The lawsuit, filed last week in Riverside County Superior Court, seeks the girls' re-enrollment at the small California Lutheran High School, unspecified damages and an injunction barring the school from excluding gays and lesbians.
Radio at times can be a downright dirty business. I've seen many very talented people get the boot because some ego maniac takes over the larger office.
KDKA, and in larger part Infinity Broadcasting, has one of the supreme ego maniacs at the helm these days. Keith Clark, vice president of programming for CBS Radio in Pittsburgh, and his inability to program a VCR much less a radio station, has led to the firing of three of KDKA Radio on-air hosts. -- Mike Pintek, Paul Alexander and Mike Romigh.
In the interest of full disclosure, I worked for Infinity and Mr. Clark. I know how he manages things.
So what does all this mean for the future of KDKA? My best guess would be you begin to hear "progressive talk" which is code for liberal talk. Where that leaves Fred Honsburger remains to be seen.
If that happens, the ratings will continue to drop and KDKA will decline following the path of the old B-94. Clark oversaw the destruction of that heritage top 40 station as well. They pulled the plug on B-94 to make way for Howard Stern who is no longer on the air. Wise move.
It boggles my mind how some people end up in leadership. I don't like to see anyone lose their job and I wish these guys the best.
You can read the Post-Gazette article here.
The situation affects a small number of homeowners who received the results of 2005 appeals filed by local school districts or municipalities after they received their "official" assessment notice from the county for 2006.
If the school district or municipality was successful in raising a property's assessment, the higher figure will apply for 2006 unless the home-owner appeals.
And they wonder why people are fleeing Allegheny County...
The new face of row office reform is an old hand: Dr. Cyril H. Wecht.
Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato announced that Dr. Wecht, who served as coroner from 1970 to 1980 and again from 1996 to now, will become medical examiner when the elected row office of coroner is phased out Tuesday and transformed into an appointed position.
Mr. Onorato, however, termed Dr. Wecht's role as "interim," and said the appointment was predicated on Dr. Wecht's willingness to step down if an ongoing federal investigation results in an indictment or plea agreement.
In February, it was disclosed that District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. had opened an investigation into whether Dr. Wecht improperly mixed his private practice with public duties.
"We are opening an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified materials related to the NSA," one official said.
Earlier this month Bush acknowledged the program and called its disclosure to The New York Times () "a shameful act." He said he presumed a Justice Department leak investigation into who disclosed the National Security Agency eavesdropping operation would get under way.
Justice Department officials would give no details of who requested the probe or how it would be conducted.
England, who was pictured holding a leash to a naked, hooded Iraqi inmate at the Abu Ghraib prison, was sentenced in September to three years for her part in the abuse scandal that sparked worldwide outrage. She is now confined to the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego, California.
England works in the prison's kitchen, where she suffered second- and possibly third-degree burns from being splattered with grease over her chest as she removed chickens from a tall oven, her mother, Terrie England, said in an interview.
The quote above is from a self-description posted on his website by ISM member Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith now uses the name Joseph Carr. Criminals frequently use aliases in order to not be identified while breaking the law and Smith/Carr is no exception. Smith/Carr just returned from the Palestinian Authority on November 7th after being there for three months on a visa he obtained from the Israeli government under his new false identity while he worked there with the ISM. In fact, he openly boasts in his own emails that he entered Israel illegally four times at four different entry points to interfere with anti-terrorist operations of the IDF and has his own special ways to deceive border police.
It’s entirely possible he changed his identity because the Israelis deported him earlier as Joseph Smith, but obtaining a new passport for such purposes is a felony in the Untied States. Of greater interest though is the fact that under the name of Carr, Joseph Smith visited Iraq and areas of Fallujah where US forces were fighting Ba’ath Party insurgents and other allies of the PLO who also oppose the United States . During this trip to Iraq Joseph Smith boasted how his US Passport provided by a country he detests, got him easy access to certain areas.
Joseph Smith first came to light in March of 2003 when Olympia , Washington student and anarchist Rachel Corrie was accidentally killed by an Israeli bulldozer that Corrie chose to interfere with by being a human shield while it was clearing suspected weapons smuggling tunnels in Gaza . Smith, who is another anarchist and ISM member who knew Corrie at Evergreen College , professed to being an eyewitness to Corrie’s death. However, his eyewitness accounts on more than one occasion did not match up. He also alleged he took photographs of the area and Corrie just before her death that also later did not match up.
One quote by Smith about Corrie’s death is very telling:
"The spirit that she died for is worth a life. This idea of resistance, this spirit of resisting this brutal occupying force, is worth anything. And many, many, many Palestinians give their lives for it all the time. So the life of one international, I feel, is more than worth the spirit of resisting oppression."
Smith has no job to speak of. Yet how does he support himself and travel internationally and all over the United States for the ISM? ISM-USA is not an organization that is listed as a non-profit or for profit entity. Who is funding this guy?
He describes himself as an “activist,” a “performance artist” and a “poet,” and emphasizes he is gay. He claimed earlier to be an activist for the Christian Peacemakers Team, a Quaker-based organization that maintains it is nonviolent and seeks to ameliorate world trouble spots. Yet on Smith’s own website in his “statement of identity,” we see he rejects pacifism and calls for revolution through violence, something that would certainly doesn’t sound very Quaker-like.
I hope Homeland Security is watching this guy.
Titled "On the Trail of Pope Joan," an ABC promo says, "Diane Sawyer takes you on the trail of a passionate mystery. Just as intriguing as 'The Da Vinci Code.' Chasing down centuries-old clues hidden even inside the Vatican. Could a woman disguised as a man have been pope? Thursday night. One astonishing Primetime."
But the media-watchdog weblog Newsbusters points to research by scholars hundreds of years ago that debunked the claim and cites recent books that have repudiated it further.
Catholic Church records have no indication of a pope by any of the names ascribed to her, and there are no gaps in the history. Another problem, scholars say, is there was no mention of such a pope in any historical account until the 13th century, about 400 years after her presumed reign.
Mr. Hickling, his daughter, and another worker from the refugee camp were on a two-lane highway when they were struck head-on by another vehicle. The first news his family heard of it was when his former wife, Cathy, received a phone call from a passer-by who said he had found "a dead white man in a car registered to Holly Hickling." The U.S. State Department helped them confirm that the dead man was Mr. Hickling, and to locate Holly in a hospital, Cathy Hickling said.
During their 20-year marriage, the Hicklings introduced Pittsburgh to contemporary Christian music through their singing and through his father's radio station. They ran Expression, a Christian newspaper that crossed many denominational and cultural lines, and they co-created His Place, a ground-breaking Christian talk show that was also part soap opera.
I have run into so many Christians who are giddy over the new Narnia movie "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". I'm having flashbacks to the "Passion of Christ" release that stirred up a fantastic following of Christians who hailed the "gospel according to Mel Gibson" as the second coming.
