Friday, April 24, 2009

Potluck Politics is now... Political Potluck

Minor change, but change it is! We're in the process of setting up our brand new political website, and we wanted a blog with a similar name. We rather liked "Potluck Politics" but it seems someone else figured we'd like it someday and bought the name and parked it for sale. Didn't ask, but I'd imagine it doesn't come cheap.

Our NEW blog is (don't forget the "blog" at the end of the name as someone else grabbed political potluck last year... they're not using it, but it exists and we'd hate for you to think it was ours).

It's getting harder and harder to find good names for political blogs and sites given the heightened interest in politics these days. There are a lot of creative people in this world!

Hope you'll favorite our new blog and, when the new site goes up, check in to see what we're sharing!

Sebelius Places Interests of Late-Term Abortionists Ahead of Unborn Children

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement after Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a pro-life bill that increases reporting requirements for doctors who perform late-term abortions and allows lawsuits against them if a patient later comes to believe such a procedure was illegal.

"Governor Sebelius has placed the interests of late-term abortionists ahead of the lives of viable unborn children. It's that simple. It's clear that Governor Sebelius is unburdened by any concern for the well-being of women and their pre-born children.

"Her ties to the late-term abortion industry appear to be even stronger than her desire to be the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. If you want a preview of President Obama's health care plan, take a look at Governor Sebelius's record.

"Each U.S. senator must decide whether they will give support to a nominee who gives so little concern to the killing of near-term babies. We call on the U.S. Senate to reject her nomination, stand up for integrity, and call on President Obama to offer a nominee without such ethical baggage."

To watch Tony Perkins address the Sebelius nomination in Wichita, Kansas, click here

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Middle East Opinion on Obama's First 100 Days

/PRNewswire/ -- A recent survey by the market research company Real Opinions in the Middle East on the first 100 days since US President Obama was inaugurated shows that although the image of the US and leadership on the global stage has improved, performance on issues closer to home in the Middle East are dividing opinion.

There is success for Obama with overall opinion of the US from a Middle Eastern perspective improving by 42%. This is backed up with 35% believing the leadership of US on the global stage has also improved while 43% believe there is no change and just 9% believe it is actually worse. There are also encouraging signs on the subject of the economy with more than twice as many than his predecessor believing they are more confident with the global economy recovering under his leadership (37% improved, 15% worse).

However, in terms of key issues such as Middle East stability, the opinion is more closely divided with 20% believing it has improved and 14% believing it has become worse.

Dan Healy, the CEO of Real Opinions who conducted the survey commented 'Breaking some of these results down to the areas directly impacted by recent events such as those in the Palestinian Autonomous Area (PAA), 19% believed Middle East stability has worsened, 17% believe it has improved while just over half believe it has not changed (54%). When it came to the issue of the Palestinian & Israeli situation, 30% in PAA thought this was worse under Obama's leadership, which is twice as many as those who thought it had improved on 14%. For half of these respondents, they don't believe there is any change between Presidents Bush and Obama.

Healy added, "The overall acceptance of the image of U.S. has greatly improved but in terms of some key issues in the Middle East there is very little change. I think it's safe to say that under Bush's leadership and policies the goodwill and the favourable disposition towards the U.S. in the Middle East eroded away and now it's a new chapter, like a love affair, rekindled, very much awakened and I think it's a window of opportunity to leverage this favouritism in terms of policies to tackle some of these issues."

Research on the eve of the US presidential election showed the Middle East very much in favour of Obama over his then rival McCain in terms of being perceived as the best person capable of handling these key regional issues. Healy added "With the election of Obama, many have raised expectations in the Middle East of a change being made to policies and this appears to be transferring into dissatisfaction for some with the perception of little change being made by the time of this study."

On the eve of these results being released was the announcement by US officials that leaders of Egypt, Israel and Palestinians have been invited for talks in Washington in a new push for Middle East peace.

Healy commented 'Overall, these results suggest there is certainly a dramatic and favourable image change for the US in the Middle East with Obama as leader over the last 100 days. In terms of policy on some key Middle Eastern issues, there is certainly room for an improvement and this might be about to change with this invitation for talks.'

Research Methodology

The survey was conducted in both Arabic and English online from 10th to 20th April with n=2,789 respondents in the Middle East. Respondents were from the Real Opinion online panel and the results have approximately a 2%+/- margin of error with a CI of 95%.

About Real Opinions

Real Opinions is a full-service market research company, specialising in online media, with global and Middle East research expertise and best practice. Based in Dubai and London, Real Opinions has proven ability to help strategically guide communication, insight and assess the effectiveness of campaigns.

Real Opinions is an accredited member of ESOMAR, an international organisation for market research. For more information about us and this study, please visit

Q. The US President Barack Obama will soon have been in office for 100
days and this is often a time to assess a political leader's progress.
Please rate how you believe the following has changed under his

Leadership of US on global stage

Total UAE Bahrain Algeria Egypt Iraq Jordan Kuwait

Base: All 2789 334 51 191 487 32 251 54
Minimum % % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 35 52 35 23 35 47 25 39
Worse 9 8 12 8 6 6 10 9
No change 43 30 45 51 45 44 51 41
Don't know 13 10 8 18 14 3 14 11

Lebanon Libya Morocco Oman PAA Qatar Saudi

Base: All 37 44 288 27 116 32 538
Minimum % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 59 32 31 33 32 38 36
Worse 3 2 11 15 11 13 10
No change 32 59 47 37 44 47 39
Don't know 5 7 11 15 13 3 15

Sudan Syria Tunisia Yemen Iran

Base: All 72 151 39 38 7
Minimum % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 40 25 33 39 29
Worse 10 7 5 21 0
No change 40 54 46 29 43
Don't know 10 14 15 11 29

Palestinian & Israeli situation

Total UAE Bahrain Algeria Egypt Iraq Jordan Kuwait

Base: All 2789 334 51 191 487 32 251 54
Minimum % % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 12 13 8 10 10 16 12 17
Worse 21 15 20 23 22 13 25 13
No change 58 60 67 56 60 63 55 61
Don't know 9 12 6 11 8 9 9 9

Lebanon Libya Morocco Oman PAA Qatar Saudi

Base: All 37 44 288 27 116 32 538
Minimum % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 16 9 14 7 14 13 11
Worse 11 18 24 33 30 22 22
No change 62 68 55 56 51 59 58
Don't know 11 5 8 4 5 6 9

Sudan Syria Tunisia Yemen Iran

Base: All 72 151 39 38 7
Minimum % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 8 11 15 18 0
Worse 15 19 21 26 0
No change 71 62 54 45 86
Don't know 6 7 10 11 14

Iran nuclear issue

Total UAE Bahrain Algeria Egypt Iraq Jordan Kuwait

Base: All 2789 334 51 191 487 32 251 54
Minimum % % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 28 28 35 30 25 34 25 28
Worse 13 11 14 10 12 25 13 9
No change 43 46 41 36 45 34 48 46
Don't know 17 15 10 24 17 6 14 17

Lebanon Libya Morocco Oman PAA Qatar Saudi

Base: All 37 44 288 27 116 32 538
Minimum % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 46 20 30 44 28 31 23
Worse 11 11 13 11 20 19 14
No change 32 50 41 41 35 38 46
Don't know 11 18 17 4 17 13 17

Sudan Syria Tunisia Yemen Iran

Base: All 72 151 39 38 7
Minimum % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 36 28 38 39 71
Worse 7 14 5 5 0
No change 42 42 38 29 14
Don't know 15 16 18 26 14

Middle East stability

Total UAE Bahrain Algeria Egypt Iraq Jordan Kuwait

Base: All 2789 334 51 191 487 32 251 54
Minimum % % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 20 20 31 13 15 22 17 26
Worse 14 11 6 13 17 9 16 9
No change 56 58 55 59 59 69 58 59
Don't know 10 11 8 15 10 0 9 6

Lebanon Libya Morocco Oman PAA Qatar Saudi

Base: All 37 44 288 27 116 32 538
Minimum % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 38 14 22 26 17 25 21
Worse 8 14 15 26 19 28 14
No change 46 66 53 33 54 38 53
Don't know 8 7 10 15 9 9 12

Sudan Syria Tunisia Yemen Iran

Base: All 72 151 39 38 7
Minimum % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 22 29 10 29 14
Worse 14 11 23 18 14
No change 58 52 51 45 57
Don't know 6 8 15 8 14

Confidence with global economy recovering

Total UAE Bahrain Algeria Egypt Iraq Jordan Kuwait

Base: All 2789 334 51 191 487 32 251 54
Minimum % % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 37 46 37 28 38 41 35 37
Worse 15 10 8 15 14 16 18 19
No change 33 31 37 30 35 34 32 28
Don't know 16 13 18 27 13 9 15 17

