A Look at Bill Scranton

Bill Scranton, who is running for Pennsylvania governor, joined us in the studio. I have not made my choice as of yet, but I did look into Mr. Scranton a bit and I have some concerns after reading his profile.

Here is what Wikipedia says about Bill Scranton:

William Worthington Scranton, III (born July 20, 1947 in Scranton, Pennsylvania) served as the Republican lieutenant governor of the state of Pennsylvania from 1979 to 1987 in the administration of Governor Richard Thornburgh. He is the son of former Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton and a member of the wealthy and politically influential Scranton family, the founders of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

After attending Yale University, he became the editor of a local newspaper in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania. He then became president and managing editor of the Greenstreet News Company. He entered politics as a member of the Republican State Committee in 1976. In 1978, he won the Republican primary for lieutenant governor and later that year became the youngest person ever elected lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania.

His dual role as Chairman of the Governor's Energy Council and Chairman of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council put him at the center of the Three Mile Island crisis in 1979. As Lieutenant Governor, Scranton hired Nat Goldhaber -- a close associate of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi -- as his top aide in Harrisburg. In 1982, he was unanimously elected as Chairman of the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors.

After his stint as lieutenant governor, he ran for Governor of Pennsylvania in 1986 against Robert P. Casey. The race was virtually tied until five days before election day when Casey's media consultants, led by a young James Carville, launched the now infamous "guru" ad. The television advertisement portrayed Scranton as having been a regular drug user in the 1960's and mocked Scranton's interest in transcendental meditation and his ties to the Maharishi. The image of Scranton as a "long haired, dope smoking hippie" is seen by political observers as having tipped the scales against Scranton in socially conservative Pennsylvania. Casey went on to win the election by a narrow margin.

After losing the 1986 election, Scranton exited politics for a while and held a number of positions in the private sector in California. He returned to Pennsylvania in 1994 to manage his family's interests.

Scranton supported John Hagelin, the Natural Law Party candidate and fellow transcendental meditation practitioner, in the 1992 and 2000 presidential elections, but supported President George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Scranton is considered a top candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in the 2006 election.

Not to mention he is pro-choice. Can you guess why I'm concerned?

Fun Stupid Quotes

It's been a long week. Let's have some fun!

"I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law."- David Dinkins, New York City Mayor answering accusations that he failed to pay his taxes.

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."- Brooke Shields

"We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees."- Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president."- Hillary Clinton

"China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese."- Charles De Gaulle, former French President

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country."- Marion Barry, Washington, D.C. Mayor

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."- Dan Quayle, U.S. Vice President

Women Ordained

We talked about this subject on air for the past few days. I posted this back in August but I'm going to repost it scince it is timley once again:

A a poll in Newsweek in 2002, showed 64% of Catholics in the United States supported the ordination of women, despite a definitive ruling from the Church to the contrary. From this poll it is apparent that 64% of Catholics are either abysmally ignorant of their Faith and/or in open rebellion to the Vicar of Christ's Church. . I wish I could say this has changed in recent years.

The Catholic Church declared in 1976 that "the fact of conferring priestly ordination only on men, it is a question of an unbroken tradition throughout the history of the Church, universal in the East and in the West, and alert to repress abuses immediately. This norm, based on Christ's example, has been and is still observed because it is considered to conform to God's plan for his Church" (Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood, CDF, October 15, 1976, #4). Those clamoring for women’s ordination not only err regarding Church doctrine, they also fail to understand that ordination is a gift, not a right.

The fact that no women have been ordained for 2,000 years in the Catholic Church, as well as the fact that none of the Apostles chosen by Christ were women, should make anyone think. Pope Innocent III wrote at the beginning of the thirteenth century, "Although the Blessed Virgin Mary surpassed in dignity and in excellence all the Apostles, nevertheless it was not to her but to them that the Lord entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven".

The forces now setting their sights against the Church’s doctrinal position regarding the all-male priesthood can not win. The Church preaches the Gospel in season and out of season; the Church will triumph over all obstacles, maintaining fidelity to its divine Founder. It is up to the faithful to cling to that despite poll results and wayward Catholics.

Muslim NYPD Fire Chaplan Quits

He might have discovered a bit of hostile work environment. That's of he ever made it to work.

An imam slated to be sworn in today as the second Muslim chaplain in Fire Department history, instead resigned after making controversial remarks on the Sept. 11 attacks in an interview with Newsday.

Intikab Habib questioned whether 19 hijackers were responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and suggested a broader conspiracy may have brought down the Twin Towers and killed more than 2,700 people. He said he doubted the United States government's official story blaming 19 hijackers associated with al-Quaida and Osama bin Laden.

Questioned about who he believed was responsible for the attacks, Habib said he didn't know. He said, however, that he did not expect to raise his doubts with rank-and-file firefighters -- nor did he share them two weeks ago when he participated in several Sept. 11 memorials on behalf of the Fire Department.

Mayor Bloomberg said he welcomed Habib's resignation. "The remarks were offensive and the mayor is satisfied that the chaplain has resigned," mayoral spokesman Ed Skyler said.

A spokesman for the Fire Department, Frank Gribbon, said that Habib was recommended by the department's Islamic Society and was hired "based on his credentials as a religious person. We don't ask new employees about their political views before we hire them."


Priest Killed Funeral Home Workers

Prosecutors said they will present strong evidence in a hearing next week that will officially declare the case of a double murder at a funeral home in Hudson, Wis. closed. Sources said prosecutors will present evidence showing that a Catholic priest murdered Dan O'Connell and James Ellison in a funeral home more than three years ago.
The pieces start with what happened inside the walls of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Hudson. Sources said that sometime before February 2002, a teenage boy was sent to the church. He had gotten in trouble with the law and was assigned to do community service at the church. The boy was placed under the care of Father Ryan Erickson, sources said. Erickson, 31, was a youth pastor, but sources said on at least three occasions, Erickson took the boy into the rectory of the church, served him alcohol and molested him.

Hudson Police have launched a separate investigation into those allegations. The murders are tied to those allegations because O'Connell and his family are very well connected in the church. O'Connell’s father serves on the church council and Erickson presided over O'Connell's funeral.

Neither the O'Connell family nor the Ellison family wanted to comment on camera for the story. The families did say they look forward to next week’s court hearing, so the truth will finally come out.


Pastors, Politicans & Indictments

The money that led to the indictment this week of two Las Vegas pastors and the wife of one of them came from federal grants arranged by Sen. Harry Reid in September 2001, a Reid spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Moving to distance Reid from a possible scandal, aide Tessa Hafen said the senator sought the money on behalf of a nonprofit social services agency and not for the churches or persons who have been accused of mishandling the money.

The Rev. Willie Davis, the longtime pastor of Second Baptist Church, and his wife, Emma, were indicted Tuesday on fraud charges with an associate minister, the Rev. McTheron Jones. They are accused of spending $330,000 from federal grants on themselves although the money was intended for halfway houses for prison inmates in Southern Nevada.

A Reid relationship with the Second Baptist Church surfaced in 1997, when the senator donated $250 to the church where Davis was and still is pastor. The money came from John Huang, who was convicted of making illegal contributions to the 1996 re-election campaign of President Clinton. At about the same time, Reid donated another $250 from Huang to the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Reports: Unborn babies found 'for satanic rituals'

The bodies of three unborn children concealed in statues of Christian saints reportedly were found yesterday, with authorities believing they were intended for use in satanic rituals in the U.S.

The BBC and other wire services say the gruesome discovery was made at the international airport in Bogota, Colombia, as police were conducting routine searches for contraband.


Nagin & Farrakhan are Pals

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin briefed Nation of Islam chief Louis Farrakhan about damage to the city's levees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. That's sparked Farrakhan to speak of a deliberate evil plot to murder poor black people by blowing up the levees.

I was wondering why Mayor Nagin would take the time to talk to Farrakhan as his the people who elected him clung to rooftops. The the answer to that question began to develop.

Back in June, the Bayou Buzz reported that Nagin's police department hired Farrakhan deputy Dennis Muhammad to conduct "sensitivity training" sessions for New Orleans' cops after a rise in "anti-police" sentiment in the city.

