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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Iraq Insurgency Reporting, A Soldier's View

My only comment on this: If we actually required news reporters to be qualified to report on the topics they cover, who among the talking heads would be left on the air?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Synthesis of Ideas

In preparing the devotion/prayer for this morning's staff meeting (it was my turn), I was compelled to focus both on the upcoming "anniversary" of Roe v. Wade, and the memorials for Dr. King which I heard on the news yesterday.

First, I wanted to look at the abortion issue as it relates to economics. Then, as I pondered the economic impact of abortion and the culture of death upon our communities, I wondered how the abortion industry - and it's prevalence among inner-city populations - was related to the dream Dr. King spoke about.

Below is the text (with one minor change) of what I presented to the staff before our weekly meeting today:

The abortion argument is often centered on ethics, morality, and theology (as such an important issue should be), but there are additional factors to consider. Many in our world see the “bottom line” as more important than any other consideration.

In 1998 U.S. News and World Report demonstrated this attitude when they declared: “A child, financially speaking, looks more like a high-priced consumer item with no warranty. It’s the decision to remain childless that offers the real investment opportunity.” [Emphasis added]

This is the underlying “rationale” of many pro-abortion advocates: abortion economically benefits society. This argument relies on our society’s acceptance of the “fact” that children are an economic drain, and that the relatively low cost of the “procedure” for ending a human life is dramatically offset by the savings in benefits of entitlements such as welfare, Medicaid, and public education. Further, abortion is a valued “check and balance” in the area of population growth and the costs associated with a growing population. In this model, children are so expensive that abortion of any “unwanted” child is justified. Why spend money on something no one wants? (Notice the ample use of quotes to convey my questioning of such dubious logic.)

Leaving aside the ethical, moral, and – I would argue – BASIC HUMAN reactions to such a harsh rationale, I would offer several points that directly refute the economic benefit argument:

Fewer babies mean fewer consumers, less demand for goods and services, and fewer jobs. Growing populations lead to higher levels of spending and lower unemployment. Fewer children leads to less child-centered spending. (How many times in recent years have you heard, “The Christmas shopping season was lighter than expected.”)
Abortion slows labor force growth, impacting entitlement programs such as Social Security. While the burden of one person receiving Social Security used to be spread among five or more active workers, in the next 15 years, that burden will only be shouldered by TWO workers. Without the loss of life due to abortion, over seven million additional workers would be in the labor force. That number continues to grow. Their contributions to SS and Medicare (in a conservative estimate, acknowledging that most of the losses would have been in early, low-earning years) would have totaled over $9 billion.
Abortion undermines technological innovation. It has denied us the talents, gifts, and contributions of 40 million unique individuals, and counting. Legal abortion undermines the primary source of America’s high standard of living: our innovation.
Abortion does not save tax dollars. Planned Parenthood claims that every dollar spent on abortions for poor women would save four dollars of tax money, ignoring the fact that most of the aborted children would eventually “pay back” that support through tax contributions of their own. A baby born in the U.S. in 1996 will, on average and over the course of his life, pay about $400,000 in taxes, dwarfing the tens of thousands of dollars spent on a child on welfare.

When we hear of the lack of economic and social progress of the African-American community, we have to wonder what role abortion has played in this. While black women only make up 13% of the population, they account for 34% of all abortions, a rate that is over two and a half times that of white women. That equals approximately 1,400 African-American children every day: 15 million since Roe v. Wade. The economic impacts described above hit the African-American community hard.

Such a high abortion rate also decreases political muscle. The loss of 15 million citizens in minority neighborhoods has resulted in a loss of approximately 15 to 20 seats in Congress that would have been held by African-Americans.

The writings of Planed Parenthood’s founder were rich with her desire to reduce the black population through “family planning”, and whether the modern pro-abortion advocate consciously supports racism, the effect of abortion is still devastating to the black community. One can't help but imagine the number of "little black boys and little black girls" that Dr. King mentioned in his speech that were never born and will never even have the opportunity to live "hand in hand" with their white neighbors.

Nothing infuriates pro-choice advocates more than the comparison of abortion to slavery, and yet I feel some comparison of attitudes is in order:

Spoken by someone already free…
Spoken by someone already born…

Although he may have the biological features of a human, the slave is not a legal person, as defined by the Supreme Court (Dread Scott).
Although he may have the biological features of a human, the unborn baby is not a legal person, as defined by the Supreme Court (Roe v. Wade).

A black man becomes a legal person when he is set free. Until he is free, he is of no concern to the legal system.
A baby becomes a legal person when he is born. Until that time, he is of no concern to the legal system.

No one is forcing you to own slaves, so don’t impose your morality on me.
No one is forcing you to have an abortion, so don’t impose your morality on me.

A man has a right to do as he pleases with his own property.
A woman has a right to do as she pleases with her own body.

Isn’t slavery really merciful? Isn’t it better never to be set free than to be sent unprepared and ill-equipped into a cruel world?
Isn’t abortion merciful? Isn’t it better never to be born than to be sent into the world alone, unwanted, unloved, and impoverished?

