Thursday, April 21, 2011

High School Cancels Baseball Season And Fires Coaches After They Give Alcohol to Students

BURBANK (KTLA) -- John Burroughs High School in Burbank canceled its varsity baseball season and fired four coaches after a drinking incident took place on a spring break trip in Arizona.

Principal Emilio Urioste said Tuesday he fired the coaching staff and forfeited the remainder of the season after discovering an assistant coach served alcohol to at least 11 players at a tournament in mid-March.

Varsity Coach John Schwer said he and three assistants who were at the tournament were fired Monday.

Urioste says an assistant coach purchased beer and gave it to the students while they were in their hotel rooms.

Eleven students admitted to drinking the beer and seven others admitted to being aware of the situation, but did not participate in the drinking.

The 11 players who drank the alcohol were suspended five days and the seven players who knew about the situation but failed to come forward were given two-day suspensions.

Urioste has issued the following statement regarding the incident:

"We are very upset and stunned at the egregious acts of negligence and endangerment by the adults in this incident. We are also deeply saddened and disappointed in the bad judgment and choices made by our students. As JBHS principal I would like to offer our entire school community my sincere apologies for this unfortunate incident. We do not condone such behaviors and this is not indicative of the standard of excellence we exhibit in all areas of our school programs."

A police report has been filed with the Burbank Police Department.

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Teen Cancer Survivor Facing Cyber Bullying

NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) — A North Andover girl who beat cancer by the time she turned 11 is now facing a new battle. Cyber bullies.

Justine Williams, who lost a leg in her battle against cancer, hopes coming forward will give other kids the courage to stand-up for themselves. Starting in February she started receiving dozens of threatening texts and phone calls.

Williams says the messages three or four times a day that would say things like, “I’m going to kill your animals,” and “Set a bomb off outside your house,” and “I’m going to rape you.”

She became scared and didn’t want to go school, then her grades started to suffer.

“She would say, ‘I just don’t feel right.’ And I thought of is she sick again? I didn’t know what was going on,” said Jane Williams, Justine’s mother. She went on to say that she was angry and frustrated and couldn’t believe someone would bully her daughter.

They contacted police and found out the bully was someone they knew. In fact, Justine considered this girl her best friend.

Police told the Williams her friend was using a website to mask her number and sometimes sent those texts while Skyping with Williams to watch her reaction.

The cyberbully was ordered to get counseling and perform community service. Williams’ father says it’s not nearly enough.

“If this is middle school what’s this person going to be like in high school?” asked Michael Williams.

The Williams family isn’t identifying the bully in this case. The District Attorney’s office worked with Jane Williams to come up with the punishment in this case.

The school pulled the bully out of Williams’ classes and made sure the two have little to no contact.

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Critics Say New Alcohol Drink Is Targeting Youth

Many Outraged Over Porn Companies Getting .XXX Online Domains

On 1 Year Anniversary Of Gulf Oil Spill Clean Up Continues

Published April 20, 2011

One year after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the government is slowly handing out new permits to allow deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico -- a move oil industry insiders say is a safe one.

“We’ve drilled 1,298 wells in the deep-water of the Gulf of Mexico, 2,500 wells worldwide, we’ve drilled 30,000-plus wells in the shallow water of the Gulf of Mexico, ” said Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Don Briggs. “We have the technology to drill safe.”

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010, forced a reported 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, leading to a deep-water drilling moratorium. So, selling safe drilling to coastal communities still cleaning oil out of their sensitive wetlands has been anything but easy. The images of oil-soaked birds and beaches will never fade from the memories of those who live and work along the Gulf Coast.

“It's not a matter of if there’s another accident, it's a matter of when, " said Gulf Restoration Network Director Aaron Viles. “They haven’t really learned a significant lesson here and they aren’t really better prepared to respond to another accident.”

According to government statistics, from 2006-2010, there have been 40 spills in the Gulf of Mexico of 50 barrels or more. No spills that large have occurred this year, but if a spill does occur, industry officials say they’re ready.

“We have a response capability unlike anything ever before to address these sorts of events, ” said Cameron Wallace, with Houston-based Helix Energy Solutions Group. “So I really do feel like the industry is ready to operate and respond responsibly in the event of another accident.”

Following last year’s BP spill, the government outlined new regulations and increased inspections.

