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That’s Not Carry-On! Five-Foot Snake Loose on Alaska Flight

Anna McConnaughy was flying to Alaska’s largest city when the announcement came over the intercom: a passenger on a previous flight had brought a pet snake on board . . .

“The pilot came, and said, ‘Guys, we have some loose snake on the plane, but we don’t know where it is,’” McConnaughy said Tuesday . . .

A little boy, one of seven passengers on the Ravn Alaska commuter flight Sunday from the Alaska village of Aniak to Anchorage, was climbing on his seat when he spotted the slumbering snake. It was lying partially covered by a duffel bag near the back of the plane. (Read more from “That’s Not Carry-On! Five-Foot Snake Loose on Alaska Flight” HERE)

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Transgender Weightlifter Wins Women’s Competition

A transgender weightlifter who transitioned from male to female caused outrage after he won a female competition Sunday.

Laurel Hubbard, born a male, outperformed his female competitors in the Australian International competition, reports AU.News.

Hubbard lifted about 591 pounds, compared to runner-up Iuniarra Sipaia, who lifted approximately 572 pounds.

One weightlifter pointed out that Hubbard competing in the women’s division could be unfair.

(Editor’s note: read HERE about a recent public high school wrestling match in Texas where a trans “girl” unfairly won a 6A contest)

“We all deserve to be on an even playing field,” Deborah Acason, from the Australian Weightlifting Federation, told 1News Now. “It’s difficult when you believe that you’re not. If it’s not even, why are we doing the sport?” (Read more from “Transgender Weightlifter Wins Women’s Competition” HERE)

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Over 100 College Campuses to Screen Documentary About Abortion Health Risks

More than 100 college and medical school campuses will host a screening of the award-winning documentary Hush, which investigates the long-term health risks associated with abortion.

Students for Life of America, a pro-life student-led group, organized the screenings to take place on campuses March 23.

Director Punam Kumar Gill, a self-described “pro-choice” advocate, teamed up with “pro-life” Executive Producer Drew Martin and “neutral” Producer Joses Martin to create a nonpolitical “pro-information” documentary about women’s health and specifically the effects of abortion on a woman’s body, including a look at links between abortion and breast cancer, premature birth, and psychological and emotional trauma. National Right to Life News reports that Hush presents “an extraordinary amount of evidence and testimony” including that of post-abortive women. Gill also shared her own loss over a third-trimester miscarriage of a son and its affect on her present and future health.

Opening a Dialogue on What Women Should Know

Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins said she hopes the informative documentary will begin a dialogue about what women should know before having an abortion.

“The film is specifically about opening up a healthy conversation on women’s reproductive health and providing correct information that women are entitled to have if they are considering abortion,” said Hawkins. “It’s being screened at colleges and universities because it’s these women who are the largest demographic who may be suffering from complications from abortions and it’s at these educational institutions that thoughtful and fair consideration in the pursuit of truth is still king.”

Producer Joses Martin said that the film will inform everyone and that some findings question claims considered long settled by pro-abortion advocates. “This is not a political film, it’s a women’s health film that is packed with important information about breast cancer, premature birth, miscarriage, pregnancy and abortion, that every audience member will learn something from,” said Martin. “But it does come out with some very controversial findings that refute supposedly conclusive statements made by international health organizations.”

“We see this as an opportunity on campuses for respectful and productive discourse for the sake of women’s health, not a screaming match over abortion,” said Hawkins. “We are hoping that these serious side effects to abortion will be given the attention that they demand by the mainstream media in a true service and honor to women.”

Some of the colleges hosting the screening of the film include Boston College, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, Hillsdale College, Stephen F. Austin State University, Wheaton College and Yale.

(For more from the author of “Over 100 College Campuses to Screen Documentary About Abortion Health Risks” please click HERE)

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This Author’s Dying Wish Will Rip Your Heart Out

Recently the New York Times ran an essay in their “Modern Love” section with a title that seemed ubiquitous yet clever — at once unassuming yet intriguing. “You May Want to Marry It turned out to be anything but ordinary. The writer, a children’s book author named Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who passed away just Monday of ovarian cancer, but was in hospice when the essay was published, has made hundreds of readers ponder end-of-life scenarios and love lost and found — an unusual yet compelling combination.

A dating ad on a deathbed

Like many great writers, Rosenthal wastes no time in introducing her hook to hungry readers yearning for love. She knows her time on earth is limited — she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in September 2015 — and she wants to introduce the world to her husband, possibly even providing a unique segue to future companionship when she’s gone. The entire essay is composed as a bit of a dating profile: eHarmony meets the New York Times. What results isn’t butterflies but tears.