NOPD police chief Eddie Compass explained that "members of the Nation of Islam have some type of relationship" with the community and might be able to help ease tensions. Chief Compass resigned on Tuesday amidst reports that 249 of his cops had deserted their posts during the Katrina crisis.

This is one poor decision right after another. We will continue to track this story

Dear Powerball

Brian sent an email to PowerBlog! aksing us to post this. Here is what he wrote:

Dear Powerball:
I implore you to bring attention to a work of art located in public view downtown that is highly offensive to all Christians.

Located on the side of a building at Strawberry Way and Smithfield, the mural depicts Pittsburgh icons Andy Warhol and Andrew Carnegie. Above is a picture that appeared in the Post-Gazette.

As you can see, Warhol is clearly patterned after classic iconography of Jesus Christ. In the place of Christ's throne is Warhol's beauty chair. Instead of a crown, Warhol has a hair dryer. In place of the Word is some type of magazine. Most egregious is Warhol's right hand, lifted in a"hang ten, dude" manner, that gratuitously calls to mind Christ marking the Trinity with three fingers. And let's not forget the significance of the color purple (suggesting Royalty, Kingship).>

I struggle to believe the resemblence is an accident.

The project is sponsored by
www.sproutfund.org/ Note there will be a dedication ceremony on Friday, September 30. Also note the art is meant to evoke a sense of "make-over" in Pittsburgh, suggesting that part of that "renaissance" is replacing our religous heritage with secular and pop culture.

Please let the Pittsburgh region know that we will not allow this!

Is this cause for concern or much to do about nothing? Any thoughts on this?

Peaks and Valleys

As we go though life we experience peaks and valleys. Some days are great, others we find ourselves down and without much strength to get back up. The funny thing is, when things are good we don't notice as much as when they are not.

No person is able to avoid periods of misfortune. It does not matter your age, wealth or ability to adjust. I don't mean to depress you, but there are some dark days in every life. The question is not when, but how we will face those days.

I turn to faith for strength and understanding. I'll be honest, sometimes it's not there. At other times it's the only thing that gets me through. Let's all be honest here. It's easy to say God is in control, but we never really want to give up the control we think we have. We are also not comfortable letting God do everything. God will use us to do his work but most of us want to have a say in what that work is.

Not all people have faith, or believe in God. They don't want to hear even the slightest mention of God in their most personal and tragic moments. That leaves me as a Christian paralyzed in my capacity to utter a word of comfort. When my source of comfort and strength and understanding is forbidden by another, I'm not sure how to proceed. I also am burdened with that thought that maybe I fail in my Christian duty to present to gospel to those who may need to hear the most.

How do you confront a person and talk about God when that person is on the doorway of death and does not wish to hear it. To push forward may create additional stress on that person in a weakened state. Do we set aside our faith for a person in their final moments of life for the sake of peace?

I know many of you are expecting some profound answers and amazing wisdom. I'm sorry to disappoint you. I find myself in the midst of some of those dark days. I know the peak is ahead. However, writing from the valley I've encountered many questions to which I do not yet posses answers. If you are living on a peak, be thankful and enjoy the view.

Intelligent design tied to creationism in Dover trial

Board members who succeeded in introducing "intelligent design" to students in Dover Area School District were wary of evolutionary theory and explicit in their desire to balance the teaching of evolution with a more Christian-friendly philosophy, three plaintiffs testified yesterday during the second day of a landmark federal trial.


Arkansas Clinic Offers Free Abortions

A doctor has offered to perform free abortions on hurricane evacuees, saying it may be too dangerous for them to wait until they return home.

Oh the acts of compassion we see......



DELAY: 'I have notified the Speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference and the actions of the Travis County District Attorney today' ...


Delay Spokesman: 'These charges have no basis in the facts or the law. This is just another example of Ronnie Earle misusing his office for partisan vendettas'... MORE... Hastert taps Dreier...WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: DeLay 'a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people. I think the president's view is that we need to let the legal process work'


Sex and the City” signs were plastered on busses in Boston with the words “Sex every night at 11 p.m.” One man started making phone calls, stayed with it, and now they’re getting pulled.

Boston Herald


One principal explained “Societal standards have changed dramatically regarding acceptable language. If our policies do not change with societal standards, we set up our students for failure.”


Mississippi May Move Its Casinos Ashore

Just a month after Hurricane Katrina smashed Mississippi's casino gambling boats, the state Legislature opened a special session Tuesday devoted to how and whether to salvage an industry that has been central to the economy of the Gulf Coast.
Gov. Haley Barbour instantly generated controversy by proposing that casinos, previously restricted to boats moored along the state's southern coast or the Mississippi River, be allowed to move as much as 1,500 feet inland.

But many of the state's religious leaders, who have opposed casino gambling from the beginning, were trying to seize the moment to shut down the casinos. "It is unfortunate that with all the human needs in Mississippi right now, the gambling-political complex has chosen this unfortunate time to try to expand its influence," said William Perkins, spokesman for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.

In Mississippi, which has among the nation's lowest tax rates for casinos, 12 percent of gambling revenues go to the government - 8 percent to the state and 4 percent to the county where the casino is. The casinos were projected to bring in $189 million to state tax coffers in the coming fiscal year, a number that has been steadily and rapidly rising since casinos first became legal in 1990.

NY Times

Did you say dogging or blogging?

Proponents of the latest Web trends were warned Tuesday that the rest of the world may not have a clue what they are talking about.

A survey of British taxi drivers, pub landlords and hairdressers -- often seen as barometers of popular trends -- found that nearly 90 percent had no idea what a podcast is and more than 70 percent had never heard of blogging.

A blog, short for Web log, is an online journal, while podcasting is a method of publishing audio programs over the Internet -- a name derived from combining iPod, Apple's popular digital music player, with broadcasting, even though portable devices are not necessary to listen to a podcast.

Now I'm Confused!

LONDON (Reuters)

The Bait and Switch of "Intelligent Design"

By Keith Lockitch

Eighty years after the famous Scopes "Monkey" Trial, the anti-evolution forces have regrouped. Today, the battle in Dover, Pennsylvania, is over the teaching of "intelligent design," the view that life is so complex it must be the product of a "higher intelligence." The central issue under debate is whether "intelligent design" is, in fact, a genuine scientific theory or merely a disguised form of religious advocacy--creationism in camouflage.

Proponents of "intelligent design" aggressively market their viewpoint as real science, insisting it is not religiously based. Writes one leading advocate, Michael Behe: "The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself--not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs."

Proponents of "intelligent design" claim that Darwinian evolution is a fundamentally flawed theory--that there are certain complex features of living organisms evolution simply cannot explain, but which can be explained as the handiwork of an "intelligent designer."

Their viewpoint is not religiously based, they insist, because it does not require that the "intelligent designer" be God. "Design," writes another leading proponent, William Dembski, "requires neither magic nor miracles nor a creator."

Indeed, "design" apparently requires surprisingly little of the "designer's" identity: "Inferences to design," contends Behe, "do not require that we have a candidate for the role of designer." According to its advocates, the "designer" responsible for "intelligent design" in biology could be any sort of "creative intelligence" capable of engineering the basic elements of life. Some have even seriously nominated advanced space aliens for the role.

Their premise seems to be that as long as they don't explicitly name the "designer"--as long as they allow that the "designer" could be a naturally existing being, a being accessible to scientific study--that this somehow saves their viewpoint from the charge of being inherently religious in character.

But does it?

Imagine we discovered an alien on Mars with a penchant for bio-engineering. Could such a natural being fulfill the requirements of an "intelligent designer"?

It could not. Such a being would not actually account for the complexity that "design" proponents seek to explain. Any natural being capable of "designing" the complex features of earthly life would, on their premises, require its own "designer." If "design" can be inferred merely from observed complexity, then our purported Martian "designer" would be just another complex being in nature that supposedly cannot be explained without positing another "designer." One does not explain complexity by dreaming up a new complexity as its cause.

By the very nature of its approach, "intelligent design" cannot be satisfied with a "designer" who is part of the natural world. Such a "designer" would not answer the basic question its advocates raise: it would not explain biological complexity as such. The only "designer" that would stop their quest for a "design" explanation of complexity is a "designer" about whom one cannot ask any questions or who cannot be subjected to any kind of scientific study--a "designer" that "transcends" nature and its laws--a "designer" not susceptible of rational explanation--in short: a supernatural "designer."

