Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mayor Ray Nagin Gives Up New Orleans for Lent

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New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Announces His Lent Plans to a Drunken Crowd.

NEW ORLEANS -- While Christians across the world give up chocolate, alcohol and coffee for Lent, Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans announced today he made the painful decision to give up the entire City of New Orleans for 40 days or so.

"I love New Orleans and I love thinking about this city," said Nagin. "So, as an act of penance, for the next 40 days, I am going to take my family back to our other home in Dallas, and not think about New Orleans at all. It will be painful. This will be a lot like the act of penance I performed last year during Hurricane Katrina."

As part of his Lenten fast, Nagin said he will not do any economic development brainstorming, or meet with governmental or business officials. After a day of participating in Fat Tuesday parades, his last order of business Tuesday night was making copies of his business plan, "The Chocolate Milk Analogy," at a 24-hour Kinko's on Canal Street.

"The Chocolate Milk Analogy," a five-page document, details Nagin's childhood love of chocolate milk, and how, despite what he said to the media in the past, the milk really is just as important as the chocolate in making both a good beverage and an exciting coastal city. In the meantime, Nagin said he has set up a suggestions box outside his office so the few remaining New Orleans residents can submit ideas for economic development.

"I want to remind everyone before I leave that I am the only elected official who has a plan for this city," he said. "Just remember that, and remind me when I come back."

Gov. Kathleen Blanco in a news release stated that she is so impressed by Nagin's Lenten sacrifice she has decided to give up the entire state of Louisiana. "One of the most meaningful things in my life is to be able to empathize with the citizens of Louisiana. I cried on television during the hurricanes, I continue to show concern about the UAE port deal, and yesterday I lashed out at the government for wanting to disband the 256th Infantry Brigade," said Blanco. "I think one of the most selfless acts of penance I can do this year is to emotionally detach from this state and its problems, and perhaps do something. I hope you'll join me."

Nagin said he appreciated Blanco's support finally, and added that despite running out of ideas, he believes he can win the mayoral election in April. "If I do win, don't worry, I can effectively govern from my home in Dallas, just like I did last year."


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Indiana Man Miffed $25 Donation Only Garners Downspout

'The UAE donates $100 million to Katrina Aid and gets our ports, and all I get is this?'

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For his $25 donation, Harold Moore was given a downspout somewhere in Pakistan.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA-- An Indiana man said he is angry that his $25 donation to earthquake relief in Pakistan qualifies him for a downspout, while the UAE "gets the whole store" for their $100 million donation to Hurricane Katrina relief.

"Basically for my contribution, a downspout has been dedicated to me and my family," said Harold Moore, an electrical engineer who works for Dawson Industries in Indianapolis. "I'll never get to see or touch this downspout because it is attached to someone's house in Pakistan. There is no plaque, no engraving. Let's just say I've got a bad taste in my mouth from trying to help the needy."

Pundits and politicians from former President Jimmy Carter to Condoleeza Rice have said DP World, a UAE company, should be able to take control of six U.S. ports, based on the two countries' longstanding frienship, which includes a $100 million donation that UAE made to Hurricane Katrina relief.

"I guess the UAE gets whatever they want for being generous," said Moore. "What's next? Our nuclear power plants and naval ships? How do I get some of that?"

Many countries donated money to the U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the category 5 hurricane that hit parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Jamaica and Guatemala, two of the poorest countries in the world, donated thousands of dollars to Hurricane Katrina relief. As of yet, no officials from the two countries have claimed the Sno-Cone stand in Kenner, La., and the laundromat in Foley, Ala., the two pieces of real estate those donations have garnered.

"Our people were moved by the images they saw of hurricane victims, so our government made the decision to help our friends to the north," said Romone Davies, a government official in Kingston, Jamaica."We really don't want anything in return."

Moore said the UAE port deal makes him very angry about his own situation. "For $25, I should at least get a street sign or a drainage ditch," he said. "At least a drainage ditch is real estate, so to speak. It's not fair."


