McCain - Palin

Back in May I mentioned here the name Sarah Palin. She is now the VP nominee! I give it thumbs up. Let me tell you why I'm impressed.

Sarah Palin is not a household name. Unless you live in an igloo. She is the Governor of Alaska.

But that's not the story.... In December, her doctor told her that prenatal tests indicated the child she was expecting would be born with Down syndrome. One year into her governorship and with four children at home, a child with Down syndrome would present a serious challenge.

There was an easy way out. More than 80 percent of prenatal Down syndrome diagnoses end in abortion.On April 18, Sarah Palin gave birth to a 6-pound, 2-ounce son. He was born with Down syndrome."We've both been very vocal about being pro-life," Palin told the Associated Press, speaking of herself and her husband, Todd. "We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential."The day after the birth, the Palins released the following statement: "Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."I can only hope that we as a nation are provided with more leaders who view all life as worthy and valued.

A pro-life woman as VP. Thank you John McCain.

Republican Platform For 2008

The Good News:
GOP Retains Pro-Life Plank That McCain Criticized
From the story: The sanctity-of-life plank approved by the Republican platform committee this week includes essentially the same uncompromisingly pro-life language that has been in Republican platforms dating back to the Reagan years, and that Republican presidential candidate John McCain has criticized in the past.

The Bad News:
GOP Platform Draft: Global Warming is Man-Made
From the story: A final draft of the Republican Party platform includes a first-ever plank on global warming that says human activity has contributed to climate change. "The same human activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere," the draft reads. "Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth."

Pro-life Protests Surround Denver Convention Scene

From the story: Outside the security perimeter at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, pro-life advocates have assembled a 600-foot long protest sign, held rallies in front of Planned Parenthood and quietly slipped roses – in honor of the victims of abortion – into the protective metal mesh surrounding the Pepsi Center, but inside, the abortion advocacy continues undeterred.

The party states that it "strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right." Read more…

Obama Lawsuit filed in Eastern District of Pennsylvania

A lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania might be the catalyst that will compel democratic presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama to produce legitimate birth records that would verify his citizenship and thus, his eligibility to be president.

Pennsylvania attorney Phillip Berg filed for DECLARTORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF against Obama and the DNC.


Obama committed Fraud upon Plaintiff and the American Citizens by running for President claiming to be eligible knowing he was not eligible as a result of his failure to regain his United States Citizenship and by maintaining multi citizenships with Kenya and Indonesia.

Obama further committed Fraud upon Plaintiff and the American people by falsifying information on his Illinois State Bar Registration and Public Disciplinary Record. Obama stated on his Application to the State Bar of Illinois, as proven by the Illinois State Bar Registration and Disciplinary Record, stating he never used any other names. Obama signed his application/registration for the Illinois State Bar under the penalty of perjury knowing the information to be false.

The fact of the matter is Obama used the name Barry Soetoro in Indonesia and was registered as a citizen of Indonesia on his school records. Obama further used the name Barry Obama and it is further believed Obama used the name Barack and/or Barry Dunham.

Obama attempted to defraud Plaintiff and the American people by allowing an altered and forged Hawaii Certificate of Live Birth (COLB) to be placed on his campaign website. Obama was well aware the Government issued COLB was altered and forged as the original document was in the name of Maya Kasandra Soetoro born in 1970. Maya Kassandra Soetoro Obama's half sister who was born in Indonesia and her birth was later registered in Hawaii.

Obama further attempted to defraud Plaintiff and the American People by claiming to be a United States Citizen, knowing this information to be false. Obama is well aware when his mother married Lolo Soetoro, a citizen of Indonesia and took up residency in Indonesia with Obama, they both naturalized in Indonesia expatriating their United States Citizenship. Obama's mother failed to regain her citizenship after her divorce to Lolo Soetoro, when Obama was a minor and Obama himself failed to regain his United States Citizenship by taking the oath of allegiance, which is recorded when he turned eighteen (18) years.

Furthermore, Obama is well aware he is not a United States Citizen and does not qualify as a "natural born" citizen. Obama traveled to Pakistan in 1981, at which time he was twenty (20) years old and used his Indonesian Passport, not a United States passport.

Moreover, as stated above, Obama was registered in School in Jakarta, Indonesia as Barry Soetoro, a citizen of Indonesia, born in 1961 in Hawaii and his religion was registered as Islam.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is supposed to represent and protect the interests of working Americans, which includes securing a Democratic Nominee on the Presidential Election ballot who represents the Democratic vision and who is qualified and eligible to run for Office of the President under the qualifications of the United States Constitution. The DNC has failed to inquire into Obama's eligibility status.

For the above aforementioned reasons, Obama needs to immediately step down and withdrawal his candidacy for Presidency.

I'm no legal expert but WOW! Let's see if any of this get reported.

You can see the 20 page full complaint here

Government as Defendant: A Worrisome Trend in Allegheny County

Beginning in 2005, the government of Allegheny County embarked on a path of enacting ordinances and engaging in other activities that likely has no parallel in the annals of local government in Pennsylvania for displaying a willingness to violate, ignore or circumvent Commonwealth statutes, the state’s Constitution and the County Charter. In at least three high profile instances, the courts have overturned ordinances passed by Council and signed by the Chief Executive. One of these ordinances was enacted despite an unambiguous opinion of the County solicitor that passing the legislation would violate state law. It passed 14 to 1 anyway. Continue

Casey, Rendell make their cases for Obama

It was Pennsylvania night at the Democratic National Convention, with both Sen. Bob Casey and Gov. Rendell doing their bit for Barack Obama, each in his own way. Read More

Pelosi stands by abortion comments

Under fire from U.S. Catholic bishops, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not backing off contentious comments about abortion she made during a weekend television talk show appearance.

Pelosi said Sunday on NBC's ``Meet the Press'' that ``doctors of the church'' have not been able to define when life begins. That prompted swift rebukes from Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said Pelosi was incorrect and that Catholic teaching has consistently condemned abortion.

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York voiced similar sentiment Tuesday. Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Doctrine, also issued a statement correcting Pelosi.

Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement Tuesday that she ``fully appreciates the sanctity of family'' and based her views on conception on the ``views of Saint Augustine, who said: '... the law does not provide that the act (abortion) pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation ...'''

The statement from Rigali and Lori said ``uninformed and inadequate theories about embryology'' in the Middle Ages led ``some theologians to speculate that specifically human life capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy. While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church's moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development.''

Don't let reality get in your way Nancy........


Bush's Faith-Based Initiative Gave Obama's Former Church $1.5 Million

(CNSNews) Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill. – where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama worshipped for two decades – has received more than $1.5 million in federal tax money since 2003 through the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (FBCI), according to data provided to by the White House and confirmed by Rebecca Neale, spokesperson for the FBCI.

Fox News reported in March 2008 that [Trinity United Church Pastor Jeremiah] Wright is moving into a new, 10,340 sq. ft. home paid for by Trinity United. He stepped down from his post on June 1, and Pastor Otis Moss took over as senior pastor. Read more..

Rather amazing that a church whose pastor makes numerous charges against the U.S. government also collects a sizable government “subsidy”.

Attempt to help sex offenders offends town

MARIETTA, Pa. -- It was bad enough when Tom Armstrong brought goats and chickens onto his property in this impeccably restored mill town on the Susquehanna River, his neighbors say. But this summer, they say, he went too far when he moved in three sex offenders. The former tough-on-crime state legislator quietly opened his doors to the men in June, shattering the serenity of the borough of 2,700 and scattering his own family. Read More

Bishops Correct Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi based on her recent comments about church teaching and the sanctity of life would not pass a 3rd grade CCD class.

They noticed in Denver...

The Bishops of the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, site of the Democratic convention, issued a letter directed to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver entitled "Separation of Sense and State: A Clarification for the People of the Church in Northern Colorado:

To Catholics of the Archdiocese of Denver: Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate tend to take a hard line in talking about the "separation of Church and state." But their idea of separation often seems to work one way.

In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest,not as a "political" issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.

Interviewed on Meet the Press August 24, Speaker Pelosi was asked when human life begins. She said the following: "I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time.And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition . . . St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose."

