The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for October 2008

Pro-life, Pro-Obama

with 18 comments

Where can you find the lowest abortion rate in the whole world? See if this answer surprises you:
Western Europe

Douglas Kmiec

Douglas Kmiec

I found that figure on a website called Prolife ProObama, where I was greeted by a letter from Douglas Kmiec. And there a strong case is made that – well, obviously – pro-life voters may accomplish more for their cause by voting for Barack Obama rather than John McCain.

Douglas Kmiec is no fuzzy-headed liberal. He was Ronald Reagan’s legal counsel in the White House, also serving that role George H.W. Bush. Kmiec, a committed Roman Catholic, was dean and professor of law at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and at Notre Dame. And he’s now a professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University.

And he writes:

  • The most frequent reasons given by women seeking an abortion are that a child would limit ability to meet current responsibilities and that they cannot afford a child at this point in their lives.
  • Unintended pregnancy has increased by 29% among poor women while decreasing 20% among higher-income women.
  • Women below the federal poverty level have abortion rates almost four times those of higher-income women.

Strange, eh? Abortion generally is slowing in the USA. So why would it be soaring among poor women?

Over at  God’s Politics, I came across Tony Campolo on the same subject:

More than 60 percent of all abortions are economically driven.  The reality is that without provisions for hospital coverage; pre- and post-natal care; maternity leave so that a woman giving birth will not lose her job; and nursing assistance to help single mothers transition into parenthood, millions of women who want to carry their pregnancies to term will not do so.

There you go.  Most women who have abortions do so because Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 31, 2008 at 12:04 pm

The Obama-infanticide hoax

with 2 comments

I received a cordial greeting from a colleague a few days ago:

If  you have any morals at at you will do what you can to STOP this man from being the leader of the free world.

And at the bottom was this link, which took me to a video about Barack Obama and “infanticide.” I don’t recommend watching it, but here it is in case you want to check me out.

After reflection, a paradox appeared.  It seemed as though I might have a moral or two around here somewhere, and I lean toward to pro-life side of things.  But I do believe Obama is more likely to take us in a productive direction on the issue than is Sen. McCain.  And I suspected the video’s story was hoax 9,765,433 (or thereabouts) perped on Obama.

So, I dug around a bit, and sent back this note.

Dear XXXXXXX [not his real name]:

That certainly is a heartbreaking video. It’ll be on my mind for a long time. I love babies. I am probably as pro-life as you are.

If Barack Obama were guilty of what this video suggests, I would not support him.

But he is not. Neither Jill Stanek [the video’s main speaker] nor Alan Keyes (who began the use of the word “infanticide” when he was trying to get elected over Obama in Illinois) have told the whole story. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 31, 2008 at 10:55 am

Posted in Politics

The Lobster-Snack-Michelle-Obama Hoax

leave a comment »

Got one of these in the email this week.  Total hoax.  Story below.

The Michelle Obama Lobster Hoax

The Michelle Obama Lobster Hoax

Trouble is, Michelle wasn’t there eating lobster and and the perps of this hoax are serving baloney.

From Wednesday’s FactCheck:

Did Michelle Obama spend $450 on room service?

I recently received an e-mail with a picture and quote of Michelle Obama saying if universal health care is going to work, someone is going to have to give up a piece of the pie so someone can have more. The e-mail went on to say, “oh really,” then it had a picture of a room service receipt from the Waldorf-Astoria signed by Michelle Obama on 10/15/08 for 2 lobster appetizers, 2 caviars, 2 lobsters & champagne for a total of $447.00.

No. The claim is a total fabrication, and the sources that publicized it have retracted the story. This hoax e-mail, which purports to show

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 31, 2008 at 10:33 am

Posted in Politics

Readings for Sunday, November 2, 2008

leave a comment »

Proper 26 November 2, 2008
Matthew 23:1-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Micah 3:5-12; Psalm 43

Matthew 23
Religious Fashion Shows

1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 30, 2008 at 8:58 pm

US like developing nations in income inequality

leave a comment »

The USA is becoming more akin to Sri Lanka, Mali, and Russia in income inequality than it is like Sweden, Switzerland, or the UK. We’re starting to resemble a developing nation with huge gaps between the very rich and the rest of us, while the middle class loses ground.

Is it really wise to offer more breaks for the rich? Where’s the trickle-down from the last eight years?

clipped from

The Gini index (or coefficient) is a measure of income inequality, with 0 meaning everyone has the same income and 1 meaning one person has all income and everyone else has none. As Elizabeth Gudrais noted recently in Harvard Magazine’s Unequal America:

For the United States, the Gini coefficient has risen from .35 in 1965 to .44 today. On the per-capita GDP scale, our neighbors are Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.; on the Gini scale, our neighbors include Sri Lanka, Mali, and Russia.

Those some are becoming more numerous as a result of declining earnings. Real weekly wages (real: meaning adjusted for inflation) in the United States rose during every decade from 1830 to 1970. But since 1973, it’s been mostly a downhill slide, with the exception of the late ‘90s.

1964: $686

1974: $714

1984: $632

1994: $589

2004: $630

2008: $612

The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005
The bottom 50% earned 12.8% of all income, down from 13.4% in 2004
  blog it

Written by Monte

October 26, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Politics

Des Moines Register rebukes McCain, endorses Obama

with 5 comments

“Though widely regarded as a man of honor, he has overseen a campaign premised on purposeful distortions about Obama and his record.”

Amen to that.

clipped from
McCain, like Obama, brought an appealing personal history to the campaign. He’s a genuine American hero
The Register’s editorial board endorsed McCain for the Republican nomination and looked forward to a serious-minded contest between competing ideologies and worthy foes
But it’s as if McCain has lost his way, forfeiting principle for gain of a few points in the polls
Though widely regarded as a man of honor, he has overseen a campaign premised on purposeful distortions about Obama and his record
Worst of all, in grasping for political edge in his choice of a running mate, he burdened his ticket and potentially the country with an individual utterly unqualified to ascend to the presidency
Before choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain emphasized the importance of experience
Then he picked a running mate who clearly isn’t ready.
  blog it

Written by Monte

October 26, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Posted in Politics

The absurdity of yelling “Socialist!”

leave a comment »

In 1964 the top marginal rate was 91%. Obama proposes 39.6% (it’s 35% now), which is what we had in the deficit-free Clinton years. It’s less than half what it was under LBJ. If that wasn’t socialism, half of it certainly isn’t!
clipped from

AMY GOODMAN: Well, is Barack Obama a socialist?

RICK MacARTHUR: Barack Obama is a socialist like Harper’s Magazine is a media conglomerate. It’s the most preposterous charge I’ve heard in a pretty crazy campaign
But it’s even more absurd when you realize that
they’re all socialists now
remember, the top rate in 1964, the last time we had this kind of crazy debate between the Goldwater Republicans and Lyndon Johnson, the top marginal rate was 91 percent. Barack Obama is only proposing to raise or restore the top marginal rate from the current 35 percent to 39.6 percent, which is what it was under the Clinton administration. This is a very modest, very, you might even say, timid response to what’s, in the last fifteen years, been a redistribution of wealth from the bottom up to the top.
What is the mortgage crisis, except Wall Street picking on people
who are not very well educated about the finance market, and
robbing them
That’s redistribution of wealth, upwards.
  blog it

Written by Monte

October 26, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Politics