Santorum Wins All Three States Tuesday

Weekly summary of world news

Norm Olson February 10, 2012

A resurgent Rick Santorum has been declared the winner in three states, raising questions about Mitt Romney’s appeal with conservatives at the core of the Republican Party, reports Santorum picked up a perfect trifecta in Tuesday’s ongoing battle for the Republican presidential nomination. The former Pennsylvania senator won big in Missouri and convincingly in Minnesota. But the biggest victory of the night came in Colorado, where Santorum upset Romney, a state the former Massachusetts governor overwhelmingly won in 2008. “Republicans want conservatives,” stated Rod Martin, president of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. “Our supposed frontrunner has no positive message for himself. Mitt Romney, by himself, has not made the sale—and if he can’t close this deal pretty soon, this could come completely unraveled on him.”

Other news:

  • The Catholic bishop of Harrisburg, Pa., has apologized for offending anyone with his recent comments that Hitler and Mussolini “would love” the public school system in Pennsylvania, because it is similar to what they sought to create in their totalitarian states, reports But in a statement issued by the diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Joseph McFadden did not retract comments he made during an interview on Jan. 24 with WHTM-TV, the ABC affiliate in Harrisburg. The bishop made a comparison between the interests of the public school system and totalitarianism, while discussing what he sees as a lack of school choice in Pennsylvania. “In the totalitarian government, they would love our system,” McFadden said. “This is what Hitler and Mussolini and all them tried to establish—a monolith; so all the children would be educated in one set of beliefs and one way of doing things.” McFadden’s comments drew immediate criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union, which complained that the bishop had raised the specter of the Holocaust.
  • California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Tuesday, reports The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to be appealed, to either the full court or to the U.S. Supreme Court. But supporters of same-sex marriage cheered the decision when it was announced outside the courthouse Tuesday morning. The 2–1 decision found the ban, known as Proposition 8, “served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationship and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.” That violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, the decision states. CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin answered questions about the implications of the ruling and his reaction. Concerning whether same-sex marriage can now resume, he said, “No—not yet. The 9th Circuit panel left a stay in place that will continue as long as the defendants in the case continue their appeal. Since the defendants have indicated they will continue their appeals, it is likely to be months before same-sex marriages may resume.” He added, “My best guess is that this decision will be the last word, though we will not know for sure for several months. I think it will be upheld in the 9th Circuit, but it will not go to the Supreme Court. It will not create a national precedent. But there are 39 million people in Californiathat’s a lot of people to have same-sex marriage. Technically, the decision applies only to California, but a victory in the nation’s biggest state can create its own momentum.”
  • Catholic leaders upped the ante this week, threatening to challenge the Obama administration over a provision of the new health care law that would require all employers, including religious institutions, to pay for birth control. CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports it could affect the presidential elections. Catholic leaders are furious and determined to harness the voting power of the nation’s 70 million Catholic voters to stop a provision of President Barack Obama’s new heath car reform bill that will force Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities to buy birth control pills, abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization coverage for their employees. Catholic League head Bill Donohue said Catholic officials will stop at nothing to put a stop to it. “This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions, and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets,” Donohue said. This bodes poorly for Obama in November, given that the Catholic vote has chosen the president in nine of the last 10 elections, says Pro-choice groups, in contrast, say they will fight the church and fight for the right of employees of Catholic institutions to have birth control and other services paid for.
  • A New Jersey teachers union chief whose salary tops $300,000 is under fire for saying in a recent interview that “life’s not always fair” while arguing against vouchers to send poor students to private schools, reports Fox News.  New Jersey Education Association Executive Director Vincent Giordano made the comment on the local New Jersey Capitol Report program over the weekend. During the interview, he was challenged by the host on why low-income families should not have the same options as other families when their child is in a failing school.
  • Pensacola Christian College Founder and President Arlin Horton has announced his retirement effective May 10, concluding 38 years of exceptional leadership at Pensacola Christian College and 58 years at Pensacola Christian Academy, reports the Florida school. The board of directors unanimously voted Dr. Troy Shoemaker to be the next president with full responsibility over the college, the academy, and all related ministries. Dr. Shoemaker’s presidency will begin the day after the May 9 convocation. Dr. Shoemaker, a 1989 PCC graduate, received an education specialist degree from the University of West Florida in 1994 and in 2007 a doctorate of education from PCC.
  • In a profanity-laced tirade, a Memphis DJ last week used an on-air interview to berate a local Republican congressional candidate, calling her a “token negro” who is doing the bidding of “white folk.” DJ Thaddeus Matthews called Charlotte Bergmann, a fellow African-American, “stupid” and referred to her as a “curly-haired nigga.” When she walked out of the interview, he refused to shake her hand, saying he didn’t want to get her “whiteness” on him. Bergmann told that, while the web video of the interview has gotten a lot of attention on blogs, local media is largely ignoring it. She said she hasn’t gotten any calls from politicians about it. “No organization has spoken out,” Bergmann said.
