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"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 26, 2007

Hollyweird hates America.

The Washington Times: Audiences reject Iraq war at box office

It doesn't matter how many Oscar winners are in front of or behind the camera — audiences are proving to be conscientious objectors when it comes to this fall's surge of antiwar and anti-Bush films.

Both "In the Valley of Elah" and, more recently, "Rendition" drew minuscule crowds upon their release, which doesn't bode well for the ongoing stream of films critical of the Iraq war and the Bush administration's wider war on terror.

"Rendition," which features three Oscar winners in key roles, grossed $4.1 million over the weekend in 2,250 screens for a ninth-place finish. A re-release of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" beat it, and it's 14 years old.

The Michael and Cathryn Borden Memorial Book of the Day.*

ZENIT.org: Catholic Tide Is Turning: Interview With Author David Hartline

Young people want something built on a solid foundation after seeing how the culture of death is destroying society, said author David Hartline.

Hartline is the author of the recent book The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism , published by Catholic Report.

In this interview with ZENIT, Hartline considers some of the changing trends in the Church that have come about through courageous Catholic leaders, seen especially in Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI.


Q: What motivated you to write "The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism"?

Hartline: While working for the Church, I began to notice a series of hopeful trends in the Church that few were discussing.

I wrote an article for my Catholic Report Web site that was picked up by a number of Internet sites and publications. Because of its popularity, I decided to write a book filled with data and stories concerning my observations.

Q: In what ways do you see the tide turning?

Hartline: It is turning in many ways. In a nutshell, wherever Church orthodoxy is taught the Church is flourishing. This extends to the young and old. In the book, I note that in dioceses where Church orthodoxy is emphasized, we see increases in seminarians and youth involvement in the Church.

For example in the United States, the Archdioceses of Denver, St. Louis, and Omaha, along with the Diocese of Lincoln, known for their clear observance of Church orthodoxy, have the same number of men studying for the priesthood than less-orthodox led dioceses that have five to 10 times as many Catholics.

Yes!

We also see vibrant parishes involved in Scripture study, catechism courses, apologetics, Eucharist adoration, rosary devotions, as well as programs to assist those in need. This is the springtime of evangelization that John Paul II spoke of some years ago. Because of these efforts, we are seeing many converts embrace the Church.

There have been some well-known converts in the last 20 years, starting with Scott Hahn, Deacon Alex Jones, Francis Beckwith and even bishops from other churches. However, these are just a few illustrative examples; there are millions of converts who came into the Church in the last few years who were well versed in the teachings of their previous churches, some who were even proudly anti-Catholic. However in their quest to prove Catholicism wrong, many found the Catholic Church to be the one Jesus founded.

Often, converts approach me at the various talks I give and say three things kept them from Catholicism; the Eucharist, Mary and the papacy. When I asked what brought them into the Church they basically give the same answer, the Eucharist, the Blessed Mother and the Holy Father, or the magisterium.

These were all subjects they knew little about until the read the early Church Fathers and saw the continuum of 2,000 years of the Church's history and teachings.

While there are hopeful signs in the United States and Latin America, and even glimmers of hope in Europe, the most vibrant areas of the Church can be found in Africa and Asia. In 2006 alone, some 8 million converts came into the Church and 3,000 priests were ordained in Asia and Africa.

On these continents, the faithful often have many struggles, political and religious oppression along with poverty. However, "the least of these" sure seem to be showing the wealthier parts of the Catholic world how to live and practice their faith.

Recently, a priest originally from Uganda was visiting the United States to raise money for his parish in Sudan. This visiting priest told me he was taken aback by some in the Western world who verbally attack the Church, some of whom were even members of the Church. He said such a thing would be unthinkable in much of Africa, since the Church, its teachings and graces, such as the sacraments, are embraced with awe, wonder and gratitude.

Finally, one can't talk about the turning tide without mentioning the worldwide influence of Mother Teresa and Mother Angelica. One was called to help the forgotten and the poorest of the poor, while the other was called to launch a worldwide television and radio ministry to evangelize and defend the Church throughout the four corners of the earth.

Q: In the United States you trace this turning tide to World Youth Day in Denver that occurred in 1993. Why do you see this event as a catalyst?

Hartline: There are three events I believe helped turn the tide.

The first took place with the election of John Paul II in 1978, the second was World Youth Day in Denver in 1993, and the third was the huge outpouring of love from millions of people both in Rome and throughout the four corners of the world after the death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI.

World Youth Day in 1993 was a stunning success. It almost had the quality of a biblical parable. There were some in the Church in the United States who warned John Paul II that the crowds would be small, since American youth and the Western world weren't very faithful.

However, the Holy Father knew that young people always desire the truth, which brought them in great numbers to Denver. After the stunning success of World Youth Day 1993, many vocations were realized along with a resurgence in youth ministry programs.

Additionally, the importance of the election of John Paul II cannot be understated. His strong leadership with emphasis on Church orthodoxy and Eucharistic and Marian devotions laid the groundwork for many, especially the young, to embrace these important gifts.

The travels of John Paul II gave him a platform to help spread the "good news" and to remind the faithful of the forgotten gifts of the Church. The death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI gave the world an unscripted and powerful image of the 2,000-year-old Church.

The outpouring of love shown to John Paul II through the 5 to 7 million who came to Rome, about one quarter of whom were under 25, gave the world a view of the Church that had been scarcely seen in the world press. The beautiful liturgy, the ancient customs such as the transfer of the body of the pontiff to St. Peter's, accompanied by the chanting of the litany of the saints, provided the world with a powerful image of the ancient Church.

The election of Benedict XVI, a close confidant of John Paul II, is keeping the continuum in place. Many skeptics were surprised at the joy, admiration and love directed to Benedict XVI by the youth at the 2005 World Youth Day in Germany.

The same emotion from the young was seen again in Brazil earlier this year. Many young people have embraced Benedict XVI's warning against the "dictatorship of relativism." With their own eyes, the young have seen how relativism and the culture of death are destroying societies, especially those in the West.

These young people want something built on a solid foundation. The connection Jesus made with Peter being the rock and giving him the keys to the kingdom (Matthew 16:16-19) is a powerful example of apostolic succession to the youth so shaken by cultural and religious trends that come and go with the wind.

