9,000 and counting

9000 of you have gazed upon the pages of Powerblog! Not bad seeing as this site has never been mentioned on the air. It is only by word of mouth or invite that most find this site. It's is hard to find time to devote to Powerblog! so the response I get from all of you is what encourages me to do this. I thank all of you for your comments. I ask that you help spread the word about Powerblog! and please take a moment to click on the sponsors. When you do you help support Powerblog!

Blessing to you all,

Shaun "Powerball" Pierce

Married to the Church

A firestorm erupted toward the end of Friday's show. Marty asked and insisted on my opinion of married clergy. I have said it before here, but never on the air and never directly to Marty. I do not believe that any true Pastor should be married or have children. I base this on 1 Cor. 7:32-34. If you are married you have divided heart. You must place you wife and family first. Therefore, those you pastor are not your top priority (unless you neglect your duties to your family) and when we are talking about saving souls, second or third place is unacceptable.

I have a ton of email about this. One wrote and said in 1 Tim. 3:2-3 it says "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach. "
Then he says, "Clergy are allowed and even expected to be married".

A Bishop is "married" to the church. The word "husband" means "master of the house" therefore, the Bishop is to be master of the house of God. You should not divide devotion between your wife, children and the people you pastor. That is what the husband of one wife means. We are told is better to remain unmarried, so clergy would never be expected to marry.

Mark 10:8 says when a man and women marry they are no longer two, but one. Now, if it is unbiblical to have women in church leadership roles, then how can one justify married clergy? The two are one and the man leads a church. That means the women also leads the church. Maybe not offically or directly but she will have infulence. This is where one must pick and choose what scripture to accept and reject in order to defend a married pastor.

I would agree it is not commanded in scripture, however it's matter of choosing Church leaders who are adequate or the best. We are told it is best to stay unmarried. We allowed to marry if we can not control ourselves, "for it is better to marry than to burn with passion". (1 Cor.7:9) If one can not "control himself" is he to lead the church? I'm not faulting marriage here, but I maintain a man is called to either marry or to the ministry. Even with the best of intentions, when one attempts to do both they carry a divided heart

Wise Decision Pete

City Controller Tom Flaherty announced he will not run for the Democratic nomination for mayor.
Flaherty said he was seriously considering a run but decided he did not want the job.
For those of you palying along at home, that leaves one official candidate Allegheny County Prothonotary Michael Lamb. Bob O'Connor has all but annouced and City Councilman William Peduto likely will make some kind of announcement next week. Republican Party officials are seeking a candidate. Anyone interested?

We Don't Need No Education

Reprinted from NewsMax.com

A state lawmaker introduced legislation designed to prevent the theory of evolution from being taught in Georgia's classrooms. The bill by Republican Rep. Ben Bridges requires only "scientific fact" be taught in public schools - in his mind ruling out the theory of evolution. "It's in the book that it's a theory, but these teachers teach it like it's a fact," he said. "Let's teach them the truth or don't teach them anything."
The bill appears to face long odds. Democrats in the Legislature blasted the proposal - particularly the measure's use of the word "theory" to suggest evolution is an unproven assumption. "You mean, like the theory of gravity?" quipped Democratic Rep. Tom Bordeaux.
In November, a suburban Atlanta school district was put on trial for placing a disclaimer on science books calling evolution "a theory, not a fact." Judge Clarence Cooper ruled this month the disclaimers must be removed because they tacitly endorse the religious belief of creationism, even though it's not specifically mentioned. The Cobb County school board is appealing.
A year ago - nearly 80 years after the landmark Scopes Monkey Trial in neighboring Tennessee - Georgia's schools superintendent also caused an uproar when she proposed to replace the word "evolution" with "changes over time" in the state's science curriculum. The proposal was quickly dropped amid widespread criticism.
Lawmakers in Kansas on Thursday also wrestled with how to teach evolution.
There, efforts to expose students to stronger criticisms of evolution were rebuffed by a committee rewriting science education standards _ setting up a potential confrontation with the conservative-minded State Board of Education.
The committee, appointed by the state board, is revising Kansas' standards for science education, which currently describe evolution as a key concept students should learn.
While reviewing the committee's work in December, some members of the state board questioned whether the committee had properly considered views about teaching creationism or intelligent design.
"Hidden in back, behind all of this, is their belief there's been some supernatural creation," said committee member Jack Krebs, a high school math teacher.
The state board is expected to review the committee's recommendations in April.

Money For Nothing

(CNSNews.com) - The presidential election is long over, but for taxpayers, there is still some unfinished business: Some U.S. lawmakers -- including Sens. John F. Kerry and John Edwards -- received thousands of dollars in salary overpayments for being away from their jobs in 2003 and 2004, a taxpayer watchdog group says.According to the National Taxpayers Union, an obscure federal statute that's still on the books requires lawmakers absent from Congress to forfeit their pay unless they or a family member are ill.Congressional leaders have not enforced the law, and rank-and-file lawmakers are reluctant to comply, the NTU said."Members of Congress claim they follow the laws that apply to everyone else, but our research shows that many senators and representatives won't even follow laws that apply explicitly to themselves," said NTU President John Berthoud. "Worse, taxpayers covered the bill for several Members of Congress who were trolling for votes at the polls instead of casting votes in Washington." NTU said its study is based on missed-vote data from Congressional Observer Publications. The NTU analysis counted absences only if every floor vote was missed on any given day; and it says only lawmakers with more than 10 full days of absences were included in the report. NTU said it has sent letters to lawmakers named in the study, asking them to review NTU's record of their absences, make any corrections, and inform NTU of how they intend to comply with the law. According to NTU, the "chronically absent" list "is filled with presidential and vice presidential candidates," including Sens. John Kerry, (D-Mass.), John Edwards (D-N.C.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). House Members running for Senate seats also were also prominent on the list: They include Brad Carson (D-Okla.), Mac Collins (R-Ga.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Pete Deutsch (D-Fla.), Joseph Hoeffel (D-Pa.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Chris John (D-La.), Denise Majette (D-Ga.), George Nethercutt (R-Wash.), and Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.). From January 2003 to the October 2004 recess, John Kerry missed 146 days of votes without being granted leave, the NTU study shows. His total salary overpayment was $90,932.68, NTU said.Sen. John Edwards, Kerry's running mate, compiled 102 days of unexcused absences during that period, for an overpayment of $63,543.16, NTU said.Presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt's missed days cost taxpayers $81,362.53 in excessive pay. NTU also notes that Gephardt was absent for 85 of the 109 days that the House cast votes in the year 2003 alone. Combined with 2004, Gephardt had the highest unexcused absence rate in the House, at 131 days, NTU's analysis said.NTU notes that 2 U.S. Code 39 requires the secretary of the Senate and the chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives to deduct congressional salary for days of unexcused absences. Although compliance has been sparse, it is not non-existent. In 1971 Rep. Edwin Edwards abided by the "no work, no pay" law while running for Louisiana governor, NTU said."Incumbent politicians already enjoy too long a list of taxpayer-financed perks," Berthoud concluded. "Members of Congress and Congressional leaders should stop ignoring the no work no pay law and make compliance with it their first job duty, before another election cycle allows the shirking to begin all over again." NTU is describes itself as a non-partisan citizen group working for lower taxes, smaller government, and more accountability from elected officials.

Georgia On My Mind

Worldnetdaily is reporting:

Without the blessing of his own party, a Republican Georgia legislator has introduced a bill outlawing nearly all abortions in the state.
Rep. Bobby Franklin put forth the legislation Tuesday despite criticism from fellow Republican members of the state House.
According to a report in the Marietta Daily Journal, Franklin says his bill stand a better chance this year than last because the Democrats no longer control state government.
"If you don't have hope, you don't have any business being up here," he said, responding to criticism that his bill is likely dead in the water.
House members slammed the bill, saying it runs afoul of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
"This is just extreme and irresponsible," Rep. Rob Teilhet, a Democrat, told the paper. "It's flagrantly unconstitutional, and I'm just not sure what the point is."
Teilhet says Georgians "should ask themselves if they want legislators who propose legislation to make a point or if they propose a bill that really is about making life better."
Franklin's legislation prohibits abortion in all cases except when the mother's life is in danger and also makes it a felony for any doctor to perform the procedure.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Franklin introduced a bill in 2003 to require women getting abortions to secure a death warrant from the courts.

