• Study Shows School Choice Program Reduces Young Adult Crime

    Study Shows School Choice Program Reduces Young Adult Crime


    A first-of-its-kind paper on private school vouchers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, looks beyond student test scores and focuses on the impact the school choice vehicle has on crime reduction.

    “We took a representative sample of participants in the [Milwaukee Parental Choice Program] and carefully matched them to similar Milwaukee public school students and then tracked their outcomes over time,” Patrick Wolf, professor at the University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform, told The Daily Signal in an interview about the new paper. READ MORE...

  • Van Jones Rejects ‘Sellout’ Label, Credits Trump for Prison Reform

    Van Jones Rejects ‘Sellout’ Label, Credits Trump for Prison Reform

    Van Jones, a former Obama administration official and leading commentator on the left, responded Friday to liberal critics who call him a “sellout” for agreeing to talk about prison reform at a major gathering of conservatives.

    “If you’re on Twitter calling me a sellout for working with Trump on criminal justice reform, here is what I know about you: If you’re on Twitter, you’re not in a federal prison because they don’t have Twitter in federal prison,” Jones said.

    “I don’t have to listen to you. I care about the people that are locked up. That’s what I care about,” Jones said, prompting applause from the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference. READ MORE...

  • House Eyes Votes on 2 Gun Control Measures

    House Eyes Votes on 2 Gun Control Measures

    The Democrat-controlled House is expected to vote this week on two gun control bills, one of which would subject gun sales by licensed dealers to federal review while the other would impose a universal background check on gun owners.

    Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed both measures on a 23-15 vote along party lines.

    In a public statement, the National Rifle Association said the measures would not cut off criminals’ access to firearms and instead would inconvenience law-abiding citizens.

    Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Pete King, R-N.Y., are spearheading what some call the most high-profile action on gun control in two decades. Neither is a member of the Judiciary Committee.

    Titled the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, one of the bills targets firearms purchased online or at gun shows, requiring these purchases to be subject to the federal background check system.

    The legislation would amend current law that mandates only licensed firearms dealers must perform background checks before approving a gun sale. The amendment would require all gun transfers go through licensed firearm dealers to run background checks.

    Gifts between family members and temporary transfers for use at a shooting range and hunting would be exempt from a background check.

    The bill isn’t as bipartisan as its title suggests, with only four Republicans co-sponsoring the measure besides King: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Brian Mast of Florida, Fred Upton of Michigan, and Chris Smith of New Jersey.

    The other bill, sponsored by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., would extend the review period for a gun sale for up to 20 days. It is co-sponsored by King and Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C.

    Under the proposed Enhanced Background Checks Act, gun owners no longer would be able to bypass a background check if it isn’t completed within three days.

    The review period would be extended to 10 days and the bill would allow the buyer to request a review if the check hasn’t been completed by then. If another 10 days goes by without notification from the background check system, the gun sale could advance.

    House Democrats said the three-day safety valve allowed a gunman to fatally shoot nine persons at a Bible study inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015.

    Proponents of the bill cite that time period as the central justification to enhance communications between local law enforcement and the federal background check system. The gunman was able to buy a gun despite pending felony drug charges against him.

    The National Rifle Association countered the notion that the three-day waiting period led to the Charleston shooting, noting that the shooter’s attempt to purchase the firearm on April 11, 2015, was delayed because of his arrest for drug possession.

    However, the NRA also said the firearm “was transferred to him five days later, absent a direct proceed order from the National Instant Background Check System,” adding:

    The attack did not occur until June 17. In the intervening time, the FBI had the opportunity to continue to investigate whether the perpetrator was prohibited from possessing firearms and could have referred the case to ATF [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] for a firearm retrieval had they determined he was indeed prohibited.

    The NRA concludes that due to the FBI’s failure to continue an investigation on the gun transfer, lawmakers’ attempt to connect the Charleston shooting to the three-day waiting period is false.

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  • County Declares Itself a 'Second Amendment Sanctuary'

    County Declares Itself a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’

    New Mexico’s Quay County is pushing back against the state’s gun control bills by declaring itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.” The Quay County Commission voted unanimously Wednesday supporting the resolution to protect its citizens’ gun rights.

    Among the bills pending in the state Legislature that the commision is responding to is House Bill 8, which extends required background checks to sales between private citizens. Anyone trying to privately sell a gun would first have to get it cleared through the gun shop where it was initially purchased. These transactions often relate to guns being exchanged in the online market.

