Frank J. Russo, Jr Connell Friel
Pres., AFA-NY Vice-Pres., AFA-NY
NYS Assembly Again Fears Teacher Unions & Stops Education Tax Credit Bill
The Education Tax Credit Bill (S.1976/A.2551), which would greatly benefit both students & taxpayers, has passed the NYS Senate four times, but once again the Democrat controlled NYS Assembly would not even allow a vote. If a vote were allowed, the bill would likely pass with some of the Democrats voting with the Republicans to pass it. The bill would provide a tax credit to people who donate to either a public school or to a scholarship fund for low and middle income private/religious school students. This would clearly benefit families who would prefer to send their children to a private/religious school but could not afford the tuition. Since these schools generally educate students at half the cost of our public schools, the taxpayers also are big winners with this bill. The primary opposition comes from the public school teacher unions who want to keep their educational monopoly and oppose giving parents choice in education.
What’s especially interesting is that the current head of the Assembly Democrats is Carl Heastie, who himself was one of the co-sponsors of this bill before he took over the leadership position of indicted Assembly leader Sheldon Silver. Clearly, the primary reason the Democrats will not permit a vote on this bill, which helps both low income families and taxpayers at the same time, is their fear of the teacher unions. This bill would also help keep private/religious schools open, providing parents with a better opportunity to guide their children’s moral education.
We’ve invited several Assembly persons (Earlene Hooper, Philip Ramos & several from NYC) to come on our TV program to explain why they oppose this bill, but they all declined. Some said that this bill would “benefit the wealthy.” We called their offices to ask what they meant by this, as it simply was not true. This bill helps low and middle income students get scholarships funded by donations, and doing this also benefits taxpayers since most religious schools educate students at a far lower cost than our public schools.
One positive development is we noticed “school choice” came up many times in our 2016 presidential debates & talks.
The “Transgender” Issue
Ten years ago if we heard a man (i.e., a biological male) say that he “really believed he was more of a woman than he was a man”, and that he therefore really thought he would “feel better” using the women’s shower or changing room rather than the one for men, we would have thought , “who is this guy trying to kid?” But today, President Obama and other government officials are concluding that this “gender dysphoria” is real and the wishes of such “transgender people” must be granted.
Our local public schools are being told they also must participate in this new set of rules dealing with such “transgender” students. Probably, this will result in the need for “new” bathrooms and showers for such individuals to use, since the alternative means that young guys will have to be allowed into the female student showers and bathrooms.
Let’s be clear—all human beings are truly “children of God.” And so they must be loved as such and they should NOT be ridiculed. And, sadly, many times such students have been abused and ridiculed. This abuse should clearly not be permitted. But also, if someone—adult or child—who is biologically male, but sadly views that he is actually a “she”, that should not warrant giving such a person the right to go into the private dressing/shower/bathrooms of the opposite biological sex. This feeling that one is really a member of the opposite sex (i.e., opposite from his/her biological/DNA sex), is unquestionably a form of disorder. Such a person should not be ridiculed or criticized, but also such a person should not actually be treated as a person of a sex category he really does not have. But our nation, which has now legally recognized “marriage” as an institution granted to individuals of the same sex, and pregnant women have a “right” to terminate (i.e., “kill”) the unborn child growing within her womb, is clearly moving in a direction that confronts and negates indisputably basic moral laws of nature and nature’s God. Our government is increasingly forcing our society to actually treat such men (or women) suffering from this disorder as a person of the opposite sex , which they are not. And, worse, we are requiring health insurance and government health plans (e.g., Dept. of Veterans Affairs) to spend millions of tax dollars & health insurance fees in providing “sex change” operations. We would never have believed such things would occur 20 years ago. We are moving in a “crazy” direction! One thing you CAN do is pray daily for our great nation and make small sacrifices.
A Problem with Macy’s
A Senior Store Detective at Macy’s in Flushing, Javier Chavez, was fired because he told them he believed that Macy’s policy allowing men who viewed themselves as women to use the women’s bathroom was contrary to his Catholic & biblical beliefs, although he would still adhere to their policies. Because he personally believed their policy was inappropriate, he was fired. Mr. Chavez is now pursuing legal action charging Macy’s with violating his rights to religious freedom and adhering to his Catholic beliefs on proper sexual behavior and the right to sexual privacy.