The Right Was Wrong

The new Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter keeps appearing in the news. He has already ticked off many who supported him with controversial staff hires, statements and policy positions. Those of you who read Powerblog! know that his nomination was strongly opposed and it was a disappointment to learn Sen. Santourm supported Spector against his conservative opponent Pat Toomey. There is talk of punishing fellow Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum for backing Specter's candidacy for the Judiciary chairmanship. Santorum himslef will have a tough reelection fight in 2006 against Bob Casey Jr.
Specter this week went back on his word to Republican caucus members and conservative groups when he hired Hannibal Kemerer, the former assistant general counsel with the NAACP, and Carolyn Short, who is married to Joe Torsella, who ran as a Democrat in Pennsylvania for Congress. Specter hired both to serve as counsels on the committee. These two are liberals who have been opposed to the President and other republicans in th past. Since they were hired by Spector, I'm told they will have open access to all files, notes and meetings conducted by conservative republicans. Senate Democrats have already asked for new hearings on resubmitted nominees. Some are attempting to figure out what can be done to have Specter removed as chairman but as we all know, once you cast your vote you must live with the results.

Thoughts on Terri

For some time now a woman in Florida has captured the attention of people across this country. People who have never met Terri Schiavo, who was raised in the Philadelphia suburb of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., and suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped, have followed her story.

We have seen on the nightly news the division that has developed between her husband and her parents. We have witnessed Governor Bush take action to save this woman who went without any nutrition for almost 7 days while everyone else was trying to figure out what Terri would want.

Terri has sparked debate among most of us on issues of euthanasia, the right to die, living wills, quality of life and the duty of our spouse and family in a time where medical decisions cannot be made ourselves. How many of us have asked a loved one “what would your wishes be” after hearing Terri’s story?

We have had to ask ourselves where to draw the line in sustaining life and prolonging death. Should food and nutrients be considered artificial life support if delivered by a tube? What decision would we make?

There are no easy answers to all of this. However, it is my belief that we are all put here on this earth for a reason. No matter who you are or what you believe, you do have a purpose. Some people remind us that evil does really exist; others challenge us to live our life as Christ taught us. Yet if we are alive, in any state, we all serve a purpose.

We must all understand, no one can overrule the will of God. Not through the court, not through medical technology, not by any means. Terri Schiavo has caused us all to think about ourselves in a way most of us never have. She has caused us to discuss an uncomfortable subject with our loved ones. It may just be that God has used Terri Schiavo to remind us that all life has meaning. Not bad for someone in a “persistent vegetative state”.

Radio on TV

UPDATE: The program will air Thursday (1/27) at 5:00pm on PCN. Check your local listings for channel info.

We taped the first part of our program Wednesday to air on PCN. Our in studio guest is Dorn Checkly. He heads up the Pittsburgh Coalition Against Pornography and will be sharing some interesting things that have developed out the courts right here in Pittsburgh. Be sure to listen and for those of you will cable, keep an out out for "The Marty Minto Show" on PCN. It will be seen across the state.

Marriage, Disintegrating

Michael Medved wrote the following piece for "Beyond the News"

Advocates for same-sex marriage argue that sanctioning the love of gay partners won’t harm the existing institution of man-woman matrimony, but an Episcopal priest in New Haven, Connecticut dramatically undermined this contention.

Rev. Michael F. Ray has banned all wedding ceremonies in his church—including the wedding of his own daughter—until his denomination authorizes gay marriage. He demands that brides and grooms “stand in solidarity with same-sex couples so they understand what it’s like not to have that privilege.”

In other words, he’s willing to shatter wedding plans for an entire community to push radical restructuring of the family unit. Rev. Ray previously engaged in his own radical restructuring when he left his wife and three children to publicly enter a relationship with another man.

An activist who’s proud of breaking up his family—and blocks wedding plans for loving young couples—cannot plausibly claim to support the institution of marriage.

March for Life

Washington DC

It's was a cold morning as we boarded the bus at 5:30am and headed to DC for the March for Life. These days I'm spending more time in DC than Pittsburgh. It was great to be surrounded by 100,000 others fighting for a culture of life. President Bush spoke to us by phone. We heard encouragement from Melissa Hart, Norma Corvey and the parents of Terri Schiavo. Please keep Terri in your prayers. The courts are paving the way to end her life. The picture above is us in front of the supreme court. Let's hope the message outside makes it inside the hearts and minds of those who rule. Thanks to everyone who made the effort to support this important event. I hope to see many more of you next year and please keep up the fight all year long. I should be back to regular posting as soon as I'm caught up with everything.

Catholic Priest Abducted

Gunmen kidnapped the head of the Catholic Christian community in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Monday as he was walking in front of his church, a priest said.
The gunmen forced Bishop Gorgis into a car and drove away, the priest said on condition of anonymity. The bishop was walking in front of the Al-Bishara church in Mosul's eastern neighborhood of Muhandeseen when he was abducted.The reason for the kidnapping was unclear, but Christians - tens of thousands of whom live in and around Mosul - have been subjected to attacks in the past.The priest did not have further details.Christians make up just 3 percent of Iraq's 26 million people. The major Christian groups in Iraq include Chaldean-Assyrians and Armenians. There are small numbers of Catholics.Officials estimate that as many as 15,000 Iraqi Christians have left the country since August, when four churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul were attacked in a coordinated series of car bombings. The attacks killed 12 people and injured 61 others. Another church was bombed in Baghdad in September.

Here We Go Update

Update: U.S. commandos are operating inside Iran selecting sites for future air strikes. In the New Yorker magazine, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says intelligence officials have revealed that Iran is the Bush administration's "next strategic target". Hersh says that American special forces have conducted reconnaissance missions inside Iran for six months. But the White House has described his article as "riddled with inaccuracies". The authorities in Islamabad have also denied Hersh's charge that the special forces were working with a group of Pakistani scientists who had contact with Iranian colleagues. An intelligence official, quoted by Hersh, said Washington had given Islamabad an assurance in exchange for information that it would not have to hand over AQ Khan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear programme who last year admitted to illegally transferring nuclear secrets.

As previously reported on Powerblog!, President Bush made clear his intentions to go after the 3 countries he listed in his "axis of evil" speech. Iraq, Iran and North Korea. First on the list has been tackled. The following report indicates Bush is about ready for number 2 on the list....

U.S. military warplanes flew over Iranian air space, raising Tehran's concerns preparations are being made to knock out its nuclear facilities, according to Iranian news media reports.
The U.S. jets reportedly flew out of bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, with the latest coming Saturday when a fighter buzzed at low altitude an area in the northeastern province of Khorrasan, which borders Afghanistan. Other reports of overflights cited intrusions by F-16 and F-18 fighters over the southwestern province of Khuzestan, which borders southern Iraq. Papers said the planes appeared to be spying on nuclear sites.
The U.S. military was silent on the veracity of the reports. However, one source said he would not be surprised if the reports were accurate, given the building international tensions over the state of Iran's nuclear weapons program. "The circular maneuvering of the two American fighters indicated them as carrying out spying sorties and controlling the borders," said an Iranian official. Less than a week earlier, Iranian air force chief Brig. Karim Qavami was quoted as having ordered his forces to open fire and shoot down any unidentified aircraft violating the country's airspace. In August, five U.S. warplanes entered Iranian airspace from the southwestern Shalamcheh border and overflew Khorramshahr. Iranian military specialists believe the intrusions are designed to assess the capabilities of Iran's anti-aircraft defenses.
Army chief Gen. Mohammad Salimi also said the Iranian air force has been ordered to defend the country`s nuclear sites in the event of an attack. Such statements have raised the stakes in a war of words amid foreign press speculation about possible Israeli and American attack on Iran`s nuclear facilities. Iranian military commanders have warned of grave consequences if any such attack takes place.