Q: One chapter of your book focuses on the Catholic vote. What are your thoughts about the Catholic vote and the upcoming U.S. presidential election?

Hartline: This question is a microcosm of the whole turning-tide phenomena. Many faithful Catholics were angered by politicians who spoke about the importance of their Catholic faith, only to denounce or ignore the teachings of the faith.

However, as more Catholic prelates have taken a courageous stance in defending the Church, it has inspired not only more clergy to the same, but lay people as well. There is still a long way to go in this effort, but at least the battle has been joined.

* Huh? Look here.

Catholic Charities responds to disaster.

ZENIT.org: Catholic Charities On-site in Fiery California

People from Catholic Charities offered hot meals and technical resources to some 15,000 people sheltered from raging fires in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium.

Wildfires in Southern California have destroyed some 2,200 structures since Sunday. The flames burned through 431,000 acres, reaching from Ventura County in the north down to the U.S.-Mexican border. Though the strong Santa Ana winds and high temperatures that helped the fires to spread this week have died down, several blazes are not yet contained.

Catholic Charities reported that the agency also organized diocesan priests to provide spiritual and emotional care at the stadium. These and other aid efforts are being donated by the Catholic Charities organizations of California.

"Catholic Charities USA's Office of Disaster Response is working closely with local agencies to ensure that our network has the tools and resources it needs to respond to the fires," said Kim Burgo, director of disaster response.

Catholic Charities USA, which has been commissioned by the U.S. bishops to represent the Catholic community in times of domestic disaster, responds with emergency and long-term assistance as needed. Its Disaster Response Office connects the Church's social service agencies and disaster planning offices across the nation.


Catholic Charities USA, which has been commissioned by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to represent the Catholic community in times of domestic disaster, responds with emergency and long-term assistance as needed. Its Disaster Response Office connects the Church’s social service agencies and disaster planning offices across the nation.


From the Catholic Charities press release:

Southern California Wildfires 2007

Visit our wildfires update page.

Catholic Charities USA is collecting donations to support local agencies’ recovery efforts.

To contribute: Call (800) 919-9338

Donate online

Send checks to:
Catholic Charities USA
Southern California Wildfires 2007
PO Box 7068
Merrifield, VA 22116-7068

Catholic Charities USA is unable to accept contributions of food, clothing, blankets and other relief supplies.

From The Past Is Prologue Department:


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Israelinsider: New satellite photos: Syria razed facility to hide nuclear evidence

Newly released commercial satellite images show a suspected Syrian nuclear facility has been razed to the ground and wiped clean since it was hit September 6th by an Israeli air strike. American experts say that the demolition and cleanup suggests that Syria tried to conceal evidence of the facility's purposes: ''It took down this facility so quickly it looks like they are trying to hide something,'' a US expert said.

Animal Flesh Recipe of the Day.

Want a new way to devour delicious tuna? Bobby Flay and Food Network proudly bring you

Tuna Burgers with Tapenade Aioli


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


For the Tuna Burgers:

1 1/2 pounds fresh tuna steaks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper puree
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ciabatta rolls or French bread
Watercress


For the tapenade aioli:

1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, zested 1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine the tuna, Dijon, chipotle, oil, honey and green onion in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Shape the chopped tuna firmly into 8 round uniform patties about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (The burgers must be very cold to hold their shape when cooking.) Grill burgers for 3 minutes on each side for medium doneness.

"Doneness"?

For the tapenade aioli:

Combine olives, capers, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Add the mayonnaise and process until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serve burgers with ciabatta rolls and aioli. Garnish with watercress.

From The Death Of The West Department:

KCTV: Company Offers Fake Excuses For Absences
Hooky Anyone? Fake Excused Absence For Sale;Fake Notes Going For $25

Feeling like playing hooky, but nervous about getting caught? The Excused Absence Network has got your back.

For about $25, students and employees can buy excuse notes that appear to come from doctors or hospitals. Other options include a fake jury summons or an authentic-looking funeral service program complete with comforting poems and a list of pallbearers.

Some question whether the products are legal or ethical -- or even work -- but the company's owners say they're just helping people do something they would have done anyway.

Those who choose jury duty as an excuse to miss work enter their county courthouse information on the form.

Though the company's disclaimer advises the notes are "for entertainment purposes only," its Web site shows pictures of people sunbathing and playing golf using the fabricated excuses.

One testimonial says: "I've managed to take the nine weeks off using these templates! It couldn't be any easier!"

I know what you are thinking: "I would never use one of these, but I can see the attraction..."

Actually, for one New Jersey woman it wasn't so easy. She was arrested this year after using one of the company's notes to support her claim that she was too injured to appear in traffic court for a speeding ticket.

She was caught after court officials called the chiropractor listed and he told them he never heard of the woman.

Vision Matters co-founder Darl Waterhouse said people looking to trick their bosses probably won't get caught because of federal restrictions on the release of patient medical information.
But some are concerned about potential problems.

If bosses find out the notes are not authentic, they might think the medical provider helped in the scam, said Dr. John Z. Sadler, a psychiatry and clinical sciences professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Reputations could be unfairly damaged, and accreditation or license problems could arise, he said.

"I can't speak for doctors in general, but for me this practice sounds awful," said Sadler, also the director of UT-Southwestern's Program in Ethics in Science and Medicine. "This business practice seems comparable to the ways `diploma mills' and `term papers online' are wrongful."

Sadler said people who skip work without a legitimate reason are burdening conscientious employees.

Bingo!

"If I was the co-worker, I'd turn the rascal in," Sadler said.

Many businesses require documentation if an employee misses work. But several companies declined to reveal their specific policies or say whether the possibility their workers might use fake excuse notes is a concern.

"At Lockheed Martin, we have a highly ethical culture and it is extremely unlikely any of our employees would use these kinds of services," according to a statement from Lockheed Martin Aeronatics Co. in Fort Worth, Texas.

An annual nationwide survey of more than 300 human resource executives found an absenteeism rate of about 2.3 percent this year. That's down from 2.5 percent in 2006, the highest rate since 2.7 percent in 1999.

The survey was conducted by the Harris Interactive consulting firm for CCH Inc., which provides employment law information.

The executives surveyed said that two-thirds of employees who call in sick at the last minute are really missing work due to family issues, personal needs, stress and an entitlement mentality.

Personal illness accounts for only 34 percent of the absences.