Lebanon Libya Morocco Oman PAA Qatar Saudi

Base: All 37 44 288 27 116 32 538
Minimum % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 41 27 35 37 41 50 37
Worse 5 14 19 30 10 16 15
No change 35 41 31 19 30 25 32
Don't know 19 18 15 15 18 9 16

Sudan Syria Tunisia Yemen Iran

Base: All 72 151 39 38 7
Minimum % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 40 26 33 50 14
Worse 14 15 21 21 14
No change 33 43 36 16 43
Don't know 13 16 10 13 29

Overall opinion of US

Total UAE Bahrain Algeria Egypt Iraq Jordan Kuwait

Base: All 2789 334 51 191 487 32 251 54
Minimum % % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 42 53 49 37 42 53 39 44
Worse 10 9 6 7 9 6 10 6
No change 30 25 35 30 31 31 34 39
Don't know 19 14 10 26 18 9 18 11

Lebanon Libya Morocco Oman PAA Qatar Saudi

Base: All 37 44 288 27 116 32 538
Minimum % % % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 51 30 37 33 44 44 41
Worse 3 7 13 33 12 16 10
No change 24 32 31 15 23 19 30
Don't know 22 32 19 19 21 22 19

Sudan Syria Tunisia Yemen Iran

Base: All 72 151 39 38 7
Minimum % % % % %
Base: 20
(**), Small
Base: 50

Improved 40 40 46 50 57
Worse 6 9 18 8 0
No change 32 32 18 21 29
Don't know 22 18 18 21 14

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pro-Life Spokeswoman Objects to FDA Approval of 'Morning-After Pill' for Minors Without Prescription

/PRNewswire / -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced late on April 22 that it has expanded over-the-counter access to the morning-after pill, Levonorgestrel or "Plan B," for 17-year-old minors as well as to adults. Deirdre McQuade, Assistant Director for Policy and Communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, objected to the move in the following statement:

"The FDA's court-driven decision to make Plan B available without a prescription to 17-year-old minors - as well as to adults - flies in the face of common sense. Levonorgestrel is a powerful drug, taken in two doses over a 12-hour period. It is 40 times more potent than comparable progestin-only birth control pills (Ovrette) for which a prescription is required.

"Wider access to Plan B could endanger the lives of newly-conceived children, and will put minors at risk for unnecessary side effects, undermine parental rights, and contribute to higher STD rates.

"Pregnancy is not a disease and fertility is not a pathological condition, so Plan B has no authentic therapeutic purpose, and can actually cause harm to women and their newly-conceived children.

"The FDA describes Plan B as 'a contraceptive drug.' Although Plan B can prevent fertilization, the manufacturer admits it may also prevent an embryo from implanting in the womb, which is essential to his or her continued survival. Since it takes several days for the growing embryo to reach the uterine lining and implant in the mother's womb, the child in his or her second week of life could die as a direct result of Plan B. This is properly understood as an early abortion.

"Without the benefit of a doctor's supervision, many teens will be unaware of this possible abortifacient action and the other risks posed by Levonorgestrel, particularly the risks from repeated use.

"Much to the surprise of the morning-after pill's early advocates, five years of research in Europe and the U.S. shows that increased access to emergency contraception has failed to reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. But it has led to greater sexual risk-taking among adolescent populations, in turn leading to higher rates of sexually-transmitted disease. In the unlikely event a teenager will bother to read the Plan B package insert all the way to the end, she will find sound advice: 'Of course, not having sex is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and stay free of STDs'."

All Violent Crimes Are 'Hate Crimes,' Protect Equal Justice Under the Law

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement after approval by the House Judiciary Committee of a proposed federal "hate crimes" bill, H.R. 1913.

This measure would allow the federal government, for the first time ever, to prosecute any violent crime anywhere in the country that "is motivated by prejudice" against a number of protected characteristics, including "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."

Following is Perkins' statement:

"Congress should protect all Americans equally and not provide special protections to a few politically favored groups. A vote in favor of so-called 'hate crimes' legislation today is a direct violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. Congress needs to remember that preserving the meaning of equal justice under the law is more important than catering to the whims of political fashion.

"All violent crimes are hate crimes, and every victim is equally important. All of our citizens deserve equal justice under the law. Do we somehow care less about victims violently assaulted because of robberies or personal disputes than we do about those assaulted because they belong in a federally designated category?

"Additionally, this poorly-worded legislation shows contempt for the moral and religious views of millions of Americans by including 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' as protected categories at a time when a large plurality of our fellow citizens rejects the implied meaning of those labels. The bill sends a message that disapproval of homosexual behavior alone - even if expressed peacefully and lovingly - constitutes a form of 'hate' that is equivalent to racial bigotry.

"This is an insult to many compassionate individuals who sincerely object to such conduct, not only based on religious and moral boundaries that are thousands of years old, but also based on well-founded concerns about the serious health risks of such conduct.

"This also sets us on a slippery slope toward serious infringements of the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. By ratifying the 'thought crimes' mentality, this bill paves the way for future expansions of its scope. Indeed, Christians have already been prosecuted under thought crime laws for peacefully expressing disapproval of homosexual behavior in Sweden, England, Canada, and even in Philadelphia."

FDA Fails to Consider Risks of Over-the-Counter Plan B

/PRNewswire / -- Moira Gaul, Family Research Council's Director of Women's and Reproductive Health, released the following statement regarding the Obama Administration's decision to sell the morning-after-pill to 17-year-olds without a prescription.

"The Obama Administration is permitting a judge to make a scientific decision as to the safety of the over-the-counter sale of Plan B. This decision places policy preferences before safety. The best interest of women's health is not advanced by these decisions. Reason, science, and compassion clearly are not the animating factors of the decision.

"In order for a drug to be sold over-the-counter, patients must be able to safely medicate themselves without medical supervision. Studies tracking the label comprehension for Plan B show poor awareness that Plan B is not a substitute for standard contraceptives. The FDA-approved label for Plan B gives no clear indication that repeated use of Plan B in a short period of time is not safe.

"FDA officials understood these safety concerns in 2006 and were not convinced that the label comprehension data for teens demonstrated that they could use Plan B safely. The FDA officials believed more data needed to be submitted.

"There is a real danger that Plan B may be given to women, especially sexually abused women and minors, under coercion or without their consent. Interaction with medical professionals is a major screening and defense mechanism for victims of sexual abuse. The availability of Plan B over-the-counter also bypasses the necessary routine medical care of sexually active girls and women, which is important for the screening of health conditions, and for providing screening for sexually transmitted diseases."

Threat to Consumer Protections Sparks Opposition to House Mortgage Bill

/PRNewswire/ -- The following is being released by the National Consumer Law Center:

A bill backed by leading House Democrats who promise that it will rein in predatory lending and reform the mortgage market would do more harm than good by undermining existing state consumer protection laws and replacing them with unworkable federal mechanisms.

That's the position of nine labor, civil rights and national consumer advocacy and progressive groups that formally announced their opposition to the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act at a hearing Thursday of the House Financial Services Committee.

"The bill is complex, convoluted and simply will not accomplish its main goal - to fundamentally change the way mortgages are made in this country," said Margot Saunders, a lawyer for the National Consumer Law Center. Saunders testified at the hearing on behalf of the nine national organizations and 40 state and local legal services and public interest organizations that also oppose the bill, HR 1728.

The bill's most serious flaw is its proposed preemption of state laws that allow homeowners to challenge predatory mortgages and prevent foreclosures. HR 1728 would shut the door on these efforts to save homes. Instead, it would shelter Wall Street companies from accountability for the predatory loans that they purchase from lenders.

HR 1728 would replace the use of these important state laws with limited, complex and confusing federal claims that that would not provide any effective protections for homeowners facing foreclosures or struggling to pay predatory mortgage loans.

"This provision is so onerous and potentially harmful to low-income homeowners saddled with predatory mortgages or struggling to avoid foreclosure that we must oppose this bill, despite its promise of additional funding to legal services offices and some other positive provisions," Saunders said.

Saunders testified on behalf of the low-income clients of the National Consumer Law Center, a non-profit organization with 38 years of experience working on issues that affect vulnerable consumers, and these other national groups opposed to HR 1728: the AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Fair Housing Coalition, Public Citizen, U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Woodstock Institute.

Saunders' testimony and a list of state and local legal services and public interest organizations that oppose HR 1728 are posted on-line at

T. Boone Pickens Statement on President Obama’s Earth Day Speech in Iowa

(BUSINESS WIRE)--T. Boone Pickens offered the following comment on President Obama’s speech yesterday at the Trinity Structural Towers wind energy plant in Newton, Iowa.

“President Obama’s Earth Day message couldn’t be more important: Congress needs to act now to advance the creation of renewable energy jobs—a vital component of the comprehensive energy reform we so urgently need.

