Catholic graduation speaker is Planned Parenthood supporter

graduation

In the April 2016 edition of The Bulletin of Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU), President Marylou Yam announced the commencement speaker for graduation exercises this Sunday May 22, 2016, would be Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. Dr. Wen, pictured at left in blue holding the sign, will receive an honorary degree from the university.

A few sentences on Dr. Wen’s biographical data is included. Areas focused on include her work with youth health and wellness, opioid overdose prevention, and violence prevention.

Some of Dr. Wen’s other advocacy work, that goes against Catholic teaching, remains unmentioned:

  1. She is a supporter of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and wrote that the group is “saving lives”
  2. She is health commissioner in a city that has taken action to persecute pro-life pregnancy centers.
  3. She has been praised by the local NARAL director and the director of the Baltimore Abortion Fund.
  4. She supports giving contraceptives to elementary school students at city schools without their parents’ consent.
  5. She wrote that physician-assisted suicide is an “important aspect of care” and that “assisted death” is “compassionate.”

If you want to let Dr. Marylou Yam know what you think about Dr. Leana Wen being honored by NDMU, you can email her at  or call her office at 410-532-5300.

She was appointed to her post by Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake in late 2014. Rawlings-Blake has been a long-time friend of both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. As City Council President, Rawlings-Blake introduced legislation regulating pro-life pregnancy centers that became law. The law required the centers to post signage saying that they did not provide referrals for abortions or face penalties. The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns filed a federal lawsuit. The law is not currently being enforced until the matter is settled.

Dr. Wen’s City Department of Health falls under the purview of Deputy Mayor Dawn Kirstaetter. Kirstaetter served as the executive director of a Berea, Kentucky affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was also President of the Kentucky Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

On September 29, 2015, Wen made a Facebook post that included several pictures (including the one above) showing her at a rally in support of Planned Parenthood in downtown Baltimore.

Her message read (emphasis added):

As a doctor, I applaud Planned Parenthood for improving health and saving lives. As a public health leader, I join officials across Maryland including Congressman Van Hollen, State Senator Nathan-Pulliam, and Delegate Rosenberg to #‎standwithPP. As a woman and a citizen, I am proud to stand strong for ‪#‎pinkoutday to support reproductive rights.

In June 2015, she wrote a letter to Members of Congress asking them not to cut funding to Title X programs including Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Wen said the cuts “would have grave impacts on Baltimore’s public health.”

Dr. Wen was praised by the director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and the board president of the Baltimore Abortion Fund in a letter to the editor in The Baltimore Sun in June 2015. The writers thanked Wen for increasing the availability of contraceptives in city schools. They also chastised City Councilman Carl Stokes, who compared offering Norplant and Nexplanon in city schools to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.  Stokes also was criticized in the letter for calling the issue of giving out contraceptives without parental consent a violation of parents’ rights.

That letter came after a news story that Wen’s health department had started implanting Nexplanon in girls at health centers in Baltimore City Schools. Nexplanon is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) like Norplant. Baltimore City Schools were the first in the nation to provide Norplant for students in the 1980s.

LARCs are not the only contraceptives being distributed at the health centers in city schools. Condoms, oral birth control pills, Ortho Evra patches, Depo-Provera shots, NuvaRing, and Plan B are also available in the school-based health centers.

Despite claims to the contrary by some activists, the Food & Drug Administration requires labeling for Plan B to note that the “morning-after pill” as it is known can inhibit ovulation or implantation. NuvaRing has been the subject of controversy and lawsuits related to pulmonary embolisms that led to the disabling and death of women using it.

African-American ministers have also been critical of the Implantation of Norplant and Nexplanon in Baltimore City schools. One of them, Rev. Gregory Perkins, even made allegations of racism and asked why African-American girls were being targeted.

Dr. Leana Wen is also well-known for starting “Who’s My Doctor?” which advocates for the Total Transparency Initiative. Among other things, this initiative wants doctors to disclose information about payments from pharmaceutical companies and other sources of potential conflicts of interest.

One author writing for Forbes was critical of the part of that initiative that asks doctors do disclose their political viewpoints. Wen responded with a list of views on healthcare issues that were all that was included in that disclosure. Two of them were “end-of-life care” and  “women’s health.” We already know that Dr. Wen advocates for positions against church teachings on women’s health. In 2006, Leana Wen was president of the American Medical Association. She made a statement then that “physician-assisted suicide is an important aspect of care” and that “assisted death is an extension of compassionate medical care.”

Despite her advocacy for positions against church teachings, Dr. Leana Wen is scheduled to receive an honorary degree and speak at commencement exercises on the morning of May 22, 2016 at Royal Farms Arena

NDMU was founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1873. It became the first Catholic four-year college for women in 1896.

Other graduation speakers at Catholic schools

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana was criticized for plans to honor Vice President Joe Biden at its commencement this  year. After the controversy ensued, former House Speaker Boehner was also invited as a joint recipient of the Laetare Award. Previously. the school in Indiana was criticized for honoring President Barack Obama at its graduation.

The Cardinal Newman Society has more on Catholic colleges and their graduation speakers.

Rapper involved in Waffle House fight in SC

Waffle House

Fox Carolina reports that rapper Juvenile was involved in an altercation at a Waffle House on Pelham Road in Greenville, South Carolina.

From their report (emphasis added):

A witness told FOX Carolina Juvenile entered the Waffle House restaurant on Pelham Road on Friday night. According to reports, a man in the restaurant said, “Juvenile is here, I guess the hoes are coming.”

Juvenile, who was with his wife, reportedly thought the man had insulted her and became angry.

The witness said Juvenile’s security team pulled him out of the restaurant but he came back in. When the man stood up, Juvenile punched him in the face before his friends joined in the attack, according to the witness.

