Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Falling Standards of the American News Media

Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Who pushed the American mainstream media off the wall?
Rupert Murdoch or those Arianna Huffington called the lunatic fringe elements?

The best news in America is the childish and foolish debate over whether Miley Cyrus posed topless or backless for Vanity Fair magazine and the political nonsense over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's right to his own opinions.

Miley Cyrus

Americans want Rev. Jeremiah Wright to give up his life long convictions on calling a spade a spade without apologies or regrets, but he has proved to be a man of principles.
Senator Barack Obama cannot dictate to Rev. Jeremiah Wright and make him retract his unpatriotic statements. Rev. Jeremiah Wright is not Barack Obama's Man Friday.

Senator Barack Obama is so desperate to win the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party that he ready to even push his spiritual godfather over the cliff.

As the American news channels are falling over themselves over Miley Cyrus's photographs in Vanity Fair and the personal principles of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, more American soldiers are being killed in Iraq and these heroes never made headlines or cover stories.

Is this the American Dream of the Founding Founders of America or the American Nightmare?

God help America.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Days of Infamy: Active History and the Teaching of History

Days of Infamy: Active History and the Teaching of History
by (more by this author)
Posted 04/29/2008 ETUpdated 04/29/2008 ET

This week our new novel, Days of Infamy, is being published by St. Martin's Press. Days of Infamy is the sequel to Pearl Harbor, (just released in paperback) and carries on the story of "what might have been" if a different, more aggressive commander -- Admiral Yamamoto -- had led the Japanese Fleet in their surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.

The Wrong Admiral for the Wrong Job
In real history, the Japanese high command assigned their Pearl Harbor strike force of six aircraft carriers to Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. If ever there was an assignment of the wrong man for the wrong job, it was this one.

From the beginning of his forty-year career, Nagumo had been trained in surface warfare, especially the use of destroyers and cruisers as "hit and run" weapons. Thinking like a destroyer commander, he always saw the attack on Pearl Harbor as a "hit and run" raid: Go in, strike, then get out as fast as possible. He believed, as did most admirals in virtually every navy in 1941, that the battleship was the key to victory -- and that the aircraft carrier was just a vulnerable and limited auxiliary to the battleship.

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory
The real history of Pearl Harbor demonstrates the results of Nagumo's caution and traditionalism. After the two initial air raids, Americans forces on Oahu were wide open for total destruction. Our repair shops, dry docks, five million precious barrels of oil stockpiled in flimsy tanks, and especially our aircraft carriers (which luck, or fate, had placed outside the harbor that morning) were all vulnerable to renewed attack. The Japanese could have inflicted grievous additional blows. But a cautious "hit and run" admiral ordered an immediate retreat instead, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Thus our fascination with what we call "active history." Pearl Harbor asked readers to consider how profoundly different December 7, 1941, would have been if, instead of a cautious "hit and run" commander, the attack on Pearl Harbor had been led by Admiral Yamamoto, a man who understood the value of aircraft carriers and air power and whose goal was to wipe the slate clean on the first day of the war, sinking all of our carriers and gaining total air superiority across the Pacific.

Days of Infamy picks up where Pearl Harbor left off and invites readers to imagine how the ensuing battle in the Pacific might have been different with a small but significant twist in history.

Making History Come Alive
"Active history" is a concept my co-author, historian William Forstchen, and I developed a few years back (along with Albert Hanser, a contributing editor of all our books) to get people more interested in the leaders and events that have made us who we are. We were tired of history being taught in a boring way that forces students to memorize dates and events. That method makes people think of history as something to "get through" rather than something to enjoy, think about, argue over, and discuss.

As history professors (all three of us have doctorates in history and have taught with enthusiasm and excitement) we wanted to inject excitement and a dynamic sense of "what might have been" into the study and teaching of history. So we developed the concept of active history. Active history teaches readers the events that have shaped their lives by inviting them to compare what actually happened with what might have happened. It shows how the wisdom -- and the folly -- of decisions made in the past impact our lives today, and how our decisions, in turn, will effect our children and grandchildren.
Gettysburg, Grant Comes East, Never Call Retreat, and Pearl Harbor

In Gettysburg, Grant Comes East, and Never Call Retreat we developed an active history version of the Civil War beginning with Lee winning at Gettysburg (which General Bob Scales and Colonel Leonard Fullenkamp of the Army War College helped us develop and think through).
In Pearl Harbor we began applying the model of active history to World War II in the Pacific. Many years ago we wrote 1945 as an active history of WWII in Europe involving Germany, but we decided that for a longer series we wanted to focus on the Pacific. Even as Asia is becoming more and more important to the United States economically and militarily, much of the history of twentieth-century Asia has not been fully explored and written about.

Admiral Yamamoto: A Risk-Taking Air Power Advocate
In real history Admiral Yamamoto was both the intellectual force behind the Japanese naval strategy in 1941 and a leading advocate of naval airpower. He had commanded an aircraft carrier and was head of the Japanese navy's aeronautics department. He had presided over the development of several Japanese naval aircraft and had thought long and hard about the use of aircraft carriers.

From a novelist's perspective there is an additional aspect of Yamamoto's personality that is intriguing. He was a very successful gambler. He had won a lot of money at poker while serving in the United States and had been successful in the casinos of Monte Carlo while serving in Europe.

A Dramatically More Aggressive and Daring Japanese Attack

In Pearl Harbor, our decisive, active history plot twist was to shift from the timid, battleship-oriented Nagumo to the gambling, airpower advocate Yamamoto. We showed the initial evolution of a dramatically more aggressive and daring air attack.
Many students of the Pearl Harbor attack have wondered what would have happened if there had been a third wave of attack late in the day on December 7. In Pearl Harbor we give them our interpretation of that event.

In our active history there is a third wave launched at the now virtually defenseless naval and air facilities. Virtually all of the American aircraft had been destroyed on the ground in the first wave, and those who had gotten into the air were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of Japanese aircraft.

If Yamamoto Had Commanded, Would He Have Left After Just One Day?
Now, in Days of Infamy, we ask a simple question: Would Admiral Yamamoto, knowing that he had complete air superiority, have left after just one day of attacks? We suggest that, unlike Nagumo, who wanted to leave as quickly as possible, Yamamoto would have planned for the possibility of staying two or three extra days. That means, for one thing, that he would have had to bring his tankers closer to Hawaii for the refueling needed for his destroyers.
And how would Yamamoto have evaluated the first day's success?

