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Armed agents seize records of reporter, Washington Times prepares legal action

** FILE ** Associated Press
** FILE ** Associated Press

 
Maryland state police and federal agents used a search warrant in an unrelated criminal investigation to seize the private reporting files of an award-winning former investigative journalist for The Washington Times who had exposed problems in the Homeland Security Department’s Federal Air Marshal Service.

Reporter Audrey Hudson said the investigators, who included an agent for Homeland’s Coast Guard service, took her private notes and government documents that she had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act during a predawn raid of her family home on Aug.6                                                                                            

The documents, some which chronicled her sources and her work at the Times about problems inside the Homeland Security Department, were seized under a warrant to search for unregistered firearms and a “potato gun” suspected of belonging to her husband, Paul Flanagan, a Coast Guard employee. Mr. Flanagan has not been charged with any wrongdoing since the raid.

The warrant, obtained by the Times, offered no specific permission to seize reporting notes or files.
The Washington Times said Friday it is preparing legal action to fight what it called an unwarranted intrusion on the First Amendment.

“While we appreciate law enforcement’s right to investigate legitimate concerns, there is no reason for agents to use an unrelated gun case to seize the First Amendment protected materials of a reporter,” Times Editor John Solomon said. “This violates the very premise of a free press, and it raises additional concerns when one of the seizing agencies was a frequent target of the reporter’s work.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/25/armed-agents-seize-records-reporter-washington-tim/#ixzz2inChMjSZ
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Senator Proposes Law: ‘If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act’

The Weekly Standard
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin will propose a new law next week called: “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act.”
 
“One of the most important promises made by President Obama and Democrat congressional leadership to promote the Affordable Care Act was that Americans who were satisfied with their health plans could keep them. That promise has been broken. More than a million Americans have been notified that the plans they like with the coverage they have chosen have been canceled. Millions more Americans will have the plans of their choice canceled in months to come,” says Senator Johnson in a statement.
 
“Americans want the freedom to choose their own plans and want to be in control of their own health care. They don’t want Obamacare destroying what they have and what they like. They don’t want their personal choices regarding their health plans and their families’ health plans canceled by Obamacare.
 
“The ‘If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act’ will amend the law to make Obamacare live up to the promises of the politicians who sold the plan to the American public. I will file the bill in the coming week and hope to garner support from fellow Senators of both parties who truly want to make sure President Obama honors his promise that every American has the freedom to keep his or her own health care plan.”
 
For more on the need for a bill like this one, read James C. Capretta‘s piece in the most recent issue of the magazine.

Census Bureau: Means-Tested Gov’t Benefit Recipients Outnumber Full-Time Year-Round Workers

October 24, 2013 – 11:32 PM

(CNSNews.com) – Americans who were recipients of means-tested government benefits in 2011 outnumbered year-round full-time workers, according to data released this month by the Census Bureau. They also out-numbered the total population of the Philippines.

There were 108,592,000 people in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2011 who were recipients of one or more means-tested government benefit programs, the Census Bureau said in data released this week. Meanwhile, according to the Census Bureau, there were 101,716,000 people who worked full-time year round in 2011. That included both private-sector and government workers.
That means there were about 1.07 people getting some form of means-tested government benefit for every 1 person working full-time year round.

The Census Bureau counted as recipients of means-tested government programs “anyone residing in a household in which one or more people received benefits from the program.” Many of these people lived in households receiving more than one form of means-tested benefit at the same time.
 

Among the 108,592,000 people who fit the Census Bureau’s description of a means-tested benefit recipient in the fourth quarter of 2011 were 82,457,000 people in households receiving Medicaid, 49,073,000 beneficiaries of food stamps, 20,223,000 on Supplemental Security Income, 23,228,000 in the Women, Infants and Children program, 13,433,000 in public or subsidized rental housing, and 5,854,000 in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Also among the 108,592,000 means-tested benefit recipients counted by the Census Bureau were people getting free or reduced-price lunch or breakfast, state-administered supplemental security income and means-tested veterans pensions.

