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NEWS -- 2013.02.07.Thursday night

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  • James Martin
    1) My comment today 2) priceless 3) college -- Four Foolish Majors To Avoid 4) Are You Making a Good First Impression? 5) Prayer Isn t a Team Sport 6) Father:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2013
      1) My comment today
      2) priceless
      3) college -- Four Foolish Majors To Avoid
      4) Are You Making a Good First Impression?
      5) Prayer Isn't a Team Sport
      6) Father: Bullying attack leaves Delco 11-year-old son in coma
      7) Damsel, Arise: A Westboro Scion Leaves Her Church

      My comment today --->
      Southern Baptist Bigots and their boy scouts are showing what they really are --- proud, prejudiced, bigoted, arrogant people with limited vision and education, including college degrees. Still pissed-off that they were forced to give up ownership of their slaves. Always needing someone under them to abuse.

      Their theological mythology gives us their prejudice.

      Baptist Bigots



      Teacher asks the kids in class: "What do you want to be when you grow up"?

      Little Johnny: "I wanna be a billionaire, going to the most expensive
      clubs, take the best bitch with me, give her a Ferrari worth over a
      million bucks, an apartment in Copacabana, a mansion in Paris, a jet
      to travel through Europe, an Infinite Visa Card, and to make love to
      her three times a day".

      The teacher, shocked, and not knowing what to do with the bad behavior
      of the child, decides not to give importance to what he said and then
      continues the lesson.

      And you, Susie?

      "I wanna be Johnny's bitch"!


      Four Foolish Majors To Avoid
      If going back to school is on your horizon, great. Just be aware that not every degree can put you on the path to a career you desire.
      By Terence Loose

      February 2013

      Are you thinking of going back to school, but want to make sure the degree you earn is one that can help breathe life into your career, rather than kill it?

      That's smart thinking. College is a big investment of time and money, so it's important to choose a major that will give you a good shot at a return on that investment.

      But how do you know if your major is a good choice or a bad move?

      "Right now, in this economy, getting a degree that gives you skills that employers want is vital because there are too many people out of work, so the competition for jobs is fierce," says Susan Heathfield, a career expert and writer of About.com's Guide to Human Resources.

      We should also be clear that we're speaking to you adult learners - moms, dads, and professionals with family and work obligations. For you, going back to school is probably about getting a promotion or finding a new, exciting career that pays the mortgage or rent.

      So to help you think twice about the degree you may want to pursue, we studied up on a few majors that might be career poison. We also pulled the unemployment rates associated with those degree holders from a 2012 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce called "Hard Times: Not all College Degrees Are Created Equal."

      But don't worry; it's not all doom and gloom. We also got the skinny on good alternative choices. Keep reading to learn more about what we uncovered.

      --- click on URL to continue to the four to avoid at the present time ---


      See also http://education.yahoo.net/articles/hot_careers_hiring_now.htm


      Are You Making a Good First Impression?
      By SHAPE magazine | Secrets to Your Success - Wednesday 06 February 2013

      When you meet someone for the first time or simply pass a stranger on the street, it's human nature to make assumptions about them: He's conceited and lazy, she's rich and friendly, that little girl is a huge brat. And you may have wondered what people think of you the first time they lay eyes on you.

      "When it comes to appearance, how you put yourself together matters more than being conventionally pretty," says Brandy Mychals, author of How to Read a Client from Across the Room (McGraw-Hill, 2012). "A job interview can be over before you even sit down because the person has already made snap judgments."

      Some of the ways others come to those opinions aren't what you may expect. Check out these five things people rate you by so you can make that tenth of a second count and wow everyone at first sight.

      1. Your feet do the talking: You can never have too many shoes-and people judge you based on every single pair. In a study published in Journal of Research in Personality, researchers found that people could accurately guess a stranger's age, gender, and income simply by looking at what was on their feet. They also associated certain personality traits with different shoes. More masculine-looking pairs were thought to be worn by less agreeable people, while stylish or attractive shoes were assumed to be donned by rich, conscientious folks. And people rocking those ankle boots that are so in right now came across as aggressive.

