Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo News’

Smoking is Really Hazardous to Your Health

January 20, 2014

By now everyone knows that smoking is not a healthy habit, to say the least. I am not sure, however, that many people, especially smokers, know just how deadly smoking really is. Most people associate smoking with lung cancer but how many know that lung cancer is one of the worst forms of cancer, with only a 15% survival rate after five years? How many people think about the connection between smoking and heart disease? These are only the most obvious health problems caused by smoking. There are a whole host of others, as related in this article from Yahoo News.

Fifty years after the first U.S. Surgeon General‘s report in 1964 warned about the link between smoking and lung cancer, research continues to identify more diseases that are directly caused by smoking.

Now, liver and colorectal cancers have been added to the list of cancers for which there’s sufficient data to infer smoking is not merely linked to but actually can cause the diseases, according to the newest Surgeon General’s report released today (Jan 17).

Cigarette smoke contains thousands of compounds, including 69 known to be carcinogens, chemicals that are directly involved in causing cancer. Carcinogens can result in tumors by damaging the genome or disrupting the cell’s metabolic processes.

Smoking is responsible for more than 90 percent of lung cancers. But traces of tobacco carcinogens have been found in other organs as well. For example, pieces of DNA bound to carcinogens have been found in breast tissue and breast milk, according to the report authors, who reviewed new research over the recent years.

“These carcinogens are absorbed systemically. They don’t just stay in the lungs. They are carried through the blood to many organs,” said Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California at San Francisco, who was not involved in compiling the report.

In colorectal cancer, tumors often originate in the glands and the cells that cover the inside of the bowel. Carcinogens in tobacco smoke can reach the large bowel through the blood supply and disrupt regular functioning of the cells. These cells then might form polyps, which can progress into malignant, or cancerous, tumors.

Reviewing large previous studies, the researchers found an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer, particularly after smoking for two or more decades. In some studies, smokers were up to twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer as nonsmokers.

The report authors also looked at other cancers such as prostate cancer and concluded that smoking is not a cause for this type of cancer, although it increases risks of dying for those diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Examining breast cancer, the researchers concluded the evidence suggests smoking can cause the disease.

“Even a finding that is ‘suggestive,’ is a pretty strong finding,” Glantz told LiveScience. “If I give a glass filled with clear liquid and say, this might give you breast cancer but I’m not absolutely positive, I don’t think you want to drink the liquid.”

Other new entries in the official list of smoking-caused diseases include Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, macular degeneration that can blind older people, and cleft palate birth defects.

“In addition to carcinogens in the cigarette smoke, there’s a lot of inflammatory agents,” Glantz said. Smoking causes these diseases partly “by triggering inflammatory processes and increasing the general inflammatory environment.”

Looking over the past 50 years of the war on smoking, the report authors warned that the disease risks from smoking by women have risen sharply and are now equal to those of men for lung cancer, and pulmonary and heart diseases.

Since the landmark 1964 report, nearly 21 million people have died prematurely because of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the report.

Heart and metabolic diseases attributed to smoking accounted for 40 percent of tobacco-related deaths, the report revealed.

“This is very important. When people think about smoking they usually just think cancer. Most people don’t really appreciate how big the risks of heart diseases are,” Glantz said.

I am glad I never started smoking, though I am not sure if I deserve any credit. Both my parents smoked and it may be that not smoking was my particular way of rebelling. In any case, the experience of growing up surrounded by cigarette smoke has given me such an aversion to the smell of smoke that I cannot stand to be in the same room as someone smoking. I guess that I am lucky not to be tempted into such an unhealthy and addictive habit.

 

 

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Paul Crouch

December 2, 2013

I read the news of the death of televangelist Paul Crouch in Yahoo News the other day. I didn’t actually know the man’s name though I had seen him on television a few times years ago, and I recognized his face. Paul Crouch was the founder of the Trinity Broadcast Network, which has become the largest Christian network in America.

Paul Crouch, the televangelist who built what’s been called the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network, has died. He was 79.

Crouch died at his home in Orange, Calif., on Saturday after a decade-long fight with degenerative heart disease, his grandson Brandon Crouch told The Associated Press.

“He was an incredible businessman, entrepreneur, visionary; he built something that impacted the world,” he said.

Trinity Broadcast Network had reported that Crouch fell ill and was taken to a Dallas-area hospital in October while visiting the network’s facility in Colleyville, Texas. He later returned to California for continued treatment of “heart and related health issues.”