Now The Lutheran Church Falls

A Lutheran task force handed a victory to homosexual rights groups yesterday by recommending that although the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America should not change its policy against ordaining homosexual clergy, it should not censure churches that break the rule. But "those who feel conscience-bound to call people [as pastors] in committed same-sex unions should refrain from making the call a media event either as an act of defiance or with the presumption of being prophetic," the task force warned. The 14-member task force pronounced itself conflicted and unable to agree about how the ELCA should proceed. What emerged in their report was a compromise in which congregations could hire homosexual clergy without making this the official policy in the 4.9-million-member denomination. The compromise came as three recommendations:

That Lutherans "learn to live together faithfully," while disagreeing, thus avoiding the splits over homosexuality that have dominated the Episcopal Church, which has shared sacraments, clergy and ministry with the ELCA since 2001.
That the ELCA continue to have no official policy on same-sex unions, but "respect" a 1993 ELCA bishops' statement that does not approve such ceremonies as official church acts;
That the denomination not discipline churches that hire homosexual clergy, nor the clergy themselves. At least 14 openly homosexual seminarians or clergy serve in ELCA churches, according to the San Francisco-based Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries. Several ELCA bishops raised red flags about the report, which will be debated and voted on in August at the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly in Orlando, Fla. Bishop H. Gerard Knoche of the Delaware-Maryland Synod called it "a policy change even though it claims not to be" from current ELCA policy that allows people with homosexual attractions to be ordained, but expects that they remain celibate. Bishop James Mauney of ELCA's Virginia Synod said he did not see "a basis for affirming homosexual behavior within Scripture or our Lutheran confessions." He added, "Nowhere do I see in the Scriptures where Jesus condones the practice of the tax collectors or the woman caught in adultery or the life of the rich young ruler, though we are told he loves him in the Gospel of Mark." The report follows the general drift of other mainline Protestant denominations to loosen their policies on homosexual clergy and same-sex unions. The Episcopal Church already has ordained a practicing homosexual bishop and allows same-sex ceremonies in several dioceses, and the Presbyterian Church USA is deferring a final decision on such issues until 2006. Those two churches have lost more than 1.5 million members combined in recent decades. The ELCA has lost 300,000 members since 1999. Among Lutherans, "we found no consensus in the church on this matter," said New England Synod Bishop Margaret Payne, chairman of the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality. She cited a 2004 poll of 28,000 Lutherans, in which 38 percent opposed the blessing of same-sex unions and hiring homosexual clergy; 18 percent approved it; 14 percent said homosexuals should be welcomed as parishioners, but not hired as clergy nor should their unions be blessed; 12 percent were undecided; and the others gave mixed responses. Thus, she added, the task force decided to treat ordination of homosexual pastors as valid dissent. "It acknowledges the validity of conscientious objection and honors that," she said. "Because of that, discipline will not be enforced. It's a new dimension of respect ... based on individual conscience." The task force cited Martin Luther, the founder of the denomination, as the paragon of individual conscience because of his statement at the Diet of Worms in 1521. The church reformer told the Diet -- a church court -- that he was bound in conscience to the Bible and that "it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience." However, yesterday's report did not go far enough for the Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation, a consortium of six homosexual groups. Although one spokesman for the alliance privately conceded that the report "leaves a lot of wiggle room," its official statement expressed "dismay and deep sadness" at remaining strictures within the 32-page report. "We remain committed to the removal of discriminatory policies that violate our calls to ministry and marginalize our relationships," spokeswoman Emily Eastwood said. Bishop Theodore F. Schneider of the ELCA's Metropolitan Washington Synod said the report "raises many more questions and problems than it answers. "I am not quite sure how the churchwide assembly can be asked to affirm the constitution, bylaws, policies and practices of this church and not expect that they be applied fairly and evenly," he added.

Do You Have Bad Credit. Call the Federal Loan Dept!

US Airways will have the cash it needs to keep flying through June after a bankruptcy judge approved a deal Thursday between the struggling airline and the federal Air Transportation Stabilization Board.
An interim financing deal had been set to expire Saturday, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Mitchell gave his blessing to an extension through June 30.
By then, the airline, the nation's seventh-biggest carrier, hopes it will have found a new investor to provide hundreds of millions of dollars needed to emerge from bankruptcy protection.
The extension comes after US Airways, a unit of US Airways Group Inc., extracted more than $800 million in annual concessions from its labor unions. Most unions reluctantly agreed to accept pay and benefit cuts, but Mitchell last week imposed an estimated $269 million in concessions on the International Association of Machinists when that union failed to reach a deal.
US Airways said it needed those savings to persuade the ATSB to extend the financing agreement. The airline had previously warned it would likely have been forced to liquidate if it had not obtained an extension.

No WMD's Found... Sort Of

Already the "I told you so's" are rolling in my email box. Bush lied there was no real reason to go to war! Even the President said "I felt like we'd find weapons of mass destruction - like many here in the United States, many around the world. We need to find out what went wrong in the intelligence gathering." Now I can admit when I've been duped and I will admit when I am wrong but I'm not willing to do either in this case. Here is why..
All we hear is what we didn't find. It's rare we are told what we DID find in the search for banned weapons in Iraq - starting with 1.8 tons of partially enriched uranium. According to the Energy Dept. the United States removed from Iraq nearly two tons of uranium and hundreds of highly radioactive items that could have been used in a dirty bomb. Yeah, yeah but that's it right? Nope! Don't forget the discovery of Sarin gas-filled artillery shells. For those that still say Saddam was not hiding anything how about those 30 Iraqi jet fighters that weapons searchers found buried in the sand near Baghdad. I'm no aviation expert but I don't think you bury a plane when it's not in use. Not to metion the thousands of men, women and children we found buried in mass graves. President Bush needs only to explain what we did find. While his opponents need to realize, if Saddam would kill his own people, what do you think he would do to us?

UN believable, UN Godly

The United Nations has launched a series of 20 animated TV ads to stop the spread of AIDS, featuring cartoon condoms named Shaft, Stretch and Dick. (Yes I'm serious!) Available in 41 languages, the U calls The Three Amigos ad campaign the "start of the world's largest integrated behavior modification program." The condom characters are pictured in a variety of settings, including a spaceship, soccer field and casino.
A spot called "Talk," which features the three condoms on a couch interviewed by a TV talk host, reads like this:
INTERVIEWER: And you never try for sex on the first date?
DICK: Never, we just ... talk [nervous laugh]
SHAFT: Yeah, about stuff, and everything. [As female audience begins booing].
STRETCH: You see, manhood today, it's like a spirtual thing. [Audience booing grow louder]
INTERVIEWER: Yeah right, evolved men. Give me a break. [Audience cheers].
VOICE OVER: Trust your insticts, not your date. Carry a condom. Stop the spread of AIDS.
The spaceship spot has the Amigos as astronauts on a rumbling launchpad inside a condom-shaped craft as it builds power to liftoff while a female voice, apparently mimicking orgasmic sounds, counts down. The launch suddenly aborts and the voice over at the end tells viewers: "No condom, no blastoff. Stop the spread of AIDS."
The soccer ad says: "You just can't score without a condom."
The U.N. says the "groundbreaking HIV/AIDS prevention strategy" is strongly supported by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has called the TV spots "a powerful communicating tool." Tutu has written an open letter to broadcasters around the world with "an impassioned plea" to "use these PSAs. They cannot be played enough."

Editors Note: Archbishop Tutu also said about homosexulaity: "For us that doesn't make a difference, the sexual orientation. In our Church here in South Africa, the Anglican Church in South Africa, that doesn't make a difference. We just say that at the moment we believe that they should remain celibate and we don't see what all the fuss is about."

Sports Illustrated Trade

We talked about this ont he show and I've had some request so I'm post the info. Thanks to Roy for the tip!

