Saturday, October 09, 2004

'Fetus' Tossed Into Calgary Hospital Trash Compactor

Hospital to probe disposal of fetus
Mother asked to keep remains for memorial service;
hospital apologizes for error
Deborah Tetley
Calgary Herald
October 9, 2004

The Calgary Health Region has launched an
investigation and officials are offering a distraught
mother an apology four days after a hospital employee
discarded the woman's miscarried fetus in the trash.

But Tarin Alvarez said apologies are not enough and
demands to know who is to blame for the error that saw
the fetus put in the trash compactor at the Peter
Lougheed Centre.

With emotions ranging from anger to sorrow, a tearful
Alvarez told the Herald she wanted to keep the remains
to hold a burial service for the child she named
Mohammed, after his father.

"I cannot get this picture out of my head of my baby
in the garbage," said the woman, who was four months
pregnant. "Sorry is not going to be enough. I want to
know who did this and I want to look in her eyes and
ask her where I will go when I want to light a candle
for my baby, or visit my baby.

"Where do I go for the rest of my life when I think of
my baby -- to the garbage?"

CHR officials said an investigation is underway to
find out why the remains were left in a plastic bag on
a counter in the emergency room while Alvarez was
being attended to by a nurse.

"Our sincere apologies go out to this family and the
mother," said Janet Umphrey, vice-president of the
region's northwest portfolio. "The (fetus) was
inadvertently discarded by staff who didn't know they
were remains. We are very sorry and this should not
have happened."

Although the investigation is in its early stages,
Umphrey said it appears hospital practises were not

"We have policies and procedures in place and in this
case not all of them were followed," she said. "This
is a very serious issue and we will take all the steps
necessary to ensure this does not happen again."

Alvarez's ordeal began Oct. 3 when she visited the
emergency room at Foothills Hospital, complaining of
abdominal pains and bleeding. Following an ultrasound
she was sent home.

The next afternoon Alvarez spontaneously delivered in
the bathroom of her southeast home. Her sister, Anna
Alvarez, was already en route to the house and called
911 upon arrival.

Knowing she wanted to bury the fetus Tarin Alvarez
asked paramedics to save the remains, which they
placed in a plastic bag and put in the ambulance.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the bag was put on a
counter in the emergency room while staff tended to
Alvarez. According to policy the nurse should have
then taken the remains, placed them in a plastic
container, labelled it and sent it to the lab for
tests -- which is done in every case, Umphrey said.

Instead, the nurse was called away and the fetus sat
unattended, the lab transfer and labeling never

"We don't know if it was a cleaning staff or another
staff member," Umphrey said, "but the remains were
picked up and taken away."

Once the error was discovered staff fanned out and
inspected trash containers, to no avail.

Hours after losing her unborn child -- and while her
family was making funeral arrangements -- Alvarez
suffered a second blow when a nurse visited her room
and told her the news.

The mother offered to look through trash cans to find
the fetus.

"I wanted my baby. I told them I would get up and find
it," she said. "I would dig in the garbage for the
baby myself."

It was then, Alvarez said, the situation became more
grim when the nurse took a very long pause before
saying the fetus was placed in the trash compactor
machine, making it virtually unretrieveable.

"I can't imagine this baby, that had little developed
arms and legs, being (disposed of) like garbage," she
said. "How could they not have known? It was in a
clear bag."

Health officials say it is not uncommon for women who
have suffered a miscarriage to keep the remains.

Lucy Pascal, CHR's pregnancy and infant loss program
co-ordinator said about 75 per cent of women who
experience early miscarriages view the event as a
"significant loss" and plan for a memorial service.

Roughly half of those women will opt to leave the
fetus with the hospital to be included in a biannual
memorial service, while the rest take them home to
plan memorials and bury the remains.

About 1,500 women have miscarriages each year in

The review will be exhaustive and involve a team of
medical and quality improvement officials not involved
in Alvarez's care, Umphrey said.

"We will look at how we can ensure that this doesn't
happen again. From emergency to the paramedics to the
patient unit we will look at it all."

Alvarez has been in touch with a lawyer, trying to
determine if she has any legal options.

"Regrettably there is probably not a lot we can do for
her in terms of damages, considering we are talking
about the rights of an unborn child that would have
never seen life," said lawyer Michael Birnbaum, who
has not been retained by Alvarez. "What is actionable
is the trauma and psychological loss to Tarin. There
has to be some recourse by the health region for her
pain and suffering."

Alvarez, who works at Calgary Family Services as a
personal care aide, said she is unable to work while
she recovers physically and emotionally. She contacted
the Herald because she wants the CHR "to be held

Pascal said the region has offered ongoing counselling
and is keeping in touch with the mother.

"My heart just goes out to her," Pascal said. "She has
suffered two losses."

ABC Slammed for 'Slanted' Campaign Coverage


October 9, 2004 -- ST. LOUIS — ABC News was under fire last night after an internal memo surfaced suggesting President Bush should be held more accountable for his statements than John Kerry.

The memo to staffers from the network's powerful political director, Marc Halperin, noted that while both campaigns are distorting the truth, Kerry's bending of the facts shouldn't be hit as hard.

"Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win," Halperin wrote.

But "the current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done," Halperin added.

Halperin further advised the ABC staff to keep that in mind when reporting.

"We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides 'equally' accountable when the facts don't warrant that," the memo continued.

"It's up to Kerry to defend himself, of course. But as one of the few news organizations with the skill and strength to help voters evaluate what the candidates are saying to serve the public interest, now is the time for all of us to step up and do that right."

A spokesman for ABC news insisted "we are not interested in taking sides, we are only interested in getting at the truth."

Halperin plays a mostly behind-the-scenes role at ABC, and is known as the father of "The Note," a daily political memo that is read by thousands of D.C. insiders, political players and journalists.

Toronto Sun: Liberals Hide Behind the Courts

Sat, October 9, 2004
PM hides behind courts

Since our federal Liberal government is once again pretending that it doesn't know what its own position is on same-sex marriage, allow us to clear the air. Prime Minister Paul Martin and his government support same-sex marriage and plan to pass a law recognizing it.

This is a complete reversal of the Liberals' position of five years ago, when they defined marriage as "the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others" and called on Parliament "to take all steps necessary to preserve (this) definition."

At the time, then-justice minister Anne McLellan assured the Commons that "the government has no intention of changing the definition of marriage or of legislating same-sex marriages." But that was then, this is now, and the Liberals' previous position has gone the way of most other Liberal commitments.

We know the Liberals now favour same-sex marriage because (a) they've said so and (b) they decided not to appeal three lower court rulings which recognized same-sex marriages in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. Given all that, this week's move by the Liberals to refer the whole issue to the Supreme Court of Canada was (a) unnecessary and (b) a blatant abdication of their role as parliamentarians.

The Liberal thinking is that once the Supreme Court rules in favour of the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, which it no doubt will if previous court decisions are any guide, they will be able to argue that the issue has been decided by the courts. All of which is a clever political strategy, but makes for lousy government.

The correct thing for the Grits to do would be to forget the Supreme Court reference, which several judges rightly described this week as political, rather than a legal manoeuvre, and introduce a law recognizing same-sex marriages.

Since we oppose same-sex marriage (along with 43% of the Canadian public, compared to 54% in favour), we 'd prefer that Martin allow Liberal MPs to vote their consciences on this issue, as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper called for this week in demanding a free vote. But even if the Liberals don't have the courage to do that, they should at least have the guts to introduce the law and pass it, rather than trying to hide behind the Supreme Court.

Our preference would be for a law giving gays the same rights as married, heterosexual couples by recognizing "civil unions" while preserving the traditional definition of marriage as "the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others." Which is what the Liberals used to believe, before they changed their minds.

Friday, October 08, 2004

U.S. Seeks Tainted British Vaccines

U.S. Officials Try To Salvage Flu Shots From Tainted Supply
Anxious Patients Stand In Long Lines For Shots
POSTED: 10:03 am EDT October 7, 2004
UPDATED: 4:40 pm EDT October 7, 2004

With flu shot clinics being canceled nationwide, U.S. health officials are trying to salvage some vaccine held up in a British factory.

They met with British regulators in London on Thursday to discuss Britain's move to temporarily shut down Chiron Corp., the supplier of half the American flu vaccine supply.

Britain defended the move, which stunned U.S. health officials this week. They say the vaccine was tainted with a bacteria.

American health officials wanted to examine test results. They also will visit the Chiron factory where the vaccine is being held to see if any can be salvaged.

Back in the United States, phones have been ringing off the hook in doctors' offices with patients eager to get the vaccine.

Flu shot clinics that have gone on despite the shortage have seen huge lines. In Potomac, Md., a flu shot clinic at a grocery store had such a large turnout that police had to be called to direct traffic.

U.S. health officials are scrambling to find out which cities and states will have the worst vaccine shortages.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it'll be weeks before that can happen. Most of the doses have gone to private distributors, not state health departments.

The government says it will urge those distributors to ration the vaccine out to those most in need -- the youngest, oldest and sickest.

"We don't get most of the high-risk people anyway. In a sense, the added focus will bring more of those people out and get them to medical care. A silver lining in a cloud," said Dr. Michael Elkort, of Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts.

"At risk" patients include: children between 6 months and 23 months old; adults 65 years and older; anyone with underlying chronic medical conditions; some pregnant women; and health-care workers and child-care providers.

"We're concerned there's not enough in the country to give to the children," said Lorretta Chow, mother of a 2-year-old.