Its advertising to the contrary notwithstanding, "intelligent design" is inherently a quest for the supernatural. Only one "candidate for the role of designer" need apply. Dembski himself--even while trying to deny this implication--concedes that "if there is design in biology and cosmology, then that design could not be the work of an evolved intelligence." It must, he admits, be that of a "transcendent intelligence" to whom he euphemistically refers as "the big G."

The supposedly nonreligious theory of "intelligent design" is nothing more than a crusade to peddle religion by giving it the veneer of science--to pretend, as one commentator put it, that "faith in God is something that holds up under the microscope."

The insistence of "intelligent design" advocates that they are "agnostic regarding the source of design" is a bait-and-switch. They dangle out the groundless possibility of a "designer" who is susceptible of scientific study--in order to hide their real agenda of promoting faith in the supernatural. Their scientifically accessible "designer" is nothing more than a gateway god--metaphysical marijuana intended to draw students away from natural, scientific explanations and get them hooked on the supernatural.

No matter how fervently its salesmen wish "intelligent design" to be viewed as cutting-edge science, there is no disguising its true character. It is nothing more than a religiously motivated attack on science, and should be rejected as such.

Keith Lockitch, Ph.D. in physics, is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (www.AynRand.org) in Irvine, CA.

Firefighters union backs Republican

The union representing Pittsburgh firefighters has endorsed Republican Joe Weinroth's bid for mayor in a surprise break from labor's usual preference.

International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1 President Joe King said the decision made Friday by the union's political committee was unanimous. "It's probably the first time, that I remember, that the fire union has backed a Republican candidate for mayor," said King.

The local supported Democrat Bob O'Connor in the May primary. Subsequently, O'Connor refused to meet with them until after the Nov. 8 general election, King said.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Evolution Debate Heads to Pa. Court

The Dover Area School District on Monday was to start defending its policy of requiring ninth-grade students hear about "intelligent design" before biology lessons on evolution.
Dover is believed to be the first school system in the nation to require students be exposed to the concept under a policy adopted by a 6-3 vote in October 2004.

Intelligent design, a concept some scholars have advanced over the past 15 years, holds that Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms. It implies that life on Earth was the product of an unidentified intelligent force.

Critics say intelligent design is merely creationism - a literal reading of the Bible's story of creation - camouflaged in scientific language, and it does not belong in a science curriculum. Eight Dover families are suing the school district, alleging that the policy violates the constitutional separation of church and state.


ABLE DANGER: "Bigger than Watergate"

Rep. Curt Weldon's Testimony before Senate Judiciary Committee on ABLE DANGER

Louis Farrakhan: Nutcase in a Bow Tie

Nation of Islam chief Minister Louis Farrakhan has expanded on his theory that New Orleans' levees were blown up during Hurricane Katrina, announcing Friday that divers working on the levee break have found evidence of explosives.

"These explosives are from the government side," he said during a press conference in Memphis held to promote his upcoming Million Man Anniversary March.

Don't ask me what the "government side" means.

Farrakhan demanded an investigation into the Bush administration's levee plot. If true, he insisted: "somebody is guilty, then not only of mass destruction of property, but of mass murder." Farrakhan predicted that when New Orleans is rebuilt, it will be "a white city."


Anger In the Capitol

Thousands of angry taxpayers are expected at the state Capitol today to protest the pay raise that lawmakers awarded themselves.

Protesters armed with whistles and cow bells plan to raise the decibel level as the House returns to session for the first day since lawmakers approved the pay grab July 7. With a rock band as a backdrop, banners will proclaim the day's themes "Rock the Capital" and "Repeal." A 25-foot inflatable pig will convey what some protesters think of lawmakers. A caravan of vehicles was set to circle the Capitol with horns blaring.



Because they receive federal grants. Republican congressman John Boehner explained the bill ensures that faith-based centers "aren't forced to choose between relinquishing their identities or being shut out of the program altogether." One Democrat called it “state-sponsored discrimination."


Three Democrats voting for him. (USA Today) It was Feinstein’s obsession with abortion that made her decide to vote “no.” (Washington Times) How they voted and how they plan to vote. (AP)

Rabbi: My Radio Show Pulled Because of Racism

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s radio talk show was yanked from a Utah radio station because he urged black Katrina evacuees to relocate to Utah.

During his September 9 broadcast, the politically conservative rabbi announced an upcoming event in Salt Lake City at which listeners could help displaced Katrina victims settle in Utah, the state with the smallest percentage of blacks, reports the New York Post’s Page 6 column.

The rabbi’s popular show was pulled off the air by station KUTR 820 just hours after he urged listeners to welcome refugees staying at Camp Williams, a National Guard base near Salt Lake City.

"This is bigotry pure and simple,” Boteach told Page 6. "The station simply didn’t want me telling black people to move to Utah.”


New Orleans Floods.... AGAIN

Hurricane Rita's steady rains sent water pouring through breaches in a patched levee Friday, cascading into one of the city's lowest-lying neighborhoods in a devastating repeat of New Orleans' flooding nightmare.

Dozens of blocks in the Ninth Ward were under water as a waterfall at least 30 feet wide poured over and through a dike that had been used to patch breaks in the Industrial Canal levee. On the street that runs parallel to the canal, the water ran waist-deep and was rising fast.

Associated Press

PowerBlog! Open Auditions

I do my best to keep PowerBlog! insightful, entertaining and informative. Some days it tough just to post with so many things going on. One of the things that I have really enjoyed, is the response from all of YOU. You make me think in ways I have not considered. You challenge me to learn and grow. We have some really smart folks reading this blog with some important things to say. I know because many of you email me.

I have mentioned this in the past but I'm going to do it again. I'm putting out the call for PowerBlog! Contributors. The only requirement is you have something worthwhile to say. You don't have to be Catholic or agree with my views. Just write an interesting piece that you would like to share with others and send it to me. Try to keep it as compact as possible to conserve space. I'll take a look and post it right here for the world to read.

I'm not promising every submission will get posted. (Please don't send me recipe's or what your cat did last night.) But I really want to open the doors and make my blog your blog.

If there are no takers, then you will be stuck with me and my rants.

Send your submissions here.

The Catholic Luther

For those of you who have listened to the show over the past few years or have read this blog, you know there has been many times where I have had to explain and defend my faith. Let me again define what that faith is. I am first and foremost a Christian. Born again, confirmed, committed or whatever else you want to pile on that label. I CHOOSE to apply my Christian faith in my everyday life through the Roman Catholic Church. There are many reasons for that, one of them being I have found the Roman Catholic Church to be a true and historical church dating back to Jesus himself.

In my many dealings with others who take a very different view of Christianity, protestants often base much of their Roman Catholic objections on the theology of Martin Luther. I invite you to read this very interesting piece on Martin Luther.


As Katrina, Rita and Roberts take center stage, Sheehan goes to the White House and barely gets a 200 word story. (CBS News) She gets even less on PowerBlog!

ACLU battles 'abstinence-only'

The American Civil Liberties Union has launched a drive to persuade education officials in 18 states to reject federal government-affiliated abstinence-only programs.

The ACLU, citing data from a December 2004 report by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., claims the programs discriminate against homosexuals, contain too much religious connotation and spread false information, the Washington Times reported.

Maine officials announced they would reject federal abstinence-only funding, becoming the third state to do so. Pennsylvania and California are the other two states that have rejected the funds.


Rita Blog

Blog posts on Rita's from Houston.

Let the Corruption Begin

Six days after winning a state contract, the company Pennsylvania chose to run its computer system for slot machines gave $50,000 to a national nonprofit that raises money for Democratic governors -- including Gov. Ed Rendell, the group's finance chair.

GTECH, a Rhode Island lottery company, has given $481,267 to the Democratic Governors' Association since 2000, according to a political watchdog group. But the payment March 8 had nothing to do with the $6.3 million a year contract announced by the state Department of Revenue, officials said Wednesday.

