VIDEO: 8th Place — A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Join Her Sport

When two high school athletes who were born male but identify as female took first and second place at Connecticut’s girls indoor track championship this year, it wasn’t just a local news story.

To some, it was a story of triumph and courage. The winner, a junior from Bloomfield High School, set a girls state indoor record of 6.95 seconds in the 55-meter dash, and went on to win the New England titles in both the 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash.

To others, it was a story of shock and disappointment: Is this the end of women’s sports?

To Selina Soule, a 16-year-old runner from Glastonbury, it was personal.


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A junior, Selina missed qualifying for the 55-meter in the New England regionals by two spots. Two spots, she said, that were taken by biological boys.

Had the boys who identify as girls not been allowed to compete, Selina would have placed sixth, qualifying to run the 55 in front of college coaches at the New England regionals.

Instead, she placed eighth, watching the 55 from the sidelines after qualifying in only the long jump, an event in which the transgender athletes didn’t compete.

“It’s very frustrating and heartbreaking when us girls are at the start of the race and we already know that these athletes are going to come out and win no matter how hard you try,” Selina told The Daily Signal. “They took away the spots of deserving girls, athletes … me being included.”F

While the debate over transgender athletes and fairness is complex, the situation in Connecticut has brought forth another complicating layer: Plenty of parents and high school girls appear to object to the participation of biological boys in girls sports, but fearing public bullying and backlash, they’re not speaking out.

Publicly, at least.

The stakes of remaining silent are high: Policies are being formed in real time at the local, state, and federal levels regarding transgender individuals, student athletes, and sports.

Most prominently, on March 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced HR 5, the Equality Act, a bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law.

The legislation would create a civil right for male athletes to self-identify as females at any time, critics say, without any evidence of physical changes to their bodies.

A Voice for the Voiceless

When the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, or CIAC, said biological boys who identify as girls can compete as girls in sports, most track athletes remained mum.

Connecticut is one of 17 states that allow transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions, according to Transathlete.com, a website that tracks state policies in high school sports across the country.

Encouraged by her mother, Bianca Stanescu, who has been in the forefront in challenging the state policy, Selina is one of the few students, if not the only one, giving a voice to countless others who appear to feel the same way.

“Everyone is afraid of retaliation from the media, from the kids around their school, from other athletes, coaches, schools, administrators,” Selina explained. “They don’t want to drag attention to themselves, and they don’t want to be seen as a target for potential bullying and threats.”

In a visit to the Nutmeg State, The Daily Signal spoke with four other track athletes from two high schools in Connecticut. Echoing Selina’s sentiments, they asked to remain anonymous.

“I think it’s a very important thing for people to really understand where we’re coming from, instead of just immediately going to, ‘We’re transphobic,’” one said. “Just the way that our society is built, it snaps on people so quickly.”

“We live in such a cruel world, and society is just so hard to figure out sometimes,” another girl told The Daily Signal. “You never know what the reaction is going to be. It’s so hard because you want your voice to be heard … but, how can you know what to say that will affect things positively, instead of people twisting what you’re saying and turning it against you?”

‘An Equality Issue’

The girls’ parents, too, expressed a high level of concern for protecting their daughters’ identities, not even wanting to identify them by high school.

Connecticut is made up of small towns, the parents explained, and given the relatively small number of athletes affected, people can connect the dots.

“There’s really nothing else you can do except get super frustrated and roll your eyes,” the first girl said, “because it’s really hard to even come out and talk in public just because of the way with the far left, and how just immediately you’ll just be shut down.”

“It’s not like we’re saying that we don’t like transgender people,” she added. “It’s just an equality issue where these girls are trying their absolute hardest to try and get those good things on their college resumes, and then it just gets completely taken away from them because there’s a biological male racing against them.”

The athletes say they don’t fear only being bullied or portrayed as a bigot. They also hope to attend college, and are afraid their politically incorrect views could hurt their prospects.

“I personally want a future in athletics in college,” a third girl told The Daily Signal, “but I feel like if there’s a coach that disagrees with my personal opinion, or a board that disagrees with it, then they’ll already have a predisposition with me and then it’ll affect maybe playing time or my ability to get into that college.”

“We have college down the road—I’m scared that that could get impacted,” a fourth girl said. “Sometimes the coaches will just like look at the lists … and if you’re not No. 1 then they won’t choose you.”

“I have heard opinions where coaches are just going to look at your times, and that they don’t really care where you place,” the first girl added. “But college coaches are going to these bigger meets, and when they don’t see you there, they’re not necessarily focusing on you. They’re focusing on the people that are there.”

“It kept Selina from getting to New Englands, where she had the opportunity to be running in front of college coaches, which is just unfair,” she added.

Uncomfortable Opinions

The athletes’ hesitation to speak out publicly begs the question:

How did society get to the point where high school girls now fear their uncomfortable opinions could prevent them from being admitted to the very institutions where uncomfortable opinions are supposed to be explored?

Whatever the answer, few could blame them, given the vitriol on display in today’s public square.

Business Insider removed a writer’s article defending the casting of Scarlett Johansson to play a transgender man in an upcoming film, for example. The publication said the article violated its “editorial standards,” and the writer later quit.

Authorities in Canada allegedly threatened to arrest a father if he refers to his biological daughter as a female in private or in public because she identifies as a boy.

And in schools, The Daily Signal has documented multiple cases of biological girls being forced to share locker rooms or bathrooms with boys, despite their safety concerns and discomfort.

But again and again, those on the “wrong side” of this conversation are too afraid to speak out.

‘Door Is Open for Any Other Sport’

Selina’s mother, Stanescu, told The Daily Signal that she has done “everything that I thought would be possible to help this and just open a conversation” about what’s happened in Connecticut and what could happen should Congress pass the Equality Act.

“The doors have been shut over and over again,” Stanescu said. “People are afraid to speak.”

In addition to potentially instating a nationwide bathroom requirement, health care mandate, and a “preferred pronoun” law based on gender identity, the Equality Act would enshrine in federal law the right of biological boys to compete as girls in all sports.

If the measure passes, Stanescu warned, “women will be completely eradicated from sports.”

What’s happening in Connecticut, she added, will happen across the country—and not just in track and field.

“Yes, it has been affecting track and field in Connecticut, but the door is open there for any sport, and that is something that could become also a safety issue,” Stanescu said. “It’s taking away the opportunity to win for the girls, but in sports that have physical contact, [it] could become a serious safety issue.”

“It could be potentially very dangerous if you have a transgender female that’s competing in basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey because they are so physically superior to females,” her daughter Selina added.

Selina says all this while making clear she supports athletes “being true to themselves.”

“I have friends in school who are transgender and I know when they are struggling to come out or deciding to come out, I was there supporting them,” she said. “And when they were freshly out, I was caring towards them. I was never rude or disrespectful.”

But the situation in sports has “nothing to do with their gender identity and how they feel,” Selina said. “It has to do with what is right and what is fair in athletics.”

Looking forward to her senior year, Selina said she hopes to run track in college. She referred to the long jump event as her “safe haven” where “the results were fair no matter what, because it was girls competing against girls.”

“But now, unfortunately,” she said with a disappointed look on her face, “one of those athletes has started to compete in long jump. So now none of my events are safe.”

COLUMN BY

Kelsey Bolar

Kelsey Bolar is a senior writer and producer at The Daily Signal and co-host of “Problematic Women,” a podcast. Send an email to Kelsey. Twitter: @kelseybolar.

RELATED ARTICLE: I Was America’s First ‘Nonbinary’ Person. It Was All a Sham.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

No, Cardinal Marx, the Church Cannot Bless Same-Sex Couple

Eduardo Echeverria: Given the Church’s constant opposition, no “blessing” can be found for homosexual couples within the context of Catholicism.


Once again, the German archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, responded positively to the question, “What do you do when a homosexual couple asks you for an episcopal blessing.”  He claims not to be promoting a general ecclesial solution and, hence, a general public liturgical blessing for same-sex relations. And he even rejects calling such a relationship marriage. Nevertheless, he says, “the decision should be made ‘on the ground, and [considering] the individual under pastoral care’.”

