Archive for June 21, 2012
Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, bills itself as an old-fashioned church that believes in the power of the Gospel to save and secure the sinner. Nestled in the foothills of Western North Carolina, Maiden’s web-site says that the town of just over 3,000 has qualities that are appealing to both its citizens and visitors alike. From the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area to the hospitable people of our town, you will feel warm, welcome, and at home. You’ll probably feel welcome alright as long as you are not a queer, lesbian or homosexual.
Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden has called for the death of “queers and homosexuals” in a sermon that was posted on YouTube in May. Worley suggested that lesbians and homosexuals be placed behind an electrified fence until they “die off.” “I had a way… I figured a way out – a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers – but I couldn’t get it past the Congress,” he said during a sermon. “Build a great big, large fence – 50 or a 100 miles long – and put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals – and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed ‘em. And you know in a few years, they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.”
Charles Worley still has not surfaced for public comment but members of his congregation continue to stand behind him. Wednesday night, dozens of supporters joined Worley for a special sermon. “He just tells it like it is,” said Stacey Pritchard who says she has been a member of the congregation for most of her life. Pritchard said Worley is only telling people what the bible says about homosexuality. Worleys sermon and a anti-gay song by a 4-year old Indiana boy sang to raucous applause at a church in Greensburg have caused outrage and condemnation from gay rights supporters. But they also left many Christians uncomfortable – even those who call themselves conservative.
One leading expert on American Protestantism has a simple explanation for why some pastors preach against homosexuality while others go further, encouraging violence against gay people. “There is a significant percentage who think it’s a sin,” Ed Stetzersaid of homosexuality. “And there are a small minority who are stupid.” Stetzer is president of LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Worley belongs to Independent Baptist churches and is not part of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the second largest Christian denomination in the United States.
Many conservative Christians would agree with pastors like Worley that homosexual behavior is fundamentally wrong, Stetzer said. But that doesn’t mean they support him or his sermons, he added. “If you asked, they would say that’s really unhelpful and stupid,” he said. But the Rev. Robin Lunn said these preachers are much worse than that. She calls such pastors “genocidal.” “If someone is talking about rounding up me and all my kind in a pen, what is the difference between that and what is happening in Syria and Sudan and what happened in Germany and Poland during World War II?” asked Lunn, executive director of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. “We are talking about people who believe somehow that the Second Coming is connected to a Final Solution,” said Lunn, a lesbian, using the Nazi term for the mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust. “I think these men expressed something that many Baptist preachers think,” Lunn said. “We need to stand up and denounce this powerfully.”
Her group campaigns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion across all Baptist churches. It has its origins in the American Baptist Churches movement but is not connected to any one Baptist group or denomination, she said. “It seems to me that this is an opportunity to show some solidarity around the belief that all people are children of God regardless of what you think about someone’s ‘lifestyle,’ ” she said. One of the most respected voices in conservative Christianity agrees with Lunn, up to a point. “The Gospel does not condemn homosexuals, it condemns homosexuality,” said R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “The Bible makes clear that homosexuality is a sin, in the context of making clear that every person is a sinner.”
A Gallup Poll last month found that 54% of Americans saw homosexuality as “morally acceptable,” while 42% said it was “morally wrong.” “This is not a small minority,” Stetzer said. “Are all of those people going to be tarred by the comments of a few pastors?” Perhaps not but could some otherwise well-intentioned Christian decide to take extreme matters into his own hands? Without question. And what do messages like Worley’s say to bullies in the schoolyards. Worley gives Christians a bad name, similar to the way Fred Phelps gives Christians a bad name but it’s clearly time for Christians who disagree with this line of teaching and hate to stand up and say something instead of giving passive amens.
BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania — (DMN) – With Jerry Sandusky’s fate in the hands of the jury, his adopted son, Matt, has said that he also was molested. Matt Sandusky, 33, was adopted by Jerry and Dottie Sandusky as an adult, after going to live with the family as a foster child. He has denied ever being abused by his adopted father until now. “This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy. There will be no further comment,” Shubin said in a statement. Shubin also said Matt was prepared to testify truthfully at trial, if called by prosecutors. It is unclear why he did not testify.
