Fox News: FBI Raids David Copperfield's Las Vegas Warehouse
Law enforcement authorities have been in contact with David Copperfield and the FBI has conducted an investigation in Las Vegas where the magician has held regular shows, his lawyer and FBI spokespeople confirmed Thursday.
Local station KLAS-TV reported that an FBI raid with 12 agents took place Wednesday at Copperfield's warehouse, where he apparently stores tricks and memorabilia from around the world. He has called the location the International Museum & Library of the Conjuring Arts.
Copperfield's Las Vegas attorney, David Chesnoff, told FOX News that possible sexual abuse claims against the illusionist were false.
Oops. Nice job, shyster.
"If in fact those are the allegations, unfortunately false allegations are all too often made against famous individuals," said Chesnoff. "But we are confident the investigation will conclude favorably."
"We are in touch with the investigators, and are respecting the confidentiality of the investigation," he said.
"I can say that there was investigative activity yesterday and yesterday evening in Las Vegas," said Seattle FBI Special Agent Robbie Burroughs, without specifying exactly where the activity took place or who it involved, on Thursday.
"The investigation is related to a Seattle case. The Seattle case is pending and that means we can't say anything about it."
FBI Special Agent David Staretz, spokesman for the Las Vegas office, said, "I can confirm that there's investigative activity at the warehouse."
He would not give further details.
KLAS-TV reported that the agents seized a computer hard drive, digital camera system, and nearly $2 million in cash, citing an anonymous source close to the raid.
Copperfield has been a longtime performer at the Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, where he has performed in six-to-eight week stints several times a year, said MGM Mirage Inc. spokeswoman Yvette Monet.
On Wednesday night, Copperfield performed two regularly scheduled shows, which were at the end of his most recent run, she said, adding he was next scheduled to perform in Jakarta, Indonesia.
"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III
Friday, October 19, 2007
Fox News: FBI Raids David Copperfield's Las Vegas Warehouse
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 11:45 AM
ANI: Ancient humans savoured seafood as far back as 1640,00 years ago
Ancient humans dined on seafood as far back as 164,000 years ago, a new study by an Arizona State University anthropologist has revealed.
Curtis Marean and his team excavated a collection of shellfish remains, ochre pigments and stone blades, some of which were just a centimetre wide from a cave in South Africa overlooking the Indian Ocean.
The team dated the earliest material to 164,000 years ago.
Marean said the time frame matched exactly with estimates of sea level rise during that period.
He said this indicated that the cave was within easy walking distance of the shore about 167,000 years ago.
"Our findings show that at 164,000 years ago in coastal South Africa humans expanded their diet to include shellfish and other marine resources, perhaps as a response to harsh environmental conditions," said Marean, a professor in ASU's School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
"This is the earliest dated observation of this behaviour," he said.
The earliest previous record of humans eating shellfish dates from about 125,000 years ago.
"Our research shows that humans started doing this at least 40,000 years earlier. This could have very well been a response to the extreme environmental conditions they were experiencing," Prof. Marean said.
He said another co-occurring with this diet expansion was a very early use of pigment, likely for symbolic behaviour, as well as the use of bladed stone tool technology, previously dating to 70,000 years ago.
Makeup! This is evidence of ancient bamboozled males.
"We also found what archaeologists call bladelets - little blades less than 10 millimetres in width, about the size of your little finger. These could be attached to the end of a stick to form a point for a spear, or lined up like barbs on a dart - which shows they were already using complex compound tools. And, we found evidence that they were using pigments, especially red ochre, in ways that we believe were symbolic," said Prof. Marean.
He said these new findings not only moved back the timeline for the evolution of modern humans, they also showed that lifestyles focused on coastal habitats and resources might have been crucial to the evolution and survival of these early humans.
The study appears in the Oct 18 issue of the journal Nature, reports New Scientist magazine.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 11:11 AM
...the idea of bikini-clad U of M coeds frolicking in a Jacuzzi during each boring 'Canes blowout loss has a certain appeal.
The Miami Hurricane: The Beach gets a makeover
The University of Miami has always trailed its Atlantic Coast Conference counterparts in home attendance. Now the school is doing something about it.
The student section at the BankUnited Center, often called "The Beach," is getting a makeover befitting of its name. A Jacuzzi, a bed of sand and a lifeguard tower will welcome students back to the BUC this season."
Anyone can go print out and give out foam fingers," said Max Lorber, marketing coordinator for UM athletics. "We're trying to step it up."
The move comes as the athletic department is seeking to increase attendance all around the arena. There will be no ticket price increases, and some prices will actually decrease.
"The intention of our season ticket pricing is to allow even more fans to be exposed to ACC basketball," UM Athletic Director Paul Dee was quoted as saying on http://www.hurricanesports.com/.
"The ACC offers the best of college basketball and our goal is to enhance awareness of the men's basketball program and introduce our product to more people."
Wait a minute...what about the chicks' team?
The home basketball schedule opens up on Nov. 9, when the women play Florida Atlantic at noon, and the men play Florida Southern at 7:30 p.m.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 10:57 AM
Science? Bah, humbug! Make them wear garlic.
Baltimore Sun: Parents falsely claim religious exemptions to avoid kids' vaccines
Real reasons for opting out include skepticism of shots, concern they'll cause other illnesses Sabrina Rahim doesn't practice any particular faith, but she had no problem signing a letter declaring that because of her deeply held religious beliefs, her 4-year-old son should be exempt from the vaccinations required to enter preschool.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 10:41 AM
The Soviet Union did not die. It just moved to Minnesota and disguised itself as an institution of higher fascism.
The Ministry of Mental Health slaps down a youth impertinent enough to believe The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America actually means what it says.
WorldNetDaily: Student advocates gun rights, gets suspended
A Christian [That's rich. Cheeky bastards. - F.G.] church-affiliated university in St. Paul, Minn., has suspended a student after he raised questions about the campus ban on concealed weapons, and is ordering him to have a mental health evaluation before he can resume his education.
The Hamline University case involves student Troy Scheffler, who, after the Virginia Tech massacre where a student shot and killed nearly three dozen others, suggested the killing spree might have been stopped if students had been allowed to carry concealed weapons.
"Questioning administrators on controversial topics isn't going to be a threat even if the conversation involves guns," Robert Shibley, vice president of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education told WND.
Scheffler turned to FIRE for help after his brief exchange of e-mails was followed by an invitation from the university to meet to discuss his concerns, and then a letter notifying him of his suspension before he could even respond to the request for a meeting.
The e-mails, according to the university were "deemed to be threatening and thus an alleged violation of the Hamline University Judicial Code," although Shipley said it was hard to see where school managers perceived a threat.
"That simply isn't manifested in the e-mails," Shibley told WND.
He said Scheffler remains on suspension under orders to undergo a "Mental Health Evaluation," conducted by someone approved by the school. "The University reserves the right to stipulate a specialization or certification," the school letter to Scheffler said. "Based on the evaluation, the University may require you to commit to a treatment plan as a condition for continued enrollment. You will be responsible for any cost incurred by the evaluation and/or treatment."
Remember when dissidents were locked in "psychiatric hospitals" because no sane man would think ill of Leviathan? The past is prologue, kiddies.
Heck, the past charges tuition to oppress you.