Still, I have to stick with it, because I’m facing a deadline, in this case, a pressing one. I need to say this (and say it right) while I have a) your attention, and b) a pulse.

I have been married to the most extraordinary man for 26 years. I was planning on at least another 26 together.

The column made readers catch their breath. Responses and similar, shorter essays poured in – about 1,300 according to the New York Times. Her obituary said the column had drawn over four million readers online.

In just a few short anecdotes we learn her husband is handsome, helpful, adventurous, kind and clearly the love of her shortened life. But like all good writers, she shows us this, instead of telling us:

Here is the kind of man Jason is: He showed up at our first pregnancy ultrasound with flowers. This is a man who, because he is always up early, surprises me every Sunday morning by making some kind of oddball smiley face out of items near the coffeepot: a spoon, a mug, a banana.

This is a man who emerges from the minimart or gas station and says, “Give me your palm.” And, voilà, a colorful gumball appears. (He knows I love all the flavors but white.)

After a few more illustrations like this, you can’t help but like Mr. Rosenthal a lot, and Mrs. Rosenthal even more for sharing her favorite things about him with us. Yet the frame of the piece — her impending death — makes this “dating ad” all the more bittersweet, yet illuminating.

The meaning of love and death, intertwined

I never had the pleasure of meeting Rosenthal, but based on her children’s books, her TED talks, and glimpses of videos she made on her web site, she seemed quirky, fun, and hard-working. A wife, mother, and writer who chose to see the brighter side of life and the good in people. (She produced one short film called “The Beckoning of Lovely.”)

Yet here she is, near her death at 51, penning these words to a mass of (presumably) single women looking for love.

If our home could speak, it would add that Jason is uncannily handy. On the subject of food — man, can he cook. After a long day, there is no sweeter joy than seeing him walk in the door, plop a grocery bag down on the counter, and woo me with olives and some yummy cheese he has procured before he gets to work on the evening’s meal.

Here the writer shows far more selflessness than I ever could. Instead of weighing in on the usual questions when faced with knowledge one’s death is imminent due to illness, What did my life mean? What have I contributed? She’s concerned with the emotional well-being and companionship needs of her “incredibly handsome” husband. Rosenthal’s barreling toward death yet there’s no self-pity, no outward flailing, no requiem on how the world has wronged her by cutting time with her husband short when they had just become empty nesters and planned to travel.

Rosenthal says this about her husband, “If you’re looking for a dreamy, let’s-go-for-it travel companion, Jason is your man. He also has an affinity for tiny things: taster spoons, little jars, a mini-sculpture of a couple sitting on a bench, which he presented to me as a reminder of how our family began.” These glimpses of Mr. Rosenthal show us what she deems important: Love and the people she has loved.

I can’t help but read that and contemplate the same things. My husband too knows exactly the kind of coffee I like (lots of flavored creamer, no sugar) and he too, picks up little gifts for the kids when he’s traveling (Nothing for me; he knows I hate trinkets). Deep down we all treasure these things about the people we love: Whether it’s the way a person cocks his head when he’s thinking or the way she says certain words (My daughter can’t say her “r” sound correctly right now, and I hope I never forget this temporary flaw.). We all cherish these types of things about the people we love and who love us but why does it take a woman’s essay penned at the end of her life to help me notice?

Rosenthal isn’t really talking about gumballs, travel, or live music. She’s really encouraging us to appreciate the time with the people we love and to live life fully in the moments we have.

Live like you’re dying

Rosenthal closes with these heart-wrenching words:

I want more time with Jason. I want more time with my children. I want more time sipping martinis at the Green Mill Jazz Club on Thursday nights. But that is not going to happen. I probably have only a few days left being a person on this planet. So why I am doing this?

I am wrapping this up on Valentine’s Day, and the most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.

She concludes the essay — and indeed the entire point if taken literally — with what seems to be a quirky yet selfless gesture to ensure her husband finds a companion following her death. Although on the other hand perhaps it was just a clever, tear-jerking, emotional way of making the rest of us realize we don’t love the people in our lives enough.

Call me millennial or just much more selfish, but her essay forced me to contemplate what we tend to push under the rugs of our minds, even though the entire floorboard of our brains is hammered together with the nails of mortality: Do I love the people in my life, as Rosenthal clearly adores her husband? At my end, with just enough strength and clarity to pen one final essay in the New York Times, could I encapsulate my husband, a good friend, my parents, my children, with a few lines that make that person seem incredible and endearing, a marvel, yet real? Because that’s what the people we love with mortal bodies and immortal souls are: wonderfully-made, God-sewn delights. Yet so often I complain when a friend doesn’t check in on me, when my husband doesn’t respond to a text, or that I’m not immediately forgiven when I’ve wronged someone — or apologized to when I’ve been wronged.

