone, but multinational corporations are riding high on the trend toward globalization by taking advantage of India’s educated work force and deep poverty to turn South Asia into the world’s largest clinical-testing petri dish.

The sudden influx of drug companies to India resembles the gold rush frontier, according to Sean Philpott, managing editor of The American Journal of Bioethics.

“Not only are research costs low, but there is a skilled work force to conduct the trials,” he said. In the rush to reap profits, Philpott cautions that drug companies may not be sensitive to how poverty can undermine the spirit of informed consent. “Individuals who participate in Indian clinical trials usually won’t be educated. Offering $100 may be undue enticement; they may not even realize that they are being coerced,” he said.

For decades, pharmaceutical research in India didn’t rely on clinical testing. Scientists mostly reverse-engineered drugs already developed in other countries. But in March, everything changed when India submitted to pressure from the World Trade Organization to stop the practice and implement rules that prohibit local companies from creating generic versions of patented drugs.

Now, pharmaceutical companies can rest assured they won’t lose profits to a domestic market, and India is suddenly a profitable location for performing the expensive tests required for Food and Drug Administration clearance of any drug. Though it is still too soon to tell how much the legislative change has boosted drug development, observers say the number of studies conducted by multinational drug companies has sharply increased since March.

Given the rising cost of drug research in the United States and Europe, more and more drug companies are conducting clinical trials in developing countries where government oversight is more lax and research can be done for a fraction of the cost. According to a 2004 study by Rabo India Finance, a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Rabo Bank, clinical trials account for more than 40 percent of drug-development costs. The study also found that performing the studies in India can bring the price down by about 60 percent.

By 2010, total spending on outsourcing clinical trials to India could top $2 billion, according to Ashish Singh, vice president of Bain & Co., a consulting firm that reports on the health-care industry.

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“It’s only a choice”; the great lie

I had a chance to hear her speak a couple years ago. I’m not easily moved by a speaker, but she is a compelling speaker. Her story is incredible and it’s hard to imagine anyone after hearing her speak continue to believe that abortion is only a choice over a “mass of tissue”.

Gianna Jessen was aborted at 7½ months. She survived. Astonishingly, she has forgiven her mother for trying to kill her.
By Elizabeth Day

Gianna Jessen grew up believing that she was born with cerebral palsy because she had been delivered prematurely in a particularly traumatic birth.

That was the story told to her by her adoptive mother and it was not until she was 12 years old that she discovered the truth about what made her different from the other children at school.

“I had an innate wondering,” Miss Jessen says. “I wasn’t satisfied for some reason, so I kept asking why I had this disability.

“She tried to break it to me gently and then, just as she was about to tell me, I said ‘I was aborted, right?’ She said ‘Yeah, you were.’ And my reaction was ‘Well, at least I have cerebral palsy for an interesting reason.’ ”

That was 16 years ago. Miss Jessen is now a pretty, fresh-faced 28-year-old with wavy shoulder-length red hair. She speaks with eloquence and composure, in a soft southern American accent, her forehead crinkling slightly as she talks.

But while her outward appearance might have changed, her inner determination to overcome even the most insurmountable challenges has remained absolutely constant.

From the very beginning, Miss Jessen survived in spite of herself. Her mother, Tina, a 17-year-old single woman, decided to have an abortion by saline injection when she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant (there is no legal time limit for abortion in America).

But in the early morning of April 6, 1977, the abortion failed. Against the odds, the baby had lived. A nurse called the emergency services and the child was taken to hospital. She weighed only 2lb and the abortionist had to sign her birth certificate.

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The Untold Story of Rescue Operations In Katrina’s Aftermath

This is the outline of a story in the last issue of “National Review.” Unfortunately I cannot find the story online. All the media missed it. Read it the next time you are at B&N.

In a remarkable article in a recent issue of National Review, Lou Dolinar, a retired Newsday reporter, provides an account of rescue operations in Katrina’s aftermath. He indicates more than 50,000 people were saved by boat or helicopter during Katrina Week. He states that the lower-than-expected number of casualties was due to the effectiveness of these rescue operations.

He cited a Washington Post poll that indicated 40 percent of survivors who had relocated to Houston– which extrapolates to about 40,000-50,000 people– had been rescued.
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A Swamp of Corruption

Wall Street Opinion Journal John Fund Monday, September 26, 2005

In Katrina’s wake, Louisiana’s political culture needs a cleanup too.

Perhaps no footage from Hurricane Katrina was replayed more often than the “Meet the Press” clip of Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, La., telling Tim Russert that bureaucrats had “committed murder” in the storm’s aftermath. He sobbed as he told about a colleague’s mother drowning in her nursing home after begging her son on the phone for four days to save her from the rising waters. Talk show host Don Imus said he had never seen such gripping testimony on TV in his life.

But MSNBC.com later found the story didn’t hold up. Eva Rodrigue, the 92-year-old mother of Thomas Rodrique, the parish’s emergency services director, did drown–but not because federal or state officials failed to rescue her. Mr. Rodrique said his mother died the day of the hurricane because the nursing home’s owners ignored commands to evacuate. The owners are now under indictment for negligent homicide. Mr. Rodrique says his mother never spoke with him, and he can’t explain why his boss, Mr. Broussard, got it so wrong.
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Why Modern Liberalism Is in Retreat

Virginia Viewpoint Tibor R. Machan, Ph.D.

Liberalism was once a radical social philosophy because it championed liberty, in particular, the right to individual freedom in civil and economic affairs. In time, however, the term “liberal” was hijacked by those who were actually advocating a return to extensive government interference, championing this now as necessary so as “to make people free.” In fact, however, what they proposed was the paternalistic state whereby adult human beings would once again be treated as if they were children, dependents, in constant need of being regimented by superior leaders so they could live successfully.

The radical liberalism that meant freeing adult individuals from government became classical liberalism and, later, libertarianism, at least in the United States of America. (Throughout the rest of the world “liberal” still calls to mind the original radical meaning.) Yet the debate isn’t only about words.
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