Welcome PowerBlogers!

I want to welcome everyone who signed the PowerBlog guestbook. If you have not done so, please take a moment. I'd love to welcome you as well.

Thanks for visiting and your support of PowerBlog!

Jim in West Mifflin
Thomas in Pgh.
Jim in Washington
Michael in Pgh
and Scott in Pgh.

Abortion Horror

A legal group representing a woman who says abortion-clinic employees refused to help her baby boy when he was born alive in a restroom has filed two complaints against the facility with Florida state regulatory agencies. The mother traveled from out of state to the EPOC Clinic of the Orlando Women's Center in Orlando, Fla., for a second-trimester abortion.

She claims on the first day she visited the clinic staff failed to inject the unborn baby with digoxin, a drug that stops his or her heart in preparation for what amounts to a stillborn birth. After taking labor-inducing drugs the next morning, she arrived at the clinic and was left alone in a "delivery room." Her labor increased greatly, she says, and she delivered the 22-week-old baby in the restroom.

She says she saw that her son was moving and cried for help, but that a staff member discounted her claim and refused to do anything to help the baby. According to his mother, the boy, whom she named Rowan, died about 11 minutes after birth.

The legal complaint details among the violations, a complete absence of a doctor during the abortion procedure, causing a death certificate to improperly state that Rowan was stillborn, and a complete lack of post-operative care. After the procedure, the mother was rushed out the door and received no follow-up care. She did not receive a rhogam shot, which was medically necessary for her, given her blood type.

A week ago, the Bush administration said it would begin enforcing the 3-year-old Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which requires doctors to attempt to keep alive a baby that survives an abortion.

Is Bin Laden Dead?

A posting on an Islamist Web site stirred speculation over the fate of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and prompted a flurry of denials on Friday that the world's most wanted man was dead.
The entry on an islam web site began by saying there was news bin Laden had died but went on to say he was alive but, as a human being, could die any time and that Muslims should be prepared for that when it happens.
The unidentified author seemed to be trying to draw readers to his posting with a headline that bin Laden was dead. London-based Islamist activist Yasser al-Serri, who monitors Web sites, said bin Laden "is alive" and was believed to have recently recorded a new video tape which may be on its way for broadcasting. This guy releases more tapes then Steely Dan!

Western intelligence officials usually say they believe bin Laden is holed up somewhere in the mountainous frontier region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mayor, You've Got to be Kidding

Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy predicted the city would have a $12.3 million budget surplus by year's end and declared that Pittsburgh has "turned a corner" financially.

Murphy said he's "cautiously optimistic" the city, which is mired in debt, will see a surplus based on preliminary estimates that show Pittsburgh has collected $2.7 million more in the first quarter than expected and will spend $9.6 million less than budgeted this year. Not everyone shared the mayor's optimism.

Murphy's numbers show spending and revenue for January and February only -- complete quarters are made up of three months of data. He relied on predicted numbers for March, saying the final first-quarter report wouldn't be ready until May 15. When pressed by reporters, the mayor stopped short of labeling the estimated early year savings and surplus as a trend that would hold for the rest of the year. The city budget calls for $417.5 million in spending this year.

David O'Loughlin, a member of the city's financial oversight board pointed out that any guesses based on revenues from January and February would look artificially high since the city collected the $52 emergency services tax from city workers for the first time this year.

Murphy suggested the surplus could be used to rebuild the city's empty "rainy day" fund, help make the city's annual $90 million debt payment, or reduce the parking tax. He rejected complaints from the city's financial oversight board that Pittsburgh has strayed from its spending agreement, particularly by shelling out $1.3 million in firefighter overtime in January and February.

Mayor, with all due respect, I suggest your take your surplus money and buy a clue because you clearly do not have one.

UNder Pressure

The embattled former director of the scandal-ridden Iraq Oil-for-Food Program has sent a letter with an ultimatum to the office of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Benon Sevan, a veteran Cypriot diplomat, now the target of several U.S. and U.N. investigations, has sent Annan a "demand" that the world body pay his mounting legal bills "or else." Or else what?

According to Annan chief of staff Mark Malloch Brown, the letter, written by Sevan's legal team, carried an implied threat of new public disclosures regarding embezzlement in the now defunct Oil-for-Food Program.
Sevan has given no indication that Annan was involved in the corrupt pay-off scheme. But if anyone might have evidence linking Annan, Sevan would.

Sevan has repeatedly claimed that Annan had committed to pay all legal bills up to the time U.N. chief investigator Paul Volcker issued an interim report on the Iraqi aid program scandal in February.
Those bills, which sources estimate at more than $350,000, have now become a subject of contention between the U.N. and the former under secretary-general.
With allegations of potential criminality, the U.N. has opted to decline the Sevan request for legal reimbursements.

Stay tuned. This could get good!

Indecency Or Censorship?

In the minds of many viewers, the current anti-indecency crusade isn't just out to make the airwaves safe for families and children. Another likely goal is to punish TV for its brazen smut-peddling. With a four-letter word here and a "wardrobe malfunction" there, surely someone in power - the executives, the stars, the creators? - deserves a good thrashing. Viewers may not agree on what indecency is or how to fix it. But they want someone to answer for TV's sins. Cracking down on TV content is the latest rage in the culture wars.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc. recently advocated criminal prosecution for indecent material aired by broadcasters. Another proposal would expand the purview of the Federal Communications Commission beyond over-the-air broadcasting to add cable and satellite programming _ which would place shows from such networks as MTV, FX and even HBO under the thumb of the feds. And don't forget a bill passed by the House that would hike existing indecency fines from $32,500 to as much as $500,000 per infraction.

A poll released last week reported broad public support for curbing media indecency. But the Pew Research Center survey found something else: By 48 to 41 percent, respondents saw greater danger in the government imposing undue restrictions on the entertainment industry than from harmful material the industry might dispense.

So the questions becomes where do we draw the line?

Go Pope Go!

In a sign that new Pope Benedict XVI is playing hardball with growing secularism in Europe, the Vatican has come out strong against a same-sex marriage bill in Spain.Just one day after Spain's lower house of parliament approved the bill, which would also allow gay couples to adopt children, a senior Vatican cardinal went so far as to tell Spain's civil servants to refuse to marry same-sex couples – even if means losing their job.

Observers say the Vatican's action signals a toughening stance against creeping secularism, which Pope Benedict has called one of the greatest evils facing Europe.
When he was a cardinal, his Vatican office told Catholic officials in 2003 that they shouldn't support laws that contradict moral teachings on issues like abortion, and later stated that it is "gravely immoral" not to oppose legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Spain was long considered a Catholic bastion and is the birthplace of the conservative Opus Dei order. The nation jailed homosexuals until 1975, outlawed contraceptives until 1978 and banned divorce until 1981.
But Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is now promoting a secular agenda, attempting to broaden abortion rights and simplifying divorce procedures.

Spain's government has cautioned public employees to abide by the same-sex marriage law. A senior official insisted that civil servants "must apply the laws that government proposes and parliament approves." But Bishop Reig Pla said: "If obeying the law comes before conscience, this leads to Auschwitz."

The Dumb Criminal of The Day Award Goes To...

When a group of men said they found a wooden crate full of antique bank notes and bills buried in a yard, the story captured national media attention. The three "thought challenged" men appeared on "Good Morning America," CNN and other national television shows to tell of their find. I guess they never considered the police might be watching their story as well.

Authorities found that one of the men has a criminal record that includes a 1999 federal conviction for counterfeiting. (Red flag for those of you who aren't paying attention)

The three men who say they found the money -- Barry Billcliff, 27, of Manchester, N.H., Matt Ingham, 26, of Newton, N.H., and Tim Crebase, 22, of Methuen -- have told their story over and over to various media outlets since last Friday, each time a little differently. (Another Red flag for those of you who aren't paying attention)

One consistent thread is that they dug up 1,800 bank notes and bills dated between 1899 and 1928, with a face value of about $7,000 but worth much more to collectors. The stories differed over how deep the remarkably well-preserved money was buried -- anywhere from 9 inches to 2 feet.

They also differed on the details of the condition of the wooden box the money was found in -- at first they said it was so rotted it disintegrated on contact and, in another report, that they tore off the top in one piece.
The men also gave conflicting accounts of their reasons for digging in the back yard of the house where Crebase lives. They told one reporter they were digging a hole to plant a tree. In other reports, they were quoted as saying they wanted to remove a small tree or dig up the roots of a shrub that was damaging the foundation of the house. (Ok we are up to about 10 red flags now!)

So fast forward and you find the men charged with receiving stolen property, conspiracy and accessory after the fact. Why? Police say the men found the old bank notes and bills in a house where they were doing roofing work. In other words, they stole the money from someone else. They then went on a national media tour to tell their lies that they could not even keep straight.

Too bad stupidity is not a crime. We could add another charge.

A Sad Story

Their mission was to to build a Christian community for Bulgarians who had settled in Chicago. Nikolai Vasilev was the pastor and his wife, Tonya, was the Sunday school teacher. Together they nurtured an evangelical community in the northwest suburbs od Chicago and created their own family. They had three children and survived the death of one of them in a 2000 fire.