Roy writes:
Each year I throw my unread swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated in the trash but yet I don’t cancel my subscription as I enjoy many of the articles during the year as a confirmed sports junkie. This week’s edition to my surprise contained a small paragraph that said “if you don’t want he swimsuit issue call and we will delete it and extend your subscription one week. The number to call is 1-866-228-1175 it is simple and took only a minute or two.My point is that while for the life of me I don’t understand how swimsuits comprise a sport, I do realize that it does is sell magazines, I was grateful to be able to do something no mater how small to not be a part of what I feel inappropriate. I do not consider myself a prude nor think this miniscule action will change the world but it is an opportunity to make a point. With the power of Salem communications perhaps if you did a station wide PSA enough people would call SI to cancel that issue and we could put our collective voices heard.

Roy Laux

No Shame

This boggles my mind and to be blunt really ticks me off! A man who collected $68,000 from a charity by falsely claiming his boyfriend died in the World Trade Center attacks has pleaded guilty to grand theft.
Patric Henn, 29, entered his plea Wednesday and admitted making up the story to steal from the American Red Cross. What in the heck is the Red Cross doing giving donated money to unmarried, unrelated people anyway? It gets better... Read on.
Henn could face up to 15 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for Jan. 19. He told Circuit Judge Marc Gold that that he thought pleading guilty to the charge was the right thing to do. He suddenly wants to do the right thing. The plea was not part of a deal with prosecutors. Henn is accused of telling the Red Cross, the media and others that his domestic partner, Jeff John Anderson, was on his way to visit a brokerage firm in the World Trade Center about 45 minutes before the 2001 attacks.
Anderson's name does not appear on any official victims lists and authorities do not believe such a person exists. What???? Nobody checked this out before they tossed $68,000 to this guy! Henn was arrested in June 2003 in Dallas and transferred to Florida. Henn's attorney, Dorothy Ferraro, said she will ask for the first-time felony offender to receive probation. She declined to discuss Henn's plea. This guy has no morals, no compassion for real victims and no shame what so ever. As well, the Red Cross better do a self examination on who they choose to "help" or generous people will not so easily part with their money.

Here is a bonus from the Scumbag file: In the first arrest in a national crackdown on bogus tsunami relief promotions, the FBI took a Carrick man into custody this morning and charged him with ripping off donors through an e-mail solicitation. Matthew Schmieder, 24, was arrested early this morning and appeared before a federal magistrate this afternoon in U.S. District Court, Downtown. Schmieder is accused of sending out spam solicitations for relief money by copying part of the Web site of a legitimate charity in his e-mails. The FBI recently said it was investigating dozens of bogus Web sites that prey on potential tsunami donors by mimicking sites of well-known charities.

You're Welcome

Update: The Virginia-based missionary group WorldHelp has dropped its plans to place 300 Muslim "tsunami orphans" in a Christian children's home, the group's president, the Rev. Vernon Brewer, told news agencies Thursday. The children were still in the Muslim province of Aceh and had not been airlifted to Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, according to an e-mail under Brewer's name circulating Thursday among his supporters.

Indonesia told foreign troops helping tsunami victims to get out of the country soon and defended tough new restrictions on aid workers, while nations prepared to freeze Jakarta's debt repayments. Indonesia's foreign debt comes to about 132 billion dollars, and the country is looking at three billion dollars in payments this year to service that debt. Vice President Yusuf Kalla said foreign troops should leave tsunami-hit Aceh province on Sumatra island as soon as they finish their relief mission, staying no longer than three months. The armed forces of Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States have all rushed task forces to Aceh in the wake of the December 26 disaster which killed at least 106,500 Indonesians. But their presence in Indonesian territory has been a sensitive issue for the world's largest Muslim-populated nation which has traditionally kept foreign military, particularly the United States and Australia, at arm's length. The emergency phase of the tsunami relief effort in Aceh is not moving fast enough and is likely to last three more months, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special humanitarian envoy said Wednesday.

Maybe that's just their way of saying thank you.

Seeing the Light

There was nothing surprising about the pope's forceful condemnation of same-sex marriages earlier this week. After all, they clearly run counter the Roman Catholic understanding of marriage as a sacrament.
But by making this statement so unequivocally before 174 ambassadors accredited at the Holy See, John Paul II simply confirmed that he is the leader of the majority of faithful Christians struggling against a lethal heresy threatening all denominations worldwide.
"He is the world leader of orthodox Christians of every tradition," said Robert Benne, a Lutheran theologian teaching at Roanoke College in Salem, Va.
Nobody has castigated the menace to the Christian Church by North American and European preachers of a theology of carnal lust more energetically than Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Anglican primate of Nigeria.
He condemned priestly blessings of same-sex unions and the consecration of an openly homosexual prelate as Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire as a "Satanic attack on the church."
The palpable dismissal of Scripture by elements of the very institution called to propagate the Gospel is ripping the Christian church asunder almost everywhere north of the equator.
In Germany just recently, the synod (parliament) of the large state-related territorial church of Hesse-Nassau just elected a lesbian as the equivalent of deputy bishop even though she has been "wedded" to another woman in a religious service. This church is the official Protestant denomination in a geographical area that includes such major centers as Frankfurt and Darmstadt. At the same time, the Lutheran bishop of Saxony in the former East Germany resolutely refused to allow the ecclesial blessing of same-sex unions in his territory.
The two organizations belong to the same umbrella group, the Evangelical Church in Germany. But on a key issue they are on opposite sides of a growing divide: The Saxons are de facto with the pope and Akinola; the Hessians with Vicki Gene Robinson, the openly homosexual bishop for New Hampshire of a denomination for which the nickname "Episcopagan" has recently popped up in the Christian Challenge, a gutsy orthodox Anglican magazine.
"Today the family is often threatened by social and cultural pressures which tend to undermine its stability," John Paul II told the ambassadors. "But in some countries the family is also threatened by legislation which - at times directly - challenge its natural structure, which is and must necessarily be that of a union between a man and a woman founded on marriage. ...
"Families must never be undermined by laws based on a narrow and unnatural vision of man."
This statement shows that where the family is concerned, Bible-believing Christianity has progressed considerably from past conflicts between the Catholic/Eastern Orthodox interpretation of marriage as a sacrament, and the Protestant view that marriage is an order of creation, along with vocation and the state.
The pope did not speak of marriage just as a sacrament but in a way faithful Protestants can concur with if they affirm Luther's definition of marriage as a union between two human beings participating in God's own creative power.
Seen this way, marriage is a means by which living souls come into being, souls whom God promises access to his kingdom. Thus marriage truly serves God's kingdom yet theologically comes under natural law because it is not reserved to Christianity but exists throughout mankind.
Therefore the pope's condemnation of same-sex marriages conforms easily to these profoundly Protestant tenets. More than that, it also addresses the convictions of people of other faiths who according to the apostle Paul have God's law -natural law, that is - "written on their hearts" (Romans 2:15).
But where Christians are involved, Luther went far beyond the view of marriage as something governed by natural law. To him, marriage as the great opportunity for man to stand fast in his relationship with God by practicing neighborly love, which is what the theology of "calling" is all about: Man is called to his various vocations, including that of a spouse and parent, to serve his neighbor.
In the final analysis, marriage is from this theological perspective an academy where man learns to overcome selfishness. On the other hand, raising selfishness to a theological "virtue" amounts precisely to the "Satanic attack" pilloried by Archbishop Akinola and, implicitly, now by the pope.
The "virtue of selfishness," especially in the sexual realm, has wreaked havoc within all denominations: Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran - and, yes, Roman Catholic as well. It has divided faithful Christians in the global South from their narcissistic coreligionists in the global North.
Scripture and commonsense will tell you that this is a folly. Where the theology of the Self is preached as the guiding principle, empty sanctuaries, rapidly shrinking denominations and a de-Christianized populace are the logical consequence.
Where the opposite occurs, an 84-year old cripple, who more often than not cannot even finish a speech, is readily accepted as leader - even by those whose predecessors once thought of the pope as the Antichrist.

And The Winner Is.....