Another German, this time Johannes zu Eltz, the Catholic Dean of the city of Frankfurt am Main, is engaged in the pastoral care of homosexuals. He says, “the question is whether the church is able to learn that good things happen in those relationships; that homosexual couples . . . by their companionship give birth to moral goods for themselves and for others: love, loyalty, commitment, fecundity, chastity. If this is true, then there is the possibility to confirm these goods and to ask for God’s providence and guidance for this couple. That is what we call a blessing.”

Similar reasoning comes from Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, the deputy chairman of the German Episcopacy.

They speak of “blessing” homosexual couples. Anglican theologian Ephraim Radner is right: “As we know, where these latter [same-sex couplings] are mentioned in Scripture and tradition, they are rejected precisely in the context of fruitfulness that upholds the scriptural claims about and character of blessing (e.g., Lev 18-19, Rom 1).”

Since God is the source and end of all blessings, the anthropological question regarding the particularity of God’s will and purpose in creating man as male and female arises here (Gen 1:27; 2:24). This creation of male and female receives the judgment of goodness by God, which is his blessing. The Church has always understood same-sex intercourse to be inconsistent with Scripture, tradition, natural law reasoning – and, in particular, with Christian anthropology, which teaches sexual morality and hence marriage to be an intrinsically male-female union.

Hence, contra Marx, et al., the one-flesh union of male and female is not just posited by ecclesiastical law. Jesus was no ecclesial positivist or conventionalist. Rather, he calls us back to the law of creation (Mark 10:6-7) that grounds an inextricable nexus of permanence, twoness, and sexual differentiation for marriage.

As John Paul II rightly notes, “Law must therefore be considered an expression of divine wisdom: by submitting to the law, freedom submits to the truth of creation.” (Veritatis Splendor §41) In particular, marriage is such that it requires sexual difference, the bodily-sexual act, as a foundational prerequisite, indeed, as intrinsic to a one-flesh union of man and woman. “So then they are no longer two but one flesh.” (Mark 10:8)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church comments:

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (CCC §2357).

But that is precisely what Marx, et al., are doing, approving of same-sex acts.

Helpfully, Ephraim Radner probes more deeply than Marx. Suppose we grant the point that there are “goods” as such in these relationships – “love,” “commitment,” “fidelity,” “mutuality.” Still, we must not treat them as neutral goods abstracted from particular sexual behavior, which the Church unequivocally rejects, and from the larger culture of homosexuality – to say nothing of the worldview (the sexual revolution!) underpinning the interpretation of these goods.

Once they are situated in that interpretive context, these “goods” are not “conformable to the gospel in its integrity, let alone in its fullness,” that is, “the fullness of God’s truth in Christ Jesus.”

Furthermore, says St. Paul, the Church should take a stand against all sorts of sexual sin by warning the offending believers that if they continue in sexual immorality they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. We should also ask Cardinal Marx and other proponents of this pastoral approach how they propose to help these offending believers to be “saved” from judgment “on the day of the Lord.” (1 Cor 5:5)

What about St. Paul’s teaching that serial and unrepentant immoral sexual practices put one at the risk of not inheriting God’s eternal kingdom? (1 Cor 6:9-10; 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19-21; Rom 1:24-27; 6:19-23; Col 3:5-10; Eph 5:3-6, 4:17-19; 1 Thess 4:2-8)

Moreover, theologically, if the ultimate origin of the homosexual condition is our fallen human nature, then there would be no justification for seeing homosexuality from the order of creation as a creational given, a normal variant of sexuality, and hence there would be no parity between homosexuality and heterosexuality in light of that order.

Therefore, Scripture’s condemnation of homosexuality pertains not only to outward acts but also to the inward desires and inclinations constitutive of the condition itself. For, according to the Scriptures, it is not only actions that are wrong, but also the desire to do such actions. (see Matt 5:27-29; Rom 13:14; Col 3:5-6; 1 Pet 2:11)

This point should be clear from the fact that Jesus interiorizes the demands of the moral law, condemning not only the outward acts of adultery but also the “adultery of mere desire.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church §2380) “And Jesus said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person’.” (Mark 7: 20-23)

Given this constant teaching of the Church, how can a place of blessing, private or public, be found for a homosexual couple within the context of the Church? How can a homosexual couple find a pathway to receive Communion when they are living in mortal sin?

No, Cardinal Marx, the Church cannot bless same-sex unions.

COLUMN BY

Eduardo J. Echeverria

Eduardo J. Echeverria is Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. His publications include Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II (2015) and Revelation, History, and Truth: A Hermeneutics of Dogma. (2018).

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

VIDEO: The Vortex — The Homosexual Papacy?

There is no authentic love for you, not one shred.

TRANSCRIPT

Reports swirled around the internet earlier yesterday that the Pontifical Biblical Commission had given its approval to a reading of Sacred Scripture that approves of homosexual unions. The reports were based on a new 300-page book entitled What Is Man?

Some media outlets reported the book said the following things about homosexuality: “a legitimate and dignified expression of the human being.” The media reports went on to claim that the book said, “A new and more adequate understanding of the human person imposes a radical reservation on the exclusive valuation of the heterosexual union in favor of an analogous reception of homosexuality and homosexual unions.”

In short, the time for looking at heterosexual unions as the only morally permissable union is at an end. Put the brakes on the idea of just heterosexual unions. The Church has been wrong for 2,000 years. It’s time to now include homosexual unions as also morally legitimate.

Again, media reports continued that, after much word-smithing and twisted interpretation by pro-gay scholars, the Old and New Testament condemnations were little else than “cultural features of that time.”

While there is still some disagreement about what the report actually says, or more importantly, why some of those references are in the report at all, one thing is certain: Because of the current pro-gay climate that has been created in the Church, Catholics on both sides jumped on the media reports and treated them as accurate.

Orthodox Catholics went ballistic over the possibility that the Vatican and Francis papacy had finally come totally out of the closet and the homosexual camp in the Church was gaga over the report, as seen here in a tweet from Brokeback Martin, celebrating what he thought was an accurate report.

Why was everyone so ready to believe these reports? That’s easy. Because homosexual men, admitted into seminary by other homosexual men, ordained by homosexual men, consecrated bishops by homosexual men, seizing operational control of the Church, have brought the Church to this point.

Men like Fr. James Martin is little else than the latest in a long line of homosexualists in the clergy, whose entire reason for entering the clergy was to get the Church to bless their filth.

It all started with a communist agent invasion beginning almost a century ago, and now a century later, the Church is coming apart at the seams.

And hundreds of millions of wimpy head-in-the-sand Catholics, who have zero understanding of the idea that the Faith must be fought for in every generation, simply whistle past the graveyard because they are too terrified to get into the fight.

The pro-homosexual clerics are bastard sons of the Church. They must be called out and challenged at every turn. They have no love for Christ, His Church or the souls of those they corrupt on the march to perverting the teachings.

Sodomy is not a gift. It is an evil that if, participated in and unrepented of, leads a soul to Hell forever, like many other mortal sins. But too many of these scholars and clergy are homosexuals themselves or completely embracing of it so they may gain Church support for their personally immoral lives.

All of this was painfully evident when the homosexual clergy child sex abuse scandal burst upon the Church in 2002. That was brought into the Church by homosexual priests and bishops — and there was loads more homosexual activity within the clergy and hierarchy than just child abuse. It’s just that a portion of these sick men also attacked children, and that is what brought the truth into the open.

Yet even still today, homosexual cardinals and their allies continue to deny the plain truth. Men like Blase Cupich and Joseph Tobin continue to spew out that homosexuality has nothing to do with homosexual abuse.

Yet in nearly every single example of scandal still being vomited into the world from the Church, homosexuality is front and center.

  • Buffalo Bp. Richard Malone resigned for covering up homosexual abuse.
  • Bishop Michael Bransfield had to step down in disgrace for homosexual abuse.
  • Monsignor Walter Rossi, the rector of the National Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, is being investigated by not one, but two, dioceses for homosexual abuse.
  • Crookston Bp. Michael Hoeppner is being investigated for covering up homosexual assault and lying to parishioners and his clergy.
  • Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York ignored years of complaints and covered up for homosexual priest Fr. Peter Miqueli, who was stealing from parishes to support a sex addiction for gay prostitutes.

The list of homosexual crimes committed against the Faith by prelates and priests goes on and on and on.

