Monday, August 30, 2004

Being defeated is often only a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.

Marilyn vos Savant

Religion Feeds Sudan's Fire


Published: August 22, 2004;tntemail0


FURBURANGA, Sudan - In the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan, the killers pray toward Mecca. The million displaced people do as well. Marauding men on horseback, the women raped by them, the rebels who incited the fighting and the politicians, soldiers and police officers who have failed to control it, nearly all are Muslim.

There was the man from one of Darfur's African tribes who walked into an empty field near the refugee camp he now calls home and prayed - for life to return to normal, for his family's suffering to end, for his fear to dissipate. He stood, then knelt, then touched his forehead to a small mat, and the despair around him faded, he said, if only for a moment.

But at some of the burned-out villages that now scar Darfur's landscape there are signs of disregard for religion - charred pages from Korans scattered in the rubble, makeshift mosques leveled.

Sudan has a history of Christian-Muslim frictions and war. A rebel movement in the south, dominated by Christians, has fought the Islamic government in Khartoum for decades, largely over religious freedom.

That conflict now appears to be petering out, partly because of involvement of the United States. But instead of peace, Sudan is now mired in a grievous conflict in Darfur. Political rivalries, ethnic strife and poverty have fueled the clashes - but that has not stopped combatants from invoking religion and challenging the devotion of their rivals. In the long history of the Muslims, "it is not uncommon for people to question each other's version of Islam," said Arif Shaikh, a representative of Islamic Relief U.S.A. who visited Darfur in April. "But this is really a political, not a religious, dispute.  So much animosity has built up, and that's why it's gotten to this level."

While the Muslims fight, many Sudanese revert to their historic grudges, directed against Christians, the United States and foreigners in general. Inside the mosques of Khartoum, which follow the Sunni branch of Islam, there has been plenty of discussion about Darfur but little success at finding a way to end the bloodshed. No religious leader has yet publicly chastised the combatants, either Arab or African.  But America-bashing, long a theme at Friday Prayer, is as fierce as ever.

"We caution our people in Sudan and our people in western Sudan against trusting the U.S.A., that it wants to help them," an imam, Abd-al-Jalil al-Nathir al-Karuri, said in a sermon broadcast on television in early August.

"What is being done now is for the interests of one country - Israel."

Another imam, Isam Ahmad al-Bashir, in a sermon translated from Arabic by the BBC, urged his followers at another Friday Prayer service to resist foreign intervention. "We must all say, irrespective of our different affiliations and leanings, races and groups, a resounding 'no' to foreign intervention, which is lying in wait for our people," he said.

"This is an issue that requires no bargaining. Divinity, morality and humanity is required in denouncing all forms of foreign intervention or we will be committing treason against God, religion and country."

The continuing conflict with the Christians began in 1983 after the president at the time, Gaafar al-Nimeiry, began a campaign to make the country adhere more closely to Islamic law; his effort included amputations as punishments for theft and public lashings for alcohol consumption. He replaced non-Muslim judges in the south with Muslims and applied Shariah penalties to many non-Muslims in Khartoum and parts of the north.


Sunday, August 29, 2004

BUSINESS/FINANCIAL DESK | August 21, 2004, Saturday


Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 1 , Column 6 


The Justice Department has opened a broad criminal investigation of the medical-supply industry, apparently to determine whether hospitals and other medical care providers are fraudulently overcharging Medicare and other federal and state health programs for a wide array of goods -- from rubber gloves to drugs to X-ray machines.

More than a dozen medical-supply companies recently received federal subpoenas in what appears to be a wide-ranging investigation into the way suppliers market products to clinics, hospitals and nursing homes that serve Medicare and Medicaid patients, and whether those institutions properly account for the purchases.

Industry executives expect many hospitals to receive similar requests in coming weeks.

The central issue, according to current and former industry executives, is whether the industry's use of rebates, discounts, barter arrangements and refunds to hospitals and other medical centers means that Medicare and Medicaid are being charged higher prices for products than the hospitals are actually spending.

The investigation appears to be centered on the medical-supply industry's dealings with Novation, a company in Irving, Tex., that is an industry leader in negotiating the contracts that thousands of hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other facilities use to buy drugs and other supplies.

About $20 billion a year in medical products and services are sold under contracts arranged by Novation, which is owned by about 2,200 of the hospitals and care centers that use its services.

They include well-known medical centers like New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Yale-New Haven Health Services and Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.

Because Novation is the link between thousands of health facilities on one side, and hundreds of medical goods and services companies on the other, the scope of the federal investigation appears to be broad.

A Novation official confirmed this week that the company was recently served with a federal subpoena demanding that it produce documents.

''This matter is in the very early stages,'' Novation's senior vice president, Jody Hatcher, said in an e-mail reply to a reporter's questions.

''Novation will fully cooperate with the U.S. attorney's office to provide the requested documents.'' Mr. Hatcher did not characterize the type of documents sought.

Mr. Hatcher also cautioned against drawing any inferences from the subpoena's references to various sections of the United States Code that deal with health care offenses.

''These subpoenas can be issued without any finding of misconduct,'' he said.