“These are procedures that the industry also supplied information on and said, yes, this would help, ” Briggs added.

Perhaps the biggest change, according to the Helix Group, is having a predetermined plan of how to control a spill response, utilizing several oil companies and their particular strengths.

“We need to do more at the beginning, before the well gets drilled, before the rigs go out, to determine how we will react in the event of another emergency, ” said Wallace. “There’s no more on the fly, deciding what technologies are used or how to use them.”

“What the BP disaster taught us is they have all the technology in the world to get the oil, but they don’t have the appropriate technology to make it safe, ”said Louisiana Bucket Brigade Director Anne Rolfes. “The problem with drilling in the Gulf is that it’s still not safe.”

U.S Federal Borrowing Will Hit Debt Ceiling In Less Than A Week

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

( - Federal borrowing is on pace to hit the legal limit on the national debt in less than a week.

As set in a law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama on Feb. 12, 2010, the legal limit on the national debt is $14.2940 trillion. As of the close of business Tuesday, according to the Daily Treasury Statement released at 4:00 pm today, the portion of the national debt subject to this legal limit was $14.268365 trillion. (The total national debt, including the portion exempted from the legal limit, was $14.3205 trillion.)

This left the U.S. Treasury with the authority to borrow only an additional $25.635 billion before it hits the statutory debt limit.

On April 4, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) in order to warn Congress that the Treasury was approaching the legal debt limit. In an appendix to this letter, Geithner pointed to the rapid pace at which new debt was accumulating.

“On average,” Geithner wrote, “the public debt of the United States increases by approximately $125 billion per month (although there are significant variations from month to month).”

In a 31-day month, $125 billion in new debt works out to an average of $4.03 billion in new debt per day. At that pace, the $25.635 billion in legal borrowing authority the Treasury had left at the close of business on Tuesday would be exhausted in less than seven days.

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Anniversary Advisors Say King James Bible Deserves Congressional Recognition On 400th Anniversary

By Stephanie Samuel|Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Apr. 20 2011 08:00 PM EDT

The introduction of a U.S. House resolution to recognize the 400th anniversary of the Kings James Bible offers encouragement to celebration organizers who believe a word of gratitude is due the book that positively influenced American society.

As the May celebration of the KJV Bible draws closer, a resolution to recognize the anniversary of the commonly used translation has been sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The resolution acknowledges that the King James translation has entered into the very culture of the United States through poetry, speeches and sermons. It also quotes political icon and former President Ronald Reagan who said of the King James Bible, “It is an incontrovertible fact that all the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home and worldwide have their answer in that single book.”

The resolution concludes with the request that the 400th anniversary of the popular Bible and its influences be recognized, and that Congress express its gratitude.

Doug Levesque, president of the biblical think tank Bible Nation Society, is excited for the introduction of the resolution. “The King James Bible deserves to be recognized for its contribution to American society,” he commented. “It really has been the vehicle that formulated our language and programmed our thinking for centuries.”

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Openly Gay Students Protest SBC Presidents Honorary Degree From University Because Of His Views On Homosexuality

Posted on Apr 20, 2011 | by Michael Foust
Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Some University of South Carolina students say the school should not award an honorary doctorate to Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright because of his and the denominations' stance against homosexuality and "gay marriage," but Wright says he and the SBC are simply reflecting clear biblical teachings.

The school's awarding of the honorary degree to Wright during graduation was the lead story April 20 in the student newspaper, The Daily Gamecock, which quoted a member of the Bisexual Gay Lesbian Student Association as calling the SBC "hostile to the LGBT community" and an "advocate for hate." Wright is scheduled to receive the degree May 7.

"Basically the Southern Baptist's platform is 'it's either this way or you're going to hell,'" said the student, Zac Baker, a public relations coordinator for the association.

The newspaper also published letters opposing and supporting the school honoring Wright.

Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., received his undergraduate degree from the university in 1974. He will not have a speaking role at the graduation.

"It's really a false charge that when you simply teach what the Bible says about sin, that you're a hateful person," Wright told Baptist Press. "Jesus Christ loves all mankind. He loves homosexuals that are engaging in homosexual activity. He loves heterosexuals that are engaging in immoral heterosexual activity. But He does call on us -- because He has paid the penalty for our sins on the cross -- to be willing to repent of sinful behavior. We're just teaching what God's standard is for sexual purity."