The Vision Matters founders said many employees are fed up with working long hours for little pay, then having no flexibility if they needed to tend to a sick relative or attend their children's school activities.

"If employers would treat people the way they need to be treated, people wouldn't be using these notes," Liddell said.

Liddell and Waterhouse met about four years ago while working in security for a manufacturing company. After seeing several employees write fake doctor notes, the men launched the Internet business on about $300 each.

Liddell runs the company from a laptop in his home in Thackerville, a town of about 400 located a few miles north of the Oklahoma-Texas line. He won't reveal sales numbers, but says the Web site gets about 15,000 hits a month.

Waterhouse said customers have used the notes not only to miss work but to get out of gym membership contracts.

"There's no way we could think of every way to use it," he said.

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of Saint Quadragesimus, a confessor and a shepherd known for miracles. He lived at Policastro, Italy, and served as a subdeacon. According to Pope St. Gregory I the Great, he was responsible for the remarkable achievement of raising a man from the dead. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.


Today's reading is Romans 7:18-25.
Today's Responsorial Psalm is
Psalms 118:66, 68, 76-77, 93-94.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 12:54-59.


Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
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.


Memorare

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.


Anima Christi

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."


Divine Praises

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.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mmmm...hot redheaded Neanderthal babes...

AFP: Study: Some Neanderthals had red hair and fair complexions

Some of our cave-dwelling Neanderthal relatives probably had red hair and fair complexions, much like modern-day humans of Celtic origin, according to a study released Thursday.

The finding comes from the first such analysis of DNA evidence taken from Neanderthal fossils recovered from El Sidron in northern Spain and Monti Lessini, Italy.

An analysis of the DNA revealed that the ancient hominids carried a mutation in the MC1R gene that codes for a protein involved in the production of melanin -- a substance that gives skin its color and also protects skin against ultraviolet light.

Melanin, again.

In modern humans, primarily of European descent, mutations in the MC1R gene are thought to be responsible for red hair and pale skin by dampening the activity of the protein.

The mutation observed in the Neanderthal genes was different from the one documented in humans, but when scientists inserted the Neanderthal gene into cells in a test tube, it seemed to have the same effect on melatonin production as the modern human genes, according to the study published in Science.

The genetic analysis doesn't seal the deal, but since the fossil record of Neanderthals does not include any samples of skin or hair, it is the best guide available, said Michael Hofreiter, a paleogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig, Germany.
Hofreiter said the number of red-headed Neanderthals was probably pretty small, possibly just one percent of the population.

But it was unlikely to have been tied to just a few ethnic groups and therefore red-heads might have been seen in any part of Europe or Asia where the ancient hominid lived.

Neanderthals, whose ancestors diverged from that of modern humans about 300,000 years ago, colonized Europe and parts of Asia, dominating Europe until about 30,000 years ago.
The study suggests that the genes that confer pale skin and red hair evolved separately in humans and our closest extinct relatives.

From The Franco Was Right Department:

AP: Beatification of 498 from Spain's civil war will be Vatican's largest

First the militia fighters thought of hacking the bishop to death with an ax. In the end, they showed pity and shot him — one of hundreds of executions of Roman Catholic clergy as civil war erupted in Spain.

The bishop and 497 other people will be beatified Sunday by the Catholic Church, the last step before possible sainthood. The ceremony — the largest mass beatification in Vatican history — comes as Spain is taking a closer look at its painful past.

Bishop Cruz Laplana y Laguna was taken prisoner by leftist militiamen two days after the war broke out on July 17, 1936. The mayor of this town in central Spain offered to free him with a ruse: send police into the seminary where he was being held, have the bishop dress as a cop and sneak out.

Laplana y Laguna declined — he would not shed his vestments. Two weeks later, the bishop blessed his killers as they took aim and opened fire. "May God forgive you, as I forgive and bless you," he said, according to a book published by the Spanish Bishops Conference.

I'll bet the commies laughed at these last words.

He will be beatified along with 497 other people the Catholic Church has declared victims of religious persecution just before or during the Spanish civil war.

The 1936-39 war pitted an elected, leftist government against right-wing forces that rose up under Gen. Francisco Franco, who went on to win and preside over a nearly 40-year dictatorship that was staunchly supported by the Catholic Church.

Violence against the clergy had been simmering since 1931, when a republic was declared in Spain. Leftist forces targeted the church as an institution they saw as a symbol of wealth, repression and inequality.

The violence was one of Franco's pretexts for launching his rebellion, and it intensified after the war started, with churches in government-held areas burned and more and more clergy attacked.

The Catholic Church says there is no official death figure, but estimates nearly 7,000 clergy were killed in Spain from 1931 to 1939.

Except for seven lay people, all of those being beatified Sunday were clergy — priests, deacons, seminarians, monks and nuns, ranging in age from 16 to 78.

Some in Spain question the beatification's timing — three days before Parliament is to pass a Socialist-sponsored law seeking to make symbolic amends to victims of the war and the Franco dictatorship.

The bill mentions people persecuted for their religious beliefs, but for the most part it is an unprecedented formal condemnation of the Franco regime, the executions of civilians by pro-Franco militia and summary postwar trials of people accused of opposing his regime.

Once a socialist, always a commie.

Critics say the Vatican, which since the late 1980s has beatified nearly 500 other clergy killed in the war, is now hitting back at the government by choosing to beatify so many more all at once.

Christian Networks, a grouping of lay Catholic organizations, said the church should apologize for supporting Franco. "As the church has not asked forgiveness for what happened, this beatification is inopportune," it said.

Franco was right.

The church insists research has been under way for decades, and the ceremony is being held now because Pope Benedict XVI finished signing the decrees only two months ago.

"The church works on this very slowly and with its own calendar, which is not shaped by any other calendar, much less the political calendars of any government," said Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, secretary-general of the Spanish Bishops Conference.

The government has clashed with the church by legalizing gay marriage and instituting other social reforms, but has taken care not to pick a fight this time.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says he respects the beatification as much as he respects the civil war atonement bill.

Jose Andres Torres Mora, a Socialist lawmaker who sponsored the war amends bill, will be among those at the beatification ceremony in St. Peter's Square.

Torres Mora's great-uncle, Juan Duarte Martin, is being beatified. He was a 24-year-old deacon when the militia tortured and killed him. "I am honoring him both ways," the lawmaker said.

