A Charade By Any Other Name

There is a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today about Joan Clark Houk.

The McCandless woman made news last summer when she joined 11 other women aboard the Majestic, a boat in the Gateway Clipper Fleet. There, Mrs. Houk and the other women were ordained as part of a movement called Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which started ordaining women as priests and deacons in 2002.

During that Sunday afternoon river cruise a year ago today, the 12 women participated in the first ceremony of its kind in the United States. After three women dressed in white vestments laid their hands on the heads of the 12 women and anointed their hands with oil, eight were named priests and four named deacons.

If I call myself King of Pittsburgh and get a few people to believe me does it make it true? Nope.
The Vatican does not recognize the ordinations and so they are not official. Where does one get the authority to do this. They simply make it up.

These women believe they are part of the church's valid apostolic succession because, they say, Roman Catholic bishops in good standing ordained them secretly. The women refuse to name those bishops, to protect them from reprisals by Vatican authorities in Rome. Well if they named them and it turned out to be true, the Bishops would not be in good standing anymore. Yet all we have is allegations, nothing more.

Mrs. Houk has never received a formal notice of excommunication from the Diocese of Pittsburgh or the Vatican. But, before last year's ceremony was held, local diocesan officials stated that the women were, by their actions, walking away from the church. Then Mrs. Houk need not check the mailbox. You have directly defied the Church and are no longer in communion.

Last October, Mrs. Houk celebrated a Mass at Christ Hope Ecumenical Catholic Church in Avalon. I live nearby that place. It's run by an ex-priest. It's a house of heresy and in no way a true church. Just as Mrs. Houk (despite whatever intentions she may have) is not a priest and defies not only the Church but the Bible itself.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

UPDATE: ST. PAUL SEMINARY RECTOR RESPONDS TO WOMEN AS PRIESTS
In this essay, the Rev. James Wehner, rector of St. Paul Seminary in Crafton, responds to issues raised in an article in the July 31, 2007 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

More>>

Poison spread at DC Metro Stations

Investigators are looking for a person driving a black pickup truck who witnesses saw spraying or spreading an unknown material causing the immediate death of area birds. The poison was spread outside at least six Metro stations. Media reports are identifying the substance to be commercial rat poison, however the immediate and widespread death of birds appear to contraindicate the use of rat poison as the sole agent.

Was this a test or something else? We don't know yet but it's sure deserves some attention from authorities.

Archival footage of Osama bin Laden concerns analysts

There is a new seven-minute, 55-second video containing footage of Osama bin Laden walking along mountainous terrain with his second-in-command, Ayman al Zawahiri.

That the segment, undistributed to Arabic language Internet web sites used by Muslim terrorists when discovered, was extracted from a lengthier segment containing footage of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the 19 “martyred” hijackers. This is the second time within the last week that archived footage of Osama bin Laden has been destined for distribution on web sites. The segment within the last week contained a 50-second segment of bin Laden amid other footage, while the latest footage was extracted from a longer video.

Investigators and analysts note that the last time that Osama Bin Laden actually appeared in any authenticated video footage with an established date was October 2004. Additionally, the last authenticated audio message by bin Laden was in July 2006. In consideration of global political events and current threat levels, analysts are questioning the motives of the sudden resurgence of bin Laden videos.

Radio Waves

A performance tax gets its first airing.
We'll get our first indication today of how receptive Congress is to a new push by the record industry to see a tax on radio. The move to do away with the decades-old exemption could cost the industry billions annually. The NAB is launching a Washington ad campaign that urges lawmakers to oppose this new "performance tax on local radio broadcasters."

Calling it a "performance tax," the ad urges listeners to call their member of Congress and urge opposition. Spots are currently airing through August 1.

"For decades, radio has been promoting new music free of charge, contributing to the growth of new stars and new genres of music," says the radio spot. "But the big international record labels have a problem. They haven't kept up with the times. Now they are asking Congress to tax local radio stations to subsidize their failing business model to the tune of billions of dollars."

What's Up (or Down) with News Choppers?
Radio traffic reporter Julie DeHarty was hurt, but not seriously, along with her pilot and TV traffic reporter when their helicopter lost power and was forced to make a crash landing. DeHarty, the traffic reporter for KRLD-AM and KVIL-FM/Dallas, was sore but able to walk when the copter make a hard emergency landing around 7am this morning.

FCC Won't Seek Full-Court Review on Profanity Appeal
The FCC will not seek a full-court review on the recent ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeal's that said the Commission's fleeting expletives findings against Fox and others were "arbitrary and capricious." However, the agency could still appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In recent weeks, bills have been introduced into the Senate that would override the court's June decision. But it's unlikely there will be a vote before the August recess.

Spring Ratings (All numbers are 12+)
The ratings book for Spring 2007 is out. The top 3 are still the same. #1 WDVE, #2 KDKA & #3 WDSY. KDKA is regaining some ground after abandoning the liberal radio idea and dropping John McIntyre.

CBS is probably drinking cheap scotch to numb the pain of the the format changes at 93.7 They have gone downhill with a tailwind since 2004 when some idiot decided to take a fly swatter to B-94. Krock died and ugly death and the April 2, 2007 format change to "The Zone" seems to ready to be the next failure.

WWSW claimed fourth place. I'm still not sure about the Beach Boys & U2 share the dial but what do I know? Bob has been losing ground consistently but that seems nationwide to be a short term fad format. Even Jack in New York got whacked and has returned to oldies.

WPBG is down a full point. As for WORD FM, the numbers are up. WORD is up to 1.5 beating WPTT, WEAE & The Zone among others. Thanks Pittsburgh!

WEBSITE HELPS PEDOPHILES FIND CHILDREN

I was not sure about posting this. I have no desire in promoting this garbage. But as a parent, I do think we need to be aware that this is happening.

Jack McClellan runs a website where, according to the story, he “prowls playgrounds, amusement parks and fairs stalking little girls and then brazenly boasts about his exploits on his Web site.” A little later it notes “McClellan has operated detailed Web sites rating the best public places to watch young children at play and posting photos he's taken at events. He even rated locations based on how many little girls, or LGs as he call them, are there.”

It seems everytime I turn on the TV there is one of those Dateline shows with more men being arrested for trying to lure kids. I'm working on show to talk about this. I hope to have it put together soon. Please talk to your kids. There are far too many of these men lurking out there.
ABC News

My thanks to Ron who is fighting back against this scumbag.
Anti Jack

GIULIANI TOP CHOICE TO HANDLE TERRORISM

Followed by McCain then Clinton. The poll also looks at whom people trust to handle the war (McCain/Giuliani) healthcare (Clinton) and the economy (Obama.)

Gallup

I'm curious to know how many of you would vote for a pro-choice (otherwise conservative) president?

NAACP UPSET WITH TREATMENT OF MICHAEL VICK

From the story: R.L. White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the Atlanta Falcons quarterback has been vilified by animal rights groups, talk radio and the news media and prematurely punished by his team and corporate sponsors. "If Mr. Vick is guilty, he should pay for his crime, but to treat him as he is being treated now is also a crime," White said at a news conference. "Be restrained in your premature judgment until the legal process is completed." (AP)

Meanwhile, PETA wants the NFL to suspend Vick without pay. (PETA)

GIULIANI BLASTS DEMOCRATS FOR WANTING “NANNY” GOVERNMENT

He also said “Democrats are kind of falling over each other seeing who can raise taxes faster. It looks like they're going to raise taxes anywhere between 20 to 30 percent. John Edwards just said he's going to raise the capital gains tax double that.”

AP

UNDENIABLE PROGRESS IN IRAQ

The story begins: With one day left in the month, American casualties in July are the lowest since the troop surge began in February, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin, and civilian casualties are down by a third. (CBS News)

Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt interviews New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning writer John Burns, who explained “there’s no doubt that those extra 30,000 American troops are making a difference. They’re definitely making a difference in Baghdad. Some of the crucial indicators of the war, metrics as the American command calls them, have moved in a positive direction from the American, and dare I say the Iraqi point of view, fewer car bombs, fewer bombs in general, lower levels of civilian casualties, quite remarkably lower levels of civilian casualties.” (Townhall)

Could things really be improving? That's not good news for nay sayers.

WZUM for Sale

WZUM began in the 1960's as an R&B and top 40 station, owned by popular Pittsburgh polka bandleader Jimmy Pol. During the 1970's, WZUM was a freeform AOR outlet from until it switched to religious programming under the WPLW callsign in 1975. after its purchase by Robert Hickling. In 1998, following it was sold to Pittsburgh area broadcaster Mike Horvath and returned to WZUM, changing to smooth jazz, but went dark after just one year with the format. The station later returned after a major transmitter and studio overhaul with time-brokered programming, then oldies, with Catholic programming added in 2002

Green Bay, Wis.-based Starboard Media Foundation Inc. purchased WZUM in September 2005 from Horvath Broadcasting LLC for $435,00. WZUM, with its transmitter in Crafton, Pa., and studio in West Mifflin, Pa had been broadcasting some of the Relevant Radio programming since May 2003 under a lease agreement. . Upon purchase of the station, Starboard converted it to 100% Catholic programming with Relevant Radio. But now it seems like the Catholic radio days may be numbered.