However, experts say that Chiron didn't make any of vaccines designed for young children, so the supplies of that vaccine won't be affected by the shortage.

Christianity Being Invaded By False Teaching

Christianity Today, October 2004
The Ecstatic Heresy
Seeking a superficial unity, some denominational leaders opt for feelings over facts.
By Robert Sanders | posted 10/08/2004 9:00 a.m.

The conflict in the mainline churches is ostensibly about sexuality—specifically, homosexuality. But more than sexuality is at stake. The faith itself, the Christian faith, is being invaded by false teaching. Theologically, this heresy is rarely articulated. Rather, it works by feeling, an ecstatic sense that transcends petty verbal differences. Consider these three quotations:
The Dammann case does reveal continuing differences in the United Methodist Church concerning the issue of homosexuality. The Council of Bishops is painfully aware of this disagreement. In such moments as this, we remember that our unity in Christ does not depend on unanimity of opinion. Rather, in Jesus Christ we are bound together by love that transcends our differences and calls us to stay at the table with one another.
When they finished, all of us stood up and applauded, with a lump in our throats and a tear in our eyes, as we watched them embrace one another. Convictions were not reconciled that day, but two people who held different convictions were reconciled in Christ.
How we all fit together, how our singularities are made sense of, how our divergent views and different understandings of God's intent are reconciled, passes all understanding. All that we can do is to travel on in faith and trust, knowing that all contradictions and paradoxes and seemingly irreconcilable truths—which seem both consistent and inconsistent with Scripture—are brought together in the larger and all- embracing truth of Christ, which, by Christ's own words, has yet to be fully drawn forth and known.
The first quotation is from a March 25, 2004, statement by the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church in response to the trial of a lesbian Methodist minister. This trial reflected the deep divisions within that church. The bishops are "painfully aware" of these disagreements. Nevertheless, they feel that these differences are a matter of "opinion." These opinions, however, cannot negate our "unity in Christ" because "in Jesus Christ we are bound together by love that transcends our differences and calls us to stay at the table with one another." In other words, we can be in verbal disagreement, yet be unified at a higher level in Christ.
The second quotation is from an address by Douglas W. Oldenburg, moderator of the 1998 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly. In the climax of his speech, he portrayed two men who also addressed the assembly. The first was a homosexual Presbyterian pastor who passionately affirmed his sexuality, his call to ministry, and his understanding of Scripture. His speech was followed by an equally passionate address by a man who held utterly contrary views. Once these two speeches had been delivered, the two men embraced each other. At that point, the assembly applauded with tears in their eyes and lumps in their throats. Although these two men held different convictions, convictions resulting in starkly different behaviors, they "were reconciled in Christ."
The third quotation is from Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Like the others, he believes that verbal disagreements, different conceptions of truth—even truths inconsistent with Scripture—are unified in the "larger and all-embracing truth of Christ."
These men do not speak in a vacuum. They are influenced by a tradition, a powerful theological perspective that resonates in our culture and is taught in our universities, graduate schools of religion, and seminaries. I call this the "ecstatic" perspective, a term taken from theologian Paul Tillich. Essentially, this perspective claims that God can only be known in feeling, in ways that transcend the language of God or about God.
Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) is the grandfather of the ecstatic tradition. For Schleiermacher, the essence of the Christian faith is a mystical sense of the Divine. This feeling is beyond language since language refers to objects in space and time. God is not an object like other objects. He cannot be described as if he were an electron, a tree, or a cat. To do so would be to profane God.
Compare and Contrast
Let me give three examples of the ecstatic perspective, contrasting it with what I consider to be an orthodox understanding of Christianity. (I am speaking, of course, of theological tendencies, as rarely do people fall consistently into one group or another; the contrast is meant to illustrate two theological trajectories that are found in the mainline churches.)
Consider Isaiah 6. According to orthodoxy, Isaiah literally heard God say the words, "Whom shall I send?" Isaiah replied, "Send me." God spoke again, in language accessible to Isaiah, giving him a message that he then proclaimed to the people. In this event, some things were beyond Isaiah's understanding. He could not, for example, comprehend the intense holiness of God, so holy that the Seraphim hid their eyes and Isaiah cried out, "Woe is me! For I am lost." Yet even though God remained a deep mystery, Isaiah nonetheless heard the transcendent God speak.
According to the ecstatic perspective, the divine utterance "Whom shall I send?" is a poetic metaphor. Rather than literally hearing a particular message from God, Isaiah merely had a profound sense of God the transcendent Holy One. As a result, his imagination created a dialogue between God and himself. The mystical feeling that gave rise to the dialogue came from God, but Isaiah—as formed by his psychological, social, and historical context—created its verbal expression.
Both views, orthodox and ecstatic, understand that God is transcendent. But for the orthodox, the transcendent God speaks actual words. The supreme example of God's speech is the Incarnation of the Word, who reveals God in concrete deeds and words. These two ways of being God, transcendent and holy yet present and speaking, correspond to God the Father and God the Word (or Son), while God the Holy Spirit enables human beings to hear and obey God's spoken words. This view requires the doctrines of Trinity and Incarnation. John 1:18 (RSV) states it this way: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known."
The ecstatic view robs the Incarnation of its objective, concrete character by making the revelation in Jesus ineffable. From there, the Trinity is debased since ultimately there is no God the Word who comes from God to verbally reveal the Father.
Consider a further example, the Resurrection. If Jesus was bodily raised by God, then God acted physically at a specific time and place. This would make God an agent, as if God—like an electron, a tree, or a cat—was literally affecting matter. Ecstatics would not understand God in such a "crude" fashion. As a result, many ecstatics deny the bodily Resurrection. Many also deny biblical miracles, which they consider creations of primitive peoples who took felt experiences of the Holy and clothed them in language normally used for objects. By contrast, an orthodox perspective would trust in the biblical miracles, especially that God raised Jesus bodily from the dead, that the tomb was indeed empty.
Finally, consider ethics. Ecstatics do not believe that specific biblical commands were literally uttered by God. Rather, biblical people had a mystical sense of divine obligation that they expressed in the thought forms of their day. Since these thought forms are constantly changing, the ethical sense takes new forms under new circumstances. As a result, ethics changes as culture changes. From an orthodox perspective, however, God literally spoke biblical commands. Some of them were specific to the time and situation of the original hearers, but many of them, certainly the words of Jesus, are eternally valid.
Ten Differences
These two ways of understanding God—the ecstatic and the orthodox—underlie the theological division in mainline Protestant churches. These differences are not always clearly articulated, and many persons have vaguely adapted portions of each. When the matter is thought through, however, these two views differ in virtually every dimension of the Christian faith.
In addition to the examples given above, let me list ten principal differences.
1. Ecstatic: God in himself, or in his revelation as Word and words, is never really verbal. He always transcends language.

Orthodox: God is transcendent in his essence, but God can speak to human beings who can actually understand him. Above all, God is known in the words and deeds of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

2. Ecstatic: Theological statements use language, but literal language refers only to objective realities. Language applied to God is always symbolic since God is ineffable.

Orthodox: Theological statements can accurately, albeit not exhaustively, describe God and his will. Theology also employs symbolic language since the spoken Word reveals God the Father, who is holy and transcendent.

3. Ecstatic: Scripture is the history of ecstatic experiences given verbal content according to the social context of the biblical peoples. We live in a different social context. Consequently, one must first hear the "Word within the biblical words" in order to sense the Divine that transcends all historical contexts. Then, once sensed, the Word within the biblical words is expressed in contemporary categories. The concept of "contemporary categories" allows experience to transform Scripture.

Orthodox: The biblical Word has verbal content in union with the specific cultural context in which the Word is spoken. There is no "Word within the biblical words," but the biblical words—including their cultural forms—are the Word written. As such, they directly address and redeem all cultural contexts as God's living Word. Experience lies under Scripture.

4. Ecstatic: The task of theology is to reinterpret the faith as relevant to new cultural contexts. The content of faith evolves since culture evolves.

Orthodox: The task of theology is first and foremost to clarify and preserve the faith once delivered to the saints and to transfer it intact to each succeeding generation. Certain aspects of revelation never evolve.

5. Ecstatic: Since personhood requires objectivity—that is, a person over against us who can speak to us—God is not personal so much as he is an energy to be experienced.

Orthodox: God is personal, revealing himself as God the Son who became objectively incarnate in the man Jesus, with whom one can have a relationship.

6. Ecstatic: Doctrines do not literally refer to God but to feeling, the depth of reality, or the horizon of being. Therefore doctrines can be radically reinterpreted in terms of ecstatic categories, and pastoral experience can carry more weight than doctrine.

Orthodox: Doctrines teach truths about God—his moral will and his saving acts. They can be variously understood. They deal with mysteries, but they cannot be reinterpreted in categories that have no literal reference to a God who speaks.

7. Ecstatic: Sacraments or ordinances express the identity and unity of the ongoing life of the church.

Orthodox: In liturgical traditions, sacraments are concrete means of supernatural grace by which God transforms his people. In the free churches, ordinances are the God-ordained means by which believers show their faith in God's saving acts. Both focus on God's action.

8. Ecstatic: All religions are ultimately one since the faith of each is an expression of the Holy or Ineffable in the concrete forms of a particular culture.

Orthodox: The particulars of a religion matter, and therefore, the religions are divided by their specific content.

9. Ecstatic: The ascent to God is a mystical union beyond the objective boundary of self and God. At this highest level, dialogue, give and take with God, disappears. All is bliss. Humanity has ascended to God.