Where Nagumo focused on the sinking of the American battleships and felt very successful, we believe Yamamoto would have focused on the absence of the American aircraft carriers in the harbor that morning and would have felt very frustrated and almost in danger of failure.

Two Different Leaders, Two Different Histories
These two different views of what happened on December 7, 1941, demonstrate the importance of personality and doctrine in leaders.
Nagumo believed in a weapons system of the past. Yamamoto believed in the weapons system of the future. Therefore, they could look at the same evidence and reach exactly the opposite conclusions.

Nagumo was timid, tended to avoid risks, and valued safety for his ships over damaging the enemy's ships. Yamamoto was a gambler, a calculating risk taker, very aggressive, and focused on how many American ships he could sink -- not how many Japanese ships he could keep safe.
This intersection of personality and doctrine leads to a dramatic difference in how two different leaders would have fought at Pearl Harbor.

The Hunt for the Saratoga, the Lexington and the Enterprise
In Days of Infamy we carry the story to its next logical stage.
Admiral Yamamoto, having achieved decisive surprise on Sunday morning and having established complete air and sea superiority over the America forces, is now in a position to hunt for the missing American aircraft carriers.

The Japanese believe there are three American aircraft carriers in the Hawaiian Islands. Actually one of them, the Saratoga, has gone to Bremerton, Washington for refitting in such secrecy that the Japanese do not know it is gone (in real history, the Saratoga was actually pulling into San Diego on its way back from refitting on December 7).
The Lexington is near Midway where it is delivering aircraft (it would turn back, keeping the aircraft with it).

The Enterprise is on the way back from Wake Island, having delivered aircraft there.

Halsey versus Yamamoto in the Pacific
Admiral Halsey is in command of the Enterprise task force. He was America's most aggressive admiral. It is not surprising, then, that Halsey's reaction to the news of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor is to hunt the Japanese.

Given Yamamoto's willingness to take risks and Admiral Halsey's confidence, it is easy to imagine the two of them aggressively seeking to destroy each other's forces in the battle that begins on December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor.
And that is where Days of Infamy begins....

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. -- I've heard from many of you about my new ad with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As I've said before, I believe that protecting the environment is an issue that conservatives must take seriously in order to promote innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to our environmental challenges rather than the regulation, litigation, and bureaucracy advocated by the left. If you have thoughts on this topic or would like to join in our ongoing discussion about Green Conservatism just click here.

P.P.S. -- A big week of endorsements and adoptions for the Platform of the American people!
The Nevada GOP held their state convention this weekend and adopted 13 planks/principles from the Platform of the American People into their party platform!

They also pledge to hold Nevada elected officials and those running to be Nevada elected officials accountable to the items in their platform. This is an example of what conventions and platform building should truly be about. Read more about the Nevada convention and see which planks they adopted!
U.S. Representative, Kay Granger (R-TX) endorsed the Platform of the American People this week!
Join the excitement! Sign up to be a part of the movement! And, as always, stay tuned to for more updates.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pelosi: 'Next Week, 7.7 Million Americans Will Receive Recovery Rebates -- This is Just the Beginning'

Pelosi: 'Next Week, 7.7 Million Americans Will Receive Recovery Rebates -- This is Just the Beginning'

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Republican Leader John Boehner, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer held a news conference in the Capitol yesterday on Recovery Rebates. Below are the Speaker's opening remarks:

"Because Congress has taken swift and bipartisan action on the economy, we were able to observe the fact that this week America's families will be receiving their Recovery Rebate checks.

"In January, we passed economic stimulus legislation with Recovery Rebates for America's families. In February, the President signed the legislation into law.

"Today, we announce the good news that next week, 7.7 million Americans will receive their Recovery Rebates. This is just the beginning.

"For a middle-class family of four, that is $1,800, including $300 for each child. If they have more children, then of course, their check would be more.

"By the end of the summer, 130 million American families will receive their rebates to help them make ends meet, and boost our economy.

"American families need these rebates for the rising cost of gas and groceries, and this will help get the economy moving. These checks will not come a moment too soon for families struggling with the economic downturn -- that they are a good, strong step.

"The strain of the economic downturn on middle- and low-income families demands, in my view, a consideration of a second stimulus package and we have begun some conversations with the Administration and the Republicans on that.

"Just as we did with the Recovery Rebates, Congress must work in a bipartisan way to find solutions for the immediate crisis and for a long-term economic recovery for America.

"Specifically, we are working on efforts to pass additional sweeping legislation to keep millions of families in their homes, provide relief to millions of out-of-work Americans, and reduce the strain on families who are struggling with rising gas and grocery prices.

"These Recovery Rebates are an example of how Congress and work together and what can be accomplished when we work in a bipartisan way.

"In that regard, I'm very honored to be standing here with the distinguished Republican Leader of the House and my colleague, the Democratic Leader, Mr. Hoyer. I'm pleased to yield the floor to Mr. Boehner and acknowledge his leadership as essential in getting this relief to American families."

Source: Office of the Speaker of the House

CONTACT: Brendan Daly or Nadeam Elshami, both of Office of the Speaker
of the House, +1-202-226-7616

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI Loves Americans -- and Millions of Americans Love Him

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Pope Benedict XVI greeted worshipers at a Mass at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. In his homily, he urged American Catholics to concede the authority of the church. More Photos >

Pope Benedict XVI Loves Americans -- and Millions of Americans Love Him
by (more by this author)

Posted 04/22/2008 ETUpdated 04/22/2008 ET

I witnessed firsthand this week that Pope Benedict loves America and Americans.
The first great moment of connection came at the end of the White House welcoming ceremony when Pope Benedict XVI said simply, "God Bless America."

The people on the White House lawn were electrified by this simple three-word closing.
They had all been shocked in recent weeks to see a different kind of religious figure saying vicious things about America. The stark and compelling contrast had enormous impact -- both for the immediate crowd and for the millions watching on television.
Callista and I were very fortunate to have four opportunities to experience the magnetism and impact of Pope Benedict XVI last week.

The Largest White House Welcome in History
We were at the White House welcoming ceremony (there were 13,000 of us, the largest welcome at the White House in history).

