As Vladimir Putin works feverishly to bring the band back together again, we begin with a word from Alice O’Connor, better known as the Russian-born America writer, Ayn Rand:
“When, at the age of twelve, at the time of the Russian revolution, I first heard the Communist principle that Man must exist for the sake of the State, I perceived that this was the essential issue, that this principle was evil, and that it could lead to nothing but evil, regardless of any methods, details, decrees, policies, promises and pious platitudes. This was the reason for my opposition to Communism then — and it is my reason now. I am still a little astonished, at times, that too many adult Americans do not understand the nature of the fight against Communism as clearly as I understood it at the age of twelve: they continue to believe that only Communist methods are evil, while Communist ideals are noble. All the victories of Communism since the year 1917 are due to that particular belief among the men who are still free.”
- Russia Escalates Situation in Ukraine to Explosive Proportions
From Dr. Al Mohler in The Briefing:
Over the course of the last two decades, Vladimir Putin and Russia have had a very important aim. That aim has been to destabilize the West. And furthermore, that aim quite specifically has been to politically fracture the West.
Vladimir Putin, you’ll recall, was a KGB agent outside of Russia when the USSR broke up and he has never reconciled himself to that loss of what he saw as Soviet glory. And of course, that’s in the larger context as we have discussed of Russian glory. But Russia has always been an insecure state. Even as an empire, it was a very insecure and sometimes paranoid empire. And for some good reason, it has geographical liabilities and it has some very restive nations and people surrounding it.
Americans wonder why exactly should we care so much about Ukraine? Just remember that Ukraine has been allied with the West. It has wanted to join NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Let’s just remind ourselves that Poland, the next nation to the West, is a NATO ally, and the NATO treaty calls for an understanding that the invasion or a military attack upon one is an attack upon all, requiring an absolutely joint military response. Should Ukraine, one way or another, either be completely destabilized or for that matter, come into a Russian sphere of influence, that would put that Russian sphere of influence right on the border with a NATO ally to the United States of America. Now we really are going back into the territory of the Cold War.
U.S. Prepares Response as Putin Orders Forces to Separatist Enclaves
From The New York Times:
With the dispatch of armed forces by Russia and the promise of sanctions by the United States, the Ukraine conflict entered a perilous new chapter on Tuesday as the path to a diplomatic solution quickly narrowed.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has been unsparing in terms of what lies ahead, calling Ukraine little more than a “puppet” of the United States, and Kyiv’s leaders solely responsible for whatever “bloodshed” may come next. Mr. Putin has also raised the specter of fighting after ordering troops to the two breakaway regions of Ukraine that Russia just recognized.
“As for those who captured and are holding on to power in Kyiv,” he said, referring to the Ukrainian capital, “we demand that they immediately cease military action.”
Ukraine’s leaders braced for the possibility of an intense fight to defend their territory, offering a somber message to troops on Tuesday. “Ahead will be a difficult trial,” the defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, said in a statement released by the military. “There will be losses. You will have to go through pain and overcome fear and despondency.”
Christian radio station in Ukraine plans for invasion
From World Magazine:
Zhurakovski is station manager at New Life Radio, a 24-hour, Russian-language internet and satellite station that broadcasts Christian music and teaching across the former Soviet Union and beyond. He has been part of New Life Radio’s five-person on-site team since shortly after it relocated from Moscow to Odessa in 2019.
The prospect of an imminent invasion threatens the station’s evangelistic mission and may force it to relocate yet again, taking Zhurakovski along with it. Russia has gathered more than 130,000 troops along its border with Ukraine and at the Belarusian border to Ukraine’s north. Russian and Belarusian troops are carrying out joint military exercises along the border.
Odessa’s location on Ukraine’s southern Black Sea border leaves it open to an attack by sea. Russia has relocated several amphibious assault ships into the Black Sea in recent weeks and is conducting live-fire naval exercises near Odessa. The White House has warned that an attack could come at any time.
- Pro-life Measures Sweep the Nation as Three More States Move to Protect Life in the Womb at 15-Weeks Gestation
From The Daily Citizen:
Last week was an exciting week for the pro-life movement as three more state legislative chambers moved to protect the pre-born at 15-weeks gestation. Arizona, Florida, and West Virginia are the most recent states to take significant steps to protect human life in the womb.
