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the thinking everyman’s national daily—championing freedom, smaller government and human dignity.
Updated: 2 hours 31 min ago

Parents Go to Court to Boot 30-year-old Son From Home

4 hours 52 min ago

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- In a real-life case of “Failure to Launch,” an upstate New York judge Tuesday ordered a 30-year-old man to move out of his parents’ house after they went to court to have him ejected.

Michael Rotondo told the judge he knows his parents want him out of the split-level ranch they share. But he argued that as a family member, he’s entitled to six months more time.

State Supreme Court Justice Donald Greenwood rejected that as outrageous, the Post-Standard of Syracuse reported.

Rotondo told reporters he’ll appeal.

Mark and Christina Rotondo brought the court case after several eviction letters offering money and other help were ignored.

The parents didn’t answer a call seeking comment Tuesday and their letters, filed in court, don’t give their reasons for wanting their son out of the house. They do tell him to get a job and move his broken-down Volkswagen Passat.

“Michael, here is $1,100 from us to you so you can find a place to stay,” a Feb. 18 letter starts. It goes on to suggest he sell his stereo, some tools and any weapons he may have to gain money and space.

“There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you,” the letter reads. “Get one -- you have to work!”

It’s signed “Christina and Mark Rotondo.”

With reporters watching in court, Michael Rotondo sparred with Greenwood for 30 minutes, at one point refusing the judge’s request to work things out directly to his parents, who were sitting quietly nearby.

When Greenwood called Rotondo up to the bench, the long-haired and bearded son tried to bring the podium with him -- noting it held the reporters’ microphones.

He then called out for television camera crews to meet him outside the courthouse. There, he answered their questions, telling them he occupies a bedroom in his parents’ home, doesn’t speak to them and isn’t ready to leave home. He said he had a business but wouldn’t elaborate.

“My business is my business,” he said.

The judge instructed the parents’ lawyer to draft an eviction order. Attorney Anthony Adorante said it would give Rotondo reasonable time to vacate.

In the 2006 Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy, the grown son’s parents hire a woman to try to speed their son’s exit.

Sheriff: Suspect in Florida Gun Battle With Police Found Dead

5 hours 8 min ago

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) -- A man suspected of trading wild bursts of gunfire with officers during a long standoff in the Florida Panhandle was found dead Tuesday in a gasoline-soaked apartment after an armored vehicle approached, authorities said.

“We were just blessed that we didn’t lose multiple officers and citizens today,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said at a news conference in Panama City, a small Gulf Coast city near the state’s famous sugar-sand beaches. He said a robot had to be deployed to check the apartment before officers could enter, finding the man dead.

No law enforcement agents were shot or wounded but one person leaving her apartment was injured and in stable condition, he said.

He described the dangerous situation that unfolded Tuesday in the tourist community as a “nightmare scenario for us,” with authorities estimating 100 rounds fired during the altercation. Ford said sporadic bursts of heavy gunfire had pinned several officers down at times as the suspected assailant fired from an elevated position with a rifle. Several law enforcement agents had surrounded the apartment building.

The sheriff wouldn’t say whether the suspect, 49-year-old Kevin Robert Holroyd, killed himself during the barrage of bullets or if he was struck by an officer’s bullet, but he said officers did hear a final, muffled shot from inside the apartment before the scene went silent.

He also said Holroyd doused the apartment in gasoline, saying they believe Holroyd intended to start a fire. Inside the home, authorities also uncovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition, several high powered rifles and flares.

Broadcasters showed televised footage of armed officers kneeling behind police cars and other positions around the building as gunfire continued sporadically and sirens blared.

“These units were taking numerous rounds of fire from the subject,” the sheriff said.

Witnesses heard rounds of gunfire between noon and 12:30 p.m. The gunfire peppering officers was so heavy that it shattered the windows of patrol cars along with computers inside the vehicles.

During the day Tuesday, authorities elsewhere on the Panhandle said they discovered a suspicious death in Santa Rosa Beach, a community in neighboring Walton County about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest along the Florida coast. There, they said, 30-year-old Clinton Street was shot to death -- and authorities said they had connected that slaying with the Panama City standoff.

Ford said police officers eventually used an armored vehicle to get to the apartment. Around 2:30 p.m., he said, officers ignited a flash grenade and drove the armored vehicle to break into Holroyd’s apartment, and used a robot to search the residence.

Nearby businesses and schools had to be evacuated and several police agencies responded to the scene.

Kim Allagood, owner of a nearby pizza restaurant, said “tons and tons” of police descended on the area and she locked down her restaurant for close to two hours amid sporadic shooting.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott talked to Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford about the situation in Panama City. John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, said the main point of the call was to offer state law enforcement assistance.

DeVos: Reporting Undocumented Students is a Local Decision

5 hours 18 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday that decisions on whether to report undocumented students to authorities rest with local communities.

DeVos was asked during a congressional hearing whether teachers or principals should notify authorities that a student is undocumented. “I think it’s a school decision, a local community decision,” she said.

But Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaign at the American Civil Liberties Union, disputed that. Praeli said in a statement that a school taking such action would violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of education to every child.

“Let’s be clear: Any school that reports a child to ICE would violate the Constitution,” Praeli said, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “The Supreme Court has made clear that every child in America has a right to be a basic education, regardless of immigration status.”

DeVos told the hearing, “We have laws and we also are compassionate and I urge this body to do its job and address and clarify where there is confusion around this.”


Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trump Rallies Pro-Lifers to Vote For Republicans

5 hours 50 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a rallying call to opponents of abortion, encouraging them to head to the polls to elect conservative lawmakers.

Speaking at the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual “Campaign for Life Gala,” Trump took a victory lap for his anti-abortion policies and nominations of conservative justices to federal courts. But he warned the group that they must show up at the polls to preserve their gains under his administration.

“Every day between now and November we must work together to elect more lawmakers who share our values, cherish our heritage, and proudly stand for life,” Trump said. He summed it up for the roomful of enthusiastic supporters: “The story is, ’18 midterms, we need Republicans.”

Trump has long been an unlikely sweetheart for conservative and evangelical voters. But now, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, the thrice-married former Democrat who used to describe himself as “very pro-choice” has been offering catnip to conservatives.

Last week, the administration unveiled a new push to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics. The initiative, which was formally unveiled Tuesday, is aimed at resurrecting parts of a Reagan-era mandate banning federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, or sharing space with abortion providers.

And it arrived just in time for Trump to highlight it Tuesday at the gala. The speech, said one administration official, had been aimed at a core constituency of conservative activists who are seen as key to energizing the party entering the fall midterm elections.

Trump, for his part, promised a “massive campaign” to assist Republicans this fall, and highlighted his role contributing toward the Republican National Committee’s fundraising haul.

“Your vote in 2018 is every bit as important as your vote in 2016,” Trump said, reading off a teleprompter. He paused before telling the crowd, “I’m not sure I really believe that.

“I don’t know who the hell wrote that line,” he said, prompting laughs.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, branded Trump “the most pro-life President in history” at the Gala, and told the AP the move “will help tremendously” in the midterms.

White evangelical voters overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016, and that support has only grown. A PRRI survey released last month found white evangelical support for Trump at an all-time high, with 75 percent of those polled holding a favorable view of the president and just 22 percent holding an unfavorable view. Support for Trump within the general population in the poll stood at just 42 percent.

Religious groups like the Catholic Medical Association approve of a series of actions Trump has taken, beginning with his appointment of judges who oppose abortion rights, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Trump’s reinstatement of the global “gag rule” that bars federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion referrals.

The White House also points to the administration’s support for religious objectors in court and Trump’s efforts to bring religious groups “back into the fold by ensuring religious groups and their partners are critical participants in the policy making process.”