Since Speaker Pelosi has, in her words, studied the issue "for a long time," she must know very well one of the premier works on the subject, Jesuit John Connery's Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective (Loyola, 1977). Here's how Connery concludes his study:

"The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm antiabortion attitude . . . The condemnation of abortion did not depend on and was not limited in any way by theories regarding the time of fetal animation. Even during the many centuries when Church penal and penitential practice was based on the theory of delayed animation, the condemnation of abortion was never affected by it.

"Whatever one would want to hold about the time of animation, or when the fetus became a human being in the strict sense of the term, abortion from the time of conception was considered wrong, and the time of animation was never looked on as a moral dividing line between permissible and impermissible abortion."

Or to put it in the blunter words of the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "Destruction of the embryo in the mother's womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder."

Ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil. In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the Early Fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or "ensouled."

But none diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong.

Of course, we now know with biological certainty exactly when human life begins. Thus, today's religious alibis for abortion and a so-called "right to choose" are nothing more than that - alibis that break radically with historic Christian and Catholic belief.

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it - whether they're famous or not - fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith. The duty of the Church and other religious communities is moral witness.

The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the "separation of Church and state" does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it's always important to know what our faith actually teaches.
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
+Archbishop of Denver James D. Conley +Auxiliary Bishop of Denver

I think Nancy need to go back to school on this issue.

Biden's Cultural Catholicism

My thanks to Brian H. for this story:

Barack Obama has made his decision on a running mate and as everybody knows, he has chosen Senator Joseph Biden. Obama, aware of how weak he is in the area of foreign policy (given that he was dog catcher in Illinois just 15 minutes ago), he chose someone who is perceived to have a strong CV in this area by virtue of his long tenure on the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

Now some might argue that his membership on this committee does not endow him with any special insight into foreign relations and foreign policy, diplomatic or otherwise. Like I said, some may argue. However, I am not going to argue this today. Rather, I am going to make a parallel argument, that Joe Biden's long time membership in the Catholic Church clearly has not provided him any insight into what it means to be a Catholic. You can extrapolate from there. All the following quotes are taken from a weirdly informative article in the Christian Science Monitor.

Full Story

Where Is The Apology, Murtha?

Congressman Jack Murtha made the national media rounds over two years ago accusing U.S. Marines of massacring innocent Iraqi civilians at Haditha in cold blood.

Thus far, seven of the eight accused marines have been cleared of all charges. The eighth is still pending.

This week, Congressman Murtha will be attending the Democrat National Convention in Denver. While there is no doubt that Congressman Murtha will be in front of the TV cameras through the week, it seems that no one in the national media is interested in asking Murtha for a comment on these developments, much less for an apology.

Perhaps if the DNC really "supports the troops", the DNC can run the video below and ask Murtha to respond.

Rendell Says Obama Coverage Was Embarrassing

Gov. Ed Rendell lit into the media today for what he described as "embarrassing" coverage of Barack Obama during the primary campaign.

The comments, reported by Politico, came during what were supposed to be the closing remarks at the Shorenstein Center-sponsored panel discussion with the three anchors of the Sunday news shows.

"Ladies and gentleman, the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing," said Rendell, in the ballroom at Denver's Brown Palace Hotel. "It was embarrassing."

“MSNBC was the official network of the Obama campaign," Rendell said, who called their coverage "absolutely embarrassing."

Chris Matthews, Rendell said, "loses his impartiality when he talks about the Clintons.”

At that point, PBS's Judy Woodruff, who was moderating the moderators event, said: "Why don’t we let Governor Rendell sit down." Read more….

Interesting that Rendell’s criticism comes up now. Will he still feel the same when Obama’s opponent is a Republican?

Bend Over: Convention center wants another $2 million subsidy

From the story: Local leaders once again are looking to taxpayers to foot the bill for chronic operating deficits at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

For the third straight year, the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority is requesting $2 million in Allegheny Regional Asset District funding to cover the shortfalls in 2009.

That request came even though the authority in July began receiving state gambling revenues intended to cover the deficit. But Executive Director Mary Conturo said those amounts fall short of what is needed.

TOUGH!!! If you can't run a brand new state if the art facility without losing money then we have a management problem. Close the doors. Sell the place. Make it a homeless shelter for all I care ,but don't ask me for another dime so these yahoo's can continue to build their own personal utopia.


Faith Du Jour

It was a faith buffet Sunday at the Democratic National Convention. Vote for Obama but feel free to worship the deity of your choice was the message.

A choir belted out a gospel song followed by a rabbi reciting a Torah reading. Helen Prejean, the Catholic nun who wrote "Dead Man Walking," spoke on the death penalty and young Muslim women in headscarves joined in on the fun.

It doesn't end there. There will be four "faith caucus" meetings, blessings to open and close each night, and panels and parties run by Democratic-leaning religious advocacy groups.

One hallmark of Democratic faith efforts at the convention is diversity. That can be a volatile mix. I know Obama is not running for head pastor, but Republicans are often blasted for mixing religion and politics. Will the Dems suffer the same objections?

It all part of a carefully orchestrated efforts to gain votes and Obama is not leaving anyone out. The campaign is giving a platform to people who otherwise would not have been invited to or attended a Democratic convention. One example is Joel Hunter, a moderate evangelical megachurch pastor from Orlando, Fla.

They have crafted language in the Democrats' abortion platform that acknowledges the need to help women who want to keep their pregnancies. Evangelical leader Jim Wallis helped with the "Christianese" as were new front groups such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. The thought being is you use the word "Catholic" some will fall for it.

Despite all the effort, there is little evidence religious votes are shifting. A Pew poll released last week showed the political preferences of religious voters, including highly sought Catholics and white evangelicals, have scarcely budged since 2004.

Get ready for the dog and donkey show. Just remember to read between the scripted lines and production pizazz.

Episcopal Church Property Dispute Update

A recent ruling in Virginia dealt a heavy blow to the Diocese of Virginia’s efforts to hold onto property.

You can read the official statement from the Diocese of Virginia concerning the latest ruling of the court concerning the property of eleven Virginia Churches that have left The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virgninia.

Click Here

Born Alive Act

The testimony of the nurse in this video is a little hard to take, but it reveals the true nature of what was done to infants that survived abortion attempts. It also reveals the details of Obama’s opposition to the “Born Alive Act”.

Mt. Lebanon High teacher charged after online sex sting

From the Story:
The state attorney general announced today that a Mt. Lebanon High School chemistry teacher has been caught in a child predator sting.

Nicholas Salvo, 34, of Mt. Lebanon, is accused of using the Internet to send sexually explicit photos to someone he believed was a 14-year-old girl.

Full Story

Ex-gambling board exec defends move to quickly represent casinos

A former high-ranking state gambling employee defended himself Thursday against critics who questioned his decision to quit his state job and become a lawyer for two of the casinos he was regulating. Read More

Three Pa. Guardsmen charged in sexual assault

Three Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers have been charged with sexually assaulting a woman they met at a bar during a weekend of training last winter at Fort Indiantown Gap, a military training center in Lebanon County. Read More

Taxpayers Backstop Casino Pledge to Penguins Arena

It was quite a statement and it took the public—even those who follow such things closely—and many, if not most, state legislators by surprise. In early July, the Executive Director of the Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA) told reporters that if Mr. Barden were to be unable to meet his pledge of $7.5 million per year to pay off construction bonds, 'there are leases and subleases in place with the state that serve as a ‘backstop’.' No explanation. She simply put it out there as if everyone would know what the leases and subleases are and how they work. Continue

Lt. Gov. Knoll battling cancer

Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll says she hasn't missed a session of the state Senate since she took office in January 2003, and she's not going to let a cancer diagnosis mar her perfect record. Read More

RI bishop wants US to halt mass immigration raids

Rhode Island's Roman Catholic bishop is calling on U.S. authorities to halt mass immigration raids and says agents who refuse to participate in such raids on moral grounds deserve to be treated as conscientious objectors.

With all due respect to the Bishop, agents who refuse to do the job they were hired to do should be FIRED as conscientious objectors.

Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin asked for a blanket moratorium on immigration raids in Rhode Island until the nation adopts comprehensive immigration reform. Tobin made the requests in a letter sent Tuesday to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston.

Imagine of the Federal government sending a letter asking Catholic priests to stop preaching until the whole Catholic -protestant debate was settled. How would that sit with Bishop Tobin?