      RELATED: Hello Gorgeous! 10 Tips to Look Great in Every Photo

      2. Cosmetic powers: Brushing on a little shadow or blush can not only up your attractiveness factor, it can make you appear more confident. In a 2011 study funded by Proctor & Gamble and performed by Harvard University, people said women wearing a little makeup were more likeable, competent, and trustworthy than those with bare faces.

      But don't use a heavy hand with that eyeliner: Too much makeup still made women attractive, but they also seemed untrustworthy and dishonest, especially when participants only got a quick glimpse of the woman.

      3. Grin and bear it: Your dentist is about to become your most popular medical practitioner. Earlier this year, Kelton Research conducted a study funded by Invisalign where more than 1,000 people were shown pictures of men and women's teeth. Those with straight smiles were perceived to be happier, smarter, and more successful and popular than those with crooked teeth.

      Thirty-eight percent also said crooked choppers would kill the chances of a second date, and almost half said that when two job candidates had the same skills and experience, one with straight teeth would be hired over one with crooked teeth.

      4. The clothes make the woman: While Hillary Rodham Clinton rocks the pantsuit-and certainly nobody would doubt her confidence or competence-showing a little leg (tastefully, of course) may work better for you. Women in skirt suits were thought to earn more money and be more confident than those in pantsuits in a study conducted at the U.K.'s University of Hertfordshire. The researchers say the skirt balances professionalism with attractiveness without being provocative.

      Wearing the right outfit can also change your self-perception, researchers at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management found. Students who wore white lab coats while doing a scientific experiment performed better than those in regular clothes.

      RELATED: 7 Health Dangers Hiding in Your Closet

      5. Take up space: Simply standing tall can speak volumes. According to a 2011 study published in Psychological Science, so-called "posture expansiveness"-where you open up the body and occupy space-not only makes you appear more confident and authoritative, you actually think and act that way. Posture matters even more than your title: It gives you a sense of power, no matter where you line up on the totem pole, researchers say.

      More on SHAPE:
      20 Super Fit Chicks Who Don't Run
      10 "Food Pushers" and How to Respond
      10 Strange but Effective Marathon Tips


      Lots of comments at the URL. Love this one --->
      If you are making a judgement about me based on my shoes, you aren't making a very good first impression.
      --- and this one --->
      So, ugly people need not apply.....No matter how qualified.
      --- yaks --- it gets better --->
      So lets look at this closer, a study funded byPROCTOR & GAMBLE said women wearing a little make up was more likable than women wearing none, go figure. NEXT- A study funded byINVISALIGN said those with stright teeth were perceived at being happier,smarter and more successfull, you dont say? Really yahoo??
      jumping ahead --->
      Based on the information contained in this article, I should show up for my next interview dressed in drag.
      --- and there is always this --->
      I have a friend who has a ponytail and a beard, only wears jeans, sneakers and t shirts, he is worth over 100 million dollars and drives an old truck...you never know. He owns many companies and checks into each one every day.
      --- my comment to this last example of the comments ---> After you are rich and not looking for a job, you can dress any way you want.



      Prayer Isn't a Team Sport
      Wayne Besen

      February 07, 2013

      In 1984, I was placed on the varsity basketball team as a high school sophomore - a team that held a daily Evangelical Christian prayer after practice. Even though it was a public school, we were forced to gather in a circle near center court and offer pleas to God that always ended "in Jesus' name we pray," although not all of us were Christians.

      This intrusive ritual was student initiated and well intentioned, yet there was a high degree of coercion. As a scrawny 14 year old playing with muscle-bound eighteen-year-old men, I was too intimidated to speak up and challenge the appropriateness of such unconstitutional, sectarian prayers.

      To get along, those like me, learned to go along and violate our consciences. Unfortunately, similar situations are happening every day and highlight why prayers and showy displays of team piety should immediately be excised - from grade school to the professional ranks. That means no more team prayer circles or Bible studies. Team chaplains should be dismissed, and faith should take a backseat to football and bibles to basketball.