Over five years ago I interviewed a young man, my age, who had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and given less than five years to live. The tumor wrapped inside his brain like a wire mesh rather than a baseball and was likely to effective his ability to communicate as it grew. “How do you feel about your prognosis — that you may not live through this?” I asked. “We all have an expiration date,” he replied firmly. “Some of us just know when it is.” (He’s still alive.)

May we, when whether we know our “expiration” date or not, as one of Rosenthal’s favorite quotes reads, “[R]ealize life while they live it?” (For more from the author of “This Author’s Dying Wish Will Rip Your Heart Out” please click HERE)

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Designer Babies and the Chilling Echoes of Eugenics

What if we could use science to eliminate disease, deformity, and mental disabilities? What if the tools of modern technology could make us smarter, stronger, and more beautiful?

What if we could put an end, once and for all, to every mother’s fear that their child might be born with something not quite right?

These are the questions Chinese researchers are trying to answer. They’ve recently announced a breakthrough in using genetic engineering to remove certain defects in human embryos responsible for congenital conditions. This should be good news, right? After all, what is science for, if not to help us live longer, healthier, and more productive lives? The problem is, this kind of thinking has taken hold in America once before, and with disastrous consequences.

In the early 20th century, science was all the rage. Educated men thought they could use their superior knowledge to improve the human race. What a noble endeavor! With knowledge of genetics recently having come into prominence thanks to the works of Charles Darwin, college professors and men of science were eager to apply the findings in a practical way. If traits are passed down from generation to generation, they reasoned, then the species can be improved by choosing only to pass down good traits, while screening out bad ones. This process was known as eugenics, and its proponents included many well-respected people, most notably President Woodrow Wilson, the only president ever to hold a doctoral degree.

But how do you stop people with “undesirable” traits from breeding and passing them on to future generations? Easy, by forced sterilization. In the same way you would neuter a dog to keep it from reproducing, state governments across America passed laws permitting the forced sterilization of people deemed to be insane, feebleminded, deformed, or otherwise posing a menace to the health of the species. This frequently included criminals, as criminality was at the time believed to be an inherited characteristic. All told, 60,000 Americans lost their right to reproduce at the hands of a scientific community that insisted it could improve mankind.

Ultimately, the horrors of the Nazi movement in Germany, which took eugenics to extremes undreamt of by most Americans, soured the national appetite for forced sterilization. By the mid-1970s the practice came to an end even in mental institutions, but the Supreme Court decision finding such sterilization constitutional has never been overturned.

Now, what does this have to do with the Chinese research on embryos? Surely such direct manipulation of the egg will result in more healthy reproduction, not less, and requires no interference with individual freedoms, right? Don’t be so sure.

Imagine a world where, for the right price, you can guarantee that your children won’t have any genetic defects, that they will be tall, strong, resistant to disease, symmetrical, and intelligent, all through a simple medical procedure. Now imagine that not everyone can afford this procedure. What do you think will happen after a couple of generations? The “normal” people, unaltered by genetic modification, will not possibly be able to compete with the supermen and women created by science. They will be inferior in every way, and thus ineligible for the best jobs, unable to keep up in the best schools, and forget about sports or any kind of athletic competition. Social mobility will not be an option, and their children will be doomed to the same fate, a permanent underclass at the mercy of their betters.

How long could such a system persist? How long before the genetically inferior humans become mere leeches dependent on state charity, or else utilized as menial slaves for everyone else, or perhaps be outright forbidden from procreating? It sounds like science fiction, but it’s a simple and logical progression from a system that allows some people to be dramatically improved by genetic engineering while others are left behind.

Aside from these practical concerns, there are any number of moral and ethical problems with tinkering with human life. Modern medicine has indeed done wonders for our way of life, but there is a good reason why many governments have banned human cloning and other such genetic experiments. Blind allegiance to science without stopping to consider broader philosophical questions of humanity, liberty, and justice, can only end badly, as history has taught us on more than one occasion. Engineering works great for building bridges; It’s much less advisable for designing societies. (For more from the author of “Designer Babies and the Chilling Echoes of Eugenics” please click HERE)

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The Man in the Women’s Room, and Why He Can Stay There

“He wasn’t even peeing, washing his hands or doing anything else that you’d do in a restroom. He was just standing off to the side looking smug … untouchable … doing absolutely nothing.” This would be weird enough in a men’s room, but he was doing it in a women’s room.