Rendell spokeswoman Kate Philips said the state's decision to award GTECH the gambling contract was unrelated to the company's contribution to the governors' association. GTECH, with annual revenues of $1.25 billion, also has given $169,050 to a comparable group for Republican governors.

Penny Lee -- Rendell's communications director until she was named executive director of the Democratic Governors' Association in April -- also discounted a connection between GTECH's contributions to the association and the state contract.

As the group's finance chair, Rendell raises money for the organization, Philips said. Because of the state's ban on corporate giving to political candidates, the governor makes sure he doesn't directly benefit from the money he raises, she said.

But the group has given $462,000 to Rendell's gubernatorial campaign, according to the Center for Public Integrity. What do call that Ms. Phillips?


Thank You Katrina

Pressure is growing to help pay for Hurricane Katrina's costs by getting members of Congress to give up the pet spending projects they've inserted into legislation for their states or districts.

The 1991 transportation bill contained 538 earmarks. This year's had 4,373. Last year's catchall appropriations bill, which wrapped together seven of the 13 annual spending bills, contained 8,000 earmarks totaling $10 billion.


Question of the Day

This AP photo inspired a question in my mind. Do psychics need insurance?

Storm Donations Found at Official's Home

Police found cases of food, clothing and tools intended for hurricane victims at the home of the chief administrative officer for a New Orleans suburb.

Officers searched Cedric Floyd's home because of complaints that city workers were helping themselves to donations for hurricane victims. Floyd, who runs the day-to-day operations in the suburb of Kenner, was in charge of distributing the goods. The donations filled a large pickup truck four times.


Read the Entire Bible in Less then 2 Hours!

Business folk are used to reading executive summaries of important documents, and now would-be Christians are to have the same privilege, in the form of a chopped-down Bible that can be read in under two hours.

A Church of England vicar was on Wednesday unveiling his self-styled "100-Minute Bible", an ultra-condensed edition of the Christian holy book which claims to neatly summarise every teaching from the Creation to the Revelation.

The Reverend Michael Hinton was launching his work at Canterbury Cathedral in southern England, the headquarters of the Anglican Church.

Publishers the 100-Minute Press say the book has been written for those who want to know more about Christianity but who do not have the time to read the original in full.

"This is a book for adults and has been written in a style to encourage readers to keep turning the pages, but without resorting to any literary gimmicks," said Len Budd from the publishing firm. "As the bible itself, the 100-Minute Bible should be a bestseller."


Anglican Bishops Want Christians to Apologize

Church of England bishops are calling for Christian leaders to apologize publicly, at a gathering attended by senior Muslims, for the war in Iraq.

Acknowledging that the British government is unlikely to apologize for the "gravely mistaken" war, the bishops suggest that churches should do so by making a "public act of institutional repentance."They are not calling for a troop withdrawal now, however, saying the troops should remain until there is a secure Iraqi regime in place.


Corporate America Endorses Homosexuality

Apple, Best Buy, Chrysler, Ford, IBM, Dell, AT&T, Sprint, Nike, Kraft, Pepsi.... Many of America's most successful companies continue to snuggle up to homosexuals, with a record 101 firms receiving a perfect score for "gay"-friendliness, according to a new ranking by a homosexual-rights group.

Among this year's findings:
A record 101 companies score 100 percent, attributed to a sharp increase in gender identity non-discrimination policies.

In 2002, only 13 companies earned a perfect mark.

Today, 5.6 million people work at the 101 companies that score 100 percent. Three years ago, approximately 690,000 people were employed by the 13 companies with a perfect score.

Eighty-one percent of scored companies offer health benefits to the domestic partners of employees, up from 70 percent in 2002.


For a list of companies scoring a perfect 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign's 2005 Corporate Quality Index, with policies beneficial toward homosexuals click here.

Katrina Was Not So Bad

Katrina Was Not So Bad
By Shaun Pierce

As I write this another major storm is churning in the gulf. 3 weeks beyond the devastation of Katrina we can look back with clearer eyes and ponder a few things.

First, do you recall all the news reports right after the storm passed? I recall New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin saying "We dodged a bullet". Of course he said that before the levies broke and flooded the city that was exhaling that latest sigh of relief.

That fact that everyone seems to be forgetting, is that Katrina did not make a direct hit on New Orleans. It makes for a great news story with an entire major American city underwater, but lets deal with facts here.

New Orelans did in fact dodge that bullet, but look at what happened anyway. Can you imagine what would happen if a Category 5 storm ever does make a direct hit on the big easy?

I don't believe the entire city should be abandoned. But I do think there needs to be some major changes made before we send people back with a bucket, a mop and a few bucks. For the Mayor to call for anyone to return right now is irresponsible. I'm glad he changed his mind, but I see a power struggle developing down south that is not helpful to anyone.

Mayor Nagin and Gov. Blanco are part of the problem, not the solution. I don't live there so I can not vote them out of office. Yet with so many of my tax dollars and donated dollars going into the region, I do have an interest.

Here is the real infastructure problem. When folks with little or no education rely on a welfare system to survive, that system will fail them every time. The mindset becomes what you can get, not what you can earn. Pride and self esteem fade as the scraps of productivity are tossed their way. You surrender your destiny to others who draw their own power and relevance from those who are dependent upon them.

I have always said that all things happen for a reason. Katrina exposed much more then just a few weak levies. She tore back the covering on a system of welfare and organized poverty that for generations has ill served all but of few.

It is time that the taxpayers of this country demand more from our government and our fellow citizens. (Warning: This is where it get really politically incorrect). We must be compassionate people. We should provide a helping hand to those in need. However, every outstretched hand is not worthy. In some cases, assistance enables one to continue in a non-productive life. If you are physically able, you should be expected to contribute to this nation.

There is no reason why a person who is not truly disabled should continue or be allowed to continue on public assistance for more then a brief period of time. I am tired of seeing the big screen TV in the living room and the brand new Escalade parked in front of a housing project. Have some pride, get yourself educated in something and work to better yourself.

It is my hope that we as a nation use this opportunity to break the cycle of poverty in America. It can't be done by another program or handout. It's done by people who are willing to work to better themselves. There is no lack of opportunity. That excuse is no longer available. It is more possible here, then in any other country in the world. Let's help the storm victims get back on their feet, but let's also expect them to walk on their own once they do.

Pentagon Blocks Able Danger Testimony

Pentagon lawyers have ordered five members of the Able Danger intelligence team not to testify at an open Senate in hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning about information they developed on lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta a year before the 9/11 attacks.

Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter told the New York Times late Tuesday that he intended to go ahead with the hearing on Wednesday and hoped that it "may produce a change of heart by the Department of Defense in answering some very basic questions."


Phony Dough

Despite a host of security measures built into new U.S. currency, discoveries of counterfeit money have jumped 10-fold in western Pennsylvania in the last six months - even showing up in at least one local church's collection plates.Jeff Eisenbeiser, head of the Secret Service's Pittsburgh office, warned business owners and residents to be wary of the larger bills they receive.

"We're asking business owners and the community to be the front lines in this effort," he said at a Tuesday's news conference.The Secret Service has arrested 16 small-time counterfeiters in western Pennsylvania in the last year, but Eisenbeiser said it made no impact on the dramatic rise in weekly fake cash flooding the market.

Beaver County Times


In our ongoing effort to make sure you don't forget how our elected officals treated us in PA by passing a pay raise for themsleves in the middle of the night, we have added "Remember in Novemeber" to the marquee of this site. You will see that simple slogan appear right up to election day.

In that same spirit, the "Rock the Capital" rally is scheduled for Monday, September 26, 2005, from 1:30 to 3:00 pm. Music and a visual feast of political props will be featured before citizens enter the Capitol to meet and greet their representatives.

"The definition integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. The definition of arrogance is doing the wrong thing when everyone is looking. The definition of insanity is acting as if your arrogance has some sort of integrity. I guess that makes our law makers insanely arrogant."

To find out more go here.

Random Thoughts

We had a ton of visitors to this site recently. If you have just begun visiting PowerBlog! welcome. Be sure to sign our guestbook and officially join the family.

For those of you who are in the Pittsburgh area and listen to the show, you may have noticed a few changes. In the past, many of the items you read on PowerBlog! were also discussed on the show. That has not been happening as of late. While some of you have groaned to me about this, the positive side of it is, we are able to cover more ground with the show and this blog covering different topics.

