Congressional Spouse?

CNN.com has posted a video highlighting the lives of two Congressional spouses. One is the wife of Republican freshman from Utah Jason Chaffetz. The other is the gay partner of Democrat freshman from Colorado Jared Polis. They compare/contrast how the conservative father of three Chaffetz and the liberal Polis live and work.

At one point in the video, Polis’ partner describes a story in which he tells how he lost his wallet (in it was his Congressional “spouse” card), sought help from Congressional Member Services to obtain a new one, but was told his designation as a “spouse” was a mistake—that his title should have been “designee” as all other gay partners are. Polis’ partner then goes on to point out the discrimination in our nation against gay people.

What’s interesting to note is that Colorado does not allow same sex couples to marry. Even domestic partnerships are limited (marriage is not allowed, common-law marriage is not allowed, but civil unions are allowed). So Polis and his partner are not, in fact, spouses, but are partners. Even Polis’ Wikipedia page calls them “Domestic Partners.” (Polis’ Congressional site and biography mention nothing about his partner.)

Just so we’re clear, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines spouse as “a marriage partner; a husband or wife.” Therefore, it would make sense that only those married couples are spouses. Those with domestic partnerships are partners.

So why is CNN calling him a spouse if he is not? CNN has historically referred to a person based on their legal status rather than their spiritual/personal/marital status. So why the difference now? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not discriminating again gay people. Make them domestic partners and give them rights and freedoms like other Americans. But let’s not call them spouses until they are legally married.

Maybe CNN needs to better choose their words.

Not a Choice, but a Child

Today while reading through Twitter, I noticed a link to some pictures of the developmental process of a child in a mother’s womb. Before you tell me how gross I am for being interested, just know that science fascinates me. So, I clicked on over and was pleasantly surprised with some of the most clear and accurate pictures I have ever seen.

While scrolling through these photos, it hit me that this child would soon become someone’s son or daughter, niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter. I couldn’t help but think of my own niece who is 18 months old today (happy half-birthday, Chloe!) Last weekend I spent a few days at my brother and sister in law’s house, and in that time I spent half a day babysitting my niece. We had breakfast together, watched the Backyardigans, colored with water colors (more like Auntie trying to make sure none got on the wood floors), played outside in the dirt, swung in the swing, napped (well, she did), and played with her toys. It was more fun than a day at Disneyland – seriously. She is everything I hoped my niece would be. I can’t imagine my life without Chloe.

Then I imagined what it would be like had my sister in law decided that a child would have been too much of an inconvenience. What if she had decided that rather than accepting the fact of being pregnant, she had made the choice to abort her child, and continue on with married life? What if little Chloe had never been born?

The one thing I will never understand is the thought that someone has the right to abort a child. Just because it is your body, your mistake, and your consequence doesn’t mean you can easily fix it with the killing of your child. And that’s just what it is – murder. Think that’s too harsh a word? Consider this: a child’s heart begins beating 18 days after conception. To stop the beating of that heart would be taking the life of someone against their will – murder.

“What about a woman’s right to choose? Surely she has a say in all this?” Yes, a woman does have a say in the reproductive process. The woman’s choice is whether or not to get pregnant – whether or not to take part in sex. Once she makes the decision to have sex, there is a very real chance she will become pregnant (contraceptives are not 100% effective).

So, in order to put this in perspective, here are a few facts about the development of a baby: *All facts and quotes have been taken from this website.

  • A baby’s spinal cord can be seen 14 days after conception.
  • A baby’s heart begins beating 18 days after conception.
  • A baby’s heart begins pumping blood 21 days after conception.
  • Brain waves are present in a baby 40 days after conception.
  • A baby begins developing eyes, ears, and a respiratory system 4 weeks after conception.
  • A baby’s pancreas begins creating insulin 7-8 weeks after conception.
  • A baby first begins movement 6-7 weeks after conception.
  • A baby’s stomach begins secreting juices around 8 weeks after conception.
  • By 8 weeks, all of a baby’s bodily systems are present.
  • A baby’s teeth are all present by 6 1/2 weeks.
  • By 9-10 weeks, a baby squints, swallows, moves his tongue, and will even make a fist if his palm is stroked.
  • By 11-12 weeks, a baby is breathing fluid steadily and will continue this until birth.
  • A baby’s fingernails are present by week 11-12.
  • A baby’s eyelashes are developed by week 16.
  • By month 4, a baby’s fingerprints are fully developed.
  • A baby’s taste buds begin working by 11-12 weeks after conception.
  • A baby begins having dreams by week 17.