Orthodox: Spirituality is an encounter with God, mediated by Word and sacrament, in which God and the person know each other as distinct selves. God truly speaks to us and listens to us. God condescends to speak to humanity on our terms.

10. Ecstatic: Those who affirm a particular piety or religious preference constitute the church. Heresy is not as troublesome as schism, to claim ultimacy for one's own verbal beliefs while denying that the differing beliefs of others are equally expressive of the Infinite.

Orthodox: Those who have been called by the incarnate Jesus Christ and conformed to that Word by the Spirit constitute the church. Schism is not as much a concern as heresy, the denial of an objectively revealed tradition.

A Church of Both/And
Ecstatics do not deny Scripture, the creeds, or the great documents of their traditions. They consider the Scriptures to be the foundation of faith, their liturgies resonate with the Ineffable, and the various confessions are a cultural treasure. They simply revise these sources along ecstatic lines. That is why it is appropriate to call them "revisionists." They revise Scripture, creeds, and the faith in terms of a non-Trinitarian perspective that has no real sense of the Incarnation.
Since the revisionists "honor" Scripture and tradition, they can worship, study, pray, teach, and promote their agenda shoulder to shoulder with the orthodox while holding utterly different conceptions of the faith. Conflict only arises when the church must deal with concrete issues such as revision of our language for God, sexual norms, evangelism to those of other faiths, or who is welcome to take Communion. At that point, real differences emerge.
As a result, it is not enough for orthodox Christians to simply say that Jesus called God "Father," or that Scripture condemns homosexuality, or that Jesus commands us to evangelize, or that the universal tradition of the church requires baptism prior to Eucharist. Ecstatics know all this. They relativize these claims by viewing them as outmoded expressions of an evolving faith that progressively expresses the Indescribable.
The ecstatic approach is ideal for denominational leaders seeking to maintain institutional harmony in the face of profound theological and moral divisions. It allows them to affirm a transcendent unity while affirming the contradictory beliefs and actions of their constituents. Such leaders may or may not have studied Schleiermacher, but their theology articulates the deepest values of our pluralistic culture—diversity, tolerance, and unity. Once these values assume theological expression and legitimacy, they function perfectly in the North American religious context.
But for the orthodox, it isn't feeling that brings life. It is a God who spoke his living words to them in Jesus Christ. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Mt. 24:35)

(Robert Sanders is associate rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He received his Ph.D. in theology from the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California Graduate School in Berkeley, California. More of his writings can be found at

October 2004, Vol. 48, No. 10, Page 55

Where Will the 'Rainbow' School Bus Take Our Kids?

School's Out -- Will the Rainbow Bus Take Our Kids to the Land of Diversity?
By Ed Vitagliano | AFA Journal News Editor

Transvestite teachers. Boys kissing boys in restrooms. Teens taught about
anal sex. "Gay" fairy tales for children.
Could these things actually become a reality in our public schools? The
speed of change in our society thus far, driven by resolute homosexual
activists, indicates that the answer is most assuredly yes.
In case some people think such projections about the future are a hunk of
homophobic hooey, they might want to consider the fact that, in some parts
of the country, these things are already happening.
So what changes can be expected, and what would life in our public schools
be like if homosexual activists win the culture war? The following are
predictions based on current trends.
Entrenchment of ‘gay’ viewpoint
For more than three decades, activists have been demanding that the public
school system be enlisted as a primary engine in the effort to normalize
In their 1972 Gay Rights Platform, activists meeting in Chicago, Illinois,
demanded "[f]ederal encouragement and support for sex education courses,
prepared and taught by gay women and men, presenting homosexuality as a
valid, healthy preference and lifestyle as a viable alternative to
Similarly, in their 1993 March on Washington, D.C., activists demanded that
such radical instruction be taught on "all levels of education" — federal,
state and local, grades K-12.
Support for the homosexual agenda is already solid throughout the
professional education organizations, such as the National Education
Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Association of School
Administrators, and the National Association of School Psychologists.
The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has also made it clear that it
supports the normalization of homosexuality within the public school system.
In 1999, for example, National PTA President Ginny Markell said her
organization would be making available the video That’s a Family!, which
embraces same-sex families, as part of a nationwide effort to fight
discrimination against homosexuals.
At its 2004 conference in Anaheim, California, the National PTA partnered
with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a
pro-homosexual group, to cooperatively present a workshop that instructed
educators about how to promote homosexuality in public schools.
Across the nation, outside homosexual pressure groups are constantly pushing
schools to create an environment in which the "gay" lifestyle is celebrated.
Perhaps the most effective of these groups, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight
Education Network (GLSEN), says it has almost 70 chapters throughout the
nation. The group claims on its Web site that, by the end of the 2002-2003
school year, 1,864 student clubs — called "Gay-Straight Alliances" — had
registered with GLSEN.
Other projects, such as the controversial videos It’s Elementary and That’s
a Family!, have been instrumental in instructing public school
administrators and faculty how to teach children of all ages about
homosexuality. It’s Elementary, for example, has been acquired by nearly two
thousand educational institutions across the country.
As sympathy for the homosexual agenda becomes embedded in the nation’s
public school systems, the changes promise to be dramatic. Linda Harvey of
Mission America, a pro-family group, predicts that: "School literature will
be adapted to reflect a positive view of the homosexual family as a future
option for every child. Josh will learn that he can grow up and marry a girl
or a boy. And since at age six he probably hasn’t yet discovered his sexual
‘identity,’ the fair thing will be to present all angles to him in language,
health, music and social studies."
Opposition will be squelched
If the celebration of homosexuality is one side of the public school coin,
the other side will be the denigration of opposing views. And when those
contrary views are rooted in Christian beliefs, the antagonism that arises
from "gay" sympathizers will be even more vigorous.
For example, at Arcata High School in Arcata, California, Christian students
in that public school were ridiculed for their beliefs about homosexuality
in a sex education lesson. Led by a representative of Planned Parenthood,
students were told to stand in a circle and were asked, "Do you have a
religious belief about homosexuality that considers it a sin and wrong?"
Those who did were told they had to remain alone in the circle.
The representative admitted that "the children who answered ‘yes’ had to
stay in the circle. This caused them to feel very demeaned, put down."
In St. Paul, Minnesota, 16-year-old Elliott Chambers was ordered by his
principal to stop wearing a sweatshirt that simply said "Straight Pride" on
the front, and contained the image of a man and woman holding hands on the
And during a planned, day-long protest by homosexual students in Boone,
North Carolina, three Christian high school students were suspended by the
principal because they refused to change their "offensive" T-shirts. The
objectionable message? The trio’s shirts bore Biblical messages about
homosexuality and salvation.
In some schools, where students have been steadily fed homosexual propaganda
for years, it is sometimes classmates, and not school officials, who assume
the role of persecutors. One woman, whose family had moved from the South to
New Hampshire, said her boys were shocked at how they were received.
"My 16-year-old son had to deal with unwanted advances from other male
students," she said. When she approached school officials to try to put a
stop to the harassment by homosexuals, they refused. "[W]hat happened was
the students found out that my 16- and 17-year-old boys were against
homosexuality so they were taunted constantly and treated as if they were
Homosexual techniques will be taught to students
When homosexuality is accepted in principle, the sexual activities
associated with it will be included in public school sex education classes.
Frightening stories are already arising that give a chilling glimpse into
what would be in store for public school children.
In 2000, the Boston affiliate of GLSEN co-sponsored a conference which gave
explicit "gay" sex lessons to kids as young as 14, and then tried to keep
that information from reaching parents. The event, held at Tufts University,
was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Lecturers explained
to participants about different homosexual practices, including "fisting,"
the homosexual practice of inserting one’s fist and forearm into the anus of
another man.
In Vermont another "gay" group, called Outright Vermont, has been pushing
the homosexual agenda in schools — also at taxpayer expense. According to
its own documents, Outright Vermont has used taxpayer money to provide
"safer sex activities" and "parties" for teens, including "demonstrations,
guided practice and skill evaluation" for the use of prophylactics, and the
distribution of free condoms, lubricants for sexual intercourse between
males, "dental dams" for oral sex between lesbians, and latex gloves for
mutual masturbation between homosexual teenagers. In 2000 alone, the number
of such items requested by Outright Vermont for distribution to teens was
scandalous: 5,000 condoms, 750 dental dams, 750 latex gloves, and 2,000
packets of lubricant.
Sometimes the legitimization of homosexual activity is done in a roundabout
way. Harvey says that "both GLSEN and PFLAG advocate book selections for
youth that include positive portrayals of homosexual sex between boys,
pornography use, cheating on a spouse with a homosexual lover, homosexual
sex between underage youth and adults, and straight and ‘gay’
experimentation by ‘uncertain’ youth."
Acceptance of ‘transgenders’
Activists argue that human sexuality is so fluid as to encompass all
conceivable orientations: heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and
even people who attempt the alteration of gender appearance.
This latter group consists of "trans-gendered" individuals — men and women
who believe that their biological sex does not accurately reflect what they
perceive their gender to be. Some, called transsexuals, have sex-change
operations, while others maintain their biological sex and merely
Such gender-bending concepts are already causing chaos in some public
schools. In Missouri last year, the Francis Howell Board of Education
rejected complaints from parents when the cross-dressing parent of a
fourth-grade student chaperoned school field trips. In Brockton,
Massachusetts, a 15-year-old male student demanded the right to come to
school dressed like a girl, and school officials capitulated.
Meanwhile, in 1998 students at Southwest High School in Minneapolis,
Minnesota, were forced to accept librarian David Nielsen’s transition into
"Debra Davis," after he began wearing woman’s clothes to school and
identified himself as a woman.
Alarmingly, in that case the school sent a letter home with students that
defended its decision to embrace Nielsen’s cross-dressing. "We believe
[students] will be more enriched and have a better understanding of
diversity by knowing and working with this employee," the letter said.
According to the Evangelical News Service, Southwest High School even
presented to students "educational sessions" on transgenderism.
Nielsen also upset some teachers when he began using the women’s faculty
restroom. Both the school administration and, eventually, a federal court,
rebuffed the complaints of female teachers.
Groups like GLSEN, PFLAG and the largest homosexual lobby group, the Human
Rights Campaign, all support changes in law which would include the full
acceptance of transgendered students right along with those who define
themselves as "gay," lesbian or bisexual.
If these demands are fully embraced, the prospect of gender chaos in schools
will be assured.
For more than 30 years, homosexual activists have been demanding that our
Judeo-Christian culture capitulate and embrace their view of human
sexuality, marriage and family. If Americans ever accept these demands, they
can expect to live in a culture that will be turned upside down — literally
unhinged from the sane moorings instituted by the God of heaven.
Harvey’s prediction is of a grotesque culture that includes: "Lesbian bride
dolls. Fourth grade ‘gay’ clubs. A king and king at the high school prom.
Dating tips for same-sex teens. Bathroom ogling — and sometimes quick
encounters — in the middle school boys’ restroom."
Fortunately, while the groundwork for these changes has been laid, it is not
yet a done deal. But Americans who believe there is something inherently
abnormal, unnatural and immoral about homosexuality had better stand up
right now.
If the public schools are lost to homosexual activists, our children and
grandchildren will be thrown into a queer new world. And there’s nothing gay
about that.