I don't mean to put a damper on things. In fact, I have not even seen the Narnia movie, and I don't plan on it until it's playing in my living room. My objection is based on this.... IT'S JUST A MOVIE!
Oh sure, it may be a great movie. It may even be the greatest movie ever made but it's still just entertainment. Nothing more.
There are some Christians that a year ago would have grabbed a torch and pitchfork at the mere mention of "Disney". Now that the house of mouse dropped $150 million into a movie that Christians may want to see, the water is under the bridge.
I don't understand why we all flock to revamped stories of the gospel. Do we really need to put Christ in a lion costume to present him to the world? Does the presentation of the good news require the guy who directed "Shrek"?
The film director Andrew Adamson said in an interview:
"I feel comfortable that I've made a movie of the book. And if you found spiritual messages in the book, you'll probably find them here. If not, you won't. However you enjoyed the books, you'll enjoy the movie."
Adamson gets it. You put $150 million on the line and you want the largest audience possible. Who cares if they are Christians, so long as they have the 10 bucks to get in. Yet we all line up like lemmings. Saddleback Church, the mega-church run by Rick Warren bought 20,000 tickets for a special "Narnia" screening.
I don't expect this film to change the world. I don't expect much of an impact at all. Unless you own Disney stock.
So is Aslan really on the move? Sure he is. You are about to see him on cereal boxes, in Happy Meals and on toilet paper wrapping. I can't wait for the sequal.
God sees embryos as "full and complete" humans, Pope Benedict said on Wednesday in an address that firmly underlined the Roman Catholic Church's stance against abortion and scientific research on embryos.
"The loving eyes of God look on the human being, considered full and complete at its beginning," Benedict said in his weekly address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Quoting Psalm 139, Benedict said the Bible teaches that God already recognises the embryo as a complete human. That view is the basis for the Church teaching that aborting or manipulating these embryos amounts to murder.
In Psalm 139, the psalmist says to God: "Thou didst see my limbs unformed in the womb, and in thy book they are all recorded."
"It is extremely powerful, the idea in this psalm, that in this 'unformed' embryo God already sees the whole future," Benedict said.
"In the Lord's book of life, the days that this creature will live and will fill with works during his time on earth are already written."
Benedict has already weighed into an Italian debate on abortion ahead of a general election in April, publicly supporting a pro-life group that right-wing Health Minister Francesco Storace wants to have access to counselling centres advising women seeking to terminate pregnancy.
The Pontiff also raised the theme in his Christmas Eve mass on Saturday, saying the love of God shines on each child, "even on those still unborn".
As well as being against abortion in all cases, the Church opposes stem-cell research which extracts useful cells from unused embryos left over from fertility treatments.
The United States Congress is debating whether to expand federal funding for this kind of research, which scientists say could provide cures to many debilitating diseases.
Officials said the parents, grandparents and aunts of a 7-month-old and 13-year-old hacked the baby to death and fatally stoned the teenager earlier this month after they became convinced the girls were demons or possessed by the devil.
Judge Ana Maria Raya Razo, who committed each family member for 40 years, told The Associated Press they had acknowledged killing the girls to save themselves from demons. The slayings were accompanied by prayers, candle-lighting and the sacrifice of farm animals, officials said.
A ninth suspect — an aunt described as the instigator of the slayings — was also sent to a psychiatric hospital after she became catatonic on the heels of her arrest. The killings were prompted by her visit to a faith healer, authorities said.
If you were wondering, yes I got you a gift. I was going to send those Chia Pets to all the Powerblogers out there but I could not get 30,000 of them in time. So.... I present as a gift to you the PowerBlog! Rockin' Christmas Jukebox. No dimes required! Just give a click on the Jukebox and join my buddy "The Wanderer"rockin' to the soundtrack of a Pittsburgh Christmas.
Daniel Salvi and his family surrounded his sister’s bedside at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano, TX and watched doctors take the 27-year-old off life support. Habtegiris had abdominal cancer that spread to her lungs. Eventually, she was on a ventilator and her cousin took care of her.
The family said doctors told them they would have to remove her from life support in 10 days.When the family disagreed, the hospital's Clinical Ethics Committee met and decided to take Habtegiris off the ventilator.
The hospital said in a statement they "contacted 12 facilities including hospitals, long term acute care facilities and nursing homes, all of whom declined to accept the patient.”
Salvi believes this would not have happened if his sister had health insurance."If you don't have money in this country, you're nothing. You're not a human being."
I don't know all the facts of this case, but it begs the question... when is life overpriced and death becomes a financial option? With so many living without insurance, it's a question many quietly face.
America, a weekly run by the Jesuit order of priests, said in a statement it was embarrassed and offended by the ad, which it said had been published unknowingly in its December 5 edition.
The apparent prank by a London-based artist offered what he called the "Extra Virgin" statue for sale, "a stunning ... statue of the Virgin Mary standing atop a serpent wearing a delicate veil of latex."
America's editors offered a statement of apology: "We were embarrassed to have readers call our attention to the offensive advertisement that escaped our unknowing eyes and appeared in the December 5 issue ... The offense was compounded when we learned in the advertiser's reply to a concerned reader that he had intended his art as an assault on Catholic faith and devotion.
"We have taken several steps to tighten our advance review of advertising and express our outrage to the artist."
Did he hear you over all his laughing????
I'm talking about Michael Schiavos' TerriPAC site. When you click on the site, the important things are very clear. Michael Schiavo is the chairman. His name is part of the logo for crying out loud. His picture is on the page. Nowhere on the site is there a picture of Terri. There are 4 appeals for money one the first page alone.
What's missing is also very telling. It does not mention that Michael Schiavo had a relationship with another women. It does not say that he fought to starve his wife to death. He did not assist her in rehab efforts. It does not mention how he would not allow Terri's parents to visit her in the hospital.
Merry Christmas Michael. May Santa brong you a sense of shame.
The press has now turned on Cindy Sheehan. At least in her eyes. The woman who gained her fifteen minutes of fame by exploiting her son's death for her own purpose can't seem to grasp heading to the D-List. In fact, after this post she drops to the E list.
She did a quick interview with MSNBC:
The peace movement in the U.S. remains small. Why?
Sheehan: "One thing that has prevented the peace movement in America is the media. I spoke with 5,000 people in North Carolina on March 19, 2005, and the press called the protest "insignificant." They covered the Terri Schiavo case instead."
You feel like you were mistreated by the press?
Sheehan: They got hold of everything I've ever said and scrutinized it so carefully. They never scrutinized what Bush said. No one said, "Why did you lie to the American people and say there was WMD?" The press found an easy target in Iraq, and they found an easy target in me.