From The Brutalizing Our Women Department:

Take your kids out of schools that do not make them wear uniforms, kiddies.

The Wall Street Journal: Fashion Bullies Attack -- In Middle School
As More Designers Target Kids, Label-Consciousness Grows; The Snarky 'Nice Clothes'

Aryana McPike, a sixth-grader from Springfield, Ill., has a closet full of designer clothes from Dolce & Gabbana, Juicy Couture, True Religion and Seven For All Mankind. But her wardrobe, carefully selected by a fashion-conscious mother, hasn't won her friends at school.

Kids in her class recently instructed her that she was wearing the wrong brands. She should wear Apple Bottoms jeans by the rapper Nelly, they told her, and designer sneakers, such as Air Force 1 by Nike. She came home complaining to her mother that "all the girls want to know if I will ever come to school without being so dressed up."

Teen and adolescent girls have long used fashion as a social weapon. In 1944, Eleanor Estes wrote "The Hundred Dresses," a book about a Polish girl who is made fun of for wearing the same shabby dress to school each day. The film "Mean Girls" in 2004 focused on fashion-conscious cliques among high-school teens. But today, guidance counselors and psychologists say, fashion bullying is reaching a new level of intensity as more designers launch collections targeted at kids.

As a result, an increasing number of school and community programs focused on girl-on-girl bullying are addressing peer pressure and the sizable role clothing plays in girls' identity. In Pennsylvania, California, Maryland and several other states, for instance, community groups and some schools have started Club or Camp Ophelia, a pair of programs developed by Penn State professor and author Cheryl Dellasega that teach girls relationship skills. A "Bully Quiz" the girls take asks, "Have you stopped being friends with someone because she wore clothes you didn't like?"

Dorothy Espelage, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who has studied teenage behavior for 14 years, says she has seen an increase in "bullying related to clothes." She attributes that to the proliferation of designer brands and the display of labels in ads. In the more than 20 states where she has studied teens, she has been surprised by how kids revere those they perceive to have the best clothes. Having access to designer clothing affords some kids "the opportunity to become popular -- and that protects you and gives you social power and leverage over others," she says.

Over the past three years, numerous designers have targeted the lucrative children's and teens' markets. Little Marc, the kids' clothing label by New York designer Marc Jacobs, expanded its line this winter and dropped its price, making it more accessible to a greater number of shoppers. The French luxury label Chloé, Milan-based Missoni and Italian designer Alberta Ferretti are launching new kids' labels for spring or summer next year. Other designer kids' lines include Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and Burberry, while Michael Kors, Coach, Dooney & Bourke and Dior have been targeting teens or kids with accessories.

Retailers, too, have rushed to cash in, opening offshoots of their boutiques specifically for children. Cantaloup and Scoop, which sell designer clothing for women in New York, now have Cantaloup Kids and Scoop Kids boutiques that carry a similar selection of designers for their customers' daughters and sons.

The greater focus on fashion in teen magazines and on TV has increased girls' awareness of designer labels. "The market has become more sophisticated," says Fiona Coleman, children's trends editor for WGSN, a fashion-consulting service. Kids today follow not only what celebrities wear, but also what their children wear, she says. Brooklyn Beckham, the son of soccer star David Beckham, was photographed wearing Junior Dolce & Gabbana in magazines as a toddler, propelling the brand into the limelight. Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon, who has her own stylist, has appeared in magazines wearing Juicy Couture tracksuits.

School guidance counselor Angie Dooley sees the love of labels at Lawrence Junior High School in Fairfield, Maine, where some girls wear the same few brand-name items they own again and again. "They don't want anyone to know that's all they have," Ms. Dooley says.

In one study, more than one-third of middle-school students responded "yes" when asked whether they are bullied because of the clothes they wear. Susan M. Swearer, associate professor of school psychology at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, surveyed a total of more than 1,000 students at five Midwestern middle schools from 1999 to 2004, with about 56% of the sample female. While the prevalence of fashion bullies was greater in wealthy cities and towns, where more designer clothing is available, she found the problem is significant in poorer communities, too.

Teens and adolescents are expected to wear not just any designer brands but the "right" ones.
"The better brands you wear, the more popular you are," says Becky Gilker, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Sherwood Park in the Canadian province of Alberta. "If you don't wear those things you get criticized." In many schools, the most expensive designer goods, such as those by Chanel or Louis Vuitton, have the highest social ranking among girls. But popular teen brands such as American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale are also important. Miss Gilker says Hollister and Roxy are big logos at her school.

But even the wrong color can bring put-downs, Miss Gilker notes. When she wears pink, she says, "I get the snarky 'Nice clothes!' when people walk by in the halls." Her mom, Karin Gilker, who is 44, says she has tried to explain to her daughter that she should ignore such comments and wear what she likes. She also has tried explaining that "pink looks wonderful on her -- she's a blonde -- and she looks really good in it."

Several new programs are trying to help parents, teachers and girls cope with bullying. In Maine, a nonprofit called Hardy Girls Healthy Women has developed a curriculum that has caught on at a number of junior high schools and is being adopted in after-school programs in Florida, Ohio, New York and other states. The program encourages young girls to build coalitions and gets them to look more closely at the messages they get from the media, including those about fashion and clothing.

In June, a national conference on "Relational Aggression, Mean Girls and Other Forms of Bullying" in Las Vegas drew more than 800 teachers, educators and counselors. Many of the sessions focused on the role the media plays in putting social pressure on girls regarding fashion and appearance.

Susan Bowman, vice president of Developmental Resources, a Chapin, S.C., educational consulting firm that put on the conference, told the audience that for many girls, the answer to the question "What do I wear?" seems to define who they are. In 2005, Developmental Resources began holding a series of "Mean Girls" workshops for educators around the country.
The workshops, she says, explore why fashion is such an important part of a girl's identity, and how that, in turn, "creates even more social pressure on the 'have nots.' "

Some psychologists believe that fashion bullying is happening at younger and younger ages.
Megan Flynn, director of children's services at Westchester Jewish Community Services, says she has recently begun using an anti-bullying program with girls in the fifth and sixth grades, as well as with older students. The program, she says, provides "a process where they can take a closer look at the messages they get" in the media.