Youth Cool to Bush-Bashing Bands

Posted on Thu, Oct. 07, 2004
Musical youth fault today's political music as long on Bush-bashing
By Adam Smeltz
Knight Ridder Newspapers

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - As big-name bands storm the country with an anti-Bush,
pro-voting vigor this fall, young adults in this musical hot spot have a
message for the lefty crooners:

Cool it on the hatin' - and serve up some hopeful vision instead of just
knocking Republicans.

"A lot of musicians bash the current administration rather than forwarding a
specific agenda," said Shawn Wilson, 19, an English major at the University
of North Carolina who calls himself socially liberal but fiscally

"I find it slightly offensive that they're going out of their way to
influence young people's politics."

Today's political tunes may not be as inspired or as impassioned as the
anti-war lyrics of the Vietnam War era, UNC students said. But even in this
Democratic bastion in a Bush-leaning state, some Generation Y'ers are
concerned that current "political" music centers on ripping apart
Republicans and lacks any John Lennon-like utopian goals.

The "Vote for Change" tour is taking 40 left-leaning
shows nationwide before Election Day, touting appearances by Bruce
Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Pearl Jam, the Dixie Chicks, Dave Matthews Band,
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and James Taylor.

At the same time, punk rockers promoted through are pushing
Bush-knocking sentiments through cyberspace. Hip-hop artists have boarded
the train as well, with Mary J. Blige, Chingy, Ashanti and others joining
forces for a redo of the 1970s hit "Wake Up, Everybody." That song is billed
online as a get-out-the-vote effort, but proceeds from sales are supporting
America Coming Together, an anti-Bush group.

Many of the musicians exhort young people to become more politically aware,
and they call repeatedly for change - a not-so-subtle slap at the Bush

That's leaving young people in Chapel Hill, N.C., long an incubator for
musical talent, weary and a little wary, even as the Vote for Change tour
has bypassed their area.

Political music now, they say, is less formative and more reactionary.

"I don't think it's as defined as it was in the `60s," said Southey Blanton,
21, who's studying communications at UNC. He said political rhetoric in
popular music is more subliminal and that his peers "search for music that
relates to their political views."

Even then, he guessed that only about half of his generation looks to music
for political substance. Others said even politically driven listeners are
skeptical of lyrical political messages.

"Top 100 (songs) are big on campus, but nobody probably pays attention to
politics in them," said Courtney Richardson, 20, a geography major. She said
the underground music scene in Chapel Hill is far more politically charged
than mass-produced recordings and offers a more global perspective.

At its core, though, popular music's place as an outpost of unconventional
ideas has been constant across the last 70 years, said an expert at the
University of Southern California.

"I doubt that there's all that much change at all in terms of the underlying
fundamental role," said Matthew Baum, 39, an associate professor of
political science and communication studies. "Popular music is the same as
it was in the 1930s, `40s, `50s. It got harder over time."

But setting this election cycle apart, he said, is a centralization of
politicization. That is, where politically groundbreaking anti-war bands in
the 1960s trekked across the country in a jumble of activism, the
concerts today are choreographed on a national level. Such concerts with a
common political thread got started in the `80s, Baum said.

"What's arguably happening on a larger scale now is endorsement of a
partisan position or a candidate," he said. The proliferating endorsements
are a relatively new plane for music - well removed from the social
commentary of earlier artists, including Bob Dylan, who didn't endorse
particular candidates but instead advanced ideas, Baum said.

"I don't think any contemporary artist has anything on Dylan in terms of
social commentary," he said.

Back at Chapel Hill, musician Stephen Levitin, 28, said most college
students are so liberal that political "preaching to the choir" isn't
terribly effective.

The musical response during Vietnam was more vigorous and effective "partly
because the war then was drafting young people," said Levitin, who bills
himself as the Apple Juice Kid. "I think people would respond if someone
came out in a serious way with a statement against the war."

But there could be a credibility problem in that, too, some twentysomethings
suggested. Trouble is, faced with political music that consistently skews to
the left, young people tend to gloss over lyrics and aren't especially
inspired to shake up the government, said Christiana Johnson, 20.

"I don't feel comfortable playing only liberal stuff," said Richard Cross,
23, an aerospace student at Georgia Tech who works at a student radio
station there. "If we're going to play only liberal stuff. ... I think it's
better to err on the side of caution and be apolitical."

Which isn't to say that his station, WREK, has many current political tunes
in its library. Of 250 albums that it's received in the past several weeks -
all of them jockeying for airtime - only 10 are politically charged, Cross
said. And all 10 of those, he said, lean left.

It echoes a political diversity problem, young North Carolinians said,
adding that the only musical places they can find conservative perspectives
are Ted Nugent songs, country music and Christian rock.

"I don't think it's wrong for them (musicians) to tell people who they've
chosen, who they support and campaign for," said Christopher Dickson, 22, a
psychology major at UNC.

Still, he said, young people "need to do our own homework."

(Smeltz, 22, a reporter for the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., is
covering young voters for Knight Ridder. His youth-oriented blog, Life of
the Parties, can be viewed at

Judge Tells Parents Their Baby Must Die

Severely ill baby ought to be allowed to die, judge tells parents
By Maxine Frith, Social Affairs Correspondent
08 October 2004

Darren and Debbie Wyatt sat in a wooden pew at the Royal Courts of Justice, gripping each other's hands, barely able to look at the judge as he ruled that, despite their most fervent wishes, their 11-month-old daughter should be allowed to die.
Making the ruling, Mr Justice Hedley said: "As a society we fight shy of pondering on death, yet inherent in each of us is a deep desire, both for oneself and for those we love, for a 'good' death. It would be absurd to try to describe that concept more fully beyond saying that everyone in this case knows what it means ­ not under anaesthetic, not in the course of painful and futile treatment, but peacefully in the arms of those who love her most."
As he finished reading his judgment, and the lawyers stood to begin discussing costs, Mr and Mrs Wyatt remained sitting, in tears, seemingly unaware of life moving on around them. Seventy miles away, in a windowless hospital room, Charlotte clung to life by the thinnest of threads, as her fate was determined in case law, philosophical argument about the quality of life and complex medical evidence.
Yesterday's ruling means that the next time Charlotte succumbs to yet another infection and stops breathing, she will not be resuscitated. Instead, she will be taken from the box which pumps oxygen to her starved brain and allowed, in Mr Justice Hedley's ruling, "to die peacefully in her parents' arms".
Mr and Mrs Wyatt had fought the doctors at St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth all the way to the High Court over their claim that Charlotte's life was so intolerable she should be allowed to die if she stops breathing. The devout Christians said their daughter was a "fighter" and should be revived at all costs. Yesterday afternoon, the fight seemed to go out of them.
They had said they would take the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, but now their solicitor said they have no intention to appeal against the ruling.
Mrs Wyatt, 23, who is heavily pregnant with the couple's third child, stroked her stomach as her husband put his arm around her when it became apparent the judge was going to rule in the doctors' favour. Even the judge, used to difficult cases involving families and children, said he felt "a little uncomfortable" in his position as final arbiter of Charlotte's life and now almost certain death. "I'm being asked to override the wishes of these parents as to what is best for their daughter," he said.
But in the end, the judge said, all the medical evidence indicated that Charlotte was profoundly mentally and physically disabled with no hope of recovery and "a terrible quality of life". He added: "I do not believe any further aggressive treatment, even if necessary to prolong life, is in her best interests.
"I know that may mean she may die earlier than otherwise she might have done, but in my judgment the moment of her death will only be slightly advanced." He said Charlotte should be able to "meet her end whenever that may be in what Mr Wyatt called the TLC of those who love her most".
Charlotte was born by Caesarean section last October when her mother was 26 weeks pregnant. On a ventilator for the first three months, Charlotte still weighs only the equivalent of a three-month-old. She cannot see or hear, has no control over her movements and has the most extreme form of cerebral palsy. She also suffers from chronic lung disease and cannot breathe without an oxygen box over her head.
In the past five months, Charlotte has stopped breathing three times and doctors say she is in constant pain with "no joy or fulfilment". She will never be able to sit up or take food by mouth. After her last collapse in July, doctors at the hospital asked her parents for their consent not to revive her if she stops breathing again. They say that each time she is resuscitated, she suffers further damage and pain and that to revive her would be "futile and even cruel". Mr and Mrs Wyatt refused to give permission, saying their Christian faith meant they believed in the preservation of life "at all costs".
The hospital took the case to the High Court for a ruling that it could override the parents' wishes in Charlotte's best interests. Courts have had to rule in similar cases, but the Wyatt case was unique because it was heard in open court.
The judge said the case involved the "fundamental principles of the sanctity of human life" and the concept of what constituted a bearable standard of living. He said: "In reaching my view, I have of course been informed by the medical evidence as to the prospects to her of aggressive treatment. I hope I have looked much wider than that and seen not just a physical being but the body, mind and spirit expressed in a human personality of unique worth who is profoundly precious to her parents."
During the two-day hearing, eight paediatric experts had agreed that Charlotte's life was "intolerable". Even the specialist called by the Wyatts' lawyer said that the only reason to reventilate Charlotte would be to give her parents more time to come to terms with her inevitable death.
Even the most optimistic of doctors said she had only a 25 per cent chance of surviving for another year even if she were resuscitated. Most experts put that at less than 1 per cent.
Yet Mr and Mrs Wyatt insisted Charlotte recognised them, could grip their fingers and derived some comfort from being held by them. Mr Wyatt told the judge: "I believe there are things in medical science to help her carry on, even for a couple of years, and she could even go outside and see the trees and whatever."
Last night, they made the journey back to their daughter's hospital room and their 20-month-old son Daniel. Doctors believe that with the onset of colder weather, Charlotte will develop an infection within weeks, and stop breathing.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Toronto Police Chief Lauded By Gay Magazine

