Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On Capitol Hill This Week, Vol. XIV, No. 12a

(Note: Watch for Tim McGhee's Legislative Update, published later today, for our legislative focus on the Hill this week.)



Organizers of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, say they have strived to make the 18-month commemoration and main-event weekend a realistic recollection of history that set the course for the United States. "Whether you are of English descent, African decent, Powhatan descent, Irish, Scottish or Polish descent, the country we live in today, its stamp was essentially set at Jamestown," said Terry Bond, 47, a re-enacter at Jamestown Settlement.

The commemoration will include a visit May 1-3 from Queen Elizabeth II, which will be followed by the May 11-13 weekend at the Jamestown Settlement and adjacent Anniversary Park. The weekend events will include exhibits, re-enactments and music from a 400- piece orchestra. About 90,000 visitors are expected to attend.

President Bush plans to participate in the celebration, but specifics of his May 13 visit were not announced. "The president's participation in Anniversary Weekend festivities underscores the pivotal role Jamestown played in our nation's history and helps further focus the world's attention on Jamestown's legacies -- representative government, free enterprise and a culturally diverse society," said Stuart W. Connock, chairman of the Jamestown 2007 steering committee. (Washington Times)

· · Note: Tomorrow, we will publish a longer special edition on the Jamestown event, which will include a list of prayer requests and information about signing a covenant with the participants to rededicate our land back to the Lord. Praise the Lord that this day has come! · "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord." (Psalm 150:6)


How would you feel if you were in the shoes of the Cho family right now? How might you bless the Cho family?

At 6:20 p.m on April 20, 2007, an official national day of mourning for the victims and families of the Virginia Tech tragedy, CNN released this family statement from the Cho family: The statement by Sun-Kyung Cho, sister of Seung-Hui Cho, on behalf of herself and her family is quoted at the bottom of this newsletter. · Please join us, below, in praying for comfort for this family, too. We note that the students at VA TECH have placed 33 stones -- not 32 -- in honor of the victims of this tragedy, for Seung-Hui Cho was a victim, too.

· "God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way." · " . . . who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (2 Corinthians 1:4)
(Source for this report: Randy Peck: "Your Daily Blessing"")


American universities and colleges should consider using students, faculty and staff who have security backgrounds to provide a "first line of defense" for their campuses in the event of terror attacks or other emergencies, a Jerusalem counter-terrorism expert said.

Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech has raised questions about the response of the security forces and university administration and also the issue of how campuses can be better protected in emergency situations without jeopardizing an atmosphere of freedom. Campuses could examine enlisting the help of students, faculty and staff who have had military experience, a suggestion of Ramy Gershon, a former commander of an elite counter-terrorism unit in the Israeli army. Gershon previously headed the department of sports administration at the Wingate Institute, a prestigious school near Tel Aviv, where he was part of the type of "first line of defense" he advocates for U.S. universities.

Although no guns were allowed on campus, weapons were kept in a safe in case of an emergency. Students and faculty with security backgrounds became members of a defense unit -- small, but with the knowledge of what to do in a terror attack. They were trained and knew how to operate together. They knew how to respond, which gates or doors to shut until outside help arrived, Gershon said. The unit's members were also registered as such with the security forces so that when the forces arrived they knew who the security personnel were. The general student body was also drilled about ways to respond in an emergency.

Gershon conceded that life in the United States is considerably different from the situation in Israel, where citizens are generally security-conscious. Nonetheless, he said American schools could implement such a system if they did a little "brainstorming." Gershon, who studied at Indiana University in Bloomington, said it's surprising how many former servicemen are on U.S. campuses. He suggested that students be educated and drilled at least once a year so they know what to do in an emergency situation. Gershon also recommended that students, as part of their pre-enrollment questionnaires, be asked if they owned a gun or had a firearm license. He acknowledged that some might consider the question a violation of privacy. The key, Gershon argued, is thinking two steps ahead. (CNSNews.com)

· Mr. Gershon's suggestion may have much merit. After all, students do undergo fire drills throughout campuses. Being prepared certainly does not have to limit academic freedom, and certainly Americans need to be more "security conscious." Pray that these suggestions will not be dismissed but given consideration and possibly applied appropriately here in the US. Praise the Lord that the Israelis are always ready with sound advice in friendship. Pray also for more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on our campuses. · "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16)


In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a 2003 federal ban on partial-birth abortions is constitutional, a decision quickly hailed by one conservative organization as a "monumental victory." Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that opponents of the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003 "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases." Along with Chief Justice John Roberts, other justices voting to uphold the ban were Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.