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

White House Hires UAE Firm to Spy on Catholic Worker Volunteers, Other Threats to Terror

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Dubai Hearts America employees are coming to a Catholic Worker House near you.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a news conference today, President Bush said he just learned that his administration hired a UAE firm last week to spy on Catholic Worker volunteers and other groups, but said the action was necessary to fight the war on terror and reward Middle Eastern allies.

"I learned about the hiring this morning at breakfast from one of the wait staff as he was handing me a bagel," said Bush. "Anyway, I think it is a terrific idea. When my gardner told me more about the UAE company later in the day, I was even more impressed," said Bush, as he slapped Marvin Ellis, a White House gardner on the back.

"Marvin's right. We need to reward those Middle Eastern countries that play right, while punishing groups that threaten our freedom, such as the Catholic Worker and the Newman Club. We are going to smoke the terrorists out of the soup kitchens."

Dubai Hearts America, the UAE intelligence and consulting firm the White House hired, will send eavesdropping experts and specially equipped surveillance vans to Catholic Worker soup kitchens, PETA rallies, peace demonstrations at Catholic schools, Cardinal Newman Society meetings, Girl Scout Troups and Little Flower Group meetings, as well as Novus Ordo Catholic masses.

"I hear the Latin masses don't do the "peace be with you bit, so we aren't interested in them," said Bush. "Plus, I doubt any of us would understand a damn thing they were saying anyway."

Bush said he understands that the UAE's record isn't spotless, but that they should be given the benefit of the doubt. "I know they didn't cooperate with us when we were trying to track down Osama Bin Laden's bank accounts,and the UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Libya," said Bush. "OK, but so what? Those Catholic Worker people are pacifists, got that?"

Bush added that he will use his veto power against any congressional legislation aimed at stopping the contract with Dubai Hearts America. "I may not always know what's going on, but once I find out, I stick to my guns and support it, and everyone will just have to trust me."


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Out of Respect for Islam, CNN to Halt Coverage of Islamic Countries, Events

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ATLANTA -- Out of Respect for the religion of Islam, CNN President Jonathan N. Klein announced today that the network will no longer air content that is offensive to the religion's followers, including any other material that distorts the image of the "religion of peace."

"Two weeks ago, we made the maverick decision not to air the Mohammed cartoons -- not because all of us in Atlanta are afraid of being turned into human shish kabobs-- but because we don't want to offend the followers of this great world religion," said Klein. "The fact that we're still alive-- er, I mean--that we've gotten positive feedback from the world, shows we made the right decision."

As part of the new policy, CNN will not air any material that depicts Islamic followers involved in violent acts, since that goes against tenets of the Islam, the religion of peace. As a result, CNN reporters, producers, and camera crews today pulled out of Brunei, Chad, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Dijibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Gambia, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbajan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Chechnya, Eastern Timor, as well as parts of Detroit and Washington D.C.

"Since there won't be any news we can broadcast from those areas, there is no reason to keep news crews there,"he said. "If you look at our website today, you will notice it's pretty much Dick Cheney and Britney Spears."

When asked who would cover events in Islamic countries, Klein responded, "We'll leave it to MSNBC and some of those other guys. I heard the Food Channel might do something on Middle Eastern cuisine in the near future. You can check there."

Klein said he assured CNN staffers there will be no layoffs. "Some of these producers and reporters will be sent to the Vatican," he said. "There are so many accounts of how the Church is oppressing women, the poor and dissenters.As a news organization with a conscience, we want to get to the bottom of those stories."

Welcome Anchoress, Pajamas Media, World Tribune, Happy Catholic and Dr. Sanity readers!


Friday, February 17, 2006

News Briefs

Homeschooling Family Blows Off Lit Exam for Toddler's Birthday Party

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EL PASO, TEXAS -- Anthony Richard may have made an F on his literature final, but said it was worth it to see the look on his four-year-old brother's face when he blew out his birthday candles.

"Yeah, it was pretty cool," said Richard, 14. "But then again, it was kind of like last year," he said of the bash.

Richard and his seven brothers and sisters take courses through Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary School. The literature exam, which was on Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," counted for a 1/4 or his grade.