Dannenfelser, whose group works to elect candidates who want to reduce and ultimately end abortion, is planning to raise and spend $25 million this cycle, up from the $18 million the group spent in the lead-up to the 2016 elections.

Abortion activists, meanwhile, argue that Trump’s moves on the issue will only embolden women to turn out at the polls, just as they took to the streets in marches after Trump’s election.

“It’s going to cost this administration at the ballot box in November,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Kevin Griffis.

“We have to fight back in the best way we know how,” the group Emily’s List wrote in a fundraising email, “electing pro-choice Democratic women who will always protect reproductive freedom.”

Dannenfelser said the president’s latest move would play especially well with voters in states like Missouri, where Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, as well as in Indiana and North Dakota, where Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer is challenging Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.



Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Ken Thomas and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.


Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Man Buried Alive as Infant Reunites With the Woman Who Saved Him: ‘God Brought Us Together for a Purpose’

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 23:01

“I was waiting for you. Twenty years,” Azita Milanian said on seeing Matthew Christian Whitaker. “You're exactly what I've imagined. I guessed your size, everything. Thank you for coming into my life, you changed my life. … I knew we were going to connect again. The day [we] met, [you] confirmed my faith. ... God brought us together for a purpose.”

Twenty years ago, Whitaker was buried alive just after his birth. In a series of what some might call “coincidences,” Milanian was in the right place at the right time. Twenty years later, the pair recently had an emotional reunion on the radio show On Air With Ryan Seacrest

Not Really Coincidences

If every detail hadn’t worked out perfectly on May 16, 1998, Milanian wouldn’t have found the buried-alive baby boy. She was supposed to go to the gym earlier in the day, but didn’t make it until 6:00 p.m. Then a bout of anxiety sent her home. Her friend wanted her to go salsa dancing, but she said no. She felt like she needed to go jogging immediately in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Mountains.

Because a stranger had confronted her about one of her dogs, she decided to park in a different spot than usual. She’d been parking in the same spot for 8 years. That decision led her to a gate that was rarely used.

Milanian was going to run with her dogs for about 20 minutes. She ran for a while, then suddenly felt like someone was choking her. She thought she was going to throw up. On her way back, she heard a noise. Her dogs stood over a spot and wouldn’t move.

“I was saying, ‘Come on, let’s go. What are  you looking at?’ and they didn’t move,” she told Seacrest. “So I went back and I was screaming at them, and there were a bunch of bushes and suddenly [the baby’s] feet came out of the ground in front of my feet.” 

‘You Have to Go Back’

She didn’t recognize them as feet at first. She wasn’t sure what was coming out of the ground, so she took her dogs to the car. “And God told me, ‘You have to go back.’ And I went back without my dogs.” She was standing a few feet away, screaming, “‘God, what is this? It’s like a human baby’s feet.’ And then he started crying.”

She moved the bushes and started digging in the dirt, exposing a towel. She opened the towel and saw the baby. “I saw the umbilical cord attached. I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. … He was crying. I brought him out and I dug my nails in his nose and his mouth and I started taking the dirt out.” 

Milanian spoke to Whitaker. “All I said to you was, ‘Please don’t die. I will never leave you. I love you.'”

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She ran to her car, grabbed her cell phone and called 911. They didn’t let her finish her sentence before they put her on hold. She flagged down a car and asked the driver to call for an ambulance. Because the ambulance service thought the baby was dead, they didn’t arrive for 30 minutes.

“He was so strong,” said Milanian. “He grabbed my wrist like this and he wouldn’t let go of my wrist.” He held her wrist until the ambulance arrived.

She believes that when she felt like she was choking on the running trail was the time Whitaker was being buried.

‘She Didn’t Have to Do That’

Although she wanted to adopt him, she wanted him in a very safe place. All the publicity about her discovering him could lead someone to him. So he was adopted. He grew up not knowing his story until about a year ago. 

Whitaker says he was in the care with his grandmother and she asked him if he knew the true story of how he was found. He said no. “She was like, ‘Legend has it …’ and then she told me the story and I was just in awe and then I went home and did research and then I started telling everyone because I felt so cool that I survived the impossible.”

"I couldn't be more grateful and overjoyed and appreciative of her,” he said of Milanian. “One, changing her whole schedule; two, going back; three, staying with me and making sure I was going to be alive and taken care of. She didn't have to do that."

As they embraced, Whitaker held her tightly. "Thank you, Thank you,” he told her. “You're an angel."

Watch the reunion:

Why the Left Won’t Call Anyone ‘Animals’

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 20:22

If you want to understand the moral sickness at the heart of leftism, read the first paragraph of the most recent column by Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne:

It’s never right to call other human beings ‘animals.’ It’s not something we should even have to debate. No matter how debased the behavior of a given individual or group, no matter how much legitimate anger that genuinely evil actions might inspire, dehumanizing others always leads us down a dangerous path.

Calling Humans ‘Animals’

Let’s begin with the first sentence: “It’s never right to call other human beings ‘animals.'”

This is so self-evident to Dionne that he adds, “It’s not something we should even have to debate.”

Only someone who has never debated the issue could make such a claim.

So allow me to debate the assertion.

Protecting Humans

My view is the antithesis of Dionne’s. As I see it, it is not right to never call another human being an “animal.”

Calling the cruelest among us names such as “animal” or any other “dehumanizing” epithet actually protects humans. The word “beastly” exists for a reason and is frequently applied to human beings. By rhetorically reading certain despicable people out of the human race, we elevate the human race. We have declared certain behaviors out of line with being human.

Biologically, of course, we are all human. But if “human” is to mean anything moral -- anything beyond the purely biological -- then some people who have committed particularly heinous acts of evil against other human beings are not to be considered human. Otherwise “human” has no moral being. We should then not retain the word “inhumane.” What is the difference between “he is inhumane” and “he is an animal”? Both imply actions that render the person no longer human.

Moral-Sounding Platitudes

Dionne provides his answer at the end of the paragraph: “dehumanizing others always leads us down a dangerous path.”

He provides not a single argument or illustration for this truly absurd comment.

Anyone who refuses to “dehumanize” the Nazi physicians -- who, with no anesthesia, froze naked people for hours and then dropped them in boiling water to rewarm them; put people in depressurized rooms where their eardrums burst, driving them out of their minds from pain; rubbed wood shavings and ground glass into infected wounds, etc. -- is, to put it very gently, profoundly morally confused.

What would Dionne have us call those Nazi physicians -- “not nice,” “badly flawed,” “evil”? Why is rhetorically ostracizing them from the human race “a dangerous path”? He doesn’t have an answer because he lives in the left’s world of moral-sounding platitudes. Leftism consists almost entirely of moral-sounding platitudes -- statements meant to make the person making them feel morally sophisticated. But based on their relative reactions to the sadists of the MS-13 gangs, I trust Donald Trump’s moral compass more than E. J. Dionne’s.

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Is it ever dangerous to use dehumanizing rhetoric on people? Of course -- when it is directed at people based on their race, religion, ethnicity, nationality or any other immutable physical characteristic. The Nazis did what they did to Jews and others because they dehumanized them based on their religious/ethnic/racial identity. That’s why racism is evil. But why is it dangerous to use such rhetoric on people based on their behavior? By equating labeling the cruelest among us “animals” with labeling Jews “animals,” Dionne cheapens the fight against real evil.

I once asked Rabbi Leon Radzik, a Holocaust survivor who had been in Auschwitz, what word he would use to characterize the sadistic guards in the camp. I will never forget his response: “They were monsters with a human face.”

Incredibly, Dionne would not agree with him.


Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in April 2018, is The Rational Bible, a commentary on the book of Exodus. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.


Joy Break: ‘I Pray That God Allows Me to be Used Every Day’

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 20:14

When we turn on our television or smart phones we are bombarded with news that brings us down. Where are all the good stories? Those stories are still there. Here’s one that we hope will bless you.