"He's refusing (to have the evaluation)," Shibley said of Scheffler. "They haven't justified to him, or to us, the need for a psychological evaluation. It's a very intrusive way to regulate someone's behavior or beliefs."
The university declined to discuss the situation with WND, but spokeswoman JacQueline Getty said FIRE "has inaccurately portrayed Hamline's interaction with one of its students.
"FIRE has inflamed the details of this student's grievance with university policy, enacted to ensure the safety of our community. As we have already informed FIRE more than once, federal privacy laws that protect the rights of that student actually prevent the university of correcting each piece of FIRE's press release and articulating in detail what may have transpired with this student."
FIRE, however, noted it had a signed release from the student allowing the university to discuss the situation with FIRE.
The school did reveal to FIRE that "various members" of the Hamline community who had interaction with Scheffler also contributed to the decision, but it declined to provide any accusations, allegations, or complaints.
A subsequent letter from FIRE was met with a response from the university's lawyer, Rebecca J. Bernhard.
"Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP represents Hamline University. Hamline University has referred your correspondent to me. Please be advised that Hamline University received your September 17, 2007 letter clarifying FIRE's opinion on the matter of Mr. Scheffler's interim suspension. The University disagrees with your assessment of the situation, and stands by its decision…" she wrote.
Shibley suggested perhaps advocating for the ability to carry concealed weapons on campus "isn't a sign of bad mental health."
The Founding Fathers were the craziest peoples! [While I am no Dennis Miller, this is a real hipster reference.]
The e-mail exchange between Sheffler and the school started after the Virginia Tech attack.
Scheffler wrote to David Stern, the school's vice president of student affairs, raising the issue of the allowing students to protect themselves, after Stern e-mailed the community offering "counseling" following the shootings.
See, kiddies? Every non-leftist who wants to carry a gun is a mass murderer! Every leftist who carries a gun is merely a soldier in the battle for order.
"Considering this university also pushes 'diversity' initiatives like VA Tech, maybe its 'leadership' will reconsider its ban on conceal carry law abiding gun owners … Ironically, according to a few VA Tech forums, there are plenty of students complaining that this wouldnt (sic) have happened if the school wouldnt (sic) have banned their permits a few months ago…," Sheffler wrote.
"I just dont (sic) understand why leftists dont (sic) understand that criminals dont (sic) care about laws; that is [why] they're criminals…," he said.
"Considering that accoriding (sic) to the university president that there were recently serious 'hate crimes' that were committed in the womens bathrooms; there may be people on the edge ready to snap. I cant (sic) say I blame them, I myself am tired of having to pay my own extremely overpriced tuition to make up for minorities not paying theirs," he said.
"Hamline's punishment of Troy Scheffler is severe, unfair, and apparently unwarranted," said Greg Lukianoff, FIRE president. "Peacefully advocate for students' ability to carry a concealed weapon as a response to the Virginia Tech shootings may be controversial, but it simply does not justify ordering a mandatory psychological evaluation."
A short time after Stern's e-mail Linda Hanson, Hamline's president, sent another e-mail out, and again Scheffler responded:
"I was wondering why a swastika painted by some frustrated ladies in their bathroom turned somehow into red flags of a hate crime but you dont (sic) consider an asian (sic) guy admittedly killing people because he hated them not hate motivated... Anyhow, in response to your most recent email concerning a vigil for people most likely nobody in the school knows; I would like to comment on your claims of upped 'security'. I attend a MPLS cohort so I dont (sic) see any security in the area ever. Infact (sic) it seems the dirty bums on the street are the only ones patrolling anything. I would suggest if you are truly concerned about student security, you lift a ridiculous conceal carry campus ban and let the students worry about their own 'security'," he wrote.
"VA Tech just recently passed their conceal carry permit ban; we can all see how well that worked for criminal minds…," he said.
He went on to suggest that the attacker probably wouldn't even have attempted the atrocity "if we didnt (sic) pay for everybody and their mother to come here for free to soak u tuition funds but also that by knowing law abiding citizens carried weapons to defend themselves that criminals wouldnt (sic) be so bold to commit crimes against them…"
He also criticized the "wanton misrepresentation" of the United Methodist Church-affiliated school because of its "atheist professors" and charges that its diversity policies are anti-"white folks."
Oh. They are Disjointed 'methodists'. That explains it.
Hanson responded to Scheffler about his "concerns" about "concealed weapons, diversity and financial issues."
"We are always interested in the concerns of students and suggest that you meet with some of our university personnel to discuss your views," she wrote. "If you will provide us with 2-3 times on Monday or Tuesday of next week when you are available to meet, we will arrange an opportunity."
That was on a Friday, FIRE said. On the following Monday, a courier delivered a letter to Scheffler at his home ordering him to remain away from the campus because of his "interim suspension."
The letter, from Alan Sickbert, dean of students, said he was accused of violating the campus ban on "physical abuse, verbal or written threat, intimidation, harassment, coercion, sexual violence, and any conduct, which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person."
Sickbert said in the letter Scheffler would have to have arrange for, pay for and have the mental health evaluation as well as release the results to the "dean of students (or designee)," have an interview to review the results and then be subject to a decision by Sickbert on his future at the university.
"Approval to return may include specific conditions and/or requirements for continued enrollment," the letter said. Even if the suspension would be lifted, "we will determine if further judicial action is required."
FIRE's letter to the school expressed its grave concern "about the danger to freedom of speech and due process" in the case.
"Because Scheffler's e-mails sent on April 17 and April 19 do not meet the legal standard of a 'threat,' FIRE asks that you lift the 'interim suspension' against Scheffler and forego the mandatory mental evaluation…"
"While Hamline's overreaction to Scheffler's e-mails was doubtless prompted by a reaction to the Virginia Tech shootings, it is important that administrators not let an understandable amount of apprehension lead to an abridgement of liberty for peaceful, law-abiding students."
"The First Amendment permits the prohibition only of 'true threats,' which the United States Supreme Court has held are 'those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence…'" FIRE told the school.
"While Hamline, as a private university, is not directly bound by the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech, like most universities advancing a liberal education, Hamline is ostensibly committed to free expression," the letter continued, citing the schools' policy of freedom of expression.
That states, "Hamline students and student organizations are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately."
The order for the evaluation, FIRE said, "seeks to assess his political opinions, implying that an outspoken advocate for Second Amendment rights or a critique of 'white privilege' doctrine is somehow mentally unstable.
"Does Hamline really wish to operate a system of campus discipline in which conclusions are made prior to evaluation of the facts or where evaluations of the facts requires that students subject themselves to intrusive psychological evaluations to be judged by campus administrators?" FIRE asked.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 10:16 AM
You know...if BIG SODOMY could only convince sodomites to go out and get MRSA, it could score some serious political points...
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: 'Superbug' more lethal than AIDS
It now appears a dangerous type of staph infection is probably killing more Americans each year than AIDS.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 10:08 AM
Too-clever-by-half left-fascists and free, Western mohammedans (who SHOULD know better) step in it. Big time.
OMG!!! Right wingers are slaughtering mohammedans all over the nation's capital!
Muslim American Society: George Washington University Students Confront Muslim 'Haters'
MAS Freedom Note: During this past week, numerous posters promoting anti-Muslim hatred were displayed at numerous locations on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. It is widely believed that the posters are connected to the promotion of "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" on a number of college campuses later this month.
