Category Archives: National

America’s Religious Affiliates Are On a Steady Decline

By: Jean Hopfensperger of Star Tribune

The men and women relaxing on yoga mats recently at a Minneapolis meditation center didn’t know it, but most belonged to the fastest-growing religion in America — none at all.

They included a former Lutheran who left the church because the Bible clashed with science, a former Catholic who became leery of its teachings, a former Baptist uninspired by Sunday services, a young man raised with no religion.

They reveal a major force behind the empty pews in churches across Minnesota and the nation. Nearly one in four Americans now declare themselves unaffiliated with any organized religion. An estimated 56 million strong, and growing, there are more of them than all mainline Protestants combined.

The church experience that was central to many of their parents’ lives has lost relevance and credibility.

“I can’t imagine that only one religion has access to the pearly gates,” said Lisa Pool, explaining her church breakup after class ended. “I realized there are all kinds of different paths to being a good person.”

The surge has Minnesota religious leaders wrestling with implications for the future of their churches, the future of Christianity. More than half of U.S. churches now see fewer than 100 worshipers on weekends, and they’re getting older, reports the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Particularly alarming is the plunge in church membership by people in their 20s and 30s. One in three are now churchless, according to the Pew Research Center. Faith leaders are racking their brains over how to reach these adults who may never step under a steeple.

“We are [all] worried,” said the Rev. John Bauer, pastor at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis. “We all know it’s an issue, but don’t know what to do about it. It’s clear we can’t rely on the old ways of doing things for this next generation.”

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REPUBLICAN SENATOR JEFF FLAKE DELAYS KAVANAUGH VOTE FOR JUSTICE

Amidst the controversial and political divides in Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Justice appointment, Republican Senator Jeff Flake took a brave and honorable stand to delay the Senate Judiciary Committee vote and allow the FBI to investigate the sexual assault claims made by Dr. Christine Ford.  This opportunity for due diligence is viewed by many as a civil way to appease both sides and reveal the truth about Dr. Ford’s claims that Judge Kavanaugh assaulted her in High School.

Senator Flake’s decision to take a stand for justice was motivated by two young women who confronted him in an elevator about Kavanaugh’s credibility and the crowds’ request for an FBI investigation.   Voting for Kavanaugh without the FBI’s due diligence implied that achieving political agendas are more important than Dr. Ford’s assault and women’s rights, in general.

The FBI investigation should help to clear Judge Kavanaugh or Dr. Ford’s name as the facts are investigated.  Although, many of Dr. Ford’s alleged witnesses are already saying that they do not remember the incident.

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KAVANAUGH HEARINGS MARK AN IMPORTANT MOMENT IN US HISTORY

Millions of Americans watched the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearing as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified about being sexually assaulted by him during High School.

Although the incident happened a long time ago, it challenges Judge Kavanaugh’s character and questions if he is the appropriate person to be appointed to the highest court in our country for life.  Dr. Ford tried to make her allegations known when it was publicized that Judge Kavanaugh was on President Trump’s short list of candidates.  She stated in her testimony that she felt it was her civic duty to let her truth about his character be known as she tried to remain anonymous.  By the time she made it through the necessary channels to be heard, President Trump had already announced that Judge Kavanaugh was the Supreme Court nominee.

Supreme Court decisions are upheld by laws that impact future generations.  That is why composed, fair, honorable, and unbiased people are sought after for this lifetime position.  We have to wonder why Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment was being rushed through to confirmation with these outstanding accusations that were not fully investigated.  One of the greatest privileges of a US President is to appoint a Supreme Court Justice for life.  President Obama was blocked from doing this for over a year and never got the opportunity before he left office.  Yet, President Trump, amidst personal controversy over his own election, leadership, and sexual misconduct, has appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch and now pushes the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh amidst more controversy.

Beyond the sexual assault charges by Dr. Ford that Judge Kavanaugh vehemently denies, his composure under pressure was clearly broken, his position was partisan and accusatory in an appointment that must uphold the law for all people regardless of political party, and his portrayal as a spoiled white privileged brat that is entitled to such an honor regardless of his behavior, leaves many questions about him being an appropriate Supreme Court Justice for the United States of America.

Moreover, the lives of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are forever changed.  Dr. Ford is a highly educated and credible witness who gave a believable testimony that won the hearts and sympathy of viewers around the world.  She is being called a hero for her courage to come forward with her truth about someone whose position of power would affect the lives of Americans for generations to come.   However, she has received death threats and had to move her family twice since coming forward.  Judge Kavanaugh maintains that he was never at the parties, never drank in excess, was a model student, and his good name has been ruined with these accusations.  Regardless of the outcome in his Supreme Court appointment, and regardless if the accusations are true, Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation, integrity, and truth is now questionable.