Tobin's action comes during a heated debate over illegal immigration in heavily Catholic Rhode Island. Authorities recently raided six courthouses looking for illegal immigrant maintenance workers and Gov. Don Carcieri, himself a Catholic, signed an order requiring state police and prison officials to identify illegal immigrants for possible deportation.

"We believe that raids on the immigrant community are unjust, unnecessary, and counterproductive," the bishop's letter says. It urges individual federal agents to consider the morality of their actions and refuse to participate if their conscience dictates.

These are not raids on the "immigrant community". They are raids on criminals who broke the law. They cheated theior way in to this country. To call law enforcement officers immoral is just wrong. To make faithful Catholics choose between an honorable job and their faith is uncalled for.

Full Story

Interview With Archbishop Burke: The Holy Eucharist: A Right or a Gift?

Catholic Action conducted an interview with Archbishop Raymond Burke,the courageous former Archbishop of Saint Louis and Bishop of La Crosse. Pope Benedict XVI thought so highly of the Archbishop that he appointed him the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura on June 27,2008. In effect, he is the Chief Justice of the International tribunal of the Catholic Church.This interview examines the pastoral aspects of Canon 915 and respect for the Holy Eucharist.

You can read the interview here

Lesbian’s ‘Right’ to Insemination Shouldn’t Trump Conscience, Doctors Say

Physician’s groups, religious rights attorneys, and pro-life groups say a California Supreme Court decision issued Monday takes away the right of doctors not to violate their own consciences – and they vow to fight it.

“It really is as if California has banned its citizens from having moral consciences,” said Gary McCaleb, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a conservative group.

The ADF is defending two San Diego-area Christian doctors who the court said were required to artificially inseminate a lesbian, even though doing so would have violated their religious beliefs.

Justices on the California Supreme Court unanimously held Monday that Drs. Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton, who work at the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group in Vista, Calif., could not use the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of religion and free speech to be exempt from a lawsuit filed by Guadalupe Benitez, a lesbian. Read more...

Exempting freedom of speech and religion, especially in a private practice, sets a dangerous precedent. Where else will the court suspend basic constitutional rights?

Norway: Russia to cut all military ties with NATO

Things are getting ugly. Norway's Defense Ministry says Russia has informed it that it plans to cut all military ties with NATO.

They are trashing Georgia (The country not the state for all you bulldog fans) and are not happy about a missle shield in Poland.

Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the U.S. missile shield plans are clearly aimed at weakening Russia. The U.S. says the missile defense system is aimed at protecting the U.S. and Europe from future attacks from states like Iran.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Polish counterpart signed a deal Wednesday to build a U.S. missile defense base in Poland, an agreement that prompted an infuriated Russia to warn of a possible attack against the former Soviet satellite.
Rice dismissed blustery comments from Russian leaders who say Warsaw's hosting of 10 U.S. interceptor missiles just 115 miles from Russia's westernmost frontier opens the country up to attack.

Check the calendar comrades! "When you threaten Poland, you perhaps forget that it is not 1988," Rice said. "It's 2008 and the United States has a ... firm treaty guarantee to defend Poland's territory as if it was the territory of the United States. So it's probably not wise to throw these threats around."

Tentative $10M settlement in KC church abuse cases

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph says a tentative $10 million deal has been reached to settle 47 sexual abuse claims against a dozen clergy or former clergy.

Bishop Robert W. Finn tells priests in a letter released late Tuesday night that the agreement is subject to his approval after he consults with two diocese boards.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the nonmonetary conditions included in the proposed settlement are more important than the money.

New PUC chairman to focus on higher costs, conservation

Gov. Ed Rendell says that one of James Cawley's big jobs as the new Public Utility Commission chairman will be to cushion residential and business electricity users from the upcoming "sticker shock" of higher electric costs. Read More

Pa. high court says veto misused

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Gov. Rendell misused his line-item veto authority three years ago in a dispute over abortion-related counseling and closing state police barracks. Read More

Maryknoll priest receives canonical warning over role in ceremony

Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois has received a canonical warning from his order's leadership council because of his involvement in a reported ordination ceremony sponsored by Roman Catholic Womenpriests. The warning came during a four-hour meeting Aug. 18 between Father Bourgeois and Maryknoll Superior General Father John Sivalon and the two other members of the order's General Council in Maryknoll, N.Y. The meeting was called to discuss Father Bourgeois' role in what Roman Catholic Womenpriests considers the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska to the priesthood nine days earlier in Lexington, Ky. A canonical warning informs a person of a violation of church law. Any future violation of canon law could lead to additional penalties such as the opening of dismissal procedures or excommunication. "I have no intentions of participating in a similar ceremony in the future," Father Bourgeois told Catholic News Service Aug. 19. "The next step now is to move ahead." He expressed relief in receiving the warning and being allowed to continue his priesthood. In addition to the warning, both parties said in a statement that an investigation to learn "the true facts" of the 69-year-old priest's role in the Aug. 9 event has been concluded and that a report will be sent to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both sides agreed to become more involved in "collective discernment over issues of justice, including the role of women in the church."

RNC: No pro-choice VP for McCain

Fox News: As speculation grows around who John McCain will select as his vice presidential running mate next week, Republican National Committee officials said Tuesday that McCain is no longer considering former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

Several sources at the RNC told FOX News that in the last 36 hours, senior McCain advisers and aides have told RNC officials that McCain “got the message” last week that choosing a running mate who supports abortion rights would not be helpful.

GOP pundits had been vocal in urging the presumptive presidential nominee not to pick a running mate who supports abortion rights. Ridge, the first homeland security secretary, was said to be on McCain’s short list, and the only candidate who explicitly supports abortion rights. Read more…

Let’s savor this moment.

Party leaders thought that a McCain – Ridge ticket would help place Pennsylvania back into the red column - a false premise at many levels. The RNC and PA GOP have many times counted on the pro-life contingent to deliver election victories, but then ignore pro-life concerns when they smell an election victory with a pro-abortion candidate. (The Earll – Shogan Superior Court race being the most recent example where party leaders were on the wrong side of the life issue.)

This may be wishful thinking, but just maybe, party leaders will stop forcing pro-abortion candidates on the Republican Party and expect the pro-life contingent to simply “fall in line”.

Saddleback Forum Meets Its Purpose

By Jay Sekulow

I want to make a couple observations concerning Barry's recent post on the Saddleback Forum. First, the concern that I had regarding the content of the questioning was certainly alleviated during the presentation. Throughout the two-hour Saddleback Forum, we learned more about the candidates and their worldviews than in all the previous debates combined.

Obviously, Barry disagrees with my analysis regarding the nature of the question posed by Pastor Warren concerning the Supreme Court. I thought the question--"Which sitting Supreme Court Justice would you not have nominated to the Supreme Court?"--was well thought-out and required a serious response from the candidates.

I thought Sen. Obama's comments regarding Justice Clarence Thomas were both unfair and unwarranted. I've linked to the audio clip of the question posed by Pastor Warren and Sen. Obama's response here . It is one thing to state that you would not nominate a particular judge to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States--or for that matter, a lower court--based on a disagreement with judicial philosophy. Judicial philosophy matters. That is why Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states, "the President . . . shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . judges of the Supreme Court." If Sen. Obama would have responded to the question concerning judicial appointments by stating that he would not have nominated Clarence Thomas due to a fundamental disagreement with his judicial philosophy, that would have been fine. But as you listen to the answer, please note that Sen. Obama draws an intellectual capacity comparison between Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia. While he disagrees with both Justices' judicial philosophy, he concedes that Justice Scalia is smart--noting that both he and Justice Scalia taught at the University of Chicago Law School. In contrast, Sen. Obama feels that Justice Thomas was not up to the task when he was appointed. I thought that was unnecessary and a cheap shot.

When Sen. McCain was asked the same question, he said that he would not nominate Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, or Stevens--not because of intellectual capacity but because of judicial philosophy.

Contrast this with Sen. Obama's statement regarding Chief Justice Roberts. When John Roberts' nomination came before the U.S. Senate, Sen. Obama voted against his confirmation. He did not question John Roberts' intellectual capacity as he did with Clarence Thomas, but he had suspicions concerning his judicial philosophy. Sen. Obama stated in his response that those suspicions became true because of the nature of John Roberts' decisions concerning presidential authority. I was pleased that Pastor Warren addressed this question and did so in a unique, respectful, and creative manner.