Aryana's mom, Ava McPike, feels it is important that Aryana not be pressured to conform to the dressed-down standard at her school. She believes that generally other people favor those who "look good -- the cute kids," says Ms. McPike, who drives to Neiman Marcus in St. Louis, Mo., with her daughter to help pick out clothes. But Ms. McPike does give in every now and then. She recently bought two Ralph Lauren dresses, in pink and green, and her daughter rejected them, because, her mom suspects, they wouldn't pass muster with her classmates.

Did you ever notice how Capitol Hill security is defenseless against loony left-fascists?

AFP: Protestor painted in 'blood' accosts Condoleezza Rice


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A woman with her hands painted blood-red confronted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the US Congress Wednesday, shouting "war criminal" before being hauled away by Capitol security.

I love my country and all that, but...

...we will pay a price for brutalizing our women so. [Yes, kiddies, war is brutal. And that is why the National Guard exists.]

Army Times: Mother, daughter inspire each other to enlist

A South Boston mother and daughter have joined the Virginia Army National Guard together — recruited by their brother and uncle.

Wanda Seate, 40, and her daughter, Ashley Elliott, 21, will leave Thursday for Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Their recruiter was Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rhew, Wanda’s brother and Ashley’s uncle.

Last spring, Rhew was explaining to Elliott how the Guard could help her realize her dream of going to college.

When Seate heard his pitch, “I told Jon, if I was young enough, I’d go in right away,” Seate recalled Tuesday.

“You know, they just raised the age limit to 42,” Rhew told his sister.

“Where’s the paper?” Seate told him. “I’m going.”

And Elliott went, too.

“It’s a privilege for me to be here to serve my country,” Seate said. “It’s always something I’ve wanted to do.”

Evil nazis extinguish the hopes of harmless and innocent criminals just trying to feed their kids glorious American junk food.

The Welcome To My Nightmare Act goes down in flames!

Dallas Morning News: Senate defeats DREAM Act over immigration amnesty concerns

The DREAM Act failed in the Senate on Wednesday, dashing the latest and best chance Congress had to pass immigration legislation.

The bill would have paved a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants if they attended college or entered the military.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, was ready with an amendment that might have made the measure more palatable to some Republicans, but the bill did not get that far.

Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration legislation earlier this year. And some Senators have tried a piecemeal approach, but that does not seem to be working, either – further evidence that the chances of any legislation passing this year are slim.

"The debate has changed," said Sen. Dick Durbin, the bill's sponsor. "There are people who are using this issue politically, creating a lot of fear and spreading a lot of misinformation."

Dick.

The tension created by Congress' failure to overhaul a broken immigration system is evident across the country – where local and state governments are taking it upon themselves to address illegal immigration's problems.

About 40 states, including Texas, have stiffened requirements for driver's licenses, restricting the ability of illegal immigrants to get what many consider an invaluable document. Scores of small communities have passed ordinances to crack down on day-laborer sites. And still others, such as Farmers Branch, have adopted tough rental-housing measures that have been challenged by U.S. lawyers.

Tamar Jacoby, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute who has advised the Texas Employers for Immigration Reform, said the issue is apparently too polarizing.

"The problem is the public is scared and kind of in shock," Ms. Jacoby said, "and members of Congress want to get re-elected and they don't think they can if they go too far on this issue."

Instant Translation: Democracy sucks when the majority is a bunch of poopy heads. [sorry]

The bill's opponents called it another crack at amnesty for law-breakers. The White House indicated it opposed the bill but had not threatened to veto it.

I know it's wrong, but Taser stories can be funny.

From WFTV:

Here is an update on everybody's current fave...

University Of Florida Police Cleared In Use Of Taser On Student

University of Florida police were justified in using a Taser against a student who refused to stop questioning Sen. John Kerry on campus last month, according to a state investigation released Wednesday.

VIDEO: Student Shot With Taser During Press Conference
READ: FDLE Report On Tasering Of UF Student (PDF)

Some had questioned the use of force in using the stun gun against student Andrew Meyer, leading to the investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. A summary of the agency's report was released Wednesday.

The report details a campus incident involving Meyer on Sept. 11, a week before the Kerry event, that investigators state shed light on the student's "mindset." During the Sept. 11 incident, a groundskeeper reported seeing Meyer argue on campus with supporters of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid. The groundskeeper told investigators he heard Meyer tell a friend "if he liked what he had seen ... that he should go to the Kerry speech and he would really see a show."

An agent provocateur, no doubt.

The report then details the Taser incident at the Kerry speech. According to the report, the events unfolded like this:

Meyer forced his way to a microphone after organizers already had announced that another person's question was going to be the last one. Meyer then began giving a speech that used a crass term for oral sex in referencing President Bill Clinton's impeachment. An organizer gave a signal for the microphone to be cut off.

Then, officers approached, intending to escort Meyer from the building. Meyer refused to go along and attempted to break away from the officers. Other officers stepped in to help as Meyer continued to resist. Sgt. Eddie King tried to use his Taser on Meyer, but the unit malfunctioned. Officer Nicole Mallo then applied her Taser for five seconds.

The report states that officers did not want to use pepper spray on Meyer because the room was crowded with spectators. They also concluded during the incident that using force to restrain Meyer might have hurt him more than a Taser.

"In short, the FDLE determined that our officers acted well within state guidelines," university President Bernie Machen said in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

Two officers who were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation were reinstated Wednesday, Machen said.

Rob Griscti, Meyer's attorney, said he had not yet reviewed the report and had no immediate comment. The journalism major is known for posting practical jokes online on his Web site.

The scuffle between Meyer and police started during the Sept. 17 speech by Kerry when Meyer refused to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up, police said. The videotaped altercation and Meyer's cries of "Don't Tase me bro!" were played frequently on the Internet.

The report says the officers' intent was to escort Meyer from the auditorium, but he broke away and refused to follow the officers' instructions.

"Officers decide not to escalate to hard empty hand strikes, kicks, knees or baton ... (it) would have looked like the officers were beating Meyer into submission," the report said.

The report, which has Meyer's name and that of other students blacked out, said the officers did what was necessary to control the student.

"Our purpose is, and has always been, to ensure a civil and safe environment where the many types of campus activities and open discourse can occur," said Police Chief Linda Stump.

Meyer has been charged by police for resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, but the State Attorney's Office has not yet decided whether to file formal charges.

