FORT WORTH, Texas-In business for 33 years, Tim Pulliam Concrete is a trusted name in concrete in North Texas. When customers step inside the front door of his Fort Worth building, they're greeted by a black-and-white portrait of Pulliam's grandfather Theo standing next to his concrete equipment. One trade, three generations.
Pulliam was busy scheduling crews and talking to employees on Friday afternoon, March 23, when his phone rang with what seemed at first an annoying interruption. The caller told him that Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, was executing secret plans to build a 20,000-square-foot abortion supercenter equipped to perform late-term abortions. No one had verified the plans: A third-party management company held the property and had announced only that an "ambulatory surgery medical center" was coming.
Pulliam, a professing Christian, was only half-listening until the caller told him the building would be erected in the heart of a medical district-next door to the Edna Gladney Adoption Center. That's when Pulliam's "ears perked up like horse's ears." He recognized the site as one on which his company was pouring concrete.
Suddenly, Pulliam was no longer concerned with his Friday work activities. He stayed anxious all weekend. He knew he did not want to be on the job, but the general contractor under whom he was working was a top customer: "Over the last three to five years, we've had more repeat business through these guys than anybody else."
One more complication: Tim Pulliam Concrete had already poured 50 foundation piers into the 2.4-acre site. Pulliams don't walk off a concrete job before it's finished, and doing so in this case meant giving up $190,000 worth of work. Pulliam was still toying with the idea of continuing the project when his wife, Janice, said, "Now that you know ... how can you pour one drop of concrete?"
Pulliam knew she was right: "The business side of my brain" was initially controlling him, but "the bottom line is we care about the little ones. They can't defend themselves." On Monday morning, March 26, after the general contractor confirmed the plans were for a Planned Parenthood clinic, Pulliam removed his crew from the job. When his stand became known, several other subcontractors followed him in withdrawing from the project, significantly delaying its construction.
Pulliam said he feels honored that God chose him to set the example, but he doesn't consider himself a hero. Others do: Pulliam received free legal and accounting counsel, as well as an offer to help pay legal fees incurred. To this point, most of that hasn't been needed, and Planned Parenthood in June paid him for the small percentage of the project that Tim Pulliam Concrete had finished.
Still, support from believers has been encouraging: "I feel like Peter in the boat when Jesus said cast your net over on this other side ... and he did it and they almost capsized with all the fish." In the three weeks after pulling off the Planned Parenthood job, Pulliam's business contracts increased eightfold, with some resulting from his stand against the abortion giant.
Maps and data: What could be more fun? Academic researchers at Floatingsheep.org-a website "dedicated to mapping and analyzing user generated geocoded data"-explore American culture by using strange data sets and mapping the results. In honor of the 4th of July, they decided to map tweets containing the words "beer" and "church," using all the geo-tagged tweets in the continental United States from June 22 through 28.
From more than 10 million tweets, the researchers found nearly 18,000 mentioning church, and 14,500 mentioning beer. After mapping the location of the tweets, they found beer tweets more common in the upper Midwest and church tweets in the Southeast.
The website's founders, a geography professor from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. at the Oxford Internet Institute, use software they developed to search Google Maps placemarks for certain keywords. They mapped differences between the number of abortion providers and abortion alternatives based on listings in Google maps directory (floatingsheep.org/2009/11/visualizing-abortion-debate_8973.html). They also mapped the popularity of certain activities-bowling alleys, churches, guns, and strip clubs-based on clicks on Google maps (floatingsheep.org/2010/01/what-do-church-bowling-firearms-and.html).
A much-publicized Gallup survey of more than 60,000 women has found stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs), with children under age 18, likely to be depressed more often than work-outside-the-home moms with similarly aged children or working women without kids. News outlets said SAHMs are more likely to report feeling sad, worried, and angry than working mothers-and less likely to say they had learned something, smiled, or experienced enjoyment and happiness "yesterday."
The survey said lower-income SAHMs are less happy than wealthier ones, although the differences in some categories between more affluent SAHMs and their working peers are small. Still, mood differences held up across the board, and that raises lots of questions. Did the Gallup survey take into account the marital status of the SAHMs, or look into their religious beliefs?
Gallup researcher Lydia Saad told me married SAHMs have more positive moods than unmarried ones, but neither group attains the happiness levels of working women. Saad said cultural factors could explain the disparity: Perhaps in 2012, women face a silent expectation that work outside the home has more value than staying home. Isolation could be another factor.
This is one of those polls that cries out for follow-up research. Saad said the survey did not look at the religious beliefs of survey participants, so the data couldn't say whether SAHMs in subgroups- evangelicals, for instance-that value staying at home are happier than other SAHMs. It would also be useful to find out what effect homeschooling has on moms: Are they also less likely to say they learned something during a day at home? -Susan Olasky