ANI: 'Liberal' George Washington University plastered with anti-Muslim posters
Washington, Oct 10 (ANI): The 'liberal campus' image of George Washington University here received a blow when anti-Muslim posters were found plastered on the walls of the varsity. One poster carried the photo of an Arab, describing him as a "typical Muslim" who wears a "suicide vest," carries a "hidden AK-47" and bears a "peg-leg for smuggling ...
Here is the truth, kiddies, readily available for anybody willing to perceive it...
The Washington Times: Expulsion demanded in GW poster hoax
A national conservative organization today called on George Washington University to expel students who admitted targeting the group in a hoax that covered the campus with hundreds of anti-Muslim posters.
"Vicious personal attacks levied on students are intolerable, and should not go unpunished," Ron Robinson, president of the Young America's Foundation, wrote to GW President Steven Knapp.
In a letter (downloads PDF) obtained by The Washington Times, Mr. Robinson cited a statement Monday by GW Student Association Executive Vice President Brand Kroeger, who said he "would support expulsion" of students responsible for distributing the "heinous" posters.
YAF was the target of posters diplayed around the university's Foggy Bottom campus Monday that proclaimed "Hate Muslims? So Do We!"
Muslim students at the university said they felt "attacked" by the posters. A group of seven students — including a nationally known anti-war activist and an officer of the GW Progressive Student Union — admitted responsibility yesterday, saying the hoax was aimed at "exposing Islamophobic racism."
A student conservative leader said GW officials initially accused his group of publishing the posters, which Mr. Knapp condemned Monday as "reprehensible."
"We were treated as suspects until the university got all the facts right," said Sergio Gor, a GW senior and YAF activist. "The only reason we got attacked was because we're a conservative group."
Mr. Gor said he was "shocked and appalled" by the posters, which targeted "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week," a nationwide event planned later this month by YAF.
In a letter to the Hatchet, a campus newspaper, GW graduate student Adam Kokesh, senior Brian Tierney and five other students claimed credit for the hoax posters, which they called a "creative political action."
"We exposed the upcoming Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week ... for the celebration of racism it is," the students wrote. "[T]he hyperbolic nature of the [poster] was aimed at exposing Islamophobic racism. ... We hope that as a community we can come together to oppose the true racist propaganda that we initially set out to expose."
Nice try, moron.
Mr. Tierney is a self-proclaimed "socialist" and "revolutionary" whose personal Web site prominently displays Mr. Kokesh as a prominent activist with Iraq Veterans Against the War.
On Monday, GW officials were unequivocal in their condemnation of the posters.
"There is no place for expressions of hatred on our campus. ... We do not condone, and we will not tolerate, the dissemination of fliers or other documents that vilify any religious, ethnic, or racial group," Mr. Knapp said in an official statement.
A GW spokeswoman today declined comment on the students' admission of responsibility for the hoax.
"We are making progress in the investigation and will have an updated press statement when the investigation is concluded," said Tracy Schario, director of media relations for the university.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 9:56 AM
The Toledo Blade: Consultant's 'tough sell' is to spotlight Hitlery's faith
After sitting through 17 lectures - most of them truly informative and fascinating - over 3 1/2 days last week, the most memorable news tidbit I brought home from the Religion Newswriters Association's annual conference is this: Hillary Clinton is deeply religious.
Thankfully, I was sitting down when Burns Strider called Senator Clinton "the most religious Democrat since Jimmy Carter."
In a later lecture, researcher John C. Green affirmed the observation that Hillary has deeply held religious beliefs, but added: "The reality is quite different than the perception."
So I was not alone in being surprised. According to a recent Pew Forum survey, only 16 percent of Americans consider the New York Democratic senator to be "very religious."
Mr. Strider's task, as Senator Clinton's director of faith-based operations, is to try to change the perception of Hillary among America's evangelical community - a political bloc that has been pivotal in the recent presidential elections.
At the conference, a religion reporter and author posed a question to Mr. Strider and said, with all sincerity, that he believes the one thing that unites evangelicals on both sides of the aisle is a shared belief that Senator Clinton is "the Anti-Christ. Or Mrs. Anti-Christ. Ms. Anti-Christ."
Mr. Strider, a devout Christian from Grenada County, Mississippi, who served two years as a missionary in Hong Kong, gently replied, with a wry smile and a charming Southern accent: "Lay off the anti-Christ stuff."
That drew laughs from the 270 journalists attending the conference, which ran from Sept. 27 through Sunday in this still-sweltering but delightful Texas city.
Mr. Strider, an influential adviser whose previous clients included Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, and James Clyburn, joined Mrs. Clinton's campaign in December.
He acknowledged he's facing a daunting task.
"It's a tough sell; it's a challenge," he said. "I'm not denying it. But we can have a conversation."
The gregarious consultant said he has been knocking on doors since joining Senator Clinton's staff, asking to speak to key religious and political leaders around the country about his boss' faith.
So far, nobody has refused.
Mr. Strider uses St. James' epistle that says "faith without works is dead," to highlight Senator Clinton's track record in working for change "in the real world," such as health care for the poor and helping AIDS victims and orphans in Africa.
And now for something completely different from the same article:
Meanwhile, Mr. Green, the director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron and a senior fellow in religion and politics at the Pew Forum, said his data show that the Republican party is losing support in the key demographic of evangelical Protestants who go to church regularly.
In 2004, more than 80 percent of that group voted for George W. Bush. A poll taken last January showed support for an unspecified Republican presidential candidate among these voters had fallen to 60 percent.
All the religion-and-politics experts at the conference were in agreement that there are still many unanswered questions about the election, which is still more than a year away.
Mitt Romney, for example, is generally regarded as the most religious of all major presidential contenders. But the Republican hopeful belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and none of the experts would guess whether Americans are ready to elect a Mormon president.
Illustrating the political uncertainty over this religion, one speaker pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nevada) has kept his Mormon faith extremely low profile.
Who knew Senator Social Moderate was a salamander whisperer? Socialism is the best disguise!
Another presidential candidate, Republican Sen. John McCain, stirred up controversy when he said recently that he would "prefer" a Christian president over a Muslim one.
Mr. Green said his research shows Americans would be more accepting of a Mormon president than some other faiths: "In general, being a Mormon is viewed as far less of a liability for a presidential candidate than not believing in God or being a Muslim."
Double doy, even.
Republican Rudy Giuliani enjoys a "favorable image" among a majority of evangelicals, but once they learn he's been married three times and is an ardent supporter of abortion rights, they tend to jump ship, Mr. Green said.
Barack Hussein Obama, a Democrat whose faith is filled with unknowns, was barely mentioned at the conference. But according to a biographical entry on the Pew Forum's Web site (www.pewforum.org), Mr. Obama's father was a Muslim who became an atheist. His mother was raised by non-practicing Methodist and Baptist parents, and after a divorce, she married a Muslim.
Mike Huckabee, who was governor of Arkansas for 10 1/2 years and is an ordained Baptist minister, is clearly a person of faith but despite finishing second in an Iowa straw poll has not made it into the top tier of contenders.
Lots of factors affect a close election, and religion is just one of them. But in 2004, Mr. Green pointed out, only a small change in the evangelical vote would have put Democrat John Kerry in the White House.