A photo has gone viral of a teenager performing a simple act of kindness -- providing shade for a woman waiting in the heat for a bus. 

‘It Was Unbearably Hot’

Louis Jordan went to pick up his mom from work in downtown Houston recently when he spotted a woman in a wheelchair waiting for a bus. “It was unbearably hot,” he told KTRK. “I wouldn’t want to be out there in the sun.” 

He grabbed an umbrella from his car and held it over the woman to provide shade. “Come to find out, it was going to be a little longer for METRO Lift to come and get her, so we ended up waiting out there for an hour and 45 minutes,” said Jordan.

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Now Jordan and the woman, Michelle, have become friends. When Jordan sees Michelle waiting for the bus he gets his umbrella and waits with her. “We laugh, joke. She’s in a book club. Come to find out, she likes pork chops.” the teenager said.

Another Selfless Act

His mom snapped the photo that has now gone viral online. This isn’t the first time Bernette Botts has seen her son do something selfless. When his grandmother was trapped in her home during Hurricane Harvey, he went to rescue her. “She was trapped inside, four feet of water, no power,” said Jordan. Botts added, “He called me back from my mom’s and said, ‘I got her.'”

“I’m one proud mama,” said Botts.

“I pray that God allows me to be used every day,” Jordan said. “I’ve been down and out so much.”


‘Small Bump,’ Ed Sheeran and the Value of Life

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 17:19

Over the weekend, British singer Ed Sheeran learned that the Irish pro-life campaign used his 2011 song “Small Bump.”

“I’ve been informed that my song Small Bump is being used to promote the Pro-Life campaign,” he posted on his Instagram story, “and I feel it’s important to let you know I have not given approval for this use, and it does not reflect what the song is about.”

On Friday Ireland will vote whether to keep its constitution’s Eighth Amendment, or tell it goodbye. The amendment protects unborn babies from abortion, unless the mother’s life is at risk. If Ireland votes to remove or alter the amendment, politicians will introduce legislation to allow abortion up to 12 weeks in the country. Abortions will be allowed past 12 weeks in certain circumstances, like danger to the mother’s life, or disability of the unborn child.

Media are reporting that Sheeran has denounced, hit back and distanced himself from the “anti-abortion campaign” with his statement. That may be a little … exaggerated. He simply stated that he did not give permission for the song’s use, and that it was not written about abortion. He has every right to do this as a songwriter.

But if the song isn’t about abortion, what is it about? And why do so many people feel the need to harp on the distinction?

“Torn From Life”

As Sheeran has previously explained, the song is about a friend who miscarried. It’s written from the perspective of the father. With lyrics like this, it’s easy to see why pro-lifers would take it for their own:

Cause you were just a small bump unborn for four months then torn from life/ Maybe you were needed up there but we’re still unaware as why.

The song is touching, sure to elicit tears from many of us. Why? Why is the song so emotional? Because in it, the unborn baby is clearly that -- a baby. A baby who dies too soon. Read more of the lyrics:

Oh, you’re just a small bump unknown, you’ll grow into your skin/ With a smile like hers and a dimple beneath your chin/ Finger nails the size of half a grain of rice/ And eyelids closed soon to be opened wide/ A small bump, in four months you’ll open your eyes

What’s troubling is that many of the same people who recognize the heartbreak of this song -- this song about losing an unborn child -- are indignant that anyone would draw a pro-life connection. When it comes to miscarriage and abortion, we’re supposed to erect an unyielding divider. Mourn miscarriage for what it is -- the loss of a precious life. But celebrate abortion, we’re told. Don’t just tolerate it. Celebrate it as the culmination of woman’s freedom.

The Worship of Choice

But how can we celebrate loss of life in one instance and mourn it in another? In both cases, an unborn baby dies. The future it could have lived will not be. In that sense, how is abortion different from miscarriage?

Silly question, we’re told. Abortion is a woman’s choice. With abortion, the woman chooses to end her unborn baby’s life. And she can do that for whatever reason she likes. We’re not to question what she does with the baby while it’s still inside her body.


In the case of miscarriage, the woman had already made her choice: to have the baby. So we have permission to celebrate it. And permission to mourn if it dies.

So there is really only one thing that determines whether an unborn baby ought to be celebrated or shrugged at, or even disdained: whether or not its mother decides it has the right to live.

Blind to Cruelty

This ought to be enough to shock all decent people. That the value of one human’s life could be determined by another human’s desire for it is absolutely totalitarian. Additionally, it means that none of our lives are inherently valuable. They’re only valuable because our mothers chose to make them so. Are you alive? Count yourself lucky that your mother saw fit to allow it!

But half of our country is so brainwashed that when you say this, they blink and nod. That’s the way it ought to be, they argue. There’s no such thing as an unborn baby’s right to life. It’s all about the mother’s right to choose whether to kill or keep that baby.

Fetal Homicide vs. Abortion

Recently there was another example of this dissonance. A doctor spiked his pregnant girlfriend’s drink with a ground-up abortion pill. She miscarried two hours later. Last week he was sentenced to three years in prison for fetal homicide, a sentence many undoubtedly believe is far too lenient.

But since Roe vs. Wade became law in 1973, Americans have legally killed over 60,000,000 unborn babies. The difference? Those women chose death for their babies. The woman whose drink was spiked did not. So we imprison the man who killed her unborn child. And we celebrate the women who killed their children voluntarily.

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It makes no sense. But our nation has been brainwashed to blink and nod and say that it does.

Sheeran may not want his song used by the pro-life campaign. But by humanizing his friend’s unborn baby in “Small Bump,” he sings the truth. That baby was human. It was valuable. Its life did matter. Not because its mother said so, but because all human life is inherently valuable.

Santa Fe High School Baseball Team Plays Playoff Game, Offers Community Hope

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 15:02

“We’re a strong community, and there’s nothing that can faze us,” said Santa Fe High School baseball pitcher Rome Shubert. The Santa Fe baseball team played the regional playoff game Saturday night against Kingwood Park High School. There were no seats left in the stadium at Deer Park High School’s Jim Kethan Field. 

‘We’re Playing’

Just one day after the shooting at Santa Fe high school that took 10 lives and injured 13 others, the baseball team decided to take the field to give the community some hope. The regional playoff was originally scheduled for Friday night, but it was postponed. Coaches and parents left the decision up to the team whether or not to play on Saturday. “Coaches and parents said whatever they decided was fine. It’s your decision,” Mike Shubert, Rome’s father, said. “They left the room. [The players] came out about five minutes later and said, ‘Let’s go. We’re playing.'”

‘Santa Fe Strong’

Santa Fe players wore black sleeves on their arms that said “Santa Fe Strong” and had the number 10 on them. Kingwood Park’s players wore white t-shirts that also said “Santa Fe Strong” for the bus ride and during pre-game warmups. They later gave the shirts to Santa Fe players.

Some Santa Fe players painted crosses on their cheeks. Others put the numbers of their injured teammates on their cheeks.

Before the game both teams gathered in a circle and prayed together.

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There was no fairy tale ending to the ballgame. Kingwood Park won 7-0 and ended Santa Fe’s season. “After everything that happened, it was definitely hard to come out here and be as strong as they were,” Rome Shubert said.

But make no mistake. This was about far more than a game.

Playing Hurt

Rome Shubert said the team wanted to show the community that they’re stronger than the tragedy. “This kinda shows that we’re … gonna pick each other up and come out here, play, give the community some hope, some life, everything.” Shubert himself is a walking, pitching testimony. He’d been shot in the head and missed being paralyzed by less than an inch.

“I just went from Thursday night, pitching a game, to next day, shooter comes in our room and shoots it up, and I get hit in the head. Friends are getting hit. A couple of people in my class passed away. To come out here and have my team be as strong as they were … I’m really proud of them.”