Spencer Mann, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, said the decision may be made some time next week.

But there are oodles and oodles more...

October 10, 2007: Boynton Beach Man Arrested For Beating, Tasering Opossum

September 28, 2007: UCF Student Government Votes Down Proposed Taser Ban

September 21, 2007: Man With Quran Tasered After Refusing To Put Hands Up
Ocala police fired a Taser at a man because he refused to put his hands up and put down his Quran. Now the man is claiming his civil rights were violated.

Police asked 49-year-old Jeffrey Shields to show his hands, but he refused, saying he had his Quran in his waistband and didn't want to drop it.


August 15, 2007: Bear Dies After Being Tasered Twice By Police
When police arrived, they first tried to scare the bear back into the woods at the advice of Florida Fish and Wildlife. But the bear wouldn't respond and kept roaming from house to house, finally going inside one of the garages that had four people inside.

Police said they typically would pull out a gun, but with all the people nearby they used the taser, striking the bear twice. They then lassoed it around the neck to subdue it and that's when the bear suddenly died.


July 31, 2007: Driver Laughs While Being Tasered After Causing Crash

June 29, 2007: Deputy Forced To Taser Dog During Fatal Deltona Attack

June 27, 2007: Man Suing Universal After Being Tasered In Parking Lot

June 7, 2007: New Details In Federal Investigation Of Local Taser User

April 6, 2007: Teacher Suing After Being Tackled, Tasered By Deputy

Thanks to Steve Czaban for the heads up.

Beer makes you crazy. (Part Two)

Houston Chronicle: Mom charged after cheerleaders' high-speed stunt to grab beer

A woman has been charged with letting her 15-year-old daughter lean out of a school van on a highway to get beer from an sport utility vehicle full of boys, authorities said Wednesday.

"Mom" seems like an exaggeration.

Terry Kisling, 47, was driving a van of Norris High School cheerleaders to a football game in Nebraska City earlier this month when a group of boys pulled up next to them, principal John Skretta said.

One of the girls apparently signaled to the boys and asked for a beer, and Kisling inched the van closer to the SUV, letting her daughter lean out to grab the can, Skretta said.

"To say that we were shocked and taken aback would be an understatement," said Skretta, who said he learned of the incident last week and immediately began investigating with Lancaster County authorities. "It's almost unfathomable."

Almost.

The vehicles didn't touch and nobody was hurt, and the beer was passed around the van for several girls to drink, Skretta said.

Kisling was charged with procuring alcohol for minors, contributing to the delinquency of minors and reckless driving, said Chief Deputy Mike Holland of the Otoe County sheriff's department.
Kisling is due in court Nov. 26.

The case was transferred once school and Lancaster County officials determined that the incident happened in Otoe County.

Kisling, one of many parents who volunteer to drive students to school activities in district-owned vans, will not be allowed to drive students for the school again, Skretta said.

A woman responding to a message left by The Associated Press at a telephone number listed for Kisling said Wednesday that the listing was wrong.

The girls were disciplined by the school and would likely not face additional charges, Skretta said. He would not say how the school punished the students.

Skretta and Holland would not identify the students involved, but Kisling's daughter, 15-year-old Marie Kisling, was listed Wednesday afternoon on the school's Web site as a varsity cheerleader.

Still, she sounds very nice.

Holland said the road Kisling drove on, Nebraska Highway 2, has two lanes in each direction separated by a grass median, with a speed limit of 65 mph. The schools are about 50 miles apart in southeast Nebraska.

Beer makes you crazy. (Part One)

News Interactive: Barmaid crushed cans with breasts

A barmaid has been fined for crushing beer cans between her bare breasts while an off-duty colleague has been fined for hanging spoons from her friend's nipples.

The 31-year old barmaid pleaded guilty in the local magistrates court to twice exposing her breasts to patrons at the Premier Hotel in Pinjarra, south of Perth.

Oh...Western Australia. That explains a whole bunch.

The woman "is alleged to have also crushed beer cans between her breasts during one of the offences", in breach of hotel licensing laws, police from the Peel district of Western Australia said.

The barmaid and the hotel manager were both fined $1000, while an off-duty barmaid was fined $500 for helping to hang spoons from the woman's nipples, police said.

"It sends a clear message to all licensees in Peel that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour in our licensed premises," local police superintendent David Parkinson said.

Still, she sounds very nice...

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of Saint Minias, a martyred soldier of Florence, Italy, sometimes called Miniato. He was martyred for making converts in the reign of Emperor Trajanus Decius. An abbey near Florence bears his name. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.


Today's reading is Romans 6:19-23.
Today's Responsorial Psalm is
Psalms 1:1-4, 6-6.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 12:49-53.


Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
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.


Memorare

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.


Anima Christi

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."


Divine Praises

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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The magic that is Frank and Ernest.



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Eliot Spitzer is a power-mad poopy head...

WABC-TV: Senate GOP strikes back at Spitzer's illegal immigrant plan

...oh, yeah...he is a traitor, too.

The Senate's Republican majority moved Monday to try to block Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to make it easier for illegal immigrants to receive driver's licenses.

The bill to reverse Spitzer's order drew some of the most heated and personal attacks seen in years on the state Senate floor, pitting upstate and downstate politicians against each other.

Some white upstate Senators felt they were being called racist and took offense to comments Sen. Kevin Parker made indicating that New York City was more valuable as a terrorist target than upstate regions.

"I'm sorry everybody is so thin skinned they are hurt by my comments, but I have a lot of people in my district and a lot of people in this state who are hurt by this legislation," the Brooklyn Democrat said.

The Senate's license bill, which passed 39 to 19, would require applicants for a driver's license to be in the country legally. Spitzer's plan will end that requirement in December, by no longer requiring a Social Security number to get or renew a license.

The debate was part of an uncertain special session that could include action on pay raises for legislators and judges and tax breaks despite a projected deficit.

Spitzer has said he can start the new policy in December without the Legislature's approval.

"We will change those rules," Spitzer said. "If somebody will challenge it, we'll see what the courts will do." He said he believes his administration is within its legal authority to change the rules.

You see, kiddies, ol' Spitztoon and others who lust for unlimited power over the proletariat are counting on the invaders to vote for them, legally [after the next amnesty] or illegally. Even Repansycans [with a few noble exceptions] are immune to the siren song of new voters who are beholden...

