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In a courthouse in Steubenville OH this Sunday morning, as Winter waits to turn to Spring, two young men, on the cusp of adulthood with bright college careers ahead of them, learned their fate for their atrocious behavior from a night of drinking and partying last summer.

From all accounts, the girl who was sexually attacked by a group of teenagers from the local footbal team, was in no condition to consent to ANY of the sexual activities that occurred that night. Just as troubling as the acts themselves was the behavior of MANY who witnessed the ongoing night of debauchery. The two teens found guilty today brazenly attacked the young girl in various ways as other teens came in and out of the area. So casual to them was this occurence that as one witness went to leave, the verbal exchange between hom and the two perpetrators was “see you at football on Monday!!”

From Yahoo today:

  Put in the spotlight was the local football team, which, critics said, allowed players to brazenly operate seemingly above the law for years. Social-media accounts, self-made videos, photos and classless text messages exposed an entire world that seemed like a Hollywood script of a high school team out of control.

It also exposed a teenage culture of weak ethics, rampant alcohol abuse and poor family structures that wound up dooming Mays and Richmond, both of whom had promising futures and no criminal past.

In the same week as the Catholic Church elected a new Pope forged with the hope of renewing the Church and addressing the scandals that have plagued it, this case reminds us that the moral fiber of our society has been affected by the ever-changing culture. As the Sandy Hook shootings have elicited a conversation about gun control, the focus needs to more broadly address the desensitizing of our youth that has occurred in the ever-evolving technological changes.

Having been tried as juveniles, the two teens from Steubenville have escaped prison time in an adult prison, and the length of their sentences will be based upon the recommendations of child services as they progress the the minimum time of one year.

For a town that prides itself on its football team, there are no winners this time………… Everyone has to take this loss!

 

As dawn came on this beautiful Monday, word came from the Vatican, not that the head of the Catholic Church had passed away, but that in his advanced years, Pope Benedict XVI has decided that he should resign, and allow the Cardinals to select his successor. His retirement will begin officially on February 28th, 2013, and many speculate that a conclave of the Cardinals will convene to have a new Pope in place before Easter.

It has been more than 600 years since a vacancy in the Papacy has occurred in this manner.

Will the next Pope be from Africa, Asia, or perhaps the United States? And if he is from the United States, will that change the Obama administration’s constatnt ongoing attack on religions? Just food for thought!!

      With the mainstream media basically ignoring the firestorm that has brewed over the Obama Administration’s decision to force the Catholic Church to provide contraception in its health care covereage for its employees, the Obama team thinks they have found a way to “appease” the religious groups while not appearing to be giving in to the Church.

       Today, HHS and Obama announced that the availability to access to contraception medications, etc., must still go forward, they have said that if a religious institution has a religious objection to that premise, they do not have to pay for that coverage. BUT, the insurance carrier MUST still offer it to the employees of that religious institution, at no cost to the employee.

        So, let me get this straight. The Church, which has a fundamental disagreement with the idea of birth control, does not have to PAY for it for their employees, BUT it must still be a PART of the plan that the Church offers, and that their insurance carrier MUST pickup that cost. Call me stupid, but does Obama believe that the cost of the birth control will not be buried within the cost of the entire plan?

       Any thoughts?

     In a state that has a large Catholic population, AG Martha Coakley may have just uttered the words to “seal the deal” for Scott Brown:

“You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”   The entire interview is posted here.

Democrat Martha Coakley was on with Ken Pittman from WBSM in Massachusetts today. Martha told Ken that if you object to abortion and are a devout Catholic then…
“You probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”

http://biggovernment.com/2010/01/14/game-changermartha-coakley-devout-catholics-probably-shouldnt-work-in-the-emergency-room-video/

The DEMS are worried, fearing that the fate of the Obama agenda rests on the shoulders of a candidate who ran a campaign of complacency!

     The Christmas season has passed. We’ve shared that special time with our families… those moments that sometimes are far too infrequent, those moments that should not just be experienced on special occasions. For the JAMES family, the season has been replete with the memories of the past as well as the dreams of the future, knowing the blessings that are before us in this great New Year.

