Friday, January 30, 2009

JFK on Faith and Politics You Tube... National News... Health News... Personal Commentary on Separation of Church and State

This video is dated; and thus, does not cover all issues associated with this topic, including the status (or lack of) other religious bodies, agnostics, atheists, etc. However, the general content of the video is still pertinent!



["JFK on the Separation of Church and State"; as submitted to You Tube by JFKLF on 8/1/07; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAvHHTt2czU]

Washington Reports / National Politics / News:

1. "Without a single Republican vote, President Obama won House approval on Wednesday for an $819 billion economic recovery plan as Congressional Democrats sought to temper their own differences over the enormous package of tax cuts and spending..."

"Some Democrats seemed surprised that no Republicans voted for the measure..."

“Not one person felt his or her district needed to have any of this assistance?” Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, asked of the Republicans. “That can’t be.”

"Brad Woodhouse, president of the union-supported, pro-Democratic group Americans United for Change, e-mailed a statement condemning the Republicans’ opposition under the subject line “Political Suicide”

["House Passes Stimulus Plan With No G.O.P. Votes"; Jackie Calmes; "New York Times" (NYT) Online; 1/28/09; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/us/politics/29obama.html?_r=2&partner=msnbcpolitics&emc=rss (An alternative print version (NYS) of this article was published in the NYT on 1/29/2009; P. A1)].

2. "President Barack Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Bill for equal pay for equal work Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, in a ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington" [Associated Press (AP); 2009].

"... Lilly Ledbetter, the Alabama woman whose story was the impetus behind the new law, stood alongside Obama as he signed the first bill of his presidency. Also in the East Room of the White House were labor, women's, civil rights advocates and members of Congress for whom the bill was a priority... The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act effectively nullifies a 2007 Supreme Court decision that denied Ledbetter an opportunity for redress..."

"First lady Michelle Obama held a separate reception with Ledbetter in the State Dining Room just down the red-carpeted hallway from the earlier event. "She knew unfairness when she saw it, and was willing to do something about it because it was the right thing to do — plain and simple," Mrs. Obama said..."

"Ledbetter, who won't benefit from the legislation, said the richest reward is that the nation's daughters and granddaughters will have a better deal..."

"That's what makes this fight worth fighting," Ledbetter said. "That's what made this fight one we had to win..."

"Obama cited Census Bureau figures that show women still earn about 78 cents for every dollar men get for doing equivalent jobs, and it's even less for women of color. He said Ledbetter lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and Social Security benefits..."

"The bill, which amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act, also applies to discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, national origin, disability or age..."

[Information on the bill, S.181, can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov; More information on the above article can be accessed at NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99995431&sc=nl&cc=bh-20090129]

3. The "Religious Right Forum" has published an online article / profile [originally from the "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ)] on President Obama's pick (Joshua DuBois) for his "faith-based outreach" (and potential funding) program.

According to this article, Joshua is an "evangelical Christian" who is [or has been] associated with the "Calvary Praise and Worship Center, a small African-American Pentecostal congregation in Cambridge. He became an associate pastor at age 18..."

According to the online article, and the original article (WSJ), the "Christian political action committee Matthew 25 Network" put out a TV advertisement, in August 2008, that was scheduled to "coincide with Rev. Warren's [another Christian evangelist?] faith-based forum" in Lake Forest, California.

[For more on this, go to: http://www.religiousrightwatch.com/2008/08/wsj-profile-of.html]

4. According to a blurb by Wally Edge (PoliticerNJ.com) and the "Boston Globe," Joshua DuBois formerly served as an aid to Rep. Rush Holt..."

[You can email Wally Edge at politicsnj@aol.com or go to: http://www.politickernj.com/wallye/21435/remember-joshua-dubois - for additional information]

5. For more on the following...

"President Barack Obama issued a withering critique Thursday of Wall Street corporate behavior, calling it "the height of irresponsibility" for employees to be paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year while their crumbling financial sector received a bailout from taxpayers..."

"It is shameful," Obama said from the Oval Office. "And part of what we're going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility..."

"The House just approved an economic stimulus plan that would cost taxpayers more than $800 billion; the Senate is considering its own version..."

"Separately, Congress also passed a $700 billion plan last year to shore up the financial sector, one that drew howls of criticism about a lack of transparency..."

"We're going to be having conversations as this process moves forward directly with these folks on Wall Street to underscore that they have to start acting in a more responsible fashion if we are to, together, get this economy rolling again," Obama said..."

"There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses," Obama said. "Now is not that time..." ["Obama calls $18B in Wall Street bonuses 'shameful'"; Ben Feller, AP; 1/29/09]

Go to: http://www.rr.com/news/politics/article/1151/6710787/Obama_calls_18B_in_Wall_Street_bonuses_shameful

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Health Related News:

1. According to a report issued yesterday, from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), "529 persons from 43 states... and one person from Canada had been reported infected with the outbreak [current salmonella issue associated with some peanut butter products] strain". This is especially important [in my opinion], because some brands of peanut butter crackers [often given to children as snacks] seem to be of especially high risk - and the risk seems to be associated, primarily, with some products that "contain" [sometimes ambiguous] peanut butter, including some brands of energy bars, some brands of pet food, etc. NY State appears to have had at least 20 cases; some products [as identified] have reputedly been voluntarily pulled off the shelves. For more on this, please go to... http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm58e0129a1.htm?s_cid=mm58e0129a1_echeck and/or click on the FDA link provided in the sidebar for more specific information.