"This governor is so ill advised, there's an arrogance to it that is hard to understand," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

The Assembly's Democratic majority has supported the Democratic governor's plan, although some Democrats may side with the opposed Republican minority. The Senate's measure, if passed as expected in that chamber, wouldn't become law without the Assembly's support.

Bruno said the attempt to change the policy on illegal immigrants was unconstitutional, contradicted the REAL ID Act and opposed the guidelines provided by the 911 commission.

After leaving a closed-door conference with Senate Democrats, Spitzer said the discussion was ongoing.

"Reasonable people will disagree on tough issues," Spitzer said. "That's part of the discourse we have ... I think some of the rhetoric that has been imposed and brought into this issue has not only been overheated but I would say counterproductive."

Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism adviser to three presidents, and William Bratton, the former commissioner of the New York City Police Department have supported the governor's plan.

Republicans argued Spitzer's plan wouldn't help an illegal immigrant get insurance and the roads would be no safer.

"It is conceivable that some insurers will sell an insurance policy absent a social security number, but they would be in the minority," said Michael Barry, vice president of public relations for the Insurance Information Institute.

Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith said he and most of his Democratic caucus support the governor's plan.

"This is the right way to go, given that Washington has failed to act" on illegal immigration, Smith said on the Senate floor.

Meanwhile, the Assembly's minority Republican caucus called on Democrats to help pass legislation with new amendments when they go into session Tuesday. The new items would also prevent Spitzer's plan from going through.

A spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Democrats had no comment on how they would vote on the issue if forced to.

A Siena College poll released last week found 72 percent of voters were opposed to "the governor's plan to allow undocumented immigrants to get New York driver's licenses."

Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco of Schenectady said Republicans plan to force a vote on the issue Tuesday, if the Assembly goes into session.

The session came the same day that Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola filed a lawsuit to prevent implementation of the new license policy.

Cretinous has-beens should 'save' electricity (and our brain cells) by no longer performing.

AP: Rockers renew 1970s anti-nuclear theme
Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash are putting a new millennium twist on their 1970s anti-nuclear message, urging Congress not to approve federal loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants.

Bush's Magical Mystical Meteorological Machine continues to perplex the cognoscenti.

The Post and Courier: Hurricane scientists hopeful of better forecasts with drone

Roto-Reuters: U.S. weather watchers turn to furry forecasters
With confidence in private weather forecasters slipping in the wake of some prediction gaffes during the past couple of years, perhaps woolly worms and groundhogs can take up the slack.

Roto-Reuters: Mixed Atlantic hurricane season puzzles experts
Judge the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season by the 13 storms so far, and it looks like a relatively busy year. But look at the number of days a hurricane has swirled in the Atlantic, or use other measures of a storm season's ferocity, and 2007 has been surprisingly benign.

The Glorious People's Animatronics Commissariat must have recently received a fresh roll of Soviet-era duct tape.

How else to explain the nonsense vomiting forth from Havana?

AP: Castro: Bush could spark nuclear war

In case the duct tape fails CowardlyCuriousGeorge FlyingBushMonkey is ready...

AP: Bush touts Cuban life after Castro
President Bush on Wednesday blistered Cuba's regime and challenged the international community to help the people of the communist island shed Fidel Castro's rule and become a free society.

Why don't they just use an empty 40 ouncer?

TVNZ: Pimp up your ride with a loo

If you're stuck in traffic when Mother Nature calls, Japan's Kaneko Sangyo Co. has developed the loo for you.

The manufacturer of plastic car accessories has drawn back the curtain on its new portable toilet for cars.

The toilet comes with a curtain large enough to conceal users and a plastic bag to collect waste.

"The commode will come in handy during major disasters such as earthquakes or when you are caught in a traffic jam," a company official told reporters.

If only the brilliant billionairess could be persuaded to write just one more, we would be treated to tales of happily molested boy wizards!

KGO-TV: "Harry Potter" Author Says Dumbledore Is Gay, yet, not surprisingly, unhappy

On a serious note, kiddies, I am sure that if there were wizards and they buggered little boys in their charge, they would use their magic so the boys would not grow up depressed, suicidal, anti-social, anti-family, anti-woman, anti-reality drug addicts.

Wizards are cool that way.

HOLY CRAP!

That makes 7000 of these things!

Welcome to my nightmare...

...or, the invasion of America continues apace.

CNSNews.com: DREAM Act Won't Spark More Illegal Immigration, Dem Says

The Senate on Wednesday will consider the DREAM Act, a bill that would open a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children and who prove themselves to be productive members of society. The bill has been derided as amnesty by conservative critics. Full Story

The Episcopal crackup continues apace.

Buggery disguised as Christianity? How can this be?


Simple. Sodomy is the New Black.



CNSNews.com: California Diocese Okays Same-Sex Couple Blessings


The Episcopal Diocese of California on Saturday approved religious blessings of homosexual couples, opening the way for same-sex couples to receive the same recognition the church gives to heterosexual couples.


In a statement on the Web site of Oasis California, the homosexual ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of California (EDC), Bishop Marc Andrus pledged to make "lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders" (LGBT) feel welcome in the church.


"I will continue to represent the Diocese in the ongoing Church and Communion-wide conversations on the full inclusion of LGBT people," Andrus said. "I think the resolution properly augments my pastoral goal of caring alike for all of the people of the diocese, not reinforcing damaging distinctions."


Andrus did not respond to requests for comment by press time Monday.

One of the diocese's approved prayers instructs the minister to say that God "befriend[s] those who wander in loneliness and shame, those oppressed because of difference, those who do not know the value of their unique and sacred gift."


Another prayer asks God to "look mercifully upon these two women/men who come to you seeking your blessing, and assist them with your grace, that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep the promises and vows they make."


Earlier this month, clergy and lay people in the Anglican churches of Ottawa and Montreal voted to allow bishops to bless homosexual unions. But the bishops of those dioceses said they would need time to consider the request before allowing rites to be issued.


Religious groups in the United States have also questioned the efforts to further incorporate homosexuals into the Episcopal Church, which first ignited controversy with the selection of an openly homosexual bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003.


Robert Lundy, a spokesman for the American Anglican Council (AAC), told Cybercast News Service that the AAC is "disappointed" in the decision, because it is "clearly against what the Bible says."