    The following is a conclusion excerpt from an article by Robin of Berkeley. From her Jewish roots perspective, she gives a great understanding of God, Politics, Class, and Unification:

Beyond the music and pageantry, what moved me the most was being with hundreds of people who loved God. Maybe some were questioning his presence or feeling abandoned. But they showed up, and that’s half of life.

It was a stirring night for this wandering Jew who has traveled from east to west, from Left to Right. As the Sufi poet Hafiz wrote, “This moment in time God has carved a place for you,” and sitting in the sanctuary, I felt that place.

Even though I didn’t know the right words, or the hymns, or how to pray, it didn’t matter. All the differences among people — race, class, politics, even religion — vanished. Faith, I realized, is the ultimate uniter.   

And in a heartbeat, I understood why leaders from Marx to Mao try to keep people away from God, and why they will always fail. I flashed to an image of those mothers who somehow find the superhuman strength to lift up a car and free their children.  

On Christmas Eve, I learned that this same unstoppable power exists inside all of us, especially when we stand together. As Jesus himself taught, faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain.  

For Robin of Berkeley’s article: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/power_to_the_conservative_peop.html

     The UK has an article today that discusses the return of the religious Christmas cards, as people around the world try to reconnect with the real meaning of the Christmas season. In looking online for an image to post here, the first one I came to belongs to a woman who suggests sending a Christmas card (or two) to our wounded heroes:

“send a card (or two) to a recovering soldier. I thought someone else might be interested in doing this little project to share the love with one who has given so much for us.

             A Recovering American Soldier
             C/O Walter Reed Army Medical  Center

             6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
            Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

For the UK article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233277/Joy-world–religious-Christmas-card-fashion.html

Sales of religious Christmas cards are soaring as shoppers rediscover the real meaning of the season.

Church officials and retailers believe that the trend has been fuelled by the global economic downturn, which they say has encouraged people to rethink their values.

And the pattern on the high street has been mirrored by an increase in the number of people attending church.”

Washington (CNN) — Rhode Island’s top Roman Catholic leader has asked Rep. Patrick Kennedy to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights, the diocese said Sunday.

In a statement issued Sunday, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin said he told Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be “inappropriate” for him to continue receiving the fundamental Catholic sacrament, “and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so.”

Kennedy, a Democrat, is the son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and a scion of the most prominent Catholic family in modern U.S. politics.

In an interview published Sunday, Patrick Kennedy told the Providence Journal that Tobin had barred him from receiving communion and instructed priests in the diocese not to administer the sacrament “because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public official.”

Tobin, in a statement issued in response to the Kennedy interview, said his advice to the congressman was “pastoral and confidential,” and he was surprised that Kennedy chose to discuss it publicly.

I am disappointed that the congressman would make public my request of nearly three years ago that sought to provide solely for his spiritual well-being,” he said.

See article: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/11/22/kennedy.abortion/

     Nothing will stop the President from giving the Commencement Address at Notre Dame next weekend. And I think the graduates turning their backs to him as he speaks will be as disrespectful as it was when the students at Boston College did it to Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice. But the controversy surrounding the Obama Notre Dame appearance has not lessened at all:

Archbishop Slams Obama Appearance at Notre Dame, Administration’s Abortion Policies

One of the Vatican’s highest ranked clerics and a frequent critic of President Obama says Notre Dame’s giving the president an honorary degree and a platform to address graduates at its commencement next weekend is a “scandal.” 

One of the Vatican’s highest ranked clerics and a frequent critic of President Obama said Friday that Notre Dame is causing a “scandal” by giving the president an honorary degree and a platform to address graduates at its commencement next weekend. 

‘The proposed granting of an honorary doctorate at Notre Dame University to our president, who is so aggressively advancing an anti-life and anti-family agenda, is rightly the source of the greatest scandal,” said Archbishop Raymond Burke, who is the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court.

Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis and vocal opponent of giving communion to politicians who support abortion rights, told Catholics at a national prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C., that “with unparalleled arrogance, our nation is choosing to renounce its foundation on the faithful.”