Galvanized by a seemingly favorable response of the U.S. Supreme Court to Mississippi’s law limiting abortion at 15-weeks, pro-life lawmakers around the country have been busy crafting their own state legislation to protect the lives of pre-born babies.
Pro-life Republican lawmakers have led all three state efforts. Arizona’s Senate, Florida’s House of Representatives, and West Virginia’s House of Delegates all passed bills last week. To become law, the measures will need to be approved by the second legislative body in the state and signed into law by the respective governor. Passage is expected as each of these states are led by pro-life lawmakers.
3. Pro-Life Nurse Wins $370,000 After Refusing to Assist with Abortions
From The Daily Citizen:
Illinois might be one of the most liberal states in the country now, but in 1977 the state legislature had the good sense to pass a medical conscience law protecting healthcare workers from being forced to participate in objectionable procedures that violate their conscience. Forty-four years later, a pro-life nurse named Sandra Rojas is grateful it did.
Rojas, a pediatric nurse at the Winnebago County Health Department for 18 years, was told by her government employer in 2015 that she would have to cross-train to perform other medical services, including assisting with abortions. When she objected based on her religious convictions, the county at first accommodated her for a few weeks while other nurses performed the objectionable tasks, but it ultimately refused to continue accommodating her and offered her a non-nursing job as a food inspector, which she refused.
She then resigned and sued the county, with help from attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
In October 2021, an Illinois state court ruled in Rojas’ favor, finding that the county could have continued to accommodate her objections beyond its initial attempts to do so.
“[Rojas] had a right to have her objections of conscience respected; the Health Department had the right to run its clinic and provide the services it was obligated to provide,” wrote Circuit Judge Eugene G. Doherty. “As discussed above, the conflict here was not unavoidable; both goals could have been achieved.
4. Colombia court decriminalizes abortion, adding to regional momentum
From The Chronicle:
Colombia’s constitutional court voted Monday to decriminalize abortion in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, a transformative shift for the majority-Catholic country and the latest sign of a turning tide in Latin America.
The ruling makes Colombia the third large country in the region to decriminalize [abortion] in slightly more than a year, after Mexico and Argentina, a development that appeared unlikely just a few years ago. Abortion rights activists said it could fuel further gains for abortion rights in the region.
- LA DA Backtracks after Sentencing 26-Year-Old Transgender Child Molester to Two Years in Juvenile Facility
From National Review:
Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón acknowledged on Sunday that he may not have properly handled the case of Hannah Tubbs, a 26-year-old transgender woman who was sentenced to just two years in a juvenile facility for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl.
“While for most people several years of jail time is adequate, it may not be for Ms. Tubbs,” the progressive DA said in a statement saying he may have handled Tubbs’s case differently if he knew about the molester’s “disregard for the harm” committed against the young victim.
“After her sentencing in our case, I became aware of extremely troubling statements she made about her case, the resolution of it and the young girl that she harmed,” he added.
- The Science Behind Why Children Fare Better With Covid-19
From the Wall Street Journal:
Children’s seeming imperviousness to Covid-19’s worst effects has been one of the biggest mysteries—and reliefs—of the pandemic. Now the reasons are coming into focus, scientists say: Children mobilize a first line of defense known as the innate immune system more effectively than adults.
Although some children do fall seriously ill after coming down with Covid-19, the most have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Unlike other respiratory viruses such as the flu or respiratory syncytial virus, SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t hit children nearly as hard as it does adults or the elderly.
To understand why children fare better than adults against Covid-19, said Kevan Herold, a professor of immunobiology and internal medicine at Yale University, imagine the immune system as a medieval fortress. The innate response, which includes mucus in the nose and throat that helps trap harmful microbes, is like the moat, keeping assailants out. Innate immunity also includes proteins and cells that trigger the body’s initial immune response. Dr. Herold likens them to cannonballs launched as the enemy is beginning an invasion.
A second line of defense, the adaptive immune system, includes T cells and B cells. The adaptive immune system takes longer to initiate a response, but can remember specific weaknesses of past invaders. Think of them as soldiers preparing for battle inside the fortress, Dr. Herold said.
Innate immunity doesn’t have the same kind of memory. It relies on patterns associated with harmful microbes more generally. Immunologists have found that children’s immune systems have higher levels of some innate molecules and increased innate responses compared with adults. Experts including Dr. Herold and his wife, Betsy Herold, a pediatric infectious-disease doctor at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, think this is key to helping children better fight off the virus that causes Covid-19.