Huhhh???? What started as a whirlwind of Chris Matthews (Cindy should run for congress) and the rest of the press doting over a fallen soldier's mom, unraveled as Sheehan proved time and time again she has no clue what she is talking about and is a terrible spokesperson for the anti-war camp.
Cindy Sheehan appears to now be trying to reclaim her 'victim' role. I felt sorry for her when she was the Mother of a fallen soldier. She since has morphed into this blabering idiot who has fully depleted my sympathy reserves.
When you jump in the spotlight note the time please. Cindy, your fifteen minutes are up.
The presentment, released this morning, names two former employees of the treasurer's office, including the onetime chief deputy, two jail guards, as well as a former emergency room doctor at Aliquippa Community Hospital in Beaver County.
Grand jurors said Dr. Alan Egleston, of New Wilmington, Lawrence County, wrote phony prescriptions that put more than 21,000 Ocycontin tablets on the streets of Allegheny and Beaver County. The jury also received testimony that indicated that two suspects, Pasquale Capizzi, onetime chief aid to Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein, and Thomas Welsh, another treasurer's office employee, were fired, but apparently not prosecuted, for dealing drugs inside the county office at least a year before they came to the attention of state investigators.
Former Allegheny County Sheriff's Deputy Captain Frank Schiralli was sentenced to 26 months in prison this morning for lying to a grand jury.
Mr. Schiralli, 53, of McKees Rocks, was convicted in September of lying to a federal grand jury investigating corruption in the sheriff's office. Specifically, Mr. Schiralli said he did not keep lists of sheriff's deputies who contributed to Sheriff Pete DeFazio's campaign fund.
Working on a tip from an informant, soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division on Tuesday dug up more than a thousand aging rockets and missiles wrapped in plastic, some of which had been buried as recently as two weeks ago, Army officials said.
"This is the mother load, right here," Sgt. Jeremy Galusha, 25, of Dallas, Ore., said, leaning on a shovel after uncovering more than 20 Soviet missiles.
As the sun set Tuesday, U.S. soldiers continued to uncover more, following zigzagging tire tracks across the desert floor and using metal detectors to locateweapons including mines, mortars and machine gun rounds.
But the growing piles of missiles and rockets were of primary concern for the soldiers in Iraq, where bombs made with loose ordinance by insurgents are the preferred method to target coalition forces.
"In our eyes, every one of these rockets represents one less IED," said 2nd Lt. Patrick Vardaro, 23, of Norwood, Massachusetts, a platoon leader in the division's 187th Infantry Regiment.
Vardaro would not comment on whether there were signs the caches had been used recently to make bombs, but the service records accompanying the missiles dated to 1984, suggesting they were buried by the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein.
Still, the plastic around some of the rockets _ of Soviet, German and French origins _ appeared to be fresh and had not deteriorated as it had on some of the older munitions.
An U.S. Air Force explosive ordinance team planned to begin destroying them as early as Wednesday morning.
Commanders in the 101st said knowing that an Iraqi tipped them off to the buried weapons could mean that residents in this largely Sunni Arab region about 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Baghdad are beginning to warm up to coalition forces. "The tide is turning," Vardaro said.
"It's better to work with Americans than against us." Army officials would not say who had informed them of the weapons caches or whether national security forces including Iraqi Army and police had helped. "A good Samaritan told us about it," he said, reports AP.
With many large churches across the U.S. announcing they won't be open on Christmas Day, some pastors are defending their decision to stay closed, even going so far as to blast those who question their motives.
Among them is Jon Weece, pastor of Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Ky., who received complaint e-mails from Christians in all 50 states.
"I was deeply saddened by the knee-jerk response of the Christian community as a whole to give the benefit of the doubt to the media and not a church or a brother in Christ," Weece said in his Dec. 10 sermon. "I'm still troubled that more Christians in this community specifically did not stand up for us knowing what this church represents."
(Audio of the entire sermon is available here.)
Weece blamed Satan the devil for using the Christmas issue as a distraction, prompting Christians to bicker among themselves.
"People are not the enemy," he said. "The devil is, and it is obvious that he has been at work in this situation."
Weece said the services being offered on Christmas Eve were still technically the "first day of the week" if one went by the custom of starting days at sunset, which some believe was the case in Jesus' day.
He went on to note: "Christmas began as a pagan holiday to the Roman gods, and if we were to really celebrate the historical birth of Jesus, it would either be in January or mid-April. I'm only pointing out the historical technicalities not out of intellectual arrogance, but again because of the illogical, ill-informed and even hypocritical arguments that were aimed at me personally this last week."
My two cents: Mr. Weece is ill-informed and any pastor that would close a church on Christmas should not be a pastor. If two or more are gathered in his name then you don't lock them out.
Full Story on WorldNetDaily.com
So, where is the 20th passenger?
If you haven't done so already, I would urge you to watch the film (from the CNN website) of the plane crashing into the water, and notice the right wing separate from the fuselage. As recounted in the article below, witnesses reported hearing an explosion, then observed the right wing separate from the fuselage. Below is what the inside of a twinin-engine Grumman G-73 Turbo Mallard looks like and it's seating layout.
there are overhead storage bins above the passenger seats in the approximate location where the wing is affixed to the fuselage. Could it be that an onboard explosion, possibly from the contents of a stowed bag, caused the massive structural damage and further caused the wing to separate from the aircraft? Could someone have registered for the flight, placed a bag on board (or in some manner, caused a bag to be taken and stowed on board), but did not board the aircraft? A very thorough investigation will tell the whole story, but before terrorism or criminal activity is summarily dismissed, consider the possibility that the 20th passenger opted not to board the plane - and perhaps remotely detonated an explosive device in the overhead cargo bin as the plane ascended, before it got our of range. As there is no federally mandated screening of parcels for this type of aircraft and in light of the recent threats to airlines, could this have been a test run?
Eighty-nine percent in an ABC News poll believe in heaven, which is consistent with data going back 30 years. Among believers, 85 percent think they'll personally go there — mainly in spirit, since 78 percent say it's a place where people exist only spiritually.
Who gets in is another matter. Among people who believe in heaven, one in four thinks access is limited to Christians. More than a third of Protestants feel that way, and this view peaks at 55 percent among Protestants who describe themselves as very religious.
Among all adults, 79 percent are Christians, 14 percent have no religion, and the rest, 5 percent, are non-Christians. Among Christian groups, Catholics account for 21 percent of adults; evangelical Protestants, 19 percent; and non-evangelical Protestants, 13 percent.
There are fewer differences among religious groups on the question of whether heaven is a physical or spiritual place. Belief that it's a physical place peaks at 22 percent among Protestants who describe themselves as very religious.
Among all Americans, 21 percent think that only people who are Christians can go to heaven. Among the rest, 60 percent think both Christians and non-Christians can get in, 7 percent are unsure and 10 percent don't believe.
