Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the best in 2008
Happy New Year from PowerBlog!

PARENTS THRILLED THEY DIDN’T ABORT SON

As doctors insisted they should. Story notes “The boy, Marco Lara, was born with a range of serious conditions, including water on the brain, a hole in the heart and a narrowing of the outlet of the stomach. The parents say the toddler is developing well after three operations, two to relieve pressure on his brain.”

FOX News

LATEST OUTSOURCE TO INDIA: PREGNANCY

From the story: More than 50 women in this city are now pregnant with the children of couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond. The women earn more than many would make in 15 years. But the program raises a host of uncomfortable questions that touch on morals and modern science, exploitation and globalization, and that most natural of desires: to have a family.

Guardian

POLL: MAJORITY OF AMERICANS VERY SATISFIED WITH PERSONAL LIVES

Story notes, “Republicans, married adults, those residing in higher income households, parents of young children, those attending church weekly, and whites are most likely to say they are satisfied and happy at this time.”

Gallup

CLINTON, OBAMA USE BHUTTO ASSASSINATION TO HELP CAMPAIGN

Story says of Hillary “Bhutto's death helped underscore the line she has been driving home for months -- about who is best suited to lead the nation at a time of international peril. In her comments Thursday, Clinton described Bhutto in terms Obama (D-Ill.) could not: as a fellow mother, a pioneering woman following in a man's footsteps, and a longtime peer on the world stage.” Of Obama, “adviser David Axelrod would later tie the killing to the Iraq war -- and Clinton's vote to approve it, which he argued diverted U.S resources from fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, both al-Qaeda hotbeds.” (Washington Post) Another story says Hillary, Giuliani and McCain will benefit. (Washington Times)

The Gospel According to Joel Osteen

You would think a pastor should have some basic Bible knowledge. Osteen proves that theroy wrong time and time again.

The latest is his statement that he believes Mormons are genuine Christians. This incredible statement from an alleged evangelical pastor came during Osteen’s December 23rd appearance on FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace.

Wallace asks Joel Osteen:
WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I’ve got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?

OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.

WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?

OSTEEN: I probably don’t get hung up in them because I haven’t really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know. I certainly can’t say that I agree with everything that I’ve heard about it, but from what I’ve heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that’s a common bond. (Online source)

Joel, please study a bit before you choke on your foot again.

Judge Rendell Endorses “Benevolent Dictatorship”

Every once in a while, a long panel discussion will cause someone’s guard to be dropped and a person will reveal what they really think, offering a true window into the soul. Most troubling is that this statement comes from Federal Judge, who also happens to be the First Lady of Pennsylvania.

From the Metcalfe Memo: On November 8, 2007 a panel discussion was held in Philadelphia by The National Association of Women Judges entitled, "Separation of Powers: What Does It Mean?” Governor Rendell’s wife, a federal judge and member of the panel, made a shocking statement that should have made headlines the following morning.

Following her comments lamenting that there are issues that are not going to be resolved legislatively because they are so difficult, issues such as health care, immigration reform, social security and a national gun law, Judge Rendell stated, “Gee, a benevolent dictator would really be good right about now to, to put in health care and to put in some of these policies that we all want, but somehow the gridlock within the legislature makes it impossible.”

....Mrs. Rendell should know that a “benevolent dictator” is an oxymoron. Dictators, tyrants, and despots use force to impose their will upon the people, a force that has murdered millions of human beings throughout history.

Pray and Pay

There something just not right about it. That's what pops into my head as preacher turns my TV into a pulpit and asks me to send money.

Some of them fund worthy causes, no doubt. But it seems many of them also fund lavish lifestyles and prey on the weak, desperate and vulnerable.

Eric Gorski is a religion writer for the Associated Press. He spoke with Cindy Fleenor, a 53-year-old accountant from the Tampa, Fla. Be faithful in how you live and how you give, the television preachers said, and God will shower you with material riches Cindy believed every word. So much so she pledged $500 a year to Joyce Meyer.

She wrote checks to Benny Hinn and Paula White. She didn't really have the money but if the preachers were right God would bless her and provide her all the money she needed.
It did not happen. Fleenor ended up borrowing money from friends and payday loan companies just to buy groceries. At first she believed the explanation given on television: Her faith wasn't strong enough.

"I wanted to believe God wanted to do something great with me like he was doing with them," she said. "I'm angry and bitter about it. Right now, I don't watch anyone on TV hardly."
This is the point where my blood pressure rises. These people are not preachers at all. They are predators who use God as a disguise. I can't help but wonder what will happen to these folks when they take their final breath. When all the material things that have collected are left behind and they stand in judgment.

The really sad thing is most of these victims never get around to discovering who the real culprit here is. Like Fleenor, they blame themselves or God. God does not sell blessings. We are to give with a cheerful heart. Nowhere in Scripture are we to be guilted or pressured into giving. In fact that's not giving, it's taking on behalf of these false preachers.

I can't tell you how many well intentioned people get sucked into this scam thinking they are doing the will of God. A story of a women who stopped cancer treatment after Benny Hinn told her she was cured still haunts me. She pushed aside all treatment after attending the Benny Hinn circus and died 3 months later after her cancer grew out of control.

I talked to two brothers who wanted to be guests on our show. After discovering they were part of the "Word of Faith" movement out of Tulsa, OK we talked for awhile. Their mother had recently died and the boys were told she died because of "unconfessed sin in her life." I'm sorry, but that's a lie. It's also heartless and cruel to tell someone who just lost their mother.

Where are the church leaders on this? We need some strong moral voices to stand up, warn people, call these people to repent and defend the gospel. The only response I've heard is one telling the government and IRS to stay out of the church. Well if taxes are owed or a person abuses the tax exempt status of a church then it is the responsibility of the government to respond.

I believe there is a wonderful opportunity to spread the gospel through the electronic medium. However, we need to make sure it is the gospel that is being preached and not another false faith franchise. Jesus address this with the money changes in the temple. Well the money changes are now buying airtime.

Article

Lawmaker wants more drug label information

State Sen. Sean Logan takes Lipitor to keep his cholesterol in check, but has no idea where the drug is made. Read More

HOUSE MEMBERS SPENDING TAXPAYER MILLIONS ON MAILINGS

From the story: U.S. House members spent $20.3 million in tax money last year to send constituents what's often the government equivalent of junk mail -- meeting announcements, tips on car care and job interviews, surveys on public policy and just plain bragging (Associated Press).

PRINCETON PROFESSOR SPEAKS FOR THE UNBORN

Professor Robert P. George responds to author Anne Rice’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

He does so in defense of the unborn. An excerpt: I will not try to answer all of your points, though all are, I believe, answerable, and if you ask I will be happy to say what I think the answers are. For now, what I hope you will consider is simply this: The child in the womb either is or is not a human being–a member of the human family. If he or she is, then he or she is entitled as a matter of basic justice to the protection of laws and, indeed, to the equal protection of the laws. For a voter or public official to seek to deny to the unborn elementary legal protections against killing that we favor for ourselves and others we regard as worthy is a gross and appalling injustice. There is no way around this. Once one concedes the humanity of the child–as one must in view of the plain facts of human embryogenesis and early-intrauterine development–the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family requires the legal protection of the unborn (First Things).

MARKETING THE BIBLE

The Los Angeles Times profiles Bible publisher Zondervan and their efforts to make the Bible “attractive” to the culture. From the story: Zondervan plans to keep stoking demand by making sure God's word looks hip, sounds relevant and is advertised all over, including in Rolling Stone magazine and Modern Bride, on MySpace -- even on a jumbotron in New York City's Times Square. I’m not sure this is what Jan Hus, William Tyndale and Martin Luther had in mind.

THE END OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION?

Yes, if one activist has his way: Efforts are proceeding in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma to put initiatives on November ballots that would end programs to increase minority and female participation in government and education. The push is led by Ward Connerly, a California management consultant who successfully ran similar campaigns in California, Washington and Michigan (USA Today).