This is a moment in our American history that we will not forget.  Are political agendas ruining a perfectly innocent man’s career and life?  Or are political agendas overlooking a woman’s sexual assault and deeming such violations as insignificant?  Either outcome has a historical impact on the current women’s movement that has vindicated many women who have experienced sexual misconduct by men in power positions.

A successful nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court amidst these accusations without proper investigation will tell every woman in America that crimes against her do not matter.  Politics are more important than any women’s rights and male white privilege rules in America regardless of justice.   The only way to show that this is not so is to postpone the vote and have a proper investigation for this type of allegation.  Meanwhile, even if he is found innocent of the accusations by Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh’s arrogant, biased, and angry disposition during his testimony is concerning and definitely a questionable disposition for an Honorable Supreme Court Justice.

More women are coming forward with their truth about being sexually violated.   The  #MeToo movement and accusations of sexual misconduct have brought down the careers of many seemingly untouchable and powerful men, bringing them into accountability.   While some accusations are true,  some men have been accused and lives destroyed in the court of public opinion before proper investigation.   Therefore, is it possible that some men are being brought down unjustly?  The proper investigation goes both ways; to confirm the victim’s truth or to vindicate the accused for a crime they did not commit.

The future outcomes and historical accounts will reside in the conversations we have today with our children.  What will we tell our daughters in America, the land of the free, about their country, their worth, their potential, our leaders, our values, our morals, and trust in the American judicial system?  What will we tell our sons about appropriate behavior, respect, and justice?

This historic appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, or not, will mark who we are as a country at this date in time because of the statement it will make to all women and the men who respect women.  It is a historic stand that we will take for our daughters and their liberation from having to endure inappropriate sexual behavior without recourse.  It is a historic moment for us to seek justice and truth over achieving political agendas.  This truth must not be ignored if we are to ever take our country’s judicial system seriously.

 

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TRUMP REMARKS AT 2018 UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY DRAWS LAUGHTER FROM WORLD LEADERS

President Trump addressed the 2018 United Nations General Assembly, and once again, boasted about all of his accomplishments that, according to Trump, have far exceeded other Presidents in US history:

Fortunately, according to President Trump, the leaders were laughing with him, and not at him:

For the record – according to President Trump, this was meant to be funny.2018 Un General Assembly

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Hog Farm Waste and Coal Ash Form New Hazards In The Wake of Hurricane Florence

NC Hog Lagoons

Hog waste mixed with coal ash during Hurricane Florence has created a hazard and threat that looms over the recovering Carolina’s.  The Carolina’s are large hog producing states with hundreds of hog waste lagoons.  These lagoons, now submerged in water, can mix with the coal ash in the ground and create a very toxic environment.  The is a real concern for public safety, water security and food safety for everyone in and around the Carolina’s.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow  reported on this potential disaster:


LINK:  MSNBC’s “Flooded Animal Farms Add Toxic Soup To Post Florence Concerns .”

Updates to this post will follow as the situation develops.

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Nike Continues Full Steam After Kaepernick PushBack

By : Darren Rovell of ESPN

Nike is doubling down on its investment in Colin Kaepernick.

The world’s largest shoe and apparel brand, which got the attention of the world by utilizing the quarterback-turned-activist in advertisements published on social channels on Monday, is scheduled to debut a “Just Do It” commercial during the NFL’s regular-season opener featuring the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles on NBC on Thursday night.

The ad is voiced by Kaepernick and features him, along with NBA star LeBron James, tennis champion Serena Williams, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., marathoner Eliud Kipchoge and skateboarder Lacey Baker, and inspirational athletes such as NFL linebacker Shaquem Griffin, wheelchair basketball player Megan Blunk, boxer Zeina Nassar and legless wrestler Isaiah Bird.

Kaepernick tweeted the commercial Wednesday.

Kaepernick’s protests of racial injustice — which began in August 2016 with sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem — launched a movement across the NFL. No team signed him as a free agent in 2017 or 2018.

The Kaepernick ad revealed on Monday predictably polarized people, with some vowing to boycott Nike products.

Even on the Labor Day holiday, Nike dominated social media. There were 3.4 million mentions of Nike on Twitter in the first 21 hours after Kaepernick tweeted the initial ad, social media management tool Sprinklr said. The #JustDoIt hashtag had more than 400,000 mentions; #BoycottNike and #Nikeboycott combined to have garnered more than 120,000 mentions. Kaepernick had 1.5 million mentions over that time period, Sprinklr data revealed.

Kaepernick signed with Nike in 2011. Sources told ESPN that Nike kept the fact that Kaepernick would be involved in a future campaign from many key players internally and outside Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The company did not share the news ahead of time with the NFL, even though Kaepernick has a collusion lawsuit against the league’s owners. Nike recently signed a new multibillion dollar, 10-year deal to remain the official apparel supplier of the league.