James Dobson of Focus on the Family announced this week that if no candidate pledges support for "the sanctity of human life," he and a group of "pro-family leaders" will look for a third-party presidential candidate.
While some observers are expressing concerns that religion is already getting too much attention in the 2008 election, it's an issue that voters take very seriously and one that is bound to heat up as the day of decision draws nearer.
What happens when bad beliefs collide with bad reporting? Check out this nonsense...
Notes and quotes from the 2007 Religion Newswriters Conference in San Antonio:
•When it comes to the end of the world and the biblical references found in the Left Behind series, there are four prevailing theories of when the Rapture will occur: amillennialism, postmillennialism, historical premillennialism, and dispensational premillennialism. Ann Rodgers, who covers religion for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said in introducing the experts that there is a little known fifth theory, panmillellialism. "Some pastors say, 'It will all pan out in the end'," she joked.
•The 15 million evangelical Hispanics, attending 18,000 churches make up the fastest-growing segment of U.S. evangelicals, according to the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. The president of the National Hispanic Association of Evangelicals said the "browning" of the evangelical church will force evangelicals to pay more attention to issues that are important to Hispanics, including immigration, poverty, health care, and the environment.
•There are about 1,250 megachurches - Protestant churches with sustained weekly attendance of 2,000 - in the United States today, up from 50 in 1970 and 750 in 2000. Although high-profile and influential, they account for less than one-half of 1 percent of all U.S. churches, according to Scott Thumma, a researcher and author of The Megachurch Myth.
•Max Lucado has never received a salary since becoming pastor of the 6,000-member Oak Hills Church in San Antonio in 1986. He can afford to do that, of course, because he has written a couple dozen best-selling books, including Cure for the Common Life, Facing Your Giants, and The Grip of Grace.
•Author Christine Wicker, who specializes in writing about vampires, ghosts, werewolves, fairies, elves, and satanists, had some interesting tips for Halloween coverage.
Take vampires, for example. Ms. Wicker said there are two kinds, ones that drink blood and others that steal people's energy. The energy-stealing vampires have a code of ethics, she said with a laugh, which forbids them from stealing anyone's energy without permission. Ms. Wicker said she gave a vampire permission to steal her energy, but the thief kindly made sure not to take it all because she knew the reporter had to drive to the airport and didn't want her to be too tired.
Ms. Wicker added that most of the vampires she interviewed work the night shift and many are hotel clerks, leading most religion reporters to look nervously over their shoulders while walking back to their rooms.
Roto-Reuters: FDA adds hearing loss risk to Viagra, others
...or, What? You wanna do what with my what?
U.S. regulators on Thursday added new warnings about the potential risk of sudden hearing loss to best-selling impotence drugs Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, used by millions of men.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 9:03 AM
The cretinous Wretches of Westboro continue their crusade to give baptism a bad name...
The Wichita Eagle: Defamation claim dismissed against Westboro Baptist
The first individual lawsuit brought against Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church for its protests at military funeral ceremonies will go to trial next week in Baltimore.
A father claims protesters from the Kansas-based anti-gay group destroyed his only chance to bury in peace the son he lost in Iraq. The picketers, who had carried signs with messages such as "Thank God for dead soldiers," countered that they were only trying to oppose gays in the military.
After the two sides presented legal arguments in a Baltimore courtroom Monday, a federal judge offered a split decision, ruling that a more limited lawsuit brought by Albert Snyder, the father of the slain Marine targeted by Phelps' church, can proceed to trial next week.
At times incensed over what he described as long-winded theological speeches given by a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett nonetheless dismissed two of the five counts against the church and three of its leaders, saying in part that their statements, no matter how incendiary, amounted to protected speech.
Comments posted on the church's Web site that Snyder raised his son "for the devil" and taught his son how to "defy his Creator, to divorce and to commit adultery" did not defame the father because it was "not the kind of information that a reasonable person is going to assume was presented to be considered fact," Bennett said.
In granting part of the defendants' motion for summary judgment, Bennett found that church members did not defame Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder or his family by implying that he was gay or raised by adulterers because his parents divorced. Nor did the church members invade the family's privacy, the judge ruled, because their anti-gay and anti-divorce accusations were based on an general expression of the church members' fundamentalist beliefs.
At the civil trial set to begin Monday in federal court, the jury will be able consider whether Westboro Baptist Church is liable for an intentional infliction of emotional distress based on the message from its members' signs, Bennett said. The judge also will allow jurors to rule whether the Snyder family's expectation of privacy at their son's funeral was violated by the protest outside St. John Roman Catholic Church in Westminster.
The complaint filed in June 2006 does not seek a specific amount of damages. The trial is expected to last two weeks.
After only a month in Iraq, Matthew Snyder, 20, died in March 2006 from a vehicle accident in al-Anbar province. He served with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Albert Snyder filed the suit because he wanted to deter a group that has staged similar demonstrations more than 30,000 times, according to his attorneys.
One of the defendants, Shirley Phelps-Roper, is an attorney and church member whose father, Fred Phelps, helped establish Westboro in 1955. Representing herself in court Monday, she insisted that church members did not target the Snyder family personally.
"This is a religious opinion that was based on the words of the Lord Jesus Christ," she told the judge during the four-hour hearing.
The church's protests have prompted 22 states to enact or propose laws to limit the rights of protesters at funerals. Last year, a Maryland bill was signed into law that prohibits people from picketing within 100 feet of a funeral, memorial, burial or procession.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 8:53 AM
Lancaster Ignorancer-Urinal: 'Hidden' racism nationwide woe
Sociologists: Racism rampant
Racism might not be easy to detect in public places, but it's thriving behind closed doors.
What self-respecting racist would allow sociologists behind his closed, racist doors? Hmmm...
That's what two sociologists who visited Millersville University Thursday — Joseph Feagin and Leslie Picca — told a group of about 50 Millersville faculty and staff.
The pair said racism is not only alive, but it's growing, even on college campuses.
Feagin and Picca, who recently co-authored "Two-Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage," led a workshop to discuss the implications of racism.
"Racism is quite obvious if you know where to go and look for it," Feagin said. "America still thinks in racist terms."
Get sociologists out of our bedrooms!
Oops. That's Big Babykilling's slogan. Never mind.
Feagin, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M University and president of American Sociological Association from 1999 to 2000, described "backstage" and "frontstage" racism as parts of what he calls the "white racial frame," a theory he developed.
Within the frame, Feagin said, there are stereotypes and images that perpetuate racism. Feagin said those stereotypes and images are so rooted in U.S. culture that they are difficult to eradicate.
Just kill all the brutes whose minds you can read, doc. There must be a hundred million of 'em out there.
Picca, a professor of sociology at Dayton University in Ohio, said racism is the same whether displayed in the open or elsewhere.
"Just because it's not said directly to the target doesn't mean that it's not being racist," Picca said.
If I am hearing the bad doctor correctly, I am a racist because I often accuse my ficus of being lazy and shiftless and eating all the fried chicken in the house.
As part of their book, Feagin and Picca asked more than 600 college students from across the country to keep diaries about racist comments they heard or experienced. Students were white, black, Asian and Latino.
As part of the workshop, Feagin and Picca reviewed a handful of journal entries.