      Now, I'm not saying that individual athletes should refrain from expressions of religiosity in games. Let Tim Tebow do his "Tebowing," if he ever again gets into an NFL game. Allow athletes to point to the sky if they actually believe God helped them score a touchdown or sack a quarterback. There is even room for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to exonerate himself from a double murder he was allegedly involved in 13 years ago because, as he told interviewer Shannon Sharpe, it was God's will.

      SHARPE: "A couple of weeks ago, the family of the incident in 2000, and I'm paraphrasing, but it goes something like this: While Ray Lewis is being celebrated by millions, two men tragically and brutally died in Atlanta. Ray Lewis knows more than Ray Lewis ever shared. What would you like to say to the family?"

      LEWIS: "It's simple. God has never made a mistake. That's just who he is. You see? And if our system, this is the sad thing about our system - if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have got to the bottom line truth.

      Such unchristian views from the football faithful are not unique to Lewis. Sports Illustrated has an article this week, "In the Fields of The Lord," where they interviewed Les Steckel, CEO of Christian Athletes, who was known for promoting cheap shots when he was an NFL coach. According to the article:

      Les Steckel, a longtime NFL offensive assistant and the coach of the Vikings for one season, was a proponent of cut blocking, the dangerous tactic of aiming at an opponent's knees downfield. When his players balked at cut blocking, he told them to man up. "I'd say, 'Go cut 'em,'" Steckel recalls, "and they'd say, 'But they have a career like me.' And I'd say, 'Well, they're trying to take your career away from you.'"

      There is also the scriptural hypocrisy of injecting religion into pro sports. For example, the Bible clearly says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Yet, the SI article points out, "The [New York] Giants lot is filled with expensive cars and SUV's."

      The larger problem, however, isn't the glaring hypocrisy. It is that players may feel, as I did as a sophomore, compelled to worship or face consequences. Giants player/evangelist Justin Tuck, for instance, boasts that over half the team participates in prayers, a curiously high percentage of worshippers. It is easy to see how a non-religious player might feel pressure to join the prayer circle to please certain coaches who control his livelihood.

      Indeed, pro sports are a hypercompetitive industry where a contract can mean millions of dollars and family security. Think about it - if you walked up to strangers on a street corner and offered them a million dollars to hold your hand and pray, you'd be amazed to find how many people were suddenly born again Christians. Don't tell me that similar machinations and calculations aren't occurring among players in pro sports every day.

      This week, Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo penned a beautiful op-ed for USA Today where he urged a gay player in pro sports to come out and be the LGBT community's Jackie Robinson, who was the first African American Major League baseball player.

      Just like Jackie, the breakthrough gay athlete will be a courageous individual going it alone in uncharted territory. But, also like Jackie, he will have backup - and hopefully more of it.

      Surely, this historical breakthrough is impeded, to some extent, by the infiltration of outspoken Christian fundamentalists in pro sports. How comfortable would an out player be on the Giants?

      There is a place where devout Christian players can pray on their own time as individuals - it's called church. The stadium is no place for Scripture and prayer isn't a team sport.


      Father: Bullying attack leaves Delco 11-year-old son in coma
      Thursday, February 07, 2013

      DARBY TWP., Pa. - February 6, 2013 (WPVI) -- A Delaware County student is in a medically induced coma, weeks after a fight at school.

      In an exclusive interview with Action News, the 11-year-old's father said it was all because of a bully.

      From a schoolyard fight at Darby Township School to a medically induced coma, police are trying to figure out exactly what happened to 6th grader Bailey O'Neill.

      "I want to hear his voice, his mother wants to hear his voice," Bailey's father Rob O'Neill said.

      Rob says four weeks ago his 11-year-old son was being bullied by a couple of kids when one hit him in the face several times fracturing his nose.

      He was also knocked down, causing a concussion.

      Bailey's parents had him checked out at the hospital, but something still wasn't right.

      "He was sleeping. He was moody. He wasn't himself. He was angry a little bit. He wasn't really eating," O'Neill said.