BHUTTO ASSASSINATION SPARKS DISARRAY, DEMOCRACY IMPERILED

From the story: Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader and twice-serving prime minister, was assassinated Thursday evening as she left a political rally here, a scene of fiery carnage that plunged Pakistan deeper into political turmoil and ignited widespread violence by her enraged supporters (New York Times).

The Washington Post leads with the story of how the U.S. brokered Bhutto’s return to Pakistan: For Benazir Bhutto, the decision to return to Pakistan was sealed during a telephone call from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just a week before Bhutto flew home in October. The call culminated more than a year of secret diplomacy -- and came only when it became clear that the heir to Pakistan's most powerful political dynasty was the only one who could bail out Washington's key ally in the battle against terrorism. Meanwhile, President Bush condemned the assassination and the presidential contenders scrambled to weigh in on the crisis (Washington Post; see also a summary of candidate quotes by Mary Katherine Ham at Townhall.com).

From the Wall Street Journal editorial: We will learn more in coming days about the circumstances of Bhutto's death, apparently a combined shooting and suicide bombing at a political rally in Rawalpindi in which more than 20 others were also murdered. But there's little question the attack, which had every hallmark of an al Qaeda or Taliban operation, is an event with ramifications for the broader war on terror. With the jihadists losing in Iraq and having a hard time hitting the West, their strategy seems to be to make vulnerable Pakistan their principal target, and its nuclear arsenal their principal prize.

Tony Blair Becomes Catholic for Christmas

I first posted on this back in April 2006 Well, now I can officially welcome Tony Blair, the former prime minister, into the Roman Catholic Church. Mr Blair joins his wife Cherie and four children in the Roman Catholic faith.

Following the special Mass at the archbishop's house in Westminster, attended by Mrs Blair and their children, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor – the leading Roman Catholic in England and Wales – said the service was "very intimate, very prayerful". The Vatican has also welcomed Mr Blair's decision to become a Catholic. It comes as research suggests Catholic churchgoers now outnumber Anglicans in the UK for the first time in 500 years.

A Vatican spokesman said such an "authoritative personality" choosing to join the Catholic Church "could only give rise to joy and respect".

Last year, Mr Blair, who is now a Middle East peace envoy, said he had prayed to God when deciding whether or not to send UK troops into Iraq. Mr Blair had been taking instruction from a Catholic priest as a prelude to conversion.

A Vatican spokesman said such an "authoritative personality" choosing to join the Catholic Church "could only give rise to joy and respect". Last year, Mr Blair, who is now a Middle East peace envoy, said he had prayed to God when deciding whether or not to send UK troops into Iraq. It had been an open secret that Mr Blair had been taking instruction from a Catholic priest as a prelude to conversion.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wished the former prime minister well in his spiritual journey. Dr Williams said: "A great Catholic writer of the last century said that the only reason for moving from one Christian family to another was to deepen one's relationship with God."

The Problems with Huckabee

At a family Christmas-Eve party earlier this week, I was surprised when my conservative brother-in-law stated that he was getting behind Huckabee. I mentioned the problems I had with Huckabee’s huge tax increases as governor in Arkansas, but that did not dampen his support. Knowing that my brother-in-law is a huge fan of Ann Coulter, this one is for him:

Town Hall – Ann Coulter: In a widely quoted remark, Huckabee denounced a Republican bill that would merely require proof of citizenship to vote and receive government benefits as "un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life," according to the Arkansas News Bureau. Now, where have I heard this sort of thing before? Hmmm ... wait, now I remember: It was during the Democratic debates!

Huckabee opposes school choice, earning him the coveted endorsement of the National Education Association of New Hampshire.

He is, however, in favor of school choice for kids in Mexico: They have the choice of going to school there or here. Huckabee promoted giving in-state tuition in Arkansas to illegal immigrants from Mexico -- but not to U.S. citizens from Ohio. "I don't believe you punish the children," he said, "for the crime and sins of the parents."

He supports a nationwide smoking ban anyplace where people work, constitutional protection for sodomy, big government, higher taxes and government benefits for illegal aliens. According to my calculations, that puts him about three earmarks away from being Nancy Pelosi.

The Bethlehem Brawl

It's sounds like some pay per view wrestling match but it's not. It's sad and a bit funny at the same time. Yes, I can laugh at tragic things sometimes.
Seven people were injured when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (Windex or 409?)

Here is what happened, After the Christmas celebrations. You know the one to welcome the Prince of PEACE. Anyway, after the party it was time to clean up.

The Greek Orthodox priests pulled out the ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church. This is where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.

Well the ladders don't go straight up without falling. You need to lean them, but when they did the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests. Yes, they crossed the line.

Do you think the spirit of Christmas prevailed. Nope. Angry words and blows quickly followed. Let's get ready to rumble!!! And they did. Bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods.

A dozen Palestinian policemen stepped to try to separate the priests, but two of them were injured.

Why such a battle? The Church of the Nativity, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, is shared by various branches of Christianity, each of which controls and jealously guards a part of the holy site. I'm sure God would be so proud of them.

The Church of the Nativity is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born in a stable more than 2,000 years ago after Mary and Joseph were turned away by an inn.


Crosswalking

A bit a of good news for the new year. Select columns published here on PowerBlog! will also be available on Crosswalk.com


You will be able to read them here first, but I'm excited to think that we may be able to welcome others into the ongoing conversation found here.

A few are already posted. So welcome to any new readers who have found us via crosswalk.com.

Link

Benazir Bhutto killed

The news out of Pakistan is very sad. This story is not about one woman. It's another attack on democracy and freedom.

I can't help but contrast our system of government (as flawed as it seem sometimes) to that of other countries. We are on the verge of electing a new leader and while people voice their opinion in many ways we don't see the types of violence and disregard for human life that are now be played out in news reports.

Analysts believe Islamist militants are behind all this. Thet can't stand freedom and will do anything to destroy it because it changes their twisted vision of life and removes their power. They rule by fear and violence. Benazir Bhutto knew this all too well and she still risked and gave her life to fight against it all.

Radical Muslims calling for Islamic law, and fiercely opposed to the US, have become increasingly active in Pakistani politics in recent years. This is not some far off event for Americans. This is the next crossroads in the fight for freedom. The future of the region and our own country are at stake. Let us not forget that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. If those fell into the wrong hands the consequences would be disastrous.

As we go forth into 2008 and elect our our leaders, let us be sure that the people we choose will understand the importance of continuing to fight an unpopular battle. May God grant us a president that will not turn a blind eye in pursuit of a false peace or a temporary solution. The stakes have never been higher and no one knew that better than Ms. Bhutto.

NEW TREND IN DEATH: ECO-FRIENDLY CASKETS

Now you can save the earth even after you are dead. If anyone cares....

From the story: Biodegradable coffins are part of a larger trend toward "natural" burials, which require no formaldehyde embalming, cement vaults, chemical lawn treatments or laminated caskets. Advocates say such burials are less damaging to the environment.

AP

So if global warming kills me, stuff me in a paper bag and recylce me.

In related news: If public opinion proves favourable, Sweden may soon have a more environmentally friendly way of disposing of dead bodies - freezing and composting them. A scientist has come up with a method for turning corpses into humus in a matter of weeks. "We have to face that there are problems related to conventional burial and cremation," says Susanne Wiigh-Masak, a biologist educated at Gothenburg University and a freelance environmental consultant in Lyrö. Cemeteries sometimes pose a threat to metropolitan water supplies, she notes, and cremation emits toxic gasses.

PARENTS BATTLE OVER PULLING PLUG ON DAUGHTER

Who, according to the story, “will never recover from her vegetative state.” The 16-year-old’s parents are divorced.

