Wednesday, March 31, 2010
No. 1 cable news host Bill O’Reilly said Tuesday that he will personally write a check to cover $16,500 in legal costs for the father of a fallen U.S. Marine who sued the members of a church who picketed his son’s funeral.
Sold by her parents when she was 11, the Egyptian-born Hall spent nearly two years living on a bare, dirty mattress in a windowless garage on a tree-lined street of opulent, Mediterranean-style homes.
There, under the noses of her neighbors on Pacific Grove in Northpark [Irvine], Shyima worked 20-hour days as a domestic servant to an Egyptian couple and their five children.
She was denied schooling and trips to the doctor and dentist. She was not allowed to sit down to meals with the family. She was forced to wash her own clothes by hand in
The family called her "stupid girl," and worse, instead of using her name.
She was rescued by ICE and now has been adopted by an American family. Shyima is attending college and works in a local mall.
Her ambition? To become an ICE agent and help others caught in human slave trafficking.
God bless her.
According to the website, the officers are worried about Lohan's "erratic behavior" and "attitude," which they say appears to have grown progressively worse over the last few months.You know what? I only know Lindsay Lohan as a crazy person. I haven't any clue or independent recollection of what it was that made her a celebrity in the first place.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Additional reading: The story is false. It is unsupported by its own documentation. Indeed, it gives every indication of being part of a coordinated campaign against Pope Benedict, rather than responsible journalism.
And: But it was the New York Times’ front page of March 25 that demonstrated just how low those determined to bring the Church down were prepared to go.
To provide context to this article, I was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003. During those years, I presided over four canonical criminal cases, one of which involved Father Lawrence Murphy. Two of the four men died during the process. God alone will judge these men.Here is the man who presided over the rial of Fr. Murphy, the Wisconsin priest whose case was reported by the New York Times as "implicating" Pope Benedict XVI in a sex abuse scandal.
In 1996, I was introduced to the story of Father Murphy, formerly the principal of St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. It had been common knowledge for decades that during Father Murphy’s tenure at the school (1950-1974) there had been a scandal at St. John’s involving him and some deaf children. The details, however, were sketchy at best.
Courageous advocacy on behalf of the victims (and often their wives), led the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to revisit the matter in 1996.
It is important to note that we are talking about an investigation that only opened some twenty-two years after the fact. The media makes it sound as if it were all contemporaneous.
We proceeded to start a trial against Father Murphy. I was the presiding judge in this matter and informed Father Murphy that criminal charges were going to be levied against him with regard to child sexual abuse and solicitation in the confessional.
In my interactions with Father Murphy, I got the impression I was dealing with a man who simply did not get it. He was defensive and threatening.
Between 1996 and August, 1998, I interviewed, with the help of a qualified interpreter, about a dozen victims of Father Murphy. These were gut-wrenching interviews.
In the summer of 1998, I ordered Father Murphy to be present at a deposition at the chancery in Milwaukee. I received, soon after, a letter from his doctor that he was in frail health and could travel not more than 20 miles (Boulder Junction to Milwaukee
ould be about 276 miles). A week later, Father Murphy died of natural causes in a location about 100 miles from his home.
So the investigation opens at to allegations of acts committed two decades ago and Fr. Murphy dies soon after the trail on him gets hotter, so to speak. Please note that "trial" in this case is not a criminal trial by civil authorities by a canonical trial in the church. The civil authorities, despite knowing of the allegations, did nothing.
With regard to the inaccurate reporting on behalf of the New York Times, the Associated Press, and those that utilized these resources, first of all, I was never contacted by any of these news agencies but they felt free to quote me.
The problem with these statements attributed to me is that they were handwritten. The documents were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting. The syntax is similar to what I might have said but I have no idea who wrote these statements, yet I am credited as stating them.
Fr. Brundage provides more evidence of the fallacy of reporting by the Times and the Associated Press. I encourage you to read his article in full.
"A diploma is a very personal item, and people want to proudly display it in their offices and homes,” Sidra Qureshi, president of Trinity Diversity Connection, told the Chronicle. “By having the phrase ‘In the Year of Our Lord,' it is directly referencing Jesus Christ, and not everyone believes in Jesus Christ."
Qureshi, a Muslim student at the school, is leading the campaign to remove the words. The Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the matter during a meeting next month.