Callista sings in the Basilica Choir and was fortunate enough to be part of the Vespers (evening prayers) Wednesday afternoon in an intimate setting in the Crypt Church of the Basilica. As a spouse I got to attend in the upper Church and see the Pope enter and exit and watch both Vespers and his talk to the assembled Cardinals and Bishops.

Then we attended the Mass at Nationals Stadium with 45,000 other enthusiastic participants.
Finally, by grace, we had an opportunity to attend the Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

Callista took some fantastic photos of Benedict, including a shot of him with President Bush. You can view her photo album of the Papal visit here.

Three Big Impressions from the Papal Visit
Three big things hit me from the Papal visit:
First, the Pope seemed to gain energy and strength from the enthusiasm and love of his American audiences. The very strength of the reception became his strength. I am certain he returned to Italy a stronger and more dedicated evangelist for his belief that Christ is Hope.
Second, many -- probably most -- Americans were eager to have a religious leader who appreciated their country, liked them, and clearly wished them well in a positive message of love, salvation, and hope.

Third, my impression of the Pope has grown far beyond the original reports of his intellectual strength and his dedication to rebuilding faith and reason (in contrast to the secular dictatorship of rationality which he had experienced in Nazi Germany and had seen in the Soviet tyranny). The leader we saw was the embodiment of leadership and conviction whose presence made an enormous impact on those who experienced it. The pope is clearly not going to be simply an interim leader between Pope John Paul II and some future younger leader. Pope Benedict XVI is going to be an historic force for the reassertion of faith and reason in the lives of Catholics and people of all faiths.

Fittingly, Benedict XVI's last official words in the U.S. were "God Bless America." After personally experiencing the Pope's visit last week, I can say with confidence that America returns the love.

The Gingrich-Pelosi Climate Change Ad: Why I Took Part
Many of you have written to me to ask why I recently taped an advertisement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for The Alliance for Climate Protection, a group founded by former Vice President Al Gore.

I completely understand why many of you would have questions about this, so I want to take this opportunity to explain my reasons. First of all, I want to be clear: I don't think that we have conclusive proof of global warming. And I don't think we have conclusive proof that humans are at the center of it. But here's what we do know. There is an important debate going on right now over the right energy policy, the right environmental policy, and making sure we do the right things for our future and the future of our children and grandchildren. Conservatives are missing from this debate, and I think that's a mistake. When it comes to preserving our environment for future generations, we can't have a slogan of "Just yell no!"

I have a different view. I think it's important to be on the stage, to engage in the debate, and to communicate our position clearly. There is a big difference between left-wing environmentalism that wants higher taxes, bigger government., more bureaucracy, more regulation, more red tape, and more litigation and a Green Conservatism that wants to use science, technology, innovation, entrepreneurs, and prizes to find a way to creatively invent the kind of environmental future we all want to live in. Unless we start making the case for the latter, we're going to get the former. That's why I took part in the ad.

Italy Makes It Three: The Right Makes Gains in Europe
Finally, in news studiously ignored by the mainstream media, parliamentary elections in Italy last week routed the Communists and the Greens and marked the third big victory for the Right in Europe after the elections of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The elections were a history-making win for the party of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. For the first time since the end of World War II, no one will represent the Communist Party in the Italian parliament. The Greens were also voted out.

Michael Ledeen, my colleague at the America Enterprise Institute, points out another significant feature of the elections: "Berlusconi is an outspoken, even passionate admirer of George W. Bush and the United States of America. Reminds one of the elections that brought Sarkozy to the Elysee, doesn't it? Best to keep that quiet, or somebody might notice that hatred of America doesn't seem to affect the voters in Italy, France or Germany."

The scale of Berlusconi and the center-right's victory in Italy opens the door to significant reform for the first time in decades. Could real change be coming to Europe?

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. -- Another item you likely didn't see in the mainstream media this week was a ruling by three federal judges in New Jersey forbidding the East Brunswick, New Jersey football coach from bowing his head and going down on one knee during voluntary, student-led prayer before games. The East Brunswick Board of Education had charged that the football coach's actions were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and a violation of their policy against employees engaging in prayer -- even if the coach didn't speak the words of the prayer along with his team. The ruling is being supported and applauded by all the usual suspects engaged in driving religion from all but the narrowest spheres of American life. To fight back, arm yourself with Rediscovering God in America, available as both a book (in your choice of unautographed, autographed, or personalized) and DVD.

Hillary Clinton Wins Pennsylvania Democratic Primary!

Photo: Yahoo News

"The road to 1600 Pennsylvania Road runs right through the heart of Pennsylvania."
~ Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton after winning the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary on April 22, 2008.

Thank God, Senator Hillary Clinton has done it again, with another big state win in n Pennsylvania!

It is an outstanding victory for Hillary Clinton who beat Barack Obama by 10 points.
She won 55% of the votes, while Barack Obama won 45%.
Barack Obama spent over $11 million on TV adverts and other strategies in his desperation to win the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary and lost to Hillary Clinton who spent only about $5 million.

Hillary has the artillery to secure victory for the Democratic Party in the Presidential Election in November 2008.

The Democratic Party will lose the Presidential Election without Hillary Clinton.

Only the dream team of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton or Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can beat John McCain and the political machine of the GOP in the Presidential Election in November.

This is my best advice to Democrats.

God bless America!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's April 15: Do You Know Where Your Income Tax Dollars Are Going?

15 Apr 2008 06:00 Africa/Lagos

It's April 15: Do You Know Where Your Income Tax Dollars Are Going?

CHICAGO, April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Americans tend to think we are better off than families in most other industrial countries because we pay lower income taxes. But when we factor in the higher amount Americans pay for health care, child care, and education, the comparison is not always in our favor. Where do American families' tax dollars go and what family "value" they get in return?

For every $100 in income tax:

-- $32 goes to national defense

-- $19 goes to interest on the national debt

-- $15 goes to supplemental programs such as TANF, child tax credits, and farm subsidies

-- $14 goes to health

-- $6 goes to education, employment, and social services

-- $4 goes to transportation

-- $2 goes to administration of justice

-- $2 goes to environment and natural resources

-- $2 goes to international affairs

-- $1 goes to community and regional development

-- $1 goes to agriculture

-- $1 goes to science, space, and technology

-- $1 goes to the commerce and housing fund


-- U.S. parents can reduce their tax burdens by claiming dependents, which results in a $3,100 reduction in taxable income. For a married couple filing jointly with a $50,000 income, this is worth a maximum of $510 per child per year, or $1020 for a family with two children. The child tax credit also gives families a maximum of $1,000 tax credit for each child, bringing the benefit up to $1,510 for a one-child family in that tax bracket.