Catcher Trenton Beazley was also shot. He was unable to play due to his injuries but was there to cheer on his teammates. His mom, Shirley, said she’s thankful he’s alive. “I just want to look at him every minute of the day right now and thank God every minute of the day that he’s right here with us.”

Shubert said the team had to “dig deep” for strength to play. “Things can bring us down, but we’re always going to come back from it. Nothing’s going to ever drag us down for the rest of time. We’re definitely going to bounce back from everything and come back stronger than ever.”

Santa Fe High School pitcher Rome Shubert, who was stuck by a bullet in Friday's shooting but survived, talks about his last 36 hours, what it took for his team to play tonight and what he wants everyone to know about Santa Fe, Texas: pic.twitter.com/L9K9f3YApk

— Sam Khan Jr. (@skhanjr) May 20, 2018

Over 100 Conservative Leaders Urge Jim Jordan to Run for Speaker

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 13:00

A group of 114 conservative leaders sent a letter to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asking him to run for Speaker of the House. Currently, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is widely seen as the favored, establishment candidate to replace outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan. He endorsed McCarthy as his replacement.

Entitled “Clean House,” the letter begins, “The present House Republican leadership has proven that it's part of ‘the Swamp.’ Consequently, a vote to promote any member of today's House GOP leadership is a vote for the Swamp. It's time to Clean House.”

The letter praised Jordan’s conservative record. He has an impressive -- and rare -- 100 percent lifetime rating from The American Conservative Union. “You have demonstrated over your years on Capitol Hill an unwavering commitment to our constitutional liberties and conservative principles of free market economics, budgetary discipline, traditional values and a strong national defense.”

A member of the Freedom Caucus, Jordan has clashed with House leadership during his tenure in Congress.

A member of the Freedom Caucus, Jordan has clashed with House leadership during his tenure in Congress. He is widely seen as an outsider.

Ryan has announced he will stay on as Speaker through the rest of his term this year. He is not running for reelection to the House. The letter requests that Jordan announce his intention to step into the Speaker’s race “at once.” The election to replace Ryan would take place in January of next year, but there are rumors Ryan is trying to maneuver McCarthy into the spot before that.

Axios obtained an early release of the letter and asked Jordan about it. He responded, “The American people want results, and I'm committed to bringing that change. It's as simple as this -- doing what we told the voters we would do."

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Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, circulated the letter. Those signing it include Ed Meese, Former Attorney General for President Ronald Reagan, L. Brent Bozell III, Media Research Center, Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com, Hon. Ken Cuccinelli, President, Senate Conservatives Fund and Morton C. Blackwell, Chairman, The Weyrich Lunch, Jenny Beth Martin, Chairman, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, Frank Gaffney, President, Center for Security Policy and Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association.

The letter may provide the momentum and support Jordan needs to have a realistic shot at Speaker. Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC. Rachel signed the letter.


An Invitation to God to Invade Our Schools

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 12:56

In light of the latest, tragic school massacre, I want to make a simple proposal. It was prompted by a phone conversation with my dear friend James Robison.

We were talking on the day of the tragic Santa Fe school massacre, and he said, "Forget about trying to get prayer back in schools" -- by which he meant, let's not put all our efforts into trying to change these laws right now. "We need to start praying in our schools," he exclaimed.

Then the light went on inside of me. So simple!

To be clear, this is not a substitute for a discussion about school security or gun access or family life or mental disease or violent video games or anything else that is practical or relevant. This is in addition to all the other conversations we need to have. That being said, this topic is as important as anything we can discuss.

A Renewed Call For Student-Led Prayer

Simply stated, I want to encourage committed Christian young people on our campuses throughout America to join together for a few minutes each day for prayer. Focused prayer. Faith-filled prayer. United prayer. A simple cry to heaven for God to come and touch each school. "God, save our school!"

It can be before classes start. It can be during a lunch break. But let it be at the same time and same place every day, joining together in faith and asking God to move powerfully in each school.

Whether it's three students standing side by side or 30 students in a big circle. Let it be done in simple faith every day, and we will see the results together.

I'm aware that many young people have been doing this for years.

I'm aware that there are formal prayer movements already advocating this very thing.

I'm aware that I'm saying nothing new.

I simply want to add my voice of encouragement, offering testimony as well.

God Will Answer

I'm also confident that, as Christian young people do this on a regular basis, they'll be more to prone to share their faith as well. They'll be more aware of "divine appointments" and more overflowing with love for their fellow-students. All this is a natural extension of prayer.

Some might say, "God is sovereign and He doesn't need our invitation or permission for anything He does. If He wants to 'invade,' our schools, He will."

There's much truth to that, but it's also true that "Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom" (Charles H. Spurgeon).

To quote John Wesley, "God does nothing but in answer to prayer." Let us then give ourselves to prayer for our schools!

Or, in the classic formulation of Matthew Henry, "When God intends great mercy for His people, the first thing He does is set them a-praying."

Or, to quote John Wesley, "God does nothing but in answer to prayer."

Let us then give ourselves to prayer for our schools!

Revival in Florida Schools

In the fall of 1997, I met with the superintendent of schools of Escambia County, Florida. Pensacola was the largest city in the county, and there had been a remarkable spiritual outpouring that had been taking place there since June, 1995, called the Brownsville Revival.

Ultimately, when it ended in late 2000, more than three million people had attended services there (this is the rough, cumulative total), traveling from more than 130 nations. And every night, hundreds of young people were there, many from the local area.

I met with the superintendent to ask him about the impact the revival had on the schools. Did something tangible happen to the students? Were lives visibly and dramatically changed?

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He was quite happy to speak with me, saying he could testify firsthand to the extremely positive results. He had also served as a local principal and saw many young people changed before his eyes. He was glowing with praise for what the Lord had done.

But I mention this story here because these students were praying students. When they got touched at the revival -- delivered from addictions; set free from violent or self-destructive behavior; transformed in their attitudes and lifestyle -- they immediately wanted to share their faith with others. And they began to gather in prayer for their schools. The fire quickly spread!

From 300 to 2,000

Richard Crisco, now a pastor in Rochester, Michigan, was the youth pastor at the church where the revival took place, and he carefully charted what was happening to these kids.

In September, 1995 -- so, just a few months into the revival -- there were about 300 kids who gathered in early September for the "See You At the Pole" prayer meeting. One year later, there were 2,000 kids who joined in prayer on that day. And at quite a few of the schools, these young people would gather for daily prayer, often with tears, saying those simple words, "God, save our schools!"

Of course, it was a sovereign visitation that sparked this prayer movement in the schools. But it was the prayers of these young people that helped deepen and sustain the movement once it started.

All the more, then, should we pray if there is no sign of revival in our region. All the more should we pray for rain in a time of drought.

God, Save Our Schools!

I'm not saying this is the cure-all. I'm not saying that we do not need to take other, practical steps to protect our schools. I'm not saying that, overnight, everything will change.

I'm just putting out a simple call for young people across America to gather daily in prayer for their schools. And I'm encouraging parents to encourage their kids to do so.

Schools are letting out now across the country, but why not start while you can, with plans to pick up in September?

Our kids (and grandkids and great grandkids) are hurting right now. They're having to put up with things most of us never even thought about. Let's believe with them for God to come and touch their classmates and teachers. Let's believe with them for the Spirit to invade their schools.

Let's believe together and pray, "God, save our schools!"

As Summit Looms, North Korean Media Return to Angry Tone

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 12:14

TOKYO (AP) -- North Korean media stepped up their rhetorical attacks on South Korea and joint military exercises with the United States, warning Tuesday that a budding detente could be in danger.

State media unleashed three strongly worded commentaries slamming Seoul and Washington for the maneuvers and demanding Seoul take action against defectors it claimed were sending anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets across the border.

