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Gender: Male
Hometown: Kentwood, MI
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 22,586

Journal Archives

U.S. Catholic Magazine: A Catholic case for gun control

In 2002 Frederick Booker called his mother, Charlene, in tears, saying, “Mommy, somebody shot Charlie and he’s dead.” Booker was referring to his 19-year-old brother, who had been killed by a bullet to the head in Washington. This past May Charlene Booker received another call, this time telling her that Frederick, now 29, had also been killed in a shooting. Both of her children had been lost to gun violence—something no mother should ever need to endure.

Legislators, faith groups, pundits, and the general public are grappling with how to reduce gun violence in this nation, and a number of possible solutions have been proposed: universal background checks, laws to curtail gun trafficking, and a ban on assault weapons and large magazine clips. All of these proposals receive much opposition; the divide on what to do is a serious dilemma. Most people agree that better support for mental health would be acceptable. However, there is controversy surrounding how this would be implemented.

In Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells us to love the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves, and to do unto others as we would have others do unto us. These words portray a reality that is starkly different from what we witness in our society. Violent language and actions are now always present in the media—movies, television shows, and video games are filled with them. Just count the number of guns you see any evening on TV.

Opponents of gun control argue that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” That is true. However, guns do increase the capacity for killing. And frequently in cases of gun deaths, there would not have been a death had there not been a gun. A heated argument, an incident of stalking, a domestic dispute, a suicide attempt, a crime—each of these situations becomes more lethal with the presence of a gun.


At US Capitol, Christian leaders read Scripture, exhort Congress to care about poor

Under a cloudy and drizzly sky, across the street from the U.S. Capitol, David Beckmann read passages from the prophet Isaiah.

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God,” read Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and one of several Protestant and Catholic leaders who gathered Wednesday (Oct. 9) to launch “Faithful Filibuster.”

The effort is intended to remind members of Congress that the government shutdown is hurting poor and vulnerable people.

Volunteers planned to read more than 2,000 verses, possibly continuing into the night.


Male freshmen turn bra mishap into business opportunity - and plan to do good with it

It started out with a glitch in the system of the Hollister clothing company.

A simple error on the company’s website allowed customers to order bras for free, with only a $5 standard shipping fee. Central Michigan University freshmen David Walter and Ian Elliott discovered the mistake and saw an opportunity for a business venture.

The pair ordered 116 bras from the company after hearing about the glitch in the system from one of their other friends, who discovered it when she was ordering her own bras.

“We’re selling all of them and donating a portion of the sales to the Women’s Aid Shelter,” Walter, a Chesterfield native, said while gesturing to the large cardboard box next to him filled with bras still in their plastic packaging. “It definitely started out as a business venture.”


My alma mater, by the way.

Autistic teen named homecoming king

East Grand Rapids senior Joshua Pittman put his hands to his face and doubled over with joy when he was announced as the school's homecoming king.

The student with autism was immediately hugged and congratulated by his court mates and guided to the place of honor where he stood next to his queen, Isabel Condon. He then drove around the football field in a golf cart, something he was excited about all day.

"Joshua is the winner, he's so proud," said Pittman, 18, as he hugged his parents, Evette and JR Pittman, during halftime of the East Grand Rapids football game against Lowell.

Tears welled in the yes of many on the sideline and in the stands as Pittman's extended family, many of who came from out of state, students and school staff and administrators were all excited for Pittman.


National Weather Service forecasters insert coded plea in forecast

The message was hidden in the first paragraph of the early morning forecast for the Anchorage region Friday. The first letters of each line of the paragraph spell it out — a type of simple code called an acrostic.

Most federal services are on hold because of the shutdown, but weather forecasts aren't among them because they're considered information "necessary to protect life and property."

The person answering the phone at the Anchorage office wasn't immediately able to track down anyone who knew about the hidden message or who could say how it made it on to the agency's website.

But someone was on duty, because about the time NBC News called to ask about it, the message was replaced at the same URL without the pay-us demand. NBC News took a screenshot before it vanished, above.


MFM opened a veterinarian's office!


Obama 'hugely impressed' with Pope Francis

President Obama's interview with the CNBC business news channel included high praise for Pope Francis.

"I have been hugely impressed with the pope's pronouncements," Obama said, describing Francis as "somebody who lives out the teachings of Christ. Incredible humility -- incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor."


"He's also somebody who is -- I think first and foremost -- thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away; how to find what's good in them as opposed to condemn them.

"And that spirit, that sense of love and unity, seems to manifest itself in not just what he says, but also what he does. And, you know, for any religious leader, that's something -- that's a quality I admire.

Short article, but good to hear what the President thinks of the Pope.


New perfume: Eau de Toast

Here’s a toast to hungry models around the world.

The smell of the crispy morning tradition has been bottled up in a perfume as part of a British campaign to convince people that bread is beautiful.

The U.K. Federation of Bakers created Eau de Toast to remind the nation, particularly women, what they may be missing if they skip breakfast. A bottle of the scent, which smells of toasted bread, was sent to models at last month’s London Fashion Week and became so popular that samples of the perfume quickly evaporated in a puff.

“What we’re trying to do is bring to the attention of people what a good, versatile, healthy and value-for-money product bread is,” Gordon Polson, the trade federation’s director, told TODAY.com.


Ministering on Death Row - and Feeling a New Confidence in Rome

This week, trailing a group of men walking through a prison, Sister Helen Prejean overheard bits of what they were discussing. “I heard one saying, ‘He is so honest,’ but I didn’t catch who they were talking about at first,” said Sister Prejean, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, an order of Roman Catholic sisters.

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Then she figured it out from fragments that floated back to her, hearing mention of a man who admitted to having been excessively authoritarian as a boss, who washed the feet of women and prisoners and Muslims, and who had called for the Catholic Church to find a “new balance” in its teachings of moral concerns. The subject was Pope Francis.

The people talking about him were 12 bishops who were visiting California’s death row in San Quentin prison, the home to more than 700 condemned men.

“Francis’ whole style is so honest and forthright,” Sister Prejean said. “He just really says what he thinks. That’s what the bishops were commenting on. They’re not used to it.”


Economist Wins Genius Grant For Proving That Most Traders Are Idiots

One of the winners is a CalTech economist most famous for calling traders idiots.

In 2010, Dr. Colin Camerer co-authored, "Using Neural Data to Test A Theory of Investor Behavior: An Application to Realization Utility." It is his most downloaded paper, according to the St. Louis Fed.

Camerer and his co-authors found that the "realization utility" model of investing is way more prevalent than it should be.

"Realization utility" describes the phenomenon of a given trader being more prone to taking "realized gains," or immediate profits, than to allow "paper gains" to linger on their theoretical balance sheet.

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