At Disneyland, of all places, whose women’s rooms are filled with young mothers with small children. Then, writes Kristin Quintrail, the man “did a lap around the restroom walking by all the stalls. You know, the stalls that have 1 inch gaps by all the doors hinges so you can most definitely see everyone with their pants around their ankles and vagina clear as day.”

Do you know where this kind of thing leads? It leads to families being pushed out of public spaces. It leads to giving a tiny minority what it wants by taking it away from the majority.

Transgressing Boundaries

The man, apparently a fairly large man, wasn’t a man “transitioning” to try to be a woman. The “very progressive” Quintrail would have been fine with that. He was a predator. His way of being a predator was to transgress a boundary — the women’s room door — so that he could intimidate women and their children.

“Everyone was visibly uncomfortable,” says Quintrail, who is writing for a blog called The Get Real Mom. “We were all trading looks and motioning our eyes over to him … like ‘what is he doing in here?’ Yet every single one of us was silent.”

They stayed silent, she says, because they all worried that he might respond by claiming to identify as a woman. Then (she believes) they would look like jerks. Just five years ago, the women in the room would have told him to leave, but not now. They can’t, because “We don’t know what gender is anymore.”

We must know, she insists. “Gender just can’t be a feeling,” she says at the end of the blog article. “There has to be science to it. DNA, genitals, amount of Sephora make up on your face, pick your poison. … I’m sorry it can’t just be a feeling when there’s but a mere suggestion of a door with a peep hole separating your eyes from my vagina or my children’s genitals.”

Quintrail doesn’t seem to have thought of calling security, and I think we know why. Suppose security came and the man claimed to identify as a woman? Would the officers remove him anyway? Not likely. That way lies a p.r. nightmare. Disney does not like p.r. nightmares. Especially when the company makes such a big deal of having annual “gay days.”

There’s No Science

There has to be a science to it, says Quintrail. We need some objective way to tell men (however defined) from women if transgendered people can use the private space of their choice. She says this as someone “very progressive” who will comfortably share a women’s room with a man who believes he’s really a woman.

But what science can you have when the society and the law treat sex and gender as choices? You can’t have a science when the choices have no agreed outward signs.

The predator in the women’s room might claim to identify as a woman who likes to dress like a man. Who’s to say he’s not? He might say he stood in the women’s room because he felt safe there among other women. Who can deny it? Even a judge who thought the man was gaming the system for his own perverse reasons would have no legal grounds for telling him to stay out of women’s rooms.

This kind of thing makes even a restroom a contested space. It makes the classic “safe space” unsafe. Treating “gender” as choice makes some people powerless to guard that which they must guard, like husbands their wives, or mothers their children. It leaves Quintrail and the other women in that women’s room feeling they can’t eject a pervert who wants to watch them.

What Will a Father Do?

Imagine the father who sends his thirteen-year-old daughter into the women’s room and then sees a man go in. He knows he can’t call security. If he goes in, he can’t make the man leave. If he tries force, he’ll get arrested. The father has to accept that the women’s room his daughter uses may have a predatory male standing off to the side looking smug. Or worse, walking around and peering into the stalls. And there’s nothing he can do about it.

What will that father do? The only thing he can do. He’ll retreat from the public space and never come back to Disneyland, or anywhere else with similar policies. A space that his family should be able to enjoy has been taken away. It’s an amusement park, for heaven’s sake. But it’s no longer safe, not when a man can hang out in the women’s room and stare at the women and children.

If transgender laws continue to spread, more families will find themselves excluded from public places. That’s the inevitable practical result of enforcing an idea of sex and gender as personal choice. (For more from the author of “The Man in the Women’s Room, and Why He Can Stay There” please click HERE)

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AP Sports Writer, ESPN Affiliate Team up to Broadcast ‘Faith on the Field’ Show Featuring Christian Athletes

An Associated Press sports writer and an ESPN affiliate have joined forces to broadcast a radio show focused on faith in sports — including interviews with athletes who say faith has changed their lives.

Rob Maaddi, AP sports writer and author of Football Faith and Baseball Faith, will host the hour-long show. Called Faith on the Field, it will debut in April on ESPN’s Philadelphia radio affiliate, AM 610.

Maaddi told The Christian Post that, although he has many jobs, his “main job in the world is to be a messenger for Christ.”