"She failed to comply with the flight attendant's instructions, and they were asked to leave the flight," FBI spokeswoman Luz Garcia said without elaborating on the disagreement.
The FBI reviewed a report from Continental after the incident, Garcia said. No charges will be filed, she said.
The flight was delayed more than an hour while the Osteens' luggage was retrieved, Garcia said. The family took another flight to Colorado, where church spokesman Don Iloff said they were skiing Tuesday.
Attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice successfully argued the case on behalf of Mercer County, Ky., and a display of historical documents placed in the county courthouse. The panel voted 3-0 to reject the ACLU's contention the display violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
But yes, there is a catch....
The deal is contingent on winning a license for the city's slot machine casino. Nothing like mixing professional sports and gambling. Just ask Pete Rose.
Besides construction of a casino and a new arena, the development would include a mix of offices, residential units and retail space.
Am I missing something???? Do we have so many people downtown that we really need new housing, offices and shops? Weren't the other two stadiums promised to lift this city out of the hole. I'm still waiting.
The Penguins will team with a yet-unidentified gambling operator and with Nationwide Realty Investors of Columbus, Ohio., to handle development.
The Penguins will not be the applicant for the state license, nor will the team take any profits from the slots casino. Once a new arena is built, it plans to turn ownership over to the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority.
Oh I feel much better now. The S&E authority knows how to manage money. Hah..... This back room deal has been in the works for some time now. They must think we are too stupid to realize when a shady deal is under our nose. STOP GIVING AWAY OUR MONEY!
NBC is promoting the network’s mid-season replacement series “The Book of Daniel” with language that implies it is a serious drama about Christian people and Christian faith. The main character is Daniel Webster, a drug-addicted Episcopal priest whose wife depends heavily on her mid-day martinis.
Webster regularly sees and talks with a very unconventional white-robed, bearded Jesus. The Webster family is rounded out by a 23-year-old homosexual Republican son, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer, and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop’s daughter.
At the office, his lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law.
Network hype – and the mainstream media – call it “edgy,” “challenging” and “courageous.” The hour-long limited drama series will debut January 6 with back-to-back episodes and will air on Friday nights. The writer for the series is a practicing homosexual.
The homosexual son will be network prime-time’s only regular male homosexual character in a drama series.Those at NBC responsible for this program consider it a good, religiously oriented show typical of Christian families.
Let NBC Chairman Bob Wright know what you think.
A group of clergy is planning to gather outside the White House today to ask President Bush to nullify military policies that forbid chaplains from praying in Jesus' name.
According to a statement from the National Clergy Council, Christian leaders from various denominations will hold a news conference outside Lafayette Park just north of the White House to protest what the group calls an "escalating crisis" over chaplain prayer policies.
U.S. women of childbearing age who were surveyed in 2002 revealed that 14 percent of their recent births were unwanted at the time of conception, federal researchers said Monday.
In a similar 1995 survey, only 9 percent were unwanted at the time of conception.
At least one anti-abortion group said the numbers reflect a national “pro-life shift,” while others who research reproductive health issues suggested it might mean less access to abortion.
The latest findings are consistent with the falling rate of abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based nonprofit group that researches reproductive health issues.
The number of U.S. abortion providers fell steadily in the last decade, from 2,400 in 1992 to 1,800 in 2000. The reason is not clearly known, although increasing government restrictions of abortions have made it increasingly difficult to provide the procedure, Finer said.
The new data on unwanted pregnancies was released by the National Center for Health Statistics, which surveyed 7,643 U.S. women on that and many other family planning and reproductive health questions in 2002 and early 2003. The surveyed women were between the ages of 15 and 44.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, issuing his decision in a case that was heard in the fall, ruled that the school board in Dover, Pa., violated the Constitution when it ordered high school biology teachers to read to students a short statement that cast doubt on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and offered intelligent design as an alternative theory on the origin and development of life.
We all remember Hillary Rodham Clinton's charge of a "vast right-wing conspiracy": the allegation that there were a bunch of right-wingers out to get her husband, hoping to impeach him and dance on his grave. Admittedly, there were many such individuals. Mrs. Clinton also correctly identified certain sources in the food chain. Where she was wrong was her allegation of an organized conspiracy.
Now, however, there is a vast left-wing movement to get George W. Bush, an effort never more apparent than on Friday, December 16, 2005, the day after the incredible Iraqi elections.
As someone who has been cautiously optimistic over whether the Middle East could democratize, I was thrilled with the results. It was a huge vindication for Bush, who is now a proven visionary, one that history will not be able to deny.
As for the left, which should be ecstatic over this triumph of Wilsonian idealism, there is a seething rage over George W. Bush's renewed success. "Progressives" were hoping for his ignominy, a crash and burn in Saddam's former Republic of Fear, now en route to an actual republic, a Republic of Promise.
On Friday, I watched anxiously to see how liberal reporters would swallow what was, for them, a terrible political loss. How would they cover this achievement? I hurried to the web to check the reaction of the New York Times, the Grand Central Station for liberal enmity toward the president.
I got my answer: The Times rolled out a gem examining whether the Nixonian George W. Bush has been spying on innocent Americans with the sinister assistance of dark forces at the National Security Agency.
For liberals, it was beautiful. The liberal media nurses at the breast of the New York Times. In this period of ugly, white-hot hatred of the so-called Religious Zealot in Chief, liberals each morning look in eager expectation to the Times for fodder for their cannons, something to satiate their hunger.
Well, on Friday, the Times came through in spades. The rest of the collective media had its ticket to ride-off to the races, so excited and effective that even Rush Limbaugh was forced to devote his broadcast not to the success in Iraq but to responding to the latest Times salvo. The Times' desperate gasp to knock the Iraq triumph from the front pages would be comical if it were not so sad.
The entire spectacle was captured nicely for posterity in a Friday exchange between George W. Bush and Jim Lehrer: Asked about his alleged cabal with the super-secret NSA, which Lehrer duly acknowledged was the headline of the day, a befuddled Bush protested, "It's not the main story of the day. The main story of the day is the Iraqi elections.
"Bush was right: There was no bigger news item than the Iraqi vote. But Lehrer was right, too; the template for the American press had been handed down from the mountaintop in Manhattan. The vast left-wing conspiracy ensured this was so.
To be sure, it is not that the legions of left-wing journalists are sheep who bah-bah in sycophancy to the Times' lead. Rather, they are like modern-day shepherds following the guidance of the Divine Star hovering above Manhattan, where the King lay to offer them political redemption.
This is not a bad analogy, since politics provides the secular left with a means of salvation -- liberals' Daily Bread. On Friday, December 16, the New York Times, the Source and Summit of liberal life, rained manna from heaven. 'Tis the season for giving. Never underestimate the left's reverence for the Times, especially among journalists, for whom getting chosen by the Times is the spiritual equivalent of being selected to the College of Cardinals.