Gay, drug-fueled orgies in the Vatican, Roman clergy frequenting gay bars, gay officials promoted by Francis, abusive homosexual prelates covered up for by him, his own number two accused of covering up for a wildly abusive bishop.

As we said, it goes on and on. Homosexuality, as a gift in itself, is now ensconced in the Vatican as perfectly normal.

What Catholics need to understand is really pretty simple once you get your head wrapped around it. Nearly every current bishop in the West has been part of the homosexualization of the Church. At the very least, they have sat by and said nothing.

But for the majority, the seminaries were hotbeds of homosexuality. They were engineered starting in the 1960s to recruit, form and ordain gay men and weed out heterosexual men. Once ordained, they patiently worked their way up the career ladder, promoted by other gay men, all with the single intent of corrupting the Church into teaching that their filth is moral and acceptable.

And now they have reached a point where they feel free enough to say Scripture has it wrong. Brokeback Martin tweeted that very thing himself weeks ago, saying he doesnt deny Scripture condemns homosexuality, but adding the rhetorical question: “The issue is precisely whether the biblical judgment is correct.”

The biblical judgment is correct, Martin. It is you and your fellow homosexual travelers who are wrong. You are a filthy, condemnable lot who pervert teaching to feel good about yourselves and rationalize your evil. You can meet with the pope all you want and tweet about it all you want.

This is a homosexual papacy, so anything Francis says which contradicts Divine Law can be completely dismissed. He is wrong, flat-out wrong — underscored by when he told a gay man that “God made you that way.”

The civil war the Church is now engaged in has been brought to you first by communism, and then accelerated by perverted homosexual men in the clergy. Period.

Ten years ago, Church Militant started telling you about all this. We were mocked continually. We weren’t wrong then, and we aren’t wrong now.

Understand: Your souls and the souls of your loved ones are being offered up by twisted men to support their own psychological illnesses. From decades of highly effeminate men in the pulpits to clergy in Rome, there is no authentic love for you, not one shred.

RELATED ARTICLE: President of the Italian national football team: “Pope Francis told me not to make the sign of the cross on the field”

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

The Little-Known History of the Wild West Is the Ultimate “Mandalorian” Easter Egg

Whether it’s intentional or not, there is some evidence of historical reality in “The Mandalorian.”


I love Star Wars and I enjoy a good Western, so it’s no surprise to any of my friends and co-workers that I’ve been engrossed with The Mandalorian on Disney+. I’ll go ahead and warn you now, there will be some spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t caught up at least through Episode 6 of The Mandalorian, you may want to come back to this after you have.

If you’re all caught up or just don’t mind, let’s continue.

Western Tropes in The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian is basically a Western that happens to be set in a galaxy far, far away, but you don’t have to take my or show-creator Jon Favreau’s word for it. The show openly embraces the tropes and themes of classic spaghetti Westerns.

Broadly speaking, there’s the score and the setting. The theme song and the background music, written by Ludwig Göransson, puts heavy emphasis on the kinds of percussion-and-flute riffs that have a distinctly classic-Western feel. The setting is a little less obvious at times. While interstellar travel offers a range of physical settings⁠—from deserts to forests to spaceships⁠—what’s important is the timing of these settings. The plot takes place just after the conclusion of Return of the Jedi wherein the Empire has suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of the Rebellion (now calling itself the New Republic). A large number of classic Westerns tend to take place shortly after the conclusion of the American Civil War.

We can see other Western thematic elements. Heck, the first episode opens with what amounts to the Star Wars version of the gunslinger pushing his way into the saloon, all the disreputable ruffians looking up from their cards and drinks, with the Black Hat deciding that this bar ain’t big enough for the both of us.

Our main character, the titular Mandalorian (Mando, as other characters refer to him), is given no name. This is straight from “The Dollar Trilogy” (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) starring Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name. The two characters share more attributes than a simple lack of name, too. Both are men of few words, quick to violence, but also deeply human and caring in their own ways.

In the first episode, Mando has to “earn his spurs” by taming and riding a wild blurrg. This scene is strikingly similar to one from The Big Country starring Gregory Peck, right down to the older teacher calling advice from the fenceline.

It’s all pretty good fun. The thing is, the Wild West portrayed in classic Westerns and the old dime-novels they’re based on is largely fiction. The constant violent, criminal free-for-all that provides the backdrop for so many films simply didn’t exist.

A Brief History of the Not-So-Wild West

Generally speaking, the Western frontier was not nearly as violent or chaotic as legend would have you believe. Don’t get me wrong, the Old West was far from idyllic and racial tensions ran pretty high, but it wasn’t exactly The Quick and the Dead, either.

Before the Civil War, the Western territories were unincorporated land. No formal government (that Americans would recognize) reached that far west yet, so the settlers had no “official” way to keep the peace. But, wherever people begin to gather, conflict of some sort or another is fairly inevitable, so various forms of conflict resolution formed.

Private organizations like land use clubs, cattlemen’s associations, wagon trains, and mining camps protected private property and mediated disputes. Civil contracts, localized constitutions, and social pressure including ostracism (a very real threat so far away from the rest of America) largely kept the peace instead of threats of violence. As Bruce Benson writes of the time,

The contractual system of law effectively generated cooperation rather than conflict, and on those occasions when conflict arose it was, by and large, effectively quelled through nonviolent means.

The homicide rates, even in what qualified as the big cities in the Old West, were astonishingly low. Major railroad stops like Wichita and Dodge City (yes, that Dodge City) had lower murder rates than major eastern cities like New York and Boston at the time.

Interactions with the local Indian tribes were mostly peaceful and trade-based. White settlers may not have always liked the native tribes they shared space with on the frontier, but it was easier and less expensive to deal with them in a generally peaceful way than it was to wage war on them. As Jennifer Roback writes in Property Rights and Indian Economies,

Europeans generally acknowledged that the Indians retained possessory rights to their lands. More important, the English recognized the advantage of being on friendly terms with the Indians. Trade with the Indians, especially the fur trade, was profitable. War was costly.

This all changed in the mid-1860s. Now that it wasn’t so busy with that pesky Civil War, the federal government of the United States could turn its attention westward. Terry Anderson and Fred L. McChesney, who have both written extensively on this subject, put forth in the Journal of Law and Economics that once the costs of using violence against the native tribes of the Plains became distributed across the rest of the country through the use of taxation, “raid” replaced “trade” in relations with the Indian tribes.

Two of the US generals, General William T. Sherman and General Grenville M. Dodge, who headed up many of the major campaigns in the Western territories go into great detail about the atrocities committed against the Plains Indians following the American Civil War, and, more importantly, why. Deals had been struck prior to the War for the federal government to subsidize the building of the transcontinental railroad, and now that the War was over, it was time for the government to make good. Violence against the American Plains Indians was at the behest of the government on behalf of crony railroad barons. The campaign to “pacify” the Western territories resulted in the devastation of the native populations and fatally injured the tenuous relations between white settlers and native tribes.

Let’s back up for a moment. The Mandalorian is helping to set the stage in the Star Wars universe for the reality our heroes find themselves in during The Force Awakens which picks up 30 years after Return of the Jedi. There’s a lot of space to fill between the decisive defeat of the Empire at the end of Episode VI and the “Oh wait, just kidding” of Episode VII.

I mention this because, whether it’s intentional or not, I do see some evidence of historical reality in The Mandalorian. Just as it was the creeping tendrils of centralized government that led to the worst of the violence in the American West, so too do the starkest escalations of violence in The Mandalorian come from the involvement of centralized powers. Sometimes this is direct intervention, as we see when agents of the Galactic Empire hire Mando (and, like, every other bounty hunter in the galaxy) to capture Baby Yoda, as fans have dubbed him.

We also see this even when governmental involvement is indirect, as it was in Episode 6. Mando goes on a mission to rescue a prisoner from a New Republic prison ship. At the end of the episode, New Republic pilots elect to respond to a distress call by firing missiles at the station that’s launching a gunship. Sure, that gunship was supposed to be shooting down our intrepid heroes, but the New Republic pilots had no way of knowing that ahead of time, nor did they bother to even try to find out.