“I want to increase the Kingdom, spread the Word, encourage Christians to share their faith and inspire nonbelievers to turn to the Lord,” said Maaddi. “So this show will be a forum for athletes to talk about the work God has done in their lives and hopefully we give all of our listeners an entertaining, engaging sports-talk experience that impacts them much greater than scores, stats, opinions and analysis.”

Maaddi got the idea for the show after he attended a Bible study with friend Doug Horton and Pastor Phil Moser from Fellowship Bible Church in Sewell, New Jersey. Horton and Moser will co-host the radio show.

Over the years, Maaddi’s work in sports and contact with athletes have given him the opportunity to minister to people, particularly inmates through Deacons Prison Ministry, a ministry that uses softball “as a tool to enter into prisons to minister the good news of Jesus.” “The work God does through us is amazing. Seeing so many men come to Christ and then start Bible studies and chapel service in their cells is such a rewarding experience,” Maaddi said. “But it only gave me a thirst to do more. I want to keep working to increase the Kingdom, to take my story and the Lord’s message to a bigger audience.”

ESPN’s Philadelphia affiliate, AM 610, will broadcast “Faith on the Field” on Thursday nights from 7 to 8 p.m. ET. The program will debut on April 6. (For more from the author of “AP Sports Writer, ESPN Affiliate Team up to Broadcast ‘Faith on the Field’ Show Featuring Christian Athletes” please click HERE)

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New SD Law Protects Religious Freedom of Private Child-Placement Agencies

South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard on Friday signed into law a bill that protects the religious freedom of private child-placement agencies that won’t place children with unmarried or same-sex couples in violation of their beliefs.

Daugaard said that he believed the bill would protect private adoption agencies from lawsuits against policies based on their religious beliefs, reported the Argus Leader.

“I’m worried that a child placement agency may make what is in the best interest of the child a correct decision but be subject to a lawsuit by someone who has a little bit of a leg up by virtue of being in a protective class,” said the governor. “And if we can forestall that with this legislation then I’m willing to do that.”

Bill 149 provides that:

No child-placement agency may be required to provide any service that conflicts with, or provide any service under circumstances that conflict with any sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the child-placement agency that shall be contained in a written policy, statement of faith, or other document adhered to by a child-placement agency.

It forbids the state government from acting against a child placement agency that declines to provide a service that conflicts with its religious or moral convictions. The state also can’t enter into a contract with an agency that conflicts with its convictions.

Without Fear of Being Sued

The Human Rights Campaign, a pro-LGBTQ activist group, claims that “These children could now wait longer to be placed in a safe, loving home at the whim of an [sic] state-funded adoption or foster care agency with a vendetta against LGBTQ couples, mixed-faith couples or interracial couples — all while being taxpayer-funded.” It called Bill 149 the “right to discriminate bill.”

However, SB No. 149, Sec. 15 specifically states that another child-placement agency can provide the services those covered by the bill decline to provide and “shall not be a factor in determining whether a placement in connection with the service is in the best interest of the child.”

Daugaard wants to place as many children as possible and hopes the new law will allow religious and faith-based child-placement agencies to operate without fear of being sued. “Whether it’s the state acting directly or through an agency, we need to do everything we can to encourage those agencies to stay in this business and help us find those placements.” (For more from the author of “New SD Law Protects Religious Freedom of Private Child-Placement Agencies” please click HERE)

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UK Grants 1st License to Make Babies Using DNA From 3 People

Britain’s Newcastle University says its scientists have received a license to create babies using DNA from three people to prevent women from passing on potentially fatal genetic diseases to their children — the first time such approval has been granted.

The license was granted Thursday by the country’s fertility regulator, according to the university.

In December, British officials approved the “cautious use” of the techniques, which aim to fix problems linked to mitochondria, the energy-producing structures outside a cell’s nucleus. Faulty mitochondria can result in conditions including muscular dystrophy and major organ failure. (Read more from “UK Grants 1st License to Make Babies Using DNA From 3 People” HERE)

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‘No Right to Abortion’: Alabama Legislature Looks to Amend State Constitution

There’s no sign of U.S. abortion law changing soon, but Alabama wants to be ready if it ever does.

A proposal in the Republican-controlled Legislature would declare Alabama a “right to life” state by amending the state constitution. The House of Representatives will vote on the bill Thursday, and if it passes the Legislature and is signed by the Republican governor, the constitutional amendment would go before voters in 2018.

There is optimism among conservatives that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 law establishing a women’s right to an abortion, could be overturned now that President Donald Trump is in power. (Read more from “‘No Right to Abortion’: Alabama Legislature Looks to Amend State Constitution” HERE)

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