The Episcopal Church is the American arm of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide Protestant denomination with an estimated 75 million members. The AAC is a theologically conservative organization that believes the Episcopal Church has distanced itself too much from its foundational beliefs.


"Our position is that we've got to hold to the teachings of the Bible," Lundy said. "We've got to be accountable to one another, and if someone falls away from what Jesus taught, we ought to restore them in love."


Lundy was skeptical that oversight from a higher-ranking Anglican governing body would reverse the decision by the California diocese, considering a statement over the weekend from the Archbishop of Canterbury - the head of the Anglican Communion -that "the Bishop and the Diocese [is] the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the 'National Church.'"


"Our checks and our balances consist of the good faith other Christians will hold to what the Bible tells them to do," Lundy said. "When they sort of toss that out the window, your checks and balances don't add up."

The Pelosi/Reid Era of Sunshine and Gumdrops continues apace.

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun?
When the law break in
How you gonna go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting on death row?
(From The Guns of Brixton by The Clash)

First, I present the typical AmericaLast Media opinion of the latest totalitarian attempt to gut The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America [Do not fool yourselves, kiddies, that is exactly what they want to do. Why else would they mess with something that has worked for two hundred years?]:

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TV Week [???]: House Passes Federal Media Shield Law

Warning that attempts to force reporters to reveal confidential sources are endangering the public’s right to know, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved what would be the first federal media shield law, despite the Bush administration’s strong opposition.

Here is a poorly reasoned opinion on the subject by someone who has gotten too much sun in Hawai'i*:

Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Protect press sources in federal court cases

Rep. Neil Abercrombie, the lone Democrat to vote against a media shield law, is correct in arguing that the First Amendment alone should protect journalists from disclosing their confidential sources. Unfortunately, the federal courts have ruled otherwise and a shield law is needed to establish a modicum of protection with consistency throughout the U.S. judicial system.

The bill was approved by an overwhelming 398-21 vote in the House, more than enough to override a veto promised by President Bush.


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Sorry about the warning signs, kiddies, but OSHA mandates clear marking of stories that will kill brain cells.

*Hey, what's with that apostrophe?

Silly me. That's no apostrophe, that's a glottal stop.

From The My Idiot Italian Cousins Department:

Roto-Reuters: Italian prisoners to make eco-friendly ice cream

Inmates from a prison just outside Milan will help Italy fight global warming by making environment-friendly ice cream from local milk and berries and fruits, Italian farmers' group Coldiretti said on Thursday.

Oy vey!

Ice cream lovers will be able to taste a gelato fresh from behind the bars in February when a small group of inmates from a high security wing of the prison in Opera, a few km south of Milan, start their in-house production.

"We will make an experimental, artisan product, using fresh local raw materials which are not genetically modified," Marco Molinelli and Roberto Saini from Jobinside company which is running the project, were quoted by Coldiretti as saying.

Every such effort counts in Italy which lags far behind targets set under the Kyoto Protocol for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) output.

Let us hope this silliness blows over before it infects something important like Ferrari.

Coldiretti, which is spearheading a "zero kilometre" campaign, has been urging Italians to produce and buy food made from local products in order to cut emissions of heat-trapping CO2 linked to transporting goods.

Coldiretti says Italians spend more than 5 billion euros ($7.13 billion) a year on some 600 flavours of ice-cream.

Fyodor Presents: The only word that carries the firepower of both sticks AND stones.

As if you could not guess...

TA-DA! The word is naphthalene.

The Daily Utah Chronicle: Opening up about the 'N-word'
The "N-word" is often used carelessly in media and music, and in most cases, people are uninformed about the deep, hurtful meanings behind it, a scholar from Chicago told a crowd of about 100 students and faculty Thursday. "My talk is not to change people's practice, but I want them to think about the word and think about the context and the historical usage," said David Stovall, a professor in ...

Ha! Just goofin' with ya, homies. The word is nigger.

Macomb Daily: Harrison trustee defends use of N-word in after-hours dispute
Harrison Township Trustee James Ulinski has defended his use of a racially derogatory term against three local residents he claimed had threatened to harm him and his family over a zoning dispute.

What? The world didn't come to an end?

Louisville Courier-Journal: 'N-word' put to rest at NKU
The school's collegiate chapter of the NAACP will hold a mock funeral at 6 p.m. for racial slurs and other derogatory words. The burial will be part of a larger program called "Stop ... Using Those Words."

Nobody got lynched, right? Everybody still with me?

Eurweb: WHO SAYS NAS' NEW CD WON'T BE NAMED AFTER THE N-WORD?: Rapper has total support of label prez LA Reid.
Apparently Fox news got it all wrong when they reported that the powers that be at Def Jam said the label was not releasing Nas new project named after the N-word.

Oops. Silly me. I forgot...NIGGER is just a fucking word!

Philadelphia Daily News: Nas insisting on 'N'-word album title
To some, it's a hurtful racial epithet. For Nas, it's an album title. The rapper has told MTV News that he would indeed be naming his new album after the N-word. And he denied earlier reports that the album's title would be spelled "N--a," considered in some circles a less inflammatory epithet. He said the disc is due out Dec. 11. "[People] shouldn't trip off the [album's] title; the ...

Yes, it is an ugly and hurtful word no man with even the smallest modicum of sense and good taste should use in normal conversation.

Fox News: Nas Denies Reports That Def Jam Nixing N-Word Album Title
The rapper told MTV News that he would indeed be naming his new album after the N-word. And he denied earlier reports that the album's title would be spelled "N---a," considered in some circles a less inflammatory epithet.

Of course, I am trying to edumacate you kiddies by using some rhetorical devices to shock and amaze you.

MuchMusic.com: Nas' "N-Word" Controversy
Nas is causing quite a stir with the name of his next album. The Queens' NY rapper has revealed that his upcoming CD will be named after the n-word and unsurprisingly some people are upset. The MC has come under fire from Fox News and prominent black leaders for promoting hate.

So, to bottom-line the whole kerfuffle for you...Nobody should say [or type] "nigger", but there are many worse things people can say and do.

Northwest Florida Daily News: No slurs allowed in FWBHS play
On the heels of a Niceville High School coach’s suspension for using “the N word,” another high school will omit the slur from an upcoming play.

About Me

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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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