On the other hand, the average household pays more than $2300 a year for health insurance and medical care -- and risks being liable for much more should a family member face a catastrophic illness.

-- The child and dependent care tax credit allows families to credit a percentage of their childcare expenses. The credit is a percentage of child care costs, up to a maximum of $3,000 for one child or $6,000 for two or more children. Taxpayers with earned incomes over $43,000 will receive 20% of that amount, and the percentage increases as earned income decreases. The maximum credit a couple making $50,000 can receive is $1,200. But for families who purchase child care, this makes only a small dent in the $7,300 average day care bill for one child each year.

- Tax credits are also available for higher education expenses. The Hope Credit is worth up to $1650 per tax year for up to two years per student. The Lifetime Learning Credit allows up to $2000 credit per return.

-- In 2007, legislators voted to increase individual Pell Grant amounts to a new maximum is $4,310. This will be increased to $5,400 in 2012-13. This may sound like an impressive increase. But in 1980, the Pell Grant covered 99% of the average cost of tuition, fees, AND room and board at a four-year public college. Today, the Pell Grant does not even cover the full cost of tuition and fees at such a college.

-- Thus, even at their height, the financial benefits of the last decade's tax cuts for middle class families never equaled the financial benefits that citizens of many other countries receive in the form of monthly child allowances, universal health care, subsidized parental leaves and child care, and college assistance:

-- Poor families get some extra help. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit. If the family does not have enough income to benefit from the credit, they get the same amount as a cash return. The EITC maximum for a worker with one child is $2,853, and the maximum for more than one child is $4,176. The credit is probably the most effective anti-poverty program in America, lifting many poor working families above the poverty line.

-- Impoverished families also receive modest monthly payments out of the TANF program, are eligible for Medicaid and food stamps, and may be able to participate in Head Start pre-school programs, which are funded under education.

-- And wealthy families also get some extra help. All homeowner families benefit from the mortgage deduction for interest payments on home loans, but this disproportionately benefits upper-income families. Half of all tax subsidies for homeownership go to the wealthiest 3.2 percent of households.


-- In most of Western Europe, citizens enjoy the right to near-universal health care. They do not have to forego routine care for financial reasons, and are not financially wiped out by catastrophic health emergencies. In America, this occurs frequently enough that one-quarter of financial bankruptcies originate in medical problems not covered by insurance.

-- Families in Europe generally pay far less in college expenses than do most American families.

In Sweden, students are not charged for tuition. In the United Kingdom, tuition is 3145 pounds Sterling ($6234). Thanks to subsidies, it is free for those households making less than 32,690 pounds ($64,798). Meanwhile, students in households making between 32,690 pounds ($64,798) and 60,004 pounds ($118, 940) receive a stipend worth up to 1574 pounds ($3120), based on income.

-- Every other industrial nation in Western Europe, and most of the rest of the world as well, provides paid maternity leave, and in some cases paid paternity leave as well.

Canada offers Employment Insurance for both maternity and paternity leave, allowing a couple to take up to 50 weeks leave, which can be divided between mother and father, at 55 percent of pay, up to a maximum of $435 per week. In addition, Canada's Universal Child Care Benefit pays families $100 per month for each child under age six.

In Germany women get 6 weeks paid leave before the birth of a child and 8 weeks afterward. Either the mother or father is guaranteed up to three years unpaid but job-protected leave for child care.

In Norway, parental leave allowance is 54 weeks at 80% pay or 44 weeks at 100%. The mother must take three weeks before birth and six weeks immediately after if she intends to use any leave. The father must take five weeks off if he wants to participate in the share. Other than that, the parents can share the time off any way they wish. Adoptive parents are eligible for 51 weeks off at 80% pay or 41 weeks at 100%.

In Greece, either parent can use up to 17 months of leave time, and receive an additional hour off per day until the child is 30 months old, or two hours per day for 12 months and one hour per day for the next six months.

In Belgium, free early childhood education is available to all children starting at the age of 2 1/2.

For more information on U.S. welfare policies, contact Professor Andrew Cherlin, Johns Hopkins University, 410-516-2370. E-mail:

For international comparisons of family policies, contact Jane Waldfogel, Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs at Columbia University and Research Associate at the London School of Economics,, 212-851-2408.

For information on tax subsidies, contact Roberta Iversen,, Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania: 215.898.5529, Email:

On U.S. family policies, contact Professor Nancy Folbre, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst: 413-545-3283,

The Council on Contemporary Families, based at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is a non-profit, non-partisan association of prominent family researchers and clinicians whose aim is to make accessible to the press and public recent research on family formation, marriage, divorce, childhood and family diversity. To receive periodic briefing papers and fact sheets, contact Stephanie Coontz, Director of Research and Public Education


"Family Issues in Contention," at the University of Illinois, Chicago features:

-- A panel on the "hooking-up" patterns of today's youth, with new research and commentators from diverse perspectives on the impact of these practices.

-- Another workshop on the controversial question, "Is Transracial and Transnational Adoption the Right Policy for Parents? Children? Society?"

-- Still another panel of demographers and clinical psychologists examines whether cohabitation is "good" for love or for marriage.

-- And the latest thoughts of researchers and clinicians on whether unhappy couples should divorce of "stick it out."

Source: Council on Contemporary Families

CONTACT: Stephanie Coontz of the Council on Contemporary Families,

Web Site:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Filing Your Tax Return Without Going Nuts

10 Apr 2008 14:30 Africa/Lagos

Filing Your Tax Return Without Going Nuts

Even at the 11th Hour, There's Still Hope as the 2007 Tax Season Winds Down

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 10 /PRNewswire/ --

April is a stressful time of the year for many, as the close of tax season often raises already-high anxiety levels. Nevertheless, J. Gregg Rollins, president and chief executive officer of, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-authorized e-filing provider, notes that common sense and attention to detail are all it takes to get most taxpayers past last-minute hurdles.

Rollins notes some surprising e-filing mistakes: "Not entering the correct social security number and date-of-birth for the e-filer and his dependents top the list." Other common errors include submitting the wrong last name for the filer, his spouse or their children. Entering an incorrect bank routing and bank account number is also another frequent mistake made by e-filers. "Your refund will be delayed if that happens," warns Rollins.