ABC News

ONE WEEK ‘TIL IOWA, STILL MANY UNDECIDED

Story notes a poll shows “Just 38 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats in Iowa have decided whom to support.” (Boston Globe) Meanwhile, Obama’s list of pastors who support him turned out to be premature. (AP)

Massachusetts Begins Mental Health Screening for Medicaid Kids

Starting Monday, nearly half a million Massachusetts children on Medicaid will receive mental health screening -- in the form of a questionnaire -- when they go for their annual checkups. Read more…

While the article lists some positive benefits, the track record in Pennsylvania should raise alarms. Ten years ago, the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare “sold” confidential Medicare records to a third party, which forwarded this information onto school districts. This third party was paid a commission for every child under Medicare that the school district could claim was “at risk”. Their flyer to school districts boldly proclaimed “In tough times, administrators find ACCESS to new dollars, just ask!"

This led to invasive surveys given to students which violated privacy rights, not to mention that the motivation was financial. As it is always with these types of surveys, the surveys were administered without parental knowledge or consent.

The Sinless Perpetual Virgin

After hearing so many Christmas messages by different pastors, the role of Mary is often a part of the story that is misunderstood. Mary remained a sinless virgin her entire life. She was the perfect vessel to carry Jesus. She was made perfect by the Holy Spirit.

I hear many pastors reject the fact that Mary remained a Virgin after the birth of Jesus. The Catholic Church has always taught that Mary remained a virgin her entire life, but most Protestants contend that she had more children after Jesus. The arguments employed to debunk Mary’s perpetual virginity are based upon misunderstanding of Bible verses and terms.

One of the most commonly used arguments is based on (Matt 1:25),"and he did not know her until she brought forth her firstborn son." Protestants argue that the word "until" indicates that Mary and Joseph engaged in conjugal love after the birth of Jesus. The problem is they use the modern meaning of "until," instead of its Biblical meaning. In the Bible, “until” means only that some action did not happen up to a certain point; it does not imply that a action happened later. A perfect example is (2 Sam 6:23), "Michal the daughter of Saul had no children until the day of her death" Does this verse mean Michal had children after her death? Of course not, no one would believe that.

Protestants also use (Matt 1:25) to claim Jesus could not be Mary's "first-born" unless there were other children, but this is ignorance of the way the ancient Jews used this term. The first male child of a marriage was termed the "first-born" even if he turned out to be a only child. Jewish parents did not have to wait until a second son was born before they could call their first the "first-born".

One last area of confusion is in which the terms "brothers," and "sisters " of the Lord are used in the Bible. One must first understand the reason for the confusion. In the Hebrew and Aramaic languages spoken by Christ and His disciples did not have special words to denote cousin or kinsman. In the Bible "brother" and "sister" are not restricted to their modern meaning. When reading the Bible, one must look at the context of each verse in order to understand it. Furthermore, in every passage that refers to Jesus' brothers or sisters, the sacred authors were very careful to only call Jesus the son of Mary, no one else. This is evidence that the early Christians understood Mary’s perpetual virginity, and that the brothers and sisters of the Lord were relatives nothing more.

The Biblical evidence that supports the belief in Mary's perpetual virginity is overwhelming. First, the account of Jesus being found in the temple at age twelve (Lk 2:41-51). There is no mention or even a hint of other children. The probability of Mary and Joseph having more children if they were sexually active would have been a forgone conclusion, because the ancient Jews didn’t practice any form of birth control. Second, Jesus' action at the foot of the cross, when He entrusted his mother to John, makes no sense if Mary had other sons (Jn 19:25-28). If Jesus actually had brothers, it would have been customary by Jewish law that he bequeath her care to them. Instead he chose St. John the apostle, who was not related to Him by blood. The reality is that there is no biblical basis for rejecting Mary's perpetual virginity, but there is compelling evidence to support it.

In one interview we did with a local pastor he stressed the "sinful nature" of Mary. In his words, "only a professing sinner would call Christ their savior." Well, he had it partially correct.

Many say God could not have saved Mary from the stain of Original Sin because the Bible says, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). The Bible proclaims in Mary's own words that she had a savior. "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior " (Lk 1:46-47). But Mary was saved in a very special way by our Lord. She was showered with all the blessings and gifts of Christ’s Redemption at the very moment of her existence. The Catholic Church has always understood that God transcends time and space and can do anything. In a dialogue between Jesus and His disciples about salvation this is made perfectly clear, “ It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."(Mark 10:25-27) We must be very careful not to put limits on what God can and cannot do.

But I'm sure you will want Scripture in place of my own belief. Well, Biblical support for Mary's Immaculate Conception is found in the gospel of Luke. "And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" (Luke 1:28) Gabriel addressed Mary in a most extraordinary manner using the title "full of grace" which means without sin rather than her proper name. Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit reaffirms God's gift to Mary by saying, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."(Luke 1:41). This parallel blessing makes it clear that Mary, just like Christ in His humanity, was from free from the stain of Original Sin.

Job growth in state was slower in 2007 than last three years

Schools, health care, entertainment and white-collar business services provided the lion's share of new jobs in Pennsylvania in 2007 as the manufacturing, retail and construction industries slipped, according to new government figures. Read More

Pope Urges Leaders to End Conflicts

Pope Benedict XVI issued a Christmas Day appeal Tuesday to political leaders around the globe to find the "wisdom and courage" to end bloody conflicts in Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan and Congo.

Benedict delivered his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" speech - Latin for "to the city and to the world" - from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, blessing thousands of people gathered in the square below under a brilliant winter sun.


He mentioned in particular those living in the "tortured regions" of Darfur, Somalia, northern Congo, the Eritrea-Ethiopia border, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Balkans.


"May the child Jesus bring relief to those who are suffering and may he bestow upon political leaders the wisdom and courage to seek and find humane, just and lasting solutions," he said.
Beyond those conflicts, Benedict said he was turning his thoughts this Christmas to victims of other injustices, citing women, children and the elderly, as well as refugees and victims of environmental disasters and religious and ethnic tensions.


He said he hoped Christmas would bring consolation to "those who are still denied their legitimate aspirations for a more secure existence, for health, education, stable employment, for fuller participation in civil and political responsibilities, free from oppression and protected from conditions that offend human dignity."

WILL SMITH SAYS HITLER COMMENT INACCURATELY REPORTED

As he said in a statement “Adolf Hitler was a vile, heinous vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet.” (FOX News) The story, as noted Monday: Will Smith has stunned the world by declaring that even Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was essentially a "good" person. The Men In Black star, 39, is determined to see the best in people, and is convinced the former German leader did not fully understand the extent of the pain and suffering his actions would cause during his time in power in the 1930s and '40s. He says, "Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'Let me do the most evil thing I can do today'. "I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good'. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming." Hitler's totalitarian leadership as Fuhrer during 1934 until his eventual suicide in 1945 resulted in the persecution of an estimated six million Jews in the Holocaust, and his invasion of Poland in 1939 led to the start of the Second World War. (News)

BABY BOOM GENERATION BEGINS RETIREMENT IN JANUARY

Ready or Not! Story claims “The cost for government-funded social security and medical care for the boomers leaves a funding gap of between 40 and 76 trillion dollars for next 75 years, according to various estimates.”

AFP

OBAMA CLAIMS HE’LL PROTECT KIDS FROM UNSAFE TOYS

From the story: ''Now don't get me wrong, as president I will work with China to keep harmful toys off our shelves,'' he said. ''But I'll also immediately take steps to ensure that all toys are independently tested before they reach our shores, and I'll significantly increase penalties on companies that break the rules.''

Chicago Sun Times

FAMILY VALUES HIGH ON LIST OF VOTERS

Story claims three in four voters say “the positions of the presidential candidates on family values will be an important factor in determining their vote for president in November 2008.”

Gallup

HILLARY EXPERIENCE MOSTLY AS FIRST LADY

From the story: Mrs. Clinton lays claim to two traits nearly every day: strength and experience. But as the junior senator from New York, she has few significant legislative accomplishments to her name. She has cast herself, instead, as a first lady like no other: a full partner to her husband in his administration, and, she says, all the stronger and more experienced for her “eight years with a front-row seat on history.”

NY Times

THE NATIVITY OF THE SAVIOUR


As we pause to celebrate Christmas, I want to thank all of you for your support and wish you a very Merry Christmas and continued blessings in 2008. I'm looking forward to a brand new year with all of you and hope you find yourself surrounded by family and friends to celebrate the birth of Christ.