The official media had until recently taken a relatively subdued tone amid the North’s diplomatic overtures to its neighbors, including a summit with South Korea’s president last month and plans for leader Kim Jong Un to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

That first changed last week, when it lashed out against the maneuvers, cut high-level contacts with Seoul and threatened to “reconsider” the Trump summit.

One of the reports on Tuesday, which came as North Korea allowed an airplane full of foreign journalists into the country to cover the dismantling of its nuclear test site this week, accused Seoul of teaming up with Washington for military drills intended as a show of force and as a “war drill” against it.

It’s not unusual for North Korea’s official media to turn to hyperbole to make a point and the rhetorical barrage coincides with a visit to Washington by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Strongly worded messages don’t necessarily mean it is backing away from diplomatic negotiations.

But the North’s abrupt sharpening of its words has raised concerns the Trump summit may prove to be a bumpy one -- or that it could even be in jeopardy. Trump has suggested he is willing to walk away if Kim isn’t willing to have a fruitful meeting and it appears both sides have agendas that remain far apart from each other.

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There has been no indication that North Korea will cancel plans to dismantle the test site, an important gesture of goodwill. The North has also not suggested it will go back on its promise to halt underground testing and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

But it did ban South Korean journalists from the trip to the nuclear site. And the language Tuesday offered a veiled threat that talks could be harmed.

“Dialogue and saber-rattling can never go together,” said the commentary published in Minju Joson, one of the country’s four main daily newspapers.

“There are some arguments describing the improvement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula as ‘result of hard-line diplomacy’ of the U.S. and ‘result of sustained pressure,'” said another, by the official KCNA news agency. “It seriously chills the atmosphere of the DPRK-U.S. dialogue and is of no help to the development of the situation.”

DPRK is short for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

Yet another article lashed out at South Korean authorities for allowing defectors to send anti-North Korea leaflets across their border.

It noted that the two leaders agreed at their summit in the Demilitarized Zone last month not to conduct hostile acts against each other and said the authorities have an obligation under that agreement to block such actions, even by private citizens.

“If the North-South relations face a grave difficulty again owing to the provocation of human scum, the blame for it will be entirely on the South Korean authorities,” the report said. “They must know what price they will be made to pay.”


Talmadge is the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @EricTalmadge

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Voters Choose Nominees in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:55

ATLANTA (AP) -- Four states will cast ballots Tuesday as the 2018 midterm elections take shape. Voters in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky hold primaries, while Texans settle several primary runoffs after their first round of voting in March. Some noteworthy story lines:

In This #MeToo Midterm, A Big Day For Women

Texans will settle an all-female congressional runoff between liberal activist Laura Moser and Houston attorney Lizzie Fletcher in a Houston-area House race that has become a proxy for the Democratic Party’s battle over style and substance. The winner faces Republican Rep. John Culberson in the fall.

Women also could claim nominations in two other Texas congressional districts on Democrats’ national target list. In the metro-Dallas district now represented by Republican Pete Sessions, it’s attorney Lillian Salerno vs. attorney Colin Allred. Both are former Obama administration officials; Allred’s also a former player for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. In a San Antonio-Mexican border district, Gina Ortiz Jones is vying to become the first openly lesbian Latina congresswoman from her state.

The three Texas districts are among the 25 nationally where President Donald Trump ran behind Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats must flip 24 GOP-held seats for a House majority.

In Georgia, Democrats will tap either Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans as the state’s first female nominee for governor from either major party. If Abrams ultimately were to prevail in November, she’d become the first black female governor in any state capital.

GOP Melee in Georgia

Georgia’s Republican candidates for governor have engaged in a sprint to the right on everything from immigration to bear-hugging Trump.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp set the curve with his home-stretch ads. In one, he wields a shotgun alongside a young male suitor of his teenage daughter. Another features an explosion (what Kemp says he does to government spending), a chain saw (he’ll use it to cut regulations), and Kemp driving a pickup truck (which he says might come in handy to “round up criminal illegals”).

Michael Williams, a state senator lagging badly in public polls, followed suit by campaigning with a “deportation bus.” When it broke down -- literally -- he suggested leftists had put water in the gas tank.

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Kemp is trying to secure a second-place finish to qualify for a likely runoff against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who has GOP business establishment support but also touts his determination to “protect” Georgians from “criminal illegal aliens.”

The question is whether Cagle leads by enough to suggest that he’s a clear runoff favorite. A second round between Cagle and Kemp could escalate the rhetoric and spook Georgia Republicans accustomed to more centrist, business-aligned politicians who rarely flout Atlanta-based behemoths like Delta and Coca-Cola. Some of those GOP figures worry the gamesmanship already has ensured Georgia won’t land Amazon’s second headquarters.

A Health Care Preview in Arkansas 

While Washington fixates on the daily glut of developments in the Russia election meddling investigation, Democratic congressional candidates insist they’ll win in November arguing about bread-and-butter issues like health care. Arkansas state Rep. Clarke Tucker is running for Congress in a Little Rock-based district by telling his story as a cancer survivor. His first target is a crowded Democratic field. His real target is Republican Rep. French Hill, who voted many times to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

National Democrats’ Score Sheet

Several congressional matchups will test Democrats’ recruiting and campaign strategies. In metro Houston, national Democrats’ House campaign arm incensed liberals when operatives unloaded opposition research essentially calling Laura Moser a carpetbagger.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hasn’t endorsed her opponent, but the implications were clear: Washington Democrats think Moser is too liberal to flip the seat in November. Moser parlayed voter disgust with DCCC’s maneuver into her runoff spot, but Moser says the unusual move hurt her fundraising and momentum in the long run.

The DCCC initially missed in the Dallas-area seat: Its preferred candidate didn’t make the runoff. The committee has since shifted to Allred, the civil rights attorney and former NFL player.

National Democrats say they’d be OK in Kentucky’s 6th District with Amy McGrath, a veteran fighter pilot who garnered national attention with her announcement video that detailed her struggles against sexism as she pursued her goals. But the national party’s initial recruit in the race is Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who lost a 2016 Senate race to Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

Georgia Dems: Test of Strategy and Tactics 

The battle between Stacey Abrams, 44, and Stacey Evans, 40, in Georgia Democrats’ primary for governor is a microcosm of the national party’s debate over strategy.

Abrams, a former state House minority leader, is an African-American attorney from the Democratic bastion of Atlanta who says the way to turn GOP-run Georgia into a battleground is to take an unabashedly liberal message to potential voters who aren’t casting ballots. That group, she says matter-of-factly, invariably trends young and nonwhite.

Evans, 40, is a white attorney who represented suburban Atlanta in the General Assembly, insists that the path involves the traditional Democratic base while coaxing back voters (read: white voters) that Democrats have lost.

It’s very much a reflection of the 2016 post-mortem: Did Hillary Clinton lose because too many nonwhite Democrats stayed home or because too many whites defected to Trump?

Ted Cruz 2.0

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a favorite for re-election this fall, backed two former staffers among his many endorsees this primary season. One failed to advance in March. But a second, Chip Roy, is in a GOP runoff for the House seat being opened by the retirement of Republican Rep. Lamar Smith. Cruz would love to place another ally among House conservatives, particularly one who once served as his chief of staff.

Spinning Turnout 

Republicans outvoted Democrats in some big-state early primaries this year -- Texas on March 6 and Ohio on May 8. There’ll be plenty of eyeballs on the respective vote totals of the two parties in Georgia. In those three Texas congressional battlegrounds, partisans will compare Democratic runoff turnout to the March vote totals of the three vulnerable Republican congressmen.

Worth noting, of course: Reactions to those numbers will be as much about claiming momentum as they will be about actual predictive value for November.


Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP.

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Will Pope Francis Repeat American Bishops’ Mistakes on Sex Abuse?