We are very disappointed in Macy’s actions in firing Mr. Chavez for his religious beliefs. This “transgender” issue is really getting out of hand and is a sign of the incredibly wrong direction our nation is taking on proper sexual behavior.
Abortion/Breast Cancer Link
Dr. Angela Lanfranchi is a breast cancer surgeon with over 30 years experience who has studied the link between abortion and breast cancer for decades. She and Dr. Joel Brind, also an expert on this issue, have discussed this important and serious connection largely unknown by most women for many years. There are over 30 statistically significant world-wide studies that lead to the conclusion of a link between abortion and development of breast cancer. For more information on this difficult subject, check the web site for the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute at www.BCPInstitute.org.
Europe’s Falling Birthrate
The former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, has stated that the West will soon see the adverse consequences of its falling birthrate and its deteriorating moral decline. Rabbi Sacks compared the current situation in Europe to the breakdown of the ancient Greek and Roman empires.
The Rabbi explained the relationship between the collapse of marriage and the increase in child poverty and depression, and that the breakdown in the family has led to a far greater dependence upon government. The decline in birthrates also understandably leads these countries to accept mass immigrations to supply needed workers. And then the vast numbers of migrants result in problems of effective integration. Europe is now experiencing “the decline & fall of the Roman Empire”. When both the Greek & Roman empires were collapsing, their citizens realized it was in part due to their declining birth rates, as they could not handle the responsibilities of raising children.
(sources: www.crossmap.com/news/former-uk-chief-rabbi-warns-oif-colklapse-of-western-civilization-as-birth-rates-plummet-28559; & Population Research Inst. Review-July/Aug), 2016)
USA’s Labor Force Participation Rates (May, 2016)
< H.S. Educ.———44.5%
Bachelor’s or >——74.3%
Issue of Child Abuse
According to research done by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), about 1 in 6 boys under 18 are sexually abused and 1 in 4 girls under 18 are so abused. What is also of concern is that two-thirds of these sexual assaults are never reported to the police. And, worse still, 98% of these rapists never get sent to jail. One of the sad conclusions from this research by the the CDC & RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is that when you read numbers of such “reported” crimes, they are often grossly understated and the offenders can remain in our communities.
(AMAC Advantage magazine, Summer, ‘16, http://www.amac.us)
Five Excellent “Old” Videos
Here are 5 movies from 1939 to 1952 that we think you’d very much enjoy seeing:
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
- Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
- Sergeant York (1941)
- Song of Bernadette (1943)
- The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952)
What Did Hillary Mean?
On April 23, 2015, in an address to the Women’s World Summit, Hillary Clinton said, “Laws have to be backed up with resources & political will. And deep-seated religious beliefs have to be changed.” What are the religious beliefs she thinks have to be changed? Beliefs such as “killing unborn babies” and “honoring sodomy with same-sex marriage” that are in violation of God’s law? The belief that “school choice is a fundamental right of parents” (Familiaris Consortio)? Are these the religious beliefs that we “must change”???
Gay Teen Behavior Problems
A recent study by the CDC (Aug. 2016) concluded that gay, lesbian & bisexual teens had far more problems than heterosexual teens. Gay teens were:
–Far more likely to use illegal drugs
–Victims of rape 4 times as often
–Assaulted on dates twice as often
–Twice as likely out of fear to miss school
–Attempting suicide 4 times as often
Financial Scholar on Current
“Ultralow” Interest Rates
The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates near zero for over 7 years. Paul Kupiec, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and former Director of the Center for Financial Research at the FDIC, recently described a number harms possibly caused by this near-zero interest policy of the Fed (WSJ, 5/23/16) :
- Causes retirees to cut their spending
- Discourages young folks from saving for retirement
- Causes people to make far riskier investments to get higher returns
- Makes future generations more dependent on government programs
- Raises the price of stocks & real estate, creating price bubble that could deflate when interest rates rise
How Are NYC Schools Doing?