I find this little sliver of vague historical accuracy absolutely fascinating from a storytelling standpoint, and I’m curious to see how this plays out. But it seems that no matter what galaxy one happens to be in, governmental meddling always complicates the situation, generally increasing hostilities instead of decreasing them.

COLUMN BY

Jen Maffessanti

Jen Maffessanti is a Senior Associate Editor at FEE and mother of two. When she’s not advocating for liberty or chasing kids, she can usually be found cooking or maybe racing cars. Check out her website.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Marijuana vaping nearly triples among 12th graders in 2 years

Marijuana vaping nearly triples in two years among 12th graders

Past-month marijuana vaping among high school seniors nearly tripled (from 5 percent to 14 percent) between 2017 and 2019, the new Monitoring the Future reveals. It nearly doubled in just one year (from 7.5 percent to 14 percent), the largest one-year jump of any drug in the history of the survey.

Seniors’ past-year marijuana vaping more than doubled in two years (from 9.5 percent in 2017 to 20.8 percent in 2019), and their lifetime marijuana vaping nearly doubled (from 11.9 percent to 23.7 percent).

This year – for the first time – the survey monitored near daily marijuana vaping (more than 20 days a month). Some 3.5 percent of 12th graders vape marijuana that often.

Marijuana vaping doubled in two years among 10th and 8th grade students as well:

Among 10th grade students

  • Past-month use rose from 4.3 percent in 2017 to 12.6 percent in 2019
  • Past-year use: 8.1 percent to 19.4 percent
  • Lifetime use: 9.8 percent to 21.8 percent

Among 8th grade students

  • Past-month use rose from 1.6 percent in 2017 to 3.9 percent in 2019
  • Past-year use: 3 percent to 7 percent
  • Lifetime use ; 4 percent to 9 percent

Such dramatic increases in such a short amount of time are worrisome on two counts. Little is known about the impact on the body of vaping anything, including high THC levels or nicotine, into the lungs. The upsurge in severe lung injuries and deaths identified only last August makes the point (see next story). Also, because adolescence is a time of intense brain development, young people are particularly vulnerable to becoming addicted to any drug if they begin using while they are still teenagers.

Nicotine vaping among adolescents presents the same hazard and threatens to undo the significant gains in reducing cigarette smoking among youth. The 2019 survey finds that 35 percent of 12th graders vaped nicotine in the past year, as did 31 percent of 10th graders and 17 percent of 8th graders.

Read NIDA’s release of the 2019 Monitoring the Future here.
Read JAMA research letter here.


Vaping-related lung injury cases from all 50 states continue to be reported to CDC, although they may be slowing down. Thus far, 52 deaths in 26 states have been linked to these injuries. More deaths are being investigated.

All 2,409 patients report a history of vaping. THC is present in most samples FDA has tested, and most patients report a history of THC use.

While Vitamin E acetate is a chemical of interest, patients have used some 152 different THC brands, including Dank Vapes in the Northeast and South, TKO and Smart Carts in the West, and Rove in the Midwest.

There may be more than one cause of the illness.

Read the December 12 CDC Update here.


This week’s podcast: Mahmoud ElSohly – Is marijuana the same as Epidiolex?

Mahmoud A. ElSohly, PhD, is a pharmacologist known for his work on marijuana. He is professor of pharmaceutics in the school of pharmacy at the University of Mississippi where he directs the Marijuana Project which grows pharmaceutical-grade marijuana for research. He is an expert in the processing, testing, and detection of drugs of abuse.

Key Points

  • Epidiolex is a very well-defined pharmaceutical preparation of CBD
  • Difference between it and other CBD is like night and day.
  • Difference between Epidiolex and CBD on the Internet and in stores
  • What is the OTC process?
  • What is biphasic activity?
  • What is low bioavailability?
  • Is there an entourage effect?

Listen to Dr. ElSohly’s podcast here.

Up next week? Marilyn Huestis – How marijuana affects kids


Is marijuana linked to psychosis, schizophrenia? It’s contentious, but doctors, feds say yes

USA Today writes that doctors, federal officials, parents, and young adult marijuana users who have experienced psychosis while using the drug agree that marijuana does indeed cause psychosis, including schizophrenia.

Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, the US Department of Health and Human Services top mental health official and head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says hospitalizations for serious mental-health disorders among 18- to 25-year-olds more than doubled between 2012 and 2018. Colorado and Washington State were the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012.

She also cites a July study that shows a 77 percent increase in suicide deaths from 2010 to 2015 among Colorado 10- to 19-year-olds with marijuana in their systems.

“Among people who use marijuana, 10 percent to 20 percent will develop a marijuana use disorder and be at risk for these other kinds of mental and physical adverse events,” Dr. McCance-Katz adds.

Sally Schindel tells the story of her son, who was diagnosed with severe cannabis use disorder, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder with auditory hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety. He committed suicide, leaving his mother a note explaining why: “I want to die. My soul is already dead. Marijuana killed my soul + ruined my brain.”

Read USA Today article here.

Visit The Marijuana Report’s Facebook page

In addition to current issues of The Marijuana Report, we post several more marijuana messages each month on our Facebook page. Search Facebook for nationalfamilies to access it.


Looking for a past issue of The Marijuana Report?

  Find it here.

Did you know

that in addition to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter, National Families in Action also publishes The Marijuana Report website? There you can find summaries of (and access to) scientific marijuana studies, the growth of the commercial marijuana industry, and what families and communities are doing to restrain it. Begin at our Welcome Page to access all the resources The Marijuana Report website offers.


The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

Visit National Families in Action’s website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

Subscribe to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter.

7 Things I’d Do if I Wanted to Keep Poor People Poor

Spoiler: we’re already doing all of these things.


If I wanted to keep poor people poor, there are several government policies I would favor. Let’s count them down.

For starters, I would advocate for a robust and ever-expanding welfare state—programs like Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc.

I would recognize that an effective recipe for keeping poor people poor is to create incentives that push them into decisions that prevent them from climbing out of poverty.

Case in point: A 2012 study by Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Public Welfare analyzed the decisions confronting individuals and families enrolled in various government welfare programs. Specifically, the study concluded that in the case of a single mother with two children ages 1 and 4 earning $29,000 a year through work would be eligible for government benefits (such as Medicaid, housing vouchers, and subsidized daycare) equivalent to roughly an additional $28,000.

Such a scenario puts this woman in a bind. If she finds a better job paying more, or picks up more hours, she risks losing substantial amounts of benefits. She would make her family financially worse off even though her paycheck would be bigger. Just to come out even, once taxes are factored in, she would need to find work paying about $69,000 a year to compensate for the lost welfare benefits. Not many low-skilled workers can make such a leap.

This scenario is commonly referred to as the welfare cliff. Confronted with this situation, many individuals understandably opt to continue receiving the government benefits. Rather than help individuals, the perverse economic incentives created by the “social safety net” trap aid recipients on welfare. And the longer they remain out of the workforce, or at lower levels of employment, the less employable they become. It is a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle that keeps people poor and dependent on the state.

Moreover, there is the impact the welfare state has on the family unit. Welfare programs break up families by replacing a father’s paycheck with a government check and benefits. Nationally, since LBJ’s Great Society ratcheted up government welfare programs in the mid-1960s, the rate of unmarried births has tripled.

In my home state of North Carolina, families are roughly five times as likely to be in poverty when there is no father in the home.

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I also would finance the welfare state poverty trap through punitive taxes on the job and wealth creators of society.

The key ingredient to economic growth, and thus a higher standard of living for society’s poor, is through productivity gains made possible by capital investment. High marginal taxes on profitable companies and small businesses alike discourage capital investment. As businesses decide to either not expand or take their businesses to more investment-friendly countries, job opportunities dry up.

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would advocate for higher government-enforced minimum wages. The law of supply and demand tells us that the higher the price of a good or service, the less of it will be demanded (other things held equal, of course).

Higher minimum wages will price more and more low-skilled people out of the labor market.Meanwhile, the higher wages will attract more job seekers willing to supply their labor at the higher price. Employers will be able to be more selective in their hiring, and as such the lower-skilled job seekers will be crowded out of these opportunities by higher-skilled, less-needy candidates. Minimum wage laws are an effective tool to cut off the bottom rung of the career ladder for those most in need of establishing work experience.