Overall, 2005 might be dubbed the Year of Freedom. In the most unlikely place -- one-time Saddam's Iraq -- the year began with a historic vote in January and ended with another seminal election in December, both of which saw voter turnouts of 60 to 80%, numbers that put American voters to shame, and thereby stunningly affirmed George W. Bush's insistence that Middle East Muslims are capable of democracy.
And yet, last week that great story was cast aside by a politically motivated news article that utterly paled in significance. As adults, it was our job to place the petulance of the Times's editors in proper perspective. The partisan press, however, could not ignore the temper tantrum, and in fact joined in, overwhelmed by an emotionally driven ideology that short-circuits its ability to assimilate reality. The whole mess requires a psychological explanation, really, for which I'm not trained.
Alas, then, therein is how the vast left-wing conspiracy operates. Way to go, New York Times! On a day when humanity took an astonishing step forward, you did not let down your soldiers in the war against George W. Bush. Consider it another notch in the belt for the vast left-wing conspiracy.
Paul Kengor is author of God and George W. Bush. He is also executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College and a visiting fellow with the Hoover Institution. This article first appeared in The American Spectator.
I would rather drive though downtown Baghdad with the top down and the Star Spangled Banner blasting on the radio then try to park at Wal-Mart. In fact, if you make it in, you are likely to see some hand to hand combat as insurgents surround sale items.
I did make it in and after knocking boxes off the top shelf and nearly killing some people in the next isle, I began developing and exit strategy.
Take what I had in my arms, pay for it, and quickly but calmly move toward the exit. I ended up with a pack of gum, a dancing Santa and some tupperware.
Does anybody know where I parked?
"Because I can no longer honestly represent, explain and defend the church's teaching on homosexuality, I feel I must resign," the Rev. Bob Pierson said in an e-mail Wednesday to administrators and students at St. John's and the nearby College of St. Benedict.
The Vatican announced last month that it was toughening its stand against gay candidates for the priesthood, advising that men with "deep-seated" gay tendencies or who "support so-called gay culture" shouldn't be admitted to seminary or ordained. Others with "transitory" homosexual inclinations can be accepted if they have "clearly overcome" them for three years.
Several gay priests are now questioning whether they can continue serving the church. The Rev. Leonard Walker quit his parish assignment in Mesa, Ariz., in protest. The Rev. Thomas J. O'Brien, a Jesuit retreat director from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., disclosed his sexual orientation publicly - a rare step among clergy - saying the Vatican document promotes "bigotry."
Statements on Planned Parenthood Golden Gate's web site strongly indicate that the California Planned Parenthood affiliate could be guilty of being an accomplice to a crime by allowing a rapist to remain free in his community. As first reported on the Dawn Patrol blog, an eleven-year-old girl walked into Planned Parenthood after being forcibly raped by a seventeen-year-old boy. Planned Parenthood's reaction? They did not report the crime nor did they tell the little girl's parents.
Is this Planned Parenthood's idea of looking out for the child's well being? Forcing her to deal with the aftermath of rape without her family's support?
According to California state law Planned Parenthood may be criminally negligible for not reporting the crime and there is a chance the statute of limitations still applies for the rapist. In the guise of protecting an 11-year-old child, Planned Parenthood has instead further made her a victim, while protecting her rapist. According to California state statistics almost 70% of teen births are children of adult men, and teenage girls are twice as likely to have sexually transmitted diseases as teenage boys. Who is watching out for the children? This is standard operating procedure for Planned Parenthood and in this case California's attorney general needs to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
Conrad also obtained a restraining order Wednesday against her partner, saying Peterson punched a hole in the wall during an argument and threatened to harm a friend.
"All I want to say is that the civil union was a big source of pride for me, and now it's not," Peterson said.
The two had been together for five years when they were legally joined in Brattleboro minutes after Vermont's civil-union law took effect on July 1, 2000. Two years ago, the couple were offering relationship advice on the gay-rights Web site.
Wanna have some fun this CHRISTMAS? Send the ACLU a CHRISTMAS CARD! As they are working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday, we should all send them a nice, CHRISTIAN, card to brighten up their dark, sad, little world.
Make sure it says "Merry Christmas" on it.Here's the Address, just don't be rude or crude.
ACLU 125 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
Tons of Christmas cards would freeze their operations because they wouldn't know if any were regular mail containing contributions.. So spend 37 cents and tell the ACLU to leave Christmas alone. Also tell them that there is no such thing as a Holiday Tree. . . . It's a Christmas Tree.
The deputy interior minister, Hussein Kamal, said the Jordanian-born leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was in custody sometime last year, but he wouldn't provide further details, CNN reported.
The report could not be confirmed, but a U.S. official said in Washington that American intelligence believed it was plausible. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in compliance with office policy.
"Don't count me out, brother," Rawls said from his room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "There's been many people who have been diagnosed with this kind of thing, and they're still jumpin' and pumpin'."
The lung cancer was diagnosed a year ago and the brain cancer in May. Rawls, 70, has sold more than 40 million albums and won three Grammys during a career spanning more than four decades.
This photo was taken during the recording of Lou's album, Portait of the Blues, in 1992. He is pictured here with jazz legend Lionel Hampton, who performed on the record, and Billy Vera, who produced the album.
His voice has been described as "sweet as sugar, soft as velvet, strong as steel, smooth as butter." His hits include "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing," "Dead End Street" and "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine." He has also appeared on television shows and in movies, including "Leaving Las Vegas" and "Blues Brothers 2000."
You can write to Lou
Recently, Wal-Mart Corporation announced plans to build a Super Wal-Mart store a few miles outside of the town where I live, Grove City, Pa. In response to Wal-Mart’s plan, a local faith organization held an open showing of a film called “The High Cost of Low Prices” as part of a nationwide release. “The High Cost of Low Prices” is highly critical of Wal-Mart and is filled with examples of how the company exploits its workers and the environment, while not doing enough to protect the safety of its customers. The film also blames competition from Wal-Mart for driving small shops out of business so that attractive and historic downtown areas come to resemble ghost towns.
In response to the outcry against Wal-Mart, the General Assembly of the State of Maryland passed a bill (vetoed by the governor) that would require companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payrolls on health benefits or contribute to the state’s health insurance program for the poor. A number of local governments have also pursued political action to block Wal-Mart from opening new stores.
Many of the criticisms of Wal-Mart could be applied to other corporations that have come to dominate a number of markets due to their innovative practices. Beginning in the first part of the 20th century, large supermarket chains, taking advantage of economies of scale, drove down retail food prices, resulting in thousands of mom and pop grocery stores closing their doors. The same decline of locally owned businesses due to competition from large chains has happened in the restaurant business, home remodeling, consumer electronics, and banking.