Before sitting down to start on taxes, Rollins offers some common-sense advice: "Read the instructions. Many people skip this step, but such shortcuts can waste time in the long run and also cost you money." He adds these tips to make e-filing of taxes at a late date a less-stressful experience:

-- Determine which tax forms you need before selecting a service. Not all
e-file providers provide the forms that a taxpayer may need to
accurately complete his return.

-- Divorced or Separated Parents. If you and a divorced or separated
spouse share custody, pay careful attention to properly completing the
dependent section. Be sure to correctly list the tax credit that
you're entitled to and that neither parent "double-claim" a credit
pertaining to the off-spring.

-- Get organized. Make sure your W-2s and 1099s are accurate, get your ID
numbers straight and write down your social security numbers exactly
as they appear.

-- Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. What's worse than an IRS
audit? Going it alone. Choose an e-filing provider that offers
support.'s Audit Assistance Program will hire and pay
for a certified public accountant to represent the e-filer in the
event of an IRS audit for a fee.

If your e-filed return is not accepted because of error, there is a short window of opportunity, usually a few days, to make corrections, resubmit and avoid interest and penalties that may be due. To avoid the hassle, start the process now, advises Rollins. Late returns filed after April 15th without an extension are subject to greater scrutiny by the IRS.


As one of the most popular online tax filing companies, serves multiple purposes: it enables e-filers to prepare, submit and monitor their federal and state return's progress. It also transmits their direct deposit information to receive a tax refund. Users can make online payments through direct debit. All information is protected by a variety of security services including the TRUSTe Privacy Program, ScanAlert(TM) Hacker Safe and a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption certificate.

Federal tax returns can be e-filed using for $17.76 and all State returns supported at $12.88. Taxpayers may also take advantage of e-filing federal tax returns through the Electronic Refund Deposit option, which is available at an additional fee. This feature is used by those who do not have a credit or debit card or who chose not to use either. And offers customer service at no charge to registered users.

For more information, visit


CONTACT: Jennefer Witter of The Boreland Group Inc. for,

Web site: Citizen Tax

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Five Years after the Fall of Baghdad: Honoring the Sacrifice of Michael Monsoor

Five Years after the Fall of Baghdad: Honoring the Sacrifice of Michael Monsoor
by Newt Gingrich (more by this author)
Posted 04/08/2008 ET

As we listen to General Petraeus' testimony to Congress this week and mark, on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, we should keep in mind the number of young Americans who have sacrificed their lives for America. Any judgment we make about where we are and what we must do in Iraq must be conditioned by the courage and commitment of those who have volunteered to protect us.

General David Petraus
General David H. Petraeus

Consider Mike Monsoor as just one example of those who believe in the cause of freedom and believe in protecting America.

Michael Monsoor
Petty Officer Second Class Michael Anthony Monsoor (April 5, 1981 – September 29, 2006) was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

He Yelled "Grenade!" but It Was Too Late
On the morning of September 29, 2006, Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Monsoor was on duty with three fellow Navy SEALs on a rooftop in Ramadi.

Monsoor was 25 years old and already serving his country with more courage and more impact than most of us do in our lifetimes.

The SEALs' job was to protect the coalition troops clearing the streets below their rooftop position. When they came under automatic weapon and rocket-propelled grenade fire, Monsoor and his fellow soldiers stood their posts. Suddenly, an insurgent lobbed a grenade up onto the roof. It hit Monsoor in the chest and bounced onto the floor. He yelled, "Grenade!" but it was too late to escape the rooftop. So Monsoor threw his body on the grenade and absorbed the blast. His three fellow SEALs survived. Michael Monsoor died thirty minutes later.

Wednesday Marks the Fifth Anniversary of the Fall of Baghdad
For his bravery and sacrifice -- fully comprehensible only to brothers in arms -- today Petty Officer 2nd Class Monsoor is posthumously being awarded the nation's highest honor, the Medal of Honor.

It is fitting that this reminder of our permanent debt to young men and women like Mike Monsoor comes today. In addition to General Petraeus' testimony this week, tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's brutal tyranny.

In these five years of conflict, only three other Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor for service: two in Iraq, and one in Afghanistan. Together with the thousands -- indeed millions -- of acts of honor, courage, and sacrifice of our other service men and women, they are the true story of this war. And keeping faith with them by completing our mission in Iraq is the great challenge we face.

The Iraq War Is a Battle in the Larger War against the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam
So where are we today, five years after we watched cheering crowds topple the statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad?

As I warned in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute last fall, Iraq is just one battle in the global war against Islamic extremists. And the debate over success or failure in Iraq is crowding out a larger examination of what it will take for America to prevail in this real war.

The United States is in a long struggle with a vicious, determined enemy in the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam. This Irreconcilable Wing, what some have called Islamic Fascism, is a small minority of Muslims -- 8 percent by one estimate. Still, this means a jihadist recruiting pool of over 100,000,000 people. This is a determined, hardened movement willing to kill innocent civilians -- including women and children -- and to engage in deliberately horrifying and brutal acts in order to impose its will through terrorism.

An American Faction That Would Prefer Defeat to Continued Struggle
Afghanistan and Iraq are two of the great battlefields of this struggle between freedom and modernity on the one side and terrorism and religious dictatorship on the other. Neither battle has been won. Both are still contests in which violent radicals seek to defeat America and her allies.

Here at home there is a faction that would prefer defeat to continued struggle.

This is nothing new.

There were a number of Americans who tired of the Revolutionary War and were prepared to surrender to the British Empire and resume their role as colonists. They thought freedom was simply too expensive.

"We Here Highly Resolve That These Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain"
There were a number of people who tired of "Lincoln's War" and were prepared to dissolve the Union and allow the South to secede. They were the people Lincoln was rejecting in his Gettysburg Address (which I have attached below as a reminder of how Americans honor those who have given the fullest sacrifice so they will not have died in vain).

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate -- we cannot hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

There were many Americans who believe the slogan "better red than dead." From Henry Wallace's 1948 Progressive Party campaign to the very end of the Cold War there were people prepared to give away American security and freedom to appease the Soviet Union.

In that tradition the North Vietnamese had no better allies than the American Left and the demonstrations against the American effort to defeat communism in Southeast Asia.