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would support government “green energy” initiatives that make energy more expensive. State and federal initiatives that mandate more expensive “renewable” energy mean that—in the words of President Obama—utility bills “necessarily skyrocket.” Poor people trying to scrape by just to stay even can scarcely afford higher electricity bills.

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would see to it that government imposes many costly regulations on businesses.

meaning fewer job openings for those most in need of opportunity. And mountains of red tape force business to expend scarce resources on compliance costs rather than investing in their businesses and creating jobs. Higher-skilled compliance officer jobs will consume payroll that could have potentially gone toward opportunities for lower-skilled job seekers.

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would support “quantitative easing” policies. Under such programs, the Federal Reserve creates money out of thin air. The inflated money supply then erodes the value of the dollars sitting in your wallet or bank account. The poor are hit hardest by this inflation because their limited skill set makes it far more difficult for their incomes to keep up with the rising cost of living.

If I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would impose heavy tariffs on foreign goods in order to limit imports. Sure, the domestic industries protected from competition by these tariffs would prosper, but at what cost? For example, tariffs on foreign steel may help the 170,000 American workers employed by the steel industry, but higher steel prices will harm those industries using steel as inputs—and the 6.5 million workers they employ. Ultimately, more jobs are likely to be destroyed than saved.

Furthermore, the price increases passed along to consumers disproportionately harm low-income households. The combination of fewer job opportunities and a higher cost of living certainly makes it harder for the poor to climb out of poverty.

Finally, if I wanted to keep poor people poor, I would most definitely not support a competitive, free market economy. As Milton Friedman once famously schooled Phil Donahue:

So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.

COLUMN BY

Brian Balfour

Brian Balfour is Executive Vice President for the Civitas Institute, a free-market advocacy organization in Raleigh, NC. He is the author of the high school economics iBook Economics in Action, creator of the Austrian Economics educational app, and has served as an adjunct economics instructor at Mount Olive University.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Democrats in Disarray and Full of Malarkey!

Merriam-Webster:

disarray noun

a lack of order or sequence : CONFUSIONDISORDER

malarkey noun

: insincere or foolish talk BUNKUM

He thinks that everything politicians say is a bunch of malarkey.


The Democratic Party is in disarray.

To understand let’s look at what Maxine Waters said in 1998:

Interestingly, the House Judiciary Committee members voted on articles of impeachment on of all days Friday, December 13th, 2019. Prophetic isn’t it.

The House Judiciary Committee adopted both articles alleging: 1. abuse of power and 2. obstruction of Congress, on a party-line vote of 23-17.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated on the Sean Hannity Show:

The case is so darn weak coming from the House. We know how it’s going to end. There’s no chance the president’s going to be removed from office. My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment, and, Sean, it wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats.

The main issue is that Speaker Pelosi, Representatives Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler have focused on overturning the results of the 2016 election using every and all means available.

Because of their desperate stand to impeach President Donald J. Trump it is becoming clearer with each passing day that they cannot win at the ballot box in 2020.

Here are the top reasons that the Democrats are confused and spreading disorder within their own political party:

  • The Mueller Report debunked the malarkey that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
  • President Trump releasing the transcripts of his two phone conversations with the President of the Ukraine debunked the malarkey of a quid pro quo.
  • The hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, both secret and public, debunked the malarkey of a quid pro quo.
  • The hearing in the House Judiciary Committee debunked the malarkey of a quid pro quo.
  • The hearing in the House Judiciary Committee ignored the quid pro quo of former VP Biden and his son Hunter.

Democrats in a Deep Hole

During all of this time since the election of Donald J. Trump the Democrats have been trying, unsuccessfully, to dig up dirt. Again, they have kept digging and they now find themselves in a deep hole that they cannot extricate themselves from.

These continuous investigations and hearings have hurt the candidates running for president during the Democratic primary. The media has focused on the investigations and have in large part ignored giving the limelight to the Democratic candidates.

To make matters worse the polling, if you believe the polls, show President Trump has remained steady in his popularity. If anything the polls indicate that the American people have grown tired of the constant malarkey.

More telling is how the President and the Republican Party continue to stand together as never before. The Republican Party is raising money from small donors for the President’s 2020 campaign and those Republicans on the 2020 ballot in record numbers.

Finally, the Trump campaign has used this opportunity to both emphasize the Democrat’s disarray and expose their malarkey.

The Democrats are hurting their candidates for president, those seeking reelection in 2020, those in both the House and Senate, and the party as a whole.

Question: Why?

Answer: Perhaps they can’t see that their malarkey is pure bunkum.

RELATED ARTICLES:

The Incredible Shrinking Impeachment – WSJ

AG Barr Indicts 8 People for Funneling Millions of Dollars to Adam Schiff, Hillary Clinton and Top Senate Democrats

Trump Warns of ‘Trivializing’ Impeachment as House Panel OKs Abuse and Obstruction Charges

We Asked The 31 House Democrats From Trump Districts How They Would Vote On Impeachment — Not One Was Fully Committed

Jerry Nadler Said In 2018 That A ‘Partisan Impeachment’ Would ‘Tear The Country Apart’ — Now He’s Overseeing A One-Party Impeachment Push

‘Honey We Shrunk The Impeachment’: Kimberley Strassel Explains How Dems Narrowed Charges To Protect Themselves

Boy, Have the Democrats Ever Overplayed Their Hand!

McConnell: ‘No Chance the President Is Going To Be Removed From Office’

Abortion Pills: The Do-It-Yourself, Back-Alley Methods by Patrina Mosley

It’s been no coincidence that the latest mainstream media, women’s magazines, and even Teen Vogue have been advertising abortion pills as the new wonders of women’s healthcare that can be taken in the privacy of their homes.They even have the audacity to applaud purchasing illegal abortion pills online. A New York Times columnist, a man at that, found that ordering illegal abortion pills online was quite easy during his investigation. Nothing should be scarier than a man ordering abortion pills and then titling his investigation piece “Abortion Pills Should Be Everywhere.” There have been numerous documented incidents (herehere, and here) of women being unknowingly slipped abortion pills by partners who were unwilling to become fathers or by family members who were unsupportive of the pregnancy. The abortion industry markets the abortion pill as straightforward and safe. In reality, chemical abortions are a multi-day traumatic process that comes with over 4,000 documented life-threatening and health endangering risks.

The rate at which chemical abortion is being used is currently at an all-time high. The latest statistics on abortion from the Guttmacher Institute show that 39 percent of abortions in 2017 were chemical (reported as “medical” or “medication abortion”), a 25 percent increase since 2014. This rapid increase in chemical abortions is part of the abortion industry’s long-term strategy to make abortions “self-managed” and unrestricted — despite the profound dangers such poorly-supervised medical care poses to women’s health.

Abortion lobbyists regard drug-based, do-it-yourself abortions as the best way to get around the many state-level pro-life laws being enacted around our country. Such abortions are accomplished through the abortion pill regimen, distributed under the brand name Mifeprex, which is subject to the FDA’s drug safety program — Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) — because it carries such life-threatening risks.

The abortion industry wants to remove the FDA’s REMS in order to have abortion pills available through the pharmacy, the mail, and even on college campuses (also currently being proposed in New York), making do-it-yourself abortions the future of the abortion industry. They have strategically discussed how the absence of the REMS would significantly expand abortion locations and providers, broaden remote prescription (in which a woman is never even examined by the prescriber), and eventually achieve over-the-counter (OTC) status for Mifeprex.

Abortion advocates once claimed that legal abortion would alleviate the danger of “back-alley” abortions for women, but now they want to place the burden of inducing abortions completely on women — despite the fact that the health complications that often result from an induced chemical abortion are eerily similar to those of “back-alley” abortions. They include severe bleeding, infection, retained fetal parts, the need for emergency surgery, and even death. In addition, the woman, who may or may not have health insurance coverage, is expected to bear the additional cost of these “chemical coat hanger” abortion complications.

Yet, abortion activists continue to market the abortion pill as “safe,” “effective,” and “simple” for women with visions of “privacy” and “simplicity.” This is demonstrably false, but it’s the lie they have to sell women so that the abortion industry can cut costs, expand their reach, and remove themselves from the pain and hurt they cause women. With all the documented dangers, it is increasingly evident that the advancement of the abortion industry’s agenda for the Mifeprex regimen is about political, ideological, and financial goals — not care for women.