“During the trial, Matt Sandusky contacted us and requested our advice and assistance in arranging a meeting with prosecutors to disclose for the first time in this case that he is a victim of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse,” Matt Sandusky’s lawyers said in a statement obtained by InSession. “At Matt’s request, we immediately arranged a meeting between him and the prosecutors and investigators.” No further details were released about the circumstances surrounding the alleged molestation or when Matt Sandusky claims the abuse occurred. “This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy,” a statement from Matt Sandusky’s lawyer said. “There will be no further comment at this time.” In March, a Pennsylvania newspaper reported that Matt had a rocky relationship with his adopted father. His biological mother told The Patriot-News she believed Sandusky had stolen her son from her.
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — (DMN) – At least 70 people were transported to Indianapolis hospitals today after a chemical leak at a municipal swimming pool. Sgt. Derrick Sayles of the Indianapolis Fire Department said a chemical called ACID Magic inadvertently spilled into the pool at the at Garfield Park Aquatic Center a few minutes before 2 p.m. The chemical is one component used to purify pool water. When released, the chemical does not cause burns, but people react as if they were breathing smoke, IFD reported. People in the pool, including children, were overcome by the effects of the chemical, and symptoms including coughing and vomiting, Seyles said.
WISH-TV is reporting that several ambulances were on the scene, and about a hundred kids, some being checked out by medics. Officials on the scene said several people were taken to area hospitals for further evaluation and treatment. Indianapolis city buses were being brought in to transport those with less severe symptoms. Indy Parks spokeswoman Jennifer Pittman said people were experiencing symptoms including coughing and eye irritation.
New York, New York this afternoon.
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT THU JUN 21 2012
FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...
THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON HURRICANE
CHRIS...LOCATED ABOUT 625 MILES SOUTHEAST OF CAPE RACE
1. A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE CENTERED NEAR THE NORTHERN COAST OF THE
YUCATAN PENINSULA IS PRODUCING A LARGE AREA OF SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS EXTENDING FROM THE YUCATAN PENINSULA NORTHEASTWARD
ACROSS WESTERN CUBA TO SOUTHERN FLORIDA. UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE
FORECAST TO BECOME MORE CONDUCIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT DURING THE NEXT
DAY OR SO AS THIS DISTURBANCE MOVES SLOWLY NORTHWARD INTO THE
CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...50
PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
BEYOND THAT TIME...CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN FAVORABLE FOR
DEVELOPMENT...AND INTERESTS ALONG THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES GULF
COAST SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS DISTURBANCE THROUGH THE
WEEKEND. HEAVY RAINS AND LOCALIZED FLOODING ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS
THE YUCATAN PENINSULA...WESTERN CUBA...AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA THROUGH
ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.
Kids can be mean. Damn mean and bullying does not always target gays or other kids, sometimes, it targets grandmothers. Karen Klein was recently bullied by a bus full of students from Greece, N.Y. The middle school students teased, taunted and threatened the 68-year-old school bus monitor. The incident was caught on video, posted on YouTube, and instantly went viral -outraging viewers. The students, between ages 12 and 13, can be heard heckling Klein – calling her “a troll” and asking aloud why there’s water running down her face. “I’m crying,” Klein said on the video. “Unless you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Klein, who drove a bus for 20 years, kept her cool. But she told CBS affiliate WROC one comment really hurt. In the video, a student is heard saying, “But you don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they didn’t want to be near you.” “Something about me being so fat and ugly your kids probably should commit suicide,” Klein told WROC. “I don’t think they knew my son had….I wanted to punch them is what I wanted to do. So that’s why I laid back, tried to ignore it. Because I really wanted to hurt them, you know? You can’t do that!”
A family friend started a fund to send Klein on vacation, with a modest goal of $5,000. But as word spread online, the fund exploded. So far, it’s raised more than $140,000 and is still growing. Klein said she doesn’t want the students to be criminally charged. But she wouldn’t mind seeing them grounded all summer. And if nothing else, she just wants a simple apology. As I have suggested before, one of the main pieces of bullying, regardless of who the victim is, is that parents have no idea how their children behave outside of their presence. In a society where Mommy and Daddy cease parenting while school is in session and leaving the moral and character growth of children to educators are making a horrible mistake.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) speaks after being named Purdue University President. (WISH-TV)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — (DMN) – Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) who is term-limited and leaving office at the end of the year has been named the President of Purdue University. Daniels will assume the position in January after he finishes his current term. He is the first sitting governor to be elected president of an Indiana university. “No institution of any kind means more to Indiana today or tomorrow as Purdue University,” Daniels said. After a brief review of the selection process, including the note that the search committee considered every sitting university president in the country, the board voted unanimously at about 10:15 a.m. Thursday.