Careers Invested in Bad News about America and Bad News about the War
Now once again we have those who are tired of the fight, afraid of the costs, and eager to appease our enemies.

As you listen to General Petraeus' testimony tomorrow, remember that he is testifying to a Congress in which a significant number of people will actually be saddened if America wins. All too many Congressmen and Senators (and sadly too many editorial writers) have invested their careers in bad news about America and bad news about the war. They will be opposed to reports of progress and they will be opposed to any suggestion that, with determination, America can win.

Success Is Being Achieved in Iraq, and Victory is Possible
Despite the determined negativity of those who are invested in defeat in Iraq, the news from there is good.

As Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) pointed out yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, General Petraeus will testify in Washington this week "having led one of the most remarkably successful military operations in American history. His antiwar critics, meanwhile, face a crisis of credibility -- having confidently predicted the failure of the surge, and been proven decidedly wrong."

And my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, Frederick Kagan, has a new report out that states confidently in its opening sentences:

The United States now has the opportunity to achieve its fundamental objectives in Iraq through the establishment of a peaceful, stable, secular, democratic state and a reliable ally in the struggle against both Sunni and Shiite terrorism. Such an accomplishment would allow the United States to begin to reorient its position in the Middle East from one that relies on antidemocratic states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia to one based on a strong democratic partner whose citizens have explicitly rejected al Qaeda and terrorism in general.

A Dark Cloud on the Horizon: The Continuing Threat of the Iranian Dictatorship
Despite the progress being made in Iraq, Iran remains a major source of violence, terrorism, and instability.

Speaking to reporters last week, Major General Rick Lynch, a U.S. Commander in Baghdad, described facing three enemies in Iraq: Sunni extremists, Shia extremists and Iranian influence.

Here's what Lynch told reporters:

Last night I attended a memorial service for one of my soldiers; he was killed by an explosively-formed penetrator. Tonight I will do the same thing. These Iranian munitions, placed in the hands of the Shi'a extremists, are causing devastating affects on Iraqi security forces, on the coalition forces, and your innocent Iraqi people. And that just has to stop.

As you watch General Petraeus testify, note the details that are coming out about Iranian involvement in Iraq. And remember that Iran is a danger, not just to our troops in Iraq, but to our way of life. Here's how I put it in my AEI speech: "As long as the current dictatorship runs Iran and works every day to create nuclear weapons and to sustain terrorists groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the professional state-sponsored terrorists of the Iranian Guard units, our civilization will not be safe."

Honor Those Who Have Sacrificed by Insisting on Victory
We will hear a lot of information and disinformation this week about America's effort in Iraq and in the war against the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam.

Despite the demonstrable progress that has been made, we will hear more voices urging us to leave Iraq in defeat.

But here are the facts to remember:

The United States is engaged in the right fight in the right countries.

We are gradually winning those fights, but the road will be long and difficult.

Now is the time for Americans to insist that we honor the memory of those who have sacrificed for America -- men and women like Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Monsoor and his family -- by insisting on victory for the cause of freedom.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. -- If you haven't already seen this outrageous ad showing the American southwest as part of Mexico, I'm reprinting it here. Although the ad is only currently running in Mexico, as the LA Times blog notes, it seems almost "absolute" that it will hurt sales here north of the border.

P.P.S. Columnist and National Review Editor Rich Lowry has written an insightful article about how bad culture and bad government have destroyed the city of Detroit.

P.P.P.S. On Friday, May 2, I will speak to the 2008 Young Republican Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. Registration has been extended until April 11, so if you're going to be in Washington visit to register and get more details.

Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of "Winning the Future" (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

Monday, April 7, 2008

Agreement on Missile Defense Between Russia and the United States Is on the Horizon

5 Apr 2008 02:04 Africa/Lagos

Agreement on Missile Defense Between Russia and the United States Is on the Horizon

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Riki Ellison, President of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, (, went on record today with his MDAA membership discussing what an agreement on missile defense between Russia and the United States would mean in terms of stability and meeting the threat posed by Iran. His comments include the following:

"On the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush's retreat on the coast of the Black Sea at Sochi in Southern Russia this Sunday, we as a nation and a world wait with great anticipation for a collective endorsement of the proposed Missile Defense system to be placed in Europe and a mutual recognition of the threat from Iran by these two Presidents and the nations that they represent.

"This potential announcement of making our world safer would follow a string of international endorsements and acceptance for missile defense and add to the momentum of what has been achieved politically, technically and practically with Missile Defense. The significance of yesterday's 26 nations of NATO's endorsement of the European third site and recognition of the threat is monumental. The unilateral movement yesterday of the Czech Republic to agree to the deployment of a U.S. Missile Defense Radar adds great merit to the commitment and responsibility to help safeguard NATO and Europe from ballistic missile threats. The success of the U.S. Navy and the Missile Defense Agency in February of this year, destroying a toxic satellite from space that posed a risk to human life globally, if not intercepted added to the credibility and usability of missile defense.

"The demonstrated United States testing successes of the various missile defense systems and intercepts including the Japanese this past December propels the international acceptance of missile defense. Iran's continued quest for nuclear technology and proliferation of ballistic missiles to go beyond 1,300 kilometers remains the most ominous driver for the collective international action of missile defense."

"The displayed international resolve on missile defense provides another option than what is available today to confront Iran and those in the future that may choose to use ballistic missiles to threaten human life. To have missile defense in place along with economic sanctions, and diplomatic tools adds to the stability and safety to NATO as well as prevents the use of preemptive military force and war."

Note to media: Riki Ellison is available this weekend to discuss the significance of an agreement on missile defense between Presidents Putin and Bush. He recently visited both Poland and the Czech Republic and has seen where the ground-based interceptors and the radar to support them are located. This is an opportunity to get information prior to a potential announcement that will be heard around the world. Call Mike Terrill at 602 885-1955 to arrange.