    Sheriffs within the state and gun owners from rural areas are criticizing such bills.

    “The laws are ill-conceived, unforceable, and punish law-abiding citizens,” the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association told Albuquerque-based KRQE.

    Quay County holds a population of about 10,000 citizens. Republican lawmakers represent the minority in both the state House and Senate chambers. The House Republicans commended the Quay County Commission for endorsing the resolution.

    Since the installment of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in January, New Mexico’s gun owners will face legislation such as programs to remove firearms from seemingly suicidal or dangerous people. Other measures would restrict teachers from carrying guns in the classroom and extend child neglect laws if guns aren’t properly stored at home.

    While a total of 14 states now permit police or civilians to seek court orders that would seize guns from people deemed threatening, counties in other states are standing their ground.

    Washington is another state with counties refusing to enforce state-sanctioned gun control measures, such as restrictions on semi-automatic rifles requiring buyers to be at least 21 years old, pass a safety course, and undergo expanded background checks and gun storage requirements.

    But again, sheriffs in 12 mostly rural counties say they are not enforcing the measures passed in November until the courts come to a decision on a lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation.

    In their lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation argue the bill violates the Constitution’s Second and 14th Amendments, in addition to gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause. The groups do not dispute the training requirements or enhanced background checks of the initiative.

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  • Jewish Therapist Sues New York City for Banning His LGBT Counseling

    Jewish Therapist Sues New York City for Banning His LGBT Counseling

    Licensed psychotherapist Dr. Dovid Schwartz is suing the city of New York for infringing on his and his patients’ religious faith and freedom of speech by way of a new ordinance imposing limits on counseling services to LGBT patients that the city discredits.

    Schwartz is a member of the Chabad Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish Community in Brooklyn. The New York City Council’s “Counseling Censorship Law” restricts the counseling of an adult patient to change their same-sex attractions or discourage a person to choose the gender identity that doesn’t match his or her body.

    More specifically, the ordinance penalizes the illegal exchange of such services with hefty fees. Fines for the first violation start at $1,000, $5,000 for the second, and $10,000 for each following violation. Conversely, therapists who counsel patients to embrace the gender identity opposite their physical body are not subject to such fines.

    “Of course the state has authority to regulate medicine to ensure safety, but that’s not what this law is about,” said Ryan T. Anderson, The Heritage Foundation’s William E. Simon senior research fellow in American principles & public policy. “This law imposes an ideological ban because the state disagrees with the viewpoint of doctors like Dovid Schwartz. It’s not targeted at harmful practices, but at particular values.”

    Schwartz v. City of New York, filed at the federal level on Jan. 23 by the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, involves Schwartz’s requests to be protected from paying the fees or censoring his conversations with LGBT patients, who are largely from his religious community and wish to abide by their orthodox faith.

    “Nearly all of Dr. Schwartz’s patients share his faith, and they value his counsel about issues of sexuality and family in part because his perspective is grounded in their shared Jewish faith and respect for Torah teachings,” said Jeana Hallock, the Alliance Defending Freedom attorney representing Schwartz.

    Schwartz says the only techniques he uses with his patients are simply listening and talking, but the law claims to forbid even that.

    Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Roger Brooks commented on the matter, asserting Americans, whether secular or religious, deserve the right to have private conversations that are free from censorship laws imposed by the government.

    “The city council’s regulation is unprecedented and threatens to stand between Dr. Schwartz’s patients and the lives they choose to pursue,” Brooks said. “As the U.S. Supreme Court noted in its 2018 NIFLA decision, ‘[T]he people lose when the government is the one dictating which ideas should prevail.’”

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  • World’s 2 Most Populous Countries Listed Among Most Dangerous for Christians

    World’s 2 Most Populous Countries Listed Among Most Dangerous for Christians

    Among the world’s 50 most dangerous countries for Christians listed in a new report are China and India, the two most populous countries.

    Now in its 27th year, Christian advocacy organization Open Doors’ “World Watch List” is an annual survey of religious liberty conditions for Christians around the world, measuring the degree of freedom a person has to practice their religious beliefs.

