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Haiti elections

"Haiti elections" Continued...

Issue: "After the revolution," Feb. 26, 2011

"When I wake in the morning, I wait on the Lord, and I ask him to give me the strength to do right by our country and its people," Obama said. "And when I go to bed at night, I wait on the Lord, and I ask him to forgive me my sins and look after my family and the American people and make me an instrument of his will."

Ruffled feathers

When a Chick-fil-A franchise operator in Pennsylvania decided to provide a marriage conference with free brownies and chicken sandwiches, some gay-rights advocates had a cow. Spurred on by activist websites such as Change.org, gay-rights student groups at five universities asked administrators to ban Chick-fil-A vendors from school property, prompting the South Bend campus of Indiana University to briefly suspend the nation's second-most-popular chicken sandwiches from its diners (they were reinstated after a review).

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, famous for closing its fast-food restaurants on Sundays, supports traditional marriages through such programs as its WinShape Foundation marriage retreat, which offers counseling to couples. Critics say the company's agenda-and voluntary food donations like that to the Pennsylvania marriage conference, to be hosted in February by the Pennsylvania Family Institute-makes it "anti-gay." But some advocates of gay rights think the issue is being overblown.

Chick-fil-A will serve all customers "with dignity and with dedication," said company president Dan T. Cathy in carefully worded statements addressing the controversy. "We will not champion any political agendas on marriage and family. . . . At the same time, we will continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families."

Looking to 2012

A Republican and a Democrat added their names to the growing list of senators who will not seek reelection in 2012. Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., on Feb. 10 said he would not run again because, after five terms in the House and three in the Senate, "it is time." Kyl added: "Some people stay too long, and there are other things to do in life." One day earlier, freshman Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., said he would "return to the private sector, where I have spent most of my professional life" after finishing his term. Five senators-two Republicans, two Democrats, and independent Joe Lieberman-have now announced plans to retire after 2012.

Caught on camera

Live Action, a pro-life group known for its undercover videos exposing abortion providers, released a video on Feb. 1 showing a Planned Parenthood employee advising an alleged pimp on how to get abortions and contraceptives for his underage sex workers. In the Jan. 11 video, a man and woman posing as a pimp and a prostitute tell Amy Woodruff, a Planned Parenthood office manager in Perth Amboy, N.J., that they are running a prostitution ring involving underage immigrants. In the 11-minute edited video, Woodruff advises that the girls lie about the age of their sexual partners and give as little information as possible so she is not obliged to report it. She tells the man he can get a price reduction if the girls pretend they're students, adding, "We wanna make it look as legit as possible." Live Action on Feb. 4 released more videos taken at other clinics. Before Live Action released the videos, Planned Parenthood issued a Jan. 24 press release stating that 11 Planned Parenthood centers experienced similar encounters in a single week and had notified U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of a possible trafficking ring, but that it believed the man may be affiliated with Live Action. On Feb. 1 Planned Parenthood fired Woodruff.

Overt message

For the second time, a federal appeals court has ruled that a judge in Ohio violated the Constitution by displaying a poster that included the Ten Commandments. In 2004, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Richland County Judge James DeWeese to take down a Ten Commandments poster. In 2006, he replaced that poster with another that included the Commandments, seven "Humanist Precepts," and the commentary, "Either God is the final authority, and we acknowledge His unchanging standards of behavior. Or man is the final authority, and standards of behavior change at the whim of individuals or societies." DeWeese argued that the poster was about "warring legal philosophies." On Feb. 2 the 6th Circuit ruled that the poster violated the First Amendment by setting forth "overt religious messages and religious endorsements."

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