Oct. 7, 2004. 08:18 AM
Chief Fantino is fab-ulous
Appears on cover of gay magazine
Editor predicts in-demand issue

"Macho man" Julian Fantino has set a "new tone in police relations with
the gay community," declares the editor-in-chief of fab in the magazine's
current issue — featuring a cover story and photo of Toronto's top cop
surrounded by models portraying gay icons The Village People.

The free "gay scene" magazine — and police brass — kept the chief's
appearance a secret until the issue hit the stands yesterday. The magazine
issued a news release proclaiming fab's coup in landing "Macho Man Julian
Fantino" for its cover story.

"It will be gone very quickly, I'm sure," said Mitchel Raphael, fab's
editor-in-chief, who interviewed Fantino and wrote the story. "Everyone at
police headquarters wants a copy, according to the gay and lesbian liaison
officer there. I think a lot of police cruisers will be pulling up to the
fab boxes over the next couple of days."

The 62-year-old chief was not air-brushed into the cover shot, as some
have suggested, Raphael said. "That's him. We touched up the face a little
bit, sparkled a few things. We just gave him the standard fab treatment
that every model goes through."

On the serious side of things, the magazine notes that Fantino has been a
controversial figure in the gay community stemming from such incidents as
bathhouse raids. When he was appointed chief, he was supposed to be "Gay
Public Enemy number one," the article says.

In 1994, gay activists in London, Ont., accused Fantino, who was then that
city's police chief, of turning a child-porn investigation into a witch
hunt against gay men. Fantino responds that there has been
"misinformation" about his role, but acknowledges he should have
"communicated, sought out and done a little bit more proactive work with
the gay community in London before all of this."

The article quotes Councillor Kyle Rae as saying Fantino did not "live up
to our expectations of being a chief that was going to drag us back into
the closet."

While Fantino sidestepped several pointed questions, including one about
gay marriage ("I don't know why you need to get married"), the article
notes he is "passionate" about protecting gays ("it's a hate crime") and
has attended a gay church.

Fantino could not be reached for comment, but police spokesperson Mark
Pugash said "one of the hallmarks of the chief's tenure has been to reach
out to all diverse communities in the city."

Fantino follows earlier fab cover subjects such as Mayor David Miller and
NDP Leader Jack Layton. The online version will include "bonus pictures,"
the news release said.

More Children Than Ever Suffering Depression, Anxiety

Parents Fear Children Are Stressed And Depressed
Press Association

More children are suffering from depression and anxiety than ever before, a new study has shown.

A survey of parents found that more than three-quarters (78%) thought their children were under far greater pressure than they were when growing up.

And 75% said that peer pressure and stresses at school, such as bullying and exams, had the greatest impact on their child's emotional health and wellbeing.

With added pressure from society over body image, youngsters were also prone to stress, panic attacks and depression according to a fifth (17%) of the 400 parents questioned by Norwich Union Healthcare.

The Growing Pains survey found that almost a quarter of parents (24%) said they felt out of touch or distant from their child.

Three-quarters (74%) said they worried that lack of communication in families could be contributing to problems among youngsters.

The study also found that 5% of mothers and fathers were worried their child was at risk of developing an eating disorder because of the pressures they were under.

Other concerns highlighted by the parents, all with children between the ages of five and 15, were not wanting to go to school (33%), nervous habits such as nail biting (16%) and unexplained stomach problems (11%).

Dinah Morley, the director of children's mental health charity YoungMinds, said: "The results of the study clearly show that mental health problems are rising among adolescents in the UK.

"Many young people feel desperately anxious about how they are going to take their place in the adult world.

"As for why this is occurring, we can only point to a number of contemporary factors which impact on adolescents, undermining their plans for the future and setting goals which are virtually unattainable."

Norwich Union Healthcare and independent health analysis group Dr Foster have developed an online information guide to children's health services to help parents worried about their offspring.

The survey found that more than half (58%) of parents admitted they would not know where to go for help.

And 55% said they did not think there were enough health services specifically for children in their area.

Seven out of 10 (69%) said that the government should be investing more in the provision of mental health services for children and young people.

The recently-published national service framework for children included special emphasis on mental health issues.

Dr Doug Wright, the clinical development manager at Norwich Union Healthcare, said: "It's often the case that while children's services are available locally, parents don't know where to look for information and advice on what they can access in their area." © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Will 'Big Brother' Be Watching You?

Will Big Brother Be Watching You?
By Brock Yates Published 10/06/2004

I like to believe that I operate within reasonable limits of paranoia, although my threat meter often spiked when I scan the dashboard of my hopelessly politically-incorrect, road-crushing, fuel-swilling Hummer H2. There lies a small blue and white button marked 'On Star'. This, by all rational measurements, is a helpful link to all manner of roadside needs; emergency calls, lost destinations, even the nearest motel or fast food restaurant. The epitome of high-tech salvation to the normal motorist.

There is no question that "On Star" -- now offered on most General Motors products and other makes -- is an innocent accessory to many basic motoring needs and surely a major aid in the event of a crash or other serious roadside incident.

But beyond that one can never forget that little blue button is the link to a satellite that theoretically tracks the location of the subject vehicle at all times, day and night. At this point it is a benign and beneficial technology, but with a large-scale potential to become a malevolent Big Brother.

"On Star" technology makes sense within limits, but there is another technically-related computer package now mounted in over 40 million private cars that poses a serious threat to civil libertarians and privacy nuts. It is a cigarette-sized packet stowed under the instrument panel called an "EDR" or "Event Data Recorder." This tiny box makes a constant, 10-second recording of such routine functions as vehicle and engine speed, braking function, throttle activation, seat belt status and any air-bag deployments. Advocates of EDRs like the National Transportation Safety Board claim that, like aircraft flight recorders, these units are invaluable in diagnosing the cause of automobile accidents and determining if any of the participants were breaking the law; i.e. with excessive speed, no seat belts, inattention, etc.

But those who fear Big Brother intrusions into our daily lives are concerned that such data -- which can theoretically be incorrect -- will be used by trial lawyers to sue and law enforcement types to make arrests.

Moreover, most car buyers have no idea that this snoop lurks in their automobiles. Only California requires that owner's manuals deal with EDRs while the American Automobile Association (AAA) is demanding that the presence of EDRs be placed on window stickers of new cars and that the data be used only in broad-spectrum safety research and not in specific accident reports.

At this point the legal issues surrounding so-called EDR "Black Boxes" are unclear, but the potential for mischief based on new technology is vivid. For example, in the interest of "highway safety" it is within the technological realm to equip On-Star-like links to sophisticated EDRs and main-frame computers to monitor all motor vehicles all the time with regard to speed while tracking routes and destinations. A nice system for dealing with terrorists and chasing bank robbers, but does the average citizen want to reveal to Big Brother his or her every move in a motor vehicle?

At this point privacy advocates are strong enough to resist such technology. But they have been unable to prevent other probing of citizens via hidden cameras, sub-rosa finger-printing, DNA signatures, infra-red scans, etc. that at this point theoretically are used only to track criminals.

But if in the future the overweening "safety" movement reaches critical mass, you may have a serious Big Brother riding with you on every trip to the super market.

