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Evil and Violence PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Cain Connections   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:46

By HERMAN CAIN - Only love can prevail.

The Governor of Connecticut summed up the tragedy that hit the small town of Newtown, Connecticut in four words. Evil visited this town. The tragedy was not just violence. It was evil because a young man shot his mother in the face and killed her. He killed 20 innocent young children, and six innocent adults. And then he killed himself. Some of us saw what evil looks like for the first time. Yet others have seen evil before.

Immediately, some media personalities and political activists started calling for more gun laws, more money to be spent on mental health treatment, better security systems and procedures at schools, and more censorship of violent entertainment in our culture.

As my CainTV colleague Dan Calabrese so eloquently and convincingly pointed out on Saturday, there is nothing we can do to prevent evil. We can minimize violence, but evil can only be minimized with the recognition and love of God in one's heart. This is not a sermon. It's just a fact that 90 percent of us believe, in one religious form or another. 

I'm reminded of a recent incident reported in Florida where an atheist filed a lawsuit against a church for its religious displays. The man got seriously ill and the church reached out to him to help save his life. He survived because of their help. Afterwards, the atheist started attending that church and learned of their Christian faith, and saw that the love of God eminating from them and others was sincere. He had been a recipient of their love. He later joined their church congregation.

That's the power of love over evil.

Freedom of religion is a tenant of the founding of our nation. It does not promote a specific form of worship or religion. But that freedom does allow for the belief and love of a POWER greater than man. That same POWER has a love for us greater than man could ever imagine. HIS love is the only weapon against evil.

We can only pray for the families of the victims of this evil tragedy in Newtown, that God will somehow comfort them in their sorrow, their grieving and their healing. Although the rest of the nation was indirectly affected by this evil incident, it was still a direct blow to the compassion in our hearts, as we try to comprehend why it happened and only imagine the pain of those who lost loved ones and children.

Healing will take a long time especially for the families. We must keep them in our prayers, but we must never abandon our belief in the eternal power of love over evil.

We can fight violence, but we never know when evil will visit us again. The more love we can spread to the hearts and minds of the savable, the longer it will be.

 
Resolve to Be Financially Secure in 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Burke   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:44

By Jason Alderman

When it comes to making New Year's resolutions, getting into good shape financially ranks right up there with losing weight and eating healthier. All three goals require discipline and planning; and, as you've no doubt experienced, it's not unusual to encounter setbacks along the way.

Don't let losing a minor battle here or there convince you to surrender on the bigger war. You'll probably have more success if you start out taking small steps, learning from your mistakes and gaining momentum as you go.

Here are a few suggestions for better managing your personal finances in the New Year:

The first step on the road to financial health is to create a budget you can live with. If you're new to budgeting or haven't been successful in the past, start slowly. For a few months write down every cent you spend: mortgage/rent, utilities, food, gas, medical copayments, credit card interest – the works. You'll be surprised where you money goes.

At the same time, compare money coming in (income) to money going out (expenses). If you're just breaking even or losing money each month, you need to boost your income and/or aggressively trim spending. Try these strategies:

  • Pay bills on time and send at least the minimum amount due. You'll avoid late fees and related interest rate increases; plus, you'll improve your credit score.
  • Balance your checking account regularly and use in-network ATMs to avoid overdrafts and fees.
  • If your employer offers flexible spending accounts, use them to pay health and dependent care expenses with pretax dollars.
  • Raise insurance deductibles and shop around for better rates.

Once you start reducing expenses, use the savings to pay down debts more quickly. Try making a table of all outstanding credit card and loan balances and their corresponding interest rates. Then, each month pay the minimum amount due on each – except pay as much as possible on the account with the highest interest rate. Once that one's paid off, move to the next-highest rate account and so on.

Another smart move is to have an emergency fund in case of financial upheaval (layoff, medical emergency, unexpected car repairs, etc.) Ideally you should save enough to cover six months' of expenses, but don't be discouraged if that sounds insurmountable: Start slowly by saving a few dollars each week. You won't miss it and your little nest egg might just save you from needing an expensive short-term loan to cover an unplanned bill.

If something terrible happened to you, would your family be protected financially? Make sure you have a valid will, durable power of attorney, health care proxy and living will. Numerous books, online articles and sample forms are available if you want to draft them yourself, but you should probably review your documents with a financial advisor or attorney to avoid potential legal problems. Also, make sure you have adequate life and disability insurance.

It's debatable how much Social Security will be able to contribute toward your retirement income in coming decades, so if you're not already participating in your employer's 401(k) plan or an IRA, make that one of your top financial resolutions.

Sticking to resolutions is never easy – if it were, we'd already be doing them. But striving to improve your financial situation now will pay off big-time down the road.

 
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn on Tragic Connecticut Elementary School Shooting PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:08

CHICAGO – December 14, 2012. Governor Quinn issued the following statement regarding today's tragic massacre in Connecticut:

"I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the horrific massacre that occurred today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“All of Illinois prays for the victims of this senseless violence and their families. May God bless the immortal souls of all those who lost their lives. In their remembrance, I have ordered all flags across Illinois to be flown at half-staff beginning today.

“We know firsthand from the tragedy that took place on February 14, 2008 in a classroom at Northern Illinois University that guns have no place in any school, at anytime, anywhere in Illinois or America.

“It is the foremost duty of government to protect public safety, especially the safety of children and students.

“As governor and as a parent, I intend to spearhead passage of strict laws that will protect our children and the people of Illinois from gun violence.”