“We mourn Paul’s passing and he will be greatly missed. But we know, as the old hymn reminds us, soon enough we will see him again in that great ‘meeting in the air,’” the network said in a statement Saturday.

Crouch began his broadcasting career while studying theology at Central Bible Institute and Seminary in his native Missouri by helping build the campus’ radio station. He moved to California in the early 1960s to manage the movie and television unit of the Assemblies of God before founding Trinity Broadcast Network in 1973 with his wife, Jan.

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I wouldn’t have anything to write about Mr. Crouch, since I have never actually watched his show, but it seems that he was a proponent of the Prosperity Gospel.

They grew the network into an international Christian empire that beams prosperity gospel programming to every continent but Antarctica around the clock. The programming promises that if the faithful sacrifice for their belief, God will reward them with material wealth.

Based in Costa Mesa, the network says it has 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates as well as a Christian amusement park in Orlando.

The Crouches faced criticism for what critics say was their extravagant lifestyle. Ministry watchdogs have long questioned how TBN spends the hundreds of millions of tax-exempt donations they receive from viewers.

The account of their preaching is, no doubt, vastly oversimplified. A short news story of the death of a preacher cannot be expected to delve very deeply into that preacher’s theology. The Prosperity Gospel is the belief that devotion to the will of God will lead to material prosperity and well being. This would seem to contradict several passages in the New Testament in which Jesus warns his disciple to expect nothing but trouble and persecution as the result of following Him, and that they should aim for treasure in Heaven that never decays.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” (Matthew 19:23-25)

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-11)

For this reason, mainstream Evangelical leaders have considered the Prosperity Gospel to be heretical. There are, to be sure, passages which suggest that riches will come to those who are righteous. Abraham prospered as did the Israelites when they were faithful. Job regained all that he had lost and more after remaining faithful. The book of Proverbs suggests that prosperity is the result of righteousness. I think, though, that this is the general idea that those who are honest and just are actually more likely to prosper than the dishonest and unjust, whatever a cynic might believe. If money is what you most want in life, than it is likely that you will get money, but perhaps nothing more. If Heaven is what you want, you might get that, and much more.

 

Lesus

October 13, 2013

Recently, the Vatican issued a commemorative coin to celebrate the accession of Pope Francis I, featuring the Latin phrase that inspired the new pope to become a priest. Unfortunately there was a minor error in the coins that required the Vatican to recall them. Here is an account in Yahoo News.

Copy editors the world over can empathize (and cringe) with this mistake.

The Vatican issued a recall this week because about 6,000 of commemorative coins spelled the name “Jesus” as “Lesus.”

The medallion celebrating Pope Francis, includes a Latin phrase that reportedly inspired the new pope to become a priest.

In English, the phrase reads: “Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, follow me.”

So it read, in Latin, “Lesus therefore…”. That isn’t too bad compared to other famous typos, and if you could acquire one of these defective coins they will no doubt become very valuable in coming years.

But as a coin dealer told The New York Times, the flawed coins could be highly sought after by collectors.

“Regardless of what the Vatican decides to do now, it’s an interesting purchase for a collector,” Francesco Santarossa, owner of a numismatic and philatelic shop near St. Peter’s Square in Rome, said in a phone interview. “I don’t think they ever made such a mistake in the 600-year-long history of papal medals.”

At least the mistake was only on a coin and not in a new edition of the Bible.

Of course, the Vatican copy editors aren’t the first to miss a typo. There are many other famous mistakes throughout the history of Christian printing.

For example, the 1631 printing of the King James Version Bible has been dubbed the “Wicked Bible.” As one peruses the 10 Commandments, one will notice that Exodus 20:14 reads “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

England’s King Charles 1 and the Archbishop of Canterbury were not amused. Most copies of that bible were burned. The printers were fined 300 pounds (a large sum at the time) and lost their printing license. Only 11 copies of the “Wicked Bible” are known to exist today. The New York Public Library and The British Library in London each have copies.

And there’s the 1612 King James edition of the “Printer’s Bible,” which famously rewrites Psalm 119: 161  “Printers have persecuted me without a cause” rather than “Princes have persecuted me…” Speculation is that a typesetter, disgruntled with his publisher, introduced this error.

There are many more examples of “bible errata,”often amusing in retrospect but scandalous in the day. For example, A KJV printing in 1611 became known as the “Judas Bible.” It replaced “Jesus” with “Judas” in the passage from Matthew 26:36 “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.”

I wonder if anyone with a copy of the Wicked Bible ever said to their spouse that they were required to commit adultery because the Bible told them so.