Barry, at the onset of your most recent post, you write that Barack Obama should not have accepted the invitation. I completely disagree. This was a civil dialogue that addressed some of the most significant issues facing America today. The candidates were given an opportunity to address these questions and explain their answers fully. The problem, I suspect, Barry, is that knowing the audience who was watching this forum, you did not like Barack Obama's answers. But as I mentioned, whether you agree with Barack Obama's answers or not, you now know where the nominees stand on critical issues including the issue of judges. These two nominees have two very different views concerning judicial philosophy, and that became clear in this forum.

On the issue of abortion, Sen. Obama stated that it was a complex "moral" and "theological" issue. I've linked the abortion-related question and answer of Sen. Obama here . He then stated that he was pro-choice and agreed with the decision in Roe v. Wade. He noted that he does want to see a decrease in the number of abortions and mentioned that he included language to this effect in the Democratic National Committee's proposed platform. Sen. Obama also stated that the number of abortions have increased over the last seven years. This is factually incorrect. The most recent survey conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Institute found declines in the total number of abortions.

In addition, Sen. Obama said that answering the question of when life begins is "above my pay grade," an odd response given the fact that the next President will likely nominate numerous federal judges - including Supreme Court Justices - who will weigh in on a variety of abortion issues. The next President may also have the opportunity to support or veto proposed legislation that would repeal the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. Of course, this was a sharp contrast to Sen. McCain's response concerning the issue of when life begins. Sen. McCain noted that an unborn child is entitled to human rights "at the moment of conception" and went on to point out his voting record on abortion-related legislation.

Rick Warren asked the right question concerning abortion: When does life begin? When, for the purposes of constitutional protection, is personhood established? This is the critical question in the abortion debate, and I'm glad that issue was fully discussed at the forum.

I firmly believe that this forum provided a unique and in-depth look at the candidates' positions and philosophies on governance. The forum at Saddleback met its purpose and provided information about issues not covered in other debates.

Carmelite Priest Brutally Martyred in India

Fr. Thomas Pandippallyil was assassinated on his way to a village to celebrate Sunday mass. He had been severely tortured with his eyes pulled from their sockets.

Father Thomas is a martyr: he sacrificed his life for the poor and marginalised. But he did not die in vain, because his body and his blood enrich the Church in India, particularly the Church in Andhra Pradesh”.

Those are the words of Msgr. Marampudi Joji, archbishop of Hyderabad and secretary of the bishops’ conference of Andhra Pradesh (a state in South East India), commenting the barbarous killing of the Carmelite priest Thomas Pandippallyil, 38, assassinated on the night of August 16th.

This newest martyrdom reflects an emergence of militant Hindu extremism with a particular hostility toward Catholics and other Christians.

Letting Go

If you go surfing in a hurricane you are asking for a bit of trouble. You can double the odds by Kite Surfing in a hurricane.

Did you see this video? The guy is in really bad shape due to the fact that a building impeded his air surfing progress!

The whole time I'm thinking, dude let go. Hanging ten should be your toes not your fingers.

See the video here

College presidents seek debate on drinking age

College presidents from about 100 of the nation's best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying current laws actually encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus. Read More

U.S. puts Fumo fraud at $3.5 million

With another codefendant of State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo poised to plead guilty today, federal prosecutors yesterday laid out what they called an "extensive" case of fraud and obstructing justice against Fumo, and gave a higher estimate of the amount of the alleged fraud.
Read More

Gaming board's deal with ex-director assailed

Two anti-gambling Republican legislators stepped up their attack on the state Gaming Control Board yesterday, raising questions about whether a consulting contract given to its former director violates state ethics laws.
Read More

Casino work to resume

Construction of the North Shore casino is set to go after the group headed by Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm closed on more than $550 million in financing this morning.

Some workers are expected to be back at the casino site, where work has been suspended since June 30, as early as today, said Dan Fee, a spokesman for Pittsburgh Gaming Holdings. Mr. Fee said full construction should resume by the end of the week.

Mr. Bluhm will honor the commitments Mr. Barden made to fund the replacement for Mellon Arena at $7.5 million a year for 30 years and to provide $3 million each to the Hill District and the Northside Leadership Conference for redevelopment and neighborhood initiatives.

Docs Can’t Claim Religious Right Not to Artificially Inseminate Lesbians, Says Calif. Court

From the story: The California Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a doctor may not refuse to artificially inseminate a lesbian because it violates the doctor’s religious principles.

Two doctors at the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group in San Diego County said they had declined for religious reasons to artificially inseminate an unmarried woman and argued that their rights to free speech and free exercise of religion protected them from being compelled by the government to do so.

Seven justices of the California Supreme Court said this was not the case and that doctors were compelled by California law to artificially inseminate lesbian patients. Read more..

Amphi-Theatrics, Steeler Style

It is too bad that the NFL’s instant replay rule could not be used to document the amazing twists and turns the Steelers’ amphitheater project has taken. It would have come in handy when the developer of the project stated that the structure could not be built without a subsidy. He said 'when the project was conceptualized, it was conceptualized with a subsidy. Nothing has changed'. Continue

Radio Waves

Lynn Cullen out at WPTT As of Aug. 30, longtime radio talk show host Lynn Cullen will no longer be on the radio.
WPTT-AM (1360) is switching to a new format and will be eliminating Ms. Cullen's show, which airs from 9 a.m. to noon.

SALEM COMMUNICATIONS has formally announced its deal to use STREAMAUDIO for streaming its 95 U.S. radio stations on the Internet. The company switched to STREAMAUDIO earlier this year.

Premature baby 'comes back to life'

A couple from Kafr Yasif in the Galilee received the shock of their lives Monday when the wife's miscarried 610-gram fetus, which had been declared dead five hours earlier, was found to be breathing.
The baby girl, born during the 23rd week of gestation, still has an uncertain future. Hospital spokesman Ziv Farber said that any premature infant of that weight and age had only a 10 percent chance for survival. But five years ago, he added, "we had a baby weighing only 580 grams, and she survived."

The 26-year-old mother and her husband have a five-year-old son at home. When she gave birth after going into premature labor at the hospital, the doctor on the scene pronounced it dead and it was taken to the morgue.

The father, Ali Majdub, told Channel 2 that his wife realized the child was alive after asking to see her dead daughter one last time.

"When we unwrapped the baby to see her, she realized it was moving. I began screaming and ran with it toward the doctors," he said.

She was then rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit,where doctors are fighting for her life.


Editorial: At the Saddleback Forum, Senator McCain and Pastor Warren took the Gold

By Keith Fournier

On August 16, 2008, two intense competitions captured the attention of America and much of the rest of the world. One occurred, in Beijing, where the sports phenomenon, Michael Phelps, made history by earning his eighth gold medal in the competition. The other involved a verbal competition for the hearts and minds of an American electorate set to vote this Fall for the next President of the United States.

The contenders were Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. Without diminishing the significance of what occurred in the Beijing Olympics, what occurred in Lake Forest, California, at the “Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency” held in the Saddleback Church and hosted by its Pastor, Rev. Rick Warren, was significantly more important. In fact, it may have turned the tide in what is one of the most significant elections in modern American history.

First, this was a very significant forum. Indeed, it was historic and may have changed the face of election politics in America. In an age where the American vision of the Separation of Church and State has sometimes been misinterpreted and wrongly applied in efforts to silence people of faith from active participation in the electoral process, this was a great example of the proper role of the Church, indeed all religious institutions, in the American experiment. In fact, Pastor Warren got it exactly right when he began the Forum with these words "We believe in the separation of church and state but we do not believe in the separation of faith and politics." He went on throughout the night to underscore the fact that, in his words “faith is a worldview”. I might say it a bit differently, “faith informs a worldview”, but we arrive at the same place.