Christian Party a Force in Australian Elections

Christian party now a force in Australian election

CANBERRA - Beyond John Howard and Mark Latham, on the high ground above the Democrats and the Greens, a new crusade has been quietly mustering its troops for next Saturday's Australian election.

It is an impressive army: a political party lodged firmly in the creationism and social conservatism of the nation's evangelical and charismatic Christian faiths, tapping into values shared by Prime Minister Howard and many of his supporters.

The extent of its potential influence in Saturday's election has only just become apparent through a series of preference deals with every major party except the Greens, who it regards as corruptors of all that is decent and good.

Polls suggest that the Family First Party could gain one or more Senate seats in its own right. But of greater concern are the seats it is likely to help deliver.

Family First could negate the advantage the support of the Greens has given Labor in crucial seats, upset the Greens charge for the Senate and ensure the return of Howard's Coalition for another three years.

Family First values accord in many respects with those held by Howard - who personally negotiated the preference deal with the party - and in a number of areas cross into beliefs held by Labor, the Democrats and even the Greens. In the SA Parliament, Family First MP and party founder Andrew Evans has voted with Labor.

The party denies religious affiliations, despite the large presence of senior members involved in the Assemblies of God, and says its motivation is the wellbeing of the family as the foundation stone of society.

Its ability to play hardball has been demonstrated in a A$1 million television campaign - whose funding is a mystery - that hammers the Greens. The Greens have lodged a formal complaint with the Australian Electoral Commission.

However hard it tries to distance itself from religion, the linkages are clear.

Founder Evans was pastor of Adelaide's 4000-member Paradise Community Church, and was Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Australia. Party chairman Peter Harris, also a Paradise Church official, runs Business Generation Ministry International, which lobbies support and funding within corporate Australia and whose members include most of Australia's large evangelical churches. Most of the board members are Assemblies of God members.

All but one of the NSW candidates are members of the church.

This gives the party influence beyond its claimed 2000 members. As many as 750,000 Australians belong to evangelical and charismatic churches, including almost 200,000 Pentecostalists. Further sympathy can be expected from conservative members of mainstream faiths.

Family First supports Howard's industrial relations policies and backs the war in Iraq. It opposes sex education in schools, euthanasia and legal prostitution.

But the party also champions paid maternity leave and flexible workplaces, decries racial discrimination, supports moves to end Aboriginal disadvantage and encourage reconciliation, advocates environmental protection and wants to increase foreign aid.

Virginia Wary of Computer Chip Cards

Virginia wary of computer chip cards packed with detailed data
Associated Press Writer
October 6 2004

RICHMOND, Va. -- You stroll into a mall and sensors automatically log the time and date of your visit because a high-tech driver's license in your wallet electronically emits data about you.

The same card, embedded with a computer chip, allows the guy using a laptop outside the coffee bar to sniff out details as personal as your blood type and allergies and, at least in the virtual world, become you.

Orwellian in the extreme and unlikely any time soon, those kinds of scenarios nevertheless trouble policymakers in Virginia and other states trying to balance homeland security with the threat such technology poses to privacy and civil liberties.

"This is something we're all still trying to understand, however, I still believe we have an obligation as a state to look into the technology that is available ... to protect the privacy and security of the citizens of the commonwealth," said Del. Kathy Byron, head of a legislative panel studying "smart" drivers licenses.

Virginia is particularly sensitive to tightening security for its drivers licenses. Several of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers fraudulently obtained Virginia licenses and used them to prove their identities at airports and flight schools. The state recently enacted a law that requires license applicants to prove they are in the United States legally.

But change comes slowly to the Old Dominion--a state that has repeatedly rejected intersection photo technology to catch drivers who run red lights.

"I don't think anyone would stand here today and say we're ready to recommend something. We have a lot to wade through," Byron said at a meeting Wednesday.

Other states have also been skeptical. In Utah, strong concerns about privacy united groups on the left and right to a defeat a smart drivers license effort there in 1996. For similar reasons, New Jersey rejected smart drivers' licenses in 2000, and the idea never got off the ground in New Mexico in 2001, according to the according to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

The licenses offer clear benefits for law enforcement and national security, said Bedford County Sheriff Michael J. Brown, who is on the board of directors of the National Sheriffs' Association.

They can be made much more tamper-resistant than current printed cards and they can allow police on the beat to instantly track traffic or criminal violations. By loading them with biometric data such as a digital version of the user's fingerprint or iris scan and requiring that they match those of the card holder, smart cards are almost foolproof for confirming identity. Medical data on them can tell paramedics the holder's blood type or what drugs provoke an adverse reaction.

"We in law enforcement want every break we can have, and this will be a break that will aid law enforcement," Brown told Byron's panel.

Civil libertarians, however, warn that the more information packed onto such a card, the greater its danger for abuse, particularly so-called RFID cards that use a weak radio frequency to send data to a wireless card reader nearby.

Such chips would create a security nightmare, said Christopher Calabrese, the New York-based counsel to the American Civil Liberty Union's Technology and Liberty Program.

"An identity thief would be able to electronically pickpocket the information in your RFID chip without ever stealing your drivers license," Calabrese said. "If they had a reader, they could pick through your wallet, through your backpack, through your purse and pluck the information off the chip."

It could be employed by tech-savvy stalkers, or a Big Brother government could use it to instantly learn the identities of every cardholder at a protest rally, Calabrese said.

Such cards exist, said Robert Turbeville, a vice president of Saflink Corp. The company manufactures a variety of smart cards for security-sensitive agencies such as the Defense Department. But nobody recommends cards capable of being remotely scanned for driving licenses, he said.

Aside from security concerns, he said, such cards would eventually cause health problems such as cancer from prolonged, close exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

There are more practical concerns, warned Rich Carter, director of technology standards and programs for AAMVA.

Smart card licenses will cost the state about $5 to $10 apiece to create, four to eight times more than the current costs, and police and agencies will have to be outfitted with card readers and other equipment, which can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. And no matter how much data they contain, they're only as good as the motor vehicle agency worker responsible for spotting impostors.

"The terrorists of 9/11 fell into the category of what we would call impostors, and the only way to guard against that is to improve your processes before you issue the license," Carter said.

Byron's panel is supposed to report to the General Assembly by November. Byron said meeting the deadline is unlikely because this year's legislative session lasted nearly twice as long as its scheduled 60 days, throwing the subcommittee months behind.

Nader Cites Bush, Kerry Ties to Skull and Bones

Nader ties criticisms to Bones
Yale Daily News| Oct 7 2004

At the university he called "the source of our political problems," independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke about what he deemed to be the shortcomings of the two major presidential candidates who graduated from Yale.

Concluding a tour of several Ivy League universities, Nader addressed an audience of Yalies and New Haven residents that nearly filled Battell Chapel Wednesday evening. In his speech, Nader criticized the two-party system he said allows corporations to dominate the electoral process and leads voters to choose the "least worst" candidate.

"The two parties now are not competing," Nader said. "Thirty years ago, if one party was bad, you could say, 'Well, we work with the Democratic party.' Now it's two parties, one corporate head, different makeup."

Earlier in the evening, Nader addressed several media crews and a small gathering of students in front of the tomb of Skull and Bones. Nader read a statement expressing concern about the "unprecedented situation" in which both major presidential candidates were sworn into the same secret society.

In his speech, Nader focused on the similarities between the two major candidates. For example, he said Kerry's and Bush's views had converged on the war on Iraq so that "a vote for Kerry is now a vote for war."

Nader also criticized his opponents for being unduly influenced by corporate contributions. He argued that corporations should not be allowed to donate money to political campaigns because they are not voters.

Though some students in attendance said they agreed with Nader's ideas, they expressed concern that his campaign will win votes that would otherwise be cast for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry '66 on Nov. 2.

"All his points are very intelligent, and I share his views on a lot of positions, but since he has no chance of winning, I just feel like my vote would be wasted," Josh Odsess-Rubin '08 said.

Nader defended the goals of his campaign and stressed the historical importance of third parties in generating reform.

"If you don't make demands on [Kerry], he doesn't get any better," Nader said. "If he doesn't get any better, he doesn't get votes."

In an interview after his speech, Nader said it was important to speak at universities because many students are voting for Kerry simply as an alternative to President George W. Bush '68.

"Universities are a den of 'anybody but Bush, leave Kerry alone, make no demands on him,'" Nader said. "That's a brain-closer. Give me anybody who says 'anybody but Bush,' and they're incapable of talking about any other strategies, variables, nothing."

A small contingent of students assisted the Nader campaign in organizing the event and are currently building a campus chapter to support him. The students said they appreciated the candidate's willingness to address issues they felt were being ignored by the major parties.

"I really admire his attitude to campaigning," said Edward Dunar '08, the campus coordinator for the Nader campaign. "His attitude is one of challenging citizens. The government has to let citizens contribute meaningfully."

Roughly 15 Kerry supporters assembled outside Battell Chapel on Elm Street to protest during the speech. With signs like "Nader + Camejo = 4 more years," they said the position that Nader's campaign jeopardized its own ideals.

"It's not that we don't support Nader's right to express his views, but we believe that his candidacy endangers Kerry's campaign in some states," protester Caitlin Clarke '07 said. "So we came to express our respect for his views and our belief that his agenda would be better served by dropping out of the race."

Undeterred by the protesters, Nader told the News that running for office is a basic expression of constitutional rights.

"One of the things we're trying to do is to raise the civil liberties issues to inside the electoral arena so we can combat what I can only call political bigotry," Nader said. "It really is political bigotry when people say, 'Do not run.' When they're saying, 'Do not run,' they're saying, 'Do not speak, do not petition, do not assemble.'"