Wednesday night, Nikolai came home to find his two remaining children, a 9-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, stabbed to death -- some 500 times -- and his wife bathed in blood. Tonya Vasilev, 34, has given statements to police and is expected to be charged in the murders.

Investigators believe 3-year-old Gracie was attacked first and then her mother brought her to the second floor, where her older brother, Christian, was watching television. The mother then attacked the boy. The boy runs from her, flees to the first floor, where she catches up with him, and she then alternates between attacking the boy and the girl. It was not clear what set off the stabbing, but added that the mother had been treated for mental illness for "some years.''

Nikolai, 36, had recently decided to leave the Des Plaines church to start his own congregation, said Stan Tanev, pastor of the Des Plaines church. The split was amicable and because of a difference in styles, including that Nikolai was going to preach in English, Tanev said. Investigators were looking at this as a possible motive in the attacks, the source said.

Tanev said the couple came to Chicago in 1995. They met while attending a Bible college in the South and married in 1994. Tanev said Nikolai left his native land in the early 1990s after the fall of communism and came to the United States, where he knew he could study theology and fulfill his dream of being a minister.

Now he faces the loss of his children and his wife.

Full Story

Gov.Lynn Swann Update

Lynn has been traveling across the Commonwealth continuing his conversation with the people of Pennsylvania. In the coming week, he'll be taking his message of the opportunity for a better Pennsylvania to Lancaster, Dauphin, York, Warren, and several other counties.

If you would like to hear from Lynn himself, so here you can here directly about the fresh and energetic leadership he hopes to offer the people of Pennsylvania. Click on the link below.

Lynn Swann Video

Lutherans Sharing of the Eucharist with Methodists?

Lutherans and Methodists have been in dialogue since the 1970s, and now full communion may be only steps away. At its March 3-7 meeting, the ELCA Conference of Bishops urged the church to commit to "interim eucharistic sharing" with the United Methodist Church. Full communion would promote sharing of ministries and resources, including allowing ordained ministers from one church to serve in the other.
"That's been the stated objective. We haven't put any kind of timeline on it," said ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod Bishop Allan Bjornberg, co-chair of the ELCA-United Methodist dialogue. Interim eucharistic sharing with the Episcopal Church went on for more than 20 years, he added.

The ELCA Church Council was scheduled to consider the proposal for interim eucharistic sharing for possible transmission to the Churchwide Assembly. The council met April 7-11, after presstime. Methodist bishops could endorse the agreement at their April meeting, Bjornberg said.

"What we're proposing is interim eucharistic sharing, which allows congregations to come together to share worship, to do joint study and exploration, and to get to know each other a lot better," Bjornberg told the ELCA News Service. "It allows space for people to learn about one another's traditions."

During the dialogues, church representatives found the churches to be "on parallel tracks in terms of our theological understandings," with significant agreement about baptism and "convergence" around issues related to bishops and levels of ministry, he said. The current dialogue on communion began in 2001.
"We've never had historical condemnations," Bjornberg said. "We're both churches that came out of reforming movements, separated by a couple of centuries."

Prayers Go Out To Laura Ingraham

About year ago I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. Laura just underwent breast-cancer surgery and is now recovering. All indications are things went very well. I'd like to extend thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery to Laura and invite all of you to do the same.

Lions and Salmon and Bars Oh My!

The state of Oregon spent $130 million on "fish ladders" to help endangered salmon migrate past the Bonneville Dam. However, area sea lions see this as an all you can eat buffet!

"We've been hazing the sea lions with pyrotechnics and we're getting rubber bullets for shotguns. If they don't stay out of the fishways, we'll have to escalate it to that point," said Robert Stansell, a biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Portland.

The sea lions are protected under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act. That means even if the California sea lions were to eat enough salmon to reduce the fish's numbers to zero, state and federal officials could not resort to lethal means -- at least without years of paperwork. Don't you just have to chuckle when people get stuck in their own red tape?

The situation has placed wildlife officials in the awkward position of protecting an endangered species from a federally protected species. This has led some to suggest it may be time to amend the 1972 protection act to allow officials more leeway when it comes to managing the now-abundant California sea lion. Kill the sea lions!

Others, meanwhile, denounce any suggestion to weaken the protection act, since they say the problem is caused by man-made dams, not sea lions. Kill the people!

In the meantime, the Army Corps of Engineers is planning to install a fairly basic defense in the Bonneville Dam's fish ladders -- bars. Do sea lions drink?


The Arianna Huffington Blog

US socialite and journalist Arianna Huffington is going launch a blog featuring contributions by a host of her celebrity chums, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Norman Mailer. This is really good news because I can't not tell you how many times I've found myself in a quandary and wondered "What would Gwyneth Paltrow do?"
Who knows, if her blog was around a few years ago I might of named my kid Apple.

May 9th is the day our lives will change forever, as the knowledge of Arianna and her friends will be just a click away. Will you find a link on PowerBlog? Maybe I'll put it right next to the Barbara Streisand "truth alert" link. Oh wait, that has not be updated since August 11, 2004. I guess Babs is too busy mourning the John Kerry defeat with Dick Gephart to post anything.

Sorry Arianna, you have to earn a link here. We shall see what you come up with for your blog. Chances are, no matter what you post, you're bound to be more popular than Air America.

The Abortion Battle

After an easy House victory, the latest push to curb abortions moves to the Senate where Republican gains increase the likelihood of making it harder for minors to cross state lines to end pregnancies without telling a parent.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., intends to bring such a bill to a vote this summer as one of his top 10 legislative priorities, according to spokeswoman Amy Call.

If enacted, it would be the fifth law passed to reduce abortions since President Bush took office in 2001.

Please contact your Senators and encourge them to vote in favor of this bill.


National Mother's Day Baby Shower

The National Mother's Day Baby Shower is designed to raise much needed resources for crisis pregnancy centers and homes for unwed mothers. It's our desire to collect diapers, blankets, formula and other much needed items for these centers to be used for women in need. These centers provide some of the most important care for women in a crisis pregnancy situation and are often times the difference between life and death. Click here to find a drop off site in your area.

Polish Priest Informer for Communist Secret Police

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - The priest in charge of caring for Polish pilgrims at the Vatican collaborated with the communist secret police in the 1980s during the reign of Polish native Pope John Paul II, an official said Wednesday.
An investigation into communist-era persecution of the Roman Catholic church in Poland turned up documents showing that the Rev. Konrad Stanislaw Hejmo, a Dominican, "was a secret collaborator of the Polish secret services under the names of Hejnal and Dominik," said Leon Kieres, head of the state-run National Remembrance Institute that investigated Nazi and communist crimes in Poland.
Hejmo's Dominican superior, the Rev. Maciej Zieba, said he saw the files, which he termed "convincing and shocking."
Andrzej Paczkowski, a historian at the institute, said the files contain about 700 pages and cover the years through the 1980s.
Hejmo, 69, who was close to John Paul's entourage but not part of his inner circle, could not immediately be reached for comment. The Vatican said it had no comment.
"We are still not sure of the type of the cooperation, whether he was simply talking about the Holy Father with the secret services or was actually providing secret information on him," Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek told The Associated Press. "If he was providing information, then this would be a very sad truth."
John Paul inspired resistance to Poland's communist rule and is credited by many with helping bring about its collapse in 1989.
"Everyone who was at the Vatican had ... ties with Father Hejmo and there was absolutely no suspicion" of him, said Marcin Przeciszewski, head of the Catholic Information Agency, a church news service. "He must have covered himself up well."
Hejmo started working at the Vatican in October 1979 after being recommended by the late Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, leader of Poland's church at the time, TVN24 reported.
Earlier this month, Kieres said he recognized the taped voice of a clergyman who was secretly telling agents of Poland's communist secret services about John Paul. He said the news would have been "painful" to John Paul, who died April 2.
The release of communist-era information has roiled Poland recently after the leak of an index to files in the custody of the institute.
That list, which was posted on the Internet, caused controversy and confusion because it lists both people who informed and people who were spied on without distinguishing them.
Accusation of collaborations are a serious matter in Poland, where having cooperated with the Soviet-backed communist government is considered shameful by many.
Hejmo is very popular among Polish pilgrims, who flocked to the Vatican after John Paul's election to the Holy See in October 1978.
In 1998, the former East German spy chief said his agency had planted a mole in the Vatican. Ex-Stasi chief Markus Wolf told Italian television that the mole, a German Benedictine monk who worked in the science offices, supplied information on Vatican foreign policy.

International Respect for Chickens Day

A woman dedicated to the "compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl" has declared May 4 "International Respect for Chickens Day."Karen Davis, the founder and president of United Poultry Concerns, describes May 4 as a day to "celebrate the dignity, beauty and life of chickens and to protest against the bleakness of their lives in farming operations."

"Chickens are lively birds who have been torn from the leafy world in which they evolved. We want chickens to be restored to their green world and not be eaten," Davis said in a press release.

On "International Respect for Chickens Day," humans are urged to show compassion for chickens - for example, writing letters to the editor, setting up booths in shopping malls or "showing the movie Chicken Run to students, family and friends."

Davis's United Poultry Concerns urges people to "celebrate Easter without eggs." It has campaigned against the White House Easter Egg Roll, the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series; and even compared the attacks on the World Trade Center to what "millions of chickens endure every day."

Davis describes chickens as "heroic protectors of their families and flocks" and "highly intelligent individuals" with advanced "social skills."

Yeah and they taste good when you fry them! Sorry Karen, but I'll be at KFC on May 4th.

Billionaire Gets YOUR Money

The Open Society Institute, a private foundation controlled by liberal billionaire and political activist George Soros, received more than $30 million from U.S. government agencies between 1998 and 2003. Last year, Soros donated at least $20 million of his own money to such liberal groups as Moveon.org, in a failed attempt to block the re-election of President George W. Bush.Tax records the Open Society Institute (OSI) is required to file with the Internal Revenue Service list "FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES" as "Contributors" of amounts between $4.6 million and $8.9 million over a six year period:
1998 - $4,611,617
2000 - $4,934,678
2001 - $5,869,809
2002 - $6,138,125
2003 - $8,889,802

The amounts total $30,454,031. Records from 1999 and 2004 were not immediately available.

From the Planet of California

At their state convention in Los Angeles earlier this month, the delegates of the California Democratic Party unanimously approved a resolution calling for the legalization of homosexual "marriage" in their state. The resolution expresses full support for public policy guaranteeing civil marriage equality for all people and says defining marriage as being between a man and a woman "discriminates in favor of different-sex couples and, consequently, discriminates against same-sex couples." Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, says the Democrats are "attacking marriage and rejecting every voter who said to keep marriage for a man and a woman." Still, he feels the Democratic Party delegates' vote is unsurprising in light of AB 19, the homosexual "marriage" license bill, which was co-authored by 30 Democratic state legislators. Thomasson says the Party is out to impose same-sex marriage policies on every community as a role model for the children. "With few exceptions," he points out, "lawmakers who are Democrats are attacking and destroying marriage without blushing." This is why, Thomasson maintains, pro-family voters can no longer vote for Democrat candidates.

Pro-Life March

Several pro-life groups are working together to sponsor a women's lobbying day in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, April 27, hundreds of pro-life women from around the United States will take part in "REAL Women's Voices," an event focused on lobbying senators on sanctity-of-life issues, such as Bush's judicial nominees and the ban on human cloning. The all-day gathering will include a training breakfast, a press conference, lobbying, and an evening reception for women lobbyists and pro-life lawmakers. Jane Abraham is president of the Susan B. Anthony List, one of the organizations sponsoring tomorrow's events. She says the idea that the majority of women support abortion is a misconception. "Polls consistently show that American women are more pro-life than pro-choice and overwhelmingly support restrictions on abortion," Abraham notes. "Women are coming to Washington to speak out and to lobby on behalf of women and unborn children. They want Congress to hear real women's voices, not misconceptions." Other sponsors of the REAL Women's Voices event include the National Right to Life Committee, Concerned Women for America, Silent No More Awareness, Eagle Forum, and Family Research Council Action.

Hate Mail Exposed

After an evacuation and a visit from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Christian university discovered that "racist hate mail" reported on campus actually was sent by a black student looking for a way to be pulled out of school.

The student at Trinity International University in Bannockburn, Ill., whose name was withheld, confessed she sent racist letters to three minority students. As a precaution, the school sent about 100 of its 1,000 undergraduate students off campus to hotels or private homes Friday night.

The student was charged with disorderly conduct and a hate crime, according to a statement by Kevin Tracz, Bannockburn's chief of police. The school, affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America, also has campuses in Florida and California.

Micro"soft" Stance

Microsoft Corp. may rethink its decision to withdraw support for state legislation that would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians, Chairman Bill Gates says. In an interview with The Seattle Times, Gates said he was surprised by the fierce criticism that followed the company's decision to no longer back a state gay rights bill it had supported in previous years.

The legislation failed by one vote in the state Senate on Thursday, spurring outrage among advocates who accused Microsoft of caving to political pressure from an evangelical pastor.

Microsoft, one of the first companies to offer domestic partner benefits to gay employees, has denied that the pastor or anyone else outside the company influenced its decision. Gates said executives hadn't expected a backlash.

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond subsequently met with Microsoft executives and threatened to organize a national boycott of Microsoft products if it continued to support the bill.

On Friday, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center asked Microsoft to return a civil rights award it gave the company in 2001. Liberal Web bloggers have urged their critics to organize their own Microsoft boycott.

I'm urging everyone to contact Microsoft. Tell them to get off the fence and start opposing immoral lifestyles and a more consistant basis.

Corporate Headquarters
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399
Telephone1-800-MICROSOFT (1-800-642-7676)

DVD Cleaning

President Bush on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at helping parents keep their children from seeing sex scenes, violence and foul language in movie DVDs.

The bill gives legal protections to the fledgling filtering technology that helps parents automatically skip or mute sections of commercial movie DVDs. Bush signed it privately and without comment, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.
The legislation came about because Hollywood studios and directors had sued to stop the manufacture and distribution of such electronic devices for DVD players. The movies' creators had argued that changing the content — even when it is considered offensive — would violate their copyrights. Forget your parental rights, it's copyrights we need to worry about.

The legislation, called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, creates an exemption in copyright laws to make sure companies selling filtering technology won't get sued out of existence.


Reality TV

If you have a watched the news in the past 5 days, you have probably seen the 5 year old brat (yes, I called her a brat) who trashed an office, hit an assistant principle and threw her little tantrum on video tape for the whole world to see. She ended up in handcuffs and all over the news.

The mother of the 5-year-old brat who was handcuffed at school by police has withdrawn her daughter from Pinellas public schools and is now moving out of state.

On Monday morning, the Largo lawyer representing the girl's mother appeared on five network news shows. He returned wearily to his office to find a fax from the mother, 24-year-old Inga Akins, stating he had been fired. The fax had been sent from the tabloid TV show A Current Affair, on which the mother appeared Friday and Monday. The mother was reportedly paid to do that interview. With the smell of media attention in the air, came the prospect that the Rev. Al Sharpton would be coming to town.

The case of the handcuffed little girl was the top story on "A Current Affair" Monday night, with images of the girl smelling a flower and running through a park laughing. Laughing all the way to the bank probably. The show interviewed a child psychologist who said the handcuffing might be racially motivated. A Current Affair also said the girl "had to flee her home to escape the media." Unless that media is "A Current Affair" and willing to pay for an interview.

The whole video is about 28 mins long. All we see on the news is part of it. There is nothing racial about this and for anyone to claim otherwise is false and destructive. A white 5 year girl acting like that would still be a brat in need of some serious discipline. Should the police had handcuffed her? I don't know. It's seems a bit harsh but I did not have to put up with the girl. What I do know is the mother should not profit from her daughter's bad behavior in any way and if I was judging this case I'd sentence to the girl to a good old fashion spanking and the mother to some parenting classes. Maybe we could air that on "A Current Affair" so people can see what happens when you act like a brat.

Expert: Pope Benedict to convert Muslims

Pope Benedict XVI will strive during his tenure to re-Christianize Europe by making the way for greater religious freedom on the continent and then converting millions of the Muslims who now populate the area, asserts geopolitical analyst Jack Wheeler.

Wheeler explains that by electing Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the cardinals were bringing a mostly dead European Christianity to the new pope for reviving.
And the pope is more than up for the challenge, Wheeler asserts.

"It takes both heroic optimism and heroic faith to attempt a revival of Europe now at death's door," he writes. "For many astute observers, Europe is doomed by a 'perfect storm' of inescapably negative demographics, welfare-state bankruptcy and the creeping seizure of its cities by Muslim immigrants. Yet the cause of all three is Europeans' willful abandonment of their cultural souls. Restore that to them and all three of the clouds creating this perfect storm start to clear.

"Such restoration can only be done with and cannot be done without Christianity – and not some wishy-washy, apologize-for-the-Crusades, can't-we-all-get-along, multicultural-diversity-transgendered theological goulash, but a straight-talk, look-you-in-the-eye Christianity of muscular moral certainty with no excuses and no apologies."
Wheeler says the high birth rate among Muslims in Europe influences how the pope will accomplish his job.

Wheeler says Benedict XVI will publicly demand that Muslims be free of any punishment should they choose to convert to Christianity, citing Article 18 of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Comparing Benedict to Ronald Reagan, Wheeler says: "This new pope is a conservative revolutionary aiming to overthrow the entrenched modern orthodoxies of secularism and relativism, and rescue Western Civilization from a massive alien threat.

A Slap In the Face

Hundreds of members of the U.S. Army National Guard who helped protect New York City after the Sept. 11 terror attacks aren't getting credit toward their military retirement for their service.

While Guard members were paid for their time, not a single day they spent in the rubble of the World Trade Center helping dig for survivors, controlling crowds and keeping order around the city counted toward their military retirement.

The time spent at Ground Zero is considered state active duty - not federal.
Federal duty generally involves being mobilized for war, but it also includes the protection of federal sites in the months after the attacks.
Protecting the West Point military academy, for example, did earn credit for that service.

To make sure the guardsmen get their due, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Pete King (R-L.I.) introduced bills that would treat guard-unit service in counties that were declared national disaster areas as federal duty. This week, Maloney and King will ask the Armed Service Committee to hold a hearing on the issue.

Is The Bible Literally True?

Do you believe in God? Do you believe what it says in the Bible? Is The Bible Literally True?

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans believe the Bible is literally true and the Word of God. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 24% disagree and say it is not.
A related survey found that 47% of Americans pray every day or nearly every day.
Among Evangelical Christians, 89% believe the Bible is literally true and just 4% say it is not. Among other Protestants, 70% believe the Bible is literally true. That view is shared by 58% of Catholics.
By a 4-to-1 margin, those who believe the Bible is literally true have a favorable opinion of the new Pope.
Sixty-five percent (65%) of women believe the Bible is literally true along with 61% of men.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Republicans believe in the literal truth of the Bible as do 59% of Democrats and 50% of those not affiliated with either major party.
Eighty-two percent (82%) of black Americans believe the Bible is literally true and is the Word of God. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of White Americans share that view along with 71% of other, primarily Hispanic, Americans.
While older Americans are a bit more likely to believe in the literal truth of the Bible, 58% of American adults under 30 hold that view.

Another Tax Delay

A judge yesterday asked Allegheny County officials to postpone a $200,000 mailing of certified 2006 property assessments until after he has a chance to rule on a lawsuit against the county.

Last week, the Sto-Rox School District and a Franklin Park homeowner sued the county to block County Chief Executive Dan Onorato's proposal to put a cap on assessment increases.
Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. scheduled a hearing for May 10.
County officials had hoped to start mailing out next year's values by the end of the month, but Wettick said the county should wait a few more weeks to avoid having to do a costly second mailing if he rules against the cap.
Since the beginning of the year, this is the third time the county has postponed sending out the 2006 values.

In February, Onorato announced that the new values would hit property owners across the county with an average increase of almost 20 percent. He proposed placing each of the county's approximately 550,000 properties in one of six categories: decrease, no change, and increase of 1, 2, 3, or 4 percent. County Council approved the cap.
But the cap's critics have argued that it is not uniform -- in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution -- and would unfairly burden poorer school districts and municipalities that need to collect revenue from properties with climbing assessment values to keep their budgets from falling.

When County Council approved the assessment cap last month, it pushed the deadline to file an appeal back to May 31.

Onorato said yesterday that the county likely will change that deadline again once the 2006 values are sent to property owners.

Full Story

A Losing Bet

The question I'm asked most often is "Where did you get the name Powerball?" Long time listeners will know the answer but many people assume I'm some sort of big time gambler. Well, I'm not and I never won the lottery. I don't condemn it, so long as you are responsible and understand that like anything, overindulgence can lead to disaster.

Nowadays you can gamble at the gas station, grocery store, on the internet, office pool, a Saturday night Texas hold em' game with some friends, bingo at the church and of course little Billy is selling raffle tickets for his soccer team. All this before the first official slot machine is even plugged in in Pennsylvania!

A recent article on the issue of gambling caught my attention. It talked about a growing number of women are problem gamblers. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, men still make up two-thirds of problem gamblers, but the numbers are starting to shift, with more women getting hooked.

Video gambling machines are a mainstay in casinos, and researchers say they draw women because they produce quick results. Women tend to be more addicted to the next win, whereas men are drawn to games of skill and control.

"There are folks who are losing, in some cases, their life savings," said Tom Shaheen of the Pennsylvania Family Institute. "They are drawn to embezzle their employers or spend the family funds."

With gambling on the way right here in Pennsylvania we all must be aware and ready to face the consequences. Please don't fall into the trap that is about to be even more available.

Full Article

Evolving to Irrelevance

The cry is out in the mainstream media for the Church to "modernize" and get with the times. This call is not exclusive to any one denomination. James V. Schall takes a hypothetical look at what would happen if a "liberal" Pope led the Catholic Church.

The first consequence would be that anyone with a half a mind will realize that the Church has contradicted its own solemnly sworn and defined principles. In other words, on its own grounds, it is not worth believing. It has rejected its one claim to credibility, that is, its adherence to the stated deposit of faith and the teachings that flowed from this. In fact, it now agrees that what was wrong in one era is right in another.

If the Church, over its long history, insists that some thing is wrong, then it suddenly decides that what is wrong is right, what follows? What follows is simply that no one, believer or non-believer, should ever again give such a Church second thought. It cannot, on these premises, be true.

So what those who advocate abortion, birth control, gay life, euthanasia, cloning, and what not really are seeking is the undermining of the one authority in the world that says these practices and those who choose them are wrong, wrong before God and before themselves. The Church did not itself concoct these theories as if it could fashion what it wanted, as those who want it to radically change think it can.

Such people do not understand that the only claim the Church has to our belief is its faithful consistency to the deposit of faith, which it did not somehow "make up" by itself. Once this position is internally and intrinsically undermined, as it would be if the Church approved these things, it would have absolutely no claim to anyone's belief, or even anyone's taking it seriously. Under the rubric of the advent of a "liberal" pope, we have, in fact, the desire that the authority of the papacy to credibility be itself eliminated.

Full Article

UCC Up for Grabs

The United Church of Christ (UCC), a 1.3 million-member denomination known for its progressive stances on social issues, will for the first time be considering opposite resolutions on same-sex marriage at its upcoming biennial meeting in Georgia. If a proposed resolution from the UCC's Southern California - Nevada Conference is approved this summer, the church could become the first mainline Christian denomination to endorse full marriage equality without regard to gender. This controversial measure marks the first time the UCC's General Synod has been asked to address the issue of marriage equality outright. The opening line of the proposed resolution states: "Ideas about marriage have shifted and changed dramatically throughout human history, and such change continues even today." The proposal goes on to delineate historical, theological and biblical reasons to affirm both civil and religious recognition of same-gender marriage as equal. Meanwhile, eight geographically-diverse congregations have come together to put forth a counter resolution calling upon the church "to embrace the scriptural definition of marriage." That measure states: "Throughout the scriptures, marriage is always defined as being between one man and one woman. We find examples of those who violated God's natural moral order to their own detriment, but God's standard and definition remained constant." The UCC's biennial General Synod, expected to include about 3,000 delegates and visitors, will meet July 1-5 at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.

Taking Christ off the Calendar

In certain precincts of a world encouraged to embrace differences, Christ is out. The terms "B.C." and "A.D." increasingly are shunned by certain scholars. Educators and historians say schools from North America to Australia have been changing the terms "Before Christ," or B.C., to "Before Common Era," or B.C.E., and "anno Domini" (Latin for "in the year of the Lord") to "Common Era." In short, they're referred to as B.C.E. and C.E.

The life of Christ still divides the epochs, but the change has stoked the ire of Christians and religious leaders who see it as an attack on a social and political order that has been in place for centuries. For more than a century, Hebrew lessons have used B.C.E. and C.E., with C.E. sometimes referring to Christian Era. This raises the question: Can old and new coexist in harmony, or must one give way to the other to reflect changing times and attitudes?

The terms B.C. and A.D. have clear Catholic roots. Dionysius Exiguus, an abbot in Rome, devised them as a way to determine the date for Easter for Pope St. John I. The terms were continued under the Gregorian Calendar, created in 1582 under Pope Gregory XIII.

Although most calendars are based on an epoch or person, B.C. and A.D. have always presented a particular problem for historians: There is no year zero; there's a 33-year gap, reflecting the life of Christ, dividing the epochs. Critics say that's additional reason to replace the Christian-based terms.


Nasty Neighbors

Iran is not only covertly developing nuclear weapons, it is already testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America's technical infrastructure, effectively neutralizing the world's lone superpower, say U.S. intelligence sources, top scientists and western missile industry experts.
The radical Shiite regime has conducted successful tests to determine if its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, can be detonated by a remote-control device while still in high-altitude flight.
Scientists, including President Reagan's top science adviser, William R. Graham, say there is no other explanation for such tests than preparation for the deployment of electromagnetic pulse weapons – even one of which could knock out America's critical electrical and technological infrastructure, effectively sending the continental U.S. back to the 19th century with a recovery time of months or years.
Iran will have that capability – at least theoretically – as soon as it has one nuclear bomb ready to arm such a missile. North Korea, a strategic ally of Iran, already boasts such capability.


Gives New Meaning to Couch Potato

Scientists have begun putting genes from human beings into food crops in a dramatic extension of genetic modification. The move, which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics, is bound to strengthen accusations that GM technology is creating "Frankenstein foods" and drive the controversy surrounding it to new heights.

Environmentalists say that no one will want to eat the partially human-derived food because it will smack of cannibalism. (Now there's a marketing challenge!)

But supporters say that the controversial new departure presents no ethical problems and could bring environmental benefits.
In the first modification of its kind, Japanese researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice to enable it to digest pesticides and industrial chemicals. The gene makes an enzyme, code-named CPY2B6, which is particularly good at breaking down harmful chemicals in the body.

Ahhh... no thanks. I'm not really hungry any more.

Full Story


As of now we have gone above and beyond our goal for Foor for the Poor. Because of all of you, it looks like we will be able to provide 20 familes in need a home. I can't thank all of you enough for your support.

Back to Normal

Well things are getting back to normal. I want to thank everyone who called in or donated on the web to Food For The Poor. Your generosity has been amazing.

I also want to thank my good friend Horacio from Mallorca for his support of the campaign. If you are in the Pittsburgh area you have to go check out Mallorca. Also Mark at Trinity Jewelers has gone above and beyond. Stop by see him for your next jewelry purchase.

We will be back on the air today at 3 and I know with your help we will make our goal! It should be a fun show. John Hall who is on WORD FM in the morning will be in the studio along with Jamaica Tom! We will be taking donations once again today, but it's also going to be a laid back, have fun, Friday kinda show.

Tune in. You don't want to miss it.

I let you in on what we have planned for next week..... Monday we will be speaking with football great Rosie Greer and Tuesday I hope to have an interview with Charlie "Tremendous" Jones.

This is top secret but I have it on good authority Pittsburgh Steeler Tommy Maddox will also be on the show Tuesday!

That's all for now. Have great weekend and take someone to church!

Coroner, DA get lashing in court

The continuing legal bickering between Allegheny County's coroner and its district attorney appears to be straining the patience of a judge who already brokered one peace accord between the two last month.

Lawyers for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. and Coroner Cyril H. Wecht agreed to cooperate with each other in two death investigations Thursday, but only after Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning admonished them.

Zappala and Wecht have been at it since January. First, Zappala challenged the coroner's right to conduct open inquests. Then the district attorney launched a probe to determine whether Wecht was performing private forensic work on public time. Earlier this month, the FBI searched Wecht's office, seizing computers and log books.


Protestants Praise Pope

Many pro-life and pro-family Protestants are adding their voices to those in the Catholic community who look forward with hope to the papacy of Benedict XVI. The American Family Association of Michigan, a statewide family values group supported by both Roman Catholics and other Christians, enthusiastically welcomed the new pontiff's election.

Gary GlennAFA of Michigan president Gary Glenn notes that Cardinal Ratzinger's service to the Catholic Church has been comparable to the motto of the U.S. Marines -- that is, "semper fidelis" or, in other words, "'always faithful' in defense of traditional Christian doctrine regarding marriage, morality, the family and protection prenatal life."

Praising the new pope's record of leadership as a cardinal, Glenn notes that Ratzinger issued publications upholding marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman and reaffirming the church's staunch opposition to homosexual behavior and abortion.
Also, the Michigan activist points out that Cardinal Ratzinger was outspoken about family values during the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign and even authored a memorandum saying Catholic politicians who support legal abortion -- like Senator John Kerry and Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm -- should be denied communion, along with Catholics who vote for such politicians.

Ratzinger's stances on these issues caused many pro-abortion and pro-homosexual advocates to label him as an adversary. Advocate, a homosexual news magazine, called the new pope "anti-gay" and "a hardline guardian of conservative doctrine," while Reuters reported that many homosexual Catholics have expressed disappointment over his election.

Also, the group Soulforce has condemned Ratzinger for refusing to meet with its representatives back in 2000 when they were in Rome, saying his refusal "indicates his unwillingness to even acknowledge the Spirit evident in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people." In a news release, Soulforce denounced the former cardinal, stating that he now "brings the inquisition to his appointment as pope."

In light of such reports, AFA-Michigan's Glenn comments, "If a good man is known by those who condemn him as much as by those who support him, certainly faithful Catholics and all who stand for traditional family values ... have all the more reason to welcome Cardinal Ratzinger's selection."



"Nazi pope a clear and present danger to the civilized world," read the headline of a reader's letter in a forum of NYTimes.com, The New York Times' Web site.

It wasn't the worst abuse leveled at Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, a German. Type the words "Nazi pope" into the Google search line, and you will get nearly 700 mentions.

"Seig Heil, hail Mary!" read one post, misspelling German word for victory, which is "Sieg." "What can you expect from a filthy Nazi?" asked one blogger quoted, with horror, by National Review Online. The blogger went on: "...Nazi bas-- wearing a dress and no doubt with a past in child-molesting." The Internet is of course the kooks' playground, where anti-German prejudices are safe to disseminate for a simple reason: unlike organizations representing blacks, Jews, Italians or the Irish, their German-American counterparts hardly ever raise a fuss.

"We are somewhat reticent," Ernst Ott, chairman of the German-American National Congress known as DANK, told United Press International Thursday. "We mustn't react impulsively. The more we say the worse things become. It's much better to enlighten people." There are some German-Americans who believe that this kind of quietism has only made matters worse in the six decades since the end of World War II, and particularly after Germany's reunification in 1990.

Before Ratzinger's elevation to the papacy, the worst outburst of Germanophobia in the United States occurred on July 25, 2000, when an Air France Concorde crashed in Paris, killing more than 100 passengers, mainly German tourists. Jubilant messages celebrating the "German barbecue" filled America Online's chat rooms. Now, however, things have become even more egregious, complained Werner Baroni, former editor and publisher of Amerika-Woche, a German-language weekly. "Ever since Ratzinger has become pope I have a hard time bringing down my blood sugar level," Baroni, a diabetic, went on. A meticulous journalist of the old school, 77-year old Baroni fumes, "I don't know what upsets me more -- the insults or the historical sloppiness with which the American media treat Ratzinger's youth. "They show an old photograph of a young man in uniform claiming that was Ratzinger in the Hitler Youth. In reality, the picture showed him in the fatigues of an anti-aircraft gunner." As one who has been through similarly horrifying experiences, Baroni is outraged by the self-righteousness with which the American media treat this subject.

It was, he said, yet another Nazi crime to assign children to flak positions where they would be killed or maimed by the tens of thousands. True, Ratzinger was in the Hitler Youth, the paramilitary organization in which membership was compulsory after 1941. Still, he managed to drop out by insisting that it was incompatible with his life in a pre-seminary.

The Jerusalem Post newspaper cleared him of any culpability and ridiculed those who suggest that pope Benedict was a closet Nazi. It mocked people accusing him of being a "theological anti-Semite for believing in Jesus so strongly that -- gasp! -- he thinks anyone, even Jews, should accept him as the Messiah." Added the Post, "To all this we should say, 'This is news?'"

To the burgeoning species of Internet gasbags it clearly was news. "I bet you this neo-Nazi pope will have the Swiss guards goose stepping on St. Peter's Square in no time," predicted one blogger. Of course, it is questionable whether such attacks on the pontiff, a saintly and particularly mild scholar, are truly aimed against the German people.

"They knock the Germans but they are motivated by their anti-Catholicism," Catholic League president William Donohue proposed. New York Times columnist Maureen Down seemed to prove Donohue right by stirring all the elements she considered disagreeable about Ratzinger and his church into one venomous brew: "Joseph Ratzinger, (is) a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth."For American Catholics -- especially women and pro-choice Catholic pols -- the cafeteria is officially closed. After all, Cardinal Ratzinger, nicknamed God's Rottweiler' and 'the Enforcer,' helped deny Communion rights to John Kerry..."

Still, this bundle of clichés at least does not include the word "Nazi pope." This term was entered America's foremost paper via the Readers' Opinion section of NYTimes.com and caused dismay at the Anti-Defamation League. "We reject that outright," ADL spokeswoman Mryna Shinebaum told UPI. Her national director, Abraham H. Foxman, had welcomed Ratzinger's election. " Cardinal Ratzinger has great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust. He has shown this sensitivity countless times," Foxman stated.

Was it ethical, then, for NYTimes.com to publish a text accusing pope Benedict XVI of being a Nazi? Toby Usnik, the Times' director of public relations seems to think so. "We choose not to censor such posts unless they are abusive, defamatory or obscene. While we believe that this post stretches the truth of the pope's youth, we do not believe it violates our policies," he informed UPI. "This calls for another insulin shot," fumed Baroni. "It would clearly be abusive if you labeled a black man with the 'N word,'" he said. "But in the Times' mindset there's evidently nothing defamatory about calling a German pope a Nazi -- in other words a member of a species guilty of a genocide."

Welcome PowerBloggers

I want to welcome recent vistors from:

South Africa
New York

Thanks for visting and welcome.

Swann Has An Early Lead

Former Pittsburgh Steelers football star Lynn Swann has an apparent lead among three Republicans who aspire to challenge Gov. Ed Rendell's expected re-election bid next year, according to an independent poll released today.
Swann garnered support from 25 percent of the 579 Republicans surveyed by Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University, followed by 21 percent who favored former Lt. Gov. William Scranton III and 6 percent who chose state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola. Forty-seven percent were undecided.

Opposing Dr. Hillary


A Roman Catholic organization is urging a Catholic school to rescind its offer to give Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) an honorary doctoral degree. Doing so would "honor the church's opponents in the fight against abortion," the group said.Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, said it would be a "scandal" for Marymount Manhattan College in New York City to give Sen. Clinton a special degree on Friday, May 20, when she is also scheduled to deliver the school's commencement address.Reilly said his group, which is "dedicated to the renewal of Catholic identity at America's 220 Catholic colleges and universities," specifically objects to the school's plan because Clinton has supported legalized abortion, voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, advocated expanding embryonic stem cell research and declared contraception "basic health care for women."In addition, Reilly said the college's actions defy the "Catholics in Political Life" statement that was approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2004."The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles," the statement said. "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."Reilly has written to Marymount Manhattan College President Judson Shaver, urging him to cancel Clinton's appearance "in order to restore fidelity to the college's Catholic mission, obedience to your bishop and public trust in your commitment to not lead astray the college's students, your employees and the general public."Reilly also has sent a letter to New York Cardinal Edward Eagan seeking "immediate action to prevent scandal in the Archdiocese of New York.""After decades of scandal at secularizing colleges, last June the bishops drew a line in the sand," Reilly said. "No college that deliberately crosses that line deserves the label 'Catholic' or the support of the faithful -- most especially monetary support."Reilly also noted that Marymount Manhattan's commencement speaker in 2004 was New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whom he called "a fervent advocate for abortion rights.""Last year Spitzer, this year Hillary Clinton," Reilly remarked. "Can anyone trust this college's claim to a Catholic mission? They seem to have tried their hardest to honor the church's opponents in the fight against abortion, and now they publicly brush aside the bishops' clear expectations."We trust there will be consequences from the bishops, but lay Catholics also need to stand up and confront this scandal," he added.

A Higher Education

Although the ACLU has declared the practice unconstitutional, the Bible is being used as a textbook in classes taught in 300 school districts nationwide, according to a curriculum provider.
About 1,000 high schools in 35 states are using material produced by the North Carolina-based National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools in classes during regular school hours.

The U.S. Supreme Court consistently has upheld the teaching of the Bible as literature, as long as it is not employed for devotional purposes or indoctrination.

The organization's elective class, "The Bible in History and Literature," examines many aspects you wouldn't expect to find in a Sunday School class, Ridenour said, such as how the Bible influenced America's founding fathers, art, music and literature, including Shakespeare.

The NCBCPS, which has been working with school districts since 1994, says it's "amazed at the snowball effect that is taking place across America" as more districts adopt the material.
The organization points to statistics indicating many Americans agree their children's education is deficient.

The evangelical Christian researcher Barna Group said, according to a study this year, 50 percent of Americans agree that children are not well prepared for life intellectually, and 75 percent of adults say children are not prepared morally.
The NCBCPS sees an indication of the Bible's impact in oft-cited statistics showing dramatic increases in unwed pregnancies, cases of sexually transmitted diseases, violent behavior and other social factors since the Bible largely was removed from classrooms in 1963.

NCBCPS also has been invited to promote its materials for the next two years with The Dead Sea Scrolls To America Exhibit touring the country.



It’s remarkable anyone was against it, but California Democrat Diane Watson was, calling it “not only a violation of filmmakers' copyright protections but also an infringement of their artistic vision.” (CBS News) Rebecca Hagelin cautions parents: “The mass marketers with their worldviews are never too tired to market to your children. They are never too lazy, and they will never give up. So you have to be diligent.” (Crosswalk)

Kerry: Don't tell me what God wants

Sen. John F. Kerry attacked Republicans for having an ``orthodoxy of view'' and overly inserting religion into politics, accusing them of using God as a justification for appointing conservative judges.
``I am sick and tired of a bunch of people trying to tell me that God wants a bunch of conservative judges on the court and that's why we have to change the rules of the United States Senate,'' Kerry told a group of Bay State residents who traveled to Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Martin Meehan's annual legislative seminar.
The Bay State senator was referring to a possible GOP move to alter Senate rules that would prevent Democrats from filibustering President Bush's judicial nominees.
Quoting the Biblical line that ``faith without works is dead,'' Kerry cited budget cuts to schools, literacy programs and Medicaid as distorted values.

Open Letter to Eric Svendsen

Eric Svendsen is Founder and Director of New Testament Research Ministries and a Tutor in New Testament at Greenwich School of Theology, U.K.

Most of you will have no idea what I'm talking about so forgive me. But Mr. Svendsen has made some comments about me and this site. I would have preferred to address them in private, however, since I was unable to locate and email address for Mr. Svendsen and he is obviously monitoring my blog I will post here.

Mr. Svendsen, I welcome you to read, post, comment, email me on any subject you find here. However, I do wish to make one thing perfectly clear. This site is my own personal site. I represent no one but myself. It is not owned, edited, run or even approved by the company I work for.

It is very important that you understand what are my words and the words of others. I always try to make that clear. For the record, I would expect anyone belonging to any denomination to whole heartedly believe that theirs is the true Church. If you do not, you are wasting your time. I am not ashamed of my faith. I also do not seek to force it upon those who disagree. You can see by many of the comments, there are many non-Catholic who post here as well. They and you sir are welcome to respectfully debate, challenge, and disagree.

It is unfortunate you do not know the entire story and I am not at liberty to share it with you. It is my hope that despite the differences we have, all of us can return to the single belief that unites us all as Christians and that is the saving message of Jesus. I welcome you and invite you to join the discussion. Together we will discover the Truth. Not my truth, or your truth, but THE TRUTH.

May God bless and guide you,

Shaun Pierce

Dominus Iesus

With the election of a new Pope you will undoubtedly hear reference to a statement that was release by the Vatican through Cardinal Ratzinger's office in 2000. It was titled "Dominus Iesus" and it clarified the views of the Roman Catholic Church concerning other Christian denominations and other religions. The statement implies that "Churches such as the Church of England, where the apostolic succession of bishops from the time of St. Peter is disputed by Rome, and churches without bishops, are not considered 'proper' churches." They suffer from "defects." This statement includes all denominations of Christianity with the exception of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Religions other than Christianity are considered to be "gravely deficient." Their rituals can constitute "an obstacle to salvation" for their followers. The document is infallible since it was "explicitly approved and confirmed by the pope."

Since the Church teaches that a very lengthy interval in Purgatory or an eternity in Hell awaits the unsaved, the adverse consequences of an individual following another religion (or a Christian denomination other than the RCC) are severe -- perhaps infinite infinite in nature.

Some of you may be outraged by these statements but there is really nothing new in the document. It reflects long-standing inclusivist beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church: that the Church alone possesses the full truth; all other faith groups have only elements of truth. To a secular individual. this may seem like an arrogant stance. However, it is hardly unique. Many, perhaps most, faith traditions also believe that they alone possess the entire truth, and view all other religions as being at least partly deficient.

This 5 year old statement is quickly becoming news again because "Dominus Iesus" was published by Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was released on SEPT 5, 2000. The document had been ratified and confirmed by the Pope John Paul II on JUNE 16, 2000 "with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority." The document appears to have been triggered by the growth in acceptance of "relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism." Some within the RCC, and many more without, had been suggesting that:

At least some religious truth is subjective: valid for some but not for others;
Concepts from other spiritual sources can be absorbed into Christianity "without regard for consistency, systematic connection, or compatibility with Christian truth;" Scripture can be read and interpreted independently of church tradition.

Cardinal Ratzinger quotes a variety of documents to reemphasize that:

"The full revelation of divine truth is given" in the "mystery of Jesus Christ."
The Church does not expect any additional, future, public revelation.
Nothing needs to be taken from other religions and added to Jesus' message in order to make it complete.
Only the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments are inspired by the Holy Spirit and are without error.
It is the Holy Spirit who has sown the "seeds of the word" in diverse customs, cultures and religions around the world, preparing them for future "full maturity in Christ."
Jesus is the only savior of mankind.

He divides Christian denominations into three groups:

The Roman Catholic Church which was established by Jesus Christ: "he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him...."
Eastern Orthodox Churches which are united with the RCC by the: "Apostolic succession..." (Christ's disciples consecrated the first bishops of the Church, who subsequently consecrated other bishops down to the present day), and
"a valid Eucharist" (a valid celebration of the Mass).

These are "true particular Churches." The Church of Christ is "present and operative" in these churches even though they do not, at this time, accept the primacy of the pope.

The remaining Christian denominations which have not preserved the Apostolic succession. They are not "churches in the proper sense." However, their members are "incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church."

Members of the RCC are not to look upon Christianity as a collection of Christian denominations. The Church of Christ does exist today; it is not to be considered a future goal to which all denominations "must strive to reach."

Cardinal Ratzinger describes the status of non-Christian religions:

The Church of Christ is the instrument by which all humans are saved.
Salvation is accessible to those who are not members of the "Church" -- (i.e. not Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians). It comes through grace which originates with Christ and "enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation."
The prayers and rituals of other religions may help or hinder their believers. Some practices may prepare their membership to absorb the Gospel. However, those rituals which "depend on superstitions or other errors... constitute an obstacle to salvation."
Members of other religions are "gravely deficient" relative to members of the Church of Christ who already have "the fullness of the means of salvation."

He discusses inter-religious dialog:

Dialog with other branches of Christianity and with other religions is part of the RCC's mission of evangelizing the world.
Dialog implies the equality of the dignity of the individuals taking part -- not the equality of their various beliefs and practices.



The New Holy Father is Cardinal Ratzinger he has taken the Name Pope Benedict.

Newly elected Pope Benedict XVI asked the world to pray for him and his papacy in his first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica following his election on Tuesday.

"I entrust myself to your prayers," the Pope, German-born Joseph Ratzinger, told a packed St. Peter's Square.

Clad in white papal vestments and a short red cape, he then delivered his first blessing to the city of Rome and the world.

While many theologians strive for a Catholic Church that is more open and in touch with the world around it, Ratzinger's mission is to stamp out dissent, and curb the "wild excesses" of this more tolerant era.

He wields the tools of his office with steely efficiency. By influencing diocese budgets, bishops' transfers and even excommunications, what an opponent calls "symbolic violence", Ratzinger has clamped down on the more radical contingent of the Church.

He has even claimed the prime position of the Church of Rome over other Christian Churches. Although he has apologised for this, he has never been so contrite about excluding liberation theologians, more progressive priests or those in favour of the ordination of women.

Ratzinger has pursued doctrine that can endure, independent of cultural or social trends. He argues that only with a completely separate values system can the Church offer individual freedom. His critics call this "papal fundamentalism", but Ratzinger is unflappable in his personal theology.

The Fight for Your Money

The Sto-Rox School District and a Franklin Park homeowner yesterday sued Allegheny County to block it from placing caps on property assessment increases.

In response, county Chief Executive Dan Onorato called on residents in Stowe and McKees Rocks to push the school district's board members and superintendent to withdraw the lawsuit.

Last month, County Council approved and Onorato signed legislation that would place a property's 2006 assessment value in one of six categories: decrease, no change, and increases of 1 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent or 4 percent.

Onorato first proposed the caps in February, after announcing that the county's approximately 550,000 properties would see average assessment increases of almost 20 percent. He said the changes would allow taxing bodies to reap potentially huge windfalls.

The civil complaint filed yesterday with Allegheny County Common Pleas Court argues, however, that the caps violate the uniformity clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution by applying different tax rates to different properties.

If the 2006 values are applied without caps, he said, 77 percent of property owners in the two municipalities will see assessment increases, and 35 percent of property owners will see increases of 20 percent or more.

So now we have lawsuits flying while people continue to lose their homes. Not to mention those of us who live in Alleghany county have no idea what are taxes will really be. We need a fair solution to all this NOW.


Jim Roddey Calls It Quits

Former Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey has submitted his resignation letter to the city financial oversight board.
Roddey, whose resignation had been expected because he moved from the city to Oakmont, said yesterday he submitted his resignation now so he can serve on a new statewide board looking to find a funding solution for public transportation.

Two weeks ago, Mayor Tom Murphy and City Council called for Roddey to be removed from the board after he voted to file a lawsuit against the city for signing a new contract with firefighters.

Roddey, also a former chairman of the Port Authority's board of directors, will serve on the Transportation Funding and Reform Commission. The commission has a mandate to recommend a permanent funding stream by Nov. 15 for public transportation. Gov. Ed Rendell averted a funding crisis earlier this year by transferring money originally scheduled for roads and bridges.

Editor's Note: I've dealt with Mr. Roddey several times over the years. He is a true gentleman and I wish him the best in his new role.

ACTION ALERT: Justice Sunday

Your church can help stop the judicial filibusters in the Senate. Hundreds of churches are signing up to air a special 90-minute simulcast featuring three prominent conservative leaders: Focus on the Family Action Chairman Dr. James Dobson; FRC Action President Tony Perkins and Dr. Al Mohler.

"Justice Sunday" will occur April 24 — and your church can get on board to help stop judicial filibusters. The aim of the event is to return some justice to the judicial nomination process that has been hijacked by Democrats who have filibustered nominees with whom they have ideological differences. Perkins said failing to return the number of votes needed to confirm a nominee to a simple majority of 51 will have far-reaching consequences for President Bush.
"If this fails," he explained, "I am concerned that most of his pro-life, pro-family agenda will be thwarted by this radical minority in the United States Senate."

Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, agreed, saying this is really a battle against "black-robed tyranny."
"Everyone who's watching this process closely knows that it's the judges who really matter," he said. "Just think of the fact that a president — even if he wins two terms — is in office for only eight years, but these judges are in positions to affect the law and public policy for a lifetime."
Pastors, Mohler added, must get their churches involved in the political process.
"It's just extremely important that Christians understand that our political responsibility as citizens goes far beyond the voting booth," he said. "It has to do with seeing these issues through and nothing right now is more important than getting the right judges in place."

TAKE ACTION: You can sign your church up to be part of the simulcast online at the Family Research Council Web site. The site also lists radio stations that will be carrying the broadcast.
Churches can get the broadcast through SkyAngel satellite or via Webcast. It will be aired live from Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., at 7 p.m. EDT Sunday.

A Voice of Truth

conservative minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) is denouncing a proposal that would allow homosexuals to become pastors in the denomination if they prove they are in a so-called "lifelong, committed, and faithful same-sex relationship."
The ELCA currently has a ban on non-celibate homosexual pastors, but its Church Council recently voted that exceptions to the policy be made to permit the ordination of active homosexuals. The resolution now goes before the ELCA's governing church body, or Churchwide Assembly, which meets this August in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Roy Harrisville III, executive director of the conservative group called Solid Rock Lutherans, says the Church Council's pro-homosexual resolution is not only unbiblical but also "creates unlimited exceptions to the policy and in effect repudiates marriage." The resolution does this, he maintains, "by allowing exceptions across the board."
Harrisville says this means that "such things will be granted on an unlimited basis, I expect." And that lack of defined limitations, he argues, sets up a double standard, since the Church Council failed to consider whether the exceptions would also be extended to heterosexuals in common law marriages.
In any case, the Solid Rock Lutherans spokesman feels these pro-homosexual leaders in his denomination want to follow the example of the Episcopal Church USA in ordaining practicing homosexuals; but he insists, "the people in the pews do not." While the Church Council may consider its proposal progressive, the conservative minister says what is unfortunate "is that they have misunderstood that the gospel cannot be equated with popular American ideology."
The conservative minister asserts that the Church Council's apparent equation of contemporary thinking with eternal biblical truth is "the fundamental mistake that they've made, and we're hoping to point that out to them." Unfortunately, he notes, the individuals who want to change standards within the church tend to be more politically active than those who want to preserve things as they are.
Nevertheless, Harrisville says the homosexual ordination proposal defies the will of the majority of ELCA lay members and essentially says that marriage does not matter. He contends that the denominational leaders have demonstrated they are out of touch with the people in the pews by taking their minority view and elevating it to the status of policy.

Freemason Secrets

HE is believed to be the inspiration for the hero of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code, and is credited with revealing the secrets of Rosslyn Chapel on which the cult book is based.
Now Dr Robert Lomas, who like Brown’s protagonist Robert Langdon is an international expert on symbolism and myth, is to publish a no-holds-barred account of the secret initiation ceremony of a freemason.
In Turning the Hiram Key, Lomas, of Bradford University, describes his own initiation at the Eaglescliffe Masonic Hall, where he was ordered to strip and put on “rough linen pyjamas” in the ladies lavatory by a man wearing a lambskin apron and holding a sword.
He includes details of the “contorted question and answer session”, during which he was asked to twist his body into strange positions while blindfold in a masonic temple, his trousers and sleeves rolled up.
At the completion of the ceremony the blind was ripped off and, half-blinded by the intense brightness in the room, he saw 40 white-gloved masons who clapped once to signify the end of his initiation.
The master of the lodge, wore an elaborate V-shaped collar of blue and white, the floor was covered in a white shroud, and the five-pointed star was shining on the eastern wall of the room, illuminating a skull and two crossed thigh bones.
The book, published by Lewis Masonic, explores the subsequent rituals, myths and symbolism of freemasonry that Lomas claims are connected to spiritual fulfilment.
However, his bid to go public has provoked outrage from fellow freemasons, who believe Lomas has betrayed the trust of the ancient organisation, first founded in Scotland in the 15th century.
Jim Munro, a Scottish freemason who gives tours of Rosslyn Chapel, said the revelations detracted from the ancient and mystic attraction of the clandestine order. “If anybody can buy it and read it on the bus eating a takeaway, then the essence of something ancient and mystical will die,” he said. “Lomas might have good intentions, but I really object to masonry being used as a tool to sell books.”
Another senior Scottish mason, who declined to be named, claimed that the attempt to uncover masonic secrets was “disgraceful”. He said: “The man has trivialised and made a laughing stock of an ancient and dignified tradition.”
Bob Cooper, the museum and library curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in Edinburgh, said Lomas could offer only a personal view of freemasonry. “I appreciate what he is trying to do. He feels freemasonry has been a positive influence in his life and that stimulating interest will benefit the craft,” he added. “But the danger is that in removing the mystique he is doing the opposite.”
However Lomas defended the book, which he claimed would set the record straight and would help to recruit new members. “It’s a major source of information about ourselves and our past that will disappear if we don’t get new blood in,” he said. “Previous exposés of freemasonry have been done by outsiders. As an insider, I’m saying this is a good thing. I’m trying to show what I got out of it.”
In 1996, Lomas claimed that Rosslyn Chapel was the hiding place for scrolls containing the secret teachings of Jesus Christ.
Freemasonry was founded in Scotland by the St Clairs of Roslin and the first minuted meetings were recorded in Edinburgh in 1599. Orders have since spread across the world.
Throughout the centuries thousands of famous men have been linked to the order including George Washington, the first president of the United States, Sir Winston Churchill and Mozart.

Suicide by Secularism?

By George F. Will

The astonishing pilgrimage of Europeans to Vatican City for the most attended funeral in history obscured a stark fact confronting the conclave that tomorrow begins selecting the next pope: Vatican City is 109 acres of faith in a European sea of unbelief.
Poles, especially, traveled to Rome to honor John Paul II. But what was said of Georges Clemenceau -- that he had one illusion, France, and one disillusion, mankind, including the French -- might with some exaggeration be said of John Paul II and Poland. He was vexed by the zeal with which Poles, liberated from the asceticism inflicted by communism, embraced consumerism, materialism and hedonism. From Catholic Ireland to Catholic Spain to Poland, the most Catholic nation, the trends of contraception, divorce and abortion are moving against Catholic teaching.
The challenge confronting the church can be expressed in one word: modernity. The church preaches that freedom is life lived in conformity to God's will as manifested in revelation and interpreted by the church. Modernity teaches that freedom is the sovereignty of the individual's will -- personal volition that is spontaneous, unconditioned, inviolable and self-legitimizing.
John Paul II's mastery of the presentational aspect of the papacy -- a mastery dependent on two modern technologies, television and jet aircraft -- may cause the conclave to seek a candidate with similar skills. But the substance of what he presented did not amount to accommodation with the culture of modernity.
In America, a market-driven society, there is a religion market in which the most successful competitors for congregations are churches with clear doctrinal and strict moral positions. For these churches, the "crisis of Christianity" is congestion in their parking lots.
Christianity is a varied and complex structure -- theological and institutional -- erected on a foundation of biblical prophecies and reports of the activities of Jesus. For two millennia these prophecies and reports have been, to say no more, subject to various interpretations. Hence the search, from the earliest days of Christianity, for sources of authoritative interpretation. That search produced great councils -- Nicaea, Trent -- and the post-Reformation papacy. When the conclave begins, a European epoch may begin to end.
It took 455 years to pry the papacy out of Italian hands. Now, after 26 years of a pope from Eastern Europe, the church that is withering in Europe is flourishing in the Southern Hemisphere, where materialism and consumerism are less powerful but people passionately desire the affluence that drives materialism and consumerism.
Europe itself is withering. On the day of John Paul II's funeral, the European Union's statistics agency reported that the decline of birthrates means that within five years deaths will exceed births in the European Union. By 2013 Italy's population will begin to decline; the next year Germany's will begin to drop. After 2010 Europe's population growth will be entirely from immigration. By 2025 not even immigration will prevent declining fertility from accelerating what one historian calls the largest "sustained reduction in European population since the Black Death of the 14th century."
In his new book "The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God," George Weigel, biographer of John Paul II, argues that Europe's "demographic suicide" will cause its welfare states to buckle and is creating a "vacuum into which Islamic immigrants are flowing." Since 1970 the 20 million legal Islamic immigrants equal the combined populations of Ireland, Denmark and Belgium.
"What," Weigel asks, "is happening when an entire continent, wealthier and healthier than ever before, declines to create the human future in the most elemental sense, by creating a next generation?" His diagnosis is that Europe's deepening anemia is a consequence of living on what he considers the thin gruel of secular humanism that excludes transcendent reference points for cultural and political life. Such reference points are, he thinks, prerequisites for freedom understood as "the capacity to choose wisely and act well as a matter of habit."
Perhaps. But Weigel also argues that Europe's crisis of civilizational morale was catalyzed by World War I. So Europe's retreat from religion may reflect a reasonable weariness and wariness born of four centuries of religious wars and convulsions wrought by the political religions of fascism and communism.
Weigel doubts it is possible to "sustain a democratic political community absent the transcendent moral reference points for ordering public life that Christianity offers the political community." Absent a reconversion of the continent, Europeans, who -- like many Americans -- find the injection of transcendence into politics frightening, are going to find out whether Weigel is right.

The Media and The Catholic Church

The night before the Catholic Cardinals were to begin their conclave to choose a new Pope, the U.S. broadcast network evening newscasts painted the role of women as the most important issue and gave a platform to left-wing church activist Joan Chittister. "The future of the church is now in the hands of 115 men. Some Catholic women find that offensive," ABC's David Wright asserted Sunday night in leading into a Chittister soundbite. Wright proceeded to showcase a woman upset that her unborn daughter cannot become a priest, before concluding: "Men and women may be equal in the eyes of God, but many Catholics say in the eyes of the church, there's still a long way to go." Wright gave a soundbite to a church defender, but not CBS's John Roberts who sandwiched two denunciation from Chittister around touting how "a new CBS News poll finds the majority of Catholics think the next Pope should admit women into the priesthood, let priests marry, and allow birth control." Plus, "52 percent of American Catholics think the church is out of touch."

The Church has never looked at polls. Let's hope they don't start now.

Dems Blocking FDA Nominee Over Birth Control

Anonymous allegations against Lester Crawford, President Bush's choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, prompted the Senate Health Committee to postpone a vote on his nomination Wednesday and request an internal FDA investigation.

The panel had scheduled a session to consider Bush's promotion of Crawford from acting to permanent head of FDA. But the committee's chairman, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and the ranking Democrat, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, announced, "We are postponing the scheduled vote on Dr. Crawford's nomination to provide more time to address issues that have been raised on both sides of the aisle." So what's this last moment concern?

A week ago, two Democratic senators, Patty Murray of Washington and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, said they would block Crawford's nomination because they were unsatisfied with his explanation of why the "morning-after pill" has not been approved for use without a prescription!

In a confirmation hearing four weeks ago, Democrats repeatedly asked Crawford why the FDA had not yet reached a decision. Crawford said that the company's application was unique and complex and that he was awaiting further information.

Maybe he should have said "because it's an abortion pill"

Full Story

Terri's Watch: Catholic Hospitals Defy Pope

Newsmax reported on April 16, 2004:

Roman Catholic hospitals are reassuring patients they'll honor living wills in the wake of a papal pronouncement that hospitals should never remove feeding tubes from patients in persistent vegetative states. In a talk March 20, Pope John Paul II said that feeding and hydrating such patients is "morally obligatory," and that withdrawing feeding tubes constitutes "euthanasia by omission." Since then, American bishops, theologians and ethicists have been studying the issue closely to see what the pope's words will mean for hospital operations in the United States. For now, many hospitals are deferring to the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," commonly called ERDs, outlined by the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops. According to those guidelines, feeding tubes for people in chronically vegetative states are "medical treatment" that can be continued or halted based on the benefits and burdens for patient and family. Such guidelines call for following directives set out in advance by people who do not want life-prolonging medical treatments, as long as the person's wishes don't conflict with Catholic moral teachings, including the church's ban on euthanasia.


Catholic League president William Donohue commented today on what is ailing some critics of the Catholic Church:

“It is nothing short of remarkable that some of the nation’s leading critics of the Catholic Church can hold diametrically opposing positions on the same subject without ever seeming to notice. In this regard, demands that the Church needs to involve itself more in the public affairs of society manage to coexist with equally fervent calls for it to recede from public life. What matters is the issue, not principle. Consider today’s column in the Los Angeles Times by Robert Scheer.

“Scheer takes President Bush to task for not taking his cues on the Iraqi War from Pope John Paul II. He asks why ‘journalists and politicians ignore[d] the pontiff’s opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq?’ He also says of the pope, ‘It hardly honors the man to ignore his impassioned statements on what he considered to be a great moral crisis.’ Now had the subject been abortion or gay marriage, is there anyone who doubts that Scheer would never have written this sentence? What makes this really schizophrenic, however, is the fact that Scheer began his journalism career in the 1960s blasting Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archbishop of New York, for his so-called meddling in the Vietnam war.

“Scheer is not alone. During the presidential election campaign last year, the pundits hammered the Catholic Church to death because some bishops publicly addressed abortion, euthanasia, marriage and the family. They were repeatedly warned, by the champions of free speech, not to exercise their First Amendment right to freedom of speech when such subjects were on the table. But if a bishop were to speak against capital punishment, or in favor of an increase in the minimum wage, these same persons wanted the bishops to grab a bullhorn and lecture the faithful.

“As the conclave draws near, watch for more of this incredible public display of cognitive dissonance. It is one of the hallmarks of the Left.”

Would You Miss the IRS?

A federal bill that would do away with federal income tax and replace it with a national sales tax has been introduced again in the House of Representative after the same bill failed to get committee consideration in the last Congress.

The bill, H.R. 25, is sponsored by Rep. John Linder, R-Ga. Dubbed the "FairTax" proposal, the bill "will repeal all corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes – and replace it with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax," according to the congressman's website.

Because the 23 percent consumption tax is paid only by the end user, business-to-business purchases for the production of goods and services would not be taxed. An organization pushing Linder's plan, Americans for Fair Taxation, estimates consumer prices would drop by an estimated 20-30 percent as a result of the change.

Also included in the bill is a rebate payment that would go to every American household to replace the sales tax paid on necessities. Those in poverty, the bill's proponents say, would effectively not pay any tax under the new system.

Editors Note: As April 15th approaches and many of us agonise with a calculator and wrinkled bits of paper in hand let me be the first to say YES I SUPPORT THIS PLAN!!!!
I encourge all of you to check out the info here and ask you to spread the word to everyone you know.