The station is being shopped to potential buyers. I listen to it the station as often as I can. I will be sad to see it go but radio is a tough business and selling niche radio is even tougher.

Stay tuned...

Anti-terror funds to states are shrinking

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, rebutting complaints from the nation’s governors, warned states on Wednesday (July 18) that federal grants to help them combat terrorism “are not meant to be annuities or entitlements” and could continue to decline in coming years. Read More

CHURCH VS. PORN

Is porn useful or evil?

That's a debate that pastor Craig Gross and adult film star Ron Jeremy will wage at 8 p.m. Aug. 9 at Club Stratus in Pittsburgh's Strip District.

Gross, founder of the anti-pornography Web site XXXchurch.com, and Jeremy, the world's most prolific porn actor-turned-VH1 celebrity, will make their arguments, then engage in an audience Q&A, one of seven such sessions they're conducting throughout the Midwest and East Coast.Tickets cost $10.

LA TIMES: FREE JOHN WALKER LINDH

Get this... They compared the Taliban member to Scooter Libby and called for Bush to grant him clemency.

LA Times

SF GIVES SYRINGES TO DRUG USERS, DRUG USERS LEAVING THEM IN PARKS

Somehow, San Francisco officials thought drug users would politely return them. How rude.

San Francisco Chronicle

CITIES SUING GANG MEMBERS

Running to their defense, the ACLU.

FOX News

Gingrich Predicts Clinton-Obama Ticket

(AP) - Democrats will nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in 2008 and Barack Obama will be her running mate, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicts.

The GOP will have three "formidable" choices in Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, said Gingrich, who is considering whether to get into the race. Read more...

Newts’ prediction can happen if the personality clashes can be worked out.

Judge: Hazleton Plaintiffs Unnamed For Safety

(Post Gazette) In America, land of opportunity, an illegal immigrant can anonymously sue a city and win. It happened last week in federal court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, where a judge struck down the city of Hazleton's laws aimed at evicting illegal immigrants.

Four of the eight individuals who sued Hazleton were in America illegally. All received protection from U.S. District Judge James Munley, who allowed them to bring their case against the city without being identified publicly. Read more….

We are in trouble when illegal immigrants have more rights than citizens do.

Muslims: A Reality Check

Rev. Thomas Ryan, CSP, directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington, DC.

Current events in a country bridging Europe and Asia are offering an important object lesson about the Muslim world: it is not monolithic, and there are significant forces for religious pluralism and democracy within it. The country is Turkey, at one and the same time a candidate for the European Union (EU) and the source of much of the water in the Middle East. It is larger in population than any EU country and bigger in military strength than any NATO member after America.

From May 7-15, I had the opportunity to travel with an interfaith group of 16 people from the fields of government, education, health care, religion, journalism, and the arts to several cities within Turkey on visits to schools, mosques, cultural institutions, hospitals, and families.

The Turkish expression of Islam

Prior to our departure, Turkey was in the news daily. The prime minister, Recep Tayyid Erdogan, the leader of the Development and Justice Party (AK), which holds a majority in Parliament, had put forth his right hand man, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, as candidate for President, the country’s most influential post.

The military, a centerpiece for the secularist establishment in Turkey, issued a thinly veiled threat of a coup d’état if the AK Party should end up controlling the three principal organs of government: prime minister, president, and parliament.

Why the alarm bells? Because the AK has roots in what is known in Turkey as “political Islam,” and because Gül’s wife wears a head scarf. The very thought of their president’s wife traditionally clad raises the specter for many Turks of creeping Islamic fundamentalism.

Gül was forced to suspend his bid, but the political turmoil exposed a deep paranoia in the populace, at least 90% of whose population of 75 million are Muslim, but endowed with a secular legacy since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923 by Kemal Ataturk.

At the time of our visit to the Aegean port city of Izmir, a terrorist bomb exploded in the marketplace, and hundreds of thousands of Turks demonstrated on the seafront, fearful that the government was conspiring to impose religious values on society. Turkish flags hung from balconies and windows, buses and boats. They came from far and wide, motivated by the fear that Turkey would be dragged back to an earlier era when Islam ran the state.

Does the West know this Turkish face of Islam?

When asked if they were wearing a head scarf because they wanted to live in an Islamic state, some young women replied, “Absolutely not.” They did not want to be prohibited from attending college, driving a car, or for that matter, leaving the house. They only wanted to be free to practice their religion. They expressed fear of a totalitarian, rigid interpretation of an Islam with a tribal mentality, harsh punishments, and lack of civic freedoms.

Such is the power of fear that they, along with most of the protestors interviewed in the media, seemed to overlook the fact that, since coming into power in 2002, the AK party has introduced radical political reforms in the field of human rights, democratization, and the rule of law. It has also advocated globalization, strengthened its market economy by attracting $25 billion in direct foreign investment in the past year alone, put Turkey on its way to becoming a member of the European Union some day, and brought political stability previously lacking for a decade.

Do North Americans identify these kinds of actions with Islamist ruling parties?

Journalists we spoke to observed that the AK party leader and Prime Minister Erdogan has asserted many times that the party was not “religiously-centered” but “conservative and democratic.” And erst-while presidential candidate Gül emphasized that “our demand is religious freedom, not an Islamic state.”

The AK is not the only organization sounding such notes in Turkey today. Another is the Gülen movement, identified as the largest civil movement in the country and is named after Fethullah Gülen, a 66 year-old Islamic scholar, thinker, writer, and poet. The Gülen movement is a faith-inspired collectivity with loose boundaries involving up to 4 million people world-wide in a broad range of organizations encompassing 300 schools in over 50 countries, a Journalism and Writer’s Foundation, and a growing newspaper published in both Turkish and English editions (Zaman Today).

The schools target top-echelon students with a curriculum designed to promote learning in a broad sense. The Journalism and Writers’ Foundation also works as a think-tank called the Abant Platform. The first of its kind in recent Turkish history, it brings together intellectuals of all stripes to work the connections between Islam, reason, science, and modernity.

For Gülen, tolerance and genuine interfaith dialogue and cooperation are at the core of what it means to be a Muslim today. He himself has become a symbol of interfaith dialogue in Turkey, meeting with Pope John Paul II, the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, and the chief Rabbi of Israel.

In speaking of religion, Gülen invokes the image of “a symphony of God’s blessings and mercy.” What characterizes a symphony, of course, is the diversity of notes and instruments brought together in a collaborative unity. Musical harmony, he observes, does not result from everyone playing the same notes, nor is a symphony the product of everyone playing the same instrument.

In an era where Islam is equated in the minds of many with violence and barbarism, the notes being sounded by the voices of moderate Turkish Muslims are indeed music to Western ears and an important reality check on our perception of global Islam.

Pastors: Don't Overstep Your Authority

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, released the following statement:

"The Birmingham News carried a story wherein some local pastors said that pro-life activists who held events on public sidewalks near their Churches 'did not have permission' to hold the events. Excuse me, pastors, but they don't need your permission."

"In America, the public sidewalks are a forum in which any citizen can communicate to any other citizen what is on his or her mind. The 'permission' has been granted by our Founding Fathers and it's called the First Amendment to the Constitution."


"This permission holds even when the public sidewalk happens to be in front of a Church. Every pastor in every denomination has a duty to understand this clearly and to respect the rights of every citizen to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly."

Hate-crimes legislation opens a religious divide

People of faith universally condemn hate crimes, but a proposed expansion of the federal law covering such acts has drawn a deep dividing line in the religious community.


The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which passed the House of Representatives in May by a vote of 237-180, would strengthen the existing federal hate-crimes law to include gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The measure would also broaden the circumstances under which the law could be applied and would provide for assistance to local authorities in investigating and prosecuting such crimes. A companion version of the bill now awaits Senate consideration.

The bills have drawn broad congressional backing, with 171 co-sponsors in the House and 43 in the Senate (search for HR 1592 and S 1105 at Thomas).

Public support also appears to be strong: A Gallup Poll in May 2007 found that 68 percent of Americans favor expanding hate-crimes law to include sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, compared with 27 percent who oppose the idea.