"We are naturally disappointed about him missing the final and making an F, but I plan to write the teacher and explain that Anthony had to help me make prepartions all day for Gabriel's special day," said Therese Richard, Anthony's mother. "If only Mrs. Parker could have seen Gabriel stick his face in the cake," she said."It was so cute."

"Of course, if she doesn't understand, we, his primary educators,will just drop the course and give him the grade we know he deserves. After all, we know our children better than some teacher who has never laid eyes on him," she said.

Homeschooling provides the opportunity for Richard's children to take advanced courses in Latin, Greek, philosophy, and Great books, all without the pressure of tests or due dates. "My kids really have the chance to excel academically," she said.

Catholic Author Vows to Blow Lid off Cervantes' Anti-Catholicism

GREENVILLE, NC -- Thomas Stone, a recent convert to Catholicism, says his new book on "Don Quixote" willforever answer nagging questions about the book's anti-Catholicism.

"Everyone knows that chivalry and the Church are intricately connected, and quite frankly, Cervantes makes Don Quixote, the knight and hero of the book, look like an utter buffoon," said Stone. "Showing a servant of God like Don Quixote mistake windmills for monsters, get into fights with wineskins and try to fight a religious order would shake any Catholic's faith."

Stone said although he has been dogged by criticisms for this endeavor, he remains steadfast. "Yes, I know it's a parody, but not everyone is going to understand that, and that is why I wrote this book,"said Stone. "It may be about a 400-year old piece of fiction, but it might be sending people to Hell, nevertheless.

Stone added that the fact Cervantes was probably Catholic has not hampered his work. "Even if that is the case, it still doesn't make him any less of a bigot."

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Pregnant Woman Awarded '518 Dads' from Catholic Hospital That Refused Her Morning After Pill

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Pictured, a few of Strong's new 'dads.'

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. -- Meredith Strong won a landmark parental support award from Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Hospital last week after they refused to give her a morning after pill when she discovered she was pregnant six months ago.

As part of the court order, the 518 staff members of the hospital are required to be "surrogate fathers" to her unborn child. Staff members must help Strong with paternal duties, such as prenatal care and education, in addition to financial responsiblities.

"It makes me happy that this baby is finally experiencing some justice in this world," said Strong, a dance major at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAH). Strong discovered she was pregnant after a one-time encounter with a classmate. "He hasnt' shown a lot of interest," she said of the father. "And I don't want to force our way into his life," Strong said.

Although Strong said she is pleased with the outcome of the case, she said she has been less than happy with some of the staff's commitment. "George Hannah, who is over the janitorial department, went with me to La Maze last night, and he just doesn't seem too committed to his role as father. I kept having to yell at him to pay attention and help me breathe. I hope he shows more interest at the La Leche meetings."

Hannah conceded that his relationship with Strong has been tense, so far. "She made me kind of nervous. I don't have a lot of experience with pregnant women," he said. "After the class, she made me take her by Sonic and buy her a Cherry Cheescake Shake. Then she yelled at me because they forgot the cherry and straw. I don't know, I think this is going to be a very difficult pregnancy for me."

Carol Pironia, a registered dietician at the hospital, has been assigned to help Strong with her diet. "This could be very rewarding for both of us, but she won't take my advice. She drinks six or seven Dr. Peppers a day, and nothing I say convinces her otherwise," Pironia said. "I tried to wrestle a six-pack away from her at Kroger, but people started staring, so I just gave in to her. Who wants to wrestle a pregnant woman? It's like I have been given all this responsibility as a dad, but no authority."

Dr. Peter Hesse, a resident at Our Lady of Angels, has been running late-night errands for Strong, getting her everything from mixed berry flavored Tums to salt and vinegar potato chips. "I've never been a father before," he said. "This is hard work. I really hope once the baby comes, she will baptize him and raise him Catholic. I don't though, I'm just the dad. I don't have a lot of say so in the matter."

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Group Presses Vatican for Non-Catholic Canonized Saints

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How would the Vatican feel about Sts. John and George?

LOS ANGELES -- You've heard of St. Paul and St. Patrick, but what about St. John Lennon and St. James Dean? A Los Angeles-based group said it hopes to break the Vatican's tight grip on who gets to be a saint and who doesn't.

