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Gender: Male
Hometown: Kentwood, MI
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 22,972

Journal Archives

US to enlist Pope Francis in climate change action

In a bid to bolster the Obama administration's "moral" case for combating climate change, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency will meet senior Vatican officials Friday to enlist papal support for its policies.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Pope Francis, who has become a vocal climate advocate since his 2013 election, can be an ally for President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan.

"As one of the world's most respected and influential leaders, Pope Francis, and those who advise him, will play a crucial part in advancing climate change (action) domestically and overseas,'' McCarthy, a Roman Catholic, said in an e-mail.

This marks the second time the administration has sought the Vatican's help on a controversial issue. The pope helped mediate the effort by the United States and Cuba to reopen diplomatic relations.


Satirical #SquirrelTruth advertisements taking over Chicago's "L" trains

If you've recently spotted some very strange advertisements on the 'L' warning of the dangers of squirrels, don't worry, you're not going crazy (or are you?). The new #SquirrelTruth ads detail a "fact" about squirrels that may surprise you, for instance one reads, "Statistically speaking, at least one 'person' on this train is actually 7 squirrels wearing a human suit. Don't be a victim." The ad campaign is actually the brainchild of local comedian Ben Larrison, who ran a successful Kickstarter last summer that raised over $4,000 for the so-called Chicago Transit Project. According to the Kickstarter campaign, Larson simply states that the purpose of the project was "to buy ad space in 100 CTA train cars so that I can put ridiculous stuff up in 100 CTA cars, and make our commutes more fun." One of the components of the project is the alarming "facts" about squirrels. Other ads will feature random pictures of goats, and ads from someone pleading for a person named Vanessa to come back to them (similar to the satirical Carrot Facts Twitter account). The squirrel truth ads are now officially up and have been spotted on the 'L' lately and are beginning to make their way to Reddit and other social media channels.


7 Ways to Be Sure You Are a Martin Luther King Jr. Kind of Christian

The letter was written by King after he had been jailed for peaceful demonstrations in response to eight upstanding white pastors who had publicly chided him for disturbing the peace in a local newspaper. "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" demonstrates that not all Christian approaches are equal. It reminds us that still today, we need the kind of faith professed and lived out by Martin Luther KIng Jr. if we are going to create a more just and loving society.

So, if you would like to be sure your faith is part of the Christian legacy embodied by Martin Luther King Jr., here are seven questions to consider (these questions would work for other faith traditions as well):

Does your faith encourage an active and prophetic stance towards creating justice in this world; or does it explicitly or implicitly encourage a complacency towards inequality here on earth with the idea that faith is more spiritual than social and that it will all work out in the afterlife?


Does your faith affirm the fundamental dignity and worth of all people and reject any claims of superiority, ether explicit or implicit, based on identities including race, religion, sexuality, gender, class or nationality?


Papal astronomers promote harmony of science, faith

The pope's own astronomers are using the immensity of the heavens to draw people on earth closer together.

And they are using their love of the cosmos and Christ to demonstrate the church's longtime support of science.

To commemorate this year's International Year of Light, which celebrates the importance of light and its role in new technologies, Jesuit astronomers at the Vatican Observatory have launched a number of new initiatives aimed at increasing dialogue with Muslims, nonbelievers and Catholics, who may not know that their faith and science are not at odds.


Francis's remarks on women draw praise

Pope Francis continued his five-day tour of the Philippines Sunday with a visit to the University of Santo Tomas in Manila where he drew cheers from the crowd with his remarks about the importance of listening to women.

"Women have much to tell us in today's society. Sometimes we're too macho, and we don't leave enough room for women," he said.

Thousands turned out at the centuries-old university clad in rain ponchos to listen to Pope Francis' words. Looking at the crowd, he commented on what he felt was too little representation of women.

"Women are able to see things with different eyes than us. Women are able to ask questions that men can't understand. ... When the next pope comes, please have more women and girls among your numbers."


Pope Francis to visit White House, may speak to joint session of Congress

Pope Francis is planning to address a joint session of Congress and visit the White House during a trip to Washington, D.C. in September, one of the archbishops organizing the pontiff’s trip said.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza told the Catholic News Agency (CNA) on Sunday that the pope is projected to arrive in Washington on Sept. 22 as part of a three-city U.S. tour that includes New York and Philadelphia.

Francis will visit the White House on Sept. 23 and celebrate Mass at Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception later that same day, Auza added.

“And we might say really the highlight of the Washington visit might be his speech to the joint-meeting of Congress, so the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Auza told CNA.


Oh, the possibilities.....

Pope to canonize Junipero Serra on US visit

Pope Francis said on Thursday that during his trip to the United States in September he would canonize Junipero Serra, a missionary who brought Christianity to the west of the United States in the 1700s.

"In September, God willing, I will canonize Junipero Serra in the United States, who was the evangelizer of the west of the United States," he told reporters aboard the plane taking him from Sri Lanka to Manila on the second leg of his Asian tour.

Francis is due to visit Philadelphia for a world gathering of Catholic families. While Philadelphia is the only official stop on the tour so far, he is widely expected to visit New York to address the United Nations and Washington to meet President Barrack Obama.

Holding the canonization ceremony in the United States opens up the possibility he might visit the western part of the country where Serra worked as a missionary.


Has there ever been a canonization on US soil?

Handcuffed woman steals cop car, races off at 100 mph

Police near Pittsburgh say a handcuffed shoplifting suspect climbed into the front of a patrol car and raced off at speeds of up to 100 mph.

Center Township police say Roxanne Rimer stole the cruiser from outside a Monaca Kohl's store Wednesday night. She was arrested about 10 miles away in Aliquippa.

Police say Rimer ditched the cruiser a few minutes after fleeing. They say she got a short ride from another vehicle before officers caught up with her.

The cruiser sustained front end damage.


Catholics in Congress: What makes them eager to serve - and electable?

Even though Catholics account for only about 22 percent of the U.S. population -- admittedly the largest body of religious belief in the country -- they make up 31 percent of the House and the Senate.

If you're looking for differences between the two major parties, there's indeed some -- but Catholics are still overrepresented in both the Democratic and Republican parties. There are 83 Catholics among the 234 Democrats in the House or Senate, good for 35 percent of the Democrats' total, and 81 Catholics among the 301 Republicans in Congress, or 27 percent of the GOP's total, according to figures issued in a Pew Research Center study issued shortly before the 114th Congress was sworn in Jan. 6.

What makes Catholics so eager to want to serve in electoral office, and what makes them so electable?

Daniel Philpott, director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame, speculated there is a "strong tradition of social thought in the Catholic Church, more developed than in the mainline Protestant churches."


Bakery employee allegedly threw nuts and bolts into granola in attempt to get work break

A Kentwood bakery employee faces a felony charge for allegedly throwing nuts and bolts into granola last week in an attempt to get a break from work, court documents state.

Quality control at a Hearthside Foods facility, 4185 44th St. SE, detected the nuts and bolts in a granola bar mix on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

Closed-circuit television showed Ruben Giovanni Gramajo, 22, throwing a handful of the objects into the mix, a detective wrote in a probable cause affidavit. Employees called police.

Gramajo, of Grand Rapids, allegedly wrote a confession to police and said his actions were an effort to get a break from work.


My hometown.

There are plenty of "nuts and bolts" jokes to be made here.
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