Nader said the goal of his campaign was to ultimately provide more choice for voters.

"We're all prisoners of a 200-year-old, winner-take-all two-party system," Nader said. "I believe that if you work hard as a citizen, you can improve your country -- We're trying to lay the groundwork after Nov. 2 so someday we can have a real three-party race."

Priest Says Schiavo Is Alert and Aware

Father Pavone visits Terri Schiavo
By Francis X. Shannon, Clearwater

Hours prior to addressing an overflow gathering at a pro-life banquet Sept. 18, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, and an outspoken right-to-life advocate, visited with Terri Schiavo.

The visit was the first time the priest has visited the disabled young woman who has been at the center of a contentious legal struggle between her husband, Michael, who wants to have the feeding tube that sustains her, removed. Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, believe she can benefit from rehabilitative therapy.

During his visit Father Pavone prayed for Terri with Msgr. Thaddeus Malanowski, her parents, brother and sister. "It was beautiful," Father Pavone said. "'Many people are praying for you from around the country,' I told her."

Father Pavone, who also spoke at a luncheon for fellow priests and deacons before visiting the Clearwater nursing home where Terri resides, said Terri seemed to show awareness during the visit. Medical experts differ on whether changes in Schiavo's eye movement and verbal and facial expressions are voluntary or involuntary. Father Pavone seemed to agree with the former assessment.

"She was following everything that was going on," he said. "She talks with her eyes. She's very much aware and alert."

Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990, when she suffered cardiac arrest, possibly related to an eating disorder, in the St. Petersburg apartment she shared with her husband. Her brain suffered oxygen deprivation, which resulted in brain damage and made her dependent upon a feeding tube for nutrition and hydration.

In 1998, after a falling-out with her parents over malpractice money and Schiavo's medical care, Michael Schiavo began his efforts to have his wife's feeding tube removed. Schiavo cannot swallow food on her own, so the removal would result in her death.

Michael Schiavo has insisted that Terri would not want to live in her current state and that she indicated that before her collapse. Terri's parents and her supporters question his compassion. They point out that although Michael Schiavo is legally married to Terri, in the years since his legal battles began with her parents he has fathered two children by another woman.

Last year, an appellate court allowed Michael Schiavo to remove Terri's feeding tube for six days before "Terri's Law," passed by Florida's Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush, required the resumption of feeding. That law was recently ruled unconstitutional.

Father Pavone singled out the judicial system and the medical professions as having a particular responsibility and impact in such cases involving the sanctity of life.

"All these fields have authority," he said, "What they cannot do is put a value judgment on the lives they're caring for. The job of our whole culture is to affirm life."

Father Pavone reiterated these points later that evening in his address to the Celebrate Life Banquet, hosted by Right to Life of Hillsborough County. The Schindlers were guests of honor. The priest emphasized the importance, especially in an election year, of people of faith being active in the electoral process, and getting other people of faith to be active and voting. He likened it to "picking oranges from an orange tree."

"There are plenty of oranges on the lower part of the tree, within reach," Father Pavone said. "Pick the oranges you can reach and don't worry about the ones you can't."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Medieval Surgeons Were Advanced

Medieval Surgeons Were Advanced
BBC News

Surgeons were carrying out complicated skull operations in medieval times,
the remains of a body found at an archaeological dig show.

A skull belonging to a 40-year-old peasant man, who lived between 960 and
1100AD, is the firmest evidence yet of cranial surgery, say its

The remains, found in Yorkshire, show the man survived an otherwise fatal
blow to the head thanks to surgery.

Nearly 700 skeletons were unearthed by English Heritage at a site near

Complex surgery

Scientists have been examining the remains from the now deserted village
of Wharram Percy.

Once a thriving community built on sheep farming, it fell into steep
decline after the Black Death and was eventually completely abandoned.

The skull in question, dating back to the 11th century, had been struck a
near-fatal blow by a blunt weapon, causing a severe depressed fracture on
the left hand side.

Closer examination revealed the victim had been given life-saving surgery
called trepanning.

A rectangular area of the scalp, measuring 9cm by 10cm, would have been
lifted to allow the depressed bone segments to be carefully removed.

This would have relieved the pressure on the brain.

Roman and Greek writings document the technique of trepanning for treating
skull fractures, but there is no mention of it in Anglo-Saxon literature.

Some historians have theorised that western Europe was deprived of such
surgical knowledge for centuries after the fall of Alexandria in the 7th

Violent times

Dr Simon Mays, skeletal biologist at English Heritage's Centre for
Archaeology, said: "This skull is the best evidence we have that such
surgery to treat skull fractures was being performed in England at the

"It predates medieval written accounts of the procedure by at least 100
years and is a world away from the notions that Anglo-Saxon healers were
all about spells and potions."

Skulls dating back to Neolithic times show trepanning was performed on
individuals with no head wounds.

Historians believe this was presumably to treat other ailments, possibly
including mental illness.

The skull of the 40-year-old Yorkshire peasant shows the fracture healed

Scientists believe the hole that remained would have eventually closed
over with hard scar tissue.

But they have questioned how a peasant would have been able to afford this
complicated medical treatment.

Examination of the other skeletons at the site revealed high levels of
malnutrition, disease and stunted growth.

Dr Mays said: "Medical skills were largely reserved for the elite.

"So the treatment handed out to Wharram's peasant doesn't square at all
with our knowledge of the period.

"It seems most probable that the operation was performed by an itinerant
healer of unusual skill, whose medical acumen was handed down through oral

Ten of the other skeletons, including a child, also showed signs of head
injury caused by blunt objects.

Dr Mays said: "Violence at Wharram seemed to involve objects that were
near at hand, like farming tools.

"The peasant was probably involved in the medieval equivalent of a pub
fight, or could have been the victim of a robbery or a family feud."

U.S. Dollar Heading For Collapse, Says Adviser

U.S. Dollar Heading For Collapse - Robert Reich
By James Baxter

BANFF, Alta. - The US dollar is fast reaching a point at which foreign investors will abandon it and send it into a freefall, says Bill Clinton's former economic adviser.

Robert Reich told the Global Business Forum in Banff that record high budget and trade deficits, personal debt and a foreign policy that is alienating traditional allies, has the already slumping US dollar headed for collapse. The US already requires a daily infusion of $1.2 billion in foreign investment just to keep the greenback's decline under control, he said.

"The mainstream view is that the budget deficit (currently $422 billion).. is going to get larger,: said Reich, who is an "informal adviser" to presidential hopeful John Kerry. "Simultaneously, the mainstream view is that there is no reason to believe that the trade deficit (approximately $600 billion) is going to shrink anytime soon.

In fact, I see the dollar continuing to decline and I see at some point a tipping point where East Asian banks that have been trying to prop up the dollar, maintaining their exports (to the US), because at some point it becomes a lousy investment."

Reich said global investors are already conducting significant amounts of business in Euros, not US dollars.

The reason for Reich's speech to the audience of approximately 200 business leaders, mostly Canadians, was to explain why free trade has suddenly been revived as a great economic evil in the US.

In painting a black outlook for the US economy, Reich suggested the worst is yet to come, especially if President George W. Bush and the Republican party's agenda of tax less and spend more is re-elected in November.

"My upbeat message is that we don't have to have it like we have it," said Reich, who insisted Bush is not entirely to blame, but bears considerable responsibility for the economic straits facing the US.

"Deficits matter," he said.

"If you embark on a unilateral foreign policy and the rest of the world is upset with you, that has a boomerang effect on your global businesses. It can't help but (have an effect). So not only does fiscal policy matter, but your foreign policy cannot be completely divorced from your national economic policy.

Reich said regardless of who is the next leader, significant measures are going to be needed to control the budget deficit and to begin rebuilding the economy so that real manufacturing wages, which have been largely stagnant in the US since the Reagan era in the 1980s, begin to grow.

He also said that while the US is unlikely to retreat from global trade, it is also unlikely to aggressively pursue more open trade for the time being. That's because US workers are suffering and are looking for something to blame, like outsourcing, he said, and politicians are being forced to play along.

"A lot of people are very, very willing to blame other countries for the loss of American jobs or the stresses on American wages," said Reich. "This blame is ill-founded.

"Nevertheless, in political terms, people talk about jobs being lost in the United States to China... or to India... or elsewhere."

Reich also tried to quiet fears among Canadians that Kerry is anti-free trade, saying only that Kerry wants to remove certain tax incentives that encourage companies to move a portion of their manufacturing offshore so that they can legally shelter money from income taxes. He said Kerry believes strongly in the value of trade and that Canadians shouldn't fear his policies.

Note - This article was originally published in the Edmonton Journal and the Vancouver Sun, September 25, 2004.

State A-G Wants Abortuary Inspections

October 6, 2004
AG wants abortion clinics inspected
Proposal pushes for same standards required by ambulatory surgical centers
By Jimmie E. Gates

State Attorney General Jim Hood wants the Mississippi Department of Health to inspect abortion clinics to determine if they meet a new state mandate requiring facilities performing late-term abortions to perform emergency surgeries.

The law, which says abortions beyond 13 weeks gestation can only be performed at places with ambulatory surgical center standards, was blocked in July after U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee issued a temporary restraining order. Providers who challenged the stricter mandates said it would have limited abortions after the 13th week of pregnancy to hospitals and outpatient surgical facilities, which don't perform abortions. Currently, abortions up to 16 weeks gestation are allowed.