 

DOMA

June 26, 2013

I wasn’t going to write about the unfortunate decision by the Supreme Court that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but I read some comments on this ruling from a Catholic priest on Yahoo News.

As a Catholic priest who has performed hundreds of marriages, I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and to leave the Proposition 8 law unresolved. The DOMA decision, in particular, drives a wedge between Christian and secular rights unnecessarily.

If I now decline to perform a same-sex marriage because my church, the Catholic Church, only allows marriage between a man and a woman, how long will it be before my civil privilege of witnessing marriages will be challenged?

I lived in Mexico for four years, where religious and civil marriage ceremonies are entirely separate. When I performed marriages there, I was usually presented with a certificate proving that the couple had first gone to the civil authorities to register their union. My church ceremony was not recognized by the state and the civil marriage was not sacramental and therefore not binding in the eyes of my church.

I am beginning to think Mexico has it right. Let’s get religion out of the civil marriage business so that I and other ministers of religion can perform marriages that uphold the standard of one man, one woman, and one sacramental union. This is not to say that my church refuses membership to gays.

The Catholic Church teaches that same-sex attraction is not evil and that in regard to homosexuals, “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” (CCC –The Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358).

Notice the strange word “unjust.” As religious people, we are convinced that marriage is a huge part of God’s plan to share love and bring children into the world. We believe the core of family life is wife, husband and their children. We believe it is our right under the First Amendment to discriminate and limit marriage to members who are heterosexual.

Will the government invade our religion insisting that our schools teach that same-sex unions are marriages? Will our textbooks have to support this new definition of marriage? I hope not.

One thing is sure: Catholic Americans will have to show a new determination to embrace their brothers and sisters whose orientation is same-sex. We Catholics must be inclusive and sensitive in all of our dealings with our church members regardless of sexual orientation.

Maybe the Supreme Court’s decisions today will force us Catholics (and other religious groups) to be clearer about our beliefs, especially those that are counter to the culture in which we live.

I would hope that the First Amendment will protect my right to practice my religion and live my faith.

I am afraid it won’t work. The next step will be for the homosexual zealots to attack any church that refuses to perform same-sex marriages. They simply will not tolerate any dissenting views on this subject. Already, we have seen a bakery, wedding photographer, and a florist punished for refusing to violate their religious beliefs by providing their services to a gay wedding. Can anyone really believe that churches will be left alone?

The gay bullies will not leave anyone alone and will certainly not respect anyone’s religious beliefs. If you are a Christian and believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, your belief is infinitely less important that the homosexual’s right to act as he pleases without any condemnation from anyone. You are not even permitted to keep to yourself and leave them alone. Support the gay lifestyle with all your hearth and all your soul and all your strength, or be publicly condemned as a bigot.

 

 

NARAL Picks New President

January 15, 2013

Pro-abortion group NARAL has picked a new president and is trying to get more support from younger women. I read the story in Yahoo News.

NARAL Pro-Choice America announced on Monday it has tapped longtime Democratic operative Ilyse Hogue to serve as its new president as the group seeks to appeal to a younger generation of pro-abortion rights supporters.

Hogue replaces outgoing president Nancy Keenan, who is leaving the post after eight years. In May, Keenan announced she would step down from the group after the 2012 election in order to bring in someone who could appeal to younger voters.In an interview with the Washington Post, Keenan said the group had found an intensity gap among young women who weren’t around when abortion wasn’t legal. She said the group needed to recruit a new generation of pro-abortion rights activists for different roles—including her own.

The move comes amid what the group has described as increasing attacks on women’s rights around the country. According to an NARAL report released earlier this month, 42 anti-choice measures were passed in 25 states last year. The finding came as preparations are made to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down state laws restricting abortion.

Well, the problem is that many of the women of the younger generation who would have been avid supporters of NARAL’s agenda have been aborted. This is not a mean joke. Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto has postulated that women who support abortion are more likely to have abortions and thus will tend to have fewer children than women who are against abortion. He has called this the Roe Effect. It is difficult to determine whether there is any validity to the Roe Effect and it is by no means certain that the children of pro-life mothers will themselves grow up to be pro-life, but the fact that support for abortion has been declining over time may suggest that there is some validity to the hypothesis.

Do you notice, by the way, that the representatives of groups like NARAL don’t really like to say what they are actually for. They argue in vague terms of choice and cast their opponents as being anti-choice. Why don’t they just come right out and say that they are for killing unborn babies?  And why don’t I have any choice about whether my tax dollars go to an abortion mill like Planned Parenthood?