''It would be misleading to state or imply that Novation, or any of its constituents or vendors, has violated any of the statutes you referenced.''

Hospitals and clinics are financed with public money to a great degree, through programs like Medicare that reimburse many of the costs they incur in treating patients.

If a hospital submits an erroneous cost report to Medicare, it can receive a larger reimbursement than it is due.

If this is done knowingly, it can constitute Medicare fraud, which can carry fines and a 10-year prison sentence.

The federal investigation came to light after one medical products company, Becton, Dickinson, disclosed last week in its quarterly financial report that it had been served with a subpoena.

Becton, Dickinson, the world's largest maker of medical needles and syringes, said in the report that it believed its transactions with Novation had ''fully complied with the law,'' that it would cooperate and that it was not currently a target of the investigation.

Some of the other big companies to be served with subpoenas are the drug makers Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Genentech; the G.E. Healthcare medical equipment unit of General Electric, and Cardinal Health, a big manufacturer and distributor of drugs and medical supplies.

Based on the federal codes cited in a copy of one of the subpoenas, investigators are seeking evidence of health care fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft or bribery involving programs receiving federal funds, obstruction of investigations and other possible violations.

The subpoena was signed by Shannon Ross, criminal chief of the United States attorney's office in Dallas.

A spokeswoman for that office declined to discuss the subpoenas or to confirm that an investigation was in progress, citing longstanding policy.

Most of the companies also declined to discuss the matter, other than to say that they would cooperate with investigators.

Novation's primary business is to pool the purchasing volume of about 2,200 hospitals, as well as thousands of nursing homes, clinics and physicians' practices, and to use their collective power to negotiate contracts with suppliers at a discount.

In many cases, the contracts offer special rebates to hospitals that meet certain purchasing targets.

Although Novation is not well known outside the industry, it wields formidable power because it can open, or impede, access to a vast institutional market for health products.

Novation's business practices, which were the subject of an investigation in 2002 by The New York Times, have drawn criticism from several parties, including the antitrust subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The practices under scrutiny include questionable payments in the awarding of contracts and incomplete accounting of the rebates paid to hospitals and other medical centers.

The chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee, Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, and Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, have been monitoring Novation and other companies involved in the group purchasing of health products.

In hearings, they have expressed concerns about possible abuses and have publicly called on companies in the industry to adopt heightened ethics policies or risk tighter regulation.

The subcommittee is expected to hold another hearing on the issue next month.

Novation has also been attacked by other companies, in past testimony to the subcommittee and through civil suits brought by small medical suppliers that accused it of freezing them out of a big share of the market for medical products.

Novation was created in 1998 as a joint venture of two networks of nonprofit hospitals, VHA Inc. of Irving, Tex., and University HealthSystem Consortium of Oak Brook, Ill.

VHA, the larger of the two networks, holds the larger stake in Novation.

Those yearly distributions, as well as the rebates to hospitals that meet their purchasing contract targets and certain in-kind contributions, effectively lower the hospitals' purchasing costs.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer

A Car Accident.then came Success

Have you ever wondered how some of the worst things that happen in your life turn out to be some of the best experiences you've ever had?


Well, a fellow member of my church once told a story about one such experience that changed his life.


For years, he had difficulty saving to buy a house because something would always occur and consume more money than he had expected to spend. Despite his efforts he simply could not go long before spending the extra cash that he had saved.


Then one day a car accident badly damaged the car his wife was driving. Their mechanic estimated the cost of repairs at five thousand dollars. Unfortunately, they were presently in a financial bind and so the car would have to wait. After contemplating the situation he realized that they needed a solution to their financial problems. To remedy the situation he worked long and hard for weeks, saving and managing his money in a way he had never done previously. In a few months he had saved enough funds to have his wife's car repaired.


Once the car was repaired he discussed with his wife how quickly they had put aside the money they needed. During their discussion his wife encouraged him to open a second account so they could continue to put away the same amount of money that we were saving every week for the car repair. This money would go towards the house they had always wanted to purchase.


He was convinced that if he could save thousand of dollars in a few months he could eventually save enough to buy a house. For many years they had both wanted to buy their dream house but could not seem to come up with the down payment. However, in a little over a year he had saved more than twenty thousand dollars and was able to make the down payment. He had done something in a short while that he had failed to accomplish in his previous attempts to properly handle his finances.


Consequently, this man's experiences gave him a different feeling about money. He and his wife have continued to maintain their second account. This time they have decided to start saving for their retirement, putting away just a little less every week than they did for their house.


One man embraced a new set of traits because he had a goal that was imperative for him to achieve-he made a plan to achieve it and followed through. The experience of a single misfortune taught him a valuable lesson and challenged him to reprogram his saving, and spending habits. In the process he also changed his family's life. He now enjoys the material benefits along with a sense of accomplishment and pride.


The value of making the most of our experiences is that they teach us lessons about life - about failures, successes, and everything in between.  In the midst of our challenges always remember success often comes in disguise.



© 2003 Dean Pennicott.  Dean is the author of a very inspiring new ebook MