January 20, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Four

Welcome back, please forgive the still-not-developed web-site. Blogger is giving me fits when I try to upload the new scheme... Anyway, not wishing to keep you from the controversy, I present our first publication of this semester! As always, you can get in touch with me, the friendly editor, at: code.walrus@gmail.com

John Eidsmoe Conference
By David Dykstra

John Eidsmoe was in Omaha last weekend and gave an encouraging speech to Christian conservatives, along with a story which happens to be Ron Paul's favorite.

Homosexual Men Increase Syphilis Rate
By Michael Folkerts

The Center for Disease Control released some new numbers concerning syphilis rates among men, and some not-so-startling reasons why.

Gaza Conflict Far From Over
By Andrew Lacy

Is the problem really over? Andrew Lacy gives a compelling argument against the idea.

2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
By Benjamin Kayser

The SAICFF is in Antonio, Texas, and we happened to have a reporter attending who gives a very encouraging story.

Set The Record Straight
By Benjamin Kantack

The fact that the war was started by a Democrat is something worth reminding everyone.

News Clips: Full List
Compiled by Tobias Davis

News Clips: January 21

WND - A Californian woman, Bertha Pinedo Bugarin, posing as an abortionist is facing 16 felony charges and may spend up to 9 years in prison for operating six abortion clinics without a proper medical license. Operation Rescue reports that her clinics targeted low-income Hispanic women by advertising on Spanish television. Several women have accused Bugarin of performing botched abortions, several resulting in premature births. One man working for Bugarin, Laurence Reich, lost his medical license but continued to perform abortions. Bugarin has pled guilty to nine felony counts and pled no contest to seven similar felony charges in a Los Angeles Superior Court.

WND - The full 47 minute video revealing Indianapolis Planned Parenthood staff covering up a reported statutory rape has been released. The video shows a staff member for Planned Parenthood counseling a 13-year-old to avoid mandatory statutory rape reporting laws. A smaller section of the tape, done by Live Action Films, had been released earlier, but the group has recently released the full length video, urging Planned Parenthood to show transparency on how often it provides birth control, pregnancy testing, STD testing and abortion services to minors under 14 and how often it has reported these cases to Child Protective Services. The "non-profit" group Planned Parenthood received a total of $300 million taxpayer funds, and netted over $100 million in profit last year.

Telegraph.co.uk - Radio host Jeremy Vine expressed concerns of religious suppression, saying he feels unable to talk about his faith on his show because of fear how people will react. It's "almost socially unacceptable to say you believe in God," said Vine, a practicing Anglican, "Just because something's true doesn't mean you can say it." In an interview with Reform, a magazine published by the United Reformed Church, Mr Vine says that he is forced to separate his personal beliefs from his role as a presenter.

Reuters.com - Despite the coldest winter in many years, climate change "experts" continue to predict global temperature increases this century. In Europe, temperatures have increased faster than climate models, and less fog is being blamed. Researchers at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute found fog levels have decreased over the last 30 years, leading to more sunlight being absorbed by the ground, and an increase in temperatures. The implication that cleaner air is causing increased warming doesn't seem to realized by the researchers, who simply say that "climate is not simple and this is a new factor."

East Valley Tribune - A decrease in homicides in the Maricopa County, Arizona, has been attributed partially to illegal-immigration operations. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, in a Thursday press release, announced homicide in the Maricopa County has dropped by 28 percent. The homicide data comes from figures provided to the FBI.

Telegraph.co.uk - While China continues to implement it's one child per family policy, Russia is honoring large families with a silver start of the Order of Parental Glory. The award program was revived due to concerns over Russia's sharp fall in birthrates, the United Nations predicts the population could fall from 146 million to 80 million by 2050. Eight families were chosen for the award ceremony, some coming in traditional Siberian dress and others in military uniforms. Although one "art group" mocked the event, participants took it more seriously.

WND -- Oliver County, North Dakota, may be requiring cameras in bars soon. In a bit of reactionary legislating, the State's Attorney Mike Liffrig asked the city of Center to require audio capturing video cameras after a brawl earlier this month left a man with facial injuries. Bar owners and local patrons don't appreciate the invasion of privacy, and don't like the police keeping a record of what is said and done after a few beers. Even a local man, Dean Windhorst, who sported a pair of black eyes and a busted lip, opposes the cameras. Center is a town of about 700. Perry Wolf, owner of Lonewolf Saloon, explained that the fights were mainly caused by a couple laid-off construction workers, and that the problem has been settled without cameras.

Dayton Daily News - School officials in Mason, Florida, e-mailed parents that "inappropriate comments that may make other students, staff or families feel unwelcome or uncomfortable ... will not be tolerated" concerning the Obama inauguration. Warren County Commissioner Dave Young said he questions an "inappropriate comments" policy based on what makes someone feel "unwelcome or uncomfortable." Young, who has three children in the school district, is concerned about the precedent set by not tolerating comments against Obama.

[Compiled by Tobias Davis a Mechanical Engineer Major at UNL and the Editor for the Student Newspaper]

John Eidsmoe Conference

This past Friday, retired Air-Force Lt. Colonel John Eidsmoe, spoke at the Old Country Buffet in Omaha. His speech entitled, "Seeds of Victory, Seeds of Defeat," cautioned conservatives against losing hope, and becoming cynical in the wake of the past election. For according to Eidsmoe, "In every victory are the seeds of defeat, and in every defeat are the seeds of victory." He gave several examples of this within the past forty years. With the defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, many claimed the death of the GOP, yet when 1984 rolled around, pundits heralded the death of the Democratic Party. Now in 2009, when the future of true Conservatism and Christian Ethics appears the bleakest, it is the time for action. Eidsmoe advised those present, not to focus so much on the national elections, but rather on the local races. After all, it is the local positions which serve as the training ground for politicians. He also emphasized a knowledge of the Constitution, and ability to hold officials' feet to it's fire. His point was that we don't just need public officials who know and obey Constitution, but we need an educated citizenry, one that will hold politicians accountable. He masterfully illustrated this point with the story of Horatio Buntz and the Congressman Davy Crockett. This story he recited from memory from the book, "The Life of Colonel David Crockett."

Crockett was campaigning for re-election and he came to Horatio Buntz and asked for his vote. He introduced himself and Buntz said, "I know who you are, sir, you are Colonel David Crockett, our Congressman. I voted for you in the last election; I shall not do so again."

Crockett asked why, and he said, "Because you violated your oath to uphold the Constitution."

"Well, how'd I do that?"

"Remember that bill you passed for the relief of those fire victims in New York?"

"You can't begrudge that, that was a just a small amount, and they were certainly in need."

Buntz said, "It's not the amount, it's not the charity, sir, it's the principle. You are authorized by the Constitution to tax and spend for three purposes: to pay debts, and you know that this wasn't a debt; to provide for the common defense, and you know this had nothing to do with defense; and to promote the general welfare, and this was not for the general welfare, it was for the specific welfare of those people. You violated your oath. I shall not vote for you again"

"Well," Crockett said, "You know, you're right. I can't ask you to vote for me but if you'll call a meeting of the farmers here, I will publicly apologize for that vote and promise never to vote that way again"

Buntz called the meeting, and with or without Buntz's vote, Crockett was re-elected.

In another session of Congress there was a bill to allocate funds for the relief of a widow. It looked like it was going to pass. When Crockett took the floor, he recounted his promise to Horatio Buntz, and said, "This is not a debt, this is not for defense, and this is not for the general welfare." He said, "I am the poorest man in this house, I cannot vote for this bill, but I'll donate one week's pay to this widow. If everyone else on the floor will do the same, it will be more than the bill calls for."

The bill was defeated, but when Crockett passed his coonskin cap, he found he was the only one who contributed. He noted that congressmen are much more willing to spend the taxpayers money than they are their own."

Eidsmoe finished the story by saying, "The point is, what if we had a hundred million Horatio Buntses across America...?

What if we had several hundred congressman like Davy Crockett who either know the Constitution or are willing to learn from people like Horatio Buntz? I believe this nation could be turned around."

That, of course, is the long term goal of the Conservative Christian political movement, we are not about to curl and die because of one defeat, rather as a result of our defeats, we will be awakened and strengthened. Look out Left, here we come!