Ohio Teacher Afraid of Children

January 15, 2013

She is suing her school district for discrimination but I think that it is possible that she has chosen the wrong profession. Here is the story at Yahoo News.

A teacher from Mariemont, Ohio, is suing her school district, claiming discrimination. What makes the case unique is that the teacher, Maria Waltherr-Willard, suffers from pedophobia, a crippling fear of young children. She claims her disability led to the discrimination.

We first saw the news over at the Cincinnati.com. The paper reports that Waltherr-Willard began her career as a high school teacher, a position she held for decades. She was reassigned to teach in a junior high in 2010, despite, she claims, being assured earlier in her career that she would not have to teach younger children.

According to the Enquirer, pedophobia can lead to shortness of breath, vomiting and feelings of terror when around young children. Waltherr-Willard claims that she was discriminated against based on her age (she’s 61) and her disability.

“It’s a tough phobia. You can’t really get away from [children] when you’re outside,” Dr. Caleb Adler, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati, told Cincinnati.com. Adler did not treat Waltherr-Willard.

The backstory, as described by the Enquirer, goes as follows: Waltherr-Willard taught foreign languages in high school for many years. Several years ago, word got to her that her district was considering putting those classes online, a move that would have had an effect on her position.

Waltherr-Willard apparently spoke to parents about the district’s decision to eliminate face-to-face French courses. Parents spoke out, and the district was not amused that one of its teachers was stirring the pot. Waltherr-Willard claims she was sent to teach at junior high as a kind of punishment for speaking out. She eventually resigned her position.

Good Morning America” reports that the lawsuit says “both parties agreed the phobia and anxiety disorder fell under the Americans With Disabilities Act and exempted her from future transfers within the school district.”

Parts of the lawsuit have already been dismissed by a federal judge. Three allegations remain. The case is scheduled to go to court in early 2014.

This is ridiculous. There was always the possibility that as a teacher she might be called to teach younger students. If the presence of children really makes her anxious, than she shouldn’t be teaching. I am a little bit concerned about the seeming expansion of the definition of disabilities under the Americans With Disabilities Act. It seems to me that before too much longer everybody will be considered disabled.

 

European Union Wins Peace Prize

October 12, 2012

As if to prove what a joke the Peace Prize has become, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize to the European Union this year recognizing its important role in keeping the peace in Europe for the last fifty years. I read the story in Yahoo News.

The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for promoting peace, democracy and human rights over six decades, a morale boost for the bloc as it struggles to resolve its economic crisis.

The award served as a reminder that the EU had largely brought peace to a continent that tore itself apart in two world wars in which tens of millions died.

The EU has transformed most of Europe “from a continent of wars to a continent of peace”, Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said in announcing the award in Oslo.

“The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest,” Jagland said. “The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.”

Jagland praised the EU for rebuilding Europe from the devastation of World War Two and for its role in spreading stability after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

If keeping the peace qualifies one for the Peace Prize, then why not award it to the US military? They are the ones that freed Europe from the threats of Nazism and Communism. Why not give the prize to NATO? How do you give an award to a whole country or a confederation of nations anyway?

Personally, I think that Paul Ryan should get some kind of peace prize for resisting the temptation to punch Joe Biden.

Roadkill Restaurant

October 2, 2012

If I ever happen to be in Williamsburg, Kentucky, I don’t think that I will stop to eat at the Red Flower Chinese Restaurant. Not if this story on Yahoo News is accurate.

Customers at the Red Flower Chinese Restaurant in Williamsburg, Ky., alerted authorities after they spotted something they probably wish they hadn’t: restaurant employees wheeling roadkill back to the kitchen.

Local CBS affiliate WYMT interviewed the witnesses. The roadkill was apparently a deer stuffed into a trash can. “There was actually a blood trail they were mopping up behind the garbage can,” customer Katie Hopkins said. “There was like a tail, and like a foot and a leg sticking out of the garbage can, and they wheeled it straight back into the kitchen.”

Local health inspector Paul Lawson was called in to investigate. Lawson said the restaurant owners told him they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong. “They said they didn’t know they weren’t allowed to do that. So that makes me concerned that maybe they could have before. They didn’t admit to doing it before.” The owner said he didn’t plan to serve the deer to customers—instead he planned to use it to feed his family.

The restaurant has been temporarily shut down but will be eligible to reopen as soon as it passes another health inspection and proves it has been washed and sanitized.

I’m glad he wasn’t going to actually serve the deer to customers, this time.