Lottery Officials Announce Winner of $93.4 Million Powerball(R) Jackpot From Dec. 8Family Members Share Second-largest Prize In PA Lottery History

The Pennsylvania Lottery today announced that WLT Trust and its beneficiaries, Florence Ayers, 69, of Harmony, Butler County; her son James Ayers, 41, of Mars, Butler County; and her daughter Sharon Kreindel, 48, of Beachwood, Ohio, are the winners of the Dec. 8, 2004 Powerball(R) jackpot worth a $171.4 million annuity or $93.4 million cash. The Ayers family has selected the cash option and will receive a one-time payment of $93,428,155.06, less 25 percent federal withholding from the Pennsylvania Lottery.
The Ayers family's sole jackpot-winning ticket matched all five white balls, 13-17-35-45-50, and the red Powerball(R), 02, in the Dec. 8, 2004, drawing. Pennsylvania sold four winning Powerball(R) jackpot tickets in 2004; winning tickets were also sold in Pennsylvania for the May 8, May 29 and Dec. 22 drawings.
The Ayers family presented the winning ticket at Lottery Headquarters in Middletown, Dauphin County on January 10, after consulting with legal counsel. After examining the ticket and executing other propriety security measures, Lottery officials confirmed that it was the winning ticket.
The winning computer-selected ticket was purchased at the Country Food Mart in New Castle, Lawrence County, on Dec. 8. The retailer receives a $100,000 bonus for selling the jackpot-winning ticket. Russell DeMatteo, owner of the Country Food Mart, plans to share some of the bonus with his employees.
The Dec. 8, 2004, $171.4 million Powerball(R) jackpot is the second- largest prize in PA Lottery history and is the 10th largest Powerball(R) jackpot ever. Steve and Kristine White of Skillman, New Jersey won the largest prize in Pennsylvania Lottery history. The Whites took home a cash prize of $110,230,721, less 25 percent federal withholding, from the May 8, 2004 Powerball(R) drawing.
Editor's Note: The Ayers family opted not to participate in a press conference and will make no public statements. The winners have asked that the news media and general public respect their privacy.

If the Shoe Fits

Dan Rather reported on the CBS news:
"The Roman Catholic Church faces a long-running crisis of a different sort in Boston, where Cardinal Bernard Law is resisting calls for his resignation over his handling of the priestly sex abuse scandal. But there are new questions tonight about how much longer the cardinal can hang on.”

Powerblog! reports:
“CBS faces a long-running crisis of a different sort in New York, where Managing Editor Dan Rather is resisting calls for his resignation over his handling of an erroneous report on President Bush’s National Guard service. But there are new questions today about how much longer Rather can hang on.”

Hey Tom, Stop Whining!

City Controller Tom Flaherty has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Tom Murphy and City Council, saying the 2005 budget cuts to his office, which were required by the city's economic recovery planners, will prevent him from performing his fiscal watchdog duties. Tom FlahertyThe $417 million budget council and Murphy approved in December, after months of grueling debate, contained some $33 million in spending cuts, most of them involving the city work force. The Act 47 economic recovery plan called for 15 percent cuts in the three elected branches of the government -- in the offices of mayor, controller and council -- and the fiscal oversight board called for an additional 10 percent cut to the offices. Flaherty's office budget was cut from $2.58 million to $1.98 million annually. The controller's lawsuit says he will be forced to cut 19 workers to comply with the budget, leaving him with 44 employees, which the lawsuit says is too few people to run the office. Pittsburgh's controller is an in-house auditor, who performs yearly financial reports, studies government services -- through so-called performance audits -- oversees bidding and contracts, and cuts checks to employees and city contractors. So he ought to know about budgets and belt tightening. Oh wait, it's City Government... nevermind. Just keep spending. When Mayor Sophie Masloff tried to cut his spending in 1992, Flaherty also sued. He is used to getting his way. Since we all have to pay this $52 tax to bail these nimrods out of the ditch they continue to dig, I say we all should sue do to cuts in our own personal budgets. Flaherty, has been "lack of" controller since 1984. Would someone PLEASE vote this guy who oversaw all this disaster out of office.

Kabbalah - The All Purpose Cleaner

An undercover BBC reporter who infiltrated a London Kabbalah group witnessed Madonna and Guy Ritchie chanting mystic spells to cleanse Chernobyl, the site in Ukraine of the nuclear disas ter in 1986. Tony Donnelly, who used a hidden camera, claims the Kabbalah dinner turned into "a weird religious service, which started with prayer readings and chanting that culminated in everyone turning to the east, pushing the air with their hands, and crying out 'Cher-er-er-er-nobyl' at the top of their voices. They thought they were curing Chernobyl of radiation, using the power of Kabbalah to drive away the evil." Donnelly, a recovering cancer patient, says he was charged $1,500 for the dinner with Madonna and her husband, some "healing water" and several Aramaic texts — the Zohar — he was unable to read. He was told that just running his hands over the text and drinking the water could cure his cancer. He also had a session with Rabbi Eliyahu Yardeni, who told him, "Just to tell you another thing about the 6 million Jews that were killed in the Holocaust. The question was that the Light was blocked. They didn't use Kabbalah." Donnelly wrote in the London Telegraph, "It sounded as though he was blaming the Holocaust on its victims . . . I'm not Jewish, but his unprovoked rantings about Hitler's victims left me questioning his sanity." Kabbalah followers also include Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Demi Moore.

Ahhh, I'll bite my tounge on this one!

12 Porn Movies For A Penny!

Columbia House, famous for its "12 CDs for a penny" record clubs, will launch its own adult video club with Playboy Entertainment at the end of this month. The service, called Hush, will sell pornography through direct mail and a Web site. While 50-year-old Columbia House is eager to cash in on the $12 billion porn business, officials are pretty hush hush about Hush.
Columbia House, the nation's largest direct distributor of DVDs and home video, will handle distribution, while Playboy, which has an adult direct-mail list, will handle marketing. Executives from Columbia House were roaming the aisles of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas last week, meeting with producers and stressing that Hush will distribute adult content from other publishers besides Playboy. Hush also insisted that it is starting with no members and is not piggybacking on existing Columbia House subscribers. Last June, Columbia House struck a quiet deal with Playboy to add about 150 of its more "tasteful" product line to the Columbia House DVD Club, and it has also been test marketing adult titles through its Canadian subsidiary. Among the recipients of Hush marketing dollars will be Howard Stern, with Hush sponsoring contests on Stern's show. Hush will also be promoted through direct mail and through ads in adult magazines.
In 2002, the company was purchased by merchant banker Blackstone Capital Partners, with former operating partners Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music still owning minority stakes.

Setting Things Straight

I hope you have been tuned in over the past few days. There have been some very interesting things on the air; some of which I'll address here. First, on Friday Marty quoted Dr. John McAuthur's book "Hard to Believe". I've published things in the past on Dr. McAuthur and the more I look into his teachings, I think I can safely say this man is a false teacher. (Look for my Article "Examining the Doctor" in the archives {12/26/04-01/01/05} for more on Dr. McAuthur.) In his book, Dr. McAuthur uses a quote from Pope John Paul II in which he claims the Pope said "all who live a just life will be saved". Marty proclaimed that the Pope was teaching something that is not biblical. As soon as we went to a break I asked Marty off air where that came from because I wanted to look into myself. As I suspected, Dr. McAuthur was misleading us once again. The quote comes from the Pope's Audience on December 6, 2000 in which he actually said " All the just of the earth, including those who do not know Christ and his Church, who, under the influence if grace, seek God with a sincere heart are thus called to build the kingdom of God by working with the Lord, who is its first and decisive builder." He continues, "Whoever does not not accept the kingdom of God like a child, Jesus said, shall not enter it". Even Dr. McAuthur would have to agree with that. It's not hard to find transcripts of what Pope John Paul II says in public, yet Dr. McAuthur chose to use edited comments and a misleading statement for his book. We are fortunate to see Dr. McAuthur's true anti-Catholic agenda exposed for what it really is, misleading paraphrasing and twisted half truths.

On Monday, Marty told a caller you can't interpret the Bible to mean what you want it to mean. I couldn't agree more. However, how do we know what interpretation to trust? That's the problem with well intentioned, educated, biblical scholars who all come to different understandings of scripture. Jesus did not hand out copies of the Bible as tell us to go learn it. He wants us to know the truth and he gave us a single source that we all can trust to provide the proper understanding. The Holy Spirit, acting through the Catholic Church, is what Christ founded to be the only provider of proper understanding of Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles. Anything outside of that is subject to error and charts a path for misleading and false understanding.