[David Dykstra is a highschool student from Omaha]

Homosexual men escalate syphilis rate

A recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease and Control organization (CDC) reports that the syphilis rate has been increasing rapidly since the turn of the century. As CDC reports, the syphilis rate was decreasing substantially throughout the 1990’s and reached an all-time low in 2000. However, the syphilis rate has been increasing in the United States since then. From 2006 to 2007, the national syphilis rate increased 15.2 percent, from 9,756 to 11,466.

As reported, the syphilis rate among males is now six times greater then the rate among females which was nearly equivalent a decade ago. Males now make up 65 percent of all syphilis cases in the United States. Furthermore, African-Americans, who make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, accounted for almost 50 percent of all syphilis cases

CDC believes the increase in the syphilis rate is a result of males neglecting to use safer sex methods when engaging in sex with other males. Another factor that may be causing the increased rate is that males who have sex with other males often engage in frequently anonymous sexual encounters. It’s also important to note that syphilis can be transmitted through oral sex.

CDC estimates that almost 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, with almost half of those infections occurring among 15 to 24 year-olds. STDs cost the U.S. health care system as much as $15.3 billion annually.

[Michael Folkerts is an Ag-Econ Major at UNL]

Conflict in Gaza far from over

Early Sunday morning, Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire in the conflict with Hamas in Gaza. Make no mistake, however, despite Israel ceasing offensive ground operations in Gaza, this war will likely not end any time soon. Hamas has made it clear that they have no intention of honoring the ceasefire and at the time of this writing have fired at least fifteen more rockets into Israel.

There will only be peace in the region when there is victory. Victory is when one side admits defeat or rendered unable to operate. As with the war with Hezbollah in 2006, Israel’s leaders have failed to secure victory. Instead, they engage in half-measures that weaken their enemies without ever defeating them. They then reach temporary peace agreements, which their enemies break as soon as they are able to. Hamas and Hezbollah practice the principle of hudna, which was first established by Muhammed. Under hudna, the Muslim forces make treaties when they are weak, then build their forces until they are strong enough to break the treaty. This is exactly what we’ve been seeing for decades, and we will continue to see it until Israel defeats Hamas and Hezbollah.

So what role do we play in this conflict? Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a conference call with conservative bloggers last week and told them, “The most important thing [friends of Israel can do] is to tell the truth…Get the facts straight….the facts do count….the sequence counts.”

So, in line with Mr. Netanyahu’s request, here are the facts. Hamas has been launching rockets into Israel for over eight years. They do so while hiding in mosques and schools, knowing that Israel will be condemned for harming civilians when they retaliate. Hamas has also run a public relations campaign that has taken full advantage of international media that are more than willing to make Israel look bad. Just about every picture or video you’ve seen in the news that makes Israel look bad has been staged. The most glaring example from this conflict is video CNN used which depicted doctors attempting to give CPR to a dead Palestinian boy. This was quickly exposed as fraudulent by Little Green Footballs – the same blog that exposed Dan Rather’s forged memos. Several doctors who watched the video immediately noted that the Palestinian doctors were not really performing CPR, but lightly pressing on the chest of the boy, who was likely still alive. CNN removed the video from their website, but the accompanying story was left intact.

Peace follows victory, and as long as Hamas controls the Palestinian Authority and continues to receive support from Iran, there will not be the victory necessary for peace.

[Andrew Lacy is a Broadcasting Major at UNL]

2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

When I hear the words “Christian” and “Film” together I usually roll my eyes. Or when I think of “Christian Film Festival,” I usually think of 30 people meeting down in someone’s basement with a $50 cash prize for a cheesy movie. But after going to the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival I can say that my stereotypes are false. Not only did the filmmakers bring movies with great stories, but they also brought movies with impressive quality.

Three days before the film festival (January 5-7), Vision Forum hosted a Filmmakers Academy. Over 500 aspiring filmmakers attended the Academy.

Stephen Kendrick, writer and producer of the movies Facing the Giants and Fireproof gave a lecture on the making of Fireproof.

Isaac Botkin has done work on The Discovery Channel, CNN, NET, CBS World News Tonight, National Television of New Zealand, and on broadcasting outlets in Europe and Asia. He presented a workshop on cinematography.

Logan Craft, producer of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed gave a lecture on the production of Expelled.

Jon Erwin has been doing camera work since he was 15. He is now a camera operator for ESPN, ABC, NBC and many more. He did a workshop presenting RED, which is a 4K digital cinema camera system.