Our Cause
founder James Dominic said he started the group so other deserving people will finally get recognition. "It is so unfair that the Vatican only considers Catholics for their elite club," he said.

"What about the creators of Sesame Street? Aren't they as important as some guy who hung out with lepers on an island?"

So far, Dominic has recruited 100 members to his cause. "Oh, I am so wanting the Beatles to become saints,"said Carrie Barstow, an English teacher in Santa Monica. "I asked my students if any of them could think of any miracles they could attribute to John or George. One of my students said she played the song "Hey, Jude" and the nausea associated with her hangover vanished. I am documenting this and sending it to the Vatican. I'm hopeful."

Angela Dalton, a hairdresser with Regis in East Hollywood, said she gets a "happy, warm feeling" when she thinks of her favorite actor, James Dean. "He was just so hot and so good in 'Giant,'" she said. "I just think he should be recognized in some kind of way."

Dominic said that the change would help the Church's image, too. "I think it would make people take a different look at the Church. If a certain person brings a smile to my face or makes me happy in some way, why shouldn't they be canonized?"

Barstow agreed. "Why does it always have to be about people being good? That isn't what inspires anymore. We want to be moved, and I think Brad Pitt does a good job of that, don't you?"


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Emails from my one Mormon fan

Hi, Maureen. My name is Cliff Mayes and I'm a professor of educational psychology at BYU. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your "Tanzanian Paper" article. It was hilarious! I'm forwarding the address of the "article" on to many of my colleagues here at Brigham Young. Keep up the good work! Mormons, like Catholics, believing that we have the "true" church, don't laugh at ourselves nearly enough. Thanks again for the good chuckles. My wife loved it too.

Indeed, I think you’d find that it would play pretty well in Mormondom in general—all the more so as there is a lot of positive regard for Catholicism in Mormondom. John Paul II was a very big hero in our culture. We loved him dearly (but then again, who didn’t?) and Pope Benedict XVI is also clearly a great defender and exemplar of the Gospel.

All the best,

Cliff Mayes

Clifford Mayes, Ph.D., Psy.D.

Associate Professor

Educational Psychology

McKay School of Education, 306-D

Brigham Young University

Provo, Utah 84606


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tanzanian Paper Publishes Cartoons Mocking Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Genealogy Service

Latter Day Saints React With 'Pouting', Coffee Drinking

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Some LDS members say cartoons "aren't nice."

DAR-ES-SALAAM, TANZANIA -- Latter Day Saints (LDS) across the world have reacted with mild irritation in response to a Tanzanian's newspaper editor's decision to run cartoons mocking the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' well-known genealogy service.

"This just isn't very nice," said Elder Adam Hunington, 19, of the cartoons that appeared in the online version of the Dar-Es-Salaam Express News. "This cartoon shows a man setting his computer on fire after having trouble finding his ancestors on our genealogy website. I've never found our genealogy service website to be that hard to maneuver. This cartoon seems a bit unfair to me."

Twelve cartoons of the Choir and genealogy service ran in the Dar-Es-Salaam Express News over the weekend. Editor Mfaume Wakil said he ran the contest to "shake things up a bit." "I don't think anyone was too upset over it, though," he said. "Although when I waved to a couple of Mormon missionaries this morning, they just biked on by and didn't wave back or smile. Maybe they are pouting a bit."

Edgar Dobson, a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said the cartoons depicting the choir caused him some distress. "Yes, it sort of upset me to see that someone had drawn a picture of Michael Jackson and Spongebob Squarepants singing with us, as if that would ever happen," Dobson said. "Let's just put it this way, I had my first cup of coffee in several months because of it."

Some prominent LDS members are discussing what they can do to show their displeasure over the cartoons. "I just may never play in Tanzania," said Donny Osmond, singer and member of the well-known Osmond Family singers. "Oh, I don't know, though. That seems a little mean. If they asked me to come there, I might do it."

Wakil said he stands behind his decision to run the cartoon contest. "It is important to promote freedom of speech,"he said. "But if those missionaries keep giving me the silent treament, I might run a retraction."


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