The ability for America’s workforce to adapt to the changing marketplace is key to our recovery from the recession. One of the fundamental elements of the Pickens Plan is the need to embrace the abundant opportunities we have to develop a vibrant alternative energy supply that will revitalize our economy, bringing jobs and families back to the heartland. Newton is a prime example of this transformation—a town that was struggling after its biggest employer was sold and shut down manufacturing operations is now a model for job creation. Helped by business incentives and tax breaks, the former Maytag plant is now thriving under Trinity, turning out towers that will support the very turbines that can develop this region into the Saudi Arabia of wind.

It is important to remember that our work on an energy plan is not done. We need to continue focusing on reducing our dependence on foreign oil and to do that, we have to target transportation and replace foreign diesel with domestic alternatives such as natural gas. Congress needs to act now to adopt a national renewable electricity standard in order to create a real long-term commitment to renewable energy in America, creating thousands of good jobs. It is time to move now to reform our energy policy. Congress has the unique opportunity to act and protect our economy and our security. I agree with President Obama’s vision that will retrain idled workers, revitalize shuttered manufacturing towns, and adapt to a new, green economy.”

About the Pickens Plan

Unveiled on July 8, 2008 by T. Boone Pickens, the Pickens Plan is a detailed solution for ending the United States’ growing dependence on foreign oil. Earlier this year, when oil prices reached $140/barrel, America was spending about $700 billion for foreign oil, equaling the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. That figure has decreased some while oil prices have retreated, but the U.S. is still dependent on foreign nations for nearly 70 percent of its oil, representing a continuing national economic and national security threat. The plan calls for investing in power generation from domestic renewable resources such as wind and using our abundant supplies of natural gas as a transportation fuel, replacing more than one-third of our imported oil.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Americans United for Life Condemns FDA Decision that Will Increase Minors' Access to Plan B

/PRNewswire / -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that it will not appeal a U.S. District Court order that 17-year-old girls should have unrestricted, over-the-counter access to Plan B or so-called "emergency contraception."

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President & CEO of Americans United for Life said, "The federal agency tasked with protecting public health has abdicated its responsibility by not appealing the court order. The maker of Plan B has not researched what happens when adolescents take Plan B. In addition, neither the maximum safe dose nor the effects of overdose have been determined by scientific study on any age group."

Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Tummino v. Torti ordered the FDA to make Plan B available to 17-year-olds under the same conditions that it is currently available to adult women. This overruled a previous decision by the FDA requiring that minors first obtain a valid prescription for the potentially dangerous drug.

In addition, the court's ruling did not permit the FDA to undertake another internal review of the drug's safety record or to receive evidence on the increased need to protect minors from dangerous medications or even sexual abuse.

Denise Burke, AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs said, "With this decision, an unsafe drug could be used by sexual predators and even the victims themselves to hide the abuse from parents and the authorities."

For more on the safety concerns surrounding Plan B, see "The Deadly Convenience Of RU-486 and Plan B" in AUL's annual legal guide Defending Life 2009.

Statement from SeaWeb's Too Precious To Wear Campaign: Earth Day is a Good Day for Coral Conservation as Legislation Passes Key Milestone

/PRNewswire / -- The following is a statement from SeaWeb's Too Precious To Wear Campaign:

Members of the Too Precious To Wear coral conservation campaign, including SeaWeb, Tiffany & Co. and Leber Jeweler Inc., commend the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Natural Resources for passing the reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act (H.R. 860) out of committee today. The vote, coinciding with Earth Day, signifies a renewed sense of urgency and a realization among our elected officials of the importance of corals and coral reefs.

The legislation, introduced by Representative Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), would strengthen the 2000 Coral Reef Conservation Act by calling for an expansion of the U.S. Coral Reef Conservation Program, granting greater authority for emergency action in response to damage to coral from vessel impacts, derelict fishing gear, anchors, and disaster related circumstances resulting from human activities. It also includes measures to assess the trade of both living and dead corals in the context of coral survival, laying the groundwork for future efforts to enhance coral protection. This important addition to the 2000 Act will help pave the way for increased oversight and understanding of the often unregulated international trade in corals and reef species.

We applaud the members of the House Natural Resources Committee for swiftly acting on this critical piece of legislation. Corals in the United States and around the world are threatened by global climate change, pollution, overfishing and consumer demand due to their use in jewelry and decorative items. The provisions in the Act are desperately needed to curb corals' decline. We urge the U.S. House of Representatives to bring the matter to the floor for a vote and ask the U.S. Senate to move quickly in order to implement the Act as soon as possible. With these protections in place, our corals will have a much better chance at survival. Without them, coral reef health will inevitably continue to decline.

FRC Action: Obama Administration Working to Overturn Pro-Life Laws in Other Countries

/PRNewswire / -- Today in a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on foreign policy priorities in the Obama Administration, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) asked Secretary Clinton if the Obama Administration is working to overturn other countries pro-life laws and if the administration sees "reproductive rights" and "reproductive health" as including abortion.

Secretary Clinton's answered the latter question by stating, "We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women's health and reproductive health includes access to abortion. ... We are now an administration that will protect the rights of women, including their rights to reproductive health care."

"It is clear from this statement that the Obama Administration is working to overturn other countries' pro-life laws," said FRC Action Senior Vice-President Tom McCluskey. "Secretary Clinton said that Rep. Smith is free to push his belief in pro-life policies in other countries, and that 'we' - evidently referring to the Obama Administration - are free to do the same.

"It is appalling but not surprising that this Administration has a total lack of respect for life. Discontent to pro-life protections in our own country, they feel strangely compelled to export a pro-abortion agenda overseas, using taxpayer dollars to do so.

"If Secretary Clinton is to be believed, this appears to be the Obama Administration's foreign policy. To push their imperialistic commitment to abortion on demand on countries who oppose their agenda of death is their goal, and they are intent upon doing so. At least they are candid about it. And at least now the American people know, without any doubt, where the Administration stands," McCluskey concluded.

Major Stakeholders in Health Reform Debate Call for Improvements in Scoring of Congressional Health Care Proposals

/PRNewswire / -- More than 100 members of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) - an organization representing some of the nation's biggest voices in health care - today called on leaders in Congress to encourage updates in the manner in which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) produces estimates for the cost of legislative proposals in health care. Specifically, they called out limitations in the current methods that, once corrected, would more accurately recognize the value of health care efforts aimed at attacking a significant driver of health care costs: the unchecked growth in common and costly chronic diseases, and related problems such as obesity.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the 150 partners and affiliated organizations that signed the letter ask that, "As our nation considers comprehensive health reform proposals, we hope that you will encourage the Congressional Budget Office to address barriers to recognizing the economic value of prevention and chronic disease management."

The group outlined several recommendations for updating the manner in which CBO scores health care proposals including:

-- A revision of "baseline" cost estimates to take in to account the
deteriorating health status of the population and the estimated impact
of this trend on spending in the years ahead
-- The ability to score savings beyond the commonly-accepted 10-year
scoring window in order to sufficiently capture the long-term value of
population health improvement programs
-- An estimate of the broader economic impact a policy change to promote
population health will have on productivity, and ultimately, the

In particular, the group said that it wants to encourage the CBO to find ways to incorporate the benefits of targeted interventions with proven success, as identified in the growing body of research on this issue, and estimate what the impact of these changes could be over the short and long-term.

Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths and affect more than 130 million Americans. The annual economic impact on the U.S. of the seven most common chronic diseases is estimated to be $1.3 trillion, which could balloon to nearly $6 trillion by 2050.

Full text of the letter to Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid follows.

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national and state-based coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease. For more information about the PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit:

April 21, 2009

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid:

As members of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), we thank you for your leadership in Congress and support of President Obama in making health care reform a priority in 2009.

When it comes to the health of the American people, our nation currently faces a crisis. Despite all the resources being spent on health care in the United States, many Americans struggle with their health. Millions suffer from common and costly chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The rapid growth in these problems has caused individual health costs to soar, undercut U.S. competitiveness and burdened the public health insurance infrastructure.

Spending on patients with one or more chronic diseases now represents more than 75 percent of total spending on health care in the U.S., and even more in public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Until we address the true causes of this crisis, we will never be able to slow spending or make health care more affordable. Nor we will have a workforce - or an economy - that can perform to its fullest potential.

The PFCD, a national and state-based coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, is committed to raising awareness about this issue, while also providing commonsense, bipartisan solutions to help solve the problem. We believe that investing in prevention and disease management will save lives and money now and well into the future. Recognition of the opportunity to achieve the long-term benefits of investment in these areas would provide a positive framework for health policy decisions.

As our nation considers comprehensive health reform proposals, we hope that you will encourage the Congressional Budget Office to address barriers to recognizing the economic value of prevention and chronic disease management. There are three key points that lead to insufficient recognition of the opportunities offered by investments in prevention and disease management:

-- The current government scoring windows cannot sufficiently capture the
long-term value of population health improvement programs aimed at
wellness and prevention.
-- Health care expenditure estimates depend critically on the assumptions
made in the baseline, including projected changes in the current
health status of the population and the estimated impact of health
status trends. Currently, these assumptions are not transparent.
-- CBO scoring does not currently include analysis of the broader
economic impact a policy change will have through changes in
population health and productivity. Estimates of this societal cost
impact would be of great value to legislators.