As a Christian, specifically a Roman Catholic, at what point in this vast multicultural fest does my culture get "tolerated" and "celebrated"?
The 11 House Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak who dropped their opposition to health care reform legislation mere hours before the final vote have requested $3.4 billion in earmarks -- and one watchdog group wants to know whether the money represents business as usual or political payoffs.
Stupak's office said there's absolutely no link between the earmarks and the health care bill's passage. "The congressman's vote for health care has no connection to annual appropriations requests," spokeswoman Michelle Benoche said.
Police say Krentz, whose family has been ranching in southern Arizona since 1907, was gunned down early Saturday morning by an illegal immigrant while out on his ATV tending to fences and water lines on the family's 34,000-acre cattle ranch.An Arizona rancher was killed while tending his land with the most likely suspect being a Mexican. Damn, "most likely" - they followed the tracks back to mexico and the chances are slim to none - with Slim having just left town - that a White guy would cross the border to kill another White guy.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The case involved Fr Lawrence Murphy, who worked at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee from 1950 to 1974. In the early 1970s, multiple allegations of sexual abuse against the priest were made to civil authorities, who investigated but never brought charges. He was placed on a leave of absence for a while and later returned to pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Superior, where he worked until 1993.
The Times story said that according to documents it obtained from lawyers involved in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, then Archbishop Rembert Weakland in 1993 hired a social worker who interviewed Fr Murphy and reported that the priest had admitted his acts, had probably molested about 200 boys and felt no remorse. The archbishop placed restrictions on Fr Murphy's ministry.
Archbishop Weakland wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger about the case in 1996 because he thought it might involve "solicitation in the confessional", a sin which because of its gravity involved the doctrinal congregation.
Later in 1996, the doctrinal congregation told Wisconsin bishops to begin a canonical trial of Fr Murphy, the Times article said. But it said that process was halted after Fr Murphy wrote directly to Cardinal Ratzinger, saying that he had repented and was in poor health, and that the allegations went beyond the Church's own statute of limitations for such crimes.
When Archbishop Weakland met in 1998 with Cardinal Ratzinger's assistants at the doctrinal congregation official, he failed to persuade them to allow a trial that could lead to the defrocking of Fr Murphy.
Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the Fr Murphy case was a "tragic" one that "involved particularly vulnerable victims who suffered terribly from
what he did".
Fr Lombardi pointed out, however, that the Vatican was only informed of the case more than two decades after the abuse had been reported to diocesan officials and the police. He noted that civil authorities had dropped their investigation without filing charges.
The Church's canonical procedures in such cases do not envision "automatic penalties", but recommend that a judgment be made, not excluding removal of a guilty priest from the priesthood, Fr Lombardi said.
"In light of the facts that Fr Murphy was elderly and in very poor health, and that he was living in seclusion and no allegations of abuse had been reported in over 20 years, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggested that the Archbishop of Milwaukee give consideration to addressing the situation by, for example, restricting Fr Murphy's public ministry and requiring that Fr Murphy accept full responsibility for the gravity of his acts," Fr Lombardi said.
"Fr Murphy died approximately four months later, without further incident," he added.
Since 2002, the Church has instituted a broad overhaul of how it handles these situations for the safety of all. However, it is not fair to criticize how a case was handled in 1998 while using current policies.
It needs to be understood too that not everything gets reported to the Vatican, not because of secrecy, but because that is the structure of the Church, that is, the bishops and cardinals have a sense of autonomy to govern their areas accordingly. Did I mention the Catholic Church has over a billion members?
Friday, March 26, 2010
One of the Marines was a 19-year-old kid who could barely wait to graduate from Esperanza High School to join the military and eventually become a cop – just like his father.
The other was a seven-year active-duty veteran and high-ranking SWAT officer for the Los Angeles Police Department who was married to a naval officer and had a 9-month-old daughter.
The two Yorba Linda residents were killed early Wednesday by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan, relatives and authorities said.
Marine Lance Cpl. Rick J. Centanni, who entered the military just weeks out of high school in 2008, was in a vehicle that was destroyed by an improvised explosive device, said his father, Jon Centanni, a sergeant in charge of investigations for the Santa Ana Police Department's gang unit.
"He wanted to serve his country," Centanni said. "I supported it, and I still do."