Among religious groups, every major mainline Protestant denomination, many Jewish organizations and the major Muslim and Sikh associations support the bill. They say their religious principles demand equal protection of all people. But many conservative Christian groups oppose the measure. While condemning hate crimes as heinous, they fear that preaching against homosexuality, which they consider sinful, could be deemed a hate crime under the legislation. Further, they say clergy could be prosecuted if someone committed a hate crime because of a sermon or pastoral counseling labeling homosexuality immoral. Many constitutional specialists say these fears are groundless, as such speech would be protected by the First Amendment.

Meanwhile, the White House has threatened a veto if the legislation, which it calls “unnecessary and constitutionally questionable,” reaches President Bush’s desk.

4 Western Pa. power plants among nation's dirtiest

Four coal-fired power plants in Western Pennsylvania have landed on this year's ranking of the 50 dirtiest for emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, according to a new report by a nonprofit environmental group. Read More

PEPSI ADMITS THEIR BOTTLED WATER IS TAP WATER

And the info will soon be on the bottle. The story notes “Critics charge that the bottled water industry adds plastic to landfills, uses too much energy by producing and shipping bottles across the world and undermines confidence in the safety and cleanliness of public water supplies, all while much of the world's population is without access to clean water.”

LA Times

JUDGE VOIDS ANTI ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION LAW

A move celebrated by the ACLU. According to the story, the Hazleton, PA law “sought to impose fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and deny business permits to companies that give them jobs. Another measure would have required tenants to register with City Hall and pay for a rental permit.”

CBS News

PHARMACISTS SUE STATE OF WASHINGTON OVER MORNING-AFTER PILL

From the story: In a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, a pharmacy owner and two pharmacists say the rule that took effect Thursday violates their civil rights by forcing them into choosing between "their livelihoods and their deeply held religious and moral beliefs."

ABC News

State's Rural Areas Fight Against I-80 Toll Plan

Ken Maleski, a utility company worker in Emlenton, Venango County, stated "We shouldn't have to pay tolls so people in the southwest and southeast don't have to pay as much for their mass transit. Those tolls would be a death knell for economic growth in our area."

"If the objective is to raise more funds for mass transit, the state should toll Interstate 95," a busy highway in the Philadelphia area, said State Rep. David Millard. Read more…

Gov. Rendell incorrectly assumes that rural residents are willing to pay for someone else’s bus fare in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Threat Against Global Warming Skeptic Prompts EPA Investigation

From the Story: The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says he will investigate a threatening letter sent by the leader of an EPA-member group, vowing to "destroy" the career of a climate skeptic.

"It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar," Mr. Eckhart [president of the American Council on Renewable Energy ] wrote [to Marlo Lewis, senior fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).] "If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on." Read more...

Maybe Mr. Eckhart has a bright future with the thought police.

State office building up for sale

Now that the state Legislature has given its permission, the Department of General Services wants to unload the State Office Building in Pittsburgh. Read More

Angry Rendell revives turnpike lease

Gov. Ed Rendell assailed two Republican congressmen for trying to block the state's plans to place tolls on Interstate 80, saying their actions leave him no choice but to revive his unpopular plan to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a private operator. Read More

THE CATHOLIC THREAT

In the last decades, Jewish activists and leaders have worked to preserve Jewish identity with a plethora of writing, films, museums and art pieces about the Holocaust. Aggressively they warn that the Shoah can reoccur anytime because Gentiles are untrustworthy and irrationally hateful of Jews. This false lesson unites Jews and is also increasingly used to demonize Christianity. Countless Jewish opinion-makers falsely equate Hitler's malevolent desire to destroy Jews with Christians' benevolent desire to convert them.

The Vatican this month ordered continued use of an old Latin mass that asks God to mercifully convert the hearts of Jews. The powerful Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith denounced the order as "a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations."

ADL head Abe Foxman announced "We are extremely disappointed and deeply offended that nearly 40 years after the Vatican rightly removed insulting anti-Jewish language from the Good Friday liturgy, that it would now permit Catholics to utter such hurtful and insulting words by praying for Jews to be converted."

The ADL press release suggests the Pope acted to "satisfy a right-wing faction in the Church that rejects change and reconciliation." Is it possible he acted to satisfy Christ? The mass says, "For the conversion of the Jews. Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, You do not refuse Your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of Your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness."

The mass expresses no more or less than basic Christianity. Our desperate need for the saving strength of Christ's atonement is Christianity. St Paul wrote, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.... If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." (1 Cor. 15)

Christianity is not a way to be a good person, not a comfort system, not an "opiate" of hope to numb life’s distress. Christianity is the stunning and demanding revelation that God bridged the abyss between His pure love and our rebellious state; Christ and Christ alone is that bridge. This one belief defines Christianity and separates it from all other religions and ethical systems. If we do not need the Jesus' blood to be saved, Christianity means nothing. It also offends no one.

Abe Foxman's outrage the Catholic prayer for his conversion candidly expresses his Jewish attitude toward the basic heart of Christianity. He is threatened and incensed that some believe (and dare to say) we all--Jew and Gentile, male and female, foolish and wise--must convert and become like small children, humbly trusting the mercy of our Maker to be saved from sin. In a word, he is outraged by Christ.

To unconverted Jews like Foxman, the gospels are every bit as abhorrent as the Catholic mass. In their minds, the apostle Paul is a traitor who deserved his persecution. In reality, Paul deeply and tenderly loved his Jewish brothers and sisters. Witness his heartbroken words, "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh..." (Rom. 9:2,3)

I believe we all stand today at a crossroads. The time has come for all of us to choose. Will we open our eyes or bow to our selfish ego? Through hate crime laws many seek to excommunicate Christianity from public life. Catholics are the first target, because they are in some ways the easiest. They are often attacked and dismissed by evangelicals. The fight is easier of Christians attack Christians. This in turn serves to form an alliance with those who seek to reduce Christinaity to an outdated lifestyle. Catholics have been historically plagued with scandals and abuses of power. This is the prefered method of attack by the enemy on the Church. The assult comes from the inside out. Catholics hold some beliefs considered odd even by other Christian denominations.

But--most galling--Catholics have frequently been the only Christian source of real criticism of Zionism, the state of Israel, western Jewish activism, and the neocons' Mideast war agenda. As Catholics are targeted, evangelicals should not feel safe. The moment they awaken to the real nature of racist, Christ-persecuting Talmudic Judaism--and speak against it--they too will be called the enemy.

In fact, they don't even have to do that. Abe Foxman's book Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism describes the New Testament itself as a text of hatred. Even absurdly Zionist, war-mongering so-called Christians like John Hagee are suspect as a long as a Bible sits beside their bed.

The first followers of Jesus were Jews who recognized His fulfillment of the promises God gave their fathers. His first persecutors were also Jews, religious fanatics whose pride in legalism, self-righteousness, and sinful self-will drove them to crucify Him.

Today, the conflict continues. As a Christian, it breaks my heart that the gospels' message is now criminalized as "hate speech" in countries like Canada, Holland, and Israel. That is not yet true in America. Our unique freedom of speech should be precious to every American, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, or atheist. The battle against regulation of speech is a battle for the soul of America. It is a battle in which every American is obligated to fight.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS GIVING MUSLIMS SPECIAL TREATMENT

Story notes “The University of Michigan at Dearborn is planning to build foot baths for Muslim students who wash their feet before prayer. An elementary school in San Diego created an extra recess period for Muslim pupils to pray. At George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Muslim students using a "meditation space" laid out Muslim prayer rugs and separated men and women in accordance with their Islamic beliefs.” Where is the ACLU in all of this? Right where you suspected. From the story: the American Civil Liberties Union says overt religious symbols like crucifixes are not legal, but whether Muslim foot baths and prayer rugs fall into that category is not clear.

USA Today

LA TIMES: DEMOCRATS ARE CONCEDING SOME POINTS ON ABORTION

From the story: Sensing an opportunity to impress religious voters — and tip elections — Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail have begun to adopt some of the language and policy goals of the antiabortion movement. One major point cited by the Times is the House passing the Reducing the Need for Abortions Initiative (LA Times)

But NARAL doesn’t seem to mind the bill. (NARAL Ohio)

And it doesn’t seem to be on NOW’s radar. (NOW – where a word search didn’t turn up any story)

WASHINGTON POST DIGS INTO FRED THOMPSON’S LIFE AS AN ATTORNEY

Noting, among other things, his decades old work and the fact that he receives funding from trial lawyers. (Washington Post) TIME asks “Is Fred Thompson the GOP's Savior?” (TIME)

HOLLYWOOD PREPS ANTI-MILITARY/ANTI-WAR MOVIES

From the story: …coming films also use the damaged Iraq veteran to raise questions about a continuing war. In “Grace Is Gone,” directed by James C. Strouse and due in October from the Weinstein Company, John Cusack and two daughters struggle with the loss of a wife and mother who is killed on duty. Kimberly Peirce’s “Stop-Loss,” set for release in March by Paramount, meanwhile, casts Ryan Phillippe as a veteran who defies an order that would send him back to Iraq. One producer admitted his film was deliberately scheduled to be released in the middle of the presidential campaign season.