Wednesday's ruling, in the consolidated cases of Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, marks the first time the court has banned a specific procedure in a case over how -- not whether -- to perform an abortion. More than one million abortions are performed in the country each year, according to recent statistics. Nearly 90 percent of those occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and are not affected by Wednesday's ruling.

"This is a monumental victory for the preservation of human life," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which litigates pro-life issues. "By rejecting the lawsuits challenging the national ban, the high court demonstrated that this gruesome procedure has no place in the medical community. This decision represents an important shift in the ongoing battle to protect human life and represents a very significant pro-life victory in the abortion debate," Sekulow said in a statement. (CNS News)

· Author of Life, we greatly rejoice over Your victory brought forth through five members of the Supreme Court honoring the constitutional validity of the ban on partial-birth abortion, thereby upholding LIFE. Cause the four dissenters with the names of Ruth (a loyal friend), Stephen ( a crown), David (beloved, or chieftain), and John Paul (Jehova is gracious & little one), to live up to their "biblical" predecessors with these same names. Father open their eyes to see and their hearts to know Your life, truth, and freedom, in our Saviors' name, Amen. · " . . . for as his name is so is he; . . ."
(1 Samuel 25:25b)


President Bush said following Wednesday's decision: "I am pleased that the Supreme Court upheld a law that prohibits the abhorrent procedure of partial-birth abortion. Today's decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people's representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America. The partial- birth abortion ban, which an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress passed and I signed into law, represents a commitment to building a culture of life in America. The Supreme Court's decision is an affirmation of the progress we have made over the past six years in protecting human dignity and upholding the sanctity of life. We will continue to work for the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law."

The Christian Coalition of America commends President Bush for fulfilling his campaign promise and commends the five justices on the Supreme Court who upheld the ban on the gruesome procedure called partial birth abortion, legislation which passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. Houses of Representatives (281-142) and in the U.S. Senate (64- 34.) Nearly 80% of the American people wanted this barbaric abortion procedure banned and after years of judicial wrangling, the United States Supreme Court finally ended this abomination in America. (Christian Coalition of America)

· We agree with President Bush! In one week flat, America has moved from a dramatic demonstration ot the "culture of DEATH" on Monday to the upholding of the value of the "culture of LIFE" on Wednesday, through this Supreme Court decision. Continue to rejoice at this victory, and continue to press in, in prayer, until the lives of ALL unborn babies are safe in America. · "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." (Deut. 30:19)


Although Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was doing his best to maintain a low profile about his past support of the partial-birth abortion ban, his comments last week about Justice Samuel Alito made that goal virtually impossible. When FRC broke the story on the contradiction between Reid's voting record and his cryptic statements about the PBA ruling, the Senate majority leader came under fire from conservative groups and probing reporters. In his column today, Bob Novak writes about a conversation he had with Reid about the remarks. When Novak asked if "Reid was repudiating his Senate vote for the bill restricting abortions," the senator said no. He claimed that he was referring to other decisions by Alito. Yet when Novak pressed for answers about specific cases, Reid replied, "I can't recall" but assured Novak that his staff would provide the details. As Novak writes, "They did so several hours later." Interestingly, of the four cases they supplied, it's not always clear that former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor--whom Reid said he "wish[ed] were there" for the PBA ruling--would have disagreed with Alito's opinion. And, as Novak points out, there is no record of Reid condemning Alito's vote in any of those cases.