 

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Federal Court to Hear Case of Texas High School Student Expelled for Refusing to Wear RFID Tracking Badge Due to Religious Objections, Privacy Concerns PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Rutherford Institute   
Monday, 17 December 2012 14:55
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — At 10 a.m., CST, on Monday, December 17, 2012, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute will appear before the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio to argue for a preliminary injunction preventing school officials from expelling Andrea Hernandez until the case is decided. Hernandez, a sophomore in a science and engineering magnet school housed in John Jay High School, has refused to wear a school-mandated RFID tracking badge based on her sincere religious objections. The badges, part of the school’s “Student Locator Project,” include tiny Radio Frequency Identification (“RFID”) chips that produce a radio signal, enabling school officials to track students’ location on school property. School officials’ initial attempt to kick Andrea out of the magnet school was thwarted when the Bexar County District Court granted a 14-day temporary restraining order, enabling Andrea to remain in school. After the case was moved to federal court at the urging of school officials, the Western District of Texas, San Antonio division, extended the TRO by another 14 days. In coming to Andrea’s defense, Rutherford attorneys have alleged that the school’s attempts to penalize, discriminate and retaliate against Andrea violate her rights under Texas’ Religious Freedom Act and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

“Oblivious to the impact on students’ fundamental rights, school officials have embarked upon a crusade to achieve full student compliance with the profit-driven Student Locator Project by stigmatizing students who disapprove of the program and rewarding students who submit to it,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Students have actually been offered gifts and pizza parties in exchange for submitting to the program, while students who refuse to wear the SmartID badge are forced to stand in separate lunch lines, denied participation in student government and activities, and prohibited from making certain commercial exchanges at school.”

The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, has launched a program, the “Student Locator Project,” aimed ostensibly at increasing public funding for the district by increasing student attendance rates. As part of the pilot program, roughly 4,200 students at Jay High School and Jones Middle School are being required to wear “SmartID” card badges embedded with an RFID tracking chip which will make it possible for school officials to track students’ whereabouts on campus at all times. School officials hope that by expanding the program to the district’s 112 schools, they can secure up to $1.7 million in funding from the state government. Fifteen-year-old Andrea Hernandez has been penalized, discriminated against, and retaliated against by school officials for objecting to being forced to participate in the RFID program. For Hernandez, a Christian, the badges pose a significant religious freedom concern in addition to the obvious privacy issues. Andrea’s religious objection derives from biblical teachings that equate accepting a personalized code—as a sign of submission to government authority and as a means of obtaining certain privileges from a secular ruling authority—with a form of idolatry or submission to a false god. Hernandez was informed that “there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card.” For example, students who refuse to take part in the ID program won’t be able to access essential services like the cafeteria and library, nor will they be able to purchase tickets to extracurricular activities. According to Hernandez, teachers are even requiring students to wear the IDs to use the bathroom. School officials offered to quietly remove the tracking chip from Andrea’s card if the sophomore would agree to wear the new badge without the embedded RFID chip so as to give the appearance of participation in the Student Locator Project. Andrea refused the offer, believing that to wear the “mark” of the program would still compromise her religious beliefs. Affiliate attorney Jerri Lynn Ward is assisting The Rutherford Institute with Andrea’s defense

 
What Kids Learn From Chores PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 17 December 2012 14:37
(or More Proof That Suffering Builds Character)
By: Dr. James G. Wellborn

Like so many parental expectations and requirements, getting your kid in the habit of doing chores will help prepare them for the real world (if you can ever get them to move out).

Here are some of the benefits kids derive from assigned chores.

• Responsibility (or “I’m not your maid.”) When you make a mess YOU are obligated to clean it up.  The most straightforward reason your kid needs to do chores is to drive the point home that he is responsible for his actions in the world (and the messes he makes).

• Personal Obligation (or “You helped create this mess now get up and help clean it up!”) When you live with other people, you’re obliged to contribute to the general upkeep of common living areas.  Chores help your kid learn to pull her own weight when it comes to keeping shared spaces clean (so she doesn’t end up moving back home because even her friends consider her a slob).

• Organization and Prioritizing (or “You had plenty of time to get that room clean.  You can just forget about going anywhere till it’s done!”) Chores are unpleasant for most kids.  Unfortunately, life is filled with unpleasant but necessary tasks.  Chores provide the chance for your kid to practice making time for necessary evils like routine maintenance in their schedule of otherwise fun or meaningful activities.  This helps them learn how to plan, organize, prioritize and suffer.

• Sensitivity for others (or “Just because it doesn’t bother you to wallow in filth doesn’t mean I’m going to live in a pig sty!”) It isn’t crucial that things be straightened or cleaned.  Exposure to germs and disease can help build the immune system (if it doesn’t kill you first).  But, there are some things you do because it is important to someone else (like, say, a spouse or the health department).  Chores provide your kids with a clear message that the world doesn’t revolve around them and they need to take others’ feelings and sensibilities into consideration.

• Pride in a job well done (or “You call that done?  Get back in there and finish cleaning that room.”) It is important to take pride in even the most insignificant tasks.  Chores help your kids learn that every task, however base, is an opportunity to work their hardest and do their best.  (The expression on their face when you feed them this line is priceless.)

• Self-sufficiency (or “Why do I have to tell you every single time to replace the trash bag after you take out the trash?”) OK, this reason really isn’t that important.  If your kid needs a lot of practice before he can skillfully take out the trash or sweep the floor, you have much bigger challenges than getting chores done.

Like so many time-honored parental expectations, household chores have a value more significant than the practical issue of household maintenance.  That said, what is the most important reason kids should do chores? 
Because you said so, of course.

About Dr. James G. Wellborn

Dr. James G. Wellborn is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Brentwood, Tenn., focusing on adolescents and families.  He is the author of the book Raising Teens in the 21st Century: A Practical Guide to Effective Parenting that includes a chapter on getting teens to do chores along with strategies for addressing 78 other typical teenage issues.  You can learn more about Dr. Wellborn by visiting his website at www.DrJamesWellborn.com.

 
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