I will continue to bring you issues I think you need to know about right here. They may or may not be the topics that make it on the show. I also have more ability to share my thoughts with you here. I have not been able to do that much on the show.

I also have some good news for the fans of the oldies show. Rock-it Radio is undergoing a major expansion. Soon you will be able to have 60 shows on demand. Currently we can only host 12. That means you will have much more opportunity to tune in to "The Powerball Show" on Rock-it Radio. I'll let you know more as it develops but hats off to the gang out in Ventura, CA for making that happen.

Last but not least, I'm taking the Powerball Show on the road. Yours truly is available to provide DJ entertainment for weddings, dances, corporate events, whatever! We are booking now for holidays parties and already have dates booked for next year. Dates fill up fast. You can get more info here.

I want thank all of you for your continued support. Please help spread the word and keep PowerBlog! growing.


Shaun "Powerball" Pierce

Where did All The Home Runs Go?

With spotlight on the illegal use of steroids in professional sports have you noticed the drop in crowd cheering home runs? In fact baseball has seen the lowest home run rate in eight years. Coincidence, you decide.

While most would say it's because baseball finally cracked down on steroids, the commissioner said “I think it's cyclical.” As expected, the union representing the players also claimed no connection.


Which church is the best? ... part 3

By Jim Rutz

Last week, I promised you an examination of evangelicals and house churches. Sorry, that will have to wait another week because of my verbal proliferation. First today, a few words about marginal movements – often known as heresies or cults.

Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) have established themselves as a bastion of proper conservatism, quite an accomplishment considering their tainted past. They are the only religious group ever to be dinged in a presidential inaugural address! (I must confess that my great-great-great-grandfather rode at the front of the brigade of irate citizens who, in 1846, ran the Mormons out of Nauvoo, Ill., to "get rid of them" – a tactic that backfired monumentally after the Mormons set up shop in Utah.)

The Reorganized Mormons, who descended through Joseph Smith instead of Brigham Young, recently changed their name to the Community of Christ and are trying energetically to scramble toward a more classical Protestant position, which will be a challenge given their heavy load of offbeat theological baggage. But keep a kind eye on them because if they can make the transition to mainstream churchdom (as the former cult, Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God, has done fairly well), there is hope for a wide range of black-sheep denominations. (True Christian unity will be a non-negotiable element in any future national transformation, but such a unity will not be paid for by anyone's surrender of core biblical beliefs.)
The Seventh-Day Adventists have done a much better job of sequestering the out-of-step element of their doctrines, keeping them from infecting the overall character of the church. SDA members are noted for being somewhat legalistic, but highly devoted. They are generally recognized as true Christians by all but the more hard-nosed denominations. In other words, one segment of their beliefs is what we call heretical, but they are not a cult. Perhaps at this point I should confess that I am a member of the Cellophane Wall Party, meaning that in the next revolution, I will have to be stood up against a cellophane wall so that both sides can shoot me at the same time.

Much farther afield than either the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses (who, give them credit, at least try to be true to the Bible) are the countless millions of New Agers, spiritual heirs by default to the vacuous epistemology of positive thinking, the demonic traditions of Hinduism, and the fuzzy mindset of political correctness, which I term "politeness run amok." My estimate is that if you scratch the next 100 U.S. high-school students you meet, you will find underneath about 80 New Agers, steeped in political correctness, totally befogged by the dense clouds of National Education Association propaganda, adrift in relativistic morality (the lack of any standard for truth), and cocooned in a value system that is narcissistic to the point of autism.

Holocaust Survivor Simon Wiesenthal Dies

Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor who helped track down Nazi war criminals following World War II, then spent the later decades of his life fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all people, died Tuesday. He was 96.

Pope bans homosexuals from ordination

Pope Benedict XVI has given his approval to a new Vatican policy document that bans men with homosexual tendencies from being ordained as priests, reports Catholic World News.

The policy statement is a direct result of the pope's concern about the pedophilia scandal in the church – especially in the U.S. The new document, prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education in response to a request made by the late Pope John Paul II in 1994, will be published soon.

The text, approved by Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder that detracts from their ability to serve as ministers.

The "Instruction" does not represent a change in church teaching or policy, according to the Vatican.
Catholic leaders have consistently taught that homosexual men should not be ordained to the priesthood. Pope John XXIII approved a formal policy to that effect, which still remains in effect. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, that policy was widely ignored, particularly in North America.


I've Had It With This State!

I'n ready to storm the captial in Harrisburg! Right after I storm city hall in Pittsburgh. Or maybe the state should be first. I just know I'm MAD and FEED UP! Who's with me??????

I keep up with the news. I have to. The problem these days is the more news I read from this area, the higher my blood pressure goes up. Let's recap shall we.....

The "Parking Lot Union" is on strike. The "Transit Union" is on course to strike. The city of Pittsburgh is broke yet they want to spend $50 MILLION DOLLARS to open a city owned CASINO. Property taxes are out of control. The state is going to rescue the city, schools, taxpayers, sports teams and anyone else who needs a few bucks as soon as we plug in the slot machines. Some are already spending money that does not exsist and now this........

"Pennsylvania's first major gambling-related contract -- worth an estimated $6.3 million a year -- could put a company embroiled in a federal bribery investigation in charge of the computer tracking activity at slots casinos. "

"The state Department of Revenue selected GTECH, a Rhode Island-based company, in March to build what the agency has touted as the world's largest centralized computer system for gambling. Company officials discount the bribery allegations and say the firm will be able to eventually monitor 61,000 slot machines at 14 casinos across the state. "

AHHHHHRUGGGGGGGGG! Please listen to me. If you live in PA make sure you are registered to vote. THEN DO IT! We have got to get these crooks and theives out of our pocket books.

I have nothing against gambling. I know there are problems with it but for the most part I think it can be done in an entertaining and responsible way. The problem right now is we have a bunch of greedy (insert your own words) running things.

Enough is enough. Maybe I'll run for office.

Here is the rest of the story if you can stomach it:

FBI launches "The War on Porn"

The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents.

Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.

Popular acceptance of hard-core pornography has come a long way, with some of its stars becoming mainstream celebrities and their products -- once confined to seedy shops and theaters -- being "purveyed" by upscale hotels and most home cable and satellite television systems. Explicit sexual entertainment is a profit center for companies including General Motors Corp. and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (the two major owners of DirecTV), Time Warner Inc. and the Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt hotel chains.


Cleaning Out The Gene Pool

A teenager, who police said was trying to imitate a stunt from the MTV television show "Jackass," was killed when he jumped from the car he was driving. Death by stupidity should be the official cause here.

Adam Page made it 19 years in this world before he removed himself. His friends watched as Adam attempted a stunt from the MTV show "Jackass". Page was driving a 1995 Subaru Legacy station wagon and was driving about 30 mph. He turned on the car's cruise control, opened the driver's side door, and intentionally jumped from the vehicle while it was still moving.

Page's body immediately struck the pavement, rolled and came to a rest in the road all the while his buddies filmed the stunt. One grabbed the steering wheel to gain control of the car. They turned the vehicle around and found the amateur stunt man unresponsive. Adam died on the way to the hospital.

I try to squeeze a drop of sympathy out, but after reading stuff like this over the years, it gets harder and harder. If you enjoy the show "Jackass" please don't have any children.

Click Fest is Back

I've got some great prizes to give away so ClickFest is back!

All you have to do is make sure you have signed our guestbook. Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win. (Information is not sold or distributed) Then every time you visit PowerBlog! click on our sponsor ads. Every click is another entry. At the end of the week, winners will be chosen at random. We will be giving away some great books, CD's, dinner for two, and the Life Application Study Bible on CD Rom.

The contest is open to all PowerBloggers. You need not live in the Pittsburgh, PA area.

Thanks for all your support and I hope you are the next winner.

Christians Subject to Pornography's Lure

Another pastor's ministry is lost and his family stripped away -- all because of an addiction to pornography. As sad as it is, Christians are not immune to the evil forces of perversion, as evident from a growing body of research.