Critics argue that Wal-Mart’s behavior is especially reprehensible because they pay low wages and resist unionization of their work force. They also buy more products from China than any other firm, exploiting low-paid Chinese workers, while effectively denying jobs to U.S. manufacturing workers. The fact that Wal-Mart is paying low wages—whether to their U.S. workers or to Chinese workers—ignores the reality that wages in a market economy are determined by supply and demand. Workers voluntarily choose to work for Wal-Mart, which suggests that the wages offered are higher than what they could get working somewhere else. Would these workers be better off if they did not have the opportunity to work for Wal-Mart? If Chinese workers are willing to work for low wages and therefore supply products to Wal-Mart (and ultimately to U.S. consumers) at a lower cost than those products can be produced by American workers, it should be no surprise that U.S. consumers will take advantage of that opportunity.
While many of the criticisms in “The High Cost of Low Prices” do not hold water in light of careful economic analysis, Wal-Mart should not be extolled as a paragon of corporate virtue. The film presents convincing evidence that some Wal-Mart stores have used their market power to take advantage of workers, requiring people to work during breaks without pay. Their careless practices in the storage of garden supplies have led to the pollution of rivers and streams. Another charge is that local governments provide subsidies to new Wal-Mart stores, giving them an advantage over existing local businesses that never received such subsidies.
It is hard to refute the charges of critics that Wal-Mart has engaged in some ethically questionable practices to gain its competitive advantage. Does that mean that Wal-Mart should be prevented from building a new super center near Grove City? To get some kind of law passed that does not allow Wal-Mart to build a super center is to go against fundamental principles that undergird the free enterprise system. Our system is built on private property rights and freedom of contract. As long as Wal-Mart exists as a corporation, they have the same right as any other corporation or individual to acquire property and use that property as they see fit. If they are guilty of unethical practices or of despoiling the environment, the best approach is to enforce laws or implement government policy to prohibit or penalize those harmful actions. It is clearly inappropriate for local government to provide subsidies to help an established corporation expand its local presence, but if taxpayer money is being misused in that way, it is the fault of local politicians, not Wal-Mart.
If you think that Wal-Mart has not been a good corporate citizen, whether or not they have violated any laws, you can refuse to shop there and make sure you do not own any of their stock. Before you join the anti-Wal-Mart crusaders or feel guilty about shopping at Wal-Mart, make sure you consider how Wal-Mart has benefited consumers by lowering prices while providing jobs that many workers obviously consider to be better than any alternative jobs for which they are likely to be hired.
Dr. Tracy Miller is an associate professor of Economics at Grove City College. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Chicago.
In a letter sent to the homosexual advocate leaders attending that meeting, the company explained, “You asked us directly to have Jaguar and Land Rover reverse its plans and advertise in gay and lesbian targeted publications in 2006. As we said, Jaguar and Land Rover made a business decision about their media plans and it would be inconsistent with the way we manage our business to have them to do otherwise. However, it is clear there is a misperception about our intent. As a result, we have decided to run corporate ads in these targeted publications that will include not only Jaguar/Land Rover but all eight of Ford’s vehicle brands.”
Last week, under the impression that Ford had heeded its boycott, the American Family Association (AFA) had announced the cancellation of the boycott. Ford had announced cut-backs from its advertising budget for its money-losing Jaguar and Land Rover divisions, including putting a stop to advertising in homosexual magazines like The Advocate.
Read Ford’s letter to the homosexual groups: http://media.ford.com/pdf/ford_letter.pdf
In United States:Phone: 800-392-3673
Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center
P.O. Box 6248
Dearborn, MI 48126
In Canada:Phone: 800-565-3673
Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited Customer Relationship Centre
P.O. Box 2000
Oakville, Ontario, L6J5E4
Some 94% think God exists. Only 5% feel God "does not exist" -- and even most of them "are not sure" of that. Exactly 1% are certain there is no God.But how strongly do the believers believe? Nearly 8 in 10, in fact, say they are "convinced" God exists, although Gallup does not ask them why that is.
Conservatives are more likely to be convinced than liberals (87% vs. 61%), women a little more likely than men (82% vs. 73%), and residents of the South more than those in the East (88% vs. 70%).Surprisingly, some 61% of those who seldom or never attend church are nevertheless convinced that God exists.The poll sampled 1,002 national adults, Nov. 17-20.
Agreement was reached last night on the outlines of the plan, which has wide support in the Senate, said Republican leader David Brightbill of Lebanon and Democratic leader Robert J. Mellow of Scranton.
However, a major hurdle remains. Whatever comes out of the Senate must be reconciled with a property tax reduction plan being developed by the House. After a 10-hour debate Tuesday night and early yesterday, the House focused on property tax-cutting proposals that increase the state sales tax and expand its base.
If you lower a tax by raising a tax have you acomplished anything? Ponder that one awhile.
Here is a bit of the article:
While online radio is a global phenomenon, there are several interesting online stations in town with a uniquely local flavor.
Shaun Pierce, producer/news director at WORD-FM, hosts an oldies program on Rock-it Radio (rockitradio.net), a site with a collection of on-demand programming. His monthly "Powerball Show" is devoted to '50s and '60s rock, R&B, doo-wop and rockabilly.
"I wouldn't be able to do a radio show where I pick the songs, work when I want to work and have a global audience. Rock-It Radio and the Internet allow me to do just that," says Pierce. "I also discovered there are many songs that were hits only in the Pittsburgh area. I now have the ability to introduce those songs to the world 40 or 50 years after they were first released."
Rev. Ned Reidy, 69, former pastor of Christ of the Desert Roman Catholic parish, is being tried for heresy and schism. Alleged heresies include the denial of the Inerrancy of Sacred Scripture; the Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception, and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and the validity of marriage only between man and woman.
Alleged schism is based upon Reidy's subjection to the hierarchical claims of Mark Shirilau, "Primate" of the Ecumenical Catholic Church, in defiance of the universal jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI. The former pastor is reportedly being judged by an expert panel composed of three judges, all Priests.
Fr. Reidy, in refusing to retract his public denial of defined Dogmata of Divine and Catholic Faith, risks being declared as having automatically excommunicated himself. This means that the accused would be cut off from any hope of salvation, all the Sacraments, and Christian burial according to Roman Catholic Theology, until he were to publicly retract his grave errors, repent, and make amends.
Last year, DE FIDE filed denunciations for Heresy against five Catholics who publicly and notoriously continue to support the "Right-to-Murder" heresy, also known as the Right-to-Choose Abortion: Senators John F. Kerry, Edward M. Kennedy, Susan Collins, Thomas Harkin, and Mr. Mario Cuomo. The equal enforcement of the Code of Canon Law's disciplinary provisions by their respective Bishops is currently awaited. In 1998, Pope Benedict XVI, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declared that the denial of the teaching of the Fifth Commandment condemning every direct and voluntary act of murder constitutes heresy.
