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Notes on Nanny Bloomberg

From the Scrapbook

Jun 11, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 37 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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As a wealthy American resident in London at the time, Hoover organized the (private, voluntary) Commission for Relief in Belgium, which successfully tackled the monumental problem of feeding and caring for the millions of refugees displaced by fighting across the continent; and after American entry into the war in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to the newly created U.S. Food Administration.

Hoover continued his work after the Armistice, founding the American Relief Commission to assist in the recovery and reconstruction of war-ravaged nations from Poland to Armenia, and as a consequence became (with the possible exception of Wilson) the most famous and beloved American in Europe.

So famous and beloved, indeed, that many of his friends and admirers (including his future rival Franklin D. Roosevelt) urged “the Great
Humanitarian” to run for president in 1920. Instead, Hoover opted to serve as secretary of commerce in the Harding and Coolidge administrations, where he influenced economic policy, reorganized domestic agencies, deployed the resources of the federal government to encourage growing industries (such as radio), and became the federal government’s point man for disaster relief, most notably in the devastating Mississippi River floods of 1927.

Which, of course, is only a partial description of Hoover’s private and public career before his election to the White House. So did he “run as a businessman” for president? Well, only in the sense that Jimmy Carter ran as a peanut farmer, and Barack Obama as a community organizer.

The War on Girls

One of the most interesting things about the abortion debate is the barely disguised moral unease of even the most ardent defenders of abortion-on-demand. Last week, for instance, a pro-life group released an undercover video of a woman purporting to seek an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic simply because she doesn’t want to give birth to a girl. A Planned Parenthood worker is glad to help out. Planned Parenthood’s sputtering response to the tape was revealing. One, they insisted the video was misleadingly edited. Two, they announced that they had fired the worker in the video. Three, they asserted they were nonjudgmental with regard to sex-selective abortions.

But why claim the video was misleading and fire the employee? Alas, being tacitly forced to concede that sex-selective abortion is morally revolting kicks a hole in the “war on women” theme Planned Parenthood and its Democratic allies are so invested in. 

As it happens, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) put forth a bill last week—the Prenatal Non-discrimination Act—that would ban sex-selective abortions. In response to the legislation, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank more or less called Franks racist. “Sex-selection abortion is a huge tragedy in parts of Asia, but to the extent it’s happening in this country, it’s mostly among Asian immigrants. .  .  . [Franks’s bill] was the latest -attempt to protect racial minorities from themselves.” Moreover, Milbank warns that by alienating another minority group, Franks’s bill is fraught with electoral peril: “According to primary exit polls, 90 percent of GOP voters this year have been white. It’s difficult in 2012 to win with such a statistic.”

Milbank’s abuse wasn’t even the worst of it. “I think the next act will be dragging women out of patient rooms into the streets and screaming over their bodies as they get dragged out of getting access to women’s health care,” said Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Insufferable). Well, Milbank and Jackson Lee can rest easy. Franks’s bill failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote in Congress. The right to kill a child because you want a son and not a daughter is safe for now.

Perhaps the Obama campaign should update its “Life of Julia” cartoon strip and add a panel for the gestational period: Good luck kid, for the next few months you’re on your own.

Secular Trends 

The Scrapbook is getting a headache trying to keep up with all the developments relating to church and state. The other day a Washington think tank unveiled its plan to foster a religious liberty caucus in every state legislature, to educate lawmakers on issues like conscience protections for professionals (with or without Obamacare, may a pharmacist decline to sell abortifacients?) and the freedom of religious organizations to choose leaders who share their faith (must a Christian student group allow a gay activist to run for leadership?). The new American Religious Freedom program of the Ethics and Public Policy Center will provide networking, model legislation, successful strategies from other states, and encouragement to tackle issues of concern to various faiths and both parties.

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