The search committee, comprising four of the 13 trustees, along with a Purdue graduate student, two Purdue deans, three Purdue faculty members, the school’s athletic director, the CEO of the Purdue alumni association and the school’s north central campus chancellor, reported that Daniels was the most-nominated throughout the process. After a year-long process, he received the full endorsement and recommendation of the search committee.
Daniels said he could “conceive of no other assignment” that would let him contribute more to the state’s future. He also said that he would recuse himself of any activities of partisan activity or political commentary immediately. Last January, Daniels gave the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. “I will endeavor to honor Purdue,” he said. “In the hope that I will always be able to wear black and gold with the pride I feel right now.” Daniels opened his first address as president-elect joking about his black-and-gold tie — Purdue’s colors. “No, I did not buy this tie last night,” Daniels said. Daniels said he will immediately recuse himself from partisan activities and commentary. Daniels succeeds France Cordova, an astrophysicist. Cordova announced her intention to leave the post last July. Provost Tim Sans will serve as interim president.
The United States Air Force has relieved the commander of a basic training squadron rocked by a sex scandal between three military training instructors and recruits. Lt. Col. Mike Paquette lost his job as commander of the 331st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas. An Air Force lawyer stressed that the decision by Col. Eric Axelbank, commander of the 37th Training Wing, wasn’t driven by disciplinary violations or misconduct allegations. “Col. Axelbank, based upon a whole bunch of factors, has lost confidence in (Paquette’s) ability to lead that squadron, and he has removed him,” said Col. Polly Kenny, staff judge advocate for the 2nd Air Force. “And I can say that to remove a squadron commander, there does not have to be an allegation of some kind of criminal misconduct,” she added. “A loss of confidence is a sufficient basis to remove a commander.”
The action, which Kenny and others described as rare for the wing, is the latest development in a growing sex scandal involving instructors on the base, home of Air Force basic training. The three instructors in the 331st Training Squadron and a fourth in another squadron have been accused of improper sexual contact with airmen in basic and technical training. The fourth, Staff Sgt. Luis A. Walker, accused of having sexual contact with 10 women and raping one of them, could face life in prison. A former staff sergeant, Peter Vega-Maldonado, admitted that he had sexual contact with 10 women. His revelation came after he cut a plea bargain that gave him a light jail sentence.
More instructors from the 331st Training Squadron, home to about 800 trainees at any one time and 64 instructors, likely will be charged as investigators look into other cases, Kenny said. There are seven other basic training squadrons, and she said trainers from some of them were expected to face legal proceedings. Lt. Col. John Gondol will now head the 331st Training Squadron. Before Axelbank’s decision, Paquette was to be reassigned to a joint military unit, a move that usually precedes a promotion. But former Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters said the decision to relieve Paquette probably would cost him the job — and any chance at promotion to colonel. “People who are relieved by a senior commander for lack of confidence usually don’t get promoted after that, so it is a very significant message,” said Peters, a Washington attorney who was the Air Force’s civilian leader during the Clinton administration.
Kenny said Paquette is not on a promotion list, and she predicted that the joint command would review his case. “I’m sure they’re going to look at it and make a decision,” she said. “I am sure that as a matter of courtesy, Colonel Axelbank’s office is discussing these issues with the (new) command.” In another development, Kenny said the Air Force was considering putting all-female training flights under the supervision of women. The problem, she said, is that there aren’t enough women to head those units. While women and men train together at Lackland, they live separately, with both male and female instructors overseeing them.
Paquette headed his squadron for two years. He lists himself on a website for professionals as head of a unit that “annually transforms 6,500 civilians into expeditionary, warrior-minded airmen.” He did not respond to requests for comment. What prompted Axelbank’s action wasn’t known. Kenny, whose office oversees legal affairs for basic and technical training bases, wouldn’t say if anyone complained to Paquette about instructor misconduct or if he knew about or overlooked problems. “A commander is obviously responsible for everything that happens in a squadron, and we expect our commanders to be aware of what happens in a squadron,” she said. “I can’t really comment any more specifically on that, but ultimately, the commander is responsible for everything that goes on under his command.”