Gabriele Kuby, author of the book Harry Potter: Good or Evil, believes the Potter books and the four subsequent movies are "evil" -- and that parents should avoid exposing their children to them.
"The confusion of good and evil, which happens in Harry Potter all the time, is dangerous because it's the foundation of what the Pope calls relativism," Kuby explains. "Relativism means there's no sure criteria for good and evil -- and if that is sunk into the soul, it's dangerous."
Kuby is convinced the Potter phenomenon is a "mockery of Judeo-Christian truth" and says subjecting young students to Harry Potter books in schools is "intolerant." The author believes the Potter series is replete with occult practices as well.
"Any kind of witchcraft, cursing, and so on, is the normal, everyday life in Hogwarts, which is the place Harry and his friends love to be," she says. "And so the youth of this globe, in fantasy, is getting used to using occult methods to exercise power. I think this is dangerous."
In 2003, Kuby received a letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- now Pope Benedict XVI -- in which he endorsed her book and said the Harry Potter phenomenon is "corrupt[ing] the Christian faith and souls."
The card is featured prominently on Planned Parenthood's website with the message, "Send the Gift of Choice!"
With an online donation, Planned Parenthood will "send one of our five Choice on Earth e-cards to your loved ones, to let them know you have made a very special gift in their honor."
The website says the "tax-deductible holiday gift will help Planned Parenthood fight to ensure that women's health and rights are championed across the country – from your local pharmacy to the U.S. Supreme Court."
Jim Sedlak, executive director of American Life League's STOPP International, said The King James version of the Bible states: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"
"By replacing 'peace' with 'choice,' or more accurately, 'killing the innocent on earth,' Planned Parenthood is essentially saying 'abortion on earth,'" Sedlak said. "This blatant mockery of Christian values – and of Christ Himself – truly demonstrates the bigoted, anti-religion, anti-God nature of Planned Parenthood."
Jonathan Baldino used homemade bar codes to buy electronic gadgets at prices far below any legitimate discount. The 19-year-old is facing three counts of being naughty - one of them a Class 5 felony.
Baldino was detained by Target security Wednesday after he purchased a $150 iPod with a bar-code label of $4.99.
Baldino, a freshman electrical-engineering student at the University of Colorado, told police that he made phony bar codes from real bar codes taken from inexpensive merchandise, then glued those bar codes on to big-ticket items. It worked for awhile.
You've seen the TV shows based on mistakes. We all watch and laugh at the poor person who made a fool of themself. Yet it's not just radio and TV folks that manufacture flubs. Writers do it as well.
This correction ran in the Denver Daily News on July 27:
The Denver Daily News would like to offer a sincere apology for a typo in Wednesday's Town Talk regarding New Jersey's proposal to ban smoking in automobiles. It was not the author's intention to call New Jersey 'Jew Jersey.'
Why am I laughing?
Of course there was that whole Newsweek thing that had even the White House seeing red. You know the story about the Koran being flushed. Then Newsweek backed off and said they could not prove it ever took place. That little blunder sparked riots that killed at least 15 people.
That one is not funny.
But in November Reuters reported about the recall of "beef panties."
From the Dallas Morning News:
Norma Adams-Wade's June 15 column incorrectly called Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk a socialist. She is a socialite.
From the New York Times:
An obituary of the civil rights leader James Forman yesterday misstated a word in describing his call, in 1969, for reparations to be paid by Protestant and Jewish groups for the crimes of slavery. Mr. Forman asked for $500 million for crimes perpetrated against generations of blacks, not "by" them.
There is much more but I have to speel cheak this befor I post it.........
Regret the Error
The diocese had argued that it held the property in trust for All Saints Church in Long Beach and St. David's Church in North Hollywood.
Those parishes, along with St. James Church in Newport Beach, pulled out of the Los Angeles Diocese and the 2.3 million-member national Episcopal Church in August 2004 following the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. They said they were placing themselves under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in Uganda.
Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno was among the majority of U.S. Episcopal bishops who voted to endorse the New Hampshire selection.
Los Angeles Diocese officials said Monday they would appeal the ruling by Orange County Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez , just as they appealed his August ruling in favor of the Newport Beach parish.
The Liberty Baptist Church says Mr Hinn's 'crusade' would place an extra financial burden on parents preparing for the start of the new school year.Church pastor Navi Bola said they were concerned about Mr Hinn's record with the US Internal Revenue Service and the growing doubt over the veracity of his "miracle healing''.Mr Bola distributed a media kit containing information about Mr Hinn to the 22 Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Opposition leader Mahendra Chaudhry and the Leader of the House, Jonetani Kaukimoce.
"People will be sacrificing to go and see Benny Hinn and I know some people who are already arranging for buses," he said."He will come next year at a time when people will be preparing for school. I have some members of my church who only earn $70 a week."What a strain this could have on their families."
Pastor Bola said the US tax department would not investigate Mr Hinn for his religious works in Third World countries. He said such nations always fell prey to unscrupulous evangelists claiming they could perform miracles.
Mr Kaukimoce declined to comment on the matter because he could not ascertain the truth behind the "kit" provided by the Baptist Church."It will be better for me if there was an investigation held first before we could pass judgment," Mr Kaukimoce said.
Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck and Multi-Ethnic Affairs Minister George Raj said they had not received any letter from the church.Pastor Bola doubts Mr Hinn's capabilities to heal people, saying he had material that could prove Mr Hinn's miraculous healings were not real."If Benny Hinn comes into Fiji we should take him straight to the CWM Hospital or even to the mortuary to heal those people who really need it most," he said.
State Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon, today took himself out of the race for lieutenant governor in 2006.
Mr. Pippy had frequently been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for the No. 2 spot next year but said he'd rather spend his time on such issues as reducing the size of the Legislature, improving homeland security and strengthening the state's Megan's Law to protect children against molesters.
Judge Donna Jo McDaniel sentenced him to 2 to 4 years in prison and 5 years' probation. He also must register as a sex offender.
"We think that this is justice served," said the victim's father. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does not identify victims of sexual assaults.
Formerly assistant pastor at Christ Church at Grove Farm in Ohio Township, Mr. Valencia pleaded guilty to four felony charges, including one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and three counts of unlawful contact with a minor. He also pleaded guilty to indecent assault, endangering welfare of children and corruption of minors.
Mr. Valencia, 49, was ordained in 1998 as an Anglican priest by a Ugandan diocese. Bishop Robert Duncan of the Episcopal Diocese in Pittsburgh had refused to ordain him, saying he was no longer a practicing Episcopalian.
This Christmas season is just getting stranger as we go. All over the place people are trying to figure out what to say to each other (“Happy holiday(s),” “Merry Christmas,” “Get out of my way, I want that iPod”) and how to talk about the time of year we are in. I tried just saying Happy December to a few people and they just rolled their eyes. I agree; it didn’t do much for me either.