To read more about the radical implications that OTC abortion drugs could have for women’s health and safety, especially as it pertains to intimate partner violence, sexual abuse and sex trafficking, and accurate patient assessment, see our new publication: The Next Abortion Battleground: Chemical Abortion. If you or a woman you know needs to know the facts about abortion drugs or wants to share their experience of a chemical abortion, please visit Abortiondrugfacts.com.

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School Tests Parents’ Limits with Prostitute

Sheriff’s Office to Extremists: ‘Get behind Me, Satan!’

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column by Patrina Mosley is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

School Tests Parents’ Limits with Prostitute

If it’s okay for drag queens to host story hour, what about prostitutes? At one Austin, Texas elementary school, students got both! In what some parents are calling “a sign of things to come” under the city’s radical new sex ed, the kids at Blackshear Fine Arts Academy had an unexpected visitor — with an even more unexpected background. But as shocked as parents were to learn that “Miss Kitty Litter ATX” was a convicted criminal, they were even more horrified to find out that the school district knew it!

That’s the most astonishing revelation from the open records request that Texas Values filed. Thanks to internal communications between Miss Kitty Litter (real name David Robinson) and the school librarian Roger Grape, moms and dads now know that not only did Blackshear expose their children to this wild and deviant ideology but to a felon too! In texts to Grape, David admitted that he might not pass the school background check. “the guidelines for submission automatically disqualify me if the deferred adjudication for prostitution is considered a conviction… so I don’t know if [it’s] ethical to submit.”

So either the school didn’t go through with the background check — or ignored it altogether. Either option is equally distressing. “According to emails sent to parents,” Texas Values points out, “the reading event was scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. and all readers had been screened by Austin ISD.” No one knows what that screening could’ve possibly entailed, since an arrest and conviction are the first things a basic search would uncover. Or maybe Austin officials don’t see the problem in bringing in a man who sells himself for sex as an acceptable guest speaker. Based on their latest curriculum decisions, which are stunningly pornographic, it wouldn’t surprise us.

Just as startling, the records from the October 7th day when Robinson came to school show that neither he nor the school were in any hurry for him to leave. Dressed head-to-toe as a woman, he walked through the doors at 7:25 a.m. and didn’t leave until the bell almost rang at 2:11 p.m. Why was he there for so long? No one seems to know. Maybe he did more than read to the first-, second-, third-, and fourth graders. Maybe he was consulting on the recently adopted lessons about anal sex (“What’s the best way to have it?“) or contraception (“What ages you can get birth control, abortions, or other health care without your parents“).

Unfortunately for the moms and dads in the area, this isn’t their first brush with the extreme. On the Willis side of the district, a man with the stage name Lynn Adonis also visited class — this time as a guest cosmetologist. There’s just one problem: he isn’t one. He’s an entertainer — and a drag queen one at that. Like Robinson, he spent twice as much time at the school as other visitors that day. When the inviting teacher was asked, she admitted that Jerred Bridges (his legal name) spent the day putting make-up on kids, “despite having no license to do so.”

Usually, the fact that a district is willing to host one of these drag queen events is sickening enough. Imagine finding out that the person they invited wasn’t even vetted — or worse, a confirmed sex trafficker. Schools are supposed to be safe learning spaces, not a catwalk for prostitutes. Their actions would suggest that Austin officials are more interested in the sexual exploitation of kids than their actual wellbeing. In any classroom, including this one, the only thing these drag queens should be reading are the directions to the nearest exit.


Tony Perkins’s Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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Proposed Washington State Law Would Prevent Transgender Athletes from Competing Against Girls.

J.K. Rowling Faces Deluge of Attacks From LGBT Activists Over Transgender Tweet

RELATED VIDEO: Moms of The LGBT

EDITORS NOTE: This   column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

2,291 vaping-related lung injury cases in all 50 states, 2 US territories; 48 deaths in 25 states

These data as of December 3, 2019 were adjusted by removing 175 non-hospitalized cases from previously reported national cases. From this date forward, CDC will report only hospitalized cases but deaths regardless of hospitalization status.

THC is present in most of the samples tested by FDA. While Vitamin E acetate is a chemical of concern, 152 different THC products have been used by patients.

An article in the December 6, 2019 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) provides more information about the kinds of THC products patients have used.

Of 2,291 patients, 1,421 vaped any use of THC, 956 vaped any use of nicotine, and 214 vaped any use of CBD.

More than half used Dank Vapes. The next popular brands were TKO, Rove, Smart Cart, Kingpen, and Cookie. “Cart” refers to the cartridge that is inserted into a vaping device.

Ten percent of patients in the Northeast and West regions reported using Dabwood and Brass Knuckles. From one percent to five percent of patients nationwide reported using the following brands: Off White, Moon Rocks, Chronic Carts, Mario Carts, Cereal Carts, Runtz, Dr. Zodiac, Eureka, Supreme G, and CaliPlug. Use of 134 other products were reported by 1 percent of patients.

While the marijuana industry insists that the THC cartridge brands making people sick are purchased exclusively from illicit, black-market dealers, several individual states report some patients have bought them from licensed dispensaries. Worse, anyone, including underage young people, can buy most of these products without even being asked their age before entering online stores.

Read CDC December 3, 2019 vaping-related lung injury update here.

Read CDC’s December 6, 2019 MMWR article here.


Every person who touches the lives of teenagers should watch “E-Cigarette Microlearning Video,” a 6-minute, 35-second brief produced by the nonprofit American Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Dr. Brian King of the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health narrates the video.

We highlight key points here to encourage you to watch it.

It begins with the news that e-cigarette use doubled in just one year (2017-2018) as shown above.

Every other kind of tobacco use has dropped since 2011, while e-cigarette use skyrocketed among kids who never smoked before, but became addicted to nicotine via e-cigarettes.

The primary driver of this escalation in use is Juul.

Several factors contribute to encouraging youth use. The first one is advertising.

Dr. King sums it up this way, “Advertising will bring a horse to water, flavors will get him to drink, and nicotine [and marijuana] will keep him coming back for more.”

The second factor is flavoring.

The third factor is nicotine. And nicotine is not the only thing e-cigarettes contain.

Cartridges containing THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, can also be inserted into vaping devices. One-third of high-school e-cigarette users vape THC.

The Surgeon General says both nicotine and marijuana act on the brain and can change it. It’s not like you can buy a new brain. No adolescent or young adult should use either drug.

Prevention strategies we know work for cigarettes and other forms of tobacco can be applied to e-cigarettes.

National Families in Action adds:

Cigarettes are legal, but you cannot buy them online. So why can you buy e-cigarettes online?

Marijuana is illegal nationwide. So why can you buy THC vape cartridges online?

Watch “E-Cigarette Microlearning Video” here.


CDC nicotine and marijuana resources

Many resources for parents, healthcare professionals, and communities are available from CDC.

You can find them here and here.

Visit The Marijuana Report’s Facebook page

In addition to current issues of The Marijuana Report, we post several more marijuana messages each month on our Facebook page. Search Facebook for nationalfamilies to access it.

RELATED ARTICLE: My Son Was Addicted to Pot Vaping. Now, Congress Wants to Aid the Industry.


Looking for a past issue of The Marijuana Report?

Find it here.


Did you know that in addition to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter, National Families in Action also publishes The Marijuana Report website? There you can find summaries of (and access to) scientific marijuana studies, the growth of the commercial marijuana industry, and what families and communities are doing to restrain it. Begin at our Welcome Page to access all the resources The Marijuana Report website offers.


The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

Visit National Families in Action’s website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

Subscribe to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter.

Students’ Test Scores Unchanged After Decades of Federal Intervention in Education

 

Federal “Highly Qualified Teacher” mandates. Adequate Yearly Progress requirements. Smaller learning communities. Improving Teacher Quality State Grants. Reading First. Early Reading First. The dozens of other federal programs authorized via No Child Left Behind. School Improvement Grants. Race to the Top. Common Core.