For the Full Article: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/05/08/archbishop-slams-obama-appearance-notre-dame-administrations-abortion-policies/

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Six Things You Should Know About the Homeland Security Report on ‘Rightwing Extremism’

By Judge Andrew Napolitano
FOX News Senior Judicial Analyst

Homeland Security Warns of Rise in Right-Wing Extremism

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”, dated April 7, 2009, which I have read, is apparently an unclassified summary of a larger classified report.

1.  The summary contains few proper names, has no footnotes of any significance, lists very few sources, and is drafted with a prejudice against anyone who criticizes the role of the federal government in our lives today. It lumps together in its definition of “rightwing extremism” hate groups, anti-government groups, and single issue groups “such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

My guess is that the sentiments revealed in the report I read are the tip of an iceberg that the DHS would prefer to keep submerged until it needs to reveal it. This iceberg is the heavy-hand of government; a government with large and awful eyes, in whose heart there is no love for freedom, and on whose face there is no smile.

2.  The document itself cautions the reader that the document is “not to be released to the public, the media, or other personnel who do not have a valid need-to-know without prior approval” of the DHS. The document refers to itself as one of a series of intelligence assessments intended to “deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.”

3.  The thrust of this report is that in the present environment of economic instability, returning military veterans, those who fear of the loss of Second Amendment-protected rights, those threatened by an African-American president, and those who fear “Jewish ‘financial elites’” could all be a fertile breeding ground for groups whose power and ideas the government hates and fears. The document is essentially a warning for DHS and FBI officials to be on the look-out for rootless persons looking for the comfort of groups as they may be a danger to American security.

4.  The summary (unclassified) document is terrifying. One can only imagine what is contained in the classified version. This document runs directly counter to numerous U.S. Supreme decisions prohibiting the government from engaging in any activities that could serve to chill the exercise of expressive liberties. Liberties are chilled, in constitutional parlance, when people are afraid to express themselves for fear of government omnipresence, monitoring, or reprisals. The document also informs the reader that Big Brother is watching both public and private behavior.

5.  The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to guarantee open, broad, robust debate on the policies and personnel of the government. The First Amendment presumes that individuals — NOT THE GOVERNMENT — are free to choose what they believe and espouse, what they read and say, and with whom they associate in public and in private. The writers of this abominable report are particularly concerned with the expression of opinions that might be used to fuel ideas that challenge federal authority or favor state and local government over the federal government. Unfortunately, legislation passed during the past eight years gives the DHS and the FBI the tools to monitor everything from a telephone conversation to the keystrokes used on a personal computer without a warrant issued by a federal judge.

6.  My guess is that the sentiments revealed in the report I read are the tip of an iceberg that the DHS would prefer to keep submerged until it needs to reveal it. This iceberg is the heavy-hand of government; a government with large and awful eyes, in whose heart there is no love for freedom, and on whose face there is no smile.

 http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/04/15/napolitano_homeland_security/

     Setting the stage for a showdown with the pro-life proponents of abortion, Pres. Barack Obama is set to challenge the faith of many physicians by reversing a Bush directive that pemitted physicians to refuse to perform procedures that would be at odds with the physician’s faith.

      Bush gave healthcare providers the option of refusing to perform controversial procedures that the physician might feel are morally repugnant, such as abortion, sterilization or birth control. Obama views a reversal of this puts the patient back in control. “This policy of potentially allowing providers to refuse to provide contraception or family planning runs counter to the administration’s goal of reducing abortions and unwanted pregnancies,” an HHS official said on background.It also could lead into other areas of medical care.”

       The Catholic Church has been watching this change carefully, along with legisaltion being formulated in Congress.

       My question is why should a doctor be required to perform an abortion if he is opposed to such, when the patient is then free to go to another physician who would be willing to perform the procedure?

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/WomensHealth/story?id=6977348&page=1

http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSN2737768520090227

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/27/conscience.rollback/

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a6GWyHUjvpn0&refer=home