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Gender: Male
Hometown: Kentwood, MI
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 23,479

Journal Archives

Trumka: Pope Francis's US visit may boost alliance between labor, Church

It’s easy to make the country’s most powerful labor leader go almost schoolkid giddy. Just say, “Pope Francis.”

Richard Trumka breaks into a smile that would light up a mine shaft. “Just talking about him makes my heart swell up,” says the president of the AFL-CIO, whose office overlooks the White House. “It makes me feel good because it’s like hope. He’s given people hope who have been without hope for so long.”

The alliance between labor and religion, particularly the Catholic church, is nothing new. From the promulgation of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891 to Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, popes have written and spoken in uncompromising terms when making the case for the rights of workers to organize, to advance and protect their own interests, to be justly compensated, and to have humane and safe working conditions.

The alliance had grown frayed in recent decades, but of late, the two sides have shown signs of reconnecting and finding new possibilities for working together. A year ago, Trumka attended a workshop, “Erroneous Autonomy: The Catholic Case Against Libertarianism,” organized by The Catholic University of America’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. He introduced Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and chairman of the pope’s Council of Cardinals. The respondent to the Rodriguez address was then Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash., since appointed archbishop of Chicago.


DUMB criminals: Guess-which-state woman calls 911 because man didn't give her weed

A Fort Lauderdale woman found with flakka called 911 to say a man didn’t give her marijuana during a drug deal, police said.

According to a Broward County Sheriff’s Office report, Daneshia Heller, 19, told an officer than a man took $5 from her to buy pot, but left her empty-handed, WPLG-TV reported.

Heller then called 911, telling a dispatcher, “He got my money, and I want my drugs. Can you send an officer?” according to police. (Listen to the 911 call here.)


What Pope Francis and Joe Biden can teach us about suffering

This is the kind of response that Joe Biden might appreciate. The vice president has expressed frustration with people who tried to related to his personal tragedies: “I have to tell you. I used to resent people. They’d come up to me and say, ‘Joe, I know how you feel.’ I knew they meant well. I knew they were genuine. But you knew they didn’t have any damn idea.”

Pope Francis tells us that we must respond to tragedy by asking God for “the grace to weep” at the sufferings of others. Photos emerged Thursday of the vice president crying in front of the casket of his oldest son. If Francis is right, these tears aren’t a sign of weakness, but tremendous evidence that faith is still alive in Joseph Robinette Biden.

No one can claim to know why God let Beau Biden die so young, but we do know that the God who lost his son Jesus is crying with Beau’s father. In Joe Biden’s suffering, the vice president is giving his fellow Christians a tremendous example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Faith isn’t always a source of answers, but it can give us a sense of the road forward. It’s alive in anyone who has suffered an intense loss and kept moving, who has doubted the existence of God and yet prayed anyway, and who has endured suffering for the sake of another and found great strength in doing so.


The latest player in the 2016 race: Pope Francis

The pope will arrive soon after the GOP candidates have debated in Cleveland and at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif. While no date has been set, the Democratic candidates are expected to debate for the first time in late August.

Like the rest of us, those candidates will be attentive to what Pope Francis says, while also being envious of his approval numbers. According to the Pew Research Center, among American Catholics, Pope Francis is almost as popular now as St. John Paul II, who in the middle (1990) of his papacy was favored by 93 percent of American Catholics. Pope Francis enjoys a 90 percent favorability rating among his flock, and is viewed favorably by 70 percent of all Americans (up from 57 percent at his papal inauguration). Even a vast majority of the "nones" - no religious preference - like him (68 percent)!

No wonder that, earlier this month, Hillary Clinton, a Methodist, tweeted at the pope in support of his call for equal pay for women: "Amen to this headline, @Pontifex! Hope to see more voices speaking out." Among those who may be especially attentive to his holy word are the potential and declared presidential candidates who are Catholic, including Martin O'Malley, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Chris Christie, and Bobby Jindal.

While the pope remains steadfastly opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage - the Vatican called Ireland's vote for gay marriage a "defeat for humanity" - the Vatican is expected to release an encyclical by July in which Pope Francis will address both climate change and the poor. Francis, a chemist before entering the seminary, has publicly endorsed the idea that human activity has contributed to climate change, and he has addressed capitalism's need to "devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits."


My friend Amanda is going in for surgery tomorrow. (Update: Surgery went well. Thanks, everyone!)

She has had digestive health problems for almost a year and a half now.

Please pray (1) that the surgery goes well, and (2) that the issue may finally be resolved.

Thank you.

If you'd like to leave condolences for the Bidens, you may do so here:


Animal control called to tame tiger in Grand Rapids. Turns out, it was just a stuffed tiger.

Animal control officers take calls about wild animals seriously. That’s why when officers were sent to a home on the southwest side of Grand Rapids for a report of a tiger in the area on Thursday, they quickly responded.

When the Kent County Animal Control Officers arrived, they saw what appeared to be a real tiger in someone’s backyard. They approached the animal and soon realized all wasn’t as it seemed from far away.

As the officers got closer, they were able to look through a side fence and quickly discovered the life-sized animal was actually stuffed!

The fear turned into fun and these officers enjoyed the laugh. They posted some photos for the public to see online and wrote, “No worries Grand Rapids, you are now safe from this wild animal.


Not enough sprinkles on ice cream leads to disturbance

It was a sticky situation for one gas station clerk in Mason County's Branch Township who apparently didn't add enough sprinkles to ice cream as part of a customer's order.

Mason County Sheriff's Office deputies were dispatched to a store in the 6100 block of East U.S. 10 in Branch Township when a clerk reported a disturbance inside the store.

Kim Cole, Mason County sheriff, said around 8:16 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, a woman, along with a male companion, came into the store and ordered ice cream.

When the ice cream was handed to the woman, the transaction took an unexpected turn, Cole said.


Waffle maker dispute leads to 30 kicked out of hotel

Two women fighting over the waffle maker in a Mason County hotel apparently ignited a major disruption over the holiday weekend inside the hotel's buffet-style breakfast area, police say.

A Mason County Sheriff's Office deputy stood by as 30 people were ordered by the property manager to pack their bags and leave the America's Best Value Inn, 5095 U.S. 10, in Pere Marquette Township.

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said it allegedly all started over the hotel's waffle maker around 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 24.

"It sounded like one lady walked up and asked the other lady if she was in line for the waffle maker. She didn't answer so this lady started to make her waffle. The other confronted her and said, 'That was my waffle' and the other lady said, 'No, it's mine' and then it went down hill from there," Cole said.


Please pray for the nearly 800 people who have died in India's heat wave.

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