As an Air Force veteran, I can tell you that this journalist is shocked and disgusted by the allegations at Lackland but in the same breath say that I have complete confidence in the Air Force to make things right. While the allegations are serious, the Air Force’s reputation, generally, is above reproach. You can be sure of this. The Air Force will get to the bottom of this debacle and those involved will be dealt with accordingly.
FT LAUDERDALE, Florida — (DMN) – It was a story that shocked the conscience. A teenage boy set on fire by three friends over a debt. Michael Brewer will always carry the physical scars and emotional pain of having been set on fire and nearly killed in an attack that made international headlines three years ago. Three of his so-called friends will spend years behind bars. “Ten minutes in the lives of these kids changed their lives forever,’’ said defense attorney Perry Thurston Jr., just minutes after his client, Matthew Bent, was found guilty of aggravated battery in Broward Criminal Court on Tuesday. Bent, 17, is the accused ringleader in the burning of Michael Brewer.
Although he never laid a hand on Brewer, who was 15 at the time of the attack, prosecutors said it was Bent who encouraged a friend to pour rubbing alcohol on Brewer during an after-school confrontation in October 2009. Another boy then flicked a lighter, setting Brewer on fire. Brewer, who saved his own life by jumping into a nearby swimming pool, suffered second- and third-degree burns over most of his body. He spent months at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where doctors performed seven skin grafts and three throat surgeries. Brewer testified at Bent’s trial, and described the agony of seeing the skin peel off his hands as he reached out for help. But Brewer, who was present outside the courtroom every day of the week-long trial, skipped Tuesday’s jury verdict.
Jeanne Brady, a registered nurse and attorney representing the Brewers, said the family respects the jury’s decision to find Bent guilty of a lesser charge than the one he faced: attempted second-degree murder. “Now it’s time for Michael to get on with his life,’’ Brady said. “Now he has closure. Closure is the most important thing for Michael Brewer today, so he can begin the healing journey.’’ Kal Le Var Evans, an assistant state attorney prosecuting the case, said the trial had taken “a lot out of Michael. … He’s a young child.’’ Brewer still suffers night terrors that he’s being burned alive, his mother, Valerie, testified at trial, and he undergoes physical therapy to soften the thick scars that limit his movements.
Evans said prosecutors will ask Circuit Judge Michael A. Robinson, who presided over the case, to impose the maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison at Bent’s sentence hearing on July 23. Bent, who has been in jail since his arrest on the day of the attack in October 2009, will appeal the jury’s decision, Thurston said. “He thought that three years for his involvement was quite substantial,’’ Thurston said. “He’s extremely remorseful.’ Bent was the only one of the three teens charged in the attack to face a jury trial. He had faced an attempted second degree murder charge, which carries a 30-year sentence.
Prosecutors say Bent was angry with Brewer because of a $40 debt, and because Brewer’s parents had Bent arrested on Oct. 11, 2009 for attempting to steal a bicycle from the screened front porch of the family home. The following day, prosecutors said, Bent offered $5 to a friend, Denver “D.C.” Jarvis, to pour rubbing alcohol on Brewer near the driveway of a Deerfield Beach apartment complex. A second boy, Jesus “Junior” Mendez, then flicked a lighter and set Brewer ablaze. The boys were all classmates at Deerfield Beach Middle School. Jarvis, 17, and Mendez, 18, pleaded no contest for their roles in the crime. Jarvis was sentenced to eight years in prison, and Mendez received 11 years. Both testified at Bent’s trial last week.
Bent, who declined to take the witness stand in his own defense, maintained that he was an innocent bystander to the attack. Johnny McCray Jr., one of Bent’s defense attorneys, said his client reacted with disappointment at the jury’s verdict. “He understands what happened,’’ McCray said. Though Brewer’s case is one of numerous high-profile bullying acts to receive national attention is recent years, Nova Southeastern University law professor Robert Jarvis (no relation to Denver Jarvis) said he’s skeptical that such acts are occurring more frequently than in the past, or with more viciousness. What has changed, according to Jarvis: Bullying is now defined much more broadly than it used to be, and its potential for long-lasting psychological damage is recognized more clearly, thanks to a wealth of social and psychological research that simply didn’t exist 100 years ago. “Once upon a time, this was ‘Just something that kids do,’’’ Jarvis said, “and they will grow out of it. We now know that that is not the case, and it does create lasting emotional scars.”