Merry Christmas,


Shaun "Powerball" Pierce


All share in the joy of Christmas

by St Leo the Great

Our Saviour, dearly-beloved, was born today (Christmas day): let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord, the destroyer of sin and death, finds none free from the charge, so He comes to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to being pardon. Let the gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fullness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered. And in this conflict undertaken for us, the fight was fought on great and wondrous principles of fairness.

Truly foreign to this nativity is that which we read of all others: "no one is clean from stain, not even the infant who has lived but one day upon earth." Nothing therefore of the lust of the flesh has passed into that peerless nativity, nothing of the law of sin has entered. A royal Virgin of the stem of David is chosen, to be impregnated with the sacred seed and to conceive the Divinely-human offspring in mind first and then in body: she learns from the angel that what is to be wrought in her is of the Holy Ghost. Nor does she believe it loss of honour that she is soon to be the Mother of God. Her implicit faith is confirmed also by the attesting of a miracle, and Elizabeth receives unexpected fertility: in order that there might be no doubt that He who had given conception to the barren, would give it even to a virgin.

Therefore the Word of God, Himself God, the Son of God who "in the beginning with God," through whom "all things were made" and "without" whom "was nothing made," with the purpose of delivering man from eternal death, became man: The true God and true man were combined to form one Lord, so that, as suited the needs of our case, one and the same Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and rise again with the other.
Rightly therefore did the birth of our Salvation impart no corruption to the Virgin's purity, because the bearing of the Truth was the keeping of honour. Such then beloved was the nativity which became the Power of God and the Wisdom of God even Christ, whereby He might be one with us in manhood and surpass us in Godhead. For unless He were true God, He would not bring us a remedy: unless He were true Man, He would not give us an example. Therefore the exulting angel's song when the Lord was born is this, "Glory to God in the Highest," and their message, "peace on earth to men of good will." For they see that the heavenly Jerusalem is being built up out of all the nations of the world: and over that indescribable work of the Divine love how ought the humbleness of men to rejoice, when the joy of the lofty angels is so great?
Christians then must live worthily of Christ their Head.

Let us then, dearly beloved, give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Spirit, Who "for His great mercy, wherewith He has loved us," had pity on us: and "when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together in Christ," that we might be in Him a new creation and a new production. Let us put off then the old man with his deeds: and having obtained a share in the birth of Christ let us renounce the works of the flesh. Christian, acknowledge your dignity, and becoming a partner in the Divine nature, refuse to return to the old baseness by degenerate conduct. Remember the Head and the Body of which you are a member. Remember that you were rescued from the power of darkness and brought out into God's light and kingdom. By the mystery of Baptism you were made the temple of the Holy Ghost: and do not subject yourself once more to the devil; because your purchase money is the blood of Christ, because He shall judge you in truth Who ransomed you in mercy, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.



NICKELODEON CONSIDERS SHOW ON TEEN PREGNANCY

Due to the Spears pregnancy. (FOX News) But Nick can’t be trusted. They’re talking with Linda Ellerbee, who has done a number of other troubling programs for the “children’s” network, including one on gay parents, which got a huge endorsement from GLAAD. (GLAAD)

ISRAEL MAY ATTACK IRAN NUKES ON ITS OWN

From the story: While some US experts doubt Israel's ability to tackle Iran alone, David Albright, of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, was quoted by Newsweek as saying that although information on the exact location of Iran's nuclear facility is incomplete, Israel's air strike on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility on September 6, widely discussed in foreign media outlets, could be seen as a test run for any future strike on Iran's facilities, as well as a direct warning to Teheran.

Jerusalem Post

CLINTON LIBRARY FUNDING LEADS TO CONFLICT OF INTEREST FOR HILLARY

Story notes “The New York Times has compiled the first comprehensive list of 97 donors who gave or pledged a total of $69 million for the Clinton presidential library in the final years of the Clinton administration. The examination found that while some $1 million contributors were longtime Clinton friends, others were seeking policy changes from the administration. Two pledged $1 million each while they or their companies were under investigation by the Justice Department.”

NY Times

Archbishop says nativity 'a legend'

Dr Rowan Williams has claimed there was little evidence that the Magi even existed and there was certainly nothing to prove there were three of them or that they were kings.

He said the only reference to the wise men from the East was in Matthew's gospel and the details were very vague. Dr Williams said: "Matthew's gospel says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that's all we're really told. It works quite well as legend."

The Archbishop went on to dispel other details of the Christmas story, adding that there were probably no asses or oxen in the stable.

They may have lacked asses back then but we sure make up for it now. Did I say that???

He argued that Christmas cards which showed the Virgin Mary cradling the baby Jesus, flanked by shepherds and wise men, were misleading. As for the scenes that depicted snow falling in Bethlehem, the Archbishop said the chance of this was "very unlikely".

Yeah with that whole global warming thing.

In a final blow to the traditional nativity story, Dr Williams concluded that Jesus was probably not born in December at all. He said: "Christmas was when it was because it fitted well with the winter festival."

Well Merry Christmas Archbishop Scrooge. The nativity is much more real then that phony church you lead.

Story

Jamie Lynn Spears: Children Having Children

As the younger sister of Britney, 16 year old Jamie Lynn announced she’s pregnant. She’s the star of Zoey 101. Among the responses, one parent chooses to lie: “I’m telling the kids "Zoey101" has been canceled. I hope Nickelodeon does the right thing and cancels the show. She is a role model for young girls. Looks like she's following in the footsteps of her sister.” (CNN)

Christian publisher Thomas Nelson put Lynne Spears’ parenting book on hold. She’s the mother of Brittney and Zoey. Ahh yeah, ya think? That like a Jeffery Dahmer cookbook!

I all seriousness, this is really very sad. There are real people behind the fame and tabloid stories. In fact one is not even born yet. I applaud 1 year old Jamie for deciding to have this baby but her influence on other young girls is cause for alarm.

In an article published on TV Guide website an 18 year old Carly Schmand writes, "I am not judging her for her choices; I think that it is perfectly acceptable to have premarital sex."

Well Carly your attitude is exactly the reason why children end up having children. She continues, "society needs to realize that all kids make mistakes. Some just happen to be a little more life changing than others." Well that's an understatement.

"The only thing I have to say to Jamie Lynn is that she needs to take responsibility for her actions, because if she wants to continue to be a role model, she needs to prove that she can learn and grow from her mistakes. If not, I suggest, Jamie Lynn, that the next time you plan on having sex, you should invest in some birth control, [like making] sure your boyfriend buys a condom." opines Carly.

We now have multiple generations who have bought that lie that Carly just passed on. Not to mention she has just said it's "perfectly acceptable"to commit a crime. I'll get to that in a minute.

There is so much more then just a resulting baby to worry about. You have given away what belongs to your spouse, even if you have met that person yet. I can run through a thousand medical problems, emotional trauma and a loss of self worth in exchange for temporary pleasure. Not to mention children living in broken homes and having no clue as to what marriage or a real relationship is supposed to be.

Spears should have know better. One report says the father to be (like it or not) Casey Aldridge first meet Spears at Church. Well that teaching didn't stick!

Back to the criminal part. Casey Aldridge is 19 and Jamie is 16. If the baby was conceived in Spears' home state of Louisiana, the act could technically be considered "felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile" - defined as "sexual intercourse with consent between someone age 19 or older and someone between age 12 and 17".

But it's probable that this all took place in California. In that case I still have bad news for daddy. It states clearly in the Californian Penal Code that any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (under 18) who is not more than three years older or three years younger than the perpetrator, is guilty of a misdemeanour and faces up to one year in a county jail. If Aldridge is actually more than three years older he could be up for a felony, which carries a maximum three years in prison.

Chances are unless a complaint is filed by Jamie's parents nothing will happen. Casey, you might want to be very nice to the Spears family.

