Defenders of life. The pro-life group Operation Rescue has named Bud and Tara Shaver Pro-life Persons of the Year. The Shavers, who live in Albuquerque, worked to expose the late-term abortions of Southwestern Women’s Options, one of the few abortion clinics in the nation that openly conducts abortions throughout the full term of a pregnancy. Their work ultimately led to a citizens’ petition calling for an amendment to the city’s charter to ban abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation. According to a statement released by Operation Rescue, “While the Albuquerque Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance failed to pass during a Nov. 19 citywide vote, the Shavers, who served as national media spokespersons for the effort, contributed significantly to an increased awareness of late-term abortions in New Mexico and across the nation.”
Lying with statistics. The pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign produces a number of highly subjective ratings systems that it uses to bully organizations to favor pro-homosexual policies and to get positive publicity. Obliging mainstream media are usually happy to cooperate. Such was the case when Atlanta scored a perfect 100 on the HRC’s Municipal Equality Index, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran an uncritical story under the headline “Atlanta recognized for LGBT equality measures.” The report, written by Katie Leslie, has no dissenting view and little discussion of methodology. Only 291 cities got ratings, which creates the illusion that the 25 cities that got perfect scores represent a sizable number. In fact, the United States has literally tens of thousands of cities and towns, so to get a score of 100 percent puts Atlanta and the other 100-percenters on the radical fringe.
Beyoncé vs. Target. Normally I don't much care about either Beyoncé or an individual album release, but the release of Beyoncé’s new album is a milepost on our culture’s technological journey. She released her new album digitally without any advance warning last Friday, and it immediately (within three days) sold more than 600,000 units. Now, though, Target stores say they won’t carry the album because all the people who want it will already have it by the time they can get it stocked. But that explanation doesn’t really hold up. More likely, Target is punishing Beyoncé and her label for ignoring the bricks-and-mortar retail channel. This episode could be a sign of similar instances to come, especially from the most popular artists. Smaller, independent artists are, of course, already bypassing the bricks-and-mortar stores.
Remembering Ray Price. As a Southern boy growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Ray Price was unavoidable, even if I tried. A musical innovator, he brought honky-tonk to country in the 1950s. By the time I came along, the Outlaw Country music of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard or the Southern Rock of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd made Ray Price look staid and pale. When he added an orchestra and helped originate the Nashville sound in the 1960s and ’70s, he officially crossed over into the “easy listening” category. But his contributions to both country and pop music are undeniable. As an already established star, he would often hire Willie Nelson and other up-and-comers for his touring band. Price was named to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. He died this week, at age 87. Through his wife, Janie, he sent a final message to his fans: “I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years, and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day.”