Such a holistic and comprehensive approach to reform is the only way that we will truly help improve Americans' health, spend our limited health resources more wisely, and boost our economy.

Thank you, in advance, for your support.


The undersigned Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease national and state partners and other concerned organizations (see full list below)

National partners and other concerned organizations:

AdvaMed (Advanced Medical Technology Association)
Alliance for Aging Research
Alzheimer's Foundation
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
American Academy of Nursing
American College of Physicians
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Dietetic Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Pharmacists Association
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Arthritis Foundation
Cleveland Clinic
Community Health Charities of America
The COSHAR Foundation
DMAA: the Care Continuum Alliance
Easter Seals
Healthcare Leadership Council
Health Dialog
Intercultural Cancer Caucus
IHRSA: International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association
Marshfield Clinic
Medical Fitness Association
Men's Health Network
Milken Institute
National Alliance for Caregiving
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
National Business Coalition on Health
National Changing Diabetes(R) Program
National Family Caregivers Association
National Health Foundation
National Latina Health Network
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Patient Advocate Foundation
Novo Nordisk
Park Nicollet Health Services
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Pharos Innovations Prevent Blindness America
Self chec, Inc.
YMCA of the USA

State partners:

Arkansas Respiratory Health Association
Lupus Foundation of America, Arkansas Chapter

Alliance of Health Disparities
Colorado Cross Disability Coalition
Colorado Gerontological Society
Lupus Foundation
Mission Medical Clinic
National Association of Hispanic Nurses
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Rocky Mountain Stroke Association

AFSCME Council 31
Arthritis Foundation of Greater Chicago
Community Health Charities Illinois
Mental Health Summit
Midwest Business Group on Health
Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce
NAACP Lake County
Springfield YMCA
United Way of Lake County

Arthritis Foundation
Community Health Charities of Iowa
Iowa Biotechnology Association

Maryland Academy of Family Physicians

American Cancer Society of Minnesota
Arthritis Foundation, North Central Chapter
Minneapolis Urban League
Sabathani Community Center
United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota

New Hampshire
Advanced Laser Therapy
AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region
Council for Children and Adolescents with Chronic Health Conditions
New Hampshire Association for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

New Jersey
Action Cystic Fibrosis
Carpenters Fund of New Jersey
HealthCare Institute of New Jersey
Juvenile Diabetes Awareness Council of New Jersey
Lung Cancer Circle of Hope
Mental Health Association in New Jersey
New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies
New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons
New Jersey Hospital Association
Partners in Care
Steamfitters Local 475

North Carolina
Alliance of Disability Advocates
Arc of North Carolina
Autism Society of North Carolina
Children and Family Services Association of North Carolina
Easter Seals UCP North Carolina
National Alliance on Mental Illness-NC
National Association of Social Workers-NC
National Multiple Sclerosis Society, NC Chapters
North Carolina Mental Health Association
North Carolina Psychological Association

The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northeastern Ohio
Area Health Education Centers - Ohio
Statewide Program
Arthritis Foundation of Central Ohio
Chris Holland, Oregon City Schools, Ohio
Cleveland Clinic
Columbus Public Health
County Commissioners Association of Ohio
David C. Epstein M.D. MBA
Fairhill Partners
The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland
National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio
Ohio Alliance of YMCAs
Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
Ohio Association of Free Clinics
Ohio Association of School Nurses
Ohio Asthma Coalition
Ohio Dietetic Association
Ohio Nurses Association
Ohio Osteopathic Association
Ohio Public Health Association
Stark Prescription Assistance Network
Ohio State University Medical Center
Prevent Blindness Ohio
United Cerebral Palsy of Central Ohio
University of Toledo

South Carolina
Black Nurses Association of South Carolina
Chi Eta Phi, Delta Eta Chapter
South Carolina Diabetes Today Advisory Council
South Carolina Public Health Institute
United Way Association of South Carolina
YMCA of Greenville

AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
Wisconsin Association of Health Underwriters
Wisconsin Dietetic Association
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

cc: Douglas Elmendorf, Director, Congressional Budget Office; Keith Fontenot, Associate Director for Health Programs, Office of Management and Budget; Bob Kocher, Special Assistant to the President for Health Care, National Economic Council; Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director, White House Office of Health Reform; Senate Health, Education, Labor, Pensions Committee; Senate Finance Committee; House Ways & Means Committee; House Energy & Commerce Committee; Kate Leone, Senior Health Counsel, Senator Reid's Office; Wendall Primus, Policy Advisor, Speaker Pelosi's Office

Monday, April 20, 2009

Newt on The Tea Party

Newt on the Tea Party
April 17, 2009

HT to Newt for the video.

The Social Security Institute Launches Web Site, Inaugurates Campaign to Prevent Nationalization of Healthcare

/PRNewswire / -- Today, the Social Security Institute (SSI) launched its new Web Site in preparation for a full-scale effort to stop the raid on Social Security, cease the use of Social Security surpluses to bail out banks and insurance companies and prevent Congress and the Obama Administration from nationalizing healthcare and turning it over to the government to run. The site will offer a range of items of interest not only to seniors but to everyone, young and old, seeking to coalesce and affect public policy through citizen lobbying. The site offers a "Take Action" center, frequently updated Senior Alerts, complete interactive blogs, recent news articles and op-eds of particular interest to seniors, and a Senior Resource Center that helps direct senior citizens to an array of resources and interesting opportunities.

SSI president Dr. Lawrence A. Hunter described the Social Security Institute this way: "The Social Security Institute (SSI) is conceived in the proposition that seniority matters, not as a matter of right but as a matter of fact and experience. SSI believes dignity matters, security matters, prosperity matters and freedom matters to people of all ages but especially to senior citizens. SSI is dedicated to listening to America's seniors and speaking truth to power in Washington regardless of which political party holds power. SSI promotes conservative values and classically liberal ideals in its quest to advance the retirement security of today's seniors and the seniors of tomorrow. SSI seeks to be a Third Force in American Politics -- beyond liberal and conservative, beyond Republican and Democrat -- seniors allied for action."

Hunter also said, "SSI agrees with Thomas Jefferson that a little rebellion from time to time is a good thing. We hope to provide seniors a productive outlet for the rebel in them."

SSI's Mission Statement Reads: "The Social Security Institute (SSI) is a national, 501(c)(4) non-profit, non-partisan seniors' advocacy organization working to promote the retirement security of today's seniors and the seniors of tomorrow. SSI's top policy priorities are to stop the raid on the Social Security Trust Funds, prevent cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, and protect seniors from health care rationing and other limitations on their access to health care."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pressure Grows for Accountability with Torture Memos' Release

/PRNewswire / -- Following the release yesterday of four key torture memos from the Bush administration and the concurrent statements by President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives who carried out interrogations of terrorism suspects will not be prosecuted, Amnesty International USA's (AIUSA) counterterrorism expert Tom Parker released the following statement:

"The continuing startling revelations about Bush administration detention and interrogation practices and the Obama administration's handling of them point unequivocally to the need for an independent investigation to expose the full scope of the practices and those involved.

"Attorney General Holder said yesterday that the Obama administration does not condone torture, but by refusing to investigate the coercive interrogation program used by the CIA that is precisely what the administration is doing.

"After 50 years of interviewing torture victims, Amnesty International has found that abuse, especially when sanctioned at the highest levels, inevitably escalates over time. If the now-public Bybee memo sets out such shocking scenarios, imagine what followed in practice.

"Americans will not know the truth until a comprehensive, independent investigation has been conducted.

"The Bush administration knew that what it wanted the CIA to do in the field was illegal, which is precisely why the administration, in essence, 'lawyered up' by calling in the Office of Legal Counsel. Jay Bybee, John Yoo and Steven Bradbury ignored decades of jurisprudence in drafting the now-infamous torture memos. This is not a 'good faith' misunderstanding or a difference of legal opinion; this was a calculated decision to torture prisoners in U.S. custody."

During President Obama's first 100 days, AIUSA activists have mobilized nationwide to press for an independent commission of inquiry into U.S. policies on detainee interrogation and treatment.

This week, more than 200 face-to-face meetings occurred with Members of Congress and AIUSA delegations. President Obama and the U.S. Senate have received more than 50,000 e-mails and letters and more than 700 people have hosted events in their communities -- all calling for accountability for abuse in the war on terror. On April 30 at 10 a.m., AIUSA and Witness Against Torture activists will make a last urgent call for action during Obama's first 100 days and march from the U.S. Capitol to the White House.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Confronted on Political Prisoners at Summit of the Americas

/PRNewswire / -- Today at the inauguration of the Fifth Summit of the Americas hosted by Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was confronted by a full-page announcement published in the national newspaper Trinidad Express signed by nine prominent human rights groups, calling upon all Summit delegates to directly confront Mr. Chavez on numerous human rights violations.