According to World magazine, 2003 survey found that 47 percent of Christians admitted pornography is a serious problem at home. In addition, 37 percent of pastors have viewed Internet porn, according to a 2001 Christianity Today leadership survey.

"Intense availability has largely contributed to such numbers," Mark Bergin wrote in World. "The Internet's offer of complete anonymity and instant accessibility has changed everything." That availability, notes Bergin, has also tapped a previously unreachable market: children.

Bergin reported that pornographic websites account for 12 percent of all websites and function as links to 372 million pages of porn and service some 68 million daily search engine requests for such images.

Although advanced technology is aiding the sinful habit of porn addiction, there are also a number of programs focused on helping addicts break free. Such organizations include Dynamic Living for Men (DLM); Faithful and True Ministries; Harvest USA; Christians for Sexual Integrity; and Pure Life Ministries.

There is a great ministry need in this area. I hear from men all the time that are struggling with this. It is an issue that I myself had to confront. One of the greatest resources can be an accountability partner. Someone you can talk to who understands and will support you, without judging you. If you need, or would like to be a partner please email me and I will try to match up accountability partners.

Prochoice, out of touch

JOAN VENNOCHI - Boston Globe Columnist

HELLO, NARAL? It is getting easier to ignore you. The same is true of Planned Parenthood.
These abortion rights advocates have not adjusted their tone or message to 21st century political realities.

First obvious reality: George W. Bush, not John Kerry, won the last presidential election. With Bush in the White House, the best-case scenario for abortion rights supporters is a Supreme Court justice who agrees, at minimum, that there is a constitutionally protected right to privacy. That is the underpinning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision, which extended the privacy right to abortion.

During last week's confirmation hearings, John Roberts said there is such a privacy right. It is also true that Roberts refused to state whether he believes that privacy right specifically includes a woman's right to abortion. But did NARAL Pro-Choice America or Planned Parenthood Federation of America really expect a Bush nominee to do that? Again, they got the best they could expect. Regarding Roe, Roberts said, ''It's settled as a precedent of the court, entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis" (Latin for ''to stand by that which is decided").

Next political reality: Respect for precedent is not an absolute commitment to it. With conservatives controlling all three branches of government, expect greater restrictions on abortion at the national level. That makes every state an important battleground. Electing prochoice legislators and governors becomes vitally important to protecting a woman's right to an abortion. Access to abortion can end up being an accident of geography.

But the biggest political reality is how much the abortion conversation is changing on the pro-choice side -- and how little prochoice groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood seem to understand the change and the challenge.

The right-to-lifers contend they have God on their side. Minus a deity, the left needs something. How about reason and logic, the opposite of hysteria?

Senator Hillary Clinton of New York defined a new dialogue last January in a much-discussed speech. The right to abortion should be protected, she said. But it also should be exercised as little as possible. ''There is no reason why government cannot do more to educate and inform and provide assistance so that the choice guaranteed under Constitution either does not have to be exercised or only in very rare circumstances," Clinton said.That is not going to satisfy antiabortion zealots. But it can strike a chord of sensibility with Americans who want abortion to be safe and legal, but agree that fewer abortions are a good thing.

Groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood say their mission encompasses women's reproductive health, and pregnancy prevention as well as abortion rights. But that is not the first thing that comes to mind with either group, despite Planned Parenthood's moniker. ''It's a challenge we struggle with," acknowledged Melissa Kogut, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. ''It's a hard thing to change."

Change or die is the motto of corporate America; it applies to liberal advocacy groups, too. NARAL got off to a terrible start with its campaign against Roberts when it released an ad that falsely sought to link Roberts to abortion clinic bombings. That ad was pulled. But its website and subsequent press releases, along with those of Planned Parenthood, continue a tone of forboding about what to expect from Roberts. They are urging senators to vote against him. Perhaps these advocates are right.

Maybe it is naive to believe a man who says, under oath, ''I am not an ideologue." Roberts also describes himself as open-minded and agenda-less, an umpire, not a pitcher or batter. Similarities between Roberts's testimony and that of Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings may indeed foreshadow what is to come. ''Thomas also gave grandiose remarks about respecting precedent and the right to privacy during his confirmation hearings. One year later, Justice Thomas voted to overturn Roe v. Wade," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, in a press release.

Which gets us back to political reality. What did anyone expect from an antiabortion president?
Abortion rights supporters need a new, nonhysterical campaign that taps effectively into the country's continued backing for legalized abortion. These advocacy groups need to shed their shrewish image and find a way to connect with people who may not appreciate the right they have until it begins to be stripped away.
Otherwise, these advocacy groups bemoan themselves into irrelevancy.

NBC to Air Christian Show

An upcoming TV series featuring Christian pop singer Amy Grant will make its debut next Friday, and NBC is pulling out all the stops to promote it.

In "Three Wishes," Amy Grant will visit a different town every week, where, in a gesture of Christian charity, she will seek to fulfill the wishes of needy families and community groups.

I saw a seek preview of the show and it's very emotional. You will be moved to tears seeing people helping other people. Some have attacked Grant for her past divorce and other personal reasons. However, with all the garbage that is on TV these days I think we need to stand and applaud a show an a network when they attempt to do something right for a change.

The first episode of "Three Wishes" will are Sept. 23rd on NBC.

A Symbol of Sorts

Last week I made my stance known on the issue of the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, PA. The design was presented as a red crescent. That reminded some folks of islam. Including myself.

We had Joanne M. Hanley, the Superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial, on the show to talk about the design of the Flight 93 Memorial. While she made it clear none of the controversy was intentional, she did not convince me the design should remain.

While most of you agreed, there are some that did not. A few wrote me to defend the design as just a mere arch and it has no meaning. Well tell that to the folks at Burger King now that the shoe is on the foot of islam.

In the latest example of Western business interests giving in to pressure by offended Muslims, Burger King reportedly has withdrawn an ice cream product after complaints that a label design looks like the Arabic script for "Allah."

British media reported at the weekend that the fast-food restaurant chain pulled the "BK Cone" and pledged to redesign the label after Muslim customers complained.

So we can have an red crescent stand as a memorial to people who were murdered in the name of "islam" but id and ice cream swirl resembles a symbol for "allah" on a label, we have a major issue?

The product label bears a pattern representing a stylized swirl of soft serve ice cream. But some customer looked at it sideways and thought they could see something else. Maybe that's the whole problem. Some are looking at religion sideways and seeing something else. I suggest we all keep religion out of these petty battles and just enjoy an ice cream cone together!

More Info NewsMax.com

When Yor're Broke... Borrow More Money!

Mayor Tom Murphy is considering borrowing another $25 million to pay for repairs to roads, parks and other Pittsburgh infrastructure.

Debt payments -- fueled by years of borrowing to pave roads, buy fire trucks and police cars, and pay salaries for planners and engineers while city tax collections dropped -- currently consume about $90 million a year. That is more than 20 percent of the city's $417.5 million budget for 2005. Mayor Tom Murphy is preparing his last city budget proposal as he ends his third term in office.

Last week the city was ready to write a $50 million check to the state to open a city owned and run casino. Now we are talking a loan to fill potholes. Does anyone at city hall know math?


Catching CAIR

A photograph was prominently placed on the main web page of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), featuring a group of Muslims in front of the U.S. Capitol.

The caption read: "Leaders of the interfaith community gathered for an interfaith candlelight vigil at the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., to mark the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on Friday, September 9th.”

Apparently, Muslims were present to decry the attacks as anti-Islam, which is reportedly a religion of tolerance, peace and understanding. But the keen eyes of a reader of Jihad Watch, an ally in the war on Islamic terrorism and a bearer of truth, found something unusual with the image.

The above is a screen capture of the main page of CAIR as it appeared on the Internet.
Apparently, however, there were a few "violations" of their dress code, to wit:
(1) A female facing the camera lacking the proper headdress
(2) individuals in the audience lacking propr head coverings as well

Apparently, an eagle eye at CAIR, the source of truth behind Islam's tolerance in America and the foremost authority that routinely teaches U.S. entities, such as the FBI, for example, about the truth of Islam took notice of these violations of attire.