All in all, the embryo that many claim they have rule over is another human being. I believe the account of a Dr. P.E. Rockwell, Director of Anesthesiology at Leonard Hospital in Troy, New York,  best sums up my thoughts and feelings on the sanctity of even the newest of human life:

“Eleven years ago, while giving an anesthetic for a ruptured tubal pregnancy (at two months), I was handed what I believed to be the smallest human being ever seen. The embryo sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny (one-third inch) human male swimming extremely vigorously in the amniotic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. This tiny human was perfectly developed with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes. It was almost transparent as regards the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent to the ends of the fingers.

“The baby was extremely alive and swam about the sac approximately one time per second with a natural swimmers stroke. This tiny human did not look at all like the photos and drawings of ‘embryos’ which I have seen, nor did it look like the few embryos I have been able to observe since then, obviously because this one was alive.”

An Open Letter to All Democrats

Dear Democrats,

Lately, I’ve begun to sense an increased feeling of animosity in your tones as you address me and my ideas. You call me judgmental, call my views “un-useful”, and even wish for my death (person has since protected their tweets so the “@lgoddard I hope you die…” tweet isn’t accessible). But while you continue to attack me personally, I want you to know where I stand.

Even though we may disagree on issues, I do not hate you. I’ll still wish you a happy birthday, cheer for the same sports team, joke about your follies, enjoy your company, and congratulate your successes. We are, after all, both human beings. You’re not any better than me and I’m not any better than you. We both face life’s ups and downs. We both know joys and heartaches. So I aim to treat you as a fellow human being, not an illogical idiot.

Now, despite what view you may have of me for being a Republican, please put that aside. I know some people in my party have shown you a fanatical, ugly side of partisanship, but rest assured, you won’t get that from me.

I will warn you though that I’m not a compromiser—I’ll stick to my beliefs. I won’t back down from my ideas, but I would expect nothing less from you. The beauty of America is that we can have opposing views and still live peaceably.

So I reach out to you in a civil discussion of ideas, and while you’re not obligated to return the favor, I would appreciate a calm debate rather than hateful remarks. If you want to discuss something, I’m game. But please don’t threaten me to make a point.

Sincerely,

Lauren

Senate Doctors Show

Interested in the debate over healthcare? Tired of listening to staged townhalls or screaming protestors? Two Senate doctors, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), have set up their very own Senate Doctors Show. With several years of experience in the medical field, Sens. Coburn and Barrasso are bypassing the confusing media process and have set up their own “townhall” of sorts to interact with citizens and answer questions about health care reform. They take questions via email, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and use their experience to plainly answer the inquiries of citizens.

Take a look at some of their past shows and even submit a question if you’d like: http://republican.senate.gov/doctors/

Unity in the GOP?

Have we, as a party, forgotten former President Reagan’s 11th commandment? “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Lately it seems as if we’ve put politics about party.

Example: This weekend was the biannual YRNF Convention in Indianapolis. Young Republicans from all over the nation gathered to listen to topics such as “Rebuilding the Party,” “Libertarians and GOP Synergies,” and “So You Want to Run for Office?” The convention also took time to elect a new Chairperson. Running for the seat was Young Republican Vice-Chairwoman at large Audra Shay and YRNF Director of Media Relations Rachel Hoff. On Wednesday, a day before the conference was scheduled to begin, a news article was featured in an online news source, describing Shay as a racist and quoting comments made by others on her Facebook page. Long story short, one of Audra’s friends posted a racial slur on Facebook and Audra then posted “You tell ’em, Eric. Lol” Now, there are many different explanations to this. Audra could have not seen the post (since it was a second comment he had left simultaneously), she could have failed to click “Read More” as comments aren’t always displayed in their entirety, or any number of other reasons. That’s not the issue. The issue I have with the whole situation is the swift move by Audra’s opponents—within the Republican party—to “leak” this info to liberal and left-leaning blogs just to smear her name.

Whether you like Audra or not, put that aside and imagine how this looked from the outside. I am not a member of the YRNF and therefore had no favorite in this race. But the moment I read of the incident and the slam the other side was promoting against her, my heart sank. I thought we were past inter-party slurs, “brother bashing,” and petty fighting. Again, I’m not saying what Audra did was right or wrong; look at the bigger picture. Once again, our party was shown as a disjointed group of politicians whose message was lost among the finger-pointing. It again proved that inter-party fighting hurts only ourselves.