A Progam note: Dr. John McAuthur will be joining us live on the show Friday 1/21 to promote yet another book. I hope many of you will tune in!

Between Kid Rock and A Hard Place

UPDATE: Kid Rock, the rock-rapper who initially had been lined up to headline the youth concert next week as part of the inauguration festivities for President Bush, will not be apppearing after all.
"He's not performing," a spokesman for the Presidential Inauguration Committee confirmed to Powerblog! They would provide no further comment.

Controversy continues to swirl around an upcoming Bush presidential inauguration event that features a performance by a rapper who refers to himself as the "pimp of the nation." While the White House says the president himself would never endorse the performer's sexualized lyrics, the group heading up the inaugural festivities has pretty much declined comment. In fact some listeners have been told Kid Rock has not even been invited. Numerous news organizations along with WORD FM have reported that Kid Rock, a controversial rock-and-roller known for his vulgar lyrics and immoral lifestyle, is slated to perform at an inaugural youth concert hosted by First Twins Jenna and Barbara Bush. Bush spokesman Tim Goeglein had this response: "I am not aware that a contract has been let to Kid Rock," Goeglein stated.
While Goeglein said he could not speak for the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC), he did say he knows what President Bush would think. "Based on the [Kid Rock] lyrics that I have been told about ... I can tell you that the president would never endorse such lyrics and would never condone them," he said.
The PIC will neither confirm nor deny whether Kid Rock has been invited. At least one pro-family leader who has attempted to contact the PIC several times in recent days says he does not buy that statement.
"What kind of answer is that?" asks American Family Association chairman Don Wildmon. "All you have to say is yes, he's is going to be here; no, he's not going to be here. But they refuse to do that -- which leads me to think that they have the man signed up [and] ready to come, but they're afraid of the backlash and they're waiting to see what's going to happen.

Another Miracle

The tsunami waves have subsided, but a miracle is being talked about across Chennai. It is the story of how St Thomas’ miraculous post kept the invading waves away, sparing the newly renovated Santhome Cathedral. The Cathedral, the world’s second basilica built on an apostle’s tomb, has been giving shelter to hundreds of tsunami victims ever since the waves ravaged many buildings across the coast.But even though the killer tsunami waves devastated the Chennai coast, Father Lawrence Raj, the parish priest of the Santhome Cathedral Basilica, says “the sea did not touch our church.” The reason? “We believe the miraculous post of St Thomas prevented the sea waters from entering the church,” says Father Raj. The church that sits at the site where St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, was buried after his death in the year 72 is located a few metres from the sea. While all the buildings on either side of the church were hit by the tsunami waves, the Santhome Cathedral remained unaffected.

The Murphy Microscope

A grand jury has started gathering evidence to determine whether Murphy violated the law when he traded a generous contract with the city firefighters union in return for its endorsement in 2001.
That prosecutors were scrutinizing this deal has long been public knowledge, but the status of the probe and any details remain a secret.
That's always the case with federal investigations, in which prosecutors, agents and grand jurors are under strict rules not to reveal information -- or even acknowledge that an investigation is under way.
Those on the outside, then, are only left to speculate about what might be going on. Here is what is known:
On April 12, fire union chief Joseph King issued a letter saying Murphy traded $10 million to $12 million in fire union contract demands, including no-layoff protections, in exchange for the union's votes in the 2001 primary. After the district attorney and the U.S. attorney promised to investigate, the FBI started interviewing witnesses in May, including King, Murphy and his top aide, Tom Cox.
Then, last month, city Solicitor Jacqueline Morrow delivered documents related to the contract that had been subpoenaed by a grand jury under the direction of First Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Cessar.
Cessar will likely summarize those records for the grand jury, one of five that hear cases in U.S. District Court, at a future session. Federal grand juries usually meet once a month, and unlike state or county panels convened for a special purpose, they hear all manner of cases for 18 months.
The grand jury has the power to subpoena all records and witnesses, but in this case apparently no one has yet been called to testify. The fact that Murphy has hired a lawyer, Robert Del Greco Jr., does not mean he's going to be charged. It's normal practice for everyone involved in grand jury proceedings to hire lawyers, who aren't allowed in the grand jury room but can advise their clients outside. The law was used to convict former state Rep. Frank Gigliotti and former Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Jaffe, among others.

The Passion of the Christ

With movie awards in the news, I've had several people email me asking my take on "The Passion of the Christ” movie. I wrote this just after the film was released:

We need to applaud and support anything that comes out of Hollywood containing ethics, morals and values. And on the rare occasion where something contains a story of Jesus and scripture we must understand that the world will be watching us as Christians. No film, no matter how good it is, can be completely representative of Holy Scripture. Yet “The Passion of the Christ” is arguably the most accurate visual depiction of Christ and his suffering.

If someone on the outside looking in sees Jews objecting to this film, and Christians objecting to elements of this film, then I would not blame them for wanting to avoid religion all together. Shame on us if that is the result.

While the individual details of applying Christianity to our life may vary, our core belief in Christ as our savior is one in the same. It does not matter if things were added or removed from this movie. For it is not meant to replace scripture or be scripture. It is only meant to depict a vision of how one man pictured the final hours of Christ. Who are we to say it is right or wrong?

Even if you are not a Christian, consider on the most basic level of this film it is a story of a man who never ran from danger. He spoke what he believed no matter what the cost, and he died a heroic death for what he believed in, all the while forgiving his enemies. That is the basis for a true Hollywood epic. If this movie leads others to seek out God’s Word so be it. If not, they have still seen an amazing piece of cinematic art.
No matter how right we think we are, let us not forget, the Jewish high priests. They were the Godly men and spiritual leaders in the time of Jesus. Yet they did not recognize the truth when they saw it. So no matter how theologically correct you think you are, no matter how ordained you claim to be, no matter what you think your relationship with God is, there is a chance that you are wrong. That goes for all of us. The Jewish priests did not believe for one second that they were actually condemning the Son of God to death. Yet they claimed to know the truth. They did not see Jesus was their savior, yet they thought they were saved. Therefore, the lesson that should be learned from this film is that the arrogance in our confidence of truth could also be the cause of destruction.

It Wasn't Me

SALEM says that someone sent out a fake press release announcing that it had purchased a radio station in ORLANDO, and the company wants everyone to know that the story's false. In a real press release, SALEM says that an "unknown source was responsible for issuing a fraudulent press release on DECEMBER 31 stating that SALEM COMMUNICATIONS had acquired a radio station in ORLANDO, FLORIDA. The notice, posted on several radio online billboards, is false."

You Wanna Mess with US?

Every time a major holiday comes around I can't help but wonder in the back of my mind if terrorists will strike somewhere, somehow. Christmas seemed a big target considering the importance it holds for Christians. New Year's eve with a million people all crammed into New York City also would be a tempting target. Despite all those worries about dirty bombs and chemical attacks nothing has happened. We have been safe and sound on U.S. soil since 9/11. So I'll ask the question.... Why? Is it because we now have a Department of Homeland Security or a 9/11 commission report? Is it because we stand guard on our boarder and ports and leave nothing to chance? Or is it because our President has very quietly made the ultimate threat and is willing to back it up? Dr. Jack Wheeler, creator of an acclaimed intelligence website claims he knows exactly the reason why Bin Laden and his cronies has not attacked again. The U.S. has threatened to nuke the Muslim holy city of Mecca should the terror leader strike America again. The Bush administration has identified the potential of wiping Mecca off the map as Bin Laden's ultimate point of vulnerability and seek to exploit that weakness. I've tried to get some type of confirmation on this and have found White House NSC (National Security Council) members become very quite at even the mention of it. I don't like putting things out there that I can not confirm, but it is interesting to note after all the threats, we have gone over three years without a single terrorist attack on American soil. Wheeler supports this theory saying, "Completely obliterating the terrorists' holiest of holies, rendering what is for them the world's most sacred spot a radioactive hole in the ground is retribution of biblical proportions and those are the only proportions that will do the job. Osama would have laughed off such a threat, given his view that Americans are wussies who cut and run after a few losses, such as Lebanon in 1983 and Somalia in 1993. Part of Bush's rationale for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, obviously never expressed publicly, was to convince Osama that his threat to nuke Mecca was real. Osama hates America just as much as ever, but he is laughing no more." Wheeler says Bin Laden is "playing poker with a Texas cowboy holding the nuclear aces, so there's nothing al-Qaida could do that could come remotely close to risking obliterating Mecca. So far, Osama has decided not to see if GW is bluffing. Smart move."
Is it true? Would he do it? All I know is the stakes have never been higher.