The announcement states that President Chavez has manipulated the criminal justice system to bring politically motivated charges against 45 different individuals, violating their basic human rights as guaranteed by local and international law. These violations include character assassination, fabricating criminal charges and evidence, torturing and bribing witnesses, breaching privacy and confidentiality, interfering with and controlling judges, and groundless pre-trial incarceration and denial of bail, the announcement states.

"We have all signed this statement to raise awareness among other Latin American nations of the reality of judicial persecution in Venezuela," said Gonzalo Himiob Santome, co-director of the civil rights NGO Foro Penal Venezolano. "Foreign governments at this summit can help these victims by conditioning their talks with the Venezuelan delegation upon the restoration of basic human rights and rule of law."

The announcement published in the Trinidad Express cites several cases of political prisoners and politically persecuted individuals who have been targeted by state-controlled courts, including Ivan Simonovis, Lazaro Forero, and Henry Vivas (the three police commissioners who were just sentenced to 30 years in prison); Francisco Uson (a retired general who was jailed over an empty conviction); Eligio Cedeno (a businessman jailed without conviction for consorting with the opposition); Nixon Moreno (a student movement leader persecuted on trumped up charges, forced to flee the country to asylum); and several others.

"What is happening in Venezuela today under President Hugo Chavez is an outrageous travesty of justice and human rights, which goes on unrecognized underneath the rhetoric of revolution," said Canadian lawyer Robert Amsterdam, international defense counsel for political prisoner Eligio Cedeno. "There is no excuse or plausible defense for how Chavez is treating his own citizens, and no supporter, no matter how loyal or ardent, can come forward to explain why these individuals have been jailed and deprived of their rights. When a president breaks the law, violates the constitution, and openly behaves like a criminal, the international community has a duty to act in response."

The full-page announcement, addressed to all delegates attending the Fifth Summit of the Americas, was signed by Foro Penal Venezolano; Fundacion para el Debido Proceso (; Nueva Conciencia Nacional Fundacion Justicia Libre ( Compromiso Ciudadano a.c. Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional (; Venezuela Awareness Foundation (; Movimiento 2D (; Fundacion Damas de Blanco, Fundacion Justicia and Victimas Venezolanas de Violencia de Estado (VIVE).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Three Strikes: Is Sebelius Out?

/PRNewswire / -- Family Research Council (FRC) has obtained a copy of a 2002 fundraising letter from late-term abortionist George R. Tiller in which he claims that he personally contributed $200,000 to ProKanDo, a political action committee (PAC) dedicated to defeating Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius's pro-life opponent. Dr. Tiller's PAC receives funding not only from his own clinic but from other late-term abortionists from across the nation.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement responding to this latest revelation, which follows an admission of tax problems by the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services and a failure to report more than $23,000 in direct campaign contributions from Dr. Tiller.

"The revelation that Gov. Sebelius owed back taxes and now the additional disclosure of her deep financial ties to the abortion industry invite a serious question about her integrity. What else has she not told us? What else remains in Gov. Sebelius's closet? What other alliances are there? What other political contributions may have influenced her decisions as governor?

"She pocketed money from one of the most infamous abortion clinics in the nation then shortly there after vetoed legislation that would require abortion clinics to meet minimal safety standards. This appears to be a deadly political payback, one that compromises her ability to carry out her duty to run the federal government's largest agency.

"HHS addresses every facet of Americans' health and well-being, from drug approvals and leading-edge medical research to food safety and disease prevention. If we can't trust Gov. Sebelius to be open and honest about her money connections, how we can trust her to administer and improve our health care system?

"We urge President Obama to withdraw this nomination and fulfill his campaign promises of establishing an ethical Administration and uniting citizens around common goals. We also urge the U.S. Senate to reject this nomination and make clear that the American people expect a nominee who upholds strong ethical standards and has a record of accountability.

"We will include the vote on Kathleen Sebelius's nomination in our annual Vote Scorecard which tracks votes in Congress critical to the family."

Go to this link to Download a copy of the George Tiller letter

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Boehner: Taxpayer Tea Parties a Sign That Americans Have Had Enough of Washington’s Taxing, Spending, and Borrowing

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on Tax Day 2009:

“April 15th has long been and always will be a day American workers and their families despise – and rightfully so. It is the symbol of a government that has grown too big, too costly, and too arrogant, as it asks Americans for more and more of their hard-earned money to pay for wasteful government programs that never go away.

“But this Tax Day is different. Across our nation, thousands of Americans are participating in taxpayer tea parties today for one simple reason: overtaxed families and small businesses have had enough. They’ve had enough of Democrats forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab for more wasteful spending instead of working together to make the tough fiscal decisions Americans are forced to make each and every day. They’ve had enough of seeing their hard-earned tax dollars wasted on pork-barrel spending that won’t create jobs, rebuild their savings, or get our economy moving again. And they’ve had enough of Congress and the White House mortgaging our children and grandchildren’s future by saddling them with mountains of debt destined to bankrupt our country.

“House Republicans share the American people’s frustration and are proposing better solutions to reduce taxes and get Washington’s fiscal house back in order. We’ve proposed a plan to create twice the jobs as the Democrats’ ‘stimulus’ spending bill – 6.2 million total jobs – at half the cost. While Democrats just passed a budget that scrapped President Obama’s promise of a middle-class tax cut, we have offered a budget that curbs spending, creates jobs by cutting taxes, and controls the debt. And we’re crafting reforms to reduce energy costs and expand Americans’ access to affordable health care. It’s time for Washington Democrats to listen to the American people who have had enough and work with Republicans on common sense solutions to get our economy moving again – without raising taxes.”

Obama's Latest Speech Dodges Campaign Promise to Small Businesses

/PRNewswire / -- Yesterday, President Barack Obama gave a 60-minute speech to the nation regarding the state of the economy. His speech discussed the Obama Administration's five pillars for addressing the economy, however President Obama's plans for helping America's biggest job creators, its small businesses, were conspicuously absent.

During the campaign, President Obama said he would create millions of jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 98 percent of all U.S. firms have less than 100 employees, and those firms are responsible for over 98 percent of all new jobs in America. (

To date, President Obama has given 100 percent of the stimulus funds to the top 1 percent of American firms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those large firms have not created one net new job since 1977.

In his March 22, 2009 column in the New York Times, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote about President Obama's plan to save the economy and stated, "This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair." In March, Krugman also stated that Obama's economic policies are almost certain to fail. (

Since 2003, over 15 federal investigations have found that hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts have been diverted to Fortune 500 corporations and thousands of other large businesses in the United States and Europe. (

Groups like the American Small Business League (ASBL) are angry with President Obama because of his refusal to make good on a February 2008 campaign promise in which he stated, "It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants." (

Small business owners around the country are angered and disappointed that President Obama has refused to make good on his campaign promise, and has allowed an estimated $2 billion a week in federal small business contracts to be diverted to some of the largest corporations in the world, including Fortune 500 firms.

"You don't have to be a Nobel Prize winning economist to figure this out. Small businesses create 98 percent of all new jobs. So far, not only has President Obama not given those companies a dime of the stimulus funding, but he is refusing to end blatant, widespread fraud and abuse in existing government economic stimulus programs for small businesses," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

President's Visit to Mexico Comes at Pivotal Point in Bilateral Relations

/PRNewswire/ -- As ambassador, when government officials visited Mexico, I'd pen a one-pager offering current insight into the bilateral relationship and timely assessments of the economic, political and social situation in the country.

With President Barack Obama's visit April 16-17 to Mexico City, I offer him a similar memo, with advice I hope he's hearing from his own team of advisors.

And, so I begin, Mister President:

U.S. and Mexico relations are at a pivotal point, and in spite of the challenges our countries face from economic and security threats, we must look for ways to forge stronger partnerships and encourage investment by U.S. and Mexican companies in both countries.

The failed state talk that so dominated our headlines these past few months has subsided somewhat, and--I hope--will continue to fade. It was rhetoric that did more to harm our two nations than produce meaningful progress.

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saw firsthand, Mexico is far from finished in its fight against the transnational drug cartels, but there are clear signs of progress and far more awareness in the United State of our own responsibility to reduce consumption and stop the flow of arms to Mexico.

In President Felipe Calderon's first two years in office, the Mexican government has arrested more criminals and seized more weapons, drugs and cash than the previous two administrations over the same period.

Make no mistake, the country is not as safe as it needs to be, but unfair comparisons have been made and substantial progress overlooked. While tragic, drug war fatalities are concentrated largely in areas where cartels war over territory, but the country's homicide rate remains 13 percent below 1997 statistics, and far lower than many other countries in the region.

Our nations are inextricably tied to one another, and we must not only understand this fact, but leverage it for our respective economies, our security and our people.