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:35

Last week Pope Francis made history when he met with the bishops of Chile. It brought to mind a similar meeting sixteen years ago, when Pope John Paul II met with every cardinal from the United States. The outcomes were as different as they were significant.

Both countries were in an uproar over allegations of clerical sex abuse and cover-ups. Both meetings abounded in prayer, profound apologies, and papal admonitions for reform and repentance. But Pope Francis took an additional step, a vital one.

After meeting with Pope Francis, every Catholic bishop in Chile offered the Holy Father his resignation. After meeting with Pope John Paul II, the cardinals returned to the United States, chastened but still in office.

Pope Francis had already visited Chile in January. He was so convinced by the bishops' excuses that he called the accusations of abuse "calumny." He even blamed "the leftists, who are the ones who put this thing together."

But after he returned to Rome, he decided to send Vatican investigators to Chile. They returned with a far different story. Chile's bishops had lied and destroyed evidence. The Chilean people were in an uproar.

Admonitions were not enough. Every bishop in Chile resigned.

Pope John Paul II and the American Cardinals

In January 2002, the American scandals erupted. In April, USCCB officials told the Vatican not to worry. Our bishops could handle the situation themselves, they insisted.

Days later, Pope John Paul summoned every American cardinal to the Vatican. He could have demanded serious changes, but he didn't. Nor did he condemn the profound malfeasance of America's hierarchy. Instead, he accepted the plaintive excuses that they had been repeating for years. They had been misled by "clinical experts" who thought that homosexual child rape was an illness, not a crime. It wasn't their fault.

In 2002, the American bishops voted on national television to exempt themselves from their own "zero tolerance" policy for abusers.

They had to do better, the Holy Father told the American prelates. And they went home.

The sainted pope did not ask for any resignations, not did the prelates offer theirs. Regarding prospective reforms, the beleaguered USCCB President Bishop Wilton Gregory did tell the media in Rome that "it is an ongoing struggle to make sure the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men." But he never mentioned it again.

The USCCB met in Dallas four months later. During the proceedings, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln made a motion that the bishops vote to investigate the causes of the scandals. Not one brother bishop supported him.

Over 80% of the abuse crimes were "homosexual in nature," but the bishops ignored the issue. Instead, they voted on national television to exempt themselves from their own "zero tolerance" policy for abusers.

Why? Only a tiny percentage of priests had been guilty of abuse. But two-thirds of bishops were guilty of enabling abusers or covering up for them.

The bishops adjourned their meeting and went back to their chanceries. They stayed in office and braced themselves for years of lawsuits, financial settlements, and scandals.

The cardinals' April meeting with the pope was ancient history.

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U.S. Cardinals Allowed to Stay in Office

The only American bishop to quit was Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, where abuse accusations were also rampant, did not offer to resign. Instead, he maneuvered. Governor Frank Keating, chairman of the bishops' own lay oversight board, was asking too many questions. The former FBI agent was too curious about the role the bishops might have played in the scandals.

Mahony demanded that Keating resign. He did.

Cardinal Mahony wound up spending around a billion dollars to stay in office. He settled hundreds of abuse cases. Then he avoided giving sworn testimony in open court. He fought hard to thwart demands for the release of the files of abusing priests. And he even claimed that seminary records are covered by the seal of the confessional.

In January 2013, a California judge finally forced the chancery to release some 12,000 pages of those files. The statute of limitations had expired, but Mahony's successor, Abp. Jose Gomez, found the revelations "brutal and painful." In February, Gomez barred Mahony from all "administrative or public duties."

Cardinal Mahony flouted the order, claiming that only the pope can discipline a cardinal. He bragged on Twitter that he would vote in the conclave that elected Pope Francis a month later. When he returned from Rome, he conducted public confirmations every weekend. When a reporter inquired about his brazen disobedience, the Cardinal replied, "Go home!"

Pope Francis, on the Other Hand

What can we learn from these two historic episodes?

Pope John Paul II accepted the excuses of America's bishops. He allowed them to continue in office. Early on, Pope Francis accepted the plaintive excuses of the Chilean bishops as well. When visiting Chile in January, he rejected accusations against Juan Barros, Bishop of Osorno: "There is not one shred of proof against him. It's all calumny. Is that clear?"

If John Paul II had demanded the resignations of all the U.S. bishops, would the scandals still be going on today? We'll never know.

But Pope Francis didn't stop there. He sent investigators to find out the truth, and the truth was damning. Francis admitted his earlier mistake and convened last week's meeting with all of Chile's bishops. He advised them in advance that he expected their resignations. Unlike Bishop Gregory, Pope Francis lambasted Chilean bishops for sending to seminaries "priests suspected of active homosexuality," as well as destroying evidence and defying canon and civil law.

Will Pope Francis Learn From the American Bishops’ Mistakes on Sex Abuse?

Why didn't Pope John Paul follow up the American cardinals' 2002 visit in the same fashion? Had he sent Cardinals Burke and Ratzinger for a month-long investigation in May, the USCCB's June meeting might have rendered profoundly different results.

Instead, our beloved shepherds went home and circled the wagons.

If John Paul II had demanded the resignations of all the U.S. bishops, accepting those from the dozens who had clearly protected known criminal abusers, would the scandals still be going on today?

We'll never know. After sixteen years, the pain and scandal caused by the abuse and cover-ups continue. They have cost billions of dollars. Tens of millions of the faithful have left the pews. In the words of USCCB's chief of child protection, Bishop Robert Conlon of Joliet, the credibility of the U.S. hierarchy is "shredded."

Somewhere, Sherlock Holmes told his friend, "Watson, when I say you are instructive, I mean I learn from your mistakes."

When he deals with the bishops of Chile, will Pope Francis learn from the American hierarchy's mistakes?

How Americans Save for College

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:23

Sallie Mae has just published their 2018 report on How America Saves for College. It reveals some interesting trends.

People are Saving More

Almost 6 in 10 parents are saving for college (56 percent). That's up from 48 percent in 2015. And the average amount saved for college is $18,135 -- up 11 percent since 2016. The most common reason parents are saving more? Because their household income has gone up (39 percent). Good deal! Other reasons for saving more include: Evaluated savings and realized a need to save more (27 percent), learned about the cost of college (21 percent), and reduced expenses (20 percent).

What about the 44 percent of us who are non-savers? The most common reason people give for not saving is that they don't earn enough (52 percent). Other reasons given are that financial aid should take care of it (27 percent), college won't be too expensive (12 percent), or it's the kid's job to pay (11 percent).

How About the Kids Help Pay?

Speaking of the kids … parents these days are expecting more. In 2016, 51 percent of parents said that paying for college should be a shared responsibility between the parent and the child. By 2018, that figure jumped to 59 percent. In 2016, 60 percent of parents said they would not tap their retirement account to pay for their kids' college. In 2018, that figure is up to 69 percent.

Are the kids on board with this? Well, among parents with teenagers (13-18) who believe their child should have some responsibility for paying their own college costs, about 63 percent have discussed this communicated this expectation.

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Here's why this matters: If you want to minimize the cost of college (and 77 percent of parents say they do), you have to talk to your kid. Because the kid's choices will drive the cost of college: Two year school first, or straight to a four year college? Public or private? Live at home or on campus with a meal plan? On a path to graduate in four years, or more? Choice of major and future line of work? That last one tends to determine earnings -- the industry more than the major, and the major more than the college.

Frugality is on the Rise

A friend of mine who spent 15 years as a Vice-President in a traditional Christian liberal arts college noted to me that over 2/3 of his undergraduate students lived and ate on campus when he started. Today, less than half do. The primary reason? More students are choosing to live rent-free with a parent or relative.

If you want to minimize the cost of college (and 77 percent of parents say they do), you have to talk to your kid. Because the kid's choices will drive the cost of college.