In fact, as a Catholic Christian, I must admit that I was quite impressed with the Pastors understanding of the social implications of our shared Christian faith. The Social Teaching of the Catholic Church is a treasure for all Christians, indeed all people of faith and good will, who sincerely want to understand how that process of allowing our faith to inform our worldview and then compel our civic and social participation should proceed. I for one am thrilled that our evangelical Protestant friends are speaking to the full spectrum of issues associated with such a worldview, including our commitment to respecting life from the womb to the tomb, protecting, supporting and promoting marriage and family, exhibiting a love of preference for the poor, promoting true and responsible freedom, being responsible stewards of our environment and practicing Peace in our relationships on the local, national and international level. The first winner of the Gold for the evening was Pastor Rick Warren who presided over the forum with excellence.

His comfortable demeanor and charitable manner evoked candor from both candidates. He also showed courage by not failing to ask the kinds of questions which are at the beating heart of this election. Unfortunately, too many of his fellows in the Christian community had prejudged him even before the event began and put out their Press Releases accordingly. His efforts to provide a forum where we can learn to disagree “without demonizing the other” and to “restore civility” were a breath of fresh air. I have tried to encourage just such an approach myself, especially on the internet. I think he has opened the forum of the Church for such future activities precisely when it is needed the most. It is the Christian Church which has been at the forefront of so many of the great social crusades in our shared history, such as ending slavery and eradicating institutional racism. The Gospel simply does have social implications.

Full Story

Ridge Asserts Abortion View No Bar To Office

From the story: Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said yesterday that he thought Republicans would accept a vice presidential candidate who supports abortion rights.

But, he said, whomever Sen. John McCain picks as a running mate should defer to McCain on the issue.

McCain opposes abortion, but he riled some conservatives last week when he suggested his running mate could - like Ridge - support abortion rights. Read more…

Looks like Ridge’s comment means that he is on McCain's short list for V.P. But in addition to abortion, there are other concerns regarding Ridge. Ridge lines up left of center on gun control, national defense, capital gain taxes and a host of other issues.

UPDATE: Cyanide killed man found in Denver hotel

The Denver coroner says a Canadian man found dead in a hotel room with a pound of sodium cyanide nearby died of cyanide poisoning.

The cause of death was announced Thursday, but authorities haven't determined whether 29-year-old Saleman Abdirahman Dirie committed suicide.
Police say they don't suspect foul play and the FBI says there's no apparent connection to terrorism.

Officials have not said why he had the poison or why he was in Denver, where the Democratic Convention starts in less than two weeks.

Dirie, of Ottawa, was found dead Monday. Acquaintances say the Dirie family came from Somalia and are now Canadian citizens.

Bluhm is unanimous pick to take over city's casino

The easy part is over for Neil Bluhm. The Chicago billionaire and real estate developer won control of Pittsburgh's casino license Thursday with the unanimous blessing of the state Gaming Control Board. Read More

Pa. senator's wife charged in nonprofit theft

The wife of a Western Pennsylvania state senator was charged with stealing thousands of dollars from a nonprofit she headed by inflating her salary and denying retirement benefits to two employees - including her sister - to pad her own pension. Read More

Former state lawmaker takes in three sex offenders

A former tough-on-crime Pennsylvania lawmaker has adopted a new and unpopular cause, taking into his home three sex offenders who couldn't find a place to live -- a stand that has angered neighbors, drawn pickets and touched off a zoning dispute. Read More

McCain - Ridge is worth a look

Maybe former Gov. Tom Ridge was auditioning for the role of vice president after all as he campaigned earlier in the week with Republican presidential candidate John McCain in Pennsylvania. Read More

Increased taxes in Pennsylvania ignite another whiskey rebellion

More than 200 years ago, a group of angry farmers in this southwest corner of Pennsylvania tarred and feathered whiskey-tax collectors and torched their homes. That was the first Whiskey Rebellion. Read More

Roddey sues county council Dems over private meeting

The chairman of Allegheny County's Republican committee is suing Democrats on County Council, saying they met in secret last month before voting on a ballot referendum on a 10-percent drink tax.

Jim Roddey, a former county executive, says the Democrats are using their veto-proof majority to abuse their power. Democrats hold 11 of 15 seats on council.

The November referendum in question gives voters the right to keep the drink tax or choose higher property taxes. A citizens group has gathered petitions for its own competing referendum that would cut the drink tax to 0.5 percent.

Council president Rich Fitzgerald says Roddey's suit is "political" and that council didn't hold illegal meetings.

Fast Tracked City-County Merger Plan is Now a Train Wreck

Prospects for merging the governments of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County in the foreseeable future were dealt a crippling, possibly fatal, blow last week. After meeting to discuss the issue, members of the County’s state legislative delegation, mostly Democrats, reported they aren’t ready to support the legislation needed to pave the way for a referendum question to be placed on the ballot. In effect, they were saying what the Allegheny Institute has been trying to get across since the release of the much ballyhooed Nordenberg Report—the latest task force to call for a government merger. The Nordenberg plan is extremely sketchy, leaves far too many important questions unanswered and has failed to gather the level of public support needed to have any chance of voter approval, even if some of the more serious unanswered questions are addressed. Continue

The Assumption: The Loveliest of Feasts

GK Chesterton said: "I love my religion and I love especially those parts of it which are generally held to be most superstitious." Many suspect that the Assumption of Our Lady is one of those superstitious aspects - despite the fact that the observance of this feast day is universal in both eastern and western churches.
The Assumption is not mentioned in the New Testament but there are many references to it in the so-called apocryphal gospels. For example, in an early Coptic text attributed to Evodius, described as first Bishop of Antioch and said to have been among the 72 disciples who followed Christ with St Peter, there is the following account.
"The chariot of the cherubim appeared with the Virgin seated in it. There were greetings. Jesus bade the apostles go and preach in all the world. He spent all that day with us and his Mother and gave us the salutation of peace and went up to heaven in glory. Such was the death of the Virgin on 21st of the month Tobi and her Assumption on 16th of the month Mesore. I, Evodius, saw it all."
Photo: A mural behind the altar of Assumption Church in Bellevue depicts the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Senator Casey and the Democrat Convention

A lot of hay is being made over the fact that Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey has been invited to speak at the Democrat Convention. This action supposedly “makes up” for the snub of Governor Bob Casey Sr., who was prevented from speaking at the 1992 Democrat Convention because of his pro-life beliefs.

But is Senator Bob Casey really his father’s stalwart pro-life advocate?

From the Philadelphia Bulletin: "If a Democrat voted with the National Rifle Association two out of every three times, no one in his right mind would call that person an advocate of gun control," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League."

Yet Bob Casey Jr., who has a NARAL voting record of 65 percent - meaning that he votes with the radical pro-abortion group two out of every three times - is somehow considered pro-life."

Because Mr. Casey's pro-life credentials are suspect and because the party's platform still reads, "the Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay," some political observers contend the recent development is an attempt to woo younger, progressive Christians to the Democratic fold.

Did you get that? “…regardless of ability to pay…” That means that you and I will be forced to pay, through our tax dollars, for abortion.

How is it that the most militant pro-abortion convention ever, along with the most militant pro-abortion candidate for president ever, is doing everything possible to hide their true beliefs? If America truly believed as these militant pro-abortionists believed, there would be no need to cloak their actions in false pro-life pretensions.

McCain Considers Pro-Choice Ridge

From the story: Republican presidential candidate John McCain is floating the prospect of picking a running mate who supports abortion and cited former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as someone worth considering.

Mr McCain said in an interview with The Weekly Standard: "I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party."

Mr Ridge, Mr McCain told the magazine, would be more palatable to social conservatives who make up the base of the Republican Party.

"And also I feel that - and I'm not trying to equivocate here - that Americans want us to work together," Mr McCain added.

"You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don't think that that would necessarily would rule Tom Ridge out. Read more…

Based on the conservative hopes expressed in the story below posted yesterday (Wednesday), this story gave these hopes a short, 24-hour shelf life.

How to Conduct Politics as Catholics, 'Render Unto Caesar'

A book by American archbishop Chaput is making a stir ahead of the presidential elections, against those who want to water down the faith or remove it from the public sphere. Chaput's book has also elicited strong interest in Rome.

Possible Chemical Attack Planned at Democractic National Convention?

The FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Colorado State Police, the Colorado National Guard, and various other state and local law enforcement agencies are involved in investigating the death of a man found in a Denver hotel on Monday.

Saleman Adbirahman DIRIE, 29, a Somalian native who had been living in Canada, was dead for at least six days when found inside room 408 at the Burnsley Hotel, 1000 Grant Street, Denver, Colorado.