All of that has been just since 2000. Over those past two decades, while federal policymakers were busy enacting new federal laws, creating mandates for local school leaders, and increasing the Department of Education’s budget from $38 billion in 2000 (unadjusted for inflation) to roughly $70 billion today, the math and reading performance of American high school students remained completely flat. That is to say, stagnant.

The U.S. is now above the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average in reading, but alas, not because U.S. reading performance has improved. Rather, other countries have seen declines in reading achievement, despite increases in education spending.

In mathematics, however, U.S. performance has steadily declined over the past two decades.


The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>


Those are the findings from the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA exams, released last week.

As The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein reported:

About a fifth of American 15-year-olds scored so low on the PISA test that it appeared they had not mastered reading skills expected of a 10-year-old, according to Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the exam.

What’s more, the achievement gap between high- and low-performing American students has widened.

The international findings mirror last month’s National Assessment of Educational Progress report, which revealed that math and reading scores across the country have continued a yearslong stagnation, with students largely showing no progress in academic achievement.

Just one-third of students in the fourth and eighth grades reached proficiency in math and reading nationally on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is administered every two years.

As with the Programme for International Student Assessment’s findings that the achievement gap stubbornly persists for American students, the National Assessment of Educational Progress highlighted similar findings within the U.S.

The scores of students who are among the lowest 10% of performers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have dropped significantly since 2009.

The stubborn achievement gap is not new, but the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Programme for International Student Assessment provide additional data points on its persistence.

As Harvard professor Paul Peterson writes in The Heritage Foundation’s new book “The Not-So-Great Society”:

The achievement gap in the United States is as wide today as it was in 1971.

The performances on math, reading, and science tests between the most advantaged and the most disadvantaged students differ by approximately four years’ worth of learning, a disparity that has remained essentially unchanged for nearly half a century.

One of the more recent, major pieces of federal intervention sold as a way to improve American standing in education was the Common Core State Standards Initiative promoted during the Obama administration.

Common Core national standards and test, proponents argued, would catapult American students to the top of the math and reading pack. It was time, they argued, for the U.S. to have the same “epiphany” Germany did in the late 1990s, and adopt centrally planned national standards and tests.

Germany now lags the U.S. in reading, according to the new Programme for International Student Assessment data, and is far below Canada, a country that does not have national standards.

Indeed, our neighbor to the north has performed consistently well on the Programme for International Student Assessment since 2000, significantly outpacing the United States, and has neither national standards, nor a federal education department.

Canada’s is a decentralized education system, in which Canada’s 10 provinces set education policy.

The fact that Common Core didn’t catalyze improvements in the U.S. isn’t surprising. Large-scale government programs rarely, if ever, do.

But neither have the myriad federal programs created since No Child Left Behind in 2001, nor have the more than 100 federal K-12 education programs created since President Lyndon Johnson launched his Great Society initiative in 1965 designed, ostensibly, to narrow opportunity gaps between the poor and the affluent.

Heritage’s Jonathan Butcher and I detail Yuval Levin’s theory of government failure in “The Not-So-Great Society.” Levin explains that large-scale government programs fail for three reasons:

  1. “Institutionally, the administrative state is ‘dismally inefficient and unresponsive, and therefore ill-suited to our age of endless choice and variety.’”
  2. “Culturally and morally, government efforts to ‘rescue the citizen from the burdens of responsibility [have] undermined the family, self-reliance, and self-government.’”
  3. “Fiscally, large-scale federal programs supporting the welfare state are simply unaffordable, ‘dependent as it is upon dubious economics and the demographic model of a bygone era.’”

Federal government efforts to improve education have been dismal. Even if there were a constitutional basis for its involvement—which there isn’t—the federal government is simply ill-positioned to determine what education policies will best serve the diverse local communities across our vast nation.

The sooner we can acknowledge that improvements will not come from Washington, the sooner we’re likely to see students flourishing in learning environments that reflect their unique needs and desires.

COMMENTARY BY

Lindsey M. Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: FL Gov. DeSantis sets plan for high school seniors to take civics exam


 

VIDEO: Remember? The Big Lie About Same Sex Marriage

This CatholicVote video titled “Remember” already has gone viral. It shows how the media sold same sex marriage to America using words like love? Remember when same sex marriage was nobody’s business. Remember when same sex marriage was said to be benign? Remember when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage?

I remember warning people about what would happen in 2013 here. Remember?

Watch how the big lie of same sex marriage was sold to the public. Watch Remember?:

Fast forward to today when if you don’t kowtow to the gays you are sued. Think about how government has made it illegal to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Think about how children in public schools are being brainwashed to believe they can be any sex or no sex at all. Think about transgender story hours in public libraries for little children. Think about how if you do not believe that homosexuality is a healthy lifestyle you will be labeled a homophobe and perhaps even fired for using the preferred pronoun of a person.

Think about how freedom of speech and freedom of religion are under attack.

Remember? Because it was we who allowed this to happen.

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OSU’s Dobbins: Running Back for Life

“When my dad was alive, he would tell me, ‘No matter what, have a smile on your face. No matter how you’re feeling, you’re living, and you should be able to smile.'” These days, Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins has a lot to smile about. He just moved into second place on the Buckeyes’ all-time rushing list. He racked up four touchdowns against rival Michigan over the weekend. He’s a contender for the Heisman Trophy. But things haven’t always been easy. J.K. had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get where he is — including, Americans found out Saturday, just being born.

One of the first things people notice about Mya Dobbins’s son is his grin. Despite watching his single mom struggle to go to school and provide, despite seeing his father — the man he was closest to in the world — die of a stroke in the Bartlett State Jail, and despite an ankle injury almost costing him a future in football, J.K. stays upbeat. “I have a positive outlook on life, because I’m still living,” he said last year. No one knew how close the college junior came to not living until last weekend, when Fox sportscaster Gus Johnson explained that the world wouldn’t be watching this incredible talent if Mya hadn’t chosen life.

Late in the fourth quarter, after more than eight million viewers had watched Dobbins spring into the end zone, another commentator shook his head in amazement. “What does this kid not do?” While J.K. was on the sidelines being congratulated, Johnson started sharing the powerful story of a teenage mom, who was one clinic visit away from making Dobbins a name this country had never heard of. “[J.K.’s] mom, Mya, became pregnant when she was 18 years old,” he started. “She went to the doctor because she was thinking about aborting the baby — but changed her mind. That baby turned out to be that young man, J.K. Dobbins,” he added, “who she calls her ‘miracle baby.'”

The idea that the sports world might never have witnessed his gift for the game was overwhelming to Johnson — and everyone else — in that moment. It crystallized, in one half-minute of television, what the abortion debate is all about. Maybe that’s why liberals are so upset. When the clip went viral, social media lit up with angry posts about how “inappropriate,” “unnecessary,” and “stigmatizing” the testimony was. Others even called it “disgusting,” demanding that Johnson apologize. For what, most people wanted to know? For rejoicing that a world-class talent wasn’t destroyed in the womb? “Think about how backwards this is,” RedState argued. “[Liberals] think it’s ‘disgusting’ to talk about not aborting someone.”

That’s because, in their minds, abortion is a social good. Something to be celebrated, cheered, and plastered in pink lights across the New York City skyline. “We didn’t need to know all that,” one woman tweeted about the OSU junior. In other words, don’t put a face on it. Don’t remind us what abortion costs us. “Dobbins is a talented player,” one woman agreed, “but let’s just let him be talented… We can’t take choice away from Ohio’s women because of one feel good story about a football player.”

But that’s the problem. It isn’t just one feel good story. The world will never know how many millions of stories there would have been if more moms had been told the truth: that their babies had value and purpose and potential — not because of what they could do, but because of who their Creator made them to be. J.K. Dobbins isn’t special because he plays football, he’s special because he was created in the image of God, and He had a plan for his life. Just like He had a plan for Andrea BocelliCeline DionTim TebowPope John Paul IISteve Jobs, and so many other survivors we can’t imagine the world without.

“Focus on the game,” one abortion activist insisted. But the problem is, you can’t focus on the game without seeing the players. J.K. was fortunate. But for every baby like him, there are so many others whose lives are ended before they begin. Theirs are the 60 million voices we’ll never hear, performances we’ll never see, and Heisman winners we’ll never meet because of abortion. If Mya’s story can save just one of them, those 24 seconds of live television will mean more than any football legacy ever could.