Read the rest here: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/census-bureau-means-tested-govt-benefit-recipients-outnumber-full

Favre Admits He Has Experienced Memory Loss

Brett Favre.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)
Brett Favre.
(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

In an interview with SportsTalk 570 in Washington D.C. Thursday morning, Favre said he never talked to the Rams, but they did reach out to his agent, Bus Cook. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Cook also represents quarterback Austin Davis, who the Rams did sign. Thus, any conversation with Cook about Favre may not have been all that serious.
Either way, Favre is not coming back, telling the radio station: “It’s flattering, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to do that.”

Favre went on to say that he has started to experience memory loss, which has frightened him.
“This was a little shocking to me that I couldn’t remember my daughter playing youth soccer,” he said. “It was just one summer, I think. I could remember her playing basketball, I could remember her playing volleyball, so I kind of think maybe (I thought) she only played a (soccer) game or two. Well, I think she played like eight. So that’s a little bit scary to me. So for the first time in 44 years, that kind of put a little fear in me.”

And given his perspective as a retired NFL quarterback, Favre said he’s in favor of the rule changes the the league has instituted to help protect players.
“I don’t see how you can’t change with the times and try to protect the players more because of the studies that have come out to what concussions can do,” Favre said. “The players, either retired or some of the few players who are either killing themselves or self-destructing, studies have proven that some of this is because of concussions.”

Bible Scholar Brent Landau Asks “Who Were the Magi”?

Bible Scholar Brent Landau Asks “Who Were the Magi”?
A lost Syriac manuscript, the Revelation of the Magi, recently translated into English by Bible scholar Brent Landau, may help answer that key question from the Christmas story: “Who were the magi?”

Revelation of the Magi text gives wise men’s view of the Christmas story

Who were the magi, those gift-bearing wise men from the east who are so central to the traditional telling of the Christmas story? Bible scholar Brent Landau believes he has found at least one answer to this age-old question.
The Bible tells us very little about the magi.

Their story appears but once, in the Gospel of Matthew (2:1–12), where they are described as mysterious visitors “from the east” who come to Jerusalem looking for the child whose star they observed “at its rising.” After meeting with King Herod, who feigns an intention to worship the child but actually plans to destroy him, the magi follow the same star to Bethlehem. There, upon seeing the baby Jesus and his mother Mary, the magi kneel down and worship him, presenting him with their three famous gifts—gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then, without reporting to Herod, they depart for their homeland, never to be heard from again.

For early Christians, the seemingly pivotal yet unexplained background of the mysterious magi provided abundant room to shape new narratives around the question, “Who were the magi?” One of the most compelling, recently translated into English by Brent Landau, professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma, is the so-called Revelation of the Magi, an apocryphal account of the traditional Christmas story that purports to have been written by the magi themselves.

The account is preserved in an eighth-century C.E. Syriac manuscript held in the Vatican Library, although Brent Landau believes the earliest versions of the text may have been written as early as the mid-second century, less than a hundred years after Matthew’s gospel was composed. Written in the first person, the Revelation of the Magi narrates the mystical origins of the magi, their miraculous encounter with the luminous star and their equally miraculous journey to Bethlehem to worship the child. The magi then return home and preach the Christian faith to their brethren, ultimately being baptized by the apostle Thomas.

According to Brent Landau, this dramatic account not only answers the question “Who were the magi?” but also provides details about how many they were, where they came from and their mysterious encounter with the star that led them to Bethlehem. In the Revelation of the Magi, there are not just three magi, as often depicted in early Christian art (actually, Matthew does not tell us how many there were), nor are they Babylonian astrologers or Persian Zoroastrians, as other early traditions held. Rather from Brent Landau’s translation it is clear the magi (defined in this text as those who “pray in silence”) are a group—numbering as few as 12 and as many as several score—of monk-like mystics from a far-off, mythical land called Shir, possibly China. They are descendants of Seth, the righteous third son of Adam, and the guardians of an age-old prophecy that a star of indescribable brightness would someday appear “heralding the birth of God in human form.”