Maybe I should make it a practice to look around back before eating at any restaurant. Who knows what’s going on?

 

Judge Stops Pennsylvania Votor ID Law

October 2, 2012

 

 

I read the story in Yahoo News.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s divisive voter identification requirement became the latest of its kind to get pushback from the courts ahead of Election Day, delivering a hard-fought victory to Democrats who said it was a ploy to defeat President Barack Obama and other opponents who said it would prevent the elderly and minorities from voting.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said in his ruling that he was concerned by the state’s stumbling efforts to create a photo ID that is easily accessible to voters and that he could not rely on the assurances of government officials at this late date that every voter would be able to get a valid ID.

If it stands, it is good news for Obama’s chances in Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s biggest electoral college prizes, unless Republicans and the tea party groups that backed the law find a way to use it to motivate their supporters and possibly independents.

Simpson based his decision on guidelines given to him two weeks ago by the state’s high court to determine whether the state had made photo IDs easily accessible to voters who needed them. It could easily be the final word on the law just five weeks before the Nov. 6 election, especially since Gov. Tom Corbett, who had championed the law, said he was leaning against appealing to the state Supreme Court.

“This decision is a big win for voters in Pennsylvania,” said Witold J. Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which helped challenge the law.

Well, maybe the dead voters.

Simpson’s ruling would not stop the law from going into full effect next year, though he could still decide later to issue a permanent injunction as part of the ongoing legal challenge to the law’s constitutionality.

The 6-month-old law — among the nation’s toughest — is one of many that has passed a Republican-controlled state Legislature since the last presidential election, and has sparked a divisive debate over voting rights ahead of the contest between Obama, a Democrat, and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, for Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.

It was already a political lightning rod when a top state Republican lawmaker boasted to a GOP dinner in June that the ID requirement “is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

The law is one of about 20 tougher voter identification laws passed predominantly by Republican-controlled state Legislatures since the last presidential election. However, several states’ laws are not strict in their requirement for a photo ID, several others were vetoed by Democratic governors and still others — such as in Texas and Wisconsin — were held up by courts.

I think we need to be honest here. The purpose of voter ID laws is indeed to suppress voter turnout, among those who have no actual right to vote or those who wish to vote more than once, or those who are not too scrupulous about an honest count of the votes.

But I also have to say that if a person does not have any photo identification, than that is a person who is not legally employed, does not have a bank account, cannot legally drive a motor vehicle, cannot board an airplane, and cannot buy alcohol or tobacco. Such a person can only exist on the margins of our society and economy. It may sound harsh, but I have to wonder if such a person should be voting at all. It has become a seldom questioned truism that voting should be made as convenient as possible for as many people as possible. Therefore we have made voting and registering for voting easy with such devices as registering at license branches, same day registration and allowing voting by mail and even over the Internet.

I don’t agree with this approach. Aside from the fact that such devices make voter fraud ridiculously easy, I think voting should be made moderately difficult in order to weed out the unmotivated and ill-informed. If you cannot get up and see that you are registered to vote well in advance of election day and cannot get to a polling place, you have no business voting. I realize that there are some disabled people who may not be able to leave their homes, etc, and I think every provision should be made for such people, and there are reasons why people may need to vote absentee. I think that voting is a serious business, in that the act of voting is the only say most people have in the affairs of the country and it would be best if the unserious stayed out.

Ideally, I would like for there to be some sort of civics test which voters would need to pass. It need not be difficult. No memorizing the Constitution or anything like that. Just enough to stop people like this.

 

I think we can agree that if you don’t know who is actually running, you probably shouldn’t vote.

 

 

Astrologers Predict Win for Obama

May 30, 2012
Horoscope, Astrology

The stars have spoken

It must have been a slow news day at Yahoo News and Reuters yesterday. I can’t think of any other plausible explanation for this bit of nonsense.

NEWS ORLEANS (Reuters) – The votes are in and it is unanimous: Barack Obama will win re-election to the U.S. presidency in November, according to five astrologers who offered predictions at their convention on Tuesday.

Each of the five astrologers on the presidential panel explained how they came to their assessments, with most relying on studies of celestial charts pertinent to both Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney for the date of either the election itself or the next presidential inauguration.

There is more to the article, including an explanation of which planetary alignments make an Obama victory certain but I am not going to bother copying it. I remember when the media made fun of Nancy Reagan when it was revealed that she had consulted with astrologers. Maybe they owe her an apology now. They definitely owe their readers an apology for wasting our time with this foolishness.


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