Sgt. Major Robert J. Cottle, 45, also was killed, said his father, Kenneth A. Cottle, 74, of Villa Park.
"He was a warrior – that's what he liked to do," Cottle said. "Anything physical."
Friends and family were planning a homecoming party for Cottle when he was due home at the end of May. He reportedly is the first active LAPD officer to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Stop briefly and say a prayer for their souls, even if it is only God bless and keep them.
Kristina Oliver of Hemet has provided camels, donkeys and sheep for the Christmas play for about 14 years, as did her mother for a number of years before that.
Since January, Oliver said she's been trying to collect $57,000 in back pay. "They weren't telling me what was going on," she said.
Finally, Oliver said, she received an e-mail several days ago from church officials saying that they would try to pay her sometime in the future when they reach financial stability. But vendors are not optimistic.
Artist: Danny Elfman
Why I Like This: How about something instrumental? I found this video and find it remarkable, featuring selections from the movie scores done by that musical genius, Danny Elfman. One of the things that makes so many Tim Burton movies delightful is listening to Danny's contributions to them.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I like the shopping at the REC. But thank goodness I was not forced to sit through this. Because the audio portion would have been utterly ruined by my howls of laughter. Mahoney reading his program while bad Spandex rages before him! A James Cameron look-alike in lavender! And Baba Wawa's sister giving the opening remarks!
BTW, for any Anglo who worries they sound like an ideiot speaking Spanish because they do not have the inflections and stresses of the language down, listen to this chick and feel better. Much better. You cannot do worse than her.
Octuplets mom Nadya Suleman will let PETA put a spay and neuter sign on her lawn in exchange for $5,000 and all the veggie dogs she and 14 her kids can eat for one month.
The deal will help Suleman make a payment on her La Habra.
Alan Phillips was told he would have to travel five miles to another [Kentucky Fried Chicken] branch if he wanted the Big Daddy, a chicken burger, topped with bacon, cheese and salad.
The branch, in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, is one of 86 KFC restaurants which is running trials of a scheme where they sell nothing other than halal meat.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Why exclude children in private and parochial schools, asked the father of a parochial school student at Tuesday’s press conference where U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty announced the ticket giveaway.No Easter eggs for you, little Mary Katherine O'Flannery!!
“These tickets are from the White House to public schools, and we’re appreciative, but there may be other things unrelated to this press conference,” Fenty responded. “That’s a great question.”
Jill says her daughter, a pro-life advocate, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing.The girl was 15 years old. Can't consent to sex but can consent to an abortion.
"We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus," said Jill. "They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility."
T.J. Cosgrove of the King County Health Department, which administers the school-based programs for the health department, says it's always best if parents are involved in their children's health care, but don't always have a say.
Let's not get bogged down in details, okay? Actually, the "pre-existing condtions" stuff takes effect in 2014.
Obama made better coverage for children a centerpiece of his health care remake, but it turns out the letter of the law provided a less-than-complete guarantee that kids with health problems would not be shut out of coverage.
Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.
Indoor tanning salons will charge customers a 10 percent tax beginning in July in one of the changes Americans will see as a result of the U.S. health-care overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Oh, don't be so naive - you didn't really believe that crap back then, did you? "Five days" is such a relative term, really, when you think about it . . .
Using the size of the diners' heads as a basis for comparison, the Wansinks used computers to compare the sizes of the plates in front of the apostles, the food servings on those plates and the bread on the table. Assuming that heads did not increase in size during the second millennium after the birth of Christ, the researchers used this method to gauge how much serving sizes increased.
And increase they did.
Over the course of the millennium, the Wansinks found that the entrees depicted on the plates laid before Jesus' followers grew by about 70%, and the bread by 23%.
As entree portions rose, so too did the size of the plates -- by 65.6%.
At specialty shops like Brooklyn's Meat Hook, hipster parents and earnest "gastronauts" attend cult butcher Tom Mylan's weekly lessons in how to cut up animals. Julie Powell, who defined a generation of food bloggers in Julie and Julia, has written a sequel about chasing her sorrows away at the carving block. Shops like Fleischer's, in Woodstock, N.Y., or Taylor's, in Sacramento, Calif., have sold out butchering demos and are planning more, inspired by the response of rapt locals. "This was a great value and a great experience," a local attorney told the Sacramento Bee, at one such event, adding, "Meat doesn't come from shrink-wrapped packages."