The Gay Bomb

Yeah, you know about the A-Bomb but what about the Gay bomb? Instead of using guns and bombs, let's attack enemies with bugs, rats, and gay men. That seems to be the sentiment behind a 1994 Air Force proposal, unearthed by bioweapons-watchers at the Sunshine Project.
(Clinton was President then and it looks like sex was not confined to the oval office) The document entitled "Harrassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals" strings together a couple of ideas for non-lethal agents that could make an opponent, temporarily change his behavior, or "attract annoying creatures to an enemy position."
We don't know if any of this was ever used but it's fun to picture "Rodents and larger animals would be drawn to enemy positions," according to the proposal. So would other "stinging and biting bugs." While a swarm of bees or rats would have an interesting effect, it's nothing compared to the "other" distraction. The Air Force document calls for "chemicals that affect human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely effected. One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior." (Don't mix that up with your Old Spice!)
As if sprays to induce homosexual dalliances and rat attacks weren't enough, in 1997, the Army called for the "preparation of an 'odor index' to match known disagreeable odors to a specific culture, political/religious group or geographical region." How would you like to be Commanding General of the Stink Division? In all fairness, this is nothing new. In 1944, a project gave French resistance fighters lead foil tubes, packed with chemicals that produced a "fecal odor." But the plan backfired, "when it was found that people in many areas of the world do not find 'fecal odor' to be offensive." (That's is why I don't travel abroad very much!) I'm not so sure about this non-lethal chemical weapons stuff. Why don't we do things the old fashioned way and just shoot our enemies.

Abandoning Abortion

Scores of advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, assailed new Justice Department guidelines for treating rape victims because the detailed procedures make no mention of emergency contraception as an option that could spare some women an unwanted pregnancy. Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the omission "a blatant example of politics taking precedence over the emotional and physical health needs of women." Her organization, and other groups, contend that information about emergency contraception was included in an early draft of the guidelines, then removed from the final version because of political concerns. A Justice Department spokesman, Eric Holland, said Stuart's office had received the protest letter and would "review its contents carefully." The department offered no immediate comment on the specifics of the complaints. Many major medical groups support the use of emergency contraception, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that it be offered to all sexual assault victims who are at risk of pregnancy. But many conservative groups contend that use of emergency contraception can be a form of abortion in cases where fertilization has already occurred. More than 300,000 women are raped annually in the United States. Planned Parenthood said about 25,000 of these women become pregnant because of the assault, and nearly 90 percent of those pregnancies could be prevented if victims had prompt access to emergency contraception.

Mayor Lamb?

Allegheny County Prothonotary Michael Lamb is set to formally announce his candidacy for Pittsburgh mayor Monday morning.
Michael Lamb. Lamb, a Democrat, would not confirm that he is getting into the race. Lamb, 42, of Mount Washington, grew up in Beechview and was a City Council aide from 1988 to 1992. He moved to the prothonotary's office in 1992 and became the acting head of the office when Michael Coyne died in 2000. He was elected to a full four-year term in 2003.
The prothonotary is one of the county's row officers and is the head clerk in charge of civil court records. The question is does that qualifiy him to run the entire city? Lamb favors doing away with electing court-related row officers -- such as the prothonotary, recorder of deeds jury commissioner and clerk of courts -- and placing the offices under court control. Another likely mayoral candidate, former City Council President Bob O'Connor, is expected to formally announce his campaign soon. Other Democratic candidates could include city Controller Tom Flaherty and city Councilman William Peduto.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 5 to 1 in the city wich explains the continued sinking of the city. The city's Republican Party chairman, Bob Hillen, said recently that party officials are searching actively for a candidate. Let's hope one brave enough to demolish the status quo steps forward and the people are feed up enough to elect him.

I Want My 52 Dollars!

Pittsburgh's new $52 occupation tax was billed as a dollar-a-week tax, but workers in the city are really getting hit with the full tax bite this month. The tax -- which the state raised from $10 to $52 annually, for the first time since 1965 -- is now called the "emergency and municipal services" tax and is supposed to help cities pay for police and fire protection, road maintenance and property tax relief. The state approved the tax increase as part of the overall budget package for Pittsburgh, which included a new payroll tax for the city, but it authorized other municipalities statewide (not including Philadelphia) to implement it, too.
So far, 22 municipalities statewide have notified the state they have adopted the new tax, though that could grow to 250-300, said Kevin Ortiz, spokesman for the Department of Community and Economic Development. Workers in the biggest city with the new tax, Pittsburgh, will be seeing smaller paychecks this month than they may have anticipated. Instead of taxing the $52 out in small batches -- a quarterly $13 deduction through the year, for example -- the city has told employers to deduct it all in January. Employers can take it from their workers in bites this month -- say, $26 in two biweekly payrolls -- but the whole $52 has to be collected during January.

Last Flight Out

Southwest Airlines is coming to Pittsburgh International Airport. The low fare carrier will arrive in the Steel City in May 2005 to bring Allegheny County area residents its fabled low fare high quality Customer air service. Fares and flight schedules will be announced in early 2005.
Southwest’s breadth of service stretches from coast to coast and border to border with more than 2,900 daily departures serving 60 airports in 31 states. Pittsburgh will become Southwest’s 61st airport. Historically, when Southwest enters a new city, fares drop dramatically and demand for travel increases. In January 2001, Southwest introduced new aircraft with a fresh canyon blue paint scheme and cool, comfortable, saddle tan leather interiors and seats. The entire fleet is expected to be converted to the new design and interiors by the end of 2005. Could this be the end of US Aiways? It sure won't help any.

Sore Losers?

A small group of Democrats agreed to force House and Senate debates on Election Day problems in Ohio before letting Congress certify President Bush's win over Sen. John Kerry in November. While Bush's victory is not in jeopardy, the Democratic challenge will force Congress to interrupt tallying the Electoral College vote, which had been scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST Thursday. It would be only the second time since 1877 that the House and Senate were forced into separate meetings to consider electoral votes. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., signed a challenge mounted by House Democrats to Ohio's 20 electoral votes, which put Bush over the top. By law, a protest signed by members of the House and Senate requires both chambers to meet separately for up to two hours to consider it. Sen. John Kerry said he won't be joining a small band of House Democrats today in trying to spoil President Bush's formal election before Congress by objecting to what they say are voting irregularities in Ohio.

Editors Note: Where was this protest in 2000? Even Kerry is backing off this one!

The Numbers Continue to Grow

Breaking News: 7,000 More Bodies Discovered in Indonesia!

Indonesia Needs Help, Death Toll Expected To Exceed 400,000. Health Ministry sources told Reuters just under 80,000 had died in Indonesia's northern Aceh province . Sri Lanka, severely afflicted, raised its toll to 27,268. Millions of people on Indian Ocean shores scrambled for food and clean water as disease, thirst, hunger and panic threatened survivors. If you would like to help through Worldvision click here.

Catholic Relief Services is pledging $25 million for emergency relief and long-term programs to help people in southeast Asia recover from the tsunami that has killed more than 117,000 people and left millions without clean water, shelter, food or medicine. The amount committed by the Baltimore-based group, which is the official international humanitarian organization of the U.S. Catholic community, is one of the largest to date. It's only $10 million less than the money initially pledged by the U.S. government for emergency aid.
"We must brace for the commitment this emergency asks of us and be as generous as we can," said Ken Hackett, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services. Caroline Brennan, a spokeswoman for the group, said the money is available now and will be dispersed as programs evolve. CRS staff throughout the southeast Asian region are working with local partners in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia to establish the best response. Depending on local needs, the money could be used to provide food, water, shelter, medicine, clothing and household items. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, said Thursday he will visit Sri Lanka to see firsthand the damage inflicted by the tsunamis.