      A few days later, Bailey took a turn for the worse and started having violent seizures.

      Doctors at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children were forced to put Bailey into a medically induced coma almost two weeks ago.

      "Every day I'm trying to stay strong for him, but when you get into that hospital room and you're looking at him, I would trade places in a heartbeat. It's my buddy, you know," O'Neill said.

      Bailey is an honor student, an athlete, and a big brother.

      Action News contacted Southeast Delco School District Superintendent Stephen Butz who told us the district asked Darby Township police to investigate.

      The statement read:

      "We have requested that the local police assist us in the investigation of this incident and are fully cooperating with their investigation of this incident. We are very concerned about the medical condition of this student. And our thoughts and prayers are with him. Due to the age of the students involved and the ongoing police investigation, I am unable to make any additional comments."

      The district wouldn't comment about the other student, but Rob O'Neill says he was told the boy was suspended for two days.

      Police haven't filed any charges in the ongoing investigation.

      O'Neill says that's not enough and he has advice for other parents when it comes to bullying.

      "Keep an eye out for it, it's something that's very serious. Sometimes kids are afraid to tell their parents that they're being bullied because of the embarrassment," O'Neill said.

      (Copyright ©2013 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)


      06 February 2013
      Damsel, Arise: A Westboro Scion Leaves Her Church
      Just after 11 last Sunday morning at Old First Reformed Church in Brooklyn, the Rev. Dr. Daniel Meeter is starting the Sunday service as he always does. He runs through the opening salutation and the collect for the day, and then he welcomes everyone to church as he always does, introducing Old First "as a community of Jesus in Park Slope where we welcome people of every race, ethnicity and orientation to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves."

      The congregation-some eighty strong on this sunny but cold February morning-is the usual mix of Park Slope churchgoing types: a smattering of journalists, a few artists, a handful of old ladies, some rambunctious children. But in the back row of the tin-ceilinged, wood-floored hall, there's a visitor. It is Megan Phelps-Roper's first time not only at Old First but also at any church not called Westboro Baptist. Yes, that Westboro Baptist, the Topeka, Kansas, congregation that has become famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) for its strident views on sin (and the abundance of it in modern America), salvation (and the prospective lack of it), and sexuality (we're bad, in far more colorful terms).

      For nearly all of her twenty-seven years, Megan believed it: believed what her grandfather Fred Phelps preached from the pulpit; believed what her dad Brent and her mom Shirley taught during the family's daily Bible studies; believed (mostly) what it said on those signs that have made Westboro disproportionately influential in American life-"God hates fags"; "God hates your idols"; "God hates America."

      Megan was the one who pioneered the use of social media at Westboro, becoming the first in her family to go on Twitter. Effervescent and effusive, she gave hundreds of interviews, charming journalists from all over the world. Organized and proactive, she, for a time, even had responsibility for keeping track of the congregation's protest schedule. She was such a Westboro fixture that the Kansas City Star touted her-improbably, as it turns out, because a woman could never have such a role at the church-as a future leader of the congregation.

      Then, in November, she left.


      I first met Megan in the summer of 2011, when I went to Topeka to spend a few days with the Westboro folks for my book project. During that visit, we talked about faith, we talked about church, we talked about marriage (and Megan's feeling that, given the prospects, it would require no small amount of divine intervention in her case), and we talked about Harry Potter (for the record, she's a fan). She seemed so sure in her beliefs, that I could not have imagined that some fifteen months later, we'd be having a conversation in which she tearfully told me that she was no longer with her family or with the church.

      Mostly, the tears have subsided-"in public, anyway," she says one afternoon, as we sit in a Tribeca café. "I still cry a lot." Forget what you know of the church. Just imagine what it is like to walk away from everything you have ever known. Consider how traumatic it would be to know that your family is never supposed to speak to you again. Think of how hard it would be to have a fortress of faith built around you, and to have to dismantle it yourself, brick by brick, examining each one and deciding whether there's something worth keeping or whether it's not as solid as you thought it was.