A waitress at the restaurant reportedly grabbed the sink hose and sprayed down the whole group.

The report indicates that by the time local law enforcement arrived the “scene had cleared.”

Waffle House isn’t the sole scene of Juvenile’s crimes

Juvenile is 41 years old. His real name is Terius Gray and he was born in New Orleans.

He has been involved in hip hop as a rapper since 1991. Gray has also had a limited acting career.

Juvenile’s legal history dates back to at least 2002, when he was charged with assaulting his barber. He suspected the barber of bootlegging his music. Since then, he has been arrested on drug charges and performed community service for being involved in a fight outside a club. In 2010, he received probation after being charged with possession of marijuana. He also was charged with simple possession and speeding in New Orleans in 2011.

Juvenile also is a deadbeat dad.

In 2004, Joy Deleston filed a paternity lawsuit against him. Both parties agreed that he was the father after a DNA test. The lawsuit contended Juvenile was not paying child support for his daughter Jelani. In 2008, Joy Deleston, Jelani, and another of Joy’s children were murdered by Joy’s 17 year old son. Juvenile received criticism for not attending the funeral, but indicated that he didn’t want to be a distraction.

In 2012, a warrant was issued for Juvenile’s arrest for failure to pay child support to Dionne Williams, reportedly the mother of his teenage son. A judge ruled that he could avoid arrest and 90 days in jail if he paid $50,000 immediately.

Michael Graham returns to DC

Michael Graham
In case you missed reports earlier this week, Michael Graham is returning to Washington as creative director for MediaDC. MediaDC is the parent company for Red Alert Politics, The Weekly Standard, and The Washington Examiner. Graham already hosts a podcast for TWS.

From a FishbowlDC report:

Graham is tasked with overseeing and promoting MediaDC’s social and multimedia efforts. “My job will be to raise the level of MediaDC’s audio/video and new media offerings up to the high standards its writers and reporters set every day,” said Graham in a statement. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Since 2014, he has been working for NewsRadio 106.7 in Atlanta. Prior to that he worked in talk radio in Charlotte, Charleston, Washington, and the Boston area.

Graham previously left DC after WMAL management was pressured to drop him by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) about comments he made.

Graham also wore a INS t-shirt to a CASA de Maryland rally and was told to leave or wear it inside out when he was working at WMAL. He had just started working at WBT when I first met him when I was orking at The Andy Thomas Show as a political reporter. I started Palmetto Journal a few months prior to that.

Michael Graham: Standup Comedian to Political Consultant to Writer

Graham graduated from Oral Roberts University after growing up in the small town of Pelion, South Carolina. He was a standup comedian and, as a political consultant, worked for Pat Buchanan in the 1992 SC Primary. He also worked for Harold Worley in the Republican primary in 1996 against Strom Thurmond.

When Graham worked for the SC Secretary of State, he also hosted a weekend radio show on SC Public Radio. After comments he made on his radio show angered members of the state legislature, they wrote his job in the Secretary of State’s office out of the state budget. This resulted in his first book – Banned from Public Radio.

Graham also wrote a laugh-out-loud funny weekly column that appeared in the Charleston City Paper and in Columbia’s Free Times. His second book, Clinton & Me, featured a picture of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky on the cover. At a book signing, he inscribed my copy to “South Carolina’s Matt Drudge.” He wrote another book called Redneck Nation after that and has written ebooks as well.

 

Catholic bishops criticize transgender letter

Catholic

Catholic bishops who are chairmen of committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released a statement today responding to the Obama administration’s Justice and Education Departments’ directive sent out Friday to schools across the country.

The statement was issued by Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo and Archbishop George Lucas. Bishop Malone is the Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. Archbishop Lucas is Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education.

The statement from the bishops quotes Amoris Laetitia, an apostolic exhortation on love in the family written by Pope Francis and released in April.

One mention from Amoris Laetitia:

The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created”

An excerpt from the statement:

Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents. The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance. It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how best to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.

The Obama administration directive and the statement in response from the Catholic bishops came amidst reaction to the debate nationally over a state legislative matter in North Carolina. HB2 became law in North Carolina after it was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory. The law itself was a reaction to local legislation in Charlotte.

 

Full Text of Statement from Catholic Bishops

The Catholic Church consistently affirms the inherent dignity of each and every human person and advocates for the wellbeing of all people, particularly the most vulnerable. Especially at a young age and in schools, it is important that our children understand the depth of God’s love for them and their intrinsic worth and beauty. Children should always be and feel safe and secure and know they are loved.

The guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education that treats “a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex” is deeply disturbing. The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created” (Amoris Laetitia [AL], no. 285).

Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents. The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance. It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how best to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.

As Pope Francis has recently indicated, “‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated'” (AL, no. 56, emphasis added). We pray that the government make room for more just and compassionate approaches and policies in this sensitive area, in order to serve the good of all students and parents, as well as the common good. We will be studying the guidance further to understand the full extent of its implications.

Rapper DMX involved in police call at SC hotel

DMX

DMX is in the news again, and the police were involved.

According to WSPA:

Spartanburg Police say they responded to a disturbance call at the Marriott Monday morning.

Police say Earl Simmons also known as DMX was there.

They say a report was not filed because everyone had left and there was no criminal action taking place when they got there.

Previously the rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was arrested for possession of marjjuana and served an outstanding warrant in Spartanburg County. He also was stopped for driving under suspension and driving without a license in South Carolina.

There is a voluminous section of the Wikipedia page on the rapper detailing just his legal trouble since 1998. Charges against him have included animal cruelty, drug possession, theft, violation of probation, weapons possession, and assault just to name a few. The ones I listed are on the less serious end of all the charges against him over the past 18 years.