    In remarks Thursday at The Heritage Foundation, David Curry, the president and CEO of Open Doors USA, cited the rise of authoritarianism and nationalism in India and China as reasons for the unapologetic persecution of Christians. China moved up on the list from No. 43 to No. 27, and India placed at No. 10, cracking the list’s top 10 for the first time.

    The Chinese government, Curry explained, has imposed policies on churches that violate their privacy and sanctity. For example, facial recognition technology is required by the state to track church members. Zion church, one of the churches that refused to integrate the technology, was forced to close for not complying with the Chinese government’s standards.

    Installing the facial recognition technology reportedly aids the government in identifying certain groups of people that are banned from attending church service, such as educators, civil servants, college students, doctors, medical professionals, or individuals younger than 18.

    Since Chinese President Xi Jinping has wielded state power to restrict Christianity, worship for unregistered churches has also become increasingly risky. Curry noted the arrest of Pastor Wang Yi along with around 150 Christians because he wouldn’t allow the Communist Party to change his church’s dogma.

    “We believe everyone has the right to choose their own faith,” Curry asserted.

    India has also pushed an agenda to aggressively purge Christianity, Curry remarked. Curry said Hindu nationalism has contributed immensely to religious persecution. Non-Hindus are outcasts in their own country. Many are victims of violence, especially Hindus who have converted into Christianity.

    Curry urged CEOs of giant American corporations who are natives of these countries to speak out against such tragedies if they want to be part of the international business community.

    Helene Fisher, a global gender persecution specialist, also spoke at the briefing and explained that religious persecution can be “gender specific.”

    “Gender-specific persecution is an effective means of religious persecution. One of the major issues regarding female Christian persecution is forced marriage,” Fisher said. “Christian women are targeted because they raise children to become Christian.”

    Below is the complete list of countries that made Open Doors’ World Watch List:

  • North Korea
  • Afghanistan
  • Somalia
  • Libya
  • Pakistan
  • Sudan
  • Eritrea
  • Yemen
  • Iran
  • India
  • Syria
  • Nigeria
  • Iraq
  • Maldives
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Egypt
  • Uzbekistan
  • Myanmar
  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • Central African Republic
  • Algeria
  • Turkmenistan
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Turkey
  • China
  • Ethiopia
  • Tajikistan
  • Indonesia
  • Jordan
  • Nepal
  • Bhutan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Morocco
  • Brunei
  • Tunisia
  • Qatar
  • Mexico
  • Kenya
  • Russian Federation
  • Malaysia
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Sri Lanka
  • Colombia
  • Bangladesh
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Azerbaijan
  • READ MORE...

  • 'Our Country Decided to Erase' Our Children, Says Ben Shapiro at March for Life

    ‘Our Country Decided to Erase’ Our Children, Says Ben Shapiro at March for Life

    Among the tens of thousands assembled in Washington for the 46th annual March for Life was conservative pundit and headliner Ben Shapiro.

    Shapiro’s speech started with highlighting the noteworthy American ideals of “life and liberty,” urging Americans to move forward by protecting such values for the unborn.

    “America was founded on the promise of God-given rights. Chief among them was life and liberty,” Shapiro said. “While America has imperfectly fulfilled that promise, we always move forward for the perfection of that promise.”

    “We built the country for our children,” Shapiro added. “We built our lives for our children. And then something happened. Our country decided to erase them.”

    He addressed the science community who, according to Shapiro, perpetuates false narratives regarding the origins of life:

    We dehumanized the most human, the most innocent among us. We lied to ourselves. And then we built walls around that lie. We lied about the science. We falsified anti-scientific arguments about the origin of life. We pretended that human beings were not actual human beings.

    Shapiro highlighted what he called euphemisms used to mask the horrors of killing the unborn, such as “termination of pregnancy,” “choice,” and “abortion.”

    Shapiro also referenced Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a darling of the left, and his past statements about pro-lifers not being in line with where we are as a society. Shapiro agreed with that sentiment, stating, “We do live in a time where the Democratic Party embraces abortion as a sacrament.”

    Shapiro went on to emphasize how many in the Republican Party have failed to fulfill their promises to defund Planned Parenthood while given the power to do so.

    “We live in a time where pro-life nations around the world are loosening their own restrictions on the killing of the unborn,” Shapiro said, defining the pro-life movement’s alleged misalignment with the rest of society as unequivocally good.

    Lawmakers who spoke at the rally included Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.; Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.; and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.

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