      As we talk, Megan repeatedly emphasizes how much she loves those she has left behind. "I don't want to hurt them," she says. "I don't want to hurt them."

      Her departure has hurt them already-she knew it would-yet there was no way she could stay. "My doubts started with a conversation I had with David Abitbol," she says. Megan met David, an Israeli web developer who's part of the team behind the blog Jewlicious, on Twitter. "I would ask him questions about Judaism, and he would ask me questions about church doctrine. One day, he asked a specific question about one of our signs-'Death Penalty for Fags'-and I was arguing for the church's position, that it was a Levitical punishment and as completely appropriate now as it was then. He said, 'But Jesus said'-and I thought it was funny he was quoting Jesus-'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.' And then he connected it to another member of the church who had done something that, according to the Old Testament, was also punishable by death. I realized that if the death penalty was instituted for any sin, you completely cut off the opportunity to repent. And that's what Jesus was talking about."

      To some, this story might seem simple-even overly so. But we all have moments of epiphany, when things that are plate-glass clear to others but opaque to us suddenly become apparent. This was, for Megan, one of those moments, and this window led to another and another and another. Over the subsequent weeks and months, "I tried to put it aside. I decided I wasn't going to hold that sign, 'Death Penalty for Fags.'" (She had, for the most part, preferred the gentler, much less offensive "Mourn for Your Sins" or "God Hates Your Idols" anyway.)

      What "seemed like a small thing at the time," she says, snowballed. She started to question another Westboro sign, "Fags can't repent." "It seemed misleading and dishonest. Anybody can repent if God gives them repentance, according to the church. But this one thing-it gives the impression that homosexuality is an unforgivable sin," she says. "It didn't make sense. It seemed a wrong message for us to be sending. It's like saying, 'You're doomed! Bye!' and gives no hope for salvation."

      She kept trying to conquer the doubts. Westboro teaches that one cannot trust his or her feelings. They're unreliable. Human nature "is inherently sinful and inherently completely sinful," Megan explains. "All that's trustworthy is the Bible. And if you have a feeling or a thought that's against the church's interpretations of the Bible, then it's a feeling or a thought against God himself."

      This, of course, assumes that the church's teachings and God's feelings are one and the same. And this, of course, assumes that the church's interpretation of the Bible is infallible, that this much-debated document handed down over the centuries has, in 2013, been processed and understood correctly only by a small band of believers in Topeka. "Now?" Megan says. "That sounds crazy to me."

      In December, she went to a public library in Lawrence, Kansas. She was looking through books on philosophy and religion, and it struck her that people had devoted their entire lives to studying these questions of how to live and what is right and wrong. "The idea that only WBC had the right answer seemed crazy," she says. "It just seemed impossible."


      The act of leaving Westboro is as weird as the church itself. Sometimes it's described as a shunning process, but that's not entirely apt. It is, in the eyes of the remaining members, a sort of death, but it's a gentle one, because the carcass isn't just dumped or ignored. One church member, who has lost two of his kids to the outside world, told me that he still loved them and that he set them up as best they could with what they'd need to start their new lives-some money, some household goods, even a car.

      Megan didn't leave alone; her sister Grace decided to go with her. They stayed just one night in Topeka. Then, after returning to their family home to retrieve some things they'd not packed the night before-"it was so weird and horrible to ring the doorbell," Megan says-they left town.

      They decided to disappear for a while, and found rooms in a house in a tiny Midwestern town. They needed space-to think, to read, to imagine what had previously been unimaginable. Their lives had largely been scripted, and "now that we're writing our own script, everything seems a lot more tenuous," Megan says. "We needed to think about what we believe. We need to figure out what we want to do next. I never imagined leaving, ever, so I never thought about doing anything different. I have no idea what kind of work I want to do, or where to live. How do people decide these things?"

      Once a constant Tweeter, she hasn't posted anything online since October. "I don't know what I believe, so I don't know what to say," she explains. "I haven't been ready to talk about any of this." She's only doing so now, and briefly, because, she says, "I was so proactive before and vocal about the church. My name means something now to others that it doesn't mean to me. I want people to know that it's not now how it was."