Source: MDAA

CONTACT: Mike Terrill of MDAA, +1-602-885-1955

Web site:

McCain Seen as Best Commander-in-Chief, Everett Group Defense Trends Poll Finds

7 Apr 2008 05:01 Africa/Lagos

McCain Seen as Best Commander-in-Chief, Everett Group Defense Trends Poll Finds

CROFTON, Md., April 7, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Most Americans think that Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, would make a better commander-in-chief than either of the Democratic candidates, Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

In its most recent Defense Trends(TM) study of 1,211 randomly-selected adults nationwide, The Everett Group found that 51 percent of Americans say McCain would be a better commander in chief than Sen. Hillary Clinton, at 32 percent. When asked about Sen. Barack Obama and McCain, the March 5-20 telephone survey found that 53 percent sided with McCain while 35 percent viewed the Democratic senator as a better commander-in-chief.

A slightly larger percentage of Democrats sided with Obama than with Clinton over McCain when it comes to who would be a better commander-in-chief of the nation's armed services.

"We also found evidence of a sizable gender gap," said Dr. Steve Everett, Principal of the Everett Group. A majority of men back McCain, no matter which Democrat is considered. And neither Obama nor Clinton has the majority of women's support, Everett said.

The nation's veterans also tend to back McCain, himself a veteran and former prisoner of war, as a better commander-in-chief than either Obama or Clinton.

A summary report of the study findings is posted on the Everett Group's Web site ( Reports presenting detailed results of all Defense Trends(TM) studies are available for purchase. For more information about the studies themselves, The Everett Group, and purchasing or subscribing to Defense Trends, contact Steve Everett at

Source: The Everett Group

CONTACT: Steve Everett, +1-301-261-6448,

Web site:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Joint Statement from DNC Chairman Howard Dean on Seating Florida's Delegates

2 Apr 2008 19:17 Africa/Lagos

Joint Statement from DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Florida Democratic Chairwoman Karen L. Thurman and the Florida Congressional Delegation on Seating Florida's Delegates

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

After a joint meeting today among Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Florida Democratic Chairwoman Karen L. Thurman and the Florida Congressional Delegation, the participants issued this joint statement:

"We are all committed to doing everything we can to ensure that a Florida delegation is seated in Denver. We all agree that whatever the solution, it must have the support of both campaigns. While there may be differences of opinion in how we get there, we are all committed to ensuring that Florida's delegation is seated in Denver. We're committed to working with both campaigns to reach a solution as soon as realistically possible. We are also laying the groundwork to ensure we win in Florida in November and spent time here today talking about how to do just that. We will continue to work towards a solution to ensure delegates are seated and logistics are in place for a Florida delegation in Denver."

Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Source: Democratic National Committee

CONTACT: Karen Finney or Stacie Paxton, +1-202-863-8148, both of the
Democratic National Committee; Mark Bubriski or Alejandro Miyar,
+1-850-222-3411, both of the Florida Democratic Party

Web Site:

Global Views of USA Improve

2 Apr 2008 01:01 Africa/Lagos

Global Views of USA Improve

COLLEGE PARK, Md., April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

After years of becoming progressively more negative, public views of the United States have begun to improve, according to a BBC World Service Poll across 34 countries.

While views of US influence in the world are still predominantly negative, they have improved in 11 of the 23 countries the BBC polled a year ago, while worsening in just three countries.

The average percentage saying that the US is having a positive influence has increased from 31 percent a year ago to 35 percent today while the view that it is having a negative influence has declined from 52 percent to 47 percent.

People were asked to rate Brazil, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the USA and the European Union, as having a mainly positive or negative influence in the world.

As was the case a year ago, Iran and Israel receive the most negative ratings. Pakistan follows Israel as the third most poorly rated country.

Similar to last year, Japan is among the most positively rated countries. It comes a close second to Germany; the European Union comes third.

The country with the greatest improvement is Russia. Positive views of Russia have risen on average from 29 percent to 37 percent and negative views have fallen from 40 per cent to 33 percent. In 12 countries, the view of Russia grew more positive.

These results are based on 17,457 in-home or telephone interviews conducted across a total of 34 countries (including the 23 tracking countries) by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between October 31, 2007 and January 25, 2008.

Steven Kull, director of PIPA comments, "It may be that as the US approaches a new presidential election, views of the US are being mitigated by hope that a new administration will move away from the foreign policies that have been so unpopular in the world."

GlobeScan president Doug Miller added: "The poll suggests that Iran continues to pay a price for its nuclear stand-off with the United Nations. World opinion continues to see it as the country having the most negative influence."

For more details, visit

Source: Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland

CONTACT: Steven Kull, Director, Program on International Policy
Attitudes, +1-202-232-7500

Web Site:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Confronting Bad Culture and Bad Government: The Key to a Healthier, Safer, and More Prosperous America

Confronting Bad Culture and Bad Government: The Key to a Healthier, Safer, and More Prosperous America
by (more by this author)
Posted 04/01/2008 ETUpdated 04/01/2008 ET

There is one critical topic for the 2008 campaign that is so far outside the elite mainstream that it probably will not be mentioned:

This key issue for America is how bad culture reinforced by bad government is crippling America and trapping the poor in disastrous situations.

To his credit, Senator Barack Obama began this conversation in his speech in Philadelphia, but this critical conversation is a long way from being finished. The coming months will test whether we can have an honest, direct dialogue about the disastrous cultural patterns and destructive government policies of the last 40 years.

Replacing bad culture and bad government with good culture and good government is the most important single challenge we face here at home.

The Need to Go from Preaching to Meddling
This is a decisive moment. Unquestionably, confronting bad culture and bad government will be threatening to most of our elites, our bureaucracies, our lobbyists, our political consultants, and our news media. Every effort will be made to avoid the challenge.

There is an old saying that someone has "gone from preaching to meddling." If we insist on a serious, candid discussion about bad culture and bad government, we will clearly have gone to meddling -- and our elites will resist.

Yet this topic is the key to creating a better future for all Americans and solving our major domestic problems.

Senator Obama Was Simply Wrong to Emphasize Racism in His Speech
Last Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) I gave an initial response to Senator Obama's Philadelphia speech on racism.

For an hour, I emphasized that the key problem of poverty in America is a function of bad culture and bad government.

My point was that Senator Obama was simply wrong in his emphasis on racism.
In case after case it is clear that the number-one threat to poor people is not racism. Instead, the poor are trapped by bad culture and bad government.

Yelling racism is an attempt by the elites on the left to hide from this reality. After all, the bad culture and bad government trapping the poor are in large part a product of the efforts made by those elites and their allies.

The more I talk with people about the sorry state of our current dialogue, the clearer it is to me that both sides are missing this crucial point. This failure to confront reality has brought us to a decisive turning point in American history.