Monday, March 22, 2010
“We voted for that plan at a big meeting, with all of us present, six thousand of us, everybody that worked in the factory. The Starnes heirs made long speeches about it, and it wasn’t too clear, but nobody asked any questions. None of us knew just how the plan would work, but every one of us thought that the next fellow knew it. And if anybody had doubts, he felt guilty and kept his mouth shut - because they made it sound like anyone who’d oppose the plan was a child-killer at heart and less than a human being. They told us that this plan would achieve a noble ideal. Well, how were we to know otherwise? Hadn’t we heard it all our lives - from our parents and our schoolteachers and our ministers, and in every newspaper we ever read and every movie and every public speech? Hadn’t we always been told that this was righteous and just? Well, maybe there’s some excuse for what we did at that meeting. Still, we voted for the plan - and what we got, we had it coming to us. You know, ma’am, we are marked men, in a way, those of us who lived through the four years of that plan in the Twentieth Century factory. What is it that hell is supposed to be? Evil - plain, naked, smirking evil, isn’t it? Well, that’s what we saw and helped to make - and I think we’re damned, every one of us, and maybe we’ll never be forgiven …
“Do you know how it worked, that plan, and what it did to people? Try pouring water into a tank where there’s a pipe at the bottom draining it out faster than you pour it, and each bucket you bring breaks that pipe an inch wider, and the harder you work the more is demanded of you, and you stand slinging buckets forty hours a week, then forthy-eight, then fifty-six - for your neighbor’s supper - for his wife’s operation - for his child’s measles - for his mother’s wheel chair - for his uncle’s shirt - for his nephew’s schooling - for the baby next door - for the baby to be born - for anyone anywhere around you - it’s theirs to receive, from diapers to dentures - and yours to work, from sunup to sundown, month after month, year after year, with nothing to show for it but your sweat, with nothing in sight for you but their pleasure, for the whole of your life, without rest, without hope, without end … From each according to his ability, to each according to his need …
“We’re all one big family, they told us, we’re all in this together. But you don’t all stand working an acetylene torch ten hours a day - together, and you don’t all get a bellyache - together. What’s whose ability and which of whose needs comes first? When it’s all one pot, you can’t let any man decide what his own needs are, can you? If you did, he might claim that he needs a yacht - and if his feelings are all you have to go by, he might prove it, too. Why not? If it’s not right for me to own a car until I’ve worked myself into a hospital ward, earning a car for every loafer and every naked savage on earth - why can’t he demand a yacht from me, too, if I still have the ability not to have collapsed? No? He can’t? Then why can he demand that I go without cream for my coffee until he’s replastered his living room? … Oh well … Well, anyway, it was decided that nobody had the right to judge his own need or ability. We voted on it. Yes, ma’am, we voted on it in a public meeting twice a year. How else could it be done? Do you care to think what would happen at such a meeting? It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become beggars - rotten, whining, sniveling beggars, all of us, because no man could claim his pay as his rightful earning, he had no rights and no earnings, his work didn’t belong to him, it belonged to ‘the family’, and they owed him nothing in return, and the only claim he had on them was his ‘need’ - so he had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any lousy moocher, listing all his troubles and miseries, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the family’ would throw him the alms. He had to claim miseries, because it’s miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm - so it turned into a contest between six thousand panhandlers, each claiming that his need was worse than his brother’s. How else could it be done? Do you care to guess what happened, what sort of men kept quiet, feeling shame, and what sort got away with the jackpot?
“But that wasn’t all. There was something else that we discovered at the same meeting. The factory’s production had fallen by forty percent, in that first half year, so it was decided that somebody hadn’t delivered ‘according to his ability.’ Who? How would you tell it? ‘The family’ voted on that, too. We voted which men were the best, and these men were sentenced to work overtime each night for the next six months. Overtime without pay - because you weren’t paid by time and you weren’t paid by work, only by need.
“Do I have to tell you what happened after that - and into what sort of creatures we all started turning, we who had once been humans? We began to hide whatever ability we had, to slow down and watch like hawks that we never worked any faster or better than the next fellow. What else could we do, when we knew that if we did our best for ‘the family,’ it’s not thanks or rewards that we’d get, but punishment? We knew that for every stinker who’d ruin a batch of motors and cost the company money - either through his sloppiness, because he didn’t have to care, or through plain incompetence - it’s we who’d have to pay with our nights and our Sundays. So we did our best to be no good.