      But how is it going to be? She's still not sure. They've been trying new things; one of their housemates made sushi one night, the first time Megan tasted raw fish ("yum!"). They read a lot-"I liked 'The Sun Also Rises.' There was a quote that was perfect for where we were: 'Wonderful how one loses track of the days up here in the mountains.' And you know what else I loved about it? I could be completely mistaken about what the book means, but where the book began and where it ended was the same. It makes your problems seem like small things. It gives you perspective-well, it gave me perspective, that my problems in the grand scheme of things are not as horrible or monstrous as they seem." They talk to each other for hours each day, about religion, about God, about the Bible, about the future, about how to treat people, about "what's right and what's wrong-capital R and capital W."

      That raises the question of regrets and amends, for things they've said and signs they've held and judgments they've passed. "I definitely regret hurting people," she says. "That was never our intention. We thought we were doing good. We thought it was the only way to do good. And that's what I've always wanted."

      That's not how the message was received. "I think I've known that for a long time, and I would talk to people about how I knew the message was hurtful," Megan says. "But I believed it couldn't matter what people felt. It mattered that this was what God wanted."


      In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus resuscitates a girl who is believed to be dead, commanding her, according to the King James Version that is favored at Westboro, "Damsel, arise." The verse has long been a favorite of Megan's, and it has taken on new and special meaning since her departure from the church.

      Now that she has arisen, what does Megan Phelps-Roper think God wants her to do? She smiles and puts her hands on her cheeks as I ask the question. She laughs, but it's a weird laugh-hollow, a little nervous.

      "I have no idea," she says. "I mean, I have almost no idea. I know I want to do good for people. And I want to treat people well. And it's nice that I can do that now in a way that they see as good too. How exactly do you accomplish that? I'm not sure."

      Over lunch, we had talked about so many big questions: Predestination. Hell. The Bible. Sin. Big things and small about how "church" is done at Old First versus what she grew up with at Westboro. The Bible verses were the same-there were readings on Sunday from Jeremiah, from I Corinthians (on love), and from the Gospel of Luke. She knew one of the hymns, "Holy, Holy, Holy," and during the singing, "that was when I felt most at home." But she was struck that the congregation had a role beyond singing hymns, and noted that she'd never before been in a church where women's heads were not covered. "It just felt really different. I didn't think it was bad," she says with a shrug. "It's literally so very different that it is hard to compare them."

      At times, there's something about the way she unpacks these observations and answers my questions that makes her seem much younger than her twenty-seven years. There's an innocence, almost a naivete. But how else would it be? How else could it be, given the boundaries that have always marked the hours of her life?

      Now that those boundaries are gone, "I'm trying to figure out which ones were good and smart, and which ones shouldn't be there anymore," she says. "I don't feel confident at all in my beliefs about God. That's definitely scary. But I don't believe anymore that God hates almost all of mankind. I don't think that, if you do everything else in your life right and you happen to be gay, you're automatically going to hell. I don't believe anymore that WBC has a monopoly on truth."

      She hopes to emerge from this season "with a better understanding of the world and how I fit into it," she says, "and how I can be an influence for good." This all sounds lovely and rainbows and unicorns, but really? You may believe it or you may not, but Megan won't budge on this-and a trace of the characteristic Westboro stubbornness that I experienced in Topeka resurfaces. She is emphatic: "It's true! I wanted to do good! I thought I was. And that wish hasn't changed."

      When I push her to articulate what she wants for herself, she reminisces about an interview, in her Westboro days, in which a journalist asked her what she wanted her legacy to be. "I had only a few seconds to think while my mom answered the same question," Megan says. "And then I said: 'That I treated people right.' That's still true."

      Thank God for second chances.


      Read a statement from Megan and Grace here.

      I first met Megan and Grace in the summer of 2011, when I visited Westboro Baptist Church. Read more about that visit here.


      Jeff Chu
      Editor at Fast Company; author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America; storyteller; seeker



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