Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders 08.06

Newsworthy

Boy Scouts' system not perfect. Internal documents from the Boy Scouts of America reveal more than 125 cases in which men suspected of molestation allegedly continued to abuse Scouts, despite a blacklist meant to protect boys from sexual predators. A Los Angeles Times review of more than 1,200 files from 1970 to 1991 found suspected abusers sometimes remained in the organization despite attempts by officials to kick them out. Predators moved from troop to troop because of clerical errors, computer glitches, or the Scouts' failure to check the blacklist, known as the "perversion files," according to the newspaper. In at least 50 cases, the Scouts expelled suspected abusers only to discover they had reentered the organization and were accused of molesting again. The Boy Scouts issued a statement that said it "believes even a single instance of abuse is unacceptable, and we regret there have been times when the BSA's best efforts to protect children were insufficient. For that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims. … We are committed to the ongoing enhancement of our program, in line with evolving best practices for protecting youth."

The Atomic Age begins. On this date in 1945, the atomic bomb "Little Boy" devastated Hiroshima, Japan. The bomb killed about 70,000 people instantly, and some tens of thousands died in subsequent years from burns and radiation poisoning. Every Aug. 6, Hiroshima commemorates "A-Bomb Day" with a Peace Memorial Ceremony held in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to console victims of the atomic bombs and to pray for world peace. Participants include the families of the deceased and people from all over the world. When Robert Oppenheimer, who led the development of the atomic bomb, saw what he had wrought following the first test at Trinity Site, N.M., he reportedly quoted the Bhagavad Gita: "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."

Obama and abortion. President Barack Obama proved several more times this past week that he intends to keep abortion cheap and common. According to LifeNews.com, Obama told a conference of liberal bloggers in New York City that he would "not to give any ground" when it comes to the issue of abortion. "Women should have control over decisions that affect your health, your lives, your careers," he said. The comments from Obama came on the same day two Planned Parenthood officials greeted him as he exited Air Force One on a campaign stop in Florida. The Hill newspaper reported that Jenna Cawley Tosh and Nancy Wolf were part of a group that greeted Obama on the tarmac as he stepped off the plane. Obama "spent time talking with each" before moving on to work a rope line, according to a White House pool report. Tosh and Wolf are president/CEO and board chairwoman of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, respectively.

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Obama's approval rating. We are almost exactly three months before the November election. Real Clear Politics reports that President Obama's approval rating is 47.1. According to the conservative group Let Freedom Ring and statistician Nate Silver, if an incumbent president has an approval rating of 50 percent three months before the election, he has nearly an 80 percent chance of reelection. But if the approval rating is 45 percent, his reelection chances fall to below 50 percent. So, where does a 47.1 percent approval rating place Obama's chances? Probably around 60 percent. No incumbent has won reelection with a 47.1 percent approval rating on Election Day, but-and this is an interesting statistic-presidents' approval ratings often tick up in the last couple of months before an election, in part because the incumbent is able to use his "bully pulpit" to maximum advantage. It's possible that this campaign will be different, as Mitt Romney has been able to neutralize some of the incumbent's natural advantages with his fundraising power. Romney and the Republican National Committee combined for more than $101 million in July. Obama's numbers are not available as I write this, but Rommey out-raised Obama in both May and June.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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