Who's to blame in all this? It's not for me to decide. All I know is something is tragically wrong and Jamie Lynn has given us a small peak at the problem.

Poll Position

POLLING AT A HISTORIC LOW, DEMOCRATS LOOK BACK AT BAD YEAR FOR CONGRESS
Story notes “Handed control of Congress last year after making promises to end the war in Iraq, restore fiscal discipline in Washington and check President Bush's powers, Democrats instead closed the first session of the 110th Congress yesterday with House votes that sent Bush $70 billion in war funding, with no strings attached, and a $50 billion alternative-minimum-tax measure that shattered their pledge not to add to the federal budget deficit.” (Washington Post)

And the far left base is not happy. Washington Times :(

But they got their load of pork. (NY Times)

POLL: ROMNEY CATCHES GIULIANI NATIONWIDE, HILLARY FADING
Followed closely by Huckabee, then McCain. (FOX News)

Huckabee leads in South Carolina. (CBS News)

From Victor Davis Hansen on Hillary: Hillary’s campaign is so stalled that her advisers have tried dredging up Obama’s kindergarten essays and his admitted drug use. And now they’re resorting to flying in Bill Clinton to save the day. Some polls and conventional wisdom suggest he may yet restore his wife’s fortunes. But Bill’s not exactly a fireman. He may instead throw gasoline on the fire. (NRO)

From Hugh Hewitt on Huckabee: A year ago the MSM story was John McCain --frontrunner, even though he wasn't. Six months ago the MSM story was Fred's groundswell --except, it wasn't. Three month's ago, the MSM swooned over Newt --for a weekend. In the past month, the MSM has been booming the Huckaboom, even though it is already a Huckabust. Never have so many pundits been so wrong about so much. (Townhall)

From Novak on Huckabee: More than personality explains why not all his Baptist brethren have signed on the dotted line for Huckabee. He did not join the "Conservative Resurgence" that successfully rebelled against liberals in the Southern Baptist Convention a generation ago. (Townhall)

How Many Heisman Winners Has Abortion Killed?

From Human Life International:

Dr. Brian Clowes, HLI researcher, has examined the data from the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States (most recent census data) and extrapolated the numbers of the various professions and categories of Americans who have been eliminated in the wake of nearly 49 million legalized abortions, one third of all Americans conceived since 1973. The following numbers are based on the actual government estimates of the professions represented in America. So then, who have we lost to abortion?

* 2 US Presidents
* 7 Supreme Court Justices
* 102 US Senators and 589 Congressmen
* 8,123 Federal, district and local court judges
* 31 Nobel Prize laureates
* 328 Olympic medalists including 123 Gold medalists
* 6,092 professional athletes
* 134,841 physicians and surgeons
* 392,500 registered nurses
* 1,102,443 teachers (K-12)
* 24,450,000... women (the gender of roughly half of all children aborted).

These numbers of course are only the tip of the iceberg. Keep in mind that we get our statistics about abortion from the abortion industry itself which has a vested interest in under-reporting the numbers.

Pension perk assailed as 'abuse of the system'

A law lets school retirees stay on the job, collecting both paychecks and pensions. How many do? Nobody knows. Read More

Radio Waves

Lots of news so lt's get to it....

Washington Changes Stations
The radio industry had its toughest day in years Tuesday as the FCC advanced a plan to create sweeping new regulations, while blocks away on Capitol Hill legislation was introduced that could take away radio's royalty exemptions. Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to abolish what backers refer to as a "corporate radio loophole" in the royalty statute. If passed, it could cost radio several billion dollars in royalties.

FCC orders diversity initiatives.
The list of new rules is long. It includes giving "eligible entities" more time to build construction permits; adjusts its attribution rules; and allows some grandfathered clusters to remain intact. It also requires an "Equal Transactional Opportunity Rule" in sales contracts to bar race or gender as factors in a deal. Plus a ban "no urban dictates" and "no Hispanic dictates" in advertising contracts.

FCC Modifies Broadcast/Newspaper Cross-Ownership Rules
In a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the FCC revised its 32-year-old broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership rules, while concluding its quadrennial review of the broadcast ownership rules. If the changes to the rule ultimately stands, a broadcast outlet in the top 20 markets will be able to share common ownership with a radio station and/or a TV outlet outside the top four in Nielsen rankings.

Welcome Bill
KDKA-AM has hired Bill Rehkopf as its morning news anchor to replace Bob Kopler, who is retiring at the end of the year. Rehkopf comes to Pittsburgh from country station WPOC-FM in Baltimore, where he has been news director and morning news anchor since 1999. Before that, he worked at stations in Scranton, Harrisburg, Williamsport, Clarion, Punxsutawney and Brookville.

Bonus-Gate Fatigue

A House Democratic staffer fired last month as part of a corruption investigation was supervising the consultant Democratic leaders hired to give ethics training and investigate state-paid bonuses for political work. Read more…

Meanwhile, Brett Lieberman reports that State House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese could become the Tom DeLay of Pennsylvania politics, distracting and dividing the Democratic Caucus, overshadowing any good legislation that might be passed, and proving lethal to their fragile 102-101 majority heading into an election year. Read more…

Nothing like having the ethically-challenged leading the ethically-challenged…

White House Visitors

(From Gary Bauer) Some months ago, we told you that a leftwing group had filed a lawsuit seeking access to White House records and Secret Service visitor logs, specifically seeking to find out how many times James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and I had met with President Bush and his top advisors. The implication was clear: that our democracy is seriously undermined when Christians speak with the president!

[On Monday], a federal judge ruled in the group’s favor, evidently accepting the argument that it is in the best interests of the nation to know whether Christians – gasp! -- are being let into the White House. Would they care if the president met with Reverend Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson?

If this applies to White House visits, should it not also apply to those who visit U.S. House and Senate offices?

BITTER COLD MESSING WITH ENVIRONMENTALISTS

I have to laugh. Story notes “the mean planetary temperature hasn't increased significantly for nearly nine years. Antarctica is getting colder. Neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased. The 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966. In 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S. South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades. In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918. Dozens of homeless people died from exposure. In Peru, 200 people died from the cold and thousands more became infected with respiratory diseases. Crops failed, livestock perished, and the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency. Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007. Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever. In northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941. In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.”

Washington Times

BOY SUES AFTER NOT ALLOWED TO PROM IN DRESS

Terribly biased story opens “When Kevin Logan went to his high school prom in 2006, he was hoping it would be a night to remember. What he'll remember, though, will be standing outside in the parking lot while his classmates danced inside.”

Court TV

WRITERS STRIKE LEADS TO INCREASED REALITY SHOWS

From the story: … the five networks collectively have 48.5 possible hours of reality fare in their mid-season pipeline. If the strike drags on, count on that number to shoot up.


Just what we need. I can survive, lose weight, be locked in house, run a race, get married, ballroom dance, be a pop star, or front a band, open a restaurant and have a British nanny tell me how to raise my kid.

ABC News

MORE COUPLES OPTING FOR “CIVILIZED, EFFICIENT” DIVORCE

And now, divorce is a trip to the park. From the story: Smith, Boyle and their two lawyers arranged for their two kids, now 11 and 7, to split time with their parents, who live in neighboring Boston suburbs. "We both liked both lawyers," Smith said. "As a group, we had some laughs together, and that made it nicer."

Awwww, how cute. It's always nice when lives can be dismantled in a loving manor. Are these people nuts???? First, they are both lie. They vowed "till death do us part" and as far as I can tell, they are both still breathing. They put there own selfish wants in ahead of their kids who now will live between two homes. But as long as they are happy for the moment and can fool themselves into thinking that a marriage can be dissolved, let the good times roll. I hope their kids are smarter.

Denver Post

MEDVED: HUCKABEE CAMPAIGN WILL HELP GOP

His three reasons: 1. Huckabee’s competitive status proves that money alone can’t buy a presidential nomination. 2, The huck-a-surge gives the lie to the claim that the GOP is controlled by out-of-touch elites. 3, Huck’s campaign demonstrates that the so-called “Christian right” is more complex and diverse than commonly assumed.