Tony Perkins’s Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

These 2 Cases Show Why Trans ‘Rights’ Could Upend the Rights of All

The battle over the rights of “transgender” and “cisgender” people continues to escalate in one of the most influential arenas: our nation’s schools.

The Chicago Tribune reported this month that after a four-year battle, a school board in Palatine, Illinois, has granted transgender students “unrestricted access to locker rooms based on gender identity.”

Just a few days later, CBS News Minnesota reported a mother had sued her local school district, claiming that it discriminated against her child for being transgender.

These are just two of the most recent stories showing just how prevalent the transgender debate in schools has become.


Congress is moving to impeach the president. But will their plan to remove him from office succeed? Find out more now >>


What Happened in Illinois

The school board of Township High School District 211 passed its new policy by a 5-2 vote. The policy requires students, teachers, and administrators to treat students “consistent with their gender identity,” meaning students will have full access to restrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with.

This goes further than the old policy, which also granted transgender students access to the locker rooms but required that the student retreat to a private area within the room to change.

The school board made the announcement in front of about 250 parents and students. News reports say half the crowd cheered at the decision while the other half booed.

In a speech at the meeting, Superintendent Dan Cates explained the board’s logic by appealing to “other school districts” that have implemented the same policies “without disruption and in a manner that protects the interests of all students.”

Some in the crowd reportedly yelled “false” while the superintendent was speaking. Another student voiced her concern with the new policy, saying, through tears:

I feel uncomfortable that my privacy is being invaded. As I am a swimmer, I do change multiple times naked in front of the other students in the locker room. I understand that the board has an obligation to all students, but I was hoping they would go about this in a way that would also accommodate students such as myself.

The debate in Palatine began four years ago when a transgender student filed an initial lawsuit against the school district. It was the first time a school district was accused of violating Title IX based on gender identity—a category that does not exist in federal law.

At the time, the district acquiesced and allowed the student to use the girls’ locker room as long as he stayed in a private area of the room. But when parents countered with their own lawsuit, the policy was dropped.

Then in 2017, a student named Nova Maday, born a male who identifies as a female, filed a lawsuit claiming the district had violated his rights by restricting him to an “unspecified private changing area within the locker room.” From there, the district began to shift in the student’s direction.

The Minnesota Case

In the other recent case, a transgender student in Minnesota alleged even greater wrongdoing than the Illinois student.

Helen Woods, the mother of a middle school student in Wright County, filed a lawsuit alleging that Buffalo Community Middle School “repeatedly isolated her son from his classmates, limited his access to a suitable restroom, and removed him from physical education classes.”

Her child, Matt Woods, was born a female but began identifying as male in 2015 at the age of 11.

Like Nova Maday, Woods wanted to use the boys’ bathrooms and locker rooms, but the school required Woods to use a single-occupancy restroom. The student claims that bathroom was hard to get to in between classes.

School officials deny any wrongdoing, and the case is ongoing.

Key Factors Driving Both Cases

Though the lawsuits differ slightly in specifics, they share several common denominators that are key to understanding the transgender debate, particularly when it comes to students and schools.

First, these lawsuits are based on President Barack Obama’s 2016 “Dear Colleague” letter that mandated schools must include and accommodate transgender students and recognize gender identity, or else the school could face discrimination charges.

This was an order by executive fiat, not a law passed by Congress, and not a ruling from the Supreme Court.

In 2017, the Trump administration rolled back those provisions, while the Education Department acknowledged that “each school has a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

Second, both lawsuits share an important, particular curiosity: Both schools addressed the transgender student’s wishes to be included and to have “equal access” to facilities, yet in both cases, the students complained that equal access wasn’t equal enough. They claimed the accommodations were somehow still discriminatory, even though it appears the schools took extra efforts to ensure the transgender students were treated equally while also preserving the rights of other students.

In other words, both school districts went out of their way to protect all students’ rights, but transgender students made that an impossible task. They pushed for entitlement rather than equality.

These students keep shifting the goalposts with their self-focused demands. Their demands ultimately pose a greater risk to other students’ privacy rights, which raises questions about discrimination in the opposite direction.

Ignoring Reality and the Law Itself

The most egregious fact is that these lawsuits are even happening at all.

By caving to a few students’ demands for policies based on transgender ideology, school administrators are championing the feelings of a few over the privacy and safety of the many, even though gender identity does not have protected status in federal civil rights laws like sex, religion, and ethnicity.

This was the crux of the issue in the Harris Funeral Homes case recently heard by the Supreme Court: What is gender identity, who defines it, and what protections does it have, if any?

When school officials bow to the wishes of transgender students and their families, they submit themselves to the LGBT-backed groupthink that defies both biological reality and the law as it exists.

The asinine logic of this movement will act as a wrecking ball on public schools with no stopping point. It will eventually destroy social norms within school systems and pave the way for a system in which the interests of a select few are championed at the expense of the many, lest a lawsuit and bad publicity engulf the school board.

COMMENTARY BY

Nicole Russell is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, National Review, Politico, The Washington Times, The American Spectator, and Parents Magazine. Twitter: .

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A Note for our Readers:

VIDEO: In a Blue State, Parents Beat Planned Parenthood’s Sex Ed Push

Worcester, the second largest city in solidly blue Massachusetts, was the scene of a sex ed showdown between Planned Parenthood and concerned parents and church leaders. Last February, more than 75 of those parents and church leaders stood up alongside the Massachusetts Family Institute to outnumber pro-Planned Parenthood voices at a meeting of a local school committee.

The parents, church leaders, and Massachusetts Family Institute officials were there to pose a question: What would Planned Parenthood gain from teaching students about safe sex that would reduce both pregnancies and abortion? How would that benefit a business that relies heavily on income from abortion?

Planned Parenthood didn’t just want to redefine abstinence, it wanted to introduce comprehensive sex education, including curriculum on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Planned Parenthood advocates argued that their curriculum qualified as age-appropriate, medically accurate, and evidence-based. But when read aloud, as I did at the meeting, the content of the curriculum is found to be clearly neither age-appropriate nor medically accurate.


Congress is moving to impeach the president. But will their plan to remove him from office succeed? Find out more now >>


Watch the three-minute testimony: (Viewer discretion advised.)

To further expose what is going on in Massachusetts schools, we interviewed a young man who recently had been exposed to this curriculum. In this brief video (viewer discretion advised) pasted below, he explains what students are being taught and how sexual behavior and abortion are being completely normalized.

The Massachusetts Family Institute is working with local churches to introduce positive curriculum alternatives to Planned Parenthood’s version because many parents want their children to be taught to value abstinence and marriage. The organization is working with several churches in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to convince local school officials to adopt curriculum that is truly age-appropriate, medically accurate, and evidence-based.

Our organization believes there is a Biblical mandate to protect the minds of young people from being polluted and seeks to build on its success in Lawrence by replicating this strategy all over the state.

Over the past three years, the Massachusetts Family Institute has spoken at about 125 different churches across the state. Churches are starting to see that their Biblical mandate, as Martin Luther King Jr. explained, is to be the conscience of the state and never its slave. Relationships between local churches, parents, and pro-family groups are strategic.

Ultimately, in Worcester, the school committee voted to not allow the “Making Proud Choices” curriculum from Planned Parenthood into the schools.

We succeeded in defeating Planned Parenthood and protecting the minds and hearts of our young people in Worcester. But parents, community leaders, and pro-family advocates can team up anywhere to strengthen the family, life, and liberty.

COMMENTARY BY

Michael King is the director of community alliances at the Massachusetts Family Institute.

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A Note for our Readers:

As we speak, Congress is moving to impeach the president.

We do not have all the facts yet, but based on what we know now, there does not seem to be an impeachable offense.

The questions stand: In drafting the Constitution, how did America’s founders intend for impeachment to be used? How does the impeachment process work, and what can history tell us about whether or not President Trump faces the real threat of being removed from office?

The Heritage Foundation is making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2019 DrRichSwier.com LLC. A Florida Cooperation. All rights reserved. The DrRichSwier.com is a not-for-profit news forum for intelligent Conservative commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. Republishing of columns on this website requires the permission of both the author and editor. For more information contact: drswier@gmail.com.