In many instances, Picca said, white students who were offended by racist comments went along with the conversation to appease their friends.
Peer pressure nazis!
"Some students said they weren't really racist, but were just having fun with their friends," Picca said. "But in reality, these students were using creativity, time and energy to support racial comments."
Picca said she was surprised by how frequently students wrote about hearing certain racial slurs.
"I was shocked how commonly, frequently and casually the 'n' word was thrown around," Picca said.
She must mean either "nimrod" or "nincompoop". She ought to listen to rap "artists". Nobody is allowed to be offended by their use of "nigger".
The other scenario, Picca said is that students were afraid to tell their friends to stop.
"I've heard students say, 'I wanted to say something but I didn't want to interrupt the fun,' " Picca said.
Journal entries included those who were the subject of racial remarks. In one entry a black student wrote, "This is one of those sad and angry nights for me. … I used to blame alcohol consumption for their obvious ignorance and racist attitudes, but I have since stopped trying to make excuses for them. I have to admit at times like these I feel intense dislike for white people because I don't understand how such a system of hate can exist. …"
Get new friends...or just punch your racist friends in the snout...but whatever you do, stop whining to sociologists.
Feagin said the entry explains the brutality of racism.
"All this person is feeling is negativity, and he obviously lives on a negative college campus," Feagin said.
Oooooooooh! Negativity...the moral equivalent of lynching!
One instructor, who declined to be identified, said one of her classes thought a recent racial incident at Warwick High School was exaggerated by the media.
Prior to the start of classes at Warwick High School on Oct. 3, a group of white students threw trash at three minority students, brandished a Confederate flag at them and made derogatory comments and racial slurs, according to district officials and published reports.
Whatever happened to the good old day when boys would settle their schoolyard disputes with their fists and then go to the malt shop and hit on the cheerleader who "developed" early?
Three students have been charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the incident and the district has lined up a series of workshops and seminars on tolerance for students, staff members and the public.
"The people in my class were saying that the media has overblown the situation," she said.
"They didn't feel that it was that bad," she said.
There also have been reports of racial incidents at Millersville University, where swastikas and foul language were painted on dormitory walls, Millersville University officials said.
Sherlynn Bessick, the director of Learning Services, said the issue of racism is not new and it is time to act.
"My concern is that we start doing something about it," Bessick said. "We need to get beyond reflection and instruction and develop intervention for students."
SHOOT THE LITTLE RACIST REPUBLICANS! SHOOT 'EM NOW! SHOOT 'EM NOW! [With humblest appy-polly loggies to Daffy Duck, et al.]
Picca said her ultimate goal is to help students recognize racism.
"Many people think about it on a subconscious level," Picca said. [Where only left-fascists can see. - F.G.] "We have to get them to the point where they think of it consciously. That's where it starts."
I doubt it. Since a stone-cold killer and thug [but at least he is our thug] like Musharraf has not got the stones to exterminate the goat rapists that infest his country, it seems unlikely the moderate mohammedan [she wears lipstick and is fairly hot as far as ex-prime ministers go] babe will get the job done.
But, any enemy of the goat rapists is a potential friend of mine...
AFP: Bhutto defiant after homecoming blasts kill 133
Benazir Bhutto vowed to stay to fight elections in Pakistan after a suicide bomber killed at least 133 people in an attempt to assassinate the former prime minister at her homecoming parade.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 8:05 AM
...the congressthingee that goes by the name Pete "Raving" Stark!
NBC 11: Rep. Says War For 'President's Amusement'
A House Democrat accused Republicans Thursday of sending troops to Iraq to "get their heads blown off for the president's amusement." The outburst from Rep. Pete Stark as the House debated a children's health bill drew immediate condemnation from Republicans who demanded he retract it.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 8:00 AM
Today is the Feast of Saint Isaac Jogues and Saint Rene Goupil, Saint John de Brebeuf and Companions, and all the North American martyrs. In 1642 the Huron country was in great distress. Harvests were poor, sickness abounded, and clothing was scarce. Quebec was the only source of supplies, and Isaac Jogues was chosen to lead an expedition. It reached its objective safely and started back well supplied with goods for the mission, but the Iroquois, the bitter enemies of the Hurons, and fiercest of all Indian tribes, were on the war-path and ambushed the returning expedition. The story of the ill-treatment and torture of the captives cannot be told here. Suffice it to say that Jogues and his assistant, Rene Goupil, besides being beaten to the ground and assailed several times with knotted sticks and fists, had their hair, beards and nails torn off and their forefingers bitten through. What grieved them far more, was the cruelty practiced on their Christian converts. The first of all the martyrs to suffer death was Rene Goupil, who was tomahawked on September 29, 1642, for having made the Sign of the Cross on the brow of some children. This Rene Goupil was a remarkable man. He had tried hard to be a Jesuit and had even entered the Novitiate, but his health forced him to give up the attempt. He then studied surgery and found his way to Canada, where he offered his services to the missionaries, whose fortitude he emulated. Rene Goupil is one of the North American martyrs who died at the hands of the Indians between the years 1642-1649. Their feast day is October 19.
John de Brebeufwas born in Conde-surVire, in Normandy, France, on March 25, 1593 . Joining the Society of Jesus, he was ordained in 1622. Three years later he volunteered for the missions in Quebec. Canada. For the next quarter of a century. with a brief interruption, he labored among the Huron Indians. His labors were placed in jeopardy because of Huguenot renegades and a smallpox epidemic that decimated entire Indian villages. John left for a brief time when the English captured Quebec, but returned to the Hurons again. In 1649 he was captured by the Iroquois, who were enemies of the Huron. John and his companions were cruelly slain on March 16 at Sault Ste. Marie near Georgian Bay. His companions were: Isaac Jogues. Anthony Daniel. Gabriel Lalement, Charles Gamier, Noel Chabanel, John Lalande, and Rene Goupil — all Jesuits. John de Brebeuf converted seven thousand Indians and composed a dictionary and catechism in the Huron language. He was canonized in 1930. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.
Today's reading is Romans 4:1-8.
Today's Responsorial Psalm is Psalms 31:1-2, 5, 11.
Today's Gospel reading is Luke 12:1-7.
The Blessed Virgin Mary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today
ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome
Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.
St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me; Body of Christ, save me; Blood of Christ, inebriate me; Water from Christ's side, wash me; Passion of Christ, strengthen me; O good Jesus, hear me; Within Thy wounds hide me; Suffer me not to be separated from Thee; From the malicious enemy defend me; In the hour of my death call me; And bid me come unto Thee; That I may praise Thee with Thy saints and with Thy angels Forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer to St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire
Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)
Prayer To Saint Michael The Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Prayer to End Abortion
Lord God, I thank You today for the gift of my life, and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part to end abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, and never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer For Vocations
Send forth your Spirit, Lord, into the hearts of your faithful people, that we may be conscious of our vocation to holiness and sevice to others. Grant that many of us may dedicate ourselves to You through the priesthood and the religious life.We pray especially for the needs of our own parish and diocese. Grant that we may always have sufficient good and holy priests, and dedicated Sisters to serve our commumities.We pray, too, for religious orders; that generous men may join them to become zealous missionaries in preaching the Gospel in word and action, especially to the poor and abandoned.We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Prayer Before The Crucifix
Behold, O kind and gentle Jesus, I kneel before Thee and pray that Thou would impress upon my heart the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, with true repentance for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment. At the same time, with sorrow I meditate on Thy five precious wounds, having in mind the words which David spoke in prophecy: "They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones."