I'm not sure I agree with him on this one. While his campagin is quite entertaining, I'm not sure he has what it takes to win the election. Time will tell...

Townhall



Thumbs up for the great ad Mike!

OBAMA CLOSING GAP IN IOWA

Story claims “Turnout will tell the tale of the Iowa Democratic caucuses, where Barack Obama's theme of a fresh start in the nation's politics is resonating strongly against the bulwarks of Hillary Clinton's campaign -- strength, experience and electability.” (ABC News)

Another Poll has Edwards leading in Iowa. (MSNBC)

From Gallup: New York Sen. Hillary Clinton continues to have a substantial lead over the group of Democrats vying to win the party's nomination for president in 2008. Obama remains a solid second, as he has been all year, with former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards continuing to hold down third place. (Gallup)

Islam: Not Just Another Religion

A very interesting read.....

This campaign season, presidential candidates seem intent on battling each other with a war of words over universal healthcare, tax reform, immigration, the war in Iraq, the economy and Biblical literalism. Yet, they have spent few words on and have literally ignored the greatest threat to America and Western civilization since the Cold War: the global jihad.

Instead, conservative pundits debate whether we are in the midst of World War III or IV and non-candidate Newt Gingrich voices his concerns in monumental orations, such as his now famous, "Deeply Worried" speech at the National Press Club. Meanwhile, candidates on both sides of the aisle tiptoe around the proverbial elephant in the room as the critical issue of our nation and civilization's very survival takes a back seat. Aiming for front-row placement, they busy themselves with demonstrations of religiopolitical piety or make strident commitments on either side of popular social issues, such as same-sex marriage or abortion. More discussion has been devoted to the U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and the prison at Guantanamo Bay than the jihadist threat itself.

Yet, viewing Islamic fundamentalism as just another faith is to play into the hands of those who would destroy us.

Read more: Americanthinker

House GOP lawyer's salary tops Rendell's

The top lawyer for the House Republican caucus was given a raise and now makes $197,000, thousands more than Gov. Ed Rendell. Read More

DeWeese -- 7 aides ousted over e-mail

House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese acknowledged yesterday that he forced seven Democratic aides from their jobs after learning about a damning string of e-mails indicating that taxpayer money was used to reward state employees for political work. Read More

Pius XII Saint Delay

Moves to make wartime Pope Pius XII a saint have been delayed because Pope Benedict wants more study of documents, an Italian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Il Giornale reported that Benedict has decided to set up a committee in his Secretariat of State, the Vatican's diplomatic section, to review old documents from the World War Two period and study new ones that have come to light.

Some Jews have accused Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, of being indifferent to the Holocaust and not speaking out against Hitler. His supporters consider him a holy man who worked behind the scenes to help Jews throughout Europe.

Last May, the Vatican voted in favor of a decree recognizing Pius's "heroic virtues", a major hurdle in a long process toward sainthood that began in 1967.

But Benedict has so far not approved the decree, meaning that the process is effectively stalled and that Pius cannot move on to beatification, or the last step before sainthood.

Full Story

Pope Scares al Qaeda

The Vatican on has rejected condemnation by al Qaeda of a historic meeting between Pope Benedict and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, saying the militants were afraid of inter-religious dialogue.

Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, referred to Benedict as a Pontiff who had "insulted Islam and Muslims" and criticized King Abdullah's meeting with him last month.

These guys are offended by a cartoon. I can only imagine how the leader of a billion Christians must tie a knot in thier panties.

Zawahri has previously denounced the Pope for a speech he made last year at a university in his native Germany, when the Pontiff used a quote that associated Islam with violence.

Quote aside, do you think maybe beheading people on TV, flying airplanes into buildings and convincing people to blow themself in the name of some false God might result in Islam being associated with violence?

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Zawahri's video-taped comments, posted on the Internet on Sunday, showed al Qaeda's was worried about the implications of the meeting - the first between a Pope and a Saudi monarch.

More

Bill Clinton Stick Foot In Mouth Again

"Well, the first thing she intends to do, because you can do this without passing a bill, the first thing she intends to do is to send me and former President Bush and a number of other people around the world to tell them that America is open for business and cooperation again," Clinton said in response to a question from a supporter about what his wife's "number one priority" would be as president.

The Republican National Committee issued this statement in response to Clinton's comments:
"In 2009, a Republican president will be working with our friends and allies abroad to continue to keep our nation safe," said RNC spokesman Danny Diaz. "The American people expect our leaders — both current and former — to present serious solutions to the very real challenges confronting our nation."

WASHINGTON POST: RESEARCHERS NEAR CREATION OF LIFE FORMS

From the story: In the coming year, they hope to transplant it into a cell, where it is expected to "boot itself up," like software downloaded from the Internet, and cajole the waiting cell to do its bidding. And while the first synthetic chromosome is a plagiarized version of a natural one, others that code for life forms that have never existed before are already under construction. The cobbling together of life from synthetic DNA, scientists and philosophers agree, will be a watershed event, blurring the line between biological and artificial -- and forcing a rethinking of what it means for a thing to be alive.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should......

Washington Post

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY PASSES UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE

Story notes “But the plan cannot go into effect unless it passes the state Senate and voters approve a companion initiative that Schwarzenegger and Nuñez are planning to place on the November ballot to finance it.” According to the story, “California has a projected $14-billion budget gap” before the health care increase.

LA Times

HILLARY, NEEDING TO SHOW SOFTER SIDE, GETS EMOTIONAL

Story notes “The event and Web site are all part of an effort to convey a softer image of Clinton, as polls continue to indicate Democratic primary voters view her as less likeable and more like a "typical politician" than her chief rival, Barack Obama.” (CNN)

Remember Hillary’s accent? (YouTube)

GALLUP: GIULIANI LEADS NATIONALLY

At 27 percent. A bit behind: Huckabee (16 percent) McCain (14) Thompson (14) Romney (14). (Gallup)

But Giuliani is trailing in early voting states. (FOX News)

The many, many polls. (Real Clear Politics)

Mexico City Policy Left Intact in Budget

From the story - In a victory for the Bush administration, Democrats have ended their fight to reverse the president's ban on aid to family planning groups overseas that provide abortions.

The Family Research Council applauded Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) "for successfully blocking attempts by pro-abortion forces within Congress to overturn the President's Mexico City policy and pour U.S. taxpayer dollars into the coffers of abortion groups."

"Despite this pro-life victory, the overall appropriations bill is a glut of wasteful spending with thousands of unnecessary earmarks. The bill also increases funding for the abortion provider Planned Parenthood to $300 million and for the first time allows fungible funds to pay for dangerous needle exchange programs in Washington, D.C.," [Tony] Perkins [of the American Family Association] said. Read more…

Now if I could just get my denomination to stop lobying against the Mexico City policy….

Barbara Walters Bush Bah Hum Bug

Did you get a Christmas card from the president? Barbara Walters did. And she is not happy about it.

I'm no fan of "The View". Mainly because any opposing "view" is not very welcome. But back to Barb.

The White House Christmas card has a seven-line scripture from the Bible. The card, signed by the President and Mrs. Bush, was among a small stack of Christmas cards showcased by Walters on last Thursday’s episode of ABC’s “The View.”

Barbara said: “Usually in the past when I have received a Christmas card, it's been 'Happy Holidays' and so on"
But she could not believe President Bush and the First Lady would send out a “religious Christmas card” with a direct Bible verse from the Old Testament printed inside:

“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”

Walters asked, "Does this also go to agnostics, and atheists, and Muslims?"

"Don't you think it's a little interesting,” continued Walters in her questioning, “that the president of all the people is sending out a religious Christmas card?"

The President has done this for the past 7 years! If by "interesting" she means wrong. Then no, it's not interesting. The card, was paid for by the Republican National Committee and closes: “May the joy of all creation fill your heart this blessed season 2007.”

Walters clarified her intention later in the show: "By the way, I don't want to put down the President of the United States and his wife. I think it's very nice that they sent me a Christmas card."