NY Times

Plan To Toll I-80 Blocked By Congress

Two western PA Congressmen, U.S. Reps. Phil English, R-Erie, and John Peterson, R-Venango, have inserted language into the federal transportation bill to prohibit the use of federal funds construct toll booths on I-80.

Congressman Peterson issued a statement Tuesday claiming that Rendell was trying to tax motorists in rural Pennsylvania to find more cash for mass transit services in Philadelphia. The proposed tolls would generate about $532 million for highway improvements and $414 million for mass transit per year.

Earlier, Federal Highway Funds for Pennsylvania were diverted from highway projects to help fund mass transit. Part of the proposed tolling of I-80 would also go to fund mass transit, not a good trend.

Study: Obesity Is 'Socially Contagious'

From the story: If your friends and family get fat, chances are you will too, researchers report in a startling new study that suggests obesity is "socially contagious" and can spread easily from person to person.

The study found a person's chances of becoming obese went up 57 percent if a friend did, 40 percent if a sibling did and 37 percent if a spouse did. In the closest friendships, the risk almost tripled. Read more..

Puts a new spin on the “herd mentality”.

Survey: Evangelicals, Atheists Consistent in Faith and Practice

A new Barna report on the self-image of Americans revealed that the small minority of evangelicals stand out from the rest of the Christian community as more spiritual and active in faith, at least in their own perspective.

Compared to non-evangelical born-again Christians, evangelicals – which constitute 8 percent of the American adult population, according to The Barna Group's criteria – were more likely to see themselves as fulltime servants of God; deeply spiritual; and more likely to seek to persuade others to adopt their views. Evangelicals were also less likely than non-evangelical born-agains to have an open mind toward alternative moral views or to admit to adapting easily to change, according to the study released Monday.

The only other faith group demonstrating similar consistency between faith and practice were atheists, whose fundamental dismissal of social conventions and participation in favor of more self-centered views and behaviors helped them to stand out from the crowd in a different way.

The study further found a gap between Catholics and Protestants and the way they view themselves. Protestants were more likely to see themselves as fulltime servants of God, slightly more likely to say they are deeply spiritual, and a bit more likely to say they are clear about the meaning and purpose of their life. Catholics were somewhat more likely to be very open to alternative moral perspectives.

While 75 percent of Americans say they are "very open" to alternative moral views, 92 percent support traditional family values and 86 percent claim to be concerned about the moral state of the nation. At the same time, only one out of four adults is concerned enough to try to convince other people to change their views on such issues.

Full Story

A Clouded Departure

On the show we talked about suicide. Our guest (who's father killed himself) said he did not believe that ending your life would not exclude a person from heaven. This is one of the toughest topics to talk about. You don't want to challenge someone who is grieving, but at the same time I personally equate suicide with murder and have hard time accepting a saved Christian would end their life.

I was challenged to consider a person who slowly kills himself through drugs, tobacco or alcohol. Would that exclude them? I don't pretend to have the answers. My thoughts are if a person feels that death is better then life then there are in a dark place and have given their life away to evil.

If you spend your years pumping your body full of poison to the point that it kills you, it would seem to me that a person had very clearly rejected Christ.

I have a person who is close to me. She is drinking herself to death. She knows it but continues. Once upon at time she accepted Christ and I've debated with loved ones about her destination if she dies. I don't believe that because she accepted Christ years ago, that gives her a pass into heaven after a life of rejecting God.

Like I said, I don't have the answers but I do think it's an important topic to consider. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Radio Waves

WQED-TV (13) and its affiliates unveiled a new logo and slogan, "WQED changes lives." The new "Q" in the logo includes what appear to be three rivers or hills and is the product of a "rebranding process" that began in May 2006
WEAE reporter/anchor arrested
An announcer at Pittsburgh's ESPN Radio affiliate has been charged with possession of child pornography. John Duffy, a reporter and weekend anchor at WEAE (1250), was arraigned yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amy Reynolds Hay.
Duffy pleaded not guilty and is free on bond. According to the Post-Gazette, a state trooper investigating a file sharing ring saw one computer offering files that he believed were child pornography. Two of the files were traced to Duffy's computer, police allege. In requesting a search warrant for Duffy's home in Carnegie, police sought computers, software and chat logs. Duffy, 46, has also worked as an announcer for Pitt football and women's basketball, and has done press-box work at Steelers and Penguins home games.
Bob is getting old
The most recent Pittsburgh radio ratings trends are now in for "spring phase 2," covering the month of May. Observer-Reporter's radio-TV columnist thinks the bloom isoff the rose at "Bob FM" WRRK-FM (96.9).
"For about a year, it was the talk of the town. It had a playlist of thousands of songs. It would intentionally follow Madonna with Lynyrd Skynyrd or seque from the Backstreet Boys to Led Zeppelin. It had very little interference from disc jockeys," Hazlett says. "But eventually, it tightened its playlist --- and listeners noticed. Its first-person drop-in lines ('Bob is going out to buy some more CDs,') became annoying. And people began noticing there wasn't much of a Pittsburgh feel to the station."
You can look at the ratings trends for ages 12-and-up at Radio & Records' website. Anyone looking for big surprises will be disappointed; heritage rocker WDVE-FM (102.5) retains its death-grip on first place among all listeners, with news-talk KDKA (1020) in second and country "Y-108" WDSY-FM (107.9) in third. WWSW bounces up to fourth place, while "FM NewsTalk" WPGB-FM (104.7) drops to fifth.

Ave Maria open to all, not just Catholics

As Catholic families continue to move in, the founder and developers of Ave Maria, Florida, struggle to change the popular perception that the new town, built around Ave Maria University, is solely for Roman Catholics or controlled by Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan.

Blake Gable, project manager for Barron Collier Cos., which is building the new town in partnership with Monaghan, told The Associated Press that the town is open to everyone.
Monaghan made headlines in 2005, when he told a Catholic group that the town would be governed by Catholic principles. He said stores wouldn't carry contraceptives or pornography, and cable TV would have no adult channels.

Following criticism from the media and civil liberties groups, Monaghan now says the town will grow uninhibited, with the exception of adult novelty stores or topless clubs, reports the AP. Developers say that any denomination can build a house of worship in Ave Maria and it will only be suggested to merchants not to sell contraceptives or porn.

Gable and Monaghan have been at pains to explain that the university and the town are two separate entities.

Ave Maria University will certainly follow strict Catholic guidelines, while the town will be allowed to grow with minimal restrictions, says Monaghan, who has invested more than $200 million in building the country’s first Catholic university in four decades.

Flight 93 memorial: 'Giant mosque'

The planned crescent-shaped "memorial to heroes" of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania is nothing less than a huge outdoor mosque that pays homage to Islam, charges the author of a new book.

Alec Rawls' "Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93," published by World Ahead, documents a long list of Islamic and terrorist memorializing features in the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The primary feature, he says, is the giant central crescent of what originally was called the "Crescent of Embrace" design. A person facing into this half-mile wide crescent – still present in the superficially altered "Bowl of Embrace" redesign – will be oriented almost exactly at Mecca.

That is significant, Rawls said, because a crescent that Muslims face to point them in the direction of Mecca – called a "mihrab" – is the central feature around which every mosque is built.
Rawls said it seems impossible such startling revelations could go unreported, but Pennsylvania newspapers have ignored him.

He learned from a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that editors knew about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent in September 2005 when the design was first unveiled. But the editors decided the information should not be published, accusing critics of being paranoid bigots.

So we have the Post-Gazette deciding not to simply report news, but deciding to withhold information.

"Like those who look at innocent kids trick-or-treating at Halloween and see only the devil's work," wrote the editors at the time, "a few small and suspicious minds couldn't look past the crescent to see a remarkably sensitive design."

Rawls said western Pennsylvania newspapers have been in a "virtual state of war" with him over the past two weeks as they report 9/11 family members accuse him of spreading falsehoods. Meanwhile, he is running large, full-color ads in the Somerset Daily American, "providing readers with graphical proof" the memorial is actually a huge, outdoor mosque.

Mt. Lebanon man gets jail in child porn case

A former officer in the company that owns Caste Village was sentenced to 46 months in prison followed by lifetime supervised release this morning for possessing child pornography.

Felix Caste, 69, pleaded guilty to one count back in June. Investigators found 300 to 600 images of child pornography, including some of prepubescent children.