Jimmy Broyden did two-hour hands on presentation on how to do stunts. He has worked with Jackie Chan, Harrison Ford, Will Smith, Will Ferrell, Jack Black and many more. Some of Jimmy’s films include Firewall, Elf, I Robot, X-Files, Star Gate, and many more.

These were just a few of the workshops that were given at the Academy. And the main thing that all these men have in common is that they are making films for the Glory of God alone.
The Film Festival started January 8 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The first thing that I noticed when I walked in was that I was accompanied with 2500 other people. The second thing that I noticed was that there were people from all over the United States.

Out of 250 films submitted only 50 films were selected. With four films and a lecture almost constantly playing at the same time. You had to strategically choose which film you wanted to see. Finally, Saturday evening came and it was time for the award ceremony. Everyone was anxiously waiting to get to the Jubilee award. Why? Because the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival is offering the largest cash prize for a film in the United States: a whopping $101,000 dollars. There were about ten other awards they gave away before the Jubilee award. By the time the Jubilee winner was going to be announced you could smell the adrenaline in the air. It’s amazing how the three words “The Widows Might” could stir up so much excitement. Within seconds of the announcement people were on their feet cheering. The Widows Might was written and directed by John Moore (19) and produced by David Heustis (20).

If I could sum the whole festival in one word it would be “inspiring.” It inspired me to see men and women of all ages making films. It inspired me when I saw the vision of these filmmakers to glorify God through film. It inspired me when a 19 year old won the largest cash prize award for a film. It inspired me when I saw 2500 people with the same hunger for God glorifying films.

[Banjamin Kayser is a highschool student from Omaha]

Set the record straight

This month is marked by the transition of power, where once again we Americans (even conservatives) can thank God for the blessing of a government that changes hands by ballot instead of by bullet. The election coverage has died down; old candidates have returned to seats in Congress, TV pundit shows, or obscurity. And George W. Bush, one of only four presidents since World War II to serve two full terms, passes the torch to another man and another party.

Bush was fond of saying that historians will one day look back on his legacy and evaluate it objectively. But many have passed judgment on our forty-third president even before the curtain fell on his administration. Pundits, journalists, politicians, and average citizens have levied allegations against the president – some true, some false, some unverified. Again, even conservatives can be thankful that the United States not only protects and cherishes such free speech, but also defends these rights around the world.

Certainly a defining of the Bush presidency will be the Iraq War, which has extended for over half of Bush’s term. No one likes war – even those who deem it necessary – and the American people have passed a referendum on George Bush’s foreign policy by electing a Democrat who promises to end the Iraq War. It would seem that this month marks not only the end of the Bush era, but also (if we believe the campaign promises) the end of the Iraq War as well.

Before we close the book on one more leader of the free world, however, there is one thing that I must get off my chest. I must set the record straight on the Iraq War, which has clearly drawn more criticism from the Democratic Party than any other Bush doctrine.

The policy of “regime change,” a buzzword propped up by media attention, was first adopted by the Iraq Liberation Act. The ILA stated “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

Many might consider this to be one more blot on Bush’s foreign policy, but in actuality the ILA was signed into law on Halloween, 1998 – by President Bill Clinton. In fact, according to CNN.com, President Clinton had sent eerie warnings of Saddam Hussein’s power as early as February of that year:

“[H]e will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal….If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program.”

“Replace that regime?” “Emboldened” terrorists? “Weapons of mass destruction?” Sound familiar?

Bill Clinton had Saddam Hussein on a hit list long before Bush had even conceived of a run at the presidency. When Clinton briefed Bush on foreign policy issues (according to the 2008 book The U.S. Between the Wars by Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier), he verbally regretted that Saddam Hussein, whom he deemed one of the two most dangerous men on the planet, was still alive, and told Bush that Hussein would “cause you a world of problems.”

So to the Democrats who skipped school, got off work, or even flew to D.C. to watch the inauguration, congratulations. You have succeeded in hiring a president to end the war you started. Bush may or may not earn a special place in the hearts of Americans many years from now, but he can be no more blamed for the Iraq War than he can for the Monica Lewinksy scandal. And perhaps, someday, historians will set the record straight.

[Benjamin Kantack is a political science and Spanish major at UNL.]