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.
May the Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament
Be praised, adored and loved
With grateful affection at every moment
In all the tabernacles of the world
Even to the end of time. Amen.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 7:29 AM
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
Penguins try to shake injuries
The Penguins have spent the past few days trying to remind outsiders that dealing with adversity is simply part of hockey.
Pens' Armstrong hesitant to wear shield
Colby Armstrong is not alone among young players who opt against wearing a face shield. However, his kind is becoming increasingly rare in the NHL.
Junker: Pens' coming home stretch important
Penguins Q&A: Rob Rossi answers your questions
Pens' Staal might just be warming up
Penguins' Recchi tries hand at ownership
Penguins Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor comprise part of an ownership group that was approved by the Western Hockey League to take control of the Kamloops Blazers, a British Columbia-based junior club (2007-10-15)
Crosby scores twice; Pens beat Leafs
Sidney Crosby sure picked a perfect time to remind the hockey world that he cannot be contained for long. (2007-10-14)
Slow start doesn't bother Pens' Recchi
Nobody associated with the Penguins was pleased the club had won just once in three games prior to facing the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Center on Saturday. (2007-10-14)
Sabourin leaves Pens’ game against Maple Leafs
Dany Sabourin’s first start of the season in goal for the Penguins was cut short at 15:07 of the first period after a collision with Toronto’s Darcy Tucker. (2007-10-13)
Pens' Hall cashing in opportunity
Almost every NHL club opens a season with one player on the roster that was not part of the team's plan before training camp.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 3:46 PM
From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
Patriots least of Steelers' concerns now
The players trickled into the Steelers' South Side facility Monday for meetings following a three-day weekend that constituted the only extended break they will get for at least the next couple of months.
Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
Steelers not totally healthy for Sunday
Miami of Ohio retires Big Ben's number
Miami of Ohio retired former quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's No. 7 in a pregame ceremony on Saturday and then rolled past Bowling Green, 47-14, as Austin Sykes ran for a career-high 124 yards and scored two touchdowns. (2007-10-14)
Steelers rookie LBs await their chance
Rookies Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley have done their share of watching despite the immense promise they showed during offseason workouts and training camp. (2007-10-14)
Harris: Steelers' RB tandem paying dividends
Two running backs aren't necessarily better than one for the Steelers. (2007-10-14)
Steelers Q&A with Rossum
Steelers kick return specialist Allen Rossum sat down recently with the Tribune-Review's Mike Prisuta. (2007-10-14)
Cover-2 helps Steelers' defense flourish
Mike Tomlin said his Steelers played more Cover-2 defense than normal against Seattle.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 3:42 PM
Pittsburgh's first hospital (and last Catholic hospital) goes under.
Pittsburgh Tribune Review: UPMC deal rescues Mercy
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's top executive said today its takeover of Mercy Hospital was done to rescue the city's last Catholic hospital, not to make UPMC bigger.
"UPMC is big enough," Jeffrey Romoff, UPMC's president and chief executive, said at a press conference to announce the merger's approval by the Federal Trade Commission. "The Mercy merger is something we stepped forward in response to the needs of Mercy Hospital. Mercy was not a grand idea that I had or anyone at UPMC had to expand UPMC and make it bigger."
The heart of the $120 miilion deal, he said, was to preserve Catholic health care in Pittsburgh.
"This is not something that we would define as making us bigger but in fact enhacing our sense of responsibility to the community," Romoff said.
Romoff was one of several speakers at a news conference Tuesday at Mercy Hospital. He was joined by Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop David Zubik, who praised the preservation of Pittsburgh's first hospital.
Within the next five years, UPMC will invest between $60 million and $100 million in capital improvements, Romoff said.
Romoff sought to allay fears about service cuts, instead underscoring the need for more beds within the UPMC network.
"UPMC's other facilities are very full," he said. "So there's now an opportunity for us to consider moving things to Mercy rather than taking anything away from Mercy."
Officials expect the transaction to close by year's end. The name of the new hospital will be UPMC Mercy.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 3:36 PM
Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Raiders football coach won't walk out on team
As many as eight teachers who coach in the Seneca Valley School District are expected to cross picket lines. "We have an opportunity this year to go to the playoffs. These kids deserve this opportunity," says Ron Butschle, Raiders football coach.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 3:34 PM
AP: DeGeneres under fire for giving away dog
Ellen DeGeneres is in the doghouse with a pet rescue agency after giving a pooch away to her hairdresser because it didn't get along with her cats.
The talk show hostess and her partner Portia de Rossi adopted Iggy, a Brussels Griffon mix, on Sept. 20. But when things didn't work out, DeGeneres gave the dog to her hairdresser.
In doing so, DeGeneres violated an agreement with the Mutts and Moms dog rescue agency by not informing them of the handoff.
When the agency called DeGeneres to ask about Iggy, she said she found another home for the dog. The agency sent a representative to the hairdresser's home Sunday and took the dog away.
DeGeneres went public about the situation Monday while taping an episode of her show to air Tuesday. She admitted she didn't read all the paperwork involving the adoption.
DeGeneres said she spent $3,000 having the dog neutered and trained to be with her cats. But the dog had too much energy and was too rambunctious, she told her television audience.
"I guess I signed a piece of paper that says if I can't keep Iggy, it goes back to the rescue organization, which is not someone's home, which is not a family," she said in a show transcript provided to The Associated Press.
"I thought I did a good thing. I tried to find a loving home for the dog because I couldn't keep it."
DeGeneres said her hairdresser's daughters, ages 11 and 12, had bonded with Iggy and were heartbroken when the dog was taken away.
"Because I did it wrong, those people went and took that dog out of their home, and took it away from those kids," a sobbing DeGeneres said on her show.
"I feel totally responsible for it and I'm so sorry. I'm begging them to give that dog back to that family," she said. "It's not their fault. It's my fault. I shouldn't have given the dog away. Just please give the dog back to those little girls."
Mutts and Moms, a volunteer nonprofit organization in Pasadena, does not have a listed phone number and didn't immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 3:11 PM
Human Events: 'What's So Great About Christianity?' by Dinesh D'Souza
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
I've never known Dinesh D'Souza to back down from controversial topics. In "What's So Great About America," he took on the rise anti-Americanism in the wake of 9-11. In "The Enemy at Home," he boldly asserted that secularism's imposition of morally depraved values helped precipitate 9-11. In his new book, "What's So Great About Christianity," D'Souza pens a rebuttal to the spate of atheist tracts that would have us believe that religion, and Christianity in particular, is the bane of reason and science and is on its way out in America.
Thoroughly researched, What's So Great About Christianity is a direct challenge to believers and nonbelievers alike. While it has a message or atheists (step up and seriously debate Christians in an open-minded and intellectual way) the book's primary message is for Christians. In the preface, D'Souza reminds Christians that they are called to be"contenders" for their faith, that they should-indeed, must-engage the secular world. D'Souza insists: "Atheists want to monopolize the public square and expel Christians from it." Therefore, Christians must equip themselves with the knowledge necessary to defend their faith and values.