Based on recent NYS testing data our NYC students have been doing better than in prior years. Some claim this is due to shorter and easier tests. But it’s NYC’s Charter schools that really account for the bulk of this improvement. Charter students improved by 2 to 4 times as much as the regular public school students in NYC. Over 70% of charter schools outperformed local district public schools. And minority black and Hispanic students who attend charter schools scored 73% better than their counterparts in the district run public schools. Nearly 40% of the top 50 scoring schools in NYC were charter schools compared with 12% in 2013 when Mayor De Blasio was elected. Since 2013, charter students have improved twice as much as those at regular public schools. The disappointing fact is that Mayor De Blasio still seems to oppose approving more Charter schools, which surely seem to do a far better job educating especially our deserving minority students.
“Catholic” Tim Kaine
Senator Tim Kaine, who is running for Vice President, is viewed by many as a “practicing” Catholic. Kaine says he is “personally opposed” to abortion, but believes others should be free to have an abortion and terminate the life of their unborn child. If we go back 160 years when slavery was “legal”, a similar question could be posed. If one said, I personally oppose slavery, but if my neighbor wants to own slaves, that is “his” choice! Is such a person acting in a proper moral way? Saying “I oppose slavery,” but if others want to own slaves, that’s “their” business and their right! But what about the slave & his rights?
So also regarding abortion, and saying, “I am for a “woman’s right to control ‘her’ body.” But what about the child’s life within the mother’s womb? This is quite similar to the issue involving slavery, no?
Senator Kaine is “personally against abortion”, but has no problem with voting to give Planned Parenthood more money to fund abortions for others??? So also is Kaine for same-sex marriage, which effectively is government saying it wants to “honor” the act of sodomy. The majority of our citizens now sadly support “same-sex marriage”, according to most polls. That means most Americans are now agreeing with public policy endorsing, respecting and honoring sodomy. Is there any doubt that as a nation that approves the killing of innocent unborn babies and grants public honor to sodomy, we are moving in a very different direction from that told us in the Bible?
Obesity Problem in U.S.
Our nation’s obesity problem is getting worse. In recent years the rate was about the same for men and women. Recently, however, the women’s obesity problem has grown far more. Today, 40% of women are obese and 35 % of men. Throughout the world, the rates are far lower– 15% for women and 11% for men. Sadly, about 17% of our children are also obese, although this has not worsened in recent years. Among adolescents, however, the rates have been worsening and now stand at 21%. We all have to be more careful.
(Newsday, 6/8/16, pg. 31)
Terrible New TV Program
ABC has a new TV program called “The Real O’Neals”. Its Executive Producer is Dan Savage, an openly gay man who has often used extremely filthy language that is also often anti-Christian on public TV programs. Media Research Center, headed by Brent Bozell, has issued petitions to ABC and The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of ABC, asking them to please cancel this program. We encourage you to consider boycotting the sponsors of this vile man’s program.
(Media Research Center, Reston, Va.-571-267-3500)
Homelessness in NYC
NYC’s homeless population has grown 20% since 2014 under Mayor Di Blasio, now reaching about 60,000. Some attribute this to the growing cost of housing in NYC and to the fact that people are remaining in the shelter system longer. The cost is $1.2 billion/yr, or $20,000 per homeless person.
NOTES & ASIDES
We compliment Long Island’s wonderful Wantagh Inn (516-785-0809) for the great dinner they gave on Sunday, Sept. 25th, to honor the Sisters of Life, one of our nation’s best performing pro-life orders…. One of the best sources of info on “educational reform” is School Reform News, published monthly by the non-profit research organization, The Heartland Inst.
(312-377-4000; www.heartland.org) ………….
Pls. keep in your prayers (deceased) Pat Ford, Catherine Russo, Lisa Miles, Marian
McLaughlin and (ill), Ed Brennan, Frank Lindner, Padraic Friel, Connell Friel, Jane Donlon, Kay Albright, Tom O’Grady,
Bill Schroeder, Ray Keenan, Andy McKnight, Mary Johnson, Elton & Tara Sayani & Dr. Wayne Weisner………