The result was a blatant and rather sophomoric attempt to "draw-in" the proper hijab on one female and headdresses on two others. If this to really supposed to be a religion of tolerance, then why would they doctor the image of another muslim? Why do the mainstream media and many government organizations still give CAIR a free pass as a neutral civil rights group when its commitment to the truth is so manifestly tenuous?

Candidates seek new Downtown plan

Pittsburgh needs a new strategy for bringing life back to Downtown's failed Fifth and Forbes retail area, candidates for mayor and critics of the current administration said Thursday.

Madison Marquette, a national real estate company based in Washington, D.C., is the latest developer to take a crack at creating a master plan for the once-thriving city center, said Herb Burger, chairman of the Pittsburgh Task Force, a private group charged with reinvigorating Fifth and Forbes.

But with Mayor Tom Murphy's third term coming to an end in January, candidates to replace him -- Democrat Bob O'Connor and Republican Joe Weinroth -- say they want to take a new tack.


Gonzales: We'll Fight to Keep God in Pledge

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Thursday that the Justice Department will fight to overturn a federal court ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance can't be recited in public schools because it contains a reference to God.

Gonzales said the pledge is one of several expressions of national identity and patriotism that mention of God but don't violate the Constitution's ban on state-sponsored religion.


Pittsburgh's Losing Bet

Mayor Tom Murphy says the city's 2006 budget could include significant job cuts if the state doesn't replace the revenue the city was supposed to get from slot casinos.

Murphy's warning comes in a toughly worded letter dated Tuesday to state Budget Secretary Michael Masch. It hits just days before the city has to present a budget to one of its state-appointed oversight agencies, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, or ICA.

"In order to cover the potential shortfall of $3.8 million caused by the delay in receiving the gaming revenues, I will be forced to eliminate nearly $4 million worth of desperately needed positions from the city's budget proposal for 2006," Murphy wrote.

The mayor's office would not say how many jobs that might involve. The city has around 3,700 positions and spends $255 million in salaries and benefits.

Powerball Says: This is just one of the many problems that occur when our elected officials spend money that does not exist. At a time when the Mayor is talking the loss of jobs, it does not seem appropriate to consider spending $50 million of public finds on a slots license for the city of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Time to Deal with Iran

I often go back to the President Bush "Axis of Evil" speech in which he named the three thorns in the side of the U.S. One of them has reared it's ugly head once again. I'm no national security expert, but I will say this a problem that can not avoid for very much longer.

Iran is now publicly willing to provide other Islamic nations with nuclear technology. Iran's hard-line president said Thursday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the comments after meeting Turkey's prime minister on the sidelines of a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

Ahmadinejad repeated promises that Iran will not pursue nuclear weapons, IRNA reported. Then he added: "Iran is ready to transfer nuclear know-how to the Islamic countries due to their need."

Iran has said it is determined to pursue its nuclear program to process uranium and produce energy, despite European attempts to limit it. The United States accuses Tehran of secretly seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Associated Press

Flight 93 Memorial - Plan B

Thanks to everyone who posted their thoughts in the Talk Back Forum. Feel free to do so. I do read all comments. I'm glad to hear they are rethinking this design. I don't for a moment think there was ill intent behind this but I do fell it would be in poor taste to procede with the orginal design. I know some disagree with me. Yet a memorial should be a place where all can gather to reflect and remember, free from distractions.

The architect of the memorial to a plane downed in Western Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, said yesterday he would work to satisfy critics who complained that it honors terrorists with its crescent-shaped design.


What do you think about the Flt. 93 Memorial?

I want to get some feedback on this subject about the design of the Flight 93 memorial. Please go to the PowerBall Talk Back Forum to post your thoughts here.

Civil Disobedience Needed

Catholic League president William Donohue issued the following call to action to California public school teachers:

"Now that U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton has said he would sign a restraining order banning the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in some California school districts, the time has come for patriotic teachers in those schools to practice civil disobedience. They need to lead their students in the Pledge, bellowing the dreaded words ‘under God.' But nothing should be done until the television cameras are in place—the sight of teachers being handcuffed by the police would be an invaluable teaching moment.
"Settling this issue in court is fine, but it is inadequate: it's time to shock the conscience of the nation by bringing this matter directly into their living rooms."

My question to all of you is this: Are we called as Christians to ever practice civil disobedience?

Welcome to the "Golden Triangle Casino"

There was a big squawk about elected officials owning a stake in gaming interests. That would be a conflict of interest that shouted! So the put a 1% cap on ownership. Even Jerome Bettis got caught up in the mess over some investment he made and the conflict of professional sports and gambling.

Despite the tapdance some have done over the issue Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy is considering letting city government own and operate a slots casino downtown. Could there possibly be a conflict there Mr. Mayor?

This is a city that is so broke it has two teams trying to pull it out of the hole that mismanagement has dug over the years. Yet they want to spend $50 million of taxpayer money to buy a license for a slots parlor. Follow me on this..... You pay state and local taxes. Some of your state taxes has been given to the city to bail them out of a mess. The city is then going to take that money and give it back to the state to open a slots casino. The money made from the losers at the casino will then go back to the city and state in which it will again be mismanaged and fund education by reducing your property taxes by about $300. $50 million for $300 buck could only sound like a good deal to the Mayor.

For those of you keeping score, the state will run all the liquor stores and the city would run the gambling. Even the Mafia would be jealous of this deal.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Noting that 80 percent of the children abused were boys. The NY Times claims “Experts in human sexuality have cautioned that homosexuality and attraction to children are different, and that a disproportionate percentage of boys may have been abused because priests were more likely to have access to male targets - like altar boys or junior seminarians - than to girls.”

NY Times


This time in Michigan. This judge was appointed by Clinton. (FOX News) The judge is a member of the United Church of Christ (JTBF) a far-left denomination which recently debated “the Lordship and divinity of Jesus.” The church has also thrown its support behind “a women’s right to choose.”


Citing the ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that was later tossed by the Supreme Court. The case will be appealed to, of all places, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge was appointed by Carter. (LA Times) At Robert’s confirmation hearing, Orrin Hatch called this declaration of war.

Judge Roberts: That Was Then This is Now

Is there a double standard with some democrats when it comes to Supreme Court nominees? Let's listen to Sen. Joe Biden question Judge Ginsburg and compare that to his questioning of Judge Roberts.

Click to Listen

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Pharmacists Sue Illinois Governor Over Dispensing of Birth Control

CNSNews.com) - The owners of five Illinois pharmacies say they are suing Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich over his rule requiring pharmacies to dispense the morning-after pill "without delay." Americans United for Life (AUL) plans to hold a Wednesday afternoon press conference to announce detail of the lawsuit filed on behalf of Luke Vander Bleek, owner of two pharmacies in Whiteside County; Tom O'Shea, owner of two pharmacies in Dekalb County; and Glen Kosirog, owner of one pharmacy in Cook County. According to AUL, each of the owners is asserting his right under the Illinois Right of Conscience Act to opt out of selling or dispensing drugs they find to be morally objectionable. Gov. Blagojevich issued an emergency order in April requiring drug stores that stock and dispense contraceptives to fill birth control prescriptions, including the morning-after pill, without delay.

Able Danger: UPDATE

After nearly a month of searching for evidence of the data-mining operation, "Able Danger," the Pentagon has discovered three individuals who recall the defunct military intelligence program.

This brings the total to five individuals who recall either seeing Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta's picture or hearing his name mentioned during the 15-month-long Special Operations Command project. However, the Defense Department still hasn't unearthed any documents related to the "Able Danger" operation, officials said at a Sept. 1 Pentagon briefing, and suggested that the data was purged from computer systems because it included information on "U.S. persons."

Officials also have not found a chart that four "Able Danger" co-workers said showed Atta's picture and his links to other terrorists prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. The Pentagon officials said they had interviewed nearly 80 people in an effort to find out about the enigmatic program that claims to have linked Atta to al-Qaeda and a terrorist cell in New York City.

The Times Herald

An Arch or Crescent

The choice of a red crescent to honor the victims of Flight 93 who fought back against Muslim hijackers on 9-11 is being blasted as "unsuitable" by a U.S. congressman who is urging its rejection.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., has sent a letter to the Interior Department, asking officials to reconsider the "Crescent of Embrace" design due to the symbol's ties to Islam.