Long gone are the days of running a campaign on a solid platform. Gone are the days of debates about issues, not people. We see it on every level of government—hit mailers, slanderous articles, and personal attacks. And you know the sad part? The most slanderous materials seem to come within our own party. Republicans fighting against Republicans, committed to a brutal battle for a win at all costs.

What ever happened to working together for the common good? What ever happened to joining forces to promote our cause? We’re so busy fighting among ourselves that we don’t have time to fight against the left.

When will we as a party get it in our heads that we can’t sacrifice party for politics?

The Future of the Republican Party

This is taken from an interview Esquire Magazine did with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Jeb was my governor while I lived in Florida and I greatly enjoyed the work he did in that state. In this interview, Bush talks about everything from the President’s approval ratings, the elections, to the Republican Party. In this particular part of the interview, the interviewer asks Jeb about the future of the Republican Party. Here’s Jeb’s answer: (Republicans, take note. This is the best formula for success I’ve yet to hear.)

Okay, give me your forty-five-second pitch for a Republican future.
[Bush outlines four points, speaking for more than fourteen minutes. It’s worth noting here that after two years out of the governor’s mansion, Bush seems a little out of practice at this interview business.]

We need to empower people to be taking advantage, to turn their fears into opportunities in a variety of different areas. It seems to me four areas of greatest concern right now, outside of foreign policy, which is a whole other subject. [On education.] Are we educating our kids properly? Are enough of our children gaining the power of knowledge in the current system? The answer is unequivocally no. So we should have more school choice, we should have more pay for performance, we should be raising standards, not lowering standards, we should embrace technology in a radical way, we should have “seat time” eliminated.

[Timidly.] Seat time?
You show up for 180 days, you graduate. It should be based on what you learned… People learn differently. It’s a simple fact that our education system ignores.

We’re living in a world now where in order to create high-wage jobs, you have to have knowledge-based workers. There is no way to do that unless they have the basic building blocks of being able to think abstractly, understand math and science, be able to read, maybe once in a while express a thought in a three-syllable word, preferably do so in more than one language, and have a sense of history, because it has this crazy way of repeating itself. I don’t think our education system in America is acceptable right now.

[On health care.] Have you ever gone to HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services]? Have you gone to CMS, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid? It’s scary. That’s going to be the marketplace for health care if Democrats have their way. Senator McCain had a fantastic health-care proposal that he had a hard time explaining, that said that basically you should empower people, individuals, to make choices, and they should be rewarded when they make choices that improve health-care outcomes.

Under Obama, we’re going to create a system that’s not focused on quality; it’s focused on access to care.

You end up insuring fewer people the more government expands its insurance. People drop out of the private market. For every person the government takes on the rolls, there’s an equal number of people leaving the private sector. We’re like gerbils running in place. We’re not expanding health-care access per se.

There are all sorts of technologies now that exist that allow us to improve health-care outcomes if we organize our system differently.

[The budget is the third point.] If you put a performance review on almost any government program, there’s always a better way of doing things.

[Energy is the fourth point.] We don’t have control over our energy sources, and it puts us in a vulnerable position.

[Conservatives need to be involved in the discussion about alternative fuels, Bush says.] We’re the only country in the world that would consider it appropriate policy not to take advantage of our own natural resources to provide stable, low-cost sources of energy.

[A pause. A moment of reflection.]

In this interim period, we have to pay for our sins and show some humility.

California’s Proposition 8 Upheld – The Rule of the People Still Matters!

This article was taken from World Net Daily and was posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009.

The California Supreme Court today affirmed a voter-approved state constitutional amendment that limits marriage to one man and one woman.

But in a decision today that essentially was a 6-1 vote, the court upheld the estimated 17,000 to 18,000 same-sex relationships that were formalized last year between its approval of “gay marriage” in May and the November ballot initiative that overruled the decision

“We conclude Proposition 8 constitutes a constitutional amendment rather than a constitutional revision. As a quantitative matter, petitioners concede that Proposition 8 – which adds but a single, simple section to the Constitution – does not constitute a revision,” said the majority opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald George.

“As a qualitative matter, the act of limiting access to the designation of marriage to opposite-sex couples does not have a substantial or, indeed, even a minimal effect on the governmental plan or framework of California that existed prior to the amendment. Contrary to petitioners’ claim in this regard, the measure does not transform or undermine the judicial function; this court will continue to exercise its traditional responsibility to faithfully enforce all of the provisions of the California Constitution, which now include the new section added through the voters’ approval of Proposition 8,” he said.

“Furthermore, the judiciary’s authority in applying the state Constitution always has been limited by the content of the provisions set forth in our Constitution, and that limitation remains unchanged,” said George. Continue reading