Care about free speech? Keep your eyes on Supreme Court dealing with California abortion law


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SUPREME COURT HEARS CALIFORNIA CRISIS CENTER CASE

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, today, I would like to take you to a story that The Washington Post has covered. As we record this program, there are oral arguments going on before the United States Supreme Court dealing with a California abortion law, which is supposed to protect women but what it does is it forces pro-life clinics to deliver a message they abhor. That is, they’re supposed to promote the fact that the State of California provides contraceptive services and abortion services for women.

DR. REEDER: This is absolutely astounding that the California law is still standing. This law, which is basically telling over 200 crisis pregnancy center-type clinics that receive no state funding, “You have to give a message that affirms abortion, and venues for abortion and that the state will pay for your abortifacient contraceptives or the abortion procedure.”

DO THEY REALLY WANT CHOICE?

The very thing that they’re there to stop, the very thing that they’re there to give women another alternative, which is to give birth to their child and then either help in raising the child or help in finding a good adoption agency for the child, which is what they exist for. If they do not comply with the state law, there is criminal liability and there are extraordinary fines and fees that would basically put all of these crisis pregnancy centers out of existence.

LAWS LIKE THIS ARE A CLEAR VIOLATION OF FREE SPEECH

Now, such laws have been attempted in other states but, by and large, have failed because once they have arrived at district and appellate courts, then it has been determined that these laws are violations of free speech.

There’s two ways you violate free speech: one is you tell people what they have to say and, two, you tell people what they cannot say. Here is a law that’s telling them they cannot give the pro-life message without also giving the pro-death message of abortion: how to obtain one and how to fund one through state taxation, which is another issue. If you live in the state of California, your tax money now goes to the destruction of the unborn life.

Now, all of the other laws have been struck down, Tom, except this one. This one got to the infamous 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and was upheld. So now this is getting to the Supreme Court which, by the way, is pretty amazing that the Supreme Court took it on because the Supreme Court, since Roe v. Wade, has basically found a way to dodge most abortion cases that have sought to gain a standing or a hearing in front of the Supreme Court but they have decided to take this one.

And now we’re about to find out, these Supreme Court justices, will they uphold their vow to uphold the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, which forbids the coercion of speech by the power of the state. And that’s ultimately what we’re about to find out on the Supreme Court level.

WHY PRO-CHOICE GROUPS ARE WORRIED

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me read you a statement that the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America made concerning these clinics that are trying to defend themselves before the Supreme Court. The president said, “They are facilities that intentionally prey on women at a vulnerable moment in their lives by pushing medically inaccurate information.”

DR. REEDER: Let’s take this up on about three different levels. One is notice the name of this organization: pro-choice. No, it’s not pro-choice. They’re trying to stop an organization that’s designed to give women another choice. The state and the culture of California promotes the choice of murder of the unborn infant. Now you have a crisis pregnancy center, at its own cost, that is attempting to give to women another choice which is life, not death.

There’s something else, by the way, in this law I need to mention for accuracy’s sake: The state law of California will provide an exception to any crisis pregnancy center if they will provide abortifacient contraceptives. That’s an oxymoron. An abortifacient is destroying a conceived egg and sperm. Therefore, there’s nothing be prevented in terms of conception at all.

Tom, this also tells me a third thing and that’s this: that the abortion industry, at least in the state of California, legislatures are absolutely concerned that they’re losing the battle. They’re losing the battle in the terms of the battle of ideas, the battle of hearts and the battles of lives. What that tells you is, when you resort to the power of the state and coercion, that becomes a direct revelation that you’re losing the battle in the hearts and souls and minds of the culture, itself.

We see free speech under attack on the college campuses, we see free speech under attack in the entertainment industry, we see free speech under attack in almost every venue — something that is fundamentally foundational to the life and vitality of this nation, the notion of the free contest of ideas in the public square.

And now the government has weighed in: “We will criminalize you and we will fine you into non-existence in order to coerce the speech that we approve in the crisis pregnancy centers.” While this has significant impact for 200 crisis pregnancy centers in the state of California, there are thousands across the nation that are waiting to see what will happen in this particular ruling.

MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR BANS ABORTIONS AFTER 15 WEEKS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me take you from California down to Mississippi, where the governor there, Phil Bryant, signed a law that bans abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation, down from the current 20-week ban the state has in effect. This is the earliest any state has banned abortion and, no doubt, will face additional legal challenges.

DR. REEDER: Yes, I appreciate greatly his statement. The governor said: I gladly sign this because I would like for Mississippi to become the safest place for a child in the womb.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Well, let me tell you what Planned Parenthood Southeast tweeted concerning this. They said, “This is a part of a targeted attack on #roevwade and a blatant attempt to chip away at a woman’s bodily autonomy.”

DR. HARRY REEDER: Well, first of all, let me just say to this Planned Parenthood, yes, this is an attack on Roe v. Wade, which ought never to have been in existence. It is one of what I call the five most destructive opinions of the Supreme Court to our nation. Roe v. Wade takes its place along the inane opinions such as Dredd Scott and others.

And Planned Parenthood’s second comment that it was an attack on a woman’s bodily autonomy, no, this is a law that’s designed to preserve the life of a child whether a woman carries a child in her arms or in her womb. This child has a body, this child has a right to life, this child’s life is sacred, protected by the Constitution and, from a Biblical world and life view, is created in the image of God from the moment of conception on.

This is not an attack simply on the matter of a woman’s bodily autonomy — this is a declaration of the sanctity of the life of the child and the bodily life of the child is to be protected no matter where it is located in these absolutely dependent stages early in life, the dependent stage within the womb and the dependent stage in the arms on the way home from the hospital to be cared for.

ANSWER IS A GOSPEL MOVEMENT

Tom, let me just make one more statement from a Christian world and life view. We need to remember that, ultimately, the answer to this is a Gospel movement whereby men and women’s hardness of hearts is affected by the power of the Gospel of grace. And, throughout our nation, we see the development of a culture of life in opposition to the death spiral of this culture of death.

Secondly, Tom, is that believers from a Christian world and life view continue to address this issue in multiple ways:

— Adoption for the children: “You’re not unwanted”

— Care for the women in crisis pregnancy: “You are loved.”

–Outreach throughout the culture and the outreach of the Gospel to abortionists as well as those who are being deceived that abortion is the answer to a crisis pregnancy. Bring the Good News that Jesus loves sinners and Jesus will set us free from all of our sins and we can have a culture of life instead of a culture of death.

COMING UP FRIDAY: DATE NIGHT MEETS EVANGELISM

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, we want to give our listeners some recommendations for a possible date night.

DR. REEDER: That’s right, Friday night date night. That’s a great idea. Ours used to be Friday night and now it’s Thursday night, but it’s still a great date night and I’ve got a great suggestion for you. By the way, I’ve also got a suggestion for at least a side-door opportunity for evangelism.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

(Image: Pixabay)

7 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

10 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

12 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

15 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

sylacauga marble

The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

16 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.