Baby, baby! After all the hype in the Christian community, the movie October Baby had no more than middling success its opening weekend, grossing only about $1.8 million, or ranked eighth. Part of the problem was distribution. It opened in fewer than 400 theaters. Secular critics generally savaged the movie. Roger Ebert was typical: "The film as a whole is amateurish and ungainly, can't find a consistent tone, [and] is too long." Our own Megan Basham loved it, calling it "a more-than-worthy viewing experience." The good news is that the movie cost only about $1 million to make, so there's a good chance the young filmmakers, brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin, will live to fight another day.
Elections really do matter. Until the 2010 election, Democrats controlled the Wisconsin Legislature. Now, the Senate is 50/50 and Republicans control the lower house, called the Assembly. Under Democratic control, schools had to teach so-called "comprehensive sex education," which included lessons on the use of condoms. But the Wisconsin Legislature recently repealed the law mandating that curriculum. It now allows educators to decide what kinds of lessons are appropriate for their students going forward. Given the liberal bias of most public school administrators, it's not clear how much things will change, but it's a step in the right direction. The measure requires schools that choose to teach sex education to emphasize that abstinence is the only guaranteed method of birth control, and that marriage has the greatest socioeconomic benefits for individuals and society. The old law required schools to teach about contraceptive methods approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Mary Ann Mosack, vice chairman of the National Abstinence Education Association advisory board, said, "This particular bill allows local school districts and parents to choose an abstinence-centered program, which was prohibited in the former law."
Mixed emotions. I'm not sure what to think about this story: French Paratrooper Abel Chennouf was shot dead earlier this month at a cash machine in southern France, one of a series of killings blamed on 24-year-old Islamist fanatic Mohamed Merah. Lawyer Gilbert Collard said that Chennouf's pregnant girlfriend, 21-year-old Caroline Monet, is applying for permission to get married to her late partner at an official ceremony. Believe it or not, marrying a dead person is not unprecedented in France, where the law allows posthumous marriages in cases where a fiancé dies before the wedding. The law states that such weddings require the approval of the French president, who can grant it only "in grave circumstances," usually so survivors can derive financial benefits, such as insurance proceeds. Attorney Collard said the president's office has already signaled approval. "There won't be any problems," he said, adding that he hopes the ceremony will "let the child have a father." No arguments there, but wouldn't this have been a non-problem if mother and father had gotten married first?
Tyler, too. I thought it was worth noting that the 10th president of the United States, John Tyler, was born on March 29, 1790. He was married twice (his first wife died while he was in office) and had 15 children, more kids than any other U.S. president. He was an Episcopalian and a lawyer in an era when that meant believing in God and the rule of law. In his first address on April 9, 1841, after assuming the office of president following the death of William Henry Harrison, Tyler said, "My earnest prayer shall be constantly addressed to the All-wise and All-powerful Being who made me, and by whose dispensation I am called to the high office of president. Confiding in the protecting care of an ever watchful and overruling Providence, it shall be my first and highest duty to preserve unimpaired the free institutions under which we live and transmit them to those who shall succeed me." It is a prayer from which the current and future occupants of the White House could learn.