Read the rest here: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/bible-scholar-brent-landau-asks-%E2%80%9Cwho-were-the-magi%E2%80%9D/

More on Landau’s work – or possibly a more accessible article – from USA Today.

Mark Regnerus: New Canadian Study Says, “A Married Mom and Dad Really DO Matter.”

Marriage and Family researcher, Mark Regnerus (University of Texas at Austin, senior fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture) points to a new Canadian study published in the journal, Review of the Economics of the Household (click for abstract) that shows the advantages to children raised by a married mother and father [Read More...]

Today on Kresta in the Afternoon – October 25, 2013

Talking About the Things That Matter Most on Oct. 25

4:00 – Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross
Mary appears only a few times in the Bible, but those few passages come at crucial moments. Catholics believe that Mary is the ever-virgin Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. But she also was a human being–a woman who made a journey of faith through various trials and uncertainties and endured her share of suffering. Even with her unique graces and vocation, Mary remains a woman we can relate to and from whom we have much to learn. Edward Sriis here to look at the crucial passages in the Bible concerning Mary and offers insight about the Blessed Mother’s faith and devotion that we can apply in our daily lives. We follow her step-by-step through the New Testament account of her life, reflecting on what the Scriptures tell us about how she responded to the dramatic events unfolding around her.

5:00 God’s Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian’s Fight for Freedom
Tens of millions of Christians live in China today, many of them leading double lives or in hiding from a government that relentlessly persecutes them. Bob Fu, whom the Wall Street Journal called “The pastor of China’s underground railroad,” is fighting to protect his fellow believers from persecution, imprisonment, and even death. We hear h is his fascinating and riveting story.

Waking Up to Relationship: A Call to Parents

The other day, Calah Alexander had a great post about a parenting epiphany she had.   You should go read the whole thing, but here’s the part that grabbed me the most. [Unfortunately, these days]  “Parenting” does not imply a relationship. It implies a philosophy (attachment parenting, free-range parenting, authoritarian parenting) and a skill set that [Read More...]

Kresta in the Afternoon – October 24, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on October 24
 
4:00 – Kresta Comments – Al talks about Oprah and atheists, Miss World, and some stark admissions from the Catholic Theological Society
 
4:20 – Down Syndrome Awareness Month: A Personal Witness
With October being Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a celebration of these precious lives comes in the form of a new novel, The Things Lily Knew, by Sherry Boas. Boas, a Catholic stay-at-home mother of four adopted children, including a daughter with Down syndrome, was inspired to begin the story of Lily from her own family’s experiences and from imagining her daughter’s future. Sherry is with us to share her story.

5:00 – Kresta Comments – Al talks about Oprah and atheists, Miss World, and some stark admissions from the Catholic Theological Society

5:20 – Transforming Yourself Into a Dynamic Catholic
When 70% of Catholics don’t go to church on Sunday, isn’t it time someone did
something? We think so and the people at Dynamic Catholic do too. The tide is going out on Catholicism in America. Catholics are leaving the Church at an alarming rate, and disengagement among those who remain is staggeringly high. Growing numbers of Catholics are disillusioned, questioning their faith, and filled with doubts about the modern relevance of Catholicism. Dwindling Mass attendance, scarcity of vocations, and Catholic school closures are just a few of the signs. The sad truth is that most Catholics have never really been shown the genius of Catholicism and how it could animate their lives. At The Dynamic Catholic Institute they believe that millions of ordinary Catholics want to be involved in a movement that provides a game-changing strategy for the Church today. They are passionate about finding a way for every Catholic to play a role in the great renewal that everyone knows the Catholic Church desperately needs. Vice-President Allen Huntjoins us.

Homeschool Troubles

A reader sent this article to me about the late realizations of some homeschooling families who were surprised and heartbroken that things have not worked out as they’d hoped.  I thought it made some very valid points. Regular readers and listeners my be aware that we are very supportive of homeschooling in general although we [Read More...]

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