Police were alerted when service technicians installing fiber-optic cable in Mr. Caste's Mt. Lebanon home on May 23, 2006, discovered six compact discs hidden in an air duct in his basement.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Aid for college could triple

WASHINGTON - The amount of federal aid that Pennsylvania college students receive could nearly triple in the next five years, and their student loan payments could drop as much as 50 percent under legislation moving through Congress. Read More

Pastor Dies from Lightning Strike

A 50-year-old pastor from a church in San Antonio was killed Tuesday afternoon after he was hit by a bolt of lightning while hiking with his two teenage sons.

WOAI

DEMOCRATS TRYING TO COURT “RELIGIOUS” PEOPLE

The story cites the effort of Kerry’s old helper, Mara Vanderslice. (CNN)

From 2004 when she worked for Kerry: according to Catholic League president William Donohue, she's a strange one. (Catholic League)

It seems she doesn't understand the difference between those who attend church and those who are Christian, as she claims: "I was amazed by the ignorance about religious people that I found among campaign workers, who seemed unable to comprehend Christians being Democrats. What an odd misconception, considering that an overwhelming percentage of Democrats are religious; according to George Barna, one of the most respected pollsters on religious matters, 79 percent of Democrats attend a Catholic or Protestant church."

WARD CHURCHILL FIRED

Good riddance! Not necessarily over his 9/11 victim-Nazi comments, but his plagiarism.

FOX News

MYSPACE FINDS 29,000 SEX OFFENDERS ON SITE

Four times the number cited two months ago!

FOX News

HURRICANE FORECAST DROPS

Remember last year’s global warming hurricane disaster predictions that didn’t come true? It’s happening again.

Reuters

TSA WARNS AIRPORTS ABOUT TERROR DRY RUNS

Story begins: Airport security officers around the nation have been alerted by federal officials to look out for terrorists practicing to carry explosive components onto aircraft, based on four curious seizures at airports since last September.

FOX News

HILLARY/OBAMA TRADE BARBS

Hillary went after him over his “naïve” comment about meeting with some awful world leaders.

QC Times

Spock is from Pittsburgh

E! Online is reporting what has been rumored since a Post-Gazette interview last year with Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto: He's been cast as Spock in the new "Star Trek" movie. Quinto graduated from Central Catholic High School - Class of 1995.

Quinto plays the villain Sylar on NBC's "Heroes," and last week NBC Universal Television Studios president Katherine Pope told the Post-Gazette that if Quinto got the "Star Trek" job, the studio would find a way to work out schedules so he can do both. It would be a benefit to both "Heroes" and "Star Trek," so that makes sense.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Minimum wage hike kicks in today

A new federal minimum wage will go into effect Tuesday, the first in a series of wage increases heralded by some low-income advocates but criticized by business leaders as a potential financial blow. Read More

Where will $360 million go? Lawmakers are unwilling to say

Democratic and Republican caucuses in the Pennsylvania Legislature received a total of $360 million to allocate in this year's state budget. So where is all the money going? The Associated Press made repeated requests in recent days to the caucuses and senior legislators for an accounting by the Legislature of where the money is to be spent. They provided no information. Read More

CHILD RAPIST FREED AFTER COURT CAN’T FIND INTERPRETER

Judge Katherine D. Savage made the call because she felt his right to a speedy trial was violated. The accused also speaks English, but not well enough to satisfy Savage.

Washington Post

ROMNEY: HILLARY HAS MARXIST ECONOMIC PLAN

He also noted “In the case of the three Democratic front-runners, not one of them has managed even a corner store, let alone a state or a city.”

AP

PARENTS CONVICTED AFTER UNDERAGE KIDS DRANK AT PARTY

Two died in an accident. The parents hosting the party claim they didn’t know alcohol was served. The parents were convicted of use of residence in violation of the Liquor Control Act, endangering the life of health of a minor and attempt to obstruct justice by providing police with false information.

Lake County News

UNION HIRES HOMELESS TO PICKET

Without offering benefits. From the story: Several are smoking cigarettes. One works a crossword puzzle. Another bangs a tambourine, while several drum on large white buckets. Some of the men walking the line call out to passing women, "Hey, baby." A few picketers gyrate and dance while chanting: "What do we want? Fair wages. When do we want them? Now."

Washington Post

SUPPORT FOR INVASION OF IRAQ INCREASES

Up to 41 percent from 35 percent, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

NY Times

I'm Back!

Oh yeah! Thank you St. Michael for vanquishing the demon that had possessed my computer. (Actually it was Randy and he changed hard drives and hunted down that pesky file like a hunter who had net eaten in days)

Anyway, I'm back up and running and it disturbs me how much I rely on this keyboard and screen. I was lost without my phone numbers, email and web access. This morning I have 783 emails. If you sent me something it may be awhile before I get back to you.

Thanks to all who offered advice. I think I have every version of spyware detector know to man. Now I have to get rid of some of them.

PowerBlog! is back.

University Expected to Fire Controversial Professor Today

(CNSNews.com) - Ward Churchill's own lawyer expects the tenured University of Colorado professor to be fired on Tuesday. "Ward Churchill will be fired, and Wednesday, I'll be filing a lawsuit" over free-speech rights," the Denver Post quoted attorney David Lane as saying.

Churchill drew attention to himself by writing an essay questioning the innocence of those who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. He described the victims as "technocrats" and "little Eichmanns" (Nazis). Amid the uproar over the insult, the university began investigating Churchill's academic work. A panel eventually concluded that he had plagiarized, fabricated and falsified some of his research and writings.

Expect the “self-appointed” victim card to be played here.

Obama Wins Fox Focus Group

Gingrich Goes Nuclear: May Enter Race To Foil 'Pygmies'

From the story: Dismissing the GOP presidential field as a "pathetic" bunch of "pygmies," Newt Gingrich hinted Monday he might step in to beat Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

"If, in mid-October, it's quite clear that one or more of the current candidates is strong enough to be a serious alternative to a Clinton-Obama ticket, you don't need me to run," the former House Speaker said…. Read more...

Newt has been out of office for almost 10 years, he will have an uphill fight.

Drat!

I came in this morning, turned on my computer and there it was.... the blue screen of death. "Inexecuteable boot drive sector". Well it should just say "Your Computer is Broke" because beyond that I'm lost.

That pesky file the kept rewritng itself last week has now grown into a full blown disaster! "pmljk.dll" is pure evil! So my hard drive is on the floor as I beg someone much smarter than me the come to my rescue. Therefore, untill my computer is in recovery, my posting my be a bit lacking. I'll send you handwritten notes till then.

So I'm in the air studio updating this. In the news, Tammy Faye passes, I'm moving to Ava Maria, Flordia and we need your help with our Joni & Freinds campagin. Tune in on Tuesday or give on the web and help us if you can.

Sorry for the short post, I hope to be back up and running soon!

Cindy Sheehan Attacks: Democrats Not Saviors

(WorldNetDaily) Cindy Sheehan, the so-called "Peace Mom" who once called terrorists killing Americans in Iraq "freedom fighters," is now attacking the Democratic Party as she continues her quest to win the congressional seat of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"The Democrats are the party of slavery and were the party that started every war in the 20th century, except the other Bush debacle. The Federal Reserve, permanent federal income taxes, not one but two World Wars, Japanese concentration camps, and not one but two atom bombs dropped on the innocent citizens of Japan – all brought to us via the Democrats."

Just when you thought that Cindy Sheehan’s “shelf-life” had expired.

Man Ordered To Pay Ex-wife Alimony, Despite Domestic Partnership

From the story: A judge ordered an Orange County man to continue paying $1,250 a month in alimony to his former wife — even though she's in a registered domestic partnership with another woman.

[California] State marriage laws say that alimony ends when a former spouse remarries. So Ron Garber thought he was off the hook for the payments when he learned his ex-wife, Melinda Kirkwood, registered her new relationship under the state's domestic partnership law. Read more…

Virtual Vatican

The Vatican cnow has its own web site, to compliment the busy site maintained by the Holy See.
The new web site-- www.vaticanstate.va-- provides general information about the history, structure, and government of Vatican City, and links to some of the departments of greatest interest to visitors, including the Vatican library, publishing house, and stamp office. The site also provides links to the Vatican Museums and the media sites operated by the Holy See.

The new site makes an impressive collection of photos available online, allowing web visitors to take a virtual tour of the Vatican gardens, the Vatican Museums, and even the collection of automobiles donated to the Popes. There are several webcams, updated constantly, giving viewers different views of St. Peter's Square, the palace of the Vatican City governorate, the Vatican basilica, and the tomb of Pope John Paul II

Summorum Pontificum

The Rev. Augustine Di Noia, undersecretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith answered some questions on the recent Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum..