The Sallie Mae report found that parents have adjusted down their college savings goal since 2016. This may seem weird, because as I said earlier, parents have saved more. In 2018, parents have set aside $18,135, and hope to have $55,342 when their kid goes to college. So they're about a third of the way there. In 2016, they had only saved $16,830 -- but they aspired to have $61,902. They were only one-fourth of their way.

Parents have done more but expect less of themselves. This is consistent with more parents expecting that their kids help pay.

But Are We Saving Enough?

Right now, that $18,135 figure parents have saved would cover about 1 year at an in-state, four-year, public university (about $20,000). Roughly half of that is tuition and fees, the other half is room and board. Which means the most effective way to lower the bill is to live and eat at home. This is also true at private universities, even though at private schools room and board is a smaller percentage of the overall price tag.

Critics will observe that commuter students academically underperform residential students. In aggregate, this is true. Residential students are more likely to access faculty office hours, find study groups, receive peer-to-peer tutoring, and attend review sessions. They're less likely to have non-academic demands on their time. I've had commuter students miss many class periods because their parents require them to help with siblings. You're saving money, but if your kid gets much lower grades or (worse) fails a class or two, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul. That said, when commuter students have a positive study environment in their home, and when they're not overworked, they do just fine.

So how much should you save? There are various rules of thumb out there, and families have widely different financial means. But here's my take: You want your kid to graduate with marketable skills, a well-trained mind, and no more debt than about half their first year salary. To play it safe, say $20,000 -- about the cost of 1 year of college. It's reasonable to expect your child to earn at least that much while attending school. That's $5,000 per year. Frankly, they can earn more if they leverage their skills -- tutoring, teaching piano, maintaining swimming pools -- or if they're willing to work 50 hour weeks in the summer.

If the kid covers one year of college, and borrows for no more than one year of college (ideally less!), then parents (and relatives) just need to come up with the other 50 percent (assuming a four year graduation -- which is super important!). A good college saving calculator takes into account the growth rate of the cost of college, the growth rate of your savings, and the fact that scholarships and grants are often related to your household income. Plug in your numbers and you'll see it's doable.


Dr. Alex Chediak (Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley) is a professor and the author of Thriving at College (Tyndale House, 2011), a roadmap for how students can best navigate the challenges of their college years. He's also the author of Preparing Your Teens for College. Learn more about him at www.alexchediak.com or follow him on Twitter (@chediak).

Social Justice Warrior Accuses Conservative Women of ‘Appropriating’ Feminism — But We’re Not Having It

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 10:52

Fake news, move over -- there's a new con (wo)man in town. It's called fake feminism, and according to a woman on the left, conservative women are the culprits.

Liberal feminist writer Jessica Valenti, author of books such as Sex Object: A Memoir, and Why Have Kids?, took to The New York Times Sunday to argue Republicans are "appropriating" feminist rhetoric in their use of the term. How dare they not ask for permission?

In her article, "The Myth of Conservative Feminism," Valenti writes:

Conservatives appropriating feminist rhetoric despite their abysmal record on women's rights is, in part, a product of the president's notorious sexism. Now more than ever, conservatives need to paint themselves as woman-friendly to rehab their image with female voters.

In an attempt to justify the hypocrisy of feminists refusing to celebrate historic achievements such as Gina Haspel becoming the first female to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, Valenti argues, "Feminism isn't about blind support for any woman who rises to power."

Pay no mind to the many faces of the Democratic Party who have long argued women should vote based on their reproductive body parts.

"There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other," feminist icon Gloria Steinem infamously said on the 2016 campaign trail.

Women supporting President Donald Trump are "publicly disrespecting themselves," woman-splained Hillary Clinton.


"Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice," said Michelle Obama just last year.

So which way is it -- does feminism champion individuality and free thought, or is it "my way or the highway"?

Conservative women have long been divided on whether they identify as a feminist. Speaking on a 2018 women's panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference, I publicly embraced the term to acknowledge that women throughout history were not always equal, and to honor all the work of the first-wave feminists who came before us.

Others argue the term was so badly hijacked to mean supporting an anti-male, pro-abortion without limits agenda, that it's a lost cause to use the term.

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"It's difficult for me to call myself a feminist in a classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male, and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I'm neither anti-male or pro-abortion," White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said at CPAC in 2017. "I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances."

Disagreement among right-leaning women about the feminist identity exemplifies a healthy debate seldom seen or allowed on the left. As the world witnessed at the inaugural Women's March, unless you unequivocally support abortion, you're not welcome to be one of them.

In response to the threat posed by right-leaning women who identify as feminist, Valenti said:

Now we have a different task: protecting the movement against conservative appropriation. We've come too far to allow the right to water down a well-defined movement for its own cynical gains. Because if feminism means applauding 'anything a woman does' -- even hurting other women -- then it means nothing.

In truth, Valenti is right to feel threatened by those of us who've embraced the term "feminism."

We're reaching out to young women and explaining that disagreement is OK, and we're showing that standing up for women can also mean standing up for issues such as tax reform, and a strong national defense.

After all, the Trump administration has one of the most pro-women foreign policy agendas we've seen in decades. Instead of sending planes filled with cash to regimes such as Iran who arrest women for taking off their hijabs, we've exited the Iran deal, sending the message that we stand in solidarity with women and no longer excuse violations of their most fundamental human rights.

Woman Arrested For Removing Hijab in Tehran Refuses to Repent Despite Facing 10 Years in Prison https://t.co/W1MxJNOrY6 #GirlsOfRevolutionStreet

— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) February 6, 2018

And despite being pariahs within the culture, conservative women have played a healthy role in the #MeToo movement, proving that feminism can accomplish so much more when everyone's involved.

Feminism has evolved, and it appears we've reached a breaking point. Lined with Planned Parenthood's pocketbook, the left's goal is to define it based on the single issue of abortion.

Conservatives, on the other hand, argue it's time for a more inclusive version of feminism that focuses on the plights of women worldwide -- not just here in the United States.

Valenti and her allies can work overtime trying to discredit our perspective and accuse us of "appropriating" the term. But those of us who embrace it aren't backing down to her school girl bully approach.

Instead, we'll use the attack as an opportunity to have a conversation, not just with America but the entire world, about why feminism is about so much more than the single issue of abortion.

We'll show that real feminism is about furthering equality for all women around the world. And how selecting Gina Haspel as the first woman to lead the CIA was a great first step.


Military Photo of the Day: Taking Aim in Afghanistan

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 09:00

A U.S. Air Force pararescueman performs rifle training at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on March 28, 2018.

Please continue to pray for the approximately 14,000 American service members still stationed in Afghanistan.





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Scratching the Adam Itch

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 09:00

Recently, I have been bothered by a foot fungus like Ring Worm. It seriously itches! Finally, I consulted with a doctor and progress is being made. Also, I have learned something about an itch. It begs to be scratched, and it feels so good at the time -- but it doesn't help the cure. I first heard the term, "Adam's Itch" from Alan Bias when he was referring to our tendency to gravitate toward the Law rather than the Spirit.

Since the shame of the Garden of Eden, humans have sought to regain glory by striving to live up to a standard of acceptance. That is what the apostle Paul called "flesh." It is futile and egregious.

For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. -- Romans 8:7 (ESV)

It reveals a blindness to the depth of sin and gives rise to efforts to make up for our wrongs. Sin is much more than a violation of a standard. It is the choice to yield to the mastery of evil. We continue to sin because we are slaves to the evil power behind it. The existence of the Law is not sufficient to overcome it.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. -- Romans 7:15-17 (ESV)

As I referenced earlier, an itch begs to be scratched. The Adam Itch is no different.

The Adam Itch

The tendency to rely on human efforts to qualify for blessings also reveals a misunderstanding about relating to God on the basis of Covenant. The "If you will obey, I will bless" concept from the Old Covenant is undoubtedly true. God cannot bless disobedience. If we either deny his order in life or ignore it, we will move into disorder. But obedience must be complete.