The law enforcement source stated that "police found two large bottles of a powdered cyanide-based substance inside of the room, in addition to other materials consistent with the storage and handling of cyanide."According to authorities, no passport was found on Dirie or inside of his room.

The Burnsley Hotel is located about four blocks from the State Capitol building, and not far from many events associated with the Democratic National Convention scheduled in Denver later this month.

Despite the circumstances surrounding his death, authorities are downplaying the incident and are being intentionally vague about the identification of the substance. According to public news sources, FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis stated "that nothing so far has been found to link the case to terrorism or the coming convention."

McCain Reassures GOP Voters

From the story: YORK -- Conservative voters' anxiety over John McCain was made plain here Tuesday, when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was accused of forsaking traditional GOP principles.

"We conservatives believe that you dismissed our serious quest for responsible, limited government," said a woman at the town hall-style meeting at the York Expo Center.

"As a senator, I understand that you have had to adopt a compromising stance with the Democrats to get legislation passed," she said. "But in your quest for the presidency, we want to know if it is in you to become a passionate and forceful leader with a conservative agenda to fight the lure of socialistic programs promoted by Senator (Barack) Obama?"

McCain's one-word response -- "Yes" -- brought a roar of applause from a crowd estimated at nearly 3,000. Read more..

Well, let’s hope so. One of the least compelling reasons for voting for someone is the “he is not as bad as the other guy” attitude. This attitude spills over into the make-or-break activity among political activists. “Yes, I’ll vote for him, but going door-to-door, manning phone banks, or placing a sign in my yard, forget it!”

Conservatives have been burned in Pennsylvania. The sting of having a conservative pro-life Pennsylvania senator doing primary endorsements of several pro-abortion congressional candidates and one U.S. senate candidate over their respective pro-life challengers is still felt.

McCain needs to go to the mat for a conservative cause. Yes, he’s pro-life, but is he willing to limit his candidate endorsements to pro-life candidates, or his V.P. pick to pro-life candidate?

Report: Pennsylvania’s Tax Burden 11th-Highest in the Nation

From the story: Pennsylvania’s tax climate is the 11th most burdensome in the U.S., according to an annual report by the Tax Foundation. That marks the commonwealth's worst showing in more than 30 years.

The anti-tax group’s 2008 study evaluated states by the state and local taxes paid by residents, dividing the amount by total state income to compute a tax burden measure.

According to the report, Pennsylvania taxpayers pay 10.2 percent of their income on state and local taxes, including taxes paid to other states. Read more…

Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income Tax is the 2nd highest in the nation, and then Pennsylvania adds the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax to the business tax mix. The result produces enough disincentives for businesses to locate elsewhere. Try though he may, no amount of cardboard checks from the governor can overcome this negative business environment.

Osteen's wife denies assaulting flight attendant

The wife of megachurch evangelist Joel Osteen told jurors Friday she was "dumbfounded" and "shook up" after a flight attendant accused her of assaulting her over a spill on a first-class seat. Victoria Osteen, in court because the flight attendant is suing her, said she pushed no one and even ended up cleaning the spill that sparked the incident herself.

Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown claims Victoria Osteen grabbed, elbowed and pushed her before the start of a 2005 flight to Vail, Colo. Victoria Osteen and her husband, who also had been on board and testified earlier Friday, denied that account.
"I love people. I'm guilty of that," Victoria Osteen said.

Dressed in an orange pant suit, Victoria Osteen was animated while testifying, often moving her hands while she talked. A couple of times during her testimony, she cried.
Joel Osteen called the incident "an unfortunate misunderstanding." He testified that his wife never raised her voice or grabbed the flight attendants, though he said he could not hear his wife's voice from his seat.

"We would never disrespect authority or disrespect" the flight attendant, Joel Osteen said.
The couple are co-pastors of Houston's Lakewood Church, a converted basketball arena that draws about 42,000 people each week for services. Joel Osteen's weekly television address is broadcast nationally and internationally and he has written books that have been sold around the globe.

On Thursday, another flight attendant on the plane, Maria Johnson, testified that Victoria Osteen demanded special attention to clean up a half-dollar-sized spill on her armrest.
When Victoria Osteen didn't get her way, Johnson testified, the passenger became verbally and physically abusive to both flight attendants. She said Osteen eventually grabbed Brown by the shoulders, elbowed her in the chest and pushed her out of the way in an attempt to get into the cockpit.

But both Joel and Victoria Osteen, who were called to the witness stand by Brown's attorney, disputed Johnson's testimony.

Victoria Osteen said when she first told a flight attendant about the spill, she was handed some napkins. She said she responded, "'It's not my job.' I didn't say it in an ugly tone of voice."
Victoria Osteen denied Johnson's claim that she later grabbed Johnson and pulled her in order to have her see the spill.

Famous Farewells

Isaac Hayes, the baldheaded, baritone-voiced soul crooner who laid the groundwork for disco and whose "Theme From Shaft" won both Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday after he collapsed near a treadmill, authorities said. He was 65.

The album "Hot Buttered Soul" made Hayes a star in 1969. Next came "Theme From Shaft," a No. 1 hit in 1971 from the film "Shaft" starring Richard Roundtree. He won an Academy Award for the song and was nominated for another one for the score. The song and score also won him two Grammys. Hayes was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Tinseltown was a sad place on Saturday as Hollywood's "Original King of Comedy" Bernie Mac passed away.At only 50 years young, Mac was known for his roles in hit films such as "Charlie's Angels" and "Ocean's Eleven," and with four projects currently still in post-production, we are still yet to see Mac's full potential to make us laugh.

Ohio church: No kissing, tickling allowed

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has issued a detailed list of inappropriate behaviors for priests, saying they should not kiss, tickle or wrestle children.

The newest version of the archdiocese's Decree on Child Protection also prohibits bear hugs, lap-sitting and piggyback rides.

But it says priests may still shake children's hands, pat them on the back and give high-fives.
Victim advocates who have criticized the Roman Catholic archdiocese for its handling of abuse cases say they support the new measures as a step toward better protection of children.
The Cincinnati archdiocese says it updates the rules every five years. The latest version, issued last week, also mandates background checks for contractors working with children.

Casino foes urge halt in licensing

A statewide anti-casino group is urging state gambling regulators to hold off indefinitely on approvals of new slots licenses and license transfers from one casino owner to another. Read More

Bluhm, Pa. differ on casino revenue guesses

The group headed by Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm is betting big on the Pittsburgh casino, but not as big as state regulators. Read More

McCain/Obama Grapple Over Russian-Georgian War

The Obama campaign has called for Georgia and Russia to each exercise restraint, perhaps giving us a glimpse into the moral equivalency and over-reaching attempts at objectivity and fairness that an Obama Administration will bring to foreign affairs. The McCain campaign hit back hard and accurately at the statement issued by Obama’s spokesperson.

In retaliation, Obama’s campaign is alleging that McCain’s stance reflects the influence of one of his top foreign policy advisors who acted as a lobbyist for Georgia. Read the McCain Report’s article here.

This demonstrates a remarkable lack of respect for opposite viewpoints. Apparently not understanding that someone can have a different view point besides moral relativity on the Russian-Georgian conflict, the Obama campaign ties McCain’s viewpoint to former Georgian lobbyists.

Either the Obama campaign is so convinced that the opinion of McCain (and those who agree with him) is so illogical that it can only be attributed to foreign subversion, or they are so desperate to score political points that they’re willing to overlook the victimization of Georgia. Either is disgraceful

McCain’s PA Campaign Manager Likes Meehan and Corbett For Governor, Questions Toomey’s Appeal

John McCain’s Pennsylvania Campaign Manager, Bob Asher, was asked by the Philadelphia Bulletin regarding his take on the upcoming 2010 Pennsylvania governor race. His response:

"I look forward to 2010. We have a great candidate for governor right here - (former U.S. Attorney) Pat Meehan. He would be excellent. If (Pennsylvania Attorney General) Tom Corbett decides he wants to run, he's another good candidate. Whether (former Senate candidate) Pat Toomey runs or not, I don't know. He's made noise about it, but I'm not sure he appeals enough to mainstream voters. But he certainly has a place in the party. All voices have a place in the GOP, and always have. That's why I loved it when we had both Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter as senators. It was a big tent, and sometimes you agree with one, and other times with the other, but they did a good job." Full Interview

It would be telling to have Mr. Asher define what constitutes the beliefs of the “mainstream voters”. Eastern and Western Pennsylvania may be 300 miles apart, but philosophically, the chasm is greater regarding conservative beliefs.