The document did not alter the Vatican's commitment to ecumenical dialogue but was aimed at asserting Catholic identity in those talks. "It is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be." Not everyone agreed.

Bishop Wolfgang Huber, head of the Evangelical Church in Germany, a Protestant umbrella group, said the new Vatican document effectively downgraded Protestant churches and would make ecumenical relations more difficult. He said the new pronouncement repeated the "offensive statements" of the 2000 document.

Bishop C. Christopher Epting, in charge of ecumenical and interfaith relations for the U.S. Episcopal Church, said: "For us as Anglicans I don't believe it's any different. It's what they've said before. We've been in this dialogue for 40 years, but we continue to stay at the table and disagree with that position."

A statement from the French Protestant Federation said that while the document was an internal pronouncement of the Catholic Church, it would have "external repercussions."

Q: The last response repeats that the title of “Church” cannot be attributed to the Christian communities born from the Reformation in the sixteenth century.

A: This is a painful matter, I know, but as the Council affirms, these communities have not maintained apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, thus depriving themselves of an essential constitutive element of the Church’s being. Because of the lack of the ministerial priesthood, these communities have not preserved the genuine and complete substance of the Eucharistic mystery. For this reason, according to Catholic doctrine, they cannot be called “Churches” in the true sense.

Q: Is this also true of the Anglican communion?

A: Yes.

Q: Your Excellency, what is the value of these “responses”?

A: They have an authoritative theological character. Authoritative. They are a clarification, formulated by our Congregation and approved expressly by the Pope, of the Council’s meaning.

Q: These texts were published a few days after the “motu proprio” that liberalizes the so-called “Mass of Saint Pius V.” Some might think that this was not a coincidence, but a precise strategy . . .

A: This is no ecclesiastical or media strategy. Our documents are published when they are ready. And that’s all. Otherwise, if we had to pay attention to these kinds of problems that have nothing to do with us we would risk, for one reason or another, never publishing these texts awaited by the bishops and many of the faithful.

SENATE VOTES DOWN ATTEMPT TO STOP “FAIRNESS DOCTRINE”

An amendment was rejected 49-48.

Washington Times

R.I. GOV VETOES BILL REQUIRING HEALTH INSURERS COVER INFERTILITY TREATMENT FOR UNMARRIED COUPLES

In a written statement, the Republican said “As a matter of public policy, the state should be encouraging the birth of children to two-parent families, not the reverse."

CBS News

Airport Bans Christmas Trees

It's only July and it's already starting:

CBNNews.com - The Seattle Airport can have trees for decorations in December as long as they don't resemble Christmas trees. The recommendation comes from the airport's Holiday Decorations Advisory Committee.

The committee says from now on, trees should be decorated so they do not appear to be Christmas trees because the "goal is to create an inclusive and warm environment at the airport."

Tom DeLay: Legalized Abortion Brings Illegal Immigrants

From the story: …the Texas Republican said: "I contend [abortion] affects you in immigration. If we had those 40 million children that were killed over the last 30 years, we wouldn’t need the illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that they are doing today. Read more..

Not to mention the affect of abortion on the solvency of Social Security.

Poll: Obama, Hillary Beat GOP in '08

(Newsmax) A new Fox News/Opiniom Dynamics poll shows that, for the first time, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would beat any of their Republican rivals in head-to-head matchups in the 2008 general election. Read more…

To me, some of the best Republican candidates are part of the “second tier”, which will never get noticed.

WSJ EDITORIAL: WILL DEMOCRATS FACE THE TERROR THREAT?

From the editorial:

The NIE also gives the lie to the notion that the gang calling itself al Qaeda in Iraq is somehow distinct and independent from the one the U.S. went to war with after 9/11. The recent arrest and interrogation of a top figure in the Iraqi outfit indicates that the original al Qaeda leaders "continue to provide directions, they continue to provide a focus for operations, they continue to flow foreign fighters into Iraq," according to Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a U.S. military spokesman.

All this being the case, it would be useful to hear from some of our Presidential hopefuls--Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama come to mind--on how they intend to fight al Qaeda once they have removed U.S. forces from Iraq. For that matter, would they favor a U.S. military incursion into Pakistan should it continue to be a sanctuary for al Qaeda? And what about Iran and Syria, which continue to funnel arms to Hezbollah, another group the NIE warns may be prepared to launch terrorist attacks against the U.S.?

CAN SOMEONE LEAD A MORAL LIFE AND NOT ATTEND CHURCH?

This is the topic of Mike Adams’ latest column at Townhall.com. A sample: Life is full of uncertainty but without God two things really are certain: We will make a mess of our lives, and we will help others do the same.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: REJECT THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE

Hanson notes an important irony in liberal talk of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine: There is a sort of irony in the debate over talk radio. Of all our media, it is perhaps the most populist. A radio host requires neither a journalism degree nor political connections. He just needs sheer talent. The unforgiving market - judged by how many turn the dial to your show or call in with questions - alone adjudicates success. Liberals who profess affinity for the little guy should welcome this prairie-fire revolt against the more highbrow New York Times, CBS News or NPR. Hanson concludes: Rather than promoting government audit of our opinion media, liberals should master talk radio and cable news. And conservatives should work harder at providing counter-voices in Hollywood, on the campuses, and amid the major networks and newspapers. Then let the best men and women win in the free arena of ideas and entertainment. (Townhall.com) See, also, Russell Shubin’s commentary on the Fairness Doctrine: “Big Brother’s Doctrine” (Crosswalk.com).

HAS BIOETHICS BECOME POLITICS BY ANOTHER NAME?

Yes, according to the self-professed liberal William Saletan at Slate.com. From his column: Lately, "progressives" have taken to issuing talking points. Every time a peer-reviewed science journal reports some new way of deriving embryonic stem cells without having to kill embryos, I can count on receiving a "progressive bioethics" e-mail that warns me not to be distracted by such fantasies. Bioethics has become politics by another name. You’ll remember last month President Bush vetoed for the second time a bill that would have lifted federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research (New York Times).

ABSTINENCE EDUCATION FACES UNCERTAIN FUTURE

From the article: For the first time, however, Virginity Rules and 700 kindred abstinence education programs are fighting serious threats to their future. Eleven state health departments rejected abstinence education this year, while legislatures in Colorado, Iowa and Washington passed laws that could kill, or at least wound, its presence in public schools. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, federal abstinence funding survives for 3 more months (Baptist Press).

DEMOCRATS WON’T FORCE WAR VOTE

As Republicans blocked a proposal to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq and leading Democrats push for more aggressive measures to force a troop withdrawal (Washington Post).

Dana Milbank points out how the Democrats’ “all-nighter” was more “slumber” than “party.”

And Cal Thomas wonders: Has our politics become so cynical that some would prefer defeat for political advantage than victory because it might aid the "other side," meaning Republicans? (Townhall.com)

Sex Ed for Kindergarteners 'Right Thing to Do,' Says Obama

ABC News: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told Planned Parenthood Tuesday that sex education for kindergarteners, as long as it is "age-appropriate," is "the right thing to do." Link to story.

Sounds like more school field trips to Planned Parenthood may be in the works.

Democrats Pledge Support For Wide Access To Abortion

From the story: Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that her husband's health-care plan would provide insurance coverage of abortion. Speaking on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards before the family planning and abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Edwards lauded her husband's health-care proposal as "a true universal health-care plan" that would cover "all reproductive health services, including pregnancy termination," referring to abortion.

Edwards was joined by Democratic candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the group's political organizing conference in addressing issues at the core of the political clash between cultural liberals and conservatives, including abortion rights, access to contraception and sex education. Read more..

John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all want universal health care and all want full abortion coverage. Planned Parenthood must be seeing $$$$$$.

Plan to End Public Broadcasting Funds Nixed

From the story: The House on Wednesday evening overwhelmingly rejected President Bush's plan to eliminate the $420 million federal subsidy for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The 357-72 vote demonstrated the enduring political strength of public broadcasting. The outcome was never in doubt, unlike a fight two years ago when Republicans tried but failed to slash public broadcasting subsidies. Read more...

Unexpected move by the President, given the House Democrat majority.

Turnpike Emerges As PA’s “Most Powerful Agency”

(Tribune Review) Despite its history as a haven for political patronage, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission emerged from the state’s budget impasse as a transportation power broker and an agency with unparalleled clout in state government.

Under House Bill 1590, the commission will provide on average $900 million a year to pay for improvements to highways and bridges across the state and to assist mass transit agencies. The Turnpike Commission will provide the money from its own profits, by borrowing up to $10.7 billion and by raising tolls 25% in 2009. The agency will impose tolls on Interstate 80.

Giving this much power to an unelected (hence unaccountable) commission cannot be good. To put this in perspective, a $10.7 billion loan is about 40% of the entire state budget.