When it was evident that God's vessels of mercy couldn't fully obey, God instituted another covenant in which Jesus as our representative obeyed and received all the blessings of the fulfilled covenant. We are blessed in him alone. Our efforts to gain personal blessings apart from trusting him are dead works.

As I referenced earlier, an itch begs to be scratched. The Adam Itch is no different. People like to hear formulas for success based on something we can do. We love doing more and trying harder. We rush to listen to the newest sales pitch about how to get God's favor by practicing a new approach to obedience.

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The Fast God Has Chosen

One of the texts that many use as a formula for success is Isaiah 58. It addresses the people of Israel as they are practicing their worship activities with vigor. They are scrupulously doing what the instructions said regarding temple worship, including fasting and praying for guidance for their own direction. Yet, God is not responding.

They are perplexed. They have pulled the lever of religious obedience, and he is not delivering the expected blessings. They are practicing "Israel's folly." They have interpreted God's selection of them as an end in itself. They are oblivious to the needs of the society around them. They evidently believe "God chose us for us." Fasting was an extreme form of showing sincerity and zeal. They were serious about getting God to act in their behalf (much like alarmed Christians in today's culture). They had chosen a severe fast, but it had to do with their efforts to qualify for God's intervention. Through the prophet Isaiah, God explains that the fast he has chosen is not the same as the one they have chosen. He chose Israel to be vessels of mercy to bless those around them. He will act consistently with his own mercy towards the Israel that chooses that fast.

There was only one Israelite that chose that fast. He represented the whole people of God when he came as Messiah.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. -- Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)

The next time someone is offering to scratch your "Adam Itch," refuse. It feels good for the moment, but it is inflaming the problem.

Blessed to Bless

Since he met the conditions Isaiah had given in chapter 58, he gets the benefits mentioned in the remainder of the text. There are several "thens" listed:

Then, your light shall break forth, and God's righteousness will protect you. (Isaiah 58:8) Then God answers your request with his own presence. (Isaiah 58:9) Then, your original glory is restored. You will be fully human again. (Isaiah 58:10-12) Then, you will live in the delight of the Lord. (Isaiah 58:14)

Jesus lived with such blessings. The good news is that because we who believe in him are in him, we receive such blessings based on his obedience. Because Jesus fasted in this way, we can feast on his obedience. One of the blessings we get but can overlook is vitally important. We get to share his mission. We can't just gather the blessings for ourselves like Israel was doing. He was our representative in covenant with the Father. We are his representatives on earth. We extend his mission by embracing our calling as vessels of mercy, sent to bless the world. We are blessed to bless. God loves those who still endure the curse of sin, so he has sent us with the love that captured us. The blessings continue to flow through us toward those in need.

The next time someone is offering to scratch your "Adam Itch," refuse. It feels good for the moment, but it is inflaming the problem. There is no religious lever to pull. If you want to do something, focus on Jesus. Trust him. Delight in him. Look up and see those around you whom he loves and extend your hand to make the connection. The river of grace flowing through you to others will stop the itch.

Watchdog Report to Fault FBI for Clinton Probe Delay

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 00:21

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An upcoming report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog is expected to criticize senior FBI leaders for not moving quickly enough to review a trove of Hillary Clinton emails discovered late in the 2016 campaign, according to people familiar with findings.

The FBI’s timing has been a sore point for Clinton supporters, who say then-director James Comey’s announcement of the review less than two weeks before the Nov. 8, 2016, election contributed to her loss. The agency’s findings affirming their decision not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton were disclosed two days before the vote -- too late, her supporters say, to undo the damage.

Some FBI officials knew in September 2016 of the emails on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop but the bureau did not obtain a warrant to review them until the following month. Clinton supporters say the candidate’s name could have been cleared much faster if the FBI acted on the emails as soon as they knew about them.

An inspector general report examining a broad range of FBI actions during the Clinton email investigation will criticize officials, including Comey, for not moving fast enough to examine the email trove and for a weeks-long delay in getting a warrant, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.

A lawyer for Comey and spokespeople for the inspector general and the FBI all declined to comment Monday.

The report will likely revive scrutiny of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton case and the extent to which it helped shape the outcome of the presidential election. Its conclusions may cut against President Donald Trump’s repeated assertions that the FBI was working against him during the campaign and instead revive allegations that the bureau broke from protocol in ways that ultimately harmed Clinton.

The nonpolitical watchdog has been repeatedly pulled into the partisan arena, amid demands to investigate Justice Department actions in the early stages of the FBI’s probe of possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. On Sunday, the Justice Department asked the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to expand his existing investigation to look into whether Trump associates were improperly monitored during the campaign for political reasons.

The report dealing with the Clinton emails arises from a wide-ranging investigation launched in January 2017. It has been examining actions including Comey’s decision to announce his recommendation against criminal charges at an FBI headquarters news conference and his decision months later to alert Congress that the probe had been reopened because of the discovery of email messages on Weiner’s laptop.

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The report is also expected to criticize two FBI officials who exchanged derogatory text messages about Trump while they worked on the Clinton investigation.

A draft of the report has been completed, and officials whose actions are scrutinized in it have been permitted with their lawyers to review it and respond to the findings. The final version is expected out next month.

A separate inspector general report from last month faulted former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for misleading investigators about his role in a 2016 news media disclosure about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe, who has denied wrongdoing, was fired because of those findings, and the inspector general has referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington for possible criminal prosecution.

Weiner is the former husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. His laptop was being analyzed by FBI investigators as part of a separate sexting investigation involving a teenage girl. Weiner, a former Democratic congressman from New York, is serving a 21-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to sending obscene material to a 15-year-old girl.

In his book released last month, A Higher Loyalty, Comey writes that he learned in early October -- probably from McCabe -- that Weiner’s laptop might hold a connection to the Clinton email investigation. He said he did not recall the conversation clearly and that it seemed like a “passing comment and the notion that Anthony Weiner’s computer might connect to … Hillary Clinton made no sense to me.”

Comey said it wasn’t until the morning of Oct. 27 when FBI officials asked his permission to seek a warrant for the Clinton emails, having determined that “hundreds of thousands of emails” from Clinton’s personal email domain existed on the computer and that there was no way Weiner would consent to a search of his entire laptop given the legal trouble he was in.

Some of the emails on the laptop had been forwarded by Abedin to Weiner to be printed out while others had been stored there after being backed up from personal electronic devices.

The FBI subsequently obtained a warrant, and though Comey said he was told there was no chance the email review would be done before the election, he announced on Nov. 6 that, “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”


Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP.


Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

‘Party Like It’s 1776’ Theme Too Offensive for New Jersey School Prom

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 00:02

A New Jersey high school principal apologized Friday for a "Party Like It's 1776" theme at prom.

Dr. Dennis Perry, principal of Cherry Hill High School, posted on his Twitter feed an apology for the theme printed on prom tickets, calling the decision "insensitive and irresponsible," reported Fox News.

"I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording," Perry wrote in a statement.

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To make up for what he deemed an indiscretion, the principal said students would not need to bring their prom tickets in order to get into the event -- they would instead only need to state their names to be matched up with a list of who bought tickets. Cherry Hill High School would also give every student attendee a "commemorative" ticket displaying a new design at the prom. Perry stated that a "diverse group of people" would review information distributed by the school prior to its dissemination, in the future.

Lloyd Henderson, president of the Camden County NAACP East Chapter, saw the incident indicative of a school culture "where African American students' needs are not considered along with the rest of the school," but mentioned that he appreciated Perry's speedy response.

Cherry Hill High School made headlines in February when it suspended social studies teacher Timothy Locke after Locke told students to remember him if he died defending them during a school shooting.

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