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Controversy In The Putin Trump Meeting

By : Amanda Macias & Tucker Higgins of CNBC

President Donald Trump on Monday said at a joint briefing with Russian President Vladimir Putin that while he had “great confidence” in the U.S. intelligence community, Putin was “extremely strong and powerful in his denial” that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The president blamed “both countries” for the strained relationship. When a reporter asked the president if he would denounce Russia’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election, Trump raised the issue of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

“I think it’s a disgrace we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 e-mails. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said.

“I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia that interfered with the 2016 election, Trump said.

Putin told Trump during the summit Monday that he never meddled in the election. At the briefing, Putin called the allegations “nonsense,” and offered to allow special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators into Russia.

“The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs including election process,” Putin said during the briefing alongside Trump.

The comments from the two leaders came during a free-wheeling press briefing at the tail end of Trump’s raucous European tour. While the two leaders discussed issues ranging from the Syrian Civil War to nuclear nonproliferation, critics are likely to seize on what was left unsaid: Three days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian nationals for interfering in a U.S. election, Trump offered Putin nothing but praise.

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Beatrice Premier Foods / Cuppedia Corp Announces Lady Hamilton’s Appointment for Global Trade of Organic Food Contracts in Africa

PRESS RELEASE

July 7th, 2018 – 7am PST – Los Angeles, California USA – 90002

Lady Alicia Hamilton signs a 20-year contract with Beatrice Premier Foods/Cuppedia Corporation, USA., to offer long-term contracts for both growing and manufacturing of Tested Pure Food, to women around the World for global trade.

With a Special Emphasis Project in Africa, Lady Hamilton will be accepting proposals from African Women’s Farming Groups, African Manufacturing concerns, and with purveyors of all African Goods.

Working with Cuppedia Corporation and African Youth to assist in opening up franchising opportunities w/financing, Lady Hamilton brings new hope for Africa!

“We are honored to work closely with the AU PADWA Western Regions Chair as Lady Alicia Hamilton is also the CEO of Universal Citizens Media Network!”

-Anna Carter, Owner – Cuppedia Corporation, USA.

Contact Email – ah.seprojects@gmail.com

AMC/bh

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Five Dead After Capital Gazette Newspaper Shooting

By: Kevin Rector of The Baltimore Sun

At least five people were killed and several others were “gravely injured” in a shooting Thursday afternoon at the Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, authorities said.

A shooter is in custody, police said. Police would not name the suspect or say what type of weapon was used.

Anne Arundel County Police initially confirmed about 3:15 p.m. that they were responding to an “active shooter” at 888 Bestgate Road, where the newspaper’s offices are located. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.

The Capital Gazette is owned by The Baltimore Sun.

Police said a “long gun” was used in the incident. They said officers did not exchange gunfire with the suspect, who was now being interrogated. They said officers had recovered what appeared to be an “explosive device,” and had “tactically secured” the building. About 170 people were inside at the time of the shooting, police said.

Phil Davis, a Capital Gazette crime reporter who was in the building at the time of the shooting, said multiple people were shot, as others — himself included — hid under their desks. He said there was a lone male gunman.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis wrote on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

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Trump Signs Executive Order To Halt Family Separations

By: Andrew Restuccia, Lorraine Woellert of politico

President Donald Trump signed an executive action Wednesday that ends the administration’s policy of separating migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, abandoning the president’s previous stance that only Congress can fix the problem.

“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. “I think anybody with a heart would feel strongly about it. We don’t like to see families separated.”

Yet Trump said that he wanted to continue enforcing a strong policy at the border, an issue he campaigned on: “We are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”

The action came after Trump and his team faced harsh criticism from lawmakers, activists, religious leaders and former first ladies over the separation of children from their parents in custody, which was panned almost universally as cruel and damaging to the kids’ well-being.

It was a remarkable shift from a president who is typically reluctant to bow to outside pressure. He often doubles down on his existing stance when confronted with criticism.

With cable news flashing images of migrant children held in cages and lawmakers’ offices facing a flood of angry phone calls, the president was under increased pressure to come up with a speedy solution. White House aides came to the conclusion on Wednesday that Congress was unlikely to act quickly to resolve the crisis, even though they sent signals that Trump would be willing to sign a narrow, stand-alone fix without other immigration-related provisions.

The decision to end the separation policy via executive action appeared to have happened quickly, and some in the White House were left in the dark. Key members of the White House legislative affairs team, which had been working with Hill lawmakers in a bid to find a legislative fix, were left out of the loop and hadn’t seen text of the executive action as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to two people familiar with the issue.

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