Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "Fighting poverty," March 13, 2010

Tebow rules

First the Tebow Bills, now a Tebow Rule. The NCAA Football Rules Committee agreed last month to bar players from displaying words, numbers, logos, and other symbols in the anti-glare "eye black" used under player' eyes. Though not mentioned in the decision, college football star and outspoken Christian Tim Tebow has been credited by numerous media and bloggers as having had an influence on the move for citing Bible verses in his eye black. The rule isn't official until approved by the NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel, but already it is the standard followed by the NFL.

Conservatives unite

Few, if any, politicos would have predicted it: a U.S. senator from Massachusetts addressing the nation's biggest annual gathering of conservatives. But that is just what Republican Sen. Scott Brown did at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington. What a difference a year makes: The 2010 version of this annual pep rally for ultra-conservatives saw more than 10,000 attendees still in a partying mood after recent Republican victories. Last year, coming just weeks after President Barack Obama's inauguration, the event had a somber, soul-searching tone. "They said this CPAC convention would be our wake," said Colin Hanna, president of the nonprofit public policy group Let Freedom Ring. "It's not. It's our rebirth." Brown was not the only surprise speaker. Former Vice President Dick Cheney took the stage to chants of "Run, Dick, Run"-just days before he sustained a mild heart attack, his fifth, on Feb. 22.

The three-day event's biggest target was no surprise: Speaker after speaker took on the president over last month's State of the Union address, healthcare, and even his use of teleprompters. But in the end attendees had trouble rallying around a bonafide GOP candidate of their own, selecting Ron Paul as their straw-poll favorite.

UN battle

Every UN meeting "has become a battleground" over the right to life, warned Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and this month's Commission on the Status of Women meeting in New York-marking the 15th anniversary of the declaration signed at the Beijing Women's conference-will be no exception. Smith, speaking to UN delegates ahead of the meeting at an event organized in New York by Focus on the Family, called the campaign to defend the right to life "the greatest human rights struggle in the world . . . especially for unborn children and others at risk." He called abortion "violence against children, a pernicious form of child abuse" and said UN agencies and non-governmental agencies have "falsely marketed [it] as choice, women's empowerment, a human right or health care."

Bible belt

Mississippians are the most frequent churchgoers in the nation, and Vermonters the least churchgoing. That's the conclusion of a survey by Gallup, which found that nine of the top 10 states in church attendance are in the South. Utah, with 56 percent attendance, was the only non-Southern state to make the top 10. Only 23 percent of Vermont residents attend church frequently, and all states at the bottom of the church attendance list are in either New England or the West.

Soldier stories

Conservative leaders are warning that revoking the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy could harm America's military in the midst of two wars. Elaine Donnelly, the president of the Center for Military Readiness, said repealing the law that prevents openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the military would drain manpower as the services devote resources toward "enormously complicated" regulations. "There is no good time to use our military for social engineering," she said. "Our men and women in uniform should not have to pay the bill for political promises the president has made to the left." Focus on the Family, the American Conservative Union, and others are part of a new coalition that will lobby lawmakers against repealing the 1993 law, as recommended by President Obama. His senior military officers, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, then told a Senate committee that the military would undertake a yearlong study on the repercussions of a repeal. The coalition cited providing partner benefits, housing, and joint deployments for gay couples, along with standards for sexual conduct in war zones, as repercussions the review must tackle. "People say the times have changed, and they have," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "We're now fighting two wars. This is possibly the worst time to consider experimenting with the military."

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