The Southern Baptist Convention is not alone in its stance on homosexuality, Wright noted, pointing to other denominations and the Catholic Church, along with Christian leaders through the centuries.

"The Gospel is a wonderful message of Good News, but it is a message of truth, and sometimes people are not always open or perceptive to God's truth," Wright said.

The story in the student newspaper also quoted student Dustin Tucker as saying, "I feel like granting him a doctorate is a representation of every student here." Tucker said the SBC's message "is one of hate and intolerance and I really don't think that reflects well on the university."

Tim Stewart, director of the university's Baptist Collegiate Ministry, applauded the school for honoring Wright.

"Dr. Wright has been a strong leader in the Southern Baptist Convention," Stewart told the newspaper. "He's been a long-term pastor in his church and has led that with integrity [and] character ... I think it's a really neat opportunity to distinguish one of our USC alumni."

Referencing the Southern Baptist Convention's stance on homosexuality, Stewart said, "We've made some resolutions backing it up with what God's Word says. We're not going to back off what God's Word has said. We do not intend any kind of harm on anyone."

Others will receive honorary degrees during the graduation ceremonies, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Wright said he is humbled.

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Website Tells Teens An Abortion is "Much Easier Than It Sounds" Has Many Outraged

By Christine McConville, Chris Cassidy and Laurel Sweet / Herald Exclusive
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
A state-funded sex education Web site that tells teens an abortion is “much easier than it sounds” has drawn fire from outraged pro-lifers who say is glossing over ugly truths, steering teens toward the controversial procedure and counseling them how to keep mom and dad in the dark.

“The commonwealth is using taxpayer money to tell kids how to get a secret abortion, and that’s wrong,” said Linda Thayer, a former Boston schoolteacher who is vice president for educational affairs of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, which this week took aim at the site.

“This is a misuse of state funds, especially for parents who are taxpayers,” said Thayer, who also blasted the Web site for “deception by omission” for describing abortion simply as “when the contents of the womb (uterus) are removed.”, featuring fictional hip teen “Maria,” who addresses teens in a breezy tone, has been produced since 2008 by the AIDS Action Committee with $100,000 annual grants from the state Department of Public Health. The money also covers a sex-crisis hotline and other outreach efforts.

AIDS Action Committee chief Rebecca Haag, in a statement defending the Web site, said, “We feel strongly that the issues that are addressed through the Maria Talks Web site are essential in safeguarding the general, sexual health of youth by informing them of their risk for unintended pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.”

Maria tells teen readers abortion is a “hot topic” but that the procedure is “more common than you might think” and “safe and effective, though some people may experience temporary discomfort.” The site’s discussion of risk is limited to advising that it is better to get an abortion sooner rather than later.

Planned Parenthood declined to comment on the language used by However, the abortion provider’s own Internet abortion advice includes a lengthy list of potential health risks — such as “infection,” “blood-clotting,” “injury to the cervix or other organs,” and “an incomplete abortion.”

In another segment, Maria says to Massachusetts teens, “The reality of getting an abortion is much easier than it sounds here.” In contrast, a more cautionary Maria counsels on another page that adoption “can be pretty tough for some people, especially emotionally.”

Of conflicted feelings over abortion, Maria counsels that one of her fictional friends found it a “difficult decision” but decided the procedure was the “best choice . . . for herself, her boyfriend, her family and her future.”

Of bypassing parental approval, Maria says, “It may be really hard for you to imagine talking to either your parents or a judge about getting an abortion, but there are people who can help you through it.”

By comparison, Planned Parenthood explicitly states, “Teens are encouraged to involve parents in their decision.”

Under state law, children under 18 seeking an abortion must have permission from a parent or a guardian. Maria notes that state law allows minors to skirt that approval through a confidential judicial hearing, saying, “I know it sounds crazy . . . this really can be done and young women do this all the time here in Massachusetts.”

The site then directs teens to Planned Parenthood, saying that agency will either help them talk to parents or provide a lawyer to guide them through the judicial process.

NARAL Pro-Choice America Executive Director Andrea Miller called Maria Talks “terrific.”

“It’s really a complete and medically accurate set of information,” Miller said. “I’m impressed that the state has provided this information in a youth-friendly, nonjudgmental manner.”

State health officials had no immediate comment on the controversy over the site yesterday.

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