2. According to a report issued by the Federal Government on 1/22/09 [go to www.fsis.usda.gov], folks should follow some guidelines if holding a party for "Super Bowl XLIII", which is cited as being "[s]econd only to Thanksgiving" in regards to being the "highest day of food consumption in the United States."

Folks therefore need to be savvy to avoid "footborne" illnesses:

a. "Clean - Avoid penalties for Illegal Use of Hands." [Clean food preparation and other surface areas often.]

b. "Separate - Avoid Encroachment and do not jump offside." [Separate cooked food and vegetables from raw meet and poultry (use separate cutting boards, or wash board between uses, as necessary.)]

c. "Cook - Ensure your foods are in The Red Zone by using a food thermometer... Meat and poultry including chicken wings, sausages and hamburgers, should be cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7... Steaks should be cooked to 145 °F, ground beef should be cooked to 160 °F and all poultry should be cooked to 165 °F. Once your foods have reached The Red Zone of food safety, protect your team from the Danger Zone. Do not leave foods sitting out for more than two hours at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F."

d "Chill - Your defense for good Pass Protection." [Refrigerate food items after utilizing; keep food items cool when not in use.] "Your pass protection will block offensive bacteria from multiplying and running up the score. The same rules of the Danger Zone apply for hot foods, too. If food has been sitting out for more than two hours, do not eat it."

e. "Make the Right Call. In football, referees may rely on the feature of instant replay to review their rulings. One of the best resources available before kickoff is USDA's virtual representative, Ask Karen, a feature that also allows you to ask food safety-related questions 24 hours a day. Visit Ask Karen at AskKaren.gov. If you prefer to review your strategy via phone, you may contact a food safety specialist with the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). Recorded messages are available 24 hours a day and the Hotline is staffed with food safety experts, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time" (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/NR_012209_01/index.asp}

3. According to a U.S. National Report (2007) issued by the CDC, women aged 18 through 44 years were more apt to be tested for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), than males in the same age (especially from age 18 - age 24) categories. For more information, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhis/released200806.htm.

4. Some recent headlines ["National Partnership for Women and Families"; "National Politics & Policy"] regarding women's health issues include:

a. "Senate Rejects Amendment Reinstating 'Global Gag Rule' During SCHIP Debate" [1/29/09]

b. "Stimulus Bill Includes STI Prevention Funding; Removal of Family Planning Provision Criticized" (1/29/09).

c. "Provision To Increase Access to Medicaid Family Planning Services Cut From Stimulus Package" (1/28/09).

For more updates and/or information regarding the above, go to: http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/PageServer?pagename=daily2_welcome

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Personal Opinion on Faith and Politics:

I personally feel that the Whited House Office of Faith-Based Funding, which was established, via Executive Order, by former President George Bush Jr., should be dismantled and disempowered in order to keep the boundaries between church and state more clearly drawn - and to make sure no particular religious ideology or body takes precedence over / has more power than /or receives more funding than any other.

The influx of evangelical Christians (in particular) into the White House began quite some time ago... (during previous presidential administrations) --- and this was done (at least in some instances) in a rather "sneaky" ('tis my opinion, based on my research) manner.

One only has to look at the controversies that have already erupted when Reverend Wright, Reverend Warren and some other religious leaders (by design and/or invite) stepped into the political picture --- to see that the combination of "church and state" (unconstitutional, in my opinion, to begin with) is NOT in this countries best interest.

Yes, we have "freedom of religion."

Yes, theoretically - at least, we have the freedom to not engage in any form of religion - and to take this stance without fear of discrimination / unequal treatment...

Yes, I have respect for all bodies of faith (whilst being very disappointed with some of their leaders)...

And yes, I have developed a faith-life of my own - that is not reflected (this came more recently) in the books that I wrote...

However, my views on the necessity of the "separation of church and state" - in order to have a "more fair and equal" country / citizenship - have NOT changed...

And my belief is that "IF" there is to be an equality-based / non-discriminatory "Office of Faith-Based Services" in the White House --- this office should be run by a board or committee with at least one representative of every faith and non-faith in America sitting in and having a voice on all policy and funding decisions...

And more stringent regulations (these organizations (generally alleged or in facto non-profits) should be held just as accountable as businesses are in regard to book-keeping, outside objective oversight, public disclosure, etc.)


[If you note any factual errors in this report, please let me know and I will make (based on research) the appropriate corrections. Links will be made available in the sidebar>>>]

Peace, Love, Equality and Humane Justice,

NS

1 comment:

N.S. said...

Note: These links were posted in the sidebar as available to the general public. Sometimes one has to be logged into a certain site to receive their information.