Merry Christmas Barbara!

Dan Fogelberg Dies at Age 56

Years ago I had dinner with Dan Fogelberg. He was in town doing a concert and I was was doing "soft rock" radio at the time. He was very nice and his song "Same Old Lang Syne" always reappears on radio this time of the year.

A posting on his website Sunday said this:

Dear friends,

Dan left us this morning at 6:00am . He fought a brave battle with cancer and died peacefully at home in Maine with his wife Jean at his side. His strength, dignity, and grace in the face of the daunting challenges of this disease were an inspiration to all who knew him.

Bonus pay spread over party lines in state Legislature

New evidence is emerging that House Democrats used taxpayer-funded bonuses to pay employees for campaign work, but they aren't the only ones who made questionable use of bonuses last year. Read More

E-mails show how Dems tied staffers' bonuses to campaign work

E-mail messages exchanged by top aides in the Democratic caucus starting in 2004 make clear that taxpayer-funded bonuses were given to legislative employees for their work on election campaigns. Read More

Pope decries 'pleasure at all costs'

At this time of year when people buy stuff they can't afford and end up with a truckload of debt for Christmas, it's nice to hear a counter message.

Pope Benedict XVI warned Sunday against seeking happiness in drugs or other "artificial paradises" and the self-centered quest for "pleasure at all costs."

Instead, the pope held up Mother Teresa — the Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor in India and elsewhere — as an example.

"Every day, she lived next to misery, human degradation and death," the pope told thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. "Yet, she offered the smile of God to everybody."

The pope, speaking during the traditional Sunday noon Angelus prayer, said real happiness cannot be found in cultures "that put individual happiness in the place of God, a mentality that has its emblematic effect in the quest for pleasure at all costs, in the spread of the use of drugs as an escape, a shelter in artificial paradises, which turn out to be completely illusory."

Story

Romney Fact Check

Romney's Claim: "...every piece of legislation which came to my desk in the coming years as a Governor, I came down on the side of preserving the sanctity of life." - Mitt Romney, Meet the Press 12/16/07

Well let's look at the facts:
Romney's health care legislation provides taxpayer-funded abortions for a co-pay of just $50.
Romney vetoed EIGHT provisions in his health care bill that he deemed objectionable, but he did not veto Planned Parenthoods' guaranteed position on the Advisory Board or ensure that abortions were covered only in medically necessary situations (as required by MA court ruling). All abortions are covered in the Commonwealth Care program with no medically necessary limitation.

Romney included in his health care legislation a guarantee that Planned Parenthood would have a representative on his MassHealth Payment Policy Advisory Board. No such provision was included for a pro-life representative.

Romney's health care legislation provides taxpayer- funded abortions for a co-pay of just $50. Romney vetoed EIGHT provisions in his health care bill that he deemed objectionable, including the expansion of dental benefits to Medicaid recipients. He did not veto Planned Parenthoods' guaranteed position on the Advisory Board or ensure that abortions were covered only in medically necessary situations (as required by MA court ruling). All abortions are covered in the Commonwealth Care program with no medically necessary limitation. Under the program, abortions are available for a copay of $50. ( Menu of Health Care Services; "Romney's Health Care Vetoes," Associated Press, 4/12/06)

Romney included in his health care legislation a guarantee that Planned Parenthood would have a representative on his MassHealth Payment Policy Advisory Board. No such provision was included for a pro-life representative. (RepealRomneyCare.com, "Pro-Life Leaders Denounce Romney's Planned Parenthood Connections," Press Release, 5/10/07)

Romney forced private Catholic hospitals to provide the morning-after-pill, a position applauded by Democrats and pro-abortions groups. (Scott Helman, "Romney Says No Hospitals Are Exempt From Pill Law," Boston Globe, 12/9/05)

Catholic leaders urged hospitals to reject Romney's mandate or risk "compromising their religious integrity and Catholic identity." (Steve LeBlanc, "Confusion Over New Emergency Contraception Law Deepens," Associated Press, 12/9/05)

WILL SMITH: 98 PERCENT OF THE BIBLE IS THE SAME AS SCIENTOLOGY

The full quote: “I was raised in a Baptist household, I went to a Catholic school, but the ideas of the Bible are 98 percent the same ideas of Scientology, 98 percent the same ideas of Hinduism and Buddhism."

I can understand his confusion. You dip anyone in Catholic and Baptist theology and then ship them off to Hollywood you are bound to come out a bit twisted.

While I'm not sure about the exact percentages, Will Smith may actually be right.

I would say Baptists have it 98% correct. It's that other 2% I'm worried about.

If you got on a plane you were told “98 percent” of it works, isn’t it the other 2 percent you’d worry about?

FOX News

SENATE PASSED MEASURE CHANGING LIGHT BULBS

House is expected to pass it this week, Bush says he’ll sign. From the story: Under the measure, all light bulbs must use 25% to 30% less energy than today's products by 2012 to 2014. The phase-in will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70% more efficient.

USA Today

GOLDEN COMPASS DROPS 65 PERCENT IN SECOND WEEKEND

It looks like the compass is pionting south after pulling in $9 million over the weekend, landing in third place. (Box Office Mojo)

From E Online: New Line, meanwhile, was the woozy-feeling patient after its would-be franchise starter The Golden Compass (third place, $9 million) fell off a cliff, down 65 percent from a disappointing debut weekend. So far, the $180 million fantasy film is the unwanted fruitcake of the holiday season, having taken in just $41 million overall. (It has performed stronger overseas; so, perhaps any sequels could be made expressly for Slovakia.) (E Online)

CLINTON LIBRARY GOT MILLIONS FROM SAUDIS

A foundation statement explained "As president, he was beloved around the world, so it should come as no surprise that there has been an outpouring of financial support from around the world to sustain his post-presidential work.” (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Hillary is now working to seem likable. (USA Today)

ROMNEY CALLS ON HUCKABEE TO APOLOGIZE FOR BUSH SLAM

From the story: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Mike Huckabee of insulting President Bush and called on him to apologize for criticizing Bush's foreign policy as "arrogant." Huckabee refused, saying he was not attacking the president personally but laying out a different vision for the US role in the world. (Boston Globe)

Meanwhile, Patrick Ruffini wrote it’s “Romney’s Race to Lose.” Topping the list of reasons: 1. The surging candidates (Huckabee and McCain) are flaky and/or can’t win. This empowers the institutional frontrunners, Rudy and Romney. And Rudy is in trouble. Huckabee has solved Romney’s expectations game in Iowa. A win for Romney out of the Hawkeye State translates to a big win and momentum. A narrow loss is within expectations. Only a double digit loss or third would significantly damage Romney. (Townhall)

And while Lieberman backs McCain... (ABC News) Bork backs Romney. (MittRomney.com)

"Bonus-gate" Probe Deepens

E-mails Show How Dems Tied Staffers' Bonuses To Campaign Work

From the story: E-mail messages exchanged by top aides in the Democratic caucus starting in 2004 make clear that taxpayer-funded bonuses were given to legislative employees for their work on election campaigns.

In startlingly blunt language, a group of aides, at points working under the direction of then-House Minority Whip Michael Veon, D-Beaver, rated the political work of state employees, sometimes adjusting the amounts of the bonuses based on time they spent in the field or, in one instance, in getting presidential candidate Ralph Nader off the Pennsylvania ballot. Read more…

Bonus Pay Spread Over Party Lines In State Legislature

New evidence is emerging that House Democrats used taxpayer-funded bonuses to pay employees for campaign work, but they aren't the only ones who made questionable use of bonuses last year.

Campaign filings and state payroll records show that other legislative caucuses also gave large bonuses to employees who did extensive campaign work, including one who was on state payroll for only half the year.

Among House Republicans, Brian Preski, former chief of staff to the former speaker, John Perzel, was reimbursed more than $160,000 for expenses related to his boss's campaign, including $40,000 in salary. He received a $16,474 bonus at taxpayer expense. Read more...