Although Reid's doublespeak on the issue is nothing new, it does point to a growing conflict of interest for Democrats who were elected to uphold values--often at the expense of the liberal party line. In trying to appease both sides, Reid failed to please either. (Family Research Council)

· "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matt. 5:37)


Changes implemented over the last few months In Iraq show promising signs that the country is moving towards peace, President Bush said Friday. "This new strategy is fundamentally different from the previous strategy," he said during a speech at East Grand Rapids High School in East Grand Rapids, Mich. It recognizes that our top priority must be to help Iraq's elected leaders secure their population, especially in Baghdad." But, the president noted, "Iraqis will not be able to make the political and economic progress they need until they have a basic measure of security. "Iraq's leaders are committed to providing that security, but at this point they cannot do it on their own. So I ordered American reinforcements to help the Iraqis secure their population, to go after the terrorists and insurgents and citing sectarian violence and to get their capital under control," he said.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the president's remarks "ambiguous." "He misses the point," Levin said during a conference call briefing with reporters on Friday. "He doesn't put any teeth behind the rhetoric. He just simply says our patience isn't limited, but his actions continue to be open-ended, unconditional and unlimited. Unless he says what the limits are on our patience, it's just hollow rhetoric and that has been the problem with the administration's position consistently. It's hollow because it's not followed up with what are the limits on our patience, what will happen if they [the Iraqis] don't meet the benchmarks," Levin added. "What the president misses is that there is no solution here if there is not a political one," Levin continued. "That is why what Congress is doing is so useful - it is putting pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political solution."

Bush, however, said the political dispute with Democrats over emergency funding for the war is hampering the Pentagon's ability to fund efforts in Iraq.

"There is ample time to debate this war," Bush said. "We need to give the troops the money." Levin disagreed. "We're going to support our troops. We're going to fund them as long as they are there, but we're going to try to get them reduced in numbers," he said, adding, "We are right where we should be - debating how we should change course in Iraq. "You don't need to cut funding for the troops in order to achieve the goal, which is to reduce the military presence in Iraq as a way of putting pressure on the Iraqis to take control of their own country and to take responsibility for their own country," Levin argued. (CNSNews.com)

· Father we call to You and ask that Your wisdom, counsel, and strategy be given to President Bush and his advisors, causing a noble end to the war in Iraq. We ask for victory to end the violence in that nation, and for the safe return of our troops. We continue to take up the "hammer" of God against all obstuctionist plans that would thwart our total victory in that nation, and we ask You to forgive those who are stonewalling the president's requests for a bill to fund the war effort with no timetables included. In Jesus' Name, we pray, amen. · "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) "Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" (Jer. 23:29)


Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell responded yesterday regarding the "cut and run" or "retreat and surrender" statement of the Democrat Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada who said on Thursday that "the war in Iraq is lost," and basically abandoning our troops in Iraq. Nevada Senator Reid also said that a United States troop surge is failing to bring peace to the country. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL, suggested yesterday that Nevada Senator Reid should call his constituents, Huber Parsons and Philip Parson in Nevada, who have 3 sons in Iraq and tell them, "You need to tell your sons that the war is lost in Iraq."

Senate Republican Leader McConnell said: "I can't begin to imagine how our troops in the field, who are risking their lives every day, are going to react when they get back to base and hear that the Democrat Leader of the United States Senate has declared the war is lost. I can't begin to imagine what their families will think."

Senator McConnell went on to say: "Surely this isn't the consensus position of Senate Democrats. If the war is already lost, if it is already time to declare defeat, then why wait another year to do it? Why not simply vote against funding now? Why would anyone ask American soldiers to stick it out for another year if they think the battle is already over? If Democrats want to end this war, they should vote against funding it. That would clearly end the war. But that is not what is going to happen. They will wait another year. They will supply and equip our soldiers to fight a war they think they have already lost." (Christian Coalition of America)

· Lift up a prayer for the Senate Majority Leader, for we all must operate with a "sound mind" -- and especially those who are in authority over us! · "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Tim. 1:7)