In spite of its critics, the North American Free Trade Agreement has benefited the United States. Since NAFTA's implementation in 1994, U.S. exports to Mexico have increased by 198 percent. Our countries trade at a pace of nearly $1 billion each day, and bilateral trade totaled more than $367 billion in 2007. Tourism remains a strong economic driver, with more than 21 million visiting Mexico each year, the vast majority from the U.S.

Mr. President, we must focus on trade, and specifically, show leadership and fairness on the trucking provisions in NAFTA. If we don't, we run the risk of further retaliation with additional tariffs on U.S. products, which only jeopardize American jobs. We must stand firm against protectionist measures that would further stifle both countries' economic growth.

These difficult economic times should not lead the U.S. to shy away from investments in Mexico, nor should Mexican companies be afraid to explore opportunities to the north.

Key reforms by Mexico's government in the past two years reaffirm the country's commitment to competitiveness, to job creation and improved living standards.

You've stated your commitment to comprehensive immigration reform, but it's going to take a lot of hard work and political capital to push reform to reality. It's an uphill battle, as President George W. Bush found out, but it's a battle we should wage.

Mr. President, your visit to Mexico could come at no better time. You should view Mexico as your getaway to the Americas, a perfect bridge both north and south. Take this opportunity to draw on the key regional insights that President Calderon can offer.

Lastly, as you prepare for the upcoming Summit of the Americas, a clearly focused and energetic approach to Mexico relations should be among your highest priorities. Regional security and prosperity is critical to Mexico, and perhaps even more critical to the United States.

Antonio O. Garza, Jr. is the former United States Ambassador to Mexico. He is online at

PEW: Unauthorized Immigrants More Dispersed Around the Country; Labor Force Growth Halts, But Number of U.S. Born Children Grows

The Pew Hispanic Center today released "A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States," which includes population and labor force estimates for each state, as well as national-level findings about families, education, income and other key indicators.

The report finds that unauthorized immigrants are more geographically dispersed than in the past. A group of 28 high-growth states in the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Mountain and Southeast regions are now home to 32% of the unauthorized population, more than double their 14% share in 1990. California's share declined to 22% from 42% during this same period.

Unauthorized immigrants are more likely than either U.S.-born residents or legal immigrants to live in a household with a spouse and children, according to the report. A growing share of the children of unauthorized immigrants (73%) are U.S. citizens by birth. The U.S.-born and foreign-born children of unauthorized immigrants make up an estimated 6.8% of the nation's students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12.

Looking at undocumented workers, the report finds that the rapid growth of the unauthorized immigrant labor force from 1990 to 2006 has halted. The new report estimates there were 8.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. labor force in March 2008, accounting for 5.4% of the work force. The 2008 labor force estimate appears slightly lower than the 2007 estimate, but the change is within the margin of error.

The unauthorized immigrant share of the labor force varies widely by state. Undocumented immigrant workers constitute roughly 10% or more of the labor force in Arizona, California and Nevada, but less than 2.5% in most Midwest and Plains states.

About three-quarters (76%) of the nation's unauthorized immigrants are Hispanic. As the Pew Hispanic Center has previously reported, 59% are from Mexico.

The new report builds on a Pew Hispanic Center analysis released last year, which estimated there were 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2008. That report said the size of the unauthorized population appears to have declined since 2007, but the difference is not statistically significant. Both reports are based on an analysis of data from the March Current Population Survey, conducted by the Census Bureau, and on the 1990 and 2000 Censuses.

Other major findings:

* Adult unauthorized immigrants are disproportionately likely to bepoorly educated. Among unauthorized immigrants ages 25-64, 47% have less than a high school education. By contrast, only 8% of U.S.-born residents ages 25-64 have not graduated from high school.
* An analysis of college attendance finds that among unauthorized immigrants ages 18 to 24 who have graduated from high school, half (49%)are in college or have attended college. The comparable figure for U.S.-born residents is 71%.
* The 2007 median household income of unauthorized immigrants was $36,000, well below the $50,000 median household income for U.S.-born residents. In contrast to other immigrants, undocumented immigrants do not attain markedly higher incomes the longer they live in the United States.
* A third of the children of unauthorized immigrants and a fifth of adult unauthorized immigrants lives in poverty. This is nearly double the poverty rate for children of U.S.-born parents (18%) or for U.S.-born adults (10%).
* More than half of adult unauthorized immigrants (59%) had no health insurance during all of 2007. Among their children, nearly half of those who are unauthorized immigrants (45%) were uninsured and 25% of those who were born in the U.S. were uninsured.

The report, "A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States," authored by Jeffrey S. Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, and D'Vera Cohn, senior writer at the Pew Research Center, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website,

Boehner: Economy Will Improve Because of American Ingenuity, Not the President’s Reckless Washington Spending

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after President Obama’s speech on the economy at Georgetown University:

“Our economy will improve – but it will be because of the ingenuity and hard work of American workers and small businesses, not because of the Washington Democrats’ misguided policies that rely on recklessly spending taxpayer dollars. This is money we don’t have, yet the President’s trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ was loaded with wasteful spending that has nothing to do with job creation, his $410 billion ‘omnibus’ spending bill was chock full of 9,000 unscrutinized earmarks, and his $3.5 trillion budget paves the way for a bigger and costlier federal government that will not create new jobs, help rebuild Americans’ savings, and get our economy moving again. Instead of embracing tough decisions, Democrats have avoided them in favor of saddling our children and grandchildren with mountains of debt that we know they cannot afford.

“During this time of economic crisis, we must do better. Republicans are offering better solutions to spur economic growth now and in the future, including our plan to create twice as many jobs – 6.2 million total – at half the cost of the President’s ‘stimulus’ spending plan. It’s time for Democrats to stop paying lip-service to working across party lines to tackle our economic challenges and actually start doing it. The hard-working American families and small businesses that will lead our economy back to prosperity deserve no less.”

Opinion: The Nation's Health -- And Ours

It's hard to go anywhere without seeing a "going green" logo. I'm all for saving the planet -- this is a good thing. What's missing, however, is an equally energetic effort for saving our own health. As we focus attention on making our planet healthier, isn't it at least as important that we begin making ourselves healthier as well?

President Barack Obama has placed reforming health care among his highest priorities and bringing down costs as job No. 1. Recently, Gov. Beverly Perdue hosted a regional forum on health reform, and it drew almost 1,000 attendees. Governmental health care reform initiatives will likely address key issues such as decreasing the number of uninsured, improving information technology, decreasing bureaucratic waste and rationalizing reimbursement -- all necessary, but only part of the solution.

To truly improve the health of our state and nation, we must also focus on preventing disease and promoting health and well-being. Our current health care system must be transformed from its current ineffective, expensive and reactive "sick care" approach to one that is proactive, personalized, preventative, cost effective and appropriately focused on enhancing health as well as rationally managing disease.

Treating events of late-stage chronic diseases consumes nearly three-quarters of health care expenditures. Many of these conditions can be minimized by effective and far less costly prevention. We each have our own inherited tendencies for disease susceptibility, but how we manage what we inherit is largely up to us.

So why don't we harness the momentum of health reform and do something big and bold -- spur a North Carolina "going healthy" movement to help us deal more effectively with disease prevention and health enhancement? If "going healthy" were as front of mind as "going green," we would make great strides toward health care reform.

Improving health requires better nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and health risk avoidance -- it isn't as though we've not heard this before. But healthy living is not easily adopted in our environment, which inundates us with a culture of sloth, overeating and high stress. The "going healthy" movement would change this by making what's good for us easier to attain and by empowering us to do what's good for our health.

This initiative requires collaboration among businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, schools, communities, media, government and others who could play major roles by providing, for example, accurate education and nutritional information at the point of purchase; making wholesome foods easily accessible; increasing the ability to exercise at work, in our communities and schools; providing stress reduction and smoking cessation programs; and facilitating walking and bike paths (a good use of stimulus funds).

The media, with the help of sports teams, could encourage fitness and activity rather than watching others do this. Appropriate interest groups could be convened to coordinate the movement to emphasize health and well-being. Most importantly, the "going healthy" initiative would articulate the value of health and well-being as critical resources that we can control. By striving to improve our health and well-being, we would not only live healthier lives, we also would consume fewer health care resources and feel far better about ourselves and those around us.

So where does it start? It begins with us, our state and federal governments, communities, organizations, workplaces and schools. An example of a creative endeavor is at Duke University, where a group of students formed the Duke Prospective Health Care Club to educate undergraduates about how they can improve their health. The club just kicked off a yearlong health care competition for which students team up with university employees to meet healthy goals. The winners will get the ultimate prize -- tickets to next year's Duke/Carolina basketball game at Cameron. The club is working to expand efforts across college campuses nationally. Many business and communities have similar initiatives, but what is needed is a coordinated focus to create a groundswell leading to a state then a national movement.