“There was one young boy who started out, full of fire for the noble ideal, a bright kid without any schooling, but with a wonderful head on his shoulders. The first year, he figured out a work process that saved us thousands of man-hours. He gave it to ‘the family,’ didn’t ask anything for it, either, couldn’t ask, but that was all right with him. It was for the ideal, he said. But when he found himself voted as one of our ablest and sentenced to night work, because we hadn’t gotten enough from him, he shut his mouth and his brain. You can bet he didn’t come up with any ideas, the second year.
“What was it they’d always told us about the vicious competition of the profit system, where men had to compete for who’d do a better job than his fellows? Vicious, wasn’t it? Well, they should have seen what it was like when we all had to compete with one another for who’d do the worst job possible. There’s no surer way to destroy a man than to force him into a spot where he has to aim at not doing his best, where he has to struggle to do a bad job, day after day. That will finish him quicker than drink or idleness or pulling stick-ups for a living. But there was nothing else for us to do except to fake unfitness. The one accusation we feared was to be suspected of ability. Ability was like a mortgage on you that you could never pay off. And what was there to work for? You knew that your basic pittance would be given to you anyway, whether you worked or not - your ‘housing and feeding allowance,’ it was called - and above that pittance, you had no chance to get anything, no matter how hard you tried. You couldn’t count on buying a new suit of clothes next year - they might give you a ‘clothing allowance’ or they might not, according to whether nobody broke a leg, needed an operation or gave birth to more babies. And if there wasn’t enough money for new suits for everybody, then you couldn’t get yours, either.
“There was one man who’d worked hard all his life, because he’d always wanted to send his son through college. Well, the boy graduated from high school in the second year of the plan - but ‘the family’ wouldn’t give the father any ‘allowance’ for the college. They said his son couldn’t go to college, until we had enough to send everybody’s sons to college - and that we first had to send everybody’s children through high school, and we didn’t even have enough for that. The father died the following year, in a knife fight with somebody in a saloon, a fight over nothing in particular - such fights were beginning to happen among us all the time.
“Then there was an old guy, a widower with no family, who had one hobby: phonograph records. I guess that was all he ever got out of life. In the old days, he used to skip lunch just to buy himself some new recording of classical music. Well, they didn’t give him any ‘allowance’ for records - ‘personal luxury’ they called it. But at the same meeting, Millie Bush, somebody’s daughter, a mean, ugly little eight year old, was voted a pair of gold braces for her buck teeth - this was ‘medical need’ because the staff psychologist had said that the poor girl would get an inferiority complex if her teeth weren’t straightened out. The old guy who loved music, turned to drink, instead. He got so you never saw him fully conscious any more. But it seems like there was one thing he couldn’t forget. One night, he came staggering down the street, saw Millie Bush, swung his fist and knocked all her teeth out. Every one of them."
California’s legal climate is the 5th worst among U.S. states, according to the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.Worse than the Golden State are:
The institute tied frivolous or abusive lawsuits to unemployment. In a survey of 1,482 corporate attorneys and executives, 67% said a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their company, such as where to locate or expand their businesses. That is 10 points higher than in 2007.
1. West Virginia
Los Angeles ranked #2 for worst city - I don't know who is #1, damn them!
The trailers will feature business owners affected by lawsuits. One of these owners is Crystal Chodes who had to close her business, Basketball Town in Rancho Cordova after being sued over a birthday party.
Chodes said the uncle of one of the guests was in a wheelchair and could not reach the party room. She offered to move the party to a room that was accessible but the host family refused. Several months later Basketball Town was sued. The business claimed that it complied with handicapped access laws but couldn’t afford legal fees to defend itself in the suit.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
[T]he captivity of some Catholics to the agenda of current Congressional leaders and the White House proves that faith partisans are not a monopoly of the political right, and that some Catholics have an almost frantic unwillingness to see the abortion issue for what it is—a foundational matter of social justice and human rights. It can’t be avoided in developing our public policies without debasing the whole nature of Christian social teaching. No rights are safe when the right to life is not.