Michael Brewer still suffers vivid nightmares from the attack by former middle school classmates who doused him with alcohol and set him on fire in 2009, his mother said in an interview Wednesday. “He wakes up screaming, thinking that he is still on fire. And it takes a long time to get him calmed down and get him back to sleep,” Valerie Brewer told The Associated Press. Valerie Brewer told The AP that her family had sought justice and felt that had been achieved. “We were looking for justice for Michael and we got that,” she said. But she added that her son will deal with the physical and mental scars for the rest of his life. “He knows that this is what he’s going to have to live with,” Valerie Brewer said. “It’s going to be an ongoing thing for him. He’s not very comfortable looking in the mirror. The mental part of this, the mental scars that he has, are going to be the most difficult. That’s never going to go away.”
MIAMI, Florida — (DMN) – Forecasters from Brownsville, Texas to Fort Myers, Florida are keeping a eye on a large area of low pressure now moving from the Caribbean Sea into the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center in Miami gives the system a 30% of developing into a tropical depression or storm during the next 48 hours. By early next week this system probably has a 50 percent or better chance of becoming a tropical storm. At this point, there is a wide range of possibilities on what the tropical Atlantic’s next move may be starting this weekend.
One scenario slowly develops a tropical storm over the Gulf of Mexico into the weekend then takes it across Florida and over Carolina waters into next week. Accuweather forecaster Alex Sosnowski says that “such a track would bring torrential rain to parts of the Florida Peninsula and could bring a couple of rough surf and poor beach weather to the central Gulf Coast, around Florida to the Carolinas for starters. Even if the system remains weak and disorganized, downpours will continue to affect the southern half of the Florida Peninsula into the weekend.
People with interests in Gulf of Mexico (especially the central and eastern half of the Gulf Coast) and southern Atlantic Seaboard should continue to monitor the situation as we could have a tropical storm or hurricane on our hands in several days. According to Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, “While an El Nino is forecast to develop this fall by AccuWeather.com’s Long Range team, its effects may not be felt until after the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.” El Niño produces rising air over the Eastern Pacific, favorable for tropical systems in that region. Correspondingly, El Niño tends to produce sinking air over the Atlantic, balancing out the atmospheric scale. Sinking air is a negative agent toward tropical development. As of now, conditions are neutral, with neither an El Niño nor a La Niña signature present, so there are no big inhibiting or promoting mechanisms operating in either basin, other than pockets of warm and cool water and areas of strong and weak wind shear.
Another possibility is the budding tropical system moves northward to a certain point in the Gulf of Mexico then turns around and wanders west-southwestward. Essentially, the system would “miss the train” in this case. Steering winds are very light in the tropics at this time. While this favors development to some extent, a weak system could wander just about anywhere over the next few days. If the system were to drift far enough to the north, an upcoming dip in steering winds is likely to scoop up the system. These winds could pull the system up along part of the East Coast of the U.S. for a time. However, in this scenario, disruptive wind shear would come into play mitigating the storm’s strength.
Of concern to Houston and the Texas coast is the Canadian forecast model which for a couple of runs has brought this system in the Central Gulf where, absent any pronounced steering currents it has strengthened before eventually moving into the Texas coast by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week as a large hurricane. Now at this time the Canadian model is the outlier among the global forecast models. Most of them develop a much more pronounced low-pressure system over the northeastern United States, which would have the effect of pulling the Gulf disturbance east-northeast, toward the Florida Gulf coast.
There are still a lot of what if’s with the system. Eric Berger writes in the Houston Chronicle that “the only thing we can say for certain is there’s an area of low pressure in the Gulf worth watching. The best practice is usually to follow the model consensus, which brings this system eventually toward Florida.” People with interests in Gulf of Mexico (especially the central and eastern half of the Gulf Coast) and southern Atlantic Seaboard should continue to monitor the situation as we could have a tropical storm or hurricane on our hands in several days.
According to Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, “While an El Nino is forecast to develop this fall by AccuWeather.com’s Long Range team, its effects may not be felt until after the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.” El Niño produces rising air over the Eastern Pacific, favorable for tropical systems in that region. Correspondingly, El Niño tends to produce sinking air over the Atlantic, balancing out the atmospheric scale. Sinking air is a negative agent toward tropical development. As of now, conditions are neutral, with neither an El Niño nor a La Niña signature present, so there are no big inhibiting or promoting mechanisms operating in either basin, other than pockets of warm and cool water and areas of strong and weak wind shear.