Watch for more scheduled legislative sessions to be cancelled as party leaders grapple to handle the latest fallout. I would anticipate Senate Republican staffers to receive subpoenas next.

Slots may bring tax relief in 2008

Things are looking good for Pennsylvania homeowners to get a modest amount of slots-related property tax relief in July.

That could pay for that new drink tax!

Read More

MEDIA AGAIN CALLS TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE “GAY MARRIAGE BAN”

Agenda reporting continues, this time over Florida. (Miami Herald) The petition, which doesn’t mention gays. (Florida4Marriage)

MITCHELL REPORT

"Buy me some peanuts and growth hormone, I don't care cause Boston's my home..."

It's all over the news. The dreaded "list" of names. Let me first say that I categorically deny that I have ever used any performance enhancing drugs in the publication of this blog.

There are a couple of odd statements from the former Democrat George Mitchell, including this one: "The players' union was largely uncooperative for reasons that I thought were largely understandable.” (FOX News) Huh? It's understandable that the union would want to obstruct an investigation into cheating in professional sports?

He also said punishment was inappropriate in all but the most egregious cases. Then why spend 20 months on this. Is justice not part of the solution. Thankfully Commissioner Bud Selig said decisions on any action would come "swiftly" on a case-by-case basis.

The odd potential conflict here is Mitchell is employed by the Boston Red Sox. There are no Red Sox on his list. Things that make you go humm.....

And now, the naughty list: (AP)

PELOSI: REPUBLICANS “LIKE THIS WAR”

Yeah, but my favorite was the cola wars of the 1980's. Those were the days.

Later, she said "I shouldn't say they like the war. They support the war, the course of action that the president is on. And that was a revelation to me because I thought the American people's voices were so—and still are—so strong in this regard." (AP)

Meanwhile, USA Today complained too many Democrats “seem unable or unwilling to admit that President Bush's surge of 30,000 more troops has succeeded beyond their initial predictions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who in the spring declared the war lost, said last week that "the surge hasn't accomplished its goals." Yeah, it was supposed to fail miserably!

Anti-war Democrats remain fixated on tying war funding to a rapid troop withdrawal. Yet pulling the troops out precipitously threatens to squander the progress of recent months toward salvaging a decent outcome to the Iraq debacle. What's needed is acknowledgment that the surge is achieving what was intended: not complete military victory but enough stability to make political compromise possible. What's missing is Iraqi will to take advantage of the success.” (USA Today)

HOUSE BANS WATERBOARDING

The White House is threatening to veto. And the President is threating to waterboarder every member of the house until they chabge their mind. Ok, I made the last part up.

FOX News


GOP RACE: MCCAIN GETS A BOOST

McCain is gaining in New Hampshire. (USA Today)

Meanwhile, from Rich Lowry on Huckabee: After many false prophecies, Dean circa 2008 has finally arrived. He is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Not because he will inevitably blow himself up in Iowa. But because, like Dean, his nomination would represent an act of suicide by his party. (Townhall)

Abortion Practitioner Tells Michigan Medical Students He Has "License to Lie"

(LifeNews.com) A video of an abortion practitioner is making its way across the Internet featuring a November appearance by Alberto Hodari at Wayne State University in Michigan. The campus pro-abortion organization invited him to speak and Hodari tells them his status as an abortion practitioner gives him license to lie to women.

Hodari also spoke about how little he washed between abortions because it chafed his hands, even though his doing so puts women's health at risk.

Several women have died while getting abortions with Hodari, and yet the Michigan board of health has never investigated him," [SFLA director Kristan Hawkins] said. "How many women have to die before the bureaucrats start telling Hodari to wash his hands and tell patients the truth." Read more...

How is it that restaurants can be fined for employees not washing their hands, and abortion providers get a pass for this and other unsanitary conditions?

Sharpton's Subpoenas

Teams of federal agents swooped down on up to 10 close associates of the Rev. Al Sharpton Wednesday, demanding the flamboyant clergyman's financial records since 2001.

Sharpton's former chief of staff said he was roused at his Harlem home about 6:30 a.m. by two FBI agents who handed him a subpoena to bring the records to a federal grand jury the day after Christmas. (Merry Christmas Al. Maybe you and Benny Hinn can share some egg nog.)
Several employees of Sharpton's National Action Network also got wakeup subpoenas to testify before the Brooklyn panel. The FBI and IRS are investigating whether Sharpton improperly misstated the amount of money he raised during his 2004 White House run to illegally obtain federal matching funds.

This is a racist thing. If he were white this would not happen. The IRS is the Internal Racist Service. Anytime a black man gets more then a few bucks in his pocket it's time to launch an investigation. Let's march! Who's with me??? Hello........anyone.........

The Rev. Al Sharpton angrily denounced federal authorities Thursday for serving subpoenas on members of his civil rights organization, suggesting that the Justice Department was retaliating against him for his political activism.

PA ONE OF FEW STATES TO ALLOW TRANSIT STRIKES

One of the principal reasons Port Authority drivers have the highest cost-of-living adjusted wage rates in the country and one of the most generous retiree packages to be found is their right to strike. They have been given the right to hold riders hostage in exchange for whatever they want.

The right to strike creates an enormous imbalance of power in contract negotiations that in turn enables the unions to extract well above market pay and benefits. Because many residents and businesses depend heavily on mass transit to get people to their jobs and many residents depend on transit for basic transportation needs, a strike-caused shut down of service results in substantial economic hardships. Thus, transit agencies are very reluctant to force bargaining issues to the point of a strike. Continue

Congressional Grinches

U.S. House has passed a resolution supporting Christmas and Christianity recognizing the importance of the Christian faith by vote of 372 to 9. While it's a shame our elected officials need to take time to defend something that has been celebrated by Christians around the world for 2000 years, it's very telling.

Nine members voted against the resolution, ten refused to support it by voting "present" (which means I'm here but not voting) and 40 others members did not vote. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) voted "present". That's 49 representatives that refused to stand up and defend the rights of Christians. I find it hard to believe that none of those 49 have Christian constituents whom they are to represent.

While it's comforting to know 372 elected officials understand that Christianity has a vital role in the fabric of America, the disturbing thing is some representatives who said "Bah, Humbug" to Christmas favored a Ramadan Resolution!

Yes, all but two of the representatives voting "present" or against the Christmas Resolution voted in favor of a resolution recognizing Ramadan. The Ramadan Resolution stated the House "recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world...expresses friendship and support for Muslims...acknowledges the onset of Ramadan...and conveys its respect to Muslims...rejects hatred, bigotry, and violence directed against Muslims...commends Muslims... who have privately and publicly rejected interpretations and movements of Islam that justify and encourage hatred, violence, and terror". This passed by a 376-0 vote in October. Not one single vote against it.

Maybe voting in favor of the Ramadan Resolution seemed like the politically correct thing to do. After all American Muslims are also to be represented by elected officials. However, the Christmas Resolution used similar language, stating that the House recognizes "the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world...expresses continued support for Christians...acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith...acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization...rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians...and expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world".

The real story here is not the passing of a Christmas resolution, rather how those elected to office can praise Islam and attack the Christian faith that is the foundation of this nation. I would encourage all to demand an answer to this question from all who voted "no".

The following voted "no" on H.R. 847 and "yes" on H.R. 635: Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Diana DeGette (D-Co.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fl.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Fortney Stark (D-Calif.) and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

Those who voted "present" on H.R. 847 and "yes" on H.R. 635 include: Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

STUDENT SUES TEACHER FOR ANTI-CHRISTIAN RANTS

Which he recorded. Interesting to see the school principal said “People can make allegations all they want; we have to see the reality and context of what was said.” Would he make the same comment if the accusations were racial?

LA Times

D-DAY FOR BASEBALL

And it’s not pretty. From the story: The sources would not reveal the names of players included in the report, but confirmed that as many as 80 are listed. One lawyer expected several "very, very high-level names" to be exposed, although Mitchell is frank in the report about how difficult it was to get information regarding the extent of player use.

ABC News