Perhaps some day, society will look back on abortion the way we now look back on slavery: a monstrous evil that was accepted as a normal, natural, institutional, and ingrained part of our culture which eventually gave way to reason, morality, and ethics.

Until then, let us pray:

Prayer for the Helpless Unborn

Heavenly Father, in your love for us,
Protect against the wickedness of the devil,
Those helpless little ones to whom you have given the gift of life.

Touch with pity the hearts of those women pregnant in our world today
Who are not thinking of motherhood.

Help them to see that the child they carry is made in your image – as well as theirs –
Made for eternal life.

Dispel their fear and selfishness and give them womanly hearts
To love their babies and give them birth
And all the needed care that a mother alone can give.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Power's Out. I'm Voting Democrat!

That is the sentiment of one of the people quoted in this story:

http://www.thestarpress.com/articles/2/032779-1552-001.htmlRead below...

"Nicholas Reese of 9485 W. Ind. 32, Parker City, is one of those customers
who is complaining.Reese has been without power since day one of the ice storm,
except for one period last week when power came back on for five hours."I am
thankful that it's not as bad as the tsunami is," Reese said Wednesday. "But
when 150 repair trucks drove past my house today and I hold up my hands like
what's going on and one of them gives you the finger, what's up with

Last week, Reese drove to Indianapolis to buy a portable electric
generator, which he is using to run his refrigerator and stove. He's heating
with a fireplace.

"I understand the repairmen are under a lot of pressure," Reese said. "It's
the electric company I'm mad at. I've called them five times and gotten five
different stories. Now I can't get through.They've got my calls blocked. A
recording says my problem has been reported. So now they don't want to talk to
you. I called the billing office. They are willing to talk to you about your
bill but not about the power outage."

Reese said the ordeal has caused him to switch political
allegiances."I voted Republican last time," he said. "Next time I'm
voting Democrat. It seems like the Republicans are more for businesses, and the
Democrats are more for the people."

Reese thinks U.S. Rep. Mike Pence should investigate I&M's response to
the power outage. I&M spokesman Jim Riggle said, "If an inappropriate
gesture was made, I apologize. It's very unfortunate that that took place.
I can't respond as to why individual customers are out. The crews' bosses are
advising them of their next step. This is an organized restoration effort, not

Cami and I (and most of Muncie/Delaware County) were without power from last Wednesday until this Tuesday night due to the ice storm, living by the light of the gas-log fire and by the sound of dozens of trees/branches falling throughout the neighborhood...as my brother-in-law (who is not normally known for his eloquence) put it: "Muncie is a tree graveyard".

I counted no less than 8 limbs/branches of significant size that struck our house Wednesday night, luckily with only minor damage...the hot-tub looked like a brush pile waiting for a group of football players and cheerleaders to stop by for the big homecoming bond fire, but it looks like the only damage was to the insulated cover.

At one point 120,000 people were with out power, 600 transformers had exploded, 4000 lines were physically down on the ground.

All of this after i had rented (from netflix) the first couple of DVDs of "24" season one to watch...they are just sitting there...i hope, over the next couple of months to "get into" 24 by watching the first few seasons on DVD...i feel so left out...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

If You Wish To Give

It is important to support charities that will provide the most aid in a time of crisis.

I chose to give some money in response to the Tsunami tragedy to Catholic Relief Services. CRS has a strong history of low overhead, immediate-needs assistance. They were already on the ground in the areas hit by the Tsunami, which means almost every cent donated goes to actual aid, not overhead costs. You can visit their web-site, and follow the big "Donate Here" link to add to their efforts.


January 3, 2005, Baltimore, MD - Catholic Relief Services (CRS) President and CEO Ken Hackett issued the following statement regarding President Bush’s announcement of the fundraising initiative to be carried out by former Presidents Bush and Clinton for generating American public support of humanitarian agencies’ tsunami relief efforts.

“Catholic Relief Services is grateful for the vital support this will bring to relief workers, our local partners and all those we’re assisting in this crisis. The visibility of two former presidents promoting American private, charitable contributions demonstrates a commitment by the U.S. government that we believe is appropriate and necessary for responding to what will be a lengthy period of recovery across the south and southeast Asia region. We remain impressed and grateful for the generosity Americans have shown, time and again, in support of life-saving relief efforts. And, we are heartened that President Bush has acknowledged Catholic Relief Services as one of the leading humanitarian agencies to have responded quickly and responsibly to this dire emergency.”

"CRS' tsunami relief efforts address both emergency and long-term recovery needs in the most devastated areas, primarily in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. CRS' assistance focuses on water purification and sanitation, shelter, distribution of essential food and nonfood items, medical care, trauma counseling, psycho-social support, and the rebuilding of communities to restore livelihoods. CRS has committed an initial $25 million for its relief operations in response to the crisis, and has acknowledged that the amount is likely to grow as the agency assesses the greatest areas of need, gravity of the situation and estimated time for recovery.

CRS has had a significant presence in south and southeast Asia for more than 60 years, providing both emergency and long-term development assistance. The official international humanitarian organization of the U.S. Catholic community, CRS provides assistance to people in 99 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, creed or nationality.