If At First You Don't Succeed, Appeal!

Dr. Michael Newdow, the California atheist who sued to get "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, says he has refiled a suit regarding the pledge and filed an additional suit to try to prevent members of the clergy from praying at President Bush's inauguration.
Newdow has been joined by three families who include atheists and claim they are offended "to have their government and its agents advocating for a religious view they each specifically decry." Defendants in the case include the Congress, California, the United States and several school districts. The U.S. Supreme Court determined last June that Newdow did not have standing to bring the legal challenge. Two weeks before refiling the pledge suit, Newdow filed suit in a Washington district court to try to halt designated clergy from uttering prayers at Bush's Jan. 20 inauguration. Newdow said in the Dec. 21 filing that prayers such as those offered at the 2001 inauguration by the Rev. Franklin Graham and Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell made him feel like a "second-class citizen." Well if the shoe fits..... Has anyone told him about that freedom of speech thing?

The New RRK? I Don't Get It

I can talk about Pittsburgh radio because I've worked in it for over 10 years and I've seen stations come and go along with staff. In fact, I worked at many of them! WRRK has been teasing a new format for few weeks. Well today was the big change day. I admit, I'm listening to see what they do. So far the broadcast has been uneventful to say the least. It's sounds just like the old RRK that has been struggling in the ratings for years. "Rock without Rules" what the heck does that mean? Mr. Mullet Yinzer who called in seemed happy that nothing has changed. The hair loss commercials are really exciting and I'm sure this new (old) format will be as exciting as the Motely Crew reunion. Yawn........

Record $100 Million Clergy Abuse Settlement

Details of a record $100 million settlement between alleged victims of priest sexual abuse and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange were unsealed, with church leaders saying it would make the diocese a ``holier, humbler and healthier church.'' Alleged victims sobbed and hugged Monday as they spoke publicly about the deal that was nearly two years in the making. Some thanked Bishop Tod D. Brown, who as head of the diocese negotiated what has become the largest clergy abuse settlement in history.
``Let this be what everyone remembers from today: that nothing is more important than the protection of our children and our youth,'' Brown said as he sat alongside plaintiffs and their attorneys. ``I seek their forgiveness, I hope for reconciliation, and I know that they have now begun their healing process.''
The settlement was reached Dec. 2, but was under a court seal for a month as the parties signed off on it. It surpasses the $85 million the Archdiocese of Boston agreed to pay 552 plaintiffs in 2002.
The settlement resolves 90 lawsuits against the diocese that included allegations against 31 priests, 10 lay personnel, one religious brother and two nuns.
``Today we can stand, and we can say, I forgive you. And of course I do; of course we forgive you,'' said Mark Curran, one of those whose lawsuits against the diocese led to the settlement.
The earliest allegation dated to 1936; the latest came in 1996. Payouts were based on the length and severity of abuse and other factors, but how much each plaintiff is getting remains confidential. Half of the payout will come from the diocese, and the other half will be paid by its eight insurance carriers. The agreement calls for the release of nearly all confidential documents from diocesan personnel files of the accused after a judge's review; attorneys estimated the first records could be released within two months. About 800 clergy abuse lawsuits are still pending statewide, and plaintiffs used the settlement announcement to call on other bishops, particularly Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, to follow Brown's example. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles faces more than 500 lawsuits that are still locked in settlement negotiations. Trial dates for a handful of those cases are expected to be set Friday.

All's Fair in Love and Elections

North Carolina's newspapers, even the two big liberal ones, are outraged about the sleazy attempt by three Democrats to steal an election for their party.
Note that out in Washington, after the state's Democrat establishment sued Democrat-misruled King County, which then mysteriously coughed up enough extra "ballots" to take the gubernatorial election from GOP winner Dino Rossi and hand it to Democrat Christine Gregoire, Dems oppose a new election. Yet on the East Coast the opposite has happened. In the race for agriculture commissioner, the Charlotte Observer notes that the Democrat-controlled North Carolina Board of Elections appears "bent on keeping Republican Steve Troxler from winning an election he was leading and almost certainly would have won if 4,438 missing Carteret County votes had been properly recorded Nov. 2," and is "about to disenfranchise 3,330,107 North Carolina voters by exchanging their legitimate votes cast on Nov. 2 for newer ones from as few as 10 percent of the likely voters - meaning that instead of 4,438 votes not counted, there could be something like 3 million votes discarded." The state's second-largest paper, the Raleigh News & Observer, agrees that the Dems refuse to allow a new election limited to Carteret County because the GOP nominee surely won there and would win again.

Eyes Wide Open

The U.N. atomic watchdog agency has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt that could be used in weapons programs, diplomats said Tuesday.
Egypt has denied in the past that it is trying to develop a nuclear weapons program. It has been known that Egypt had what appeared to be a nuclear research facility, but no public information has ever emerged that the research had developed very far.
The diplomats told The Associated Press that most of the work was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s but said the International Atomic Energy Agency also was looking at evidence suggesting some work was performed as recently as a year ago. Powerblog! will contnue to track the story as it develops.

A Plethora of Pastors

Within the Roman Catholic Church the title Pastor (Father, Priest, Reverend, etc) is a title that is earned by a select few. There are Protestants who simply claim the title of Pastor and start their own church. These days you can be ordained over the internet! Here is a actual quote from one of the many ordaining websites: "After you receive ordination from XXXX XXXXX Ministries you will have the authority to do what thousands of people we ordained are now doing, perform a wedding ceremony. This is a wonderful opportunity to earn extra money to support yourself and family and your ministry" another site says "you can officiate one wedding ceremony or you can make weddings, funerals, baptisms, house blessings, etc. your business. You can even start your own ministry. You can become a legally ordained minister, instantly, online" God is now a home based business! I meet people all the time who tell me they are a Pastor. Senior Pastor, Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor. Singles Pastor, Outreach Pastor. A Pastor is responsible for nothing less then souls and not just anyone should take on that responsibility. James tells us in the bible "Let Not Many Of You Become Teachers" (3:1-12) James does not say, "Let not many of you BE teachers" but rather, "Let not many of you BECOME teachers". This passage is not just a rebuke of those who try to BE teachers before they are ready, but a warning that many should not even BECOME teachers in the future! It is a mistake to believe that EVERYONE should become a teacher at some point in their service to Christ! Teachers shall receive "a stricter judgment" There is a grave responsibility involved in teaching others. We can lead people to TRUTH - but we just as easily lead them to ERROR! Many are doing just that. Those who teach will be held accountable if they mislead others but what about the poor souls who follow these teachers? There are a few things a Pastor should NOT be...
1. A Pastor should NOT be married much less have children. Christ says "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I" In marriage, a man and woman vow to place each other second only to God. If you are married, your wife and children should be first on your priority list. That puts your parishioners third on the list and is unacceptable. A true Pastor is married to the Church and has dedicated his entire life to such. He should have an undivided heart. 1 Cor.32-33: "An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affiars - how can he please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world- how he can please his wife and his interests are divided"
2. A Pastor should NOT be a woman. This is not a sexist comment. Read the Bible.
3. A Pastor should NOT start his own church. God has not called anyone to build a church on their own. Christ will build his church as he has done for thousands of years.
4. A Pastor should NOT be ordained by those without authority to do so. (That includes the internet.)A Bishop has the sole responsibility to ordain. He assigns priests, allows new parishes and churches to be developed. He must oversee all moral teaching and Scripture.

A Pastor should be called by God to serve only him. You can serve Christ and the church without become a Pastor. Too many people are following men who have not earned, and should not be given the title or responsibility of Pastor. This is one of the reasons for the mass confusion among Christians today. Being a nice guy and having good intentions does not qualify one to guide souls on a righteous path to Heaven. I would carefully examine who you choose to Shepard you in this life and know that few are truly Pastors no matter what them call themselves.

"Let us pray for heretics and schismatics: that Our Lord God would be pleased to rescue them from all their errors; and recall them to our Holy Mother the Catholic and Apostolic Church."