Wine shipment legislation remains in limbo

There are bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau that age better than this. State lawmakers might close the books on yet another legislative session before they come to grips with a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized the direct shipment of wine to consumers. Read More

GOP staff interviewed in Bonusgate probe

In a widening investigation into allegations of government corruption, prosecutors have interviewed 20 to 30 House Republican staffers in the last two weeks, caucus spokesman Steve Miskin confirmed yesterday. Read More

Just Say No

With an electrifying speech from the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday, the Catholic fraternal organization has begun mobilizing its members for one of the most ambitious political operations since Roe v. Wade: liberating the Catholic vote from pro-abortion politicians.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson addressed the 126th annual convention of the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization, in Quebec City and pledged the Knights to fight abortion promoting politicians, who buy Catholic votes with their stand on other issues.

"We have heard a great deal this year about the need for change," said Anderson in a clear reference to the mantra of Barack Obama, the presumptive pro-abortion nominee of the Democratic Party. "But at the same time we are told that one thing cannot change - namely, the abortion regime of Roe vs. Wade."

"It is time that we demand real change, and real change means the end of Roe vs. Wade," he said. In contrast to other Catholic social justice issues like poverty and the death penalty, Anderson asked delegates, "What political issue could possibly outweigh this human devastation" of nearly 50 million abortion deaths in the US since 1973? "The answer, of course, is that there is none," Anderson said.

He added, "Abortion is different. Abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale." "It is time to put away the arguments of political spin masters that only serve to justify abortion killing." Anderson then committed the Knights to "end the political manipulation of Catholic voters by abortion advocates," whom he accused of entangling "Catholic people with abortion killing." "It is time to stop creating excuses for pro-abortion candidates. Catholics should no longer be asked to be partners in the abortion regime by voting for politicians who support abortion." "We will never succeed in building a culture of life if we continue to vote for politicians who defend and support a culture of death," said Anderson to thunderous applause from the assembly.

"It is time that Catholics shine a bright line of separation between themselves and all those politicians of every political party who defend the abortion regime of Roe vs. Wade." The Knights of Columbus speech comes at a critical time in this election year, especially with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once again justifying her advocacy of abortion and same-sex "marriage" while publicly describing herself as a "faithful Catholic," despite the jarring juxtaposition.

Archbishop of Canterbury Views Homosexual Acts and Marriage as Comparable?

An explosive article appeared Wednesday in the London Times entitled “Rowan Williams: Gay relationships 'comparable to marriage'”. Ruth Gledhill, the Religion Correspondent of the Times may have blown the lid off of the perceived pause in the internal battles threatening the the Church of England after the Lambeth Conference. Ms. Gledhill wrote: “Rowan Williams believes that gay sexual relationships can “reflect the love of God” in a way that is comparable to marriage, The Times has learnt.

Gay partnerships pose the same ethical questions as those between a man and woman and the key issue for Christians is that they are faithful and lifelong, he believes. “Dr Williams is known to be personally liberal on the issue but the strength of his views, revealed in private correspondence shown to The Times, will astonish his critics.

The disclosure threatens to reopen bitter divisions over ordaining gay priests which pushed the Anglican Communion towards a split, as conservatives seek uphold the Biblical opposition to homosexuality. As Archbishop of Canterbury, he recommitted the Anglican Communion to its orthodox position that homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture at the Lambeth Conference which closed on Sunday. In an exchange of letters with an evangelical Christian, written eight years ago when he was Archbishop of Wales, Dr Williams describes his belief that Biblical passages criticizing homosexual sex are not aimed at people who are gay by nature. Instead, he argues that scriptural prohibitions are addressed “to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience”.

He says: “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.” Although written before he became Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, Dr Williams describes his view in the letters as his “definitive conclusion” reached after 20 years of study and prayer. He refers to it as his “conviction”. He draws a distinction between his own beliefs as a theologian, which are liberal, and his position as a church leader for which he must take account of the traditionalist view of the majority of Anglicans. He has stuck to this position ever since.

“If I’m asked for my views, as a theologian rather than a church leader, I have to be honest and admit that they are as I’ve said,” he writes. The letters, written in the autumn of 2000 and 2001, were exchanged with Dr Deborah Pitt, a psychiatrist and evangelical Christian, who lives within his former archdiocese in south Wales and wrote challenging him on the issue. In reply, Dr Williams describes how his view changed from that of opposing to gay relationships when, in 1980, his mind became “unsettled” by contact as university teacher with Christian students who believed the Bible forbade promiscuity not gay sex.

Dr Williams, who was ordained priest in 1978, became a lecturer at Cambridge two years later and was appointed Dean of Clare College in 1984. He writes that by the end of the 1980s he had “definitely come to the conclusion” that the Bible did not denounce faithful relationships between people who happened to be gay. He cites two academics as also pivotal in influencing his view, one of whom ironically is Dr Jeffrey John, the celibate homosexual whom he later forced to withdraw as Bishop of Reading after an outcry from conservative evangelicals. Until now the clearest statement of Dr Williams’ liberal views was an essay, “The Body's Grace”, published in 1989 in which he argued that the Church’s acceptance of contraception meant it acknowledge the validity of non-procreative sex. This could be taken as a green light for gay sex.” Of course for Catholic observers, and for some Anglo-Catholics within the Church of England, the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury that the acceptance of contracepted sex at an earlier Lambeth conference, after its unbroken rejection for close to two millennia in Christian history, undermined the classical Christian teaching on the unitive and procreative dimensions of the conjugal act. However, to now go even further down the road to heresy and say that this error now opens the doors to equating sexual actions between homosexual sex partners and conjugal love between married heterosexual spouses is sure to raise serious concern throughout the entire Christian community.

If the Times report is accurate, it reveals a clear divergence from orthodox Christian teaching on the ends of marriage, the dignity of human sexuality, and an errant vision of theological anthropology and Christian morality. It is also sure to send shockwaves through the Anglican world and raise anew the specter of its further dissolution.

Olympic Threat

A Muslim separatist group in China has made a new video threat against the Beijing Olympics, warning Muslims to keep their children away from the games, a US group that monitors extremists said Thursday.

The nearly six-minute video shows flames consuming a Beijing Olympics logo and an explosion over a venue for the competition, and features a masked, turbaned speaker clutching what appears to be an riffle.

The IntelCenter released a copy of the recording, attributed to the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an ethnic Uighur and Muslim organization seeking to create an independent state out of China's heavily Muslim Xinjiang province.

The SITE Intelligence Group, meanwhile, translated some of the message, which was delivered in the language of the Uighurs, and said that the speaker identified himself as a TIP member and issued a threat against the Games.

The speaker urges Muslims to keep their children from the competition, and warns "Do not stay on the same bus, on the same train, on the same plane, in the same buildings, or any place the Chinese are," SITE said.

In July, the Washington-based IntelCenter said TIP had taken credit in another video statement for a deadly bus bombing in Shanghai in May and warned of new attacks in China during the Olympics.


A Fumo associate to plead guilty

In another blow to State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, a computer technician who prosecutors said carried out an electronic cover-up for Fumo has agreed to plead guilty and is expected to testify against his former boss. Read More

Lawmakers are cool to the idea of city-county merger at this point

Local state lawmakers aren't in any hurry to back a referendum on the proposed Pittsburgh-Allegheny County merger. Read More

Clinton Aims to Soothe Delegates at Dem Convention

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is seeking a way for her delegates to be heard at the Democratic National Convention, telling supporters such a step will help unify a party that split between her and Sen. Barack Obama during their hard-fought nominating contest.

The former first lady did not rule out the possibility of having her name placed into nomination at the convention, being held Aug. 25-28 in Denver. But she also said no decisions had been made. Read more…

Then there is this from Newsmax:

When Obama and Hillary "kissed" and made up during their unity rally in June, both made a private pledge to each other to help raise $500,000 from their donors for the other's campaign.