So you’ve poured over the Social Security’s list of the top 1,000 baby names, trying to find an uncommon pick. But the first time you take little baby to the country club you find loads of Imogens, Dashielles, and Milos running around. These names are Elite Popular, explains baby naming expert Pamela Redmond Satran in the Daily Beast. She’s poured over the data and found the top elite baby names.Boys:1.Henry (+77)
We might have to bang Bart’s head into a blackboard a few times before he realizes that in a moral tug-of-war between the sisters and the bishops, you have to go with the gals.
Just as I don't like people who claim to speak for Traditional Catholics when they have no business doing so, I don't like libtards like Maureen Dowd of the New York Times who do not understand what the Magisterum means.
For decades, the nuns did the bidding of the priests, cleaned up their messes, and watched as their male superiors let a perverted stain spread over the entire church, a stain that has now even reached the Holy See. It seemed that the nuns were strangely silent, either because they suspected but had no proof — the “Doubt” syndrome — or because they had no one to tell but male bosses protecting one another in that repugnant and hypocritical old-boys’ network.
Their goodness was rewarded with a stunning slap from the über-conservative Pope
Benedict XVI. The Vatican is conducting two inquisitions into the “quality of life” of American nuns, trying to knock any independence or modernity out of them.
The witch hunt has sparked the nuns to have a voice at last. Vulnerable children were not protected by the male hierarchy of the church, which treated sexual abuse as a failure of character rather than a crime. The men were so arrogant it never occurred to them that they should be accountable to the secular world. In their warped thinking, it was better to let children suffer than to call the authorities, embarrass the church and risk diminished power.
What about the nuns who do the same and oppose the healthcare bill? Ah, they must be brainwashed by those evil men . . . and every priest is a pedophile, right?
Let me say this: Mother Church is an infallible institution run by fallible people. But it is the teaching of the Church - not her priests - that abortion is illicit and a grave sin.
Carmelites at the Congress. Traditional robes and yet note Sister is texting!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Every morning at 6 a.m., Brenda Duchemin kneels down on two plush throw pillows in front of a carved teak shrine in her Diamond Bar home and chants.
In front of a cluster of oranges, a small teacup and a golden lotus flower on the shrine, the slight 53-year-old tries to expel the negative images: the two homes she and her husband, Mohammad Ashraf, lost to foreclosure auctions last month, the bankruptcy petition they were forced to file in 2009, and their ongoing battle to stay in their spacious and airy home, which is furnished with soft blankets, leather couches and Elvis commemorative plates on the walls.
Daily chanting helps her karma, Duchemin says, which is currently not in such a good state.
"We don't know what we did in a past life to bring this out," she said, a slight Boston accent tinting her speech. "I must have been a horrendous person down the line."
The couple bought their Diamond Bar house for $550,000 in 2006, hoping to finance the purchase by selling their town home in Brea -- a sale that never materialized, they say, because of the housing crash. The year before, they'd also bought a $340,000 home in Las Vegas as a retirement property, which they rented to a tenant until last year. At the time of the purchases, their only sources of income were workers' compensation insurance payments and Social Security, but that wasn't a problem for the lender.
Benedict used his harshest words for the abusers themselves, saying they had betrayed the trust of the faithful, brought shame on the church and now must answer before God and civil authorities.
"Conceal nothing," he exhorted them. "Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God's mercy."
As I said, at each “lull” in the music when the singing stops and you hear Earnest Woman’s voice over the music playing softly, the tongues would start. At the end of the series of songs, the speaking in tongues suddenly rose in volume noticeably and continued increasing until – abruptly and suddenly – it stopped. I asked whether that final bit of glossolia went on for the same duration of time each meeting and was told that it did.
Interesting – I never knew the Holy Spirit would work on cues. Furthermore, I also thought that speaking in tongues usually happened to one person with a specific message that another person would interpret. Instead, I found myself in a room of mostly women where everyone was basically in their own subspace (so much for communal worship), eyes closed, hands held up.
Well, after the abrupt end, it was “vision” time. Some of the women remained standing and started letting everyone know the “visions” that they “received” during the singing. Nothing specific, more like, “I saw Jesus on the Cross and His hands were stretched out, and I felt it signified surrender, and so we should surrender to Him.” This was followed by all the women murmuring, “Thank you, Jesus, praise Jesus.” But what was funny was that then another woman would say, “Oh, I can confirm what Suzy just said . . . I heard him say he thirsted on the Cross and so He thirsts for our souls.” Followed by more murmuring of thanks to Jesus, and then, “I can confirm what Laura just said and I saw the room surrounded by angels.”