As Perdue and Obama have indicated, health care costs are a major factor driving our economic tailspin. With appropriate focus on "going healthy," we would help save the economy and, even more importantly, ourselves. Why shouldn't North Carolina set an example for the nation by leading the "going healthy" initiative? We have the opportunity to create a truly healthier, happier and economically sound state and to show the nation another example of North Carolina's vitality and creativity. All we need now is to get started, then a logo!

By Ralph Snyderman

Dr. Ralph Snyderman is chancellor emeritus at Duke University, chairman of Proventys Inc., former CEO and president of the Duke University Health System and former chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Florida Studies Reveal Huge Increase in Cost of Illegal Immigration and Widespread Voter Dissatisfaction

/PRNewswire/ -- Simultaneous studies, released this week by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), show soaring costs of illegal immigration in Florida and demonstrate strong voter objections to the burdens placed on them by illegal immigration. A new Zogby International poll of 801 likely voters across the state found that, by an overwhelming margin, Floridians believe that illegal immigration is harming their state. Their perceptions are rooted in reality. A separate FAIR study, the Costs of Illegal Immigration to Floridians found that providing education and health care to illegal aliens and their families, and incarcerating criminal illegal aliens, costs state taxpayers more than $3.8 billion annually, more than double the costs measured in 2005.

The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Floridians found that taxpayers spend:
-- $3.4 billion a year to educate illegal immigrant children and the U.S.
born children of illegal immigrants.
-- $290 million a year on unreimbursed health care for illegal aliens.
-- $90 million a year to incarcerate criminal illegal aliens.

-- The total represents an annual cost to each of Florida's native-born
headed households of $678.

The cost study also determined that the illegal alien population in Florida is now 950,000 persons. This represents 7.3 percent of the national total illegal alien population, and it is the nation's fourth largest concentration of illegal aliens after California, Texas and New York. It is also about 5.2 percent of Florida's overall population.

The Zogby poll found that:
-- 71.3% of Florida voters say illegal immigration has a negative impact
on the state. Only 14.4% believe it has a positive impact on Florida.
-- 83.5% of Florida voters believe illegal aliens have a negative impact
on the state budget, versus only 7.9% who believe their impact is
-- 57.5% believe illegal immigration should be reduced through better
enforcement of immigration laws. Only 36% of Florida voters favor
amnesty or legalization for current illegal aliens.

-- 68.6% of Florida voters want worksite immigration enforcement to
continue. Only 21.1% support the Obama administration's decision to
curtail worksite enforcement.

"Voters in Florida, like voters everywhere, want their elected officials in Washington and Tallahassee to protect their interests, their jobs, and their tax dollars from the impact of mass illegal immigration," said Stein. "At a time when the Obama administration is intent on systematically dismantling immigration enforcement, and congressional leaders are considering a new round of amnesty legislation, voters in this key state are saying unequivocally that it is time political leaders stopped pandering to the illegal immigration lobby, and started enforcing laws that serve the interests of ordinary Americans."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Notre Dame Obama Scandal: Remove School From Catholic Directory

/PRNewswire / -- American Life League wants the University of Notre Dame removed from the Official Catholic Directory (Kennedy Directory) - the official list of Catholic institutions in the United States.

Removal from the Kennedy Directory by Bishop John D'Arcy will cut the school off from much Catholic foundation funding.

The call comes a week after American Life League went on location to interview Notre Dame's student body after news rocked the Catholic world that pro-abortion President Barack Obama was invited to address the graduating class and receive an honorary degree from one of the nation's most identifiable Catholic universities.

While 25 bishops have condemned the school's actions and hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful are calling for the invitation to be rescinded, the report shows a student body divided by the school's institutionalized opposition to Catholic teaching and their desire to restore Catholicism to Our Lady's University.

"We found a tragic attitude at the University of Notre Dame -- apathy, if not hostility, toward the faith," said Judie Brown, president of ALL. "In the service of truth, we ask Bishop D'Arcy to acknowledge what the entire nation and Notre Dame itself already know: The university is backing away from the Catholic Church."

"In light of Notre Dame's past in the service of Our Lady, what is now keeping Notre Dame Catholic? Not the president who honors a man guilty of promoting an intrinsic evil; not the faculty -- notoriously liberal. The hope of Notre Dame lies with the students faithful to the mission of the Church," Brown said. "For their sake we hope and pray Notre Dame rescinds this honor to President Obama and upholds the Catholic identity that made the school one of the glories of the Catholic Church. If the university will not do this, then it should be removed from the Official Catholic Directory."

$1 Million Will Bolster Local 2010 Census Participation

/PRNewswire / -- Ten of Illinois' leading foundations announced today they are jointly investing $1 million to improve participation in hard-to-count, poor, minority, rural and high-rise communities in the 2010 Census. Known as the Count Me In campaign, this endeavor marks the nation's largest investment to date in 2010 Census efforts in any one state by a group of philanthropic funders.

The foundations will release a Request for Proposals on April 8, 2009 to more than 200 civic, social service and community-based organizations, inviting them to apply for funding for projects that will increase the mail-back of Census forms from households in select Illinois communities. Activities such as public education campaigns, communications, community outreach, trainings, special events and organizing will be funded.

The 2010 Census will help determine the distribution of roughly $400 billion a year in federal funds to state and local governments, and for every person not counted, Illinois will lose $12,000 over the next 10 years.

Low-income, immigrant, minority and rural communities have historically been undercounted in the once-a-decade survey, which is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. With the sagging economy and billions of federal dollars at stake, not only are these underserved populations disproportionately affected, but residents throughout the state will be harmed if the count is not accurate.

Census data is critical when government officials make decisions about where to build new roads, schools and hospitals and where to locate job training centers and services for the elderly. Census data is also used for drawing congressional and state legislative districts and monitoring and enforcing civil rights laws in employment, housing, voting, lending and education.

"The 2010 Census will profoundly impact the lives of all Illinois residents because it will determine spending on education, employment, public safety, the environment and a host of other issues, not to mention bedrock democracy issues like the size of the state's congressional delegation," stated Ellen S. Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation. "The Census truly has the potential to advance or delay progress in a number of areas all across the state."

"Our goal is not only to boost participation in these under-counted populations," said Terry Mazany, president and chief executive officer of The Chicago Community Trust, "but to leverage our collective network of nonprofits to raise public awareness about the Census in general and its critical importance."

Nonprofits interested in learning more about the Request for Proposal can visit and for an application or more information. Grant decisions will be made in July.

Count Me In is funded by the Boeing Company, the Chicago Bar Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Grand Victoria Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Steans Family Foundation and Woods Fund of Chicago. In addition, the Joyce Foundation has awarded separate grants to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund and the Illinois League of Women Voters for Census related work in Illinois and the Midwest.

Opinion: Let Freedom Ring USA-Thousands of Illegal U.S. Guns Cross Border to Mexico

Let Freedom Ring USA and We Need A Fence (an immigration project of Let Freedom Ring USA at says that no border security plan without a fence can work. The fence that exists, while intermittent, works nonetheless.

Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring USA states, "The fence assists in reducing the number of illegal American guns going into Mexico. Some believe that 90% of the guns in Mexico are illegal and have come across the U.S. border whereas others believe this number is as low as 17%. While the actual number is somewhere in between these figures the fact is, no illegal guns should be going across our borders and a well-designed, patrolled and continuous fence, would help the number to be drastically reduced."

Many have changed their tune on a fence. Comments have been made by border patrol agents and leading U.S. officials that the number of apprehensions shows that the fence works and that it is considered a tremendous success.

What was once highly criticized as a discriminatory measure against Hispanics is now being praised as a tool that works to protect the southern border of the United States from terrorism. In addition, the fence prevents infiltration of illegal immigrants into the U.S. job market and also cuts down on the infiltration of illegal immigrants into our health care system which
places undue burdens on our already overburdened health care costs and professionals.

However, Hanna states that the other necessary ingredients are adequate Border Patrol staffing and technology to prevent the flow of illegal immigration and trade in both directions. "Even though most of the time when discussing the border fence the focus is on preventing illegal immigration headed north into the US, the fence also has the often-overlooked advantage of preventing much of the southbound trade in illegal guns," Hanna adds.

The fence is not an anti-immigrant initiative. In fact, Let Freedom Ring and emphatically state that they are pro-immigration, and that decreasing illegal immigration is only the first step in fixing our broken immigration policy. The second step is increasing legal immigration.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Americans United for Life Urges HHS to Retain Conscience Rule

/PRNewswire / -- Americans United for Life (AUL) today filed comments with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supporting the retention of a December 2008 rule providing a much-needed enforcement mechanism for federal laws protecting healthcare freedom of conscience.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, AUL President & CEO stated, "Congress has a 36-year history of passing laws to protect healthcare freedom of conscience. This rule simply provides HHS and the Administration with the means to fulfill their sworn constitutional duty to properly enforce these laws."