Senator Obama has opened the door for a fundamental conversation about why there are poor people in America and what we need to do about it. It is incumbent on us to have the courage to engage in that conversation without fear and without flinching.
It's Time for Right and Left to Follow the Lead of Bill Cosby

The Left is determined to blame all the current problems on President Bush and pass a series of programs that will actually make those problems worse.
But since the Left -- with its academic, Hollywood, trial lawyer, bureaucracy, and union factions -- is the cause of much of the bad culture and most of the bad government, it can hardly be expected to voluntarily start a dialogue about repudiating its own cultural values and reforming its own bureaucratic allies.

Sadly, however, the Right has been too shallow and too focused on raising money and developing clever tactics to engage in the level of fundamental conversation America needs.
Bill Cosby has been a lonely voice advocating a serious look at the fundamental patterns and the cultural crisis that underlie many of our most serious problems.
It's time the rest of us reinforced Bill Cosby and followed his lead.

The Founding Fathers Knew: Good Government Requires Good Culture
One of the amazing things about the generation that founded America was that they knew we as a people would eventually drift into a crisis of bad culture and bad government. And they had no doubt which came first. They knew that bad culture leads to bad government -- and good government requires good culture.

Consider just a few quotes from our Founders:
"...there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained..." -- President George Washington's First Inaugural Address

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." -- George Washington's Farewell Address

"Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." -- John Adams

"Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness." -- Samuel Adams

"Reading, reflection, and time have convinced me that the interests of society require the observation of those moral precepts ... in which all religions agree." -- Thomas Jefferson

"Religion is the only solid Base of morals and Morals are the only possible support of free governments" -- Gouverneur Morris

"The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments." -- Benjamin Rush

American Government and Culture Took a Wrong Turn in the 1960s
How did America go from Benjamin Rush's call for religion as the only foundation for a useful education to the amoral, do-your-own-thing, militantly secular culture and bureaucracy we have today?

America took a wrong turn in the 1960s, both in culture and in government.
The counterculture and the militant Left repudiated middle class values and assaulted the core patterns which had worked for 200 years, creating the most prosperous country in the world.
But we didn't stop there. Big bureaucracies were created at the federal, state, and local levels; and they have been decaying in efficiency and effectiveness ever since.

The result is that we now have red-tape-ridden governments that reinforce the wrong values and undermine the still healthy parts of the culture.

The Result? An America in Which a 13-Year-Old Is Arrested as a Madame

Bad government and bad culture reinforce each other. Bad culture preaches vice over virtue, getting something for nothing over hard work, and immediate gratification over saving and planning. Bad government then rewards all these destructive habits, fostering even more bad culture.

This pattern has created an America in which:
A 13-year-old is arrested as a "Madame" in Dallas.
One out of every four teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease (including over 50% of African American teenage girls).

One out of every five eighth graders has tried an illegal drug.
We have a horrendous high school drop-out rate that will ultimately doom America in economic competition with China and India.

Atheists seek to use the courts to erase every element of God from public life.
Celebrities routinely make headlines for drug and alcohol addiction and other self-destructive behavior.

African American males who drop out of high school face a 73% unemployment rate in their 20s and a 60% chance of going to jail in their 30s.

We have the largest prison population in the world: One out of every 100 Americans is in prison.
A subprime mortgage crisis exists because greed, short-sightedness, and self-deception convinced both very sophisticated financiers and very unsophisticated home buyers to enter into commitments which were historically guaranteed to create a disaster. Now the nation is being asked to bail both groups out.

These Are Not the Patterns of a Society Prepared to Maintain Its Freedom and Prosperity
These are not the patterns of a healthy, wise society prepared to maintain its prosperity and sustain its freedom.

These are the patterns of a self-destructive, juvenile society that is putting everything at risk by ignoring the lessons of history.

I wrote Rediscovering God in America, Winning the Future, and Real Change to begin laying out the fundamental changes America needs if we are to remain the most successful country in history (and more recently, Callista and I produced the DVD version of Rediscovering God in America for the same reason).

We founded American Solutions and created the first draft of the Platform of the American People to begin a positive dialogue about the solutions and the policies that will bring us together as Americans. Our goal is to create a red, white, and blue dialogue of unity to replace the red-versus-blue screaming match of partisanship that has blocked real change in our federal and state capitols and in our city halls and county commissions.

Americans Are Ready to Talk about Bad Culture and Bad Government
Having watched the banal and trivializing presidential campaign for the last year, the speech by Senator Obama in Philadelphia struck me as the right invitation to begin a real dialogue about what is wrong in America and what needs to be done to put America back on the right track.
The initial reaction to my speech at AEI has been very encouraging. C-SPAN got such a strong reaction from broadcasting it live last Thursday that they ran it four more times in the next 24 hours. Since then they have continued to run it.

The emails and phone calls we have received have been very encouraging.
There are a lot of Americans who are prepared to begin a fact-filled dialogue about bad culture and bad government.

Over the Next Few Months I Will Have More to Say
There are even more Americans prepared to begin a dialogue about real change in every aspect of society and government that is currently failing.

Over the next few months I will deliver a series of speeches expanding on the need to confront bad culture and bad government and replace them with good culture and good government.

Watching the success of John Adams on HBO, I am convinced there are a lot of Americans eager to talk about the lessons of history and the permanent principles on which a healthy society and government (and therefore a healthy country) can be renewed.
Hopefully we can challenge the platform committees of both parties in August to consider bold new platform proposals that tackle the challenge of bad culture and bad government.

If you have ideas of your own about proposals and policies that could improve America, please share them with me at
I look forward to your ideas and suggestions.
I will report more in the coming weeks.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. -- The Race to the Endless Frontier: Last September, during Solutions Day, my friend and former House colleague Bob Walker presented a workshop on fundamentally changing our space policy. Future national greatness depends on leading the world in the creation of new knowledge, and nowhere is the potential for new knowledge development more evident than in the endless frontier of outer space. We are pleased to follow up on that workshop with a fascinating interview that American Solutions recently conducted with the people in charge at Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic is the first company that will offer space tourism. If you want to learn more about space tourism and how it will happen -- along with the political hurdles and a discussion of "X Prizes", I encourage you to listen to the interview by clicking here.

Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of "Winning the Future" (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company). Click here to get his free Winning the Future e-mail newsletter.