I asked whether – by chance – it was the same women who receive visions every time. Well, whaddaya know, it was. It was explained to me that they call themselves “Intercessors of the Lamb” and – would you guess – they are all Beckman’s “service team” who makes up the management of Magnificat. Except they don’t get to do the private healing sessions with her and the priest. That made it all the funnier when this one fellow – a British chap – also received a vision, and told us, “I saw Pope Benedict leading thousands of priests, as though marching to war, but I don’t know what it meant, that’s what I saw.” Sadly, no one confirmed his vision. Plus no one thanked Jesus for this guy's vision. Guess only these "intercessors" get the real message. I had to fight the urge to start yelling, "Thank you, Jesus, an army of priests, oh man, I saw them, too!" Especially since the fellow looked dejected after he spoke and sat down sadly.
An older priest got up to speak and while he was engaging, he kept harping on about how evil the world was, and I was waiting for him to tie it into some lesson, but when it did not happen after 10 minutes, I was out of there.
I don’t know, I think the people attending probably feel they are experiencing the Holy Spirit, but for many it seemed to be less a true experience than merelya propensity and desire to be caught up emotionally. When someone tells me that I will know when I “speak in the Spirit,” I babble in tongues at the right time. Speaking in tongues is certainly a gift of the Holy Spirit, as is the ability to heal, but so is discernment and wisdom.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Read the rest for a refreshing ediorial. This self-employed cleaning lady had $500-per-month health insurance premiums that she voluntarily dropped only to then contract leukemia. I feel sorry for her, but she was already a cancer survivor, having had it before. Okay, I don't know about you, but $500 is not a huge premium, especially for a cancer survivor. And if I were a cancer survivor, I might consider finding a job where I can get some health care benefits provided by an employer.
TAPPER: You're a observant Catholic.
TAPPER: And there's a big debate right now within the Catholic Church about this bill, and a lot of these last few members that you're trying to get are Catholic democrats who oppose abortion. And I'm wondering, first of all, how you can side with nuns over bishops?
BIDEN: That's easy. I love the nuns.
TAPPER: And, second of all, what you're telling I assume that some of the people you're calling are these Catholic Democrats because you.
TAPPER: Because you have the same faith.
BIDEN: Yes. I mean, they happen to be similar (ph). I'm not calling them because of that. I'm calling a lot of people who have other concerns about the bill.
TAPPER: Right. But they are among those who you're calling?
BIDEN: Right. Yes. They are among them. Look, when you've got guys like Bob Casey, coming up with a proposal, along with Ben Nelson of Nebraska, that keeps the principles of the Hyde Amendment, which says no federal dollars can be spent in order to pay for abortion, that principle is imbedded in the bill that's about to be passed, God willing. That is, the bill, God willing, will pass.
And so but there's a whole lot of disagreement on exactly whether they'll do the exact same thing the Hyde Amendment does. I've supported the Hyde Amendment for 36 years of the United States Senate. Well, it wasn't around 36 years. For the entirety of the time it's been around. And so I assured them, and this will not allow you to take any subsidized government money you get and say, with that money I'm going to go now I can go purchase an insurance plan that provides for abortions. The
principle is intact. And so I I'm confident even the bishops, once this bill is passed and see how it operates, are not going to have the concern any longer.
But Biden's suddent show of piety - God willing, this bill will be passed - is galling. Especially when he then discounts what he says there is disagreement.
It’s crunch time on health care reform and Rep. Loretta Sanchez – the Orange County delegation’s only Democrat – was reviewing the final house proposal on Thursday, making sure it saves the money she wants it to and will make a difference for people in her district.
“I need to know if we can afford it,” said Sanchez, one of a group of cost-conscious Blue Dog members who have been waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to give lawmakers its estimate on what the bill will cost and what it will save. Sanchez voted yes on the House bill last year.
Artist: The Beat Farmers
Why I Like This Song: Because I loved The Beat Farmers back in the day, and this song evokes memories of the Southland in the late 70's/early 80's - "meet me on back by the broadway store . . ."