"The main thing is that I want to send the Health Department to inspect those two abortion clinics to see if they meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers," Hood said Tuesday.
Jackson Women's Health Organization and New Woman Medical Center, both in Jackson, are the only two licensed abortion clinics in the state. Abortion clinics have not been inspected to see if they qualify as ambulatory surgical centers, Hood said.

"We would be able to say yea or nay," Hood said of whether the centers meet the standards. "Some courts have said it's safer to have it (second trimester abortions) done in ambulatory surgical centers."

The Jackson Women's Health Organization challenged the new, stricter law that would have taken effect July 1.

A status conference seeking a permanent injunction against the law is set for Oct. 28 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alfred G. Nichols, Hood said.

One of the main standards for an ambulatory surgical center is having staffers qualified to perform emergency surgery on a woman if some medical emergency occurs during an abortion.

Lee, in his July ruling, said Jackson Women's Health Organization has been safely performing early second-trimester abortions for years and it is difficult to conclude the new law "does anything to further the state's professed desire to protect the health and safety of women who choose abortion."

Susan Hill of North Carolina, president of Jackson Women's Health Organization, said her clinic has wanted to apply for an ambulatory surgical center license, but has never been allowed. She disagreed with Hood's approach to trying to solve the legal dispute.

"It's putting the cart before the horse," she said of Hood's proposal, adding she questions the idea of having the Health Department inspect without the clinic making a formal application for an ambulatory surgical center license.

Hill said the Health Department already inspects the clinic annually under its regular licensing. She said her attorneys will discuss the proposal with Hood's office.

Kelly Shannon-French, a spokeswoman for the Health Department, said late Tuesday that it would be today before officials would have a comment on the inspection proposal.

Hill also said her office is in negotiation to buy New Woman Medical Center on Briarwood Drive.

The negotiations were ongoing prior to the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure board suspending the clinic's main abortion doctor in August, she said.

Dr. Malachy Dehenre, 53, had his Mississippi license suspended following a similar action on July 28 in Alabama. Authorities there cited the death of one of Dehenre's patients less than 24 hours after receiving an abortion as the reason for the suspension.

No one answered the telephone Tuesday afternoon at the Briarwood clinic. Hill said she doesn't think the clinic is operating since Dehenre was suspended.

A receptionist at New Woman's attorney Christopher Tabb's office said he had no comment about the clinic.

Sued Pastor Urges Church to Avoid Timidity

October 5, 2004 edition
World News
Pastor Sued for Alleged Hate Speech Urges the Church to Avoid Timidity

A prominent Swedish charismatic pastor who was sued recently for alleged "hate speech against homosexuals" said the church must get involved politically to counter-lobby socialists and liberals in Europe.
In August, Ulf Ekman was hit with the lawsuit. After only a few days, authorities decided not to prosecute the high-profile founder of Uppsala Word of Life Church (UWLC), but the incident further inflamed the already heated debate on the future of religious liberties in the northern European country.

"There is a deliberate political move in all of Europe toward restricting the freedom of religion, with Sweden serving as a sort of European Union pilot project," Ekman told "Charisma" magazine in the October issue, out now. The full report on hate-speech cases in Europe can be found in the magazine.

"Unless we now claim the freedom to preach the gospel in all of its facets and consequences, we soon will not be allowed to preach it at all," Ekman added.

In June, another Swedish Pentecostal pastor was sentenced to a month in prison for preaching against homosexuality. Pastor Ake Green of Borgholm Pentecostal Church in eastern Sweden told his congregation in a 2003 sermon that "abnormal sexual practices are like a cancerous growth on the body of society."

Finding Green guilty of offending homosexuals, a Swedish court sentenced him to jail in the first-ever application of a unique Swedish law passed in 2002 in the face of severe criticism not only by Christians, but also by legal experts.

Drawing on the laws adopted in many European countries after the Nazi era to protect Jews and Gypsies against hate speech, the new law defines homosexuals as a people group in need of collective safeguarding.

Though defending Green's right to preach freely, most Pentecostal, charismatic and evangelical church leaders in Sweden have been reluctant to take a strong stand for their elderly colleague. His sermon, many said, was "too unwisely phrased."

Speaking to 5,000 believers during a conference at UWLC, which he founded in 1983, Ekman criticized his fellow church leaders. "I, too, would have chosen other words [than pastor Green]," Ekman said, "but that is not the issue. The freedom of religion and of speech are interrelated. We must stand up for the right of all citizens to believe and speak without government censorship."

Ekman has urged the European church to "lay aside its timidity, its policies of silence and compromise, and raise its voice now, or [the believers] will soon be facing very dangerous times indeed. The agenda of the political left in Europe -- socialists and liberals -- is by no means secretive. The church must get involved politically, too, forming a counter-lobby."

Now residing in Jerusalem and committed to international missions, Ekman added: "We must preach the gospel unashamedly. I firmly believe that revival can turn a country around, but revival does not come without our preaching a supernatural gospel."

Representative Wants National ID Card

National IDs for everybody?
By Declan McCullagh
Story last modified October 4, 2004, 12:01 PM PDT

Rep. David Dreier wants to force all Americans to carry a national ID card around with them.

The California Republican is not about to describe his new bill in those terms, but that's the reality.

Dreier's legislation would prohibit employers from hiring people unless the job applicants first obtain new federal ID cards with their photograph, Social Security number and an "encrypted electronic strip" with additional information. Any employer who fails to comply faces hefty fines and prison terms of up to five years.

Dreier is smart enough to realize that these federal IDs would be immediately forged, so he takes the next step of linking them to an employment eligibility database that's queried by card readers whenever the ID is swiped. The employment database is required to include "all such data maintained by the Department of Homeland Security," combined with what the Social Security Administration has on file.

Most all bills die without the dignity of a floor vote. But Dreier is a rising star in the Republican Party with the influence to enact legislation quickly.

As a chairman, he's one of the youngest to head the powerful House Rules Committee, not to mention acting as co-chair of Californians for Bush and chairman of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's transition team. In 1998, his conservative voting record garnered a perfect 100 percent rating from the Christian Coalition--and a zero percent rating from the left-leaning Americans for Democratic Action. Last week, Dreier appeared on MSNBC as a Republican spokesman before the presidential debate.

Any employer who fails to comply faces hefty fines and prison terms of up to five years. The ostensible reason Dreier gives for a federal ID: curbing illegal immigration, the subject of a recent Time magazine cover story. "The explosion in counterfeit identity documents and employers who are unable or unwilling to establish the authenticity of documents presented by job applicants severely undermines our national security," Dreier said when introducing his bill, which he calls the Illegal Immigrant Enforcement and Social Security Protection Act.

The real reasons are slightly more complicated.

Tight re-election campaign
Dreier is used to commanding handsome victories at the polls every two years over his Democratic rivals. But since 1996, Dreier's re-election percentages have dipped below 60 percent a few times, and events in the last month slammed the powerful Republican with a series of embarrassing pre-Election Day setbacks.

First came allegations in the LA Weekly newspaper and the New York Post that Dreier, who has amassed a slew of anti-gay votes, is homosexual. Then two local talk show hosts, John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI-AM 640, became fed up with Dreier's stand on immigration.

They organized a "Fire Dreier" rally on Sep. 15 on charges that illegal immigrants from Mexico have wreaked havoc on California's economy. Held outside Dreier's Glendora, Calif., office, it drew hundreds of protesters armed with signs and bullhorns who called for a "political human sacrifice," according to the Pasadena Star-News.

The real problem with Dreier's plan is not that it creates an ID card. Driver's licenses do that today. Conservative publications continued the attack--a worrisome sign for a Republican who won't deny wanting to be speaker of the House someday. WorldNetDaily columnist Jane Chastain wrote an article on Sept. 16 endorsing the Fire Dreier scheme: "It will leave congressmen, who have done little or nothing to help stem the tide of illegal immigrates, quaking in their boots."

The upshot? Just hours before the Fire Dreier protest, the embattled congressman informed the Claremont Kiwanis Club that he would introduce his national ID bill. Six days later, Dreier did just that.

The real problem with Dreier's plan is not that it creates an ID card. Driver's licenses do that today.

But Dreier would create a back-end database for authentication purposes that could track whenever the ID is swiped. Just as the Social Security Number's uses grew, those readers would appear just about everywhere: banks, office buildings, supermarkets. Such a database would overflow with detailed records of all of our life's activities and create an irresistible temptation for misuse by corrupt officials or electronic intruders.

Dreier isn't alone. A Senate bill introduced last month in response to the 9/11 Commission's report would give the Department of Homeland Security unfettered power to regulate state drivers' licenses and ID cards. The House version takes a similar approach.

Both measures say federal agencies will only accept licenses and ID cards that comply--a requirement that would affect anyone who wants to get a U.S. passport, obtain Social Security benefits, or even wander into a federal courthouse. States would be strong-armed into complying. Warns Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union: "Congress shouldn't be providing a blank check to the Department of Homeland Security to design a national driver's license."

It's not just a liberal sentiment. Says Stephen Lilienthal, a policy analyst at the conservative Free Congress Foundation: "Many conservatives have expressed concern that proposals such as the Dreier bill are placed on the books with a limited set of objectives but will expand bit by bit to include all sorts of other information and be monitored constantly by the government to keep track of individuals from cradle to grave."

Dreier should take note. Talking loudly about ID cards may boost his re-election bid next month, but voters won't be pleased when they've figured out what it actually means.