  • An analyst for the Heritage Foundation says Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s recent call for massive teacher salary hikes is misguided. In a Heritage Foundation report, Jason Richwine said public school teachers are already overpaid when their salaries, including benefits, are compared with those in similar private sector jobs. “So it’s not clear how in the current [economic] environment we can raise teacher pay even more and expect that to actually improve teacher quality,” Richwine shared in an interview with “We’re already paying teachers more than what their skills would merit in the private sector.” The Heritage report argues that when “more generous” fringe benefits, including greater job security, are taken into account, teachers in the public school arena make total compensation 52 percent greater than fair market levels. “Teacher compensation could therefore be reduced with only minor effects on recruitment and retention,” states the report. “Alternatively, teachers who are more effective at raising student achievement might be hired at comparable cost.”
  • An Iowa Planned Parenthood facility is closing, reports The Planned Parenthood facility in Storm Lake, which provided “Telemed” abortions in the small farming community, will be closing its doors on March 1, according to Sue Thayer, onetime manager of the office but now a staunch pro-lifer who led the 40 Days for Life vigil at her former workplace this past fall.
  • A federal appeals court has upheld the firing of a Christian counselor who lost her job at the Centers for Disease Control for refusing to advise a woman in a homosexual relationship, reports Marcia Walden launched a lawsuit in 2008 saying she was illegally laid off by a company the CDC hired to provide counseling to CDC workers. She said the CDC requested the dismissal. Walden said the layoff violated her free exercise rights under the First Amendment and her rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But on Tuesday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld a federal judge’s dismissal of Walden’s claims. “We accept that Ms. Walden’s sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit her from encouraging or supporting same-sex relationships though counseling,” the court said. But the record in the case is “devoid of evidence” supporting her claim that she was removed because she needed to refer potential clients engaged in same-sex relationships to other counselors. In response, the Alliance Defense Fund has released a statement that reads, “A counselor who is a Christian shouldn’t lose her job for upholding the highest professional standards. It is unlawful to punish a Christian for abiding by her faith, particularly when she made every effort to accommodate the interests of a potential client. We are disappointed that the court ruled against these fundamental principles, but we are determining next steps to ultimately vindicate Marcia and the freedoms for which she’s fighting.”
  • A U.S. federal judge on Monday allowed the state of Texas to begin enforcing a law requiring abortion providers to show or describe to a woman an ultrasound image of her fetus, but criticized an appeals court that earlier overturned his decision to block parts of the statute, reports Reuters.
  • The Nebraska state legislature on Tuesday that would strike state taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business moved ahead yesterday following a national debate over the Komen breast cancer charity potentially cutting funding, reports Meanwhile, a group focused on uncovering liberal bias in the media says the pro-abortion TV networks played a strategic role in pressuring the Susan G. Komen for the Cure to reverse course and keep funding Planned Parenthood, reports When the nation’s most prominent breast-cancer awareness charity announced it would stop donating to the nation’s largest abortion-provider, the news outlets for ABC, CBS, and NBC went on the offensive against Komen and sympathized with Planned Parenthood, according to Dan Gainor with the Media Research Center.”The major media were acting like press agents for Planned Parenthood—and that’s unsurprising,” he admits. “There are two articles of faith for people who want to go into media: one of them is that you have to be pro-gay, and the other you have to be pro-abortion. There are people [in the media] who don’t meet this construct . . . but there aren’t many. Frankly there aren’t many even in what purport to be conservative media outlets.”
  • Islamic extremists from the rebel al Shabaab militia in Somalia beheaded a Christian on the outskirts of Mogadishu last month, reports Compass Direct News. The militants fighting the transitional government in Mogadishu murdered Zakaria Hussein Omar, 26, on Jan. 2 in Cee-carfiid village, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) outside of the Somali capital, they said. Omar had worked for a Christian humanitarian organization that al Shabaab banned last year. His body was left lying for 20 hours before nomads found it and carried it into Mogadishu, a close friend said. “We have been communicating with Omar, and he was sharing with me his life as a Christian,” the friend said. “Last year he mentioned to me that his life was in danger when the NGO [Non-Governmental Organization] he worked for was banned by the al Shabaab.”
  • Vision to America is warning that while regular Americans can’t sell their homes for pennies on the dollar, members of Congress are using Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars to increase the values of their land, vacation homes, personal residences, and businesses. Said the report, “A Washington Post investigation reveals that 33 members of Congress have directed more than over $401 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ own property. Over a year after Washington supposedly got rid of earmarks, these slick elected officials have already found a way around the ban. They’re inserting special funds in spending bills that give funds to public works projects in their states. These Capitol Hill crooks have created an enormous slush fund for their own personal profit.”
  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has caught a lot of flak from conservatives for stating that a Muslim Middle Eastern dictatorship should look elsewhere than the U.S. Constitution for guidance, reports
  • Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) on Tuesday said that thanks to the Obama administration’s delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is, at this moment, hawking his nation’s excess oil to the Chinese administration, reports “Right now Prime Minister Harper is talking to Hu Jintao, president of China, and believe me, China wants that oil,” Hoeven said. “[W]e will see what kind of agreement he comes back with from China.” Harper arrived in China on Tuesday with a delegation of Canadian businessmen, and plans to meet with Chinese officials on the topic of energy.