D'Souza begins by busting the myth, pushed by so many atheist writers, that Christianity is on the wane in America. Armed with compelling statistics, D'Souza shreds the secularization narrative by explaining that while liberal church affiliation has plummeted in recent years, there has been significant growth in traditional Christian churches. And though we most often hear of Western Europe's abandonment of Christianity, overall, there is "a global revival of religion," and, contrary to popular opinion, Christianity, not Islam, is the fastest-growing religion in world today.
D'Souza then gets to the business of explaining just what is so great about Christianity. In a powerful passage, D'Souza highlights how Christianity has changed the world:
"The sublimity of Christ and his disciples completely reversed the whole
classical ideal. Suddenly aristocratic pride came to be seen as something
preening and ridiculous. Christ produced the transformation of values in
which the last became the first, and values once scorned came to represent the
loftiest of human ideals."
Through Christianity, a new set of values (humility, compassion, charity, etc.) arose that served as the underpinning of the West's most crucial institutions (monogamous marriage, family, basic human rights, etc.) and of American democracy. It is no accident that history's great movements of conscience-abolition, desegregation, pro-life-have had firmroots in the faithful, who believe that all are equal in the eyes of God.
Many atheists like to claim that man, once freed from the shackles of religion, can actively practice true charity and virtue. But it seems the atheists would like us to believe this as a matter of faith, because, in reality, atheists are the least charitable. Study after study highlights the tight empirical link between religiosity and generosity. Arthur C. Brooks and others have shown that religious people, especially Christians, give more in money and time, and that atheists give least.
D'Souza spends the bulk of his time upending the popular atheist refrain that religious faith is incompatible with science and reason, a clash that atheist authors like Sam Harris have referred to as "zero sum" conflict. But D'Souza, echoing Pope Benedict's recent remarks,demonstrates the reasonableness of faith guided by reason. In fact, "Even atheist scientists work with Christian assumptions that, due to their ignorance of theology and history, are invisible to them." Indeed, as D'Souza illustrates, it is Christianity that created the impulse to sustain scientific inquiry in the first place, which again underscores why Christians should embrace arguments for a faith rooted in reason and science.
After stopping to debunk the lie that religion, and in particular Christianity, has been the source of most of the bloodshed throughout history (for example, only about 2,000 people were executed for heresy in the 350 year Inquisition, while the atheist regimes of Hitler, Mao and Stalin alone killed more than 100 million people), the author moves on to address what is for many the foremost obstacle to belief: The problem of evil.
"Where was God?" is the oft-cited refrain of atheists who, in the aftermath of tragedy, wish to disprove the existence of a benevolent higher power. But though he doesn't delve deeply into the Christian explanation for the existence of evil, D'Souza turns the question back on the atheists by asking: Where is atheism when bad things happen?
Using the recent Virginia Tech massacre and the 9-11 attack as examples, D'Souza notes that it is precisely when inexplicable evil occurs that people turn to God most readily. For Christians, who recall the Biblical story of Job's blameless suffering, evil isn't always easilyexplained; But Christians can take comfort in being in solidarity with Christ's agony on the Cross.
When picking up "What's So Great About Christianity," one is immediately struck by its title, which doesn't include a question mark. The title is not a question but a confident declaration of the indispensability of a faith that's the foundation of the must successful and humane civilization in history. Dinesh D'Souza's book is essential reading for Christians who want to defend that faith in an increasingly hostile culture.
Reviewed by Gary Bauer, a 2000 candidate for president, is chairman of Campaign for Working Families and president of American Values.
*Who? Look here.
DEATH TO MUSSELS!
Not because we hate them, but because we love them so...
Thai Red Curry Mussels
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay and Food Network
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 stalk lemongrass, crushed
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup white wine
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 1/2 pounds mussels, debearded and scrubbed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro stems, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 tablespoons chopped Thai basil or Italian basil leaves
Heat grill to high. Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven on the grates of the grill until shimmering. Add the lemongrass, curry paste, wine, coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice and bring to a simmer, whisking. Add the mussels, cover the pot, and let steam until opened. During the last minute of cooking, add the cilantro and basil. Serve from Dutch oven into individual bowls, discarding the lemongrass.
Not the Democrasses, that's for sure.
The Washington Times: Bush urged to block merger
By Bill Gertz
House Republicans have introduced legislation calling for the Bush administration to block the merger of a U.S. computer-security equipment company and a Chinese firm with close ties to Beijing's military and a history of illicit exports and industrial espionage.
Heck, Hitlery and Spill* are awash in filthy Slave Chinese commie money.
*Members of my third least favorite band, The Sodomized and Aborted Clintons. The full lineup consists of Hitlery, RogerHer, SellCheap, and Spill.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 11:37 AM
A: An American dumbass gets in the way.
Roto-Reuters: Italy disputes U.S. worry mafioso could be "tortured"
Italy's justice minister has objected to a U.S. court's refusal to extradite a convicted Mafia drug trafficker on the grounds that a special prison regime he would face in Italy is equivalent to torture.
Rosario Gambino completed a 22-year jail term in California for drug trafficking about a year ago and has since been kept in an immigration detention centre pending an extradition request from his native Sicily.
The Los Angeles Times newspaper reported on Monday that a U.S. immigration judge had ruled that in Italy, Gambino would face a harsh special prison regime that "constitutes torture."
Impeach that sucker!
The judge was referring to a prison regime known as "41b," originally designed for mobsters and extended to crimes such as terrorism. It strictly limits contact with the outside world, visits, access to the open air and contact with other prisoners.
Oooooooooooooh! He won't be able to go on-line. How brutal is that?
The ruling allows Gambino to stay in the United States, where he has lived since the 1960s as a suspected member of the Gambino crime syndicate, which was once controlled by the late John J. Gotti, known as the "Teflon Don."
Italian Justice Minister Clemente Mastella said he was trying to find out details of the ruling from the U.S. embassy. He questioned whether Italy's special prison regime for hard-line criminals like mafiosi and terrorists was really "torture."
Mastella also contrasted widespread use of the death penalty in the United States with Italy's ban on capital punishment.
"I don't know if a country that applies the death penalty is more in line with U.N. values than a country that applies tough prison sentences," Mastella told reporters on Monday.
Without regime 41b, Mastella said, "we would end up with the various Mafia bosses forming a chain of communication and able to plan crimes from inside prison."
The human rights group Amnesty International has criticized the special regime for imposing "a severe degree of isolation from the outside world" and linked it to cases of suicide.
You can't have a story about Italians without one fool making a spectacle of himself...
But Italian magistrate Piero Luigi Vigna, a former Mafia prosecutor, told the Corriere della Sera daily that the United States "can't give lessons in human rights when they have Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib on their conscience," referring to U.S. prisons in Cuba and Iraq accused of serious human rights violations.
In Sicily, the prosecutor seeking Gambino's extradition said he was considering an appeal against the U.S. court ruling.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 11:25 AM
CBS 11: Homeowner's Parrot Alerts Him To Would-Be Burglar
A northwest Dallas homeowner shot and killed a would-be burglar and it was all because a pet bird said "Hello."
Police said the homeowner's bird may have saved the day by greeting the alleged burglar with "Hello" when the man walked into the back of the house in the 3600 block of Cortez Drive.
