Instant Victim Mode

This just in…

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer David Crary, Ap National Writer – Sun May 31, 4:42 pm ET

NEW YORK – Anti-abortion leaders voiced concern Sunday that the Obama administration and other Democrats may try to capitalize on the murder of Dr. George Tiller to defuse the abortion issue in upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Many anti-abortion groups condemned the killing of Tiller, a prominent abortion provider who was shot dead at his church in Wichita, Kan. But they expressed concern that abortion-rights activists would use the occasion to brand the entire anti-abortion movement as extremist.

They also worried that there would now be an effort to stifle anti-abortion viewpoints during questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Her exact views on abortion aren’t known, but conservatives fear she supports abortion rights.
Said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, an anti-abortion activist: “No one should use this tragedy for political gain.”

It’s about six hours since the murder was committed and the anti-abortion activists are already in spin control. Politician’s careers have been made by invoking the label, ‘pro-life’. The rhetoric is extreme– the language violent. But when someone takes it to its logical conclusion their hands are clean.

The body is not yet cold, a family is bereaved. And politicians are already revising their attacks on the Supreme Court nominee.

‘No one should use this tragedy for political gain.’ Indeed.

Steve Stycos on Cranston Schools Budget, Volunteer Policy

Steve Stycos of the Cranston School Committee provided the following update:



The Cranston School Committee will resume its effort to balance its budget Thursday June 4 at 6:30 PM at Western Hills Middle School. Although state funding for education is still undecided, the school committee must cut at least one to two million dollars from its budget. The committee requested $2.6 million more from the mayor and city council. We received $1 million. In addition, there is $1.7 million in stimulus money in dispute. The mayor says if we receive the stimulus money, we will not receive the $1 million increase.

We also budgeted for $1.2 million in union concessions, but have not reached an agreement with the teachers union leaving us about $1 million short of our goal.Areas for possible budget cuts include the EPIC program, the elementary instrumental music program, some sports and the elementary guidance program.

After listening to many parents, my top priority will be preserving the elementary instrumental music program. I think the elementary instrumental music is more important than EPIC because it is open to all children and impacts upon instrumental music at all grade levels. If we cut the elementary program and children start instrumental music in middle school, our middle and high school programs will suffer.

Parents may want to communicate with school committee members about their priorities. I do not find simple communications of “don’t cut that program,” helpful unless I know what cuts are preferred.

In recent months, my budget cutting efforts have focused on the school lunch program’s $250,000 deficit. I chaired a committee to reduce the school lunch deficit which met weekly. A report of a committee is at under “Committees and studies.”

The school committee accepted our report and endorsed some of our proposals to cut spending. We are in the process of cutting holidays for three hour school year employees from twelve/year to seven/year and reducing their sick days. We are also seeking concessions from the unionized cafeteria workers (the sixteen who work more than three hours a day.) In addition, we cut the hours of cashiers in the elementary schools from three hours a day to two hours a day and laid off three 3 hour workers.


The school committee also endorsed the school food service committee’s proposal that if a elementary principal can collect the daily lunch money without using a cashier, the school will receive $1000 for its use. The principal must devise a method to collect the money with existing employees or volunteers and then the plan must be approved by the central administration. I hope this will be a fairly easy way for schools to make some money while cutting lunch program costs. If you are interested, you should discuss the idea with your principal.


The school committee continues to debate a proposed policy requiring all school volunteers to have a criminal background check. After meeting with several PTOs and listening to their concerns, I proposed that casual volunteers at public events (sports events, book fairs, school parties) not be required to have a BCI check. My amendment, suggested by Rhodes PTO president Julie Bradley, however, would have required tutors, after school program volunteers and field trip volunteers to get background checks. The amendment failed 6-1, although three other members of the committee have expressed concerns with the proposed policy.

I will not support a policy that requires people selling hot dogs at high school football games or scooping ice cream at school socials to get background checks. I hope a compromise can be reached, but I worry that fear of child molesters may severely cripple parent involvement in our schools.

The policy will again be debated at the June 15 school committee meeting. Check the meeting agenda on line at to be certain.

I am glad that Mr. Stycos articulated the concern for people not volunteering because of the new BCI policy. While the principle of screening people more closely who are in our schools is a good one, I am worried about people not volunteering because they have a minor infraction on their record that they don’t want the schools to see, because they are embarrassed about it. I also think a lot of people who only volunteer once or twice a year, at a special school-sponsored Halloween party, for example, might forget about getting their BCI until it is too late, and then they will not be able to volunteer.

As to Mr. Stycos’s statement about hot dog vendors at football games, I was under the impression that vendors would be exempt, as was specified by Andrea Iannazzi in the interview she did with me about the policy.

The Bullet Wins

When moral argument, persuasion and the democratic process did not convince a majority of Kansans to make abortion illegal, someone resorted to the bullet

WICHITA – George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Any coward can grab a gun and sneak up on an unarmed man. Violent anti-abortion groups have used guns, bombs, threats and deception to try to accomplish what they can not do by peaceful means. This is an act of domestic terrorism.

We Already Have a Law Against Human Trafficking

It’s called S 0692–An Act Relating to Criminal Offenses–Trafficking of Persons and Involuntary Servitude. Signed into law in 2007. Why is it not enforced?

The bill that will be debated before the Senate will criminalize prostitution. I think it will make life worse for prostitutes by driving them further away from the law and from help if they are being coerced in some way. On the other hand, communities have a fair claim that prostitution in residential areas affects their safety and property values. That’s why laws were passed against streetwalking.

What I don’t buy is representing a law against prostitution as a law against human trafficking. But if it does pass, I hope the Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking will be prepared to engage with the police to watch how it is used. If recent history and the profile in all the other states is any indication, women will be arrested and johns will walk.

A Better Type of Scandal

Some years ago Dale O’ Leary wrote a column for the Journal’s ‘Face of Religion’ page. She covered the Catholic child abuse scandals, and best I can recall, claimed that critics of the Church were gloating over the stream of accusations and revelations.

Not this critic. Parents have to trust others to care for their children at some point, even if they live on a compound in Idaho. Reading about the betrayal of children and parents made me heartsick, and frightened.

When it comes to Catholic sex scandals, I much prefer this kind, which I’ll admit is amusing–

MIAMI – A popular Miami priest nicknamed “Father Oprah” was set to give his first sermon Sunday since leaving the Roman Catholic Church after photographs surfaced of him kissing his girlfriend on the beach.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie will preach at his new church, the Episcopal Church of The Resurrection. The church allows its priests to marry, unlike the Catholic Church.

Yes, he was caught in an affectionate moment with an adult woman as they enjoyed a day at the beach. It takes a Jesuit to explain why that is more immoral than some of the nonsense the Church lets go by. The priest shortage just got a little worse. Catholic’s loss, Episcopal’s gain.

It’s Not Your Race–It’s You

Maybe this is too much information, and too personal, but it’s something I recall every time Tom Tancredo and friends claim that they are being persecuted for being white.

When I was young I was friends with a guy who was an exchange student from another country. One day I was talking to him in his room and he proposed being more than friends. I told him no, and he asked why and I kind of talked around the issue. Finally he looked at me with compassion and forgiveness. ‘It’s my race, isn’t it?’ I did not deny it.

Because to tell him the real reasons would have dished out more hurt than I felt like inflicting. That I found him physically unattractive was just the start, it would have got worse from there.

How do you say to someone, ‘It’s not your race, it’s you, personally.’

It would be so hurtful to Limbaugh, Gingrich, Buchanan, Tancredo et al. Or maybe not. They are so good at dishing it out, They should be able to take it.