- Houses of Worship Face Clergy Shortage as Many Resign During Pandemic
From The Wall Street Journal:
For eight years, Keith Mudiappa accepted the challenges of serving as pastor at his nondenominational Minneapolis church—the 70-hour workweeks, the low pay, the calls from parishioners at all hours—in exchange for the joy of seeing people come to the faith.
But the rewards of the job were tough to come by during nearly two years of online-only services. Late last year, Mr. Mudiappa quit and moved with his wife and children to Florida. He now works at a bank.
“I decided I wanted to take care of my family,” he said. “I don’t think I could do that in a church setting.”
In religious groups across the country, clergy members are stepping down from the pulpit.
They say the job, always demanding, has become almost impossible during the pandemic: Relationships with and among parishioners have frayed while meeting only over video, and political divisions have deepened, fueled by fights over Covid-19 protocols.
Though no national data about clergy resignations exists, an October study from the Barna Group, which studies faith in the U.S., found that 38% of pastors were seriously considering leaving full-time ministry, up from 29% in January 2021. Among pastors under age 45, nearly half were considering quitting.
- I Wish More People Talked About the Good Side of Parenting
From Time Magazine:
For a long time, motherhood was glorified. When my mom was pregnant in the ‘80s, she told me it never occurred to her that it would be hard because nobody talked about the challenges. She was surprised when we weren’t little replicas of the perfect children she’d imagined, children who slept through the night and were happy to sit quietly in a playpen until we were 5. Instead, when my mom took my brother for his first preschool interview, he turned on all the outdoor spigots he could find and flooded the playground.
So now, people try to avoid making it seem like it’s all snuggly babies and well-behaved toddlers who would never purposely flood a Montessori vegetable garden. We finally started speaking up about issues that were being ignored like postpartum depression. We allowed TV fathers to be emotional and stopped depicting mothers as rosy-cheeked June Cleavers who have time to make their family waffles every morning and maintain a perm. But maybe, when it came to talking about parenthood, we overcorrected. We forgot to keep sharing the good stuff in addition to the bad.
- George Washington Deserves His Own Day
Today is George Washington’s birthday. From The Daily Citizen:
For the past fifty-one years, “Presidents’ Day” has been celebrated on the third Monday in February, courtesy of the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” – legislation that increased the number of three-day holidays. And while the act didn’t officially combine Abraham Lincoln’s and George Washington’s birthdays into one, it had the same effect – in addition to giving license to honor all United States’ presidents all at once.
Of course, not all presidents deserve a holiday, and given the distinction of being the first, coupled with what he accomplished and established during his remarkable life, it’s an easy case to make that of all our presidents, George Washington is most deserving of this honor.
It was the historian James Thomas Flexner who called our nation’s first chief executive the “indispensable man,” and for good reason.
Family, friends and servants would reveal that George Washington began each of his days reading God’s Word – and would conclude each evening before retiring to bed doing the same. He was often seen kneeling before an open Bible in his library or study.
It’s all too easy to reduce our nation’s first president to an ancient figure of history and a stoic face on our one-dollar bill. In fact, simply combining recognition of his birthday into a single day celebrating all the rest who held the same office gives George Washington short shrift. Our children need to know of his greatness and the sacrifices he made.
Most important, though, it’s good to be reminded that it was Washington’s faith in Jesus that shaped, motivated and compelled him to action. That’s why high atop the obelisk built in his honor at the center of the National Mall is the Latin phrase “Laus Deo,” which means “Praise be to God.”
Praise be to God for the life and legacy of President George Washington.
- Secrets to a Happy Marriage
From the Guinness Book of World Records:
Some say marriage isn’t a word, it’s a sentence.
However, we have a more positive outlook here at Guinness World Records. We have direct evidence to prove that real, long-lasting love does exist.
But don’t just take our word for it. We’re here to share with you some nuggets of wisdom from the world’s oldest and longest-married couples.
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, these record holders have experienced it all.
The longest marriage ever was enjoyed by Herbert Fisher (USA, b. 1905) and Zelmyra Fisher (USA, b. 1907).
The couple had been married for 86 years 290 days as of 27 February 2011, when Mr Fisher passed away.
With each day that passed, their relationship grew stronger and more secure. “Divorce was NEVER an option, or even a thought,” they wrote.
The best piece of marriage advice Zelmyra and Herbert ever received was to “respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.”