On March 10, 2009, HHS announced its intention to rescind the rule enacted in the final months of the Bush Administration. The rule is opposed by pro-abortion groups, who included a demand for its repeal in a 55-page memorandum to the Obama Transition Team in December 2008--arguing it limits access to the full range of reproductive healthcare.

AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke remarked, "Comprehensive conscience protections and proper enforcement of existing federal laws will help ensure access to quality medical care for all Americans."

Burke continued, "While the majority of federal conscience laws are intended to protect those who decline to participate in abortions, some also protect those who choose to perform them. It is, therefore, incredibly short-sighted for abortion advocates to actively lobby against the enforcement of these protections."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party Planning Calls Broadcast Live Tonight on PJTV

/PRNewswire / -- The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, the grassroots organization sponsoring the April 15 Tax Day Tea Parties across the country, announced this morning that it will broadcast the group's regular Monday conference call LIVE at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT, on Pajamas TV, the leading provider of conservative internet television programming. The live conference call this evening will be the debut of the new daily Pajamas TV program, "The Tea Party Coalition Show: Countdown to Tax Day." Additionally, Pajamas TV announced that for each new subscriber from today until the end of April, PJTV will apply 100 percent of the first month's subscription to a donation to the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition.

The Tax Day Tea Party on April 15 is focused on one theme: Repeal the Pork, Cut Taxes and Spending. There are more than 500 tea parties confirmed for that day, and it is expected that over the next ten days, the number of tea parties will continue to grow. Crowds of 5,000 to 10,000 are expected in multiple cities, including Atlanta, where Sean Hannity of Fox News will be broadcasting live, Sacramento, where Neil Cavuto will host his show, San Antonio, where Glenn Beck will broadcast, and New York City, where Newt Gingrich will be a featured speaker.

Michael Patrick Leahy, co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter (TCOT), one of the four grassroots organizations that comprise the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, called tonight's live broadcast "a landmark advance in the melding of technology, collaboration, and grass roots activism that is defining the virally growing Tea Party Movement. Pajamas Media's support of the movement is invaluable in that it allows citizens who have long felt shut out of the mainstream media a place to speak out and be heard. We're thankful for the vision they have shown in providing a platform where the people can speak."

"Viewers of The Tea Party Coalition Show this evening will be able to watch and participate in the inner workings of a new era of fiscal conservative political activism, the likes of which are unparalleled in American history. We're proud to be able to offer this historic opportunity to the American public, and intend to continue our role as one of the premier providers of alternative news media in the modern era," said Roger Simon, CEO of Pajamas Media.

The conference call and broadcast will document the real time interaction of the leaders of the four grassroots organizations that have provided centralized coordination to the Tea Party Movement -- Eric Odom from the Dontgo Movement, Jenny Beth Martin from Smart Girl Politics, Adam Waldeck, on behalf of American Solutions, and Michael Patrick Leahy, representing TCOT.

Viewers will hear from the nationwide network of tea party organizers across the country. Live in studio PJTV will have the lead organizers from two of the largest events in the nation, Amy Kremer from Atlanta, and Mark Meckler from Sacramento, California. Additionally, it is anticipated that over 150 organizers will participate interactively in the call, and hundreds of others will participate by listening to the call on Patriots Heart Network on BlogTalk Radio and watching on Pajamas TV.

On tonight's show, the movement will outline the following very specific immediate calls to action for fiscal conservatives across the country who are aligning themselves with this movement:

1. The Tea Party Coalition Rating for Congressional Candidates: The Tea Party movement will unveil it's intent to provide ratings of both the Democrat and Republican candidates who will oppose incumbent Democrat and Republican Congressmen who vote in favor of the excessive spending in the Administration's proposed budget. It is expected that the Congressional Conference Committee will submit a final budget to both Houses of Congress for a final up or down vote on April 20. Utilizing the latest technology, within seconds of that final vote, the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition will post a rating for two candidates in every Congressional District of Congressman who vote in favor of that wasteful budget: one candidate who will oppose the incumbent in his party's primary, and one candidate who will oppose the incumbent in the general election from the opposing major party. The Coalition will use our newly minted nationwide action network to suggest that all members of the Tea Party movement go online and contribute to EACH of these candidates in every district, and volunteer to support them.

2. Proposition 1A: California. The Tea Party Coalition will also unveil plans to issue a call to action for fiscally conservative activists across the nation to assist residents in California in defeating the wasteful spending of that state's Proposition 1A, on the ballot next month. According to TCOT's Michael Leahy, "Proposition 1A is an excellent example of the problem with government at all levels across the country. Simply put, it's a $16 billion tax increase that dishonest politicians in California are trying to pass off as a 'budget cap.' We need to fight these battles across the nation at every level, and California, the tax and spend epicenter of the nation, is a great place to start."

About the Organizations

American Solutions - American Solutions for Winning the Future is a tri-partisan citizen action network of more than 1.5 million members. American Solutions is designed to rise above traditional gridlocked partisanship to provide real, significant solutions to the most important issues facing our country. Its General Chairman is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Find American Solutions at

TCOT - Top Conservatives on Twitter was founded by Nashville area native Michael Patrick Leahy three-and-a-half months ago and currently consists of 3,800 conservatives. TCOT followers can be found on Twitter by searching for "#tcot," the unique identifier or "hashtag" attached at the end of the 140 characters in a "tweet." #TCOT is the number one hashtag in use on Twitter, having been used over 99,000 times during its short existence -- more than twice as much as the second place hashtag on Twitter. TCOT's Michael Patrick Leahy, a technology project manager, resides in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Find TCOT at

Dontgo - Dontgo Movement was founded by Eric J. Odom eight months ago and has over 30,000 members. The name "Dontgo" was taken from the plea conservatives offered when the Democrats shut down Congress for summer break during the energy crisis of 2008. Dontgo's Eric Odom is an internet marketer living in the Chicago, Illinois area. Dontgo tweets can be found on Twitter at "#dontgo" and on the web at

SGP - Smart Girl Politics was founded by Stacy Mott in November 2008 and now has over 3,000 members. SGP is a grass roots organization that promotes the opinions and principles of conservative women. SGP is dedicated to the advancement of conservative women in all levels of government. Of course men are more than welcome to join! SGP's Stacy Mott is a former HR manager turned stay-at-home mom residing in Pennsylvania. Find SGP tweets on Twitter at "#sgp" and on the web at

Pajamas TV has been covering the Tea Parties, the direction of the U.S. Economy and the conservative movement in an expanding number of ways. PJTV Tea Party coverage has included shows with Glenn Reynolds ("American Tea Party"), photo libraries and poster contests. In preparation for Tax Day Tea Parties, PJTV is launching the daily show "Tea Party Coalition: Countdown to Tax Day," and is planning a full day of coverage on April 15th. Additionally, for each new Pajamas TV subscriber from today (Monday, April 6th) to the end of April, PJTV will apply 100 percent of the first month's subscription fees to a grant to the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. Pajamas TV monthly subscription rates start at $5 ($3 per month for students) and can be cancelled at any time after the first month.

About Pajamas TV

Pajamas TV ( is a conservative and center-right Internet TV company. Working with conservative think tanks and bloggers, Pajamas TV started production in September 2008 as the first online TV venture to be given a sky box at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. The Pajamas TV headquarters studio is located in El Segundo, Calif., with remote studio locations in New York, Washington, and Jerusalem. In addition, PJTV brings in many contributors via web cams.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

FRC Urges Legislative Action Following Iowa Same-Sex 'Marriage' Ruling

Friday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins condemned the decision by the Iowa Supreme Court striking down the state's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and forcing same-sex "marriage" on the state. The ruling in Varnum v. Brien was the fourth in favor of legalizing same-sex "marriage" by a state high court. California's ruling was overturned by the people at the ballot box last November; Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only states which currently give marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

"Same-sex 'marriage' continues to be a movement driven by a liberal judicial elite determined to destroy not only the institution of marriage, but democracy as well. The casual dismissal of the facts of human biology and thousands of years of human history, simply to pander to a small band of social radicals, is bizarre and indefensible," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC).

Perkins pointed out that while four states have attempted to legalize same-sex "marriage" through the judicial process, to date none have done so democratically, while a majority of states have not only defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but have placed that definition in their state constitution. "We need to remember that the marriage amendment movement has been many times more successful than the same-sex 'marriage' movement," Perkins said. "FRC will continue to stand with those states which are seeking to pass marriage protection amendments in order to protect our most fundamental social institution from the kind of judicial activism we saw today in Iowa."

"We urge Iowans to contact their legislators and urge them to move quickly to pass a constitutional amendment protecting marriage, joining the twenty-nine states that have already defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their state constitutions," stated Mr. Perkins.

"We hope the legislature will heed the powerful swell of statewide support for an amendment and reclaim from the High Court its rightful place as the state's policy making body. That's the only sure way to protect the institution of marriage from radical social engineering by state judges."
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