Schools are hotbeds for these kinds of scuffles. One school near Seattle spent $494 to reprint a cafeteria menu that had Merry Christmas on it. The news account in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said, “a new nutrition services employee mistakenly prepared them (the menus) with the greeting ‘Merry Christmas.’” Apparently, the new nutrition services employee missed an important part of the job orientation.
Another Seattle-area school district had a problem with a Christmas tree. Some shrewd people at Medina Elementary are aware that far away from the tolerant halls of the public school, some children still celebrate Christmas. Thus, they put paper mittens labeled with gift ideas on the tree to serve as buying prompts for the students. Children were to take them and bring back the wrapped gifts to distribute to needy children as Christmas presents. Not on tax-payer funded school time of course.
The whole plan was undone by some thoughtless and probably bigoted person who put a star on the top of the tree, thus giving the tree an eerie and palpably offensive resemblance to a religious symbol. Naturally a parent complained and the school staff resourcefully covered up the star on the tree, calling it a “giving tree.” Brilliant.
However, the affront to the sensibilities of the offended parent was not assuaged by this clever subterfuge. And now, the tree is gone. In the nonspecific spirit of the nonspecific season, the school is continuing to distribute paper mittens and accept donations at the counter in the office. The school office manager explained: “We covered the star and called it a giving tree. We hoped it would suffice, but it didn't," Chris Metzger said, "Now we just have a giving counter."
I can hear the school holiday program now. Instead of the strains of “O Christmas Tree,” the children will sing: “O Giving Counter, O Giving Counter, How Shiny is Thy Surface.”
Speaking of catchy and inclusive holiday pageant tunes, a school district in Wisconsin is attracting attention through the singing of a song called “Cold in the Night.” The words are “Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm." These words are supposed to be sung by the children to the tune of “Silent Night” (for those of you who don’t know, or remember, ‘Silent Night” is a Christmas carol).
As poetic as those new lyrics are, I don’t understand the point of singing them. I’ve been to Wisconsin in winter; it is really cold there. Call me crazy but I don’t understand why I would want to break out into festive song about freezing outside, alone and separated from my family. Sounds depressing to me.
All of this holiday happiness got me thinking. What is a holiday anyway?The dictionary reminds us that holiday is derived from two words: holy and day. A holy day. So at root, a holiday is a day set aside for religious observance. Seems like we’ve come full circle. Here’s how I am going to think of it. When folks say “happy holidays,” they are really wishing me a pleasant holy observance. In my tradition, during December, that would be Christmas. I appreciate that. And I will smile to myself knowing that one cannot completely avoid the reason for the season, even when tolerantly trying to do so.
In any case, whatever your holy tradition, here's wishing everyone a Happy Holyday.
Warren Throckmorton, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy with the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City (PA) College. Dr. Throckmorton is past-president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and is the producer of the documentary, I Do Exist about sexual orientation change. His columns have been published by over 70 newspapers nationwide and can be contacted through his website at www.drthrockmorton.com.
Jeff Habay, 39, a six-term Republican lawmaker from Allegheny County, will lose his state pension and could be removed from office by the General Assembly because of the felony conviction for conflict of interest.
A jury found him not guilty of theft of services, which the prosecution said was an alternative charge, but dealt with the same facts.
After the verdict, Habay said the case was the result of a political witchhunt by U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and former Allegheny County executive Jim Roddey, both Republicans.
Habay said he believes Santorum and Roddey were behind the investigation, but he did not elaborate. Santorum and Roddey did not immediately return messages seeking comment Monday.
Habay said he was not sure if he would resign and said he intends to appeal. He faces sentencing on Jan. 30. The standard range of punishment in such a case ranges from probation to 15 months in prison, prosecutors said.
Habay also faces a second trial next year on 21 counts that allege he concocted a story about receiving a suspicious white powder in the mail and directed his staff to investigate his adversaries on state time.
Williams is scheduled for lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. He would be the 12th inmate executed by the state since California reinstated the death penalty in 1977.
Sixty-five religious leaders have joined union activists in asserting that the nation's largest retail chain should "change for the better" this holiday season, a move one union watchdog called a "cynical ploy" intended to "tarnish Wal-Mart's name in time for Christmas."
Leaders of faith representing over 1.3 million Americans (not me!!!) have joined a group sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers union in a nationwide initiative to call on America's largest employer and its CEO, Leo Scott, to "change for the better" this holiday season, according to Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.
As part of this effort, the leaders from a variety of religions signed a joint letter (First one to sign was Jesse Jackson) to Scott that stated: "The holiday season is a time to honor and remember the virtues of hope, love, joy, sharing, sacrifice and faith."During this holy season, we must ask ourselves - at what moral price do we accept the sins of exploitation and greed? Sins, it is sad to say, which are exemplified by one of America's largest and richest corporations, Wal-Mart."
The letter then accused the company of taking part in such "immoral business practices" as exploiting its workers and suppliers by paying employees poverty-level wages, breaking child labor laws and providing poor health care coverage for workers and their families."It is hard to imagine why Wal-Mart would consciously choose to make 1.3 million workers suffer in the name of 'low prices,' a suffering we can no longer let stand," the religious leaders added.
WAIT A SECOND! None of these people are slaves. You take or leave the job and the pay package offered. If Wal-Mart is so bad, then why do 1.3 million people choose to work there?
The group then invoked the Christmas season by stating that "Jesus would not embrace Wal-Mart's values of greed and profits at any cost, particularly when children suffer as a result of those misguided values."Those of us who are Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist also have scriptures that remind us that God is just and God's servants must practice justice in all of our words and deeds," the letter continued."As we prepare to celebrate our own holiday traditions, we also ask ourselves: Is it right to shop at Wal-Mart? Would our God want us to support Wal-Mart's values and actions with our dollars?"It is within your power to become a truly responsible, ethical and righteous company," the letter concluded. "In the end, there is no better present Wal-Mart could give to its workers, their families and America than to change for the better this holiday season."
So no matter what faith you have, your God would side with the unions. Forget that God has blessed Wal-Mart with fantastic growth and provided 1.3 million people with jobs.
In addition, WakeUpWalMart.com is airing a 30-second TV advertisement in six southern states to highlight the corporation's moral failures and raise the question "Should People of Faith Shop at Wal-Mart?" this holiday season."It is our sincere hope Wal-Mart will choose the higher road and become a moral example that all people of faith can embrace proudly," Blank said.The corporation reacted swiftly to the charges."Surely, many Americans are deeply offended that union leadership would use religion as just another tactic in the negative attack campaign they're waging against a company that donates more money to good works than any other company in America," Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman
Shop or don't shop at Wal-Mart. But don't use God and my faith to guilt me in to supporting your cause.