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Gender: Male
Hometown: Kentwood, MI
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 23,489

Journal Archives

Graduating for good: Teen turns over open house for charity

When the attention should have gone to Donyea Freeman, who just graduated magna cum laude from high school, he was deflecting it toward others.

He turned his graduation open house into a charity event.

"He put it on someone else," Lorene Jones said, remembering how her grandson turned his open house at Four Points by Sheraton Saginaw into a huge food and clothing drive for the City Rescue Mission of Saginaw.

The next day, they delivered two full carloads of goods to the shelter at 1021 Burt.


Boy gives birthday to kids of fallen officer for Father's Day

"It made me feel good because I knew that I was helping someone else."

So says Carson Atkins, who used his ninth birthday party earlier this month to collect donations for the children of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Officer Benjamin Deen, after the policeman was killed in the line of duty on May 9 along with his colleague, officer Liquori Tate.

"Father’s day was coming up, and police officers give to us every single day, so I thought that one day I could give to them," Carson said to WDAM, explaining his motive. The boy asked for donations at the party instead of presents.

"It caught me off guard,” Carson's dad, Jonah Atkins, told the Clarion Ledger of his son's decision. “It’s hard for adults to think that way, much less kids. The world today is filled with me, me, me. {This} is something that is in him. He is very special.”


Backed by Catholics, evangelicals, Senate adopts anti-torture amendment to defense bill

The U.S. Senate in a bipartisan vote Tuesday approved a measure that would prohibit all U.S. government agencies and their agents from using torture as an interrogation technique.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, sponsored the anti-torture amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016.

Catholic and evangelical leaders in separate letters urged U.S. senators to support it, because it strengthens current law and requires all U.S. government agencies -- including the CIA -- to limit interrogation techniques to those set out in the U.S. Army Field Manual.

It also provides for the International Committee of the Red Cross to be given access to all detainees.


University creates a “texting lane” for busy staircase

There’s a “culture of walking and texting” on the Utah Valley University campus, according to conversations with students, but that’s not the main reason Matt Bambrough, the creative director at UVU, came up with an idea to paint a “texting lane” on a staircase leading up to the brand-new Student and Wellness Center. According to Bambrough, it’s first and foremost a design project—the texting lane was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the college-wide epidemic of kids walking around with their faces buried in their iPhones.

“You have 18-24 year olds walking down the hall with smartphones, you’re almost bound to run into someone somewhere; it’s something we’re dealing with in this day and age,” Bambrough told Fusion. “But (preventing collisions) isn’t the reason we did it—we did it to engage the students. It’s meant to be there for people to look at and enjoy.”

Still, when talking to a few Utah Valley students, it sounds like texting and walking can be quite the annoyance.

According to Kenzie Jones, a sports editor at the UVU Review (Utah Valley’s student newspaper), the entire Orem, Utah campus can be traversed while remaining indoors. This is useful in the winter, when the weather’s routinely below freezing—unfortunately, texters and walkers clog up the indoor hallways, rendering it difficult for students to get to class on time. “People just walk slowly with phones in front of their faces,” Jones told Fusion.


Biden Is Back to Cracking Jokes Again

Making a not-so-subtle dig at Congress, he said that many of the White House’s advances on clean energy policy have been hampered by some “short-sighted decisions from the outfit I worked at for a very long time.” He then hung his head and made the sign of the cross.

“Up on the Hill, they're ramping it up as fast as ya'll ramped it up,” he said.

Biden also made light at his own expense when he misspoke in reading a headline from today’s Washington Post.

“Front page of the Washington Pope,” Biden said, holding up the paper as a prop, and quickly corrected his error. “Post! Pope, huh."


Teen discovers new planet during 3rd day of internship

Tom Wagg, a then-15-year-old student at Newcastle-under-Lyme School in Britain, was just three days into his week-long "work-experience" project at Keel University when he discovered a new planet. No big deal.

Two years later, what began as a dip in the light given off by a distant sun has been validated and cataloged -- and Wagg is now being hailed as something of a boy wonder. He might be, according to the university, the youngest person to ever discover a new planet.

Wagg, now 17, chalks it up to good luck.


'God Loves Gays' Billboard Shines Over Salt Lake City

A billboard in Utah is reminding drivers that God loves gays.

The "God Loves Gays" National Billboard Campaign, which was launched by the group behind the God Facebook page last year to combat the hatefulness of the Westboro Baptist Church and spread support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, erected a billboard last week in Salt Lake City. The billboard, which faces north along Interstate 15, reads "God Loves Gays" and has a cartoon image of a white-bearded man and a rainbow.

The group released a statement about the placement of its latest sign, saying it hopes the billboard will change the hearts and minds of those who see it:

The God Loves Gays billboard is intended to send a positive message of love into the world. Love is more powerful than hate. Perhaps the 'God Loves Gays' message will make a few people think about their beliefs. Or perhaps a few Utah LGBTQ teens struggling with their identity will see the message 'God Loves Gays' and feel a little better. Who knows? Maybe it swings the Supreme Court's vote this summer in favor of gay marriage. Maybe later it changes the Mormon Church's mind on gay marriage too. You never know! God is an idealist and it certainly doesn't hurt to try.


Nienstedt, Piche resign in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Archbishop John Nienstedt and one of his top deputies have resigned their offices amid criminal charges against the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Vatican announced Monday.

Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche resigned under the code of Church law that allows bishops to resign before they retire, either because of illness or some other “grave reason” that makes them unfit for office.

Earlier this month, prosecutors charged the archdiocese as a corporation for having ignored repeated reports of inappropriate behavior by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.

The charges were filed against the archdiocese and no individual was named in the indictment.


Let us pray for the faithful in Minneapolis/St. Paul, particularly for victims. Let us also pray that those involved in the selection of the new Archbishop may find the guidance they need from the Holy Spirit.

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.)

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