The homeowner told police he heard noise in his garage about 1:30 a.m. and checked the home's security cameras. The homeowner heard the bird's greeting and knew something was wrong, police said.
On the surveillance monitor, the homeowner spotted the intruder and called 9-1-1, police said.
He confronted the intruder and during a scuffle, he shot the would-be burglar.
As of Sept. 1, Texas homeowners have right to protect property even if it requires deadly force. Some people call the measure the "castle doctrine," based on the premise a man's home is his castle and that he should have the right to defend it.
Now that is what I call a law!
Police said the red-headed Mexican parrot also greeted them when they entered the house.
Red-headed Mexican guard-parrot. I hope it entered this country legally.
"It's unique. I find it interesting," Det. R. L. Ermatinger with the Dallas Police Department said.
According to the law, the building or vehicle must be occupied at the time for the deadly force provision to apply. Also, the person using force cannot provoke the attacker or be involved in criminal activity at the time. So far, the homeowner does not face charges.
The intruder later died at the hospital.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 11:14 AM
Roto-Reuters: 'Big Brother' restaurant opens to study diners
Does service with a scowl put you off at lunch? Will you eat more greens if you are surrounded by plants? Does romantic, pink lighting encourage you to linger over your fruit salad?
A new research center -- dubbed the "restaurant of the future" -- at the Dutch university of Wageningen hopes to help answer these questions and more by tracking diners with dozens of unobtrusive cameras and monitoring their eating habits.
"We want to find out what influences people: colors, taste, personnel. We try to focus on one stimulus, like light," said Rene Koster, head of the Center for Innovative Consumer Studies, as overhead bulbs switched through green, red, orange and blue.
"This restaurant is a playground of possibilities. We can ask the staff to be less friendly and visible or the reverse," he said. "The changes must be small. If you were making changes every day it would be too disruptive. People wouldn't like it."
The stylish new facility has glass walls, black marble countertops, a polished bamboo floor and self-service tills which allow diners to scan their lunch while they and their trays are weighed by a set of scales built into the floor.
University staff who want to eat at the new restaurant have to sign a consent form agreeing to be watched.
From a control room, researchers can direct cameras built into the ceiling of the restaurant to zoom in on individual diners and their plates. They watch how people walk through the restaurant, what food catches their eye, whether they always sit at the same table and how much food they throw away.
"You're already watched by cameras everywhere like 'Big Brother' so what difference does it make here?" said Bert Visser, a plant scientist eating a chicken sandwich. "Presentation really influences what you choose."
Patricia van der Souven, a research assistant eating pumpkin soup and a salad, agreed: "One day they had blue lights and I didn't come in because the food didn't look nice. Blue light isn't warm, it's too business-like."
Koster said researchers can experiment with variables like noise, smells, furniture and food packaging. Is the same ham and cheese sandwich more appealing if it is wrapped in cellophane, under a glass cover or on offer in a vending machine?
They had already noticed that one table where the plastic chairs had pink flowery covers was always occupied.
Koster said observation is much better than questionnaires for consumer research as many choices are unconscious.
"I can imagine that music or smell make a difference," said Marco Hoeksma, a consumer scientist for a food company that is working with the university.
"It will be very interesting to see what you can manipulate," he said, tucking into a typical Dutch meat and potato croquette.
The new research center -- which cost almost 3 million euros ($4.26 million) -- was set up in partnership with French catering group Sodexho Alliance and other companies interested in using the restaurant to test their products.
The kitchen staff are also being spied on -- cameras watch how they work with new gadgets like adjustable work benches and cleaning hoses.
"It's not to see if they are working hard but how they are working," Koster said.
Koster said he also hopes the centre's work will help governments and health organizations promote a more balanced diet, particularly given the modern rise in eating out.
The center has an oral laboratory where sensors are attached to the face and neck to monitor how a food tester bites, chews, sucks and swallows a new product, for example a sauce that should taste creamy but contains less fat.
Koster wants to experiment on how to reduce food wastage and encourage people to sort leftovers into a biogas generator, perhaps by telling them how much energy they are saving.
"Eating and drinking are primal. How you were brought up to eat is very important so there's no point trying to use words or sanctions, but you can influence behavior more subtly," he said.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 11:06 AM
Zaobao.com: China's Party Congress Is Likely To Elevate Younger Professionals
According to Wall Street Journal, this week's Chinese Communist Party Congress is likely to advance a shift toward a new breed of elite officials familiar with economics and business and appreciative of links with the outside world.
Yeah...Yuri Andropov loved jazz, too.
The party's 17th National Congress, which starts today and ends Sunday, is expected to elevate members of this younger, more broadly educated cohort into senior party positions, and lead to similar changes in posts around China.
The shift will let the younger generation begin having more influence on official thinking and policy making, and could transform -- although gradually -- the way Chinese officials deal with foreign businesses.
Chinese lead mining collective bosses, call your offices.
The congress, which happens twice a decade, will ratify a new slate for the party's most important ruling bodies, including the Political Bureau, or Politburo, with about two dozen members who meet monthly, and its powerful Standing Committee, comprising the eight most senior men in the leadership. The congress will also endorse a broad political program. It is expected to emphasize the effort of party chief Hu Jintao, China's president, to push more balanced development to address the growing wealth gap and other effects of economic growth.
Many of China's current generation of top leaders, in their 60s, were trained as engineers and grew up in the decades before China ended its global isolation and embarked on market-oriented economic overhauls in 1978. Many in the next generation were trained in law or economics and came of age in the 1980s.
Two of the most prominent members of the younger cohort, which collectively is known as China's "fifth generation" of leaders, are Xi Jinping , now the top party official in Shanghai, and Li Keqiang , the party chief of Liaoning, an industrial province in the northeast. Messrs. Xi and Li, both of whom hold law degrees, [Eek! Commie lawyers! - F.G.] are expected to be elevated this week to the Standing Committee, about half of whose members are expected to change. One of the two men later may be tapped to succeed current party chief Mr. Hu when his tenure ends, which is expected in 2012.Mr. Hu isn't expected to designate a successor this week and will likely continue to preside over a standing committee that rules by consensus, rather than by dictates of a single leader.
Younger leaders are, like their predecessors, all loyal party members who are unlikely to push radical shift in policy.The new generation's experience in law and other social sciences fits a leadership working to bolster China's political and financial systems to match its booming economy, just as the prior generation's background reflected their era's preoccupation with building dams, bridges and other infrastructure.
The rise of the new generation could make it easier for foreign executives to move along projects or gain access to senior officials, since the younger leaders better understand business and often have more experience dealing with foreigners. Some have spent significant time working or studying in the U.S. or elsewhere abroad.
No doubt they love jazz, too.
Most of the top leadership, for now, will still be from the older generation. Newcomers may be in subsidiary jobs like vice-governors or vice-ministers, or leading advisors in government or think tanks. Still, they could be poised for more senior jobs later.
Well, the commies do know a lot about tanks...
The international community has been demanding Beijing become more active in global diplomacy. China has faced pressure to weigh in on Myanmar, though has claimed it doesn't usually intervene in other nation's domestic politics.
But analysts say that will change with the influx of more foreign-trained officials.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 9:54 AM
- First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.
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