Abstinence education faces an uncertain future

Virginity Rules and 700 kindred abstinence education programs are fighting serious threats to their future. Eleven state health departments rejected abstinence education this year, while legislatures in Colorado, Iowa and Washington passed laws that could kill, or at least wound, its presence in public schools. Read More

US: Top al-Qaida in Iraq Figure Captured

The U.S. command said Wednesday the highest-ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq has been arrested, adding that information from him indicates the group's foreign-based leadership wields considerable influence over the Iraqi chapter.

Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, also known as Abu Shahid, was captured in Mosul on July 4, said Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a military spokesman.

"Al-Mashhadani is believed to be the most senior Iraqi in the al-Qaida in Iraq network," Bergner said. He said al-Mashhadani was a close associate of Abu Ayub al-Masri, the Egyptian-born head of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Bergner said al-Mashhadani served as an intermediary between al-Masri and Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri.

And some want us to oull out of Iraq. It sounds like we are right where we need to be. Kudos to the troops!

AP

CAIR: WAR ON TERROR CAUSING MORE HARM THAN TERRORISTS

Not sure how they come up with that one? They of course blame the White House. (Washington Times)

CAIR led the effort to have the airline-Imams sue. (Washington Times) They also wanted Bush to condemn Israel. From the 2006 story: "Once again America's image and interests worldwide are being harmed by one-sided support for Israeli actions," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest US Muslim rights group. (AFP)

DOW BREAKS RECORD, AGAIN!

And the NASDAQ hit a 6 and a half year high. Still, the media didn’t give it the headlines Clinton received when the market was up during his presidency.

FOX News

WITHDRAWAL PROPONENTS ADMIT IRAQ WILL SEE TERRIBLE KILLING

But appear to have no plan to stop it. Harry Reid refused to comment on the killing, saying “That's a hypothetical.” (LA Times) Meanwhile, the top Al Qaeda leader in Iraq was captured this month. (FOX News)

We Have a Bishop

The Pope has chosen a Pittsburgh native to lead the flock in the Steel City. As a young priest, David Zubik was personal secretary to the tenth bishop of Pittsburgh.

After a decade, the eleventh bishop tapped him as vicar-general, ordaining him to the episcopacy and seeing him off to a diocese of his own. And now, a decade later, the native son is heading home as the twelfth bishop.
It's amazing to think that over the entire history of this city, God has called only 12 men to lead his church.This morning, Pope Benedict appointed Zubik, 57, after a 14-month vacancy created by the promotion of Donald Wuerl, to the archdiocese of Washington in May 2006.

Zubik's return to his hometown's top ecclesiastical post indicates Rome's firm placet in the administration whose day-to-day operations he ran for seven years before heading to Green Bay in 2003.

So who is Zubik? He was born in Ambridge, PA. Zubik attended Pittsburgh's St Paul (College) Seminary and Duquesne University before heading to Baltimore's St Mary's Seminary, from which he was ordained in 1975. After serving in parishes, Catholic education and picking up a Master's in Educational Administration from Duquesne, he became administrative secretary to then-Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua in 1987, continuing in the post when then-Bishop Donald Wuerl arrived the following year.

In 1991, the eleventh bishop gave his eventual successor the Clergy Personnel brief; five years later, after a brief period as chancellor, he became vicar-general and General Secretary, rising to the top administrative post of the diocese of 820,000.

Described as a "workhorse", Pope John Paul II appointed Zubik auxiliary bishop in 1997; until his episcopal elevation, he served as a spiritual director at St Vincent's Seminary in Latrobe alongside his diocesan duties. In 2003, the late pontiff promoted him to Green Bay to succeed the retiring Bishop Robert Banks.

In the Wisconsin diocese, Zubik honed in characteristic style on its pressing challenges, working particularly toward ensuring a sound future in the areas of Catholic education and priestly vocations. As with other prelates nationwide who've been successful in recruiting more men for formation, the bishop's intense personal investment has resulted in an increase of seminary candidates for Green Bay's flock of 350,000. The vocation question is particularly crucial to Pittsburgh's outlook -- a declining number of priests has resulted in pastors now being split between multiple parishes, and a religious sister was installed as the diocese's first "parish life collaborator".

The appointment adds to the longstanding reports that, especially in cases of prominent posts, Benedict XVI is significantly more inclined to give near-decisive weight to the leanings of the office's prior occupant. On the recent release of Pope Benedict's motu proprio on the pre-Conciliar celebration of the liturgy, Zubik told his Green Bay fold that while he "wish[ed] to state emphatically that the Mass is not changing," adherents of the newly-termed "extraordinary" use of the Roman rite "have been given and have found a place to worship suitably in our own diocese," specifically through the ministry there of the 1962-exclusive Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest.

According to the provisions of Canon Law, Zubik's installation as bishop of Pittsburgh must take place within two months of this morning's appointment. Along these lines, a late September installation date has already been foreseen.

UPDATE: Homecoming/installation date announced for 28 September in St Paul's Cathedral; Noon Mass TODAY at adjoining St Mary of Mercy church.

Constant updates on the P-G's morning piece.

The Latest Bin Laden Video

Yes, he has more videos then the Rocky series. A new, 40-minute video containing about a 50 second "visual" of Osama bin Laden speaking is currently being analyzed by authorities.

The video is branded with the as Sahab logo, indicating, at least initially, that it an official release of the media wing of al Qaeda. The video segment featuring bin Laden is undated and might have been extracted from a previously released video featuring the al Qaeda leader. In the current cameo appearance, bin Laden is shown speaking, referencing Islam's Prophet Muhammad "wish to attack and be martyred," dubbed over the video and repeated two additional times.

According to a well-placed U.S. intelligence offical, authorities are looking at "certain similarities" between the last message released by Ayman al Zawahiri and this video message, including but not limited to the manner in which it was obtained, as well as the authenticity of the video including the "new" bin Laden clip. This intelligence official called the recent release "most unusual, but not unprecedented," adding that the current video was undergoing analysis for both content and authentication.

Not Just a Catholic Problem

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Sexual abuse of children is not just a Catholic Church problem and other institutions should take steps to acknowledge and deal with such "wickedness" within their own ranks, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

The Vatican's chief spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, also said the record $660 million settlement between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and victims of sexual abuse was an attempt to "close a painful chapter and look forward".

"The Church is above all clearly pained by the suffering of the victims and their families, by the deep wounds caused by the grave and inexcusable behavior of some of its members," Lombardi said.

"It has decided to commit itself in every way to avoid a repetition of such wickedness," he said, adding that the Church now had a "a policy of prevention and creation of an ever more secure atmosphere for children and young people in all aspects of (its) pastoral programs".

Lombardi reaffirmed a position taken by other Catholic Church leaders in the past -- that other organized religions and institutions should also deal with paedophilia as publicly as the Catholic Church has been forced to by various scandals.

"The problem of the abuse of childhood and its adequate protection certainly does not regard only the (Catholic) Church, but also many other institutions and it is right that these take the necessary decisions as well," he said.

AP Poll: GOP Pick Is 'None of the Above'

And the leading Republican presidential candidate is ... none of the above.

The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that nearly a quarter of Republicans are unwilling to back top-tier hopefuls Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain or Mitt Romney, and no one candidate has emerged as the clear front-runner among Christian evangelicals. Such dissatisfaction underscores the volatility of the 2008 GOP nomination fight. Read more…

U.S. News this week reports on efforts by Fred Thompson to win over conservative Christians. Maybe Republican Party leadership will recognize that conservative Christians do have a place at the table.

UK: GIRL LOSES RIGHT TO WEAR CHASTITY RING

Lydia was just in Pittsburgh. Of all the things to take from a girl.

Lifesite

IRS DENIES WRITE-OFF FOR SEX CHANGE OPERATIONS

Talk about a deduction! The clearly biased story begins “After a tormented existence as a father, a husband, a Coast Guardsman, and a construction worker, a 57-year-old suburban Boston man underwent a sex-change operation.” What torment… Now he’s suing the IRS.

Boston Globe/AP

TOO FEW ABORTIONS IN MOVIES

From the story: The Washington Post's film critic Ann Hornaday … complains that two box office successes this summer, “Waitress” and “Knocked Up,” feature main characters that are pregnant. Both are unmarried and less than thrilled with their pregnancies. Both have their babies. “It’s a setup that has some viewers, especially women who came of age in a post-Roe v. Wade America, wondering just what world these movies are living in.”