Though deep in debt, Hillary quickly fulfilled her promise. But cash-rich Obama has yet to cough up the dough from his backers.

Just when you thought that the Obama – Hillary race was over long ago....

Pennsylvania Development Spending: Exorbitant and Wasteful

For years Pennsylvania has been on an economic development spending spree. Yet all this spending has not provided the robust job growth expected from the massive outlays. In fact since 2000, job growth in the Commonwealth has not kept pace with the national average. Earlier Policy Briefs have documented the poor job performance and wasteful spending. Now perspective can be offered by comparing Pennsylvania’s economic development spending, and additional job creation, with the rest of the nation. Continue

Corbett urged to decide on GOP charges by fall

Voters deserve to know before the November election whether Republicans as well as Democrats will be charged in the public corruption scandal at the state Capitol, Gov. Ed Rendell said Tuesday. Read More

Knights of Columbus Launches 'Fathers for Good'

The Knights of Columbus - the world's largest Catholic men's organization - will launch a major new initiative called "Fathers for Good" at the opening session of its annual convention on Tuesday, August5th. The new program is a 21st Century evolution of the organization's long tradition of building better marriages and stronger families. A special website for the initiative,, will launch on the same day.

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson will announce the fatherhood initiative during his annual report at the 126th annual Supreme Council convention, being held this year in Quebec City, Canada. The Supreme Knight's report, and other portions of the convention, will be carried live on Catholic television networks in the U.S. and Canada, including the Eternal Word Television Network, Salt & Light Television and Catholic TV.


Romeward Bound

What would an agreement with the Anglicans look like?
That shrewd observer of the Anglican scene, Damien Thompson, has posted some thoughts on what a sudden influx of Anglicans might mean for the Catholic Church -- and how it might happen:

The really good news, from the Catholic point of view, is that Rome and the two flying bishops seem to have agreed on the bare outline of a deal between Romeward-bound Anglicans and the Vatican. If it seems presumptuous for Anglicans to ask for a deal, remember this: in the mid-1990s, after the Church of England ordained women priests, many Anglo-Catholics drew back from union with the Holy See because the Bishops of England and Wales were so unwelcoming, and because they were so depressed by the low standard of liturgy in our parishes. The situation now is very different. Pope Benedict XVI is an old friend of conservative Anglo-Catholics in England and America; he shares their dismay at the shoddy state of the liturgy in many churches, and he is seeking to renovate the vernacular Mass by exposing Catholics to the treasures of pre-1970 Latin worship. All this would have been inconceivable in 1994, as would a Ratzinger papacy, and old-fashioned "Sandalista" liberals are still hoping to wake up from their bad dream.

The cheering from the Anglo-Catholic sidelines at these developments has been hearty and loud - much louder, I'm sorry to say, than that from the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. Yet it is now looking less likely, thank God, that our diocesan bishops will dig in their heels and refuse to allow special measures for former Anglicans. Roma locuta est, I suspect - quietly and diplomatically, but decisively. (One thing I do know, though it is a different issue, is that Ecclesia Dei has instructed the English and Welsh hierarchy to implement the Motu Proprio.) So what might an agreement between Rome and former Anglo-Catholics look like? Here are some informed guesses:

1. Rome will set up an "apostolic administration" under a Catholic bishop to offer pastoral care to former Anglican priests and their parishioners.
2. The ex-Anglicans will form an umbrella organisation called something like the Fellowship of St Gregory the Great. The Fellowship, under the guidance of their new Catholic bishop, will consist of former Anglican priests who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood. Their parishes, though open to anyone, will consist largely of ex-Anglicans.
3. Some Fellowship parishes will occupy their former church buildings, though this will require an unprecedented degree of co-operation with the Church of England.
4. Former Anglican communities may - if they wish - be allowed to use parts of the Book of Common Prayer adapted for Catholic use, as in a few American parishes. In practice, there will be little demand for this concession, I suspect.
5. Former Anglican priests will undergo an accelerated programme of study allowing them to be swiftly ordained. (Conditional ordination is unlikely to be on offer.) Marriage will be no bar to ordination, but no actively gay priest will be knowingly ordained, and this will be strictly enforced.
6. However there will be no question of married lay former Anglicans becoming priests, since this would effectively abolish the rule of celibacy in the Western Church.
7. There will therefore be no Uniate Anglican-Rite Church; there is not enough demand for it, and it raises too many questions about celibacy and jurisdiction.
8. That said, there could well be a future for the Fellowship of St Gregory once its original supply of ex-Anglicans has died out. The treasures our new brethren will bring with them - a poetic and contemplative spirituality, glorious prayers, fine music - will permanently enrich the Catholic Church in England; they belong to us all.

As I say, these are just informed guesses. The link at Catholic Online has more info. Check it out. And keep our Anglican brothers and sisters in your prayers.


Well it seems that my articles that ran on have been scrubbed from existence. In fact the blog posts on are now gone and there is only one lame post sitting there.

It does appear that my partnership with will continue at least for now.
Those sites are owned and operated by Salem. Since I am no longer employed by them I guess they thought it was best to get rid of anything having to do with me.

But Powerblog! remains in my control and I will continue to post here.

I'm hoping to announce some things very soon. My thanks to all who continue to visit and send your well wishes.

Radio On Sale

The rumors are flying as ratings and revenue fall. CBS announced they plan to sell 50 stations in medium-sized markets (which would include Pittsburgh) has many wondering whether KDKA-AM (1020) will be included.

One thing is certain all the FM's are now taking bids. CBS can focus on the large market stations by selling smaller markets. Pittsburgh is 24th in size.

According to the Post-Gazette, CBS folks declined to comment which stations/cities were on the block, but anything below the top 15 markets could be a possibility. If so, it would more than likely include FM sisters WBZW-FM (93.7), WZPT-FM (100.7) and WDSY-FM (107.9).

Tom Taylor of says that the Pittsburgh cluster could be a candidate but that will depend on who is named as potential buyers and whether or not they are interested in this market.

DeWeese losing support of House Democrats

A key House Democrat who helped Bill DeWeese become majority leader said Monday that DeWeese should relinquish the post because of allegations that corruption occurred on his watch. Read More

Pennsylvania charging parents $25 to collect child support

Under a new policy, custodial parents in Pennsylvania are being charged $25 a year by the state to offset the cost of collecting child support. Read More

Could Spector Face Hardball Host?

'Hardball' host would give Specter a run, poll finds:

If he were to challenge U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010, Chris Matthews, the talkative host of "Hardball'' on MSNBC, would do well in the state's two largest counties, according to a poll out today.

Mr. Matthews, a native of the Philadelphia area, won support from 45 percent of the respondents from Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, compared to 32 percent for Mr. Specter in Philadelphia and 38 percent in Allegheny County, according to the Quinnipiac University Poll.
But the longtime Republican senator beat the talk show host in other areas of the state.

Mr. Matthews hasn't said if he's interested in running, but he has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate in some recent news stories around the state. His brother, Jim Matthews, is a Montgomery County commissioner and ran for lieutenant governor in 2006 with GOP gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann.


Turnpike / I-80 / Bonusgate Qunnipiac University Poll Results

(Hat tip to Brett Lieberman of the Patriot news) Here are the results to some of the questions contained on the latest Quinnipiac University poll of 1,580 Pennsylvania voters conducted July 30-Aug 3. The poll has a 2.5 percent margin of error.

A Spanish toll roads company has offered nearly 13 billion dollars to operate the Pennsylvania turnpike for 75 years. The proposal includes a cap on toll increases and protects the turnpike's union workers at least until their contract ends in 2011. Do you support or oppose this proposal?

29 percent support
60 percent oppose

Do you support or oppose putting tolls on Interstate 80 across Pennsylvania?

29 percent support
63 percent oppose

How much have you heard or read about Bonusgate, the legislative payrollbonus scandal - a lot, some, not much, or nothing at all?
20 percent - a lot
44 percent - some
15 percent - not much
12 percent - nothing.

Which political party do you blame for political corruption in the state legislature the Democrats or the Republicans or both parties equally?
Both equally - 73 percent
Democrats - 9 percent
Republicans - 15 percent.

Do you think House Majority leader Bill DeWeese should step down because of Bonusgate?
Yes - 53 percent
No - 11 percent
Don't know - 35 percent