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
The Church of Scientology, started by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to "clear" people of unhappiness, portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner. At times during the past decade, prosecutions against Scientology seemed to be curbing its menace. Eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were sent to prison in the early 1980s for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations. In recent years hundreds of longtime Scientology adherents -- many charging that they were mentally or physically abused -- have quit the church and criticized it at their own risk. Some have sued the church and won; others have settled for amounts in excess of $500,000. In various cases judges have labeled the church "schizophrenic and paranoid" and "corrupt, sinister and dangerous."TIME magazine has an excellent expose. If Scientology wants to open a center in your neighborhood, SPEAK UP! It is as dangerous as a pedophile moving next door.
I think the school district is right. Whether the issue is gay couples, or freak dancing, or the potential for gang violence, a prom - while a rite of passage in the United States - is a privilege, not a right.A lesbian student who wanted to take her girlfriend to her senior prom is asking a federal judge to force her Mississippi school district to reinstate the dance it canceled.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi on Thursday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Oxford on behalf of 18-year-old Constance McMillen, who said she faced some unhappy classmates after the Itawamba County School District said it wouldn't host the April 2 prom.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon".
He said that hoped every diocese would eventually have a resident exorcist. Under Church Canon Law any priest can perform exorcisms, but in practice they are carried out by a chosen few trained in the rites.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
During his closing arguments Tuesday, Alcala -- a onetime photographer and “Dating Game” contestant who acted as his own attorney in this trial -- asked jurors to spare him the death penalty, saying they would become killers themselves if they sent him to death row and arguing that the sentence would lead to decades of appeals.
By assigning the death penalty, “you become a wannabe killer in waiting,” Alcala told jurors before playing a portion of “Alice’s Restaurant,” a rambling 18-minute Vietnam War protest song by folk singer Arlo Guthrie. In the section played, a man being drafted for war tells a military psychiatrist:
“Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth...I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.”
"So I have no problems with that," he said. "On the other hand, there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum. The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court -- according the requirements of protocol -- has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling."
"What is troubling is that this decision opened the floodgates for corporations and special interests to pour money into elections -- drowning out the voices of average Americans," Gibbs said. "The president has long been committed to reducing the undue influence of special interests and their lobbyists over government. That is why he spoke out to condemn the decision and is working with Congress on a legislative response."
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Taking effect on April 5, the program could encourage hundreds of thousands of delinquent borrowers who have not been rescued by the loan modification program to shed their houses through a process known as a short sale, in which property is sold for less than the balance of the mortgage. Lenders will be compelled to accept that arrangement, forgiving the difference between the market price of the property and what they are owed.
“Suddenly, I thought I heard a slight movement in the slops pail behind me,” Miss Xinran remembers. “To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail! I nearly threw myself at it, but the two policemen [who had accompanied me] held my shoulders in a firm grip. ‘Don’t move, you can’t save it, it’s too late.’
“‘But that’s...murder...and you’re the police!’ The little foot was still now. The policemen held on to me for a few more minutes. ‘Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here,’ [an] older woman said comfortingly. ‘That’s a living child,’ I said in a shaking voice, pointing at the slops pail. ‘It’s not a child,’ she corrected me. ‘It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it. Around these parts, you can’t get by without a son. Girl babies don’t count.’”
And, according to the World Health Organisation, female suicide rates in China are among the highest in the world (as are South Korea’s). Suicide is the commonest form of death among Chinese rural women aged 15-34; young mothers kill themselves by drinking agricultural fertilisers, which are easy to come by. The journalist Xinran Xue thinks they cannot live with the knowledge that they have aborted or killed their baby daughters.
Monday, March 08, 2010
So much of our contemporary discussion of racism is really about propriety, insensitivity, symbolism and insults. Lost in the media tumult over incidents like those at UCSD is a sensible definition of racism. To my mind, it is, in essence, the assumption or belief that an individual is intellectually or morally inferior by virtue of his genetic makeup. Particularly when held by authority figures -- teachers, police or employers -- it can limit the life choices and mobility of the people who must endure it.
Sometimes racism is linked to hostility or antipathy, but not always. You can think and act on the idea that someone is inferior without hating him or her. For that matter, you can hate someone without feeling superior. Although the latter is harmful to society, it's not as insidious and difficult to identify as true attitudes of racial superiority. Personally, I'd rather know that someone hates me outright for my background than suffer the treacly dishonesty of racial condescension.