Lifenews

BUSH: WE ARE NOT BACKING DOWN

Story claims Bush “crashed a meeting at the White House to deliver a blunt message that he wasn't backing down on Iraq and Republicans need to understand that.” (FOX News) From Dennis Prager: …it takes a lot of courage to argue against what would be the most costly defeat for America in its history. And how often in history did the right thing not take courage? And how often was the right position the most popular position? (Townhall)

Metcalfe Says No Deal

Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) has taken a stand to protect Pennsylvania taxpayers by voting against the $27.5 billion, 2007-08 state budget which includes more than $1 billion in new spending—all totaled a 5.3 percent spending increase over last year’s budget.

“It is not within the checks and balances responsibilities of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to play Let’s Make a Deal with our Spend-a-holic governor,” said Metcalfe. “It is our job to draw a non-negotiable line in the sand, that says This Is the Deal: NO! excessive spending, NO! increased borrowing and absolutely NO! again to increased taxation.”

“Thanks largely to the lockstep consent of so-called Reform House Democrats, Pennsylvania taxpayers are once again receiving a Raw Deal with final passage of this year’s budget,” said Metcalfe. “Whether its politically-extorting more tax dollars to bail out Pennsylvania’s inefficient mass transit system, using uncertain gambling-dependent revenue to pay for a new arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins or a new Philadelphia Convention Center and wasting nearly $80 million dollars to subsidize unproven government pre-school, any rank-and-file lawmaker all the way up to Majority Leader Bill DeWeese and House Speaker Dennis O’Brien, who have once again sheepishly enabled the governor’s Spend-a-holic tendencies, should be held accountable.”

In addition, Metcalfe also rejected this year’s budget because, rather than returning the $650 surplus to taxpayers where it rightfully belongs or capping state spending at the concurrent rate of inflation or population growth, it leaves the door wide open for billions of dollars in additional borrowing though negotiated special voting sessions later this fall.

“Reform has without question been the most over-kill catch phrase chosen to describe almost any action taken during the 2007-08 legislative session,” said Metcalfe. “Spending away the $650 million surplus that should have been rightfully returned to over-taxed Pennsylvanians, allowing the governor to spend hundreds of millions more than last year’s budget, hundreds of millions even beyond the rate of inflation, and mortgaging our children’s and grandchildren’s future for decades to come through billions of dollars in irresponsible borrowing can by no rational means be defined as reform.

“The real reform Pennsylvania taxpayers are rightfully demanding is for elected officials to realize that government is not our master, that government is not our partner, but that government is our servant,” said Metcalfe. “As our servant, it is long past time for our government to live up it to its primary responsibility of protecting all of our individual rights, including our right to keep more of what we earn.”

'Don't Watch My Films,' Porn Star Tells Kids

(WorldNetDaily) Prolific pornography star Ron Jeremy and fuzzy sidekick "Pete the Porno Puppet" – a creation of a Christian church organization – are teaming up for a series of coming television commercials intended to keep children away from pornography.

Jeremy, who made his debut in porn movie "Tigresses and Other Man Eaters," claims he has slept with more than 4,000 women. He has appeared in more than 1,800 porn flicks since 1978, but in the commercials he plays himself, telling "Pete" to stay away from porn.

"We don't want kids to see our videos," Jeremy tells the puppet in his public service announcements. Read more...

Serial killer Ted Bundy’s interview with Dr. Dobson sends a powerful message about porn addiction. Ron Jeremy should record PSA’s stating that adults should not see his films either.

Recovering Stray Catholics

Father John McCloskey

One of the monumental missions of the Catholic Church in the United States in the next millennium will be to recover our lost sheep and help them to "revert." Recovering Catholics are those who have returned after having fallen away. There are many millions of these prodigal sons. We have to be the merciful father who rushes out to meet them half way and then escorts them back home to the sacramental feast. We are the Emergency Medical Technicians of the faith, called to perform cardiac resuscitation. We must also prepare to be care givers of long-term rehabilitation. Providentially, our fallen-away Catholic relatives, friends, or colleagues are normally only one good confession away from reconciliation with Christ here on earth: one heartbeat away from entrance into the Father's loving embrace. We have to stay with them till the end with our prayer, sacrifice, and friendship. We can worry about Purgatory afterwards. The Church provides the means to help souls even after the particular judgment.

The Lord tells us that "For the Son of Man came to save what was lost. What do you think? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them stray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains, and go in search of the one that has strayed? And if he happens to find it... he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that a single one of these little ones should perish" (Matthew 18:11-14). The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not address the loss of these Catholics or give any advice as how to win them back. Perhaps it is because the Church must trust in the apostolic spirit of her sons and daughters to catch them again them in our nets before they slip away forever.

We anticipate a re-evangelization in our country; in fact, this movement is already underway . One need only look at the multiplicity of faithful Catholic initiatives in education, journalism, and family life to be convinced of this. Hundreds of thousands are joyfully entering into the barque of Peter as is evidenced by the great growth in recent years in convert Catholics who have been prepared through the diocesan RCIA programs. In addition there are more and more well-known persons from every profession who are embracing the Faith publicly. In the next several decades we will see a large increase of priestly vocations of select young men, reversing thirty-five years of decline in the U.S. The Church in America will belatedly join the rest of the Church which has enjoyed surging vocations during the pontificate of John Paul II. For example, vocations are up 300% in Africa and S.E. Asia. These priests will possess a deep piety, sound doctrine, and zeal for souls and will be imbued with the vision of the Second Vatican Council as implemented by John Paul II. However, as our Lord implies, this future "civilization of love" will not begin to come to fulfillment until the Heavenly Father has received back many, if not the great majority, of the sheep who have strayed. The Father loves them, the Good Shepherd tells us, even more than those of us who have been faithful. How merciful is our God with his children! He is counting on us to be His instruments in this great task and He wants them all back.

More

Rendell signs bill erasing last part of 2005 pay raise

The last remnant of the ill-fated state officials' pay raise of July 2005 was laid to rest Friday. Gov. Ed Rendell signed into law a bill that repeals the last-standing piece of the salary bill that turned state government on its head. The new law ends the practice of increasing state and county judges' pay whenever federal judges get raises. Read More

New laws take 'Romeo' into account

A handful of states are trying to draw clearer distinctions between sexual predators and young offenders who pose less of a risk, such as those involved in consensual sexual encounters. Read More

$660 Million Repentance

After a whirlwind weekend, the negotiations that produced a landmark $660 million settlement between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and more than 500 alleged victims of clergy abuse are heading toward a conclusion.

Attorneys from both sides, as well as Cardinal Roger Mahony, are expected in court Monday to enter a formal settlement agreement with Judge Haley Fromholtz. The deal marks the end of more than five years of negotiations and is by far the largest payout by any diocese since the clergy abuse scandal emerged in Boston in 2002.

Mahony, leader of the nation's largest archdiocese, apologized Sunday to the hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims who will receive a share of the settlement.

"There really is no way to go back and give them that innocence that was taken from them. The one thing I wish I could give the victims ... I cannot," he said.

AP

425 WAL-MARTS TO SELL RELIGIOUS TOYS

Story says the toys “target parents who would rather that their kids play with a Samson action figure than a Spider-Man action figure.”

Is this really a good idea?

USA Today

KRISTOL: BUSH WILL BE A WINNER

Due to safety at home, the economy and even the war in Iraq. (Washington Post) From Barone: Bush is surely correct in supposing that the Islamist terrorists we are fighting in Iraq want to do grievous damage to us and that their ability to do so will be increased if we leave Iraq in failure. A Middle East in shambles is scarcely in our interest. Bush and Gen. Petraeus may or may not have come up with a winning strategy and tactics. But the results in Anbar show that the twists and turns of war can be unexpectedly good as well as unexpectedly bad. Wouldn't it be better to see if the surge produces success than to pull the plug now? (Townhall)

CHRISTIANS EYE THOMPSON

Story notes Fred Thompson’s aids “are arranging more meetings between Thompson and conservative Christian leaders and have launched a rapid-response operation to fend off attacks on Thompson's conservative credentials.”

US News

CNN RESPONDS IN BATTLE WITH MICHAEL MOORE

After his critical open letter where Moore brags “I'm about to become your worst nightmare.” (CNN) Sicko finished number 9 in its fourth week. (BoxOfficeMojo)

CNN found numerous factual errors in Michael Moore’s Sicko and pointed them out, see here

While the CNN vs Moore fight is entertaining, the larger point was missed. Rather than quibbling with Mr. Moore's omission of Cuba's position relative to the U.S. on a World Health Organization (WHO) international health care system ranking report, CNN should have called into question the use of that biased report itself. The WHO report doesn't just rank health care systems according to how well they cure you when you're sick. Indeed, 25% of the WHO report's scoring is based on the "fairness" of a country's health care financing as measured by how redistributionist - socialist - it is. The result is an absurd report that ranks the medical system of Morocco as superior to that the U.S. But it's good enough for Michael Moore!