We have talked about this a bit on the show. I have no doubt that this was not done on purpose. I also acknowledge there are a few nutballs behind this argument. Still, I personally have an issue with this design. The makeshift fence with notes and items left by visitors seems to me much more fitting.

This memorial is not just for the families of the victims. It is for the nation and the world to stop and ponder what can happen when religion is replace with evil and how all of us may be called to take a stand someday.

Just the fact that this design brings Islam to the mind of some should be enough to rethink the entire plan. It should not be at all about controversy. This is a sacred resting place of hero's and should be treated as such. This memorial belongs to all of us. Christians, Muslims and all faiths will venture to pay respects in their own way. It is a true shame that this was not adressed before the unveiling. Now we must be sensitive to all who still grieve in the wake of 9/11 and make the appropriate design changes right away.

It is improtant the foucs be put back on the true purpose of this memorial.

Jesse Jackson: Compensate Katrina Victims

Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling for the creation of a Hurricane Katrina Victims Compensation Fund that could dole out tens of billions of dollars to New Orleans flood victims over and above the $60 billion already appropriated by Congress for reconstruction.

"We need a Hurricane Victims Fund to provide resources to the affected people and families, based on the same compensation and assistance formula of the 9/11 Victims Fund," Jackson says on his Rainbow/Push web site.

Powerball says: Mr. Jackson ( I will not call him Rev.) 9/11 was the result of a terrorist attack. Katrina was a tragic storm but an act of nature. Should every person who suffers an tornado, flood, snow storm or heatwave be paid? And where is this money coming from sir? I would suggest you sell all the assets of Rainbow/Push and give it to the people you deem qualified before you call for public funding of another entitlement program.

A City On Strike Part II

I posted a piece on unions in the city of Pittsburgh yesterday. As I look a bit further, I've discovered we are on the edge of a much larger problem then just parking lots and entertainment.

School has just started and teachers without a contract can legally strike for up to two weeks. From 1993 - 2002 one of every two school strikes happened here in PA. The result is the teachers union hold students, parents and taxpayers hostage every time a contract expires.

We have some parking lot workers who are on strike. Meeting their demands would mean a rise in parking rates at many lots. So while you are taking a loan to put gas in your car, you might as well tack on a few extra bucks to park the darn thing.

For those of you who grumble and say you just take the bus, not so fast. The transit union and the Port Authority may be hatching a strike of their own. Yes, we came very close to a statewide public transit shut down because of funding issues, but that does not seem to concern the unions.

Then we have the headlock and dirty deals that go on with police and fire unions. Not to mention public works contracts. When these sweetheart deals are made with public money footing the bill, the cost goes up across the board and lock out non union companies who may do a better job at a lower cost.

This is bound to be a painful piece of news to unions and it members, but the the time for unions has passed. They have lost their purpose, they have been corrupted by the power members have entrusted to union leadership all the while reducing themselves into failing political action committees who support self interest over the common good. Ironically, it is that common good that unions originally fought to promote and defend.

A City On Strike

I have always had an issue with the way some unions do things in this city. The moment a union abandons their original mission of creating fairness in the workplace, my support comes to a screeching halt.

Far too often union practices impede progress, make it difficult for third parties to conduct business and strong arm companies without expecting much productivity from the members they represent. I have witnessed far too many strikes in which all sides lost and the best interest of union members was sacrificed just to make a point.

There are currently two union strikes pending in the city of Pittsburgh. One is parking lot attendants. These are the folks who take your 15 dollars after you parked you car for 15 minutes in some downtown lot, 6 blocks from where you needed to be, finally surrendering to their wrath after failing to find a metered space.

The other strike that we are just beginning to learn about is a threatened stagehand strike that has postponed the opening of the production "Chicago". It's the second show affected by a labor dispute with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

My issue is not with the strike or the lack of a contract, it's with the union leaders who see the financial burdens of a city and say "so what". It's calling a strike when there are thousands of people in the wake of Katrina who have lost everything?

Each one of us has been asked to donate as much money as we can to the relief efforts. Countless folks have reached out beyond expectations to help those in need. Now is not the time to plead a union case. There are needs that must be met and an expired contract in not currently one of them.

Forgive my lack sympathy in this matter, but it is currently occupied with much more important things. To the union i say "thank you". I will not have to go to see "Chicago" and I won't have to worry about finding a parking spot either. That money will go to a much greater cause.

Rendell No Longer "Pro Choice"

Gov. Ed Rendell called on lawmakers Monday to override the 390 school districts statewide that said no to slots money, sparking blistering criticism from school officials throughout the region.

"I think it's wrong," Penn Hills School Board member Margie Krogh said. "I'd love to force something on him, but we don't have the right to do that. When somebody becomes a dictator, you lose the right to democracy. That's what's happening here. He's becoming a dictator."

Rendell, a Democrat facing re-election next year, staked much of his political reputation on Act 72, the property tax reduction law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Rendell officials say the average homeowner would get a $330 annual tax cut under the measure, which would shift some slots revenue to schools.

Rendell insisted yesterday that Act 72 remains viable but argued that lawmakers should remove language that gives school boards a choice on whether to accept gambling money and requires participating districts to pass a 0.1-percent earned income tax hike. The governor still backs requiring school boards to subject large tax increases to voter approval.


Roberts No Answer Answers

"I feel the need to stay away from a discussion of specific cases"
"I think I should stay away from discussion of specific issues"
"I do feel compelled to point that I should not ... agree or disagree with particular decisions"
"That's something that I'm going to have to draw the line in the sand"
Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., had wasted no time in grilling Roberts on one of the big issues of the day _ abortion _ and Roberts wasted no time in displaying his skills at the artful dodge.
"Would you think that Roe might be a super-duper precedent?" Specter probed, pointing to times it has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Roberts did assure Specter that Roe "is settled as the precedent of the court." But he declined to be as explicit as Specter sought, signaling it could be a long day of questioning for senators seeking specifics. The 18 senators of the Judiciary Committee are allotted 30 minutes each to question the nominee for chief justice of the United States.

Forgive me for Not Forgiving

The date of September 11th and all the events that surrounded it refreshed memories that had faded into the shadows of my mind. I found myself sad and angry all over again. I fought back tears many times at the Pentagon and over the weekend. The passage of four years did not weaken the vivid recalls that came bursting back to mind.

The nation has used "never forget" as a battle cry. It looks great on a t-shirt or bumper sticker and sounds so noble to say it, but the truth is remembering hurts so much that sometimes I want to forget. That may not be the proper thing to say, but when something hurts it is a natural reflex to pull away. This is no different.

Then there is the issue (at least for Christians) of forgiveness. Scripture tells us we are to forgive. It is not conditional. Jesus himself forgave his killers and prayed for them. Even in the Lord's prayer we ask to "forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us".

I'm going to be completely honest here... I have NOT forgiven these thugs. I can't. Not yet. I'm not even sure if I ever will. I know what I'm supposed to do, but that is different then what I can do. If I pretend otherwise, I would be lying. I still have an anger that wells up inside me when I think about the events of 9/11. I see someone on the street that reminds me of that day and I have to catch myself from reacting openly.

Don't tell me it's wrong. I know it is, but at this point I'm not strong enough to do otherwise. I wonder if there is any Christian in this country that has truly forgiven the people behind this madness. If you have, you are a better person then I am.


Catholic League president William Donohue replied today to the latest statement by SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests):

“Gerald Payne, Kentucky’s SNAP coordinator, wants state authorities to warn residents when Catholic priests who have been accused, but not convicted, of sexual abuse live in their neighborhood. Those who think this is an anomaly are wrong: the headquarters of SNAP is flagging this story on the front page of its website.

“It is not everyday that a national advocacy organization, on either the right or the left, argues that civil liberties should be suspended for one class of citizens. Indeed, this kind of tactic is usually branded fascistic. But this is what happens when an organization that used to be in the media spotlight is increasingly ignored—it tends to become more radical. And make no mistake about it, the reason the media are shunning SNAP (and groups like it) is a direct consequence of the reforms instituted by the Catholic Church: the new policies make SNAP’s very existence moot.

“In any event, to say that SNAP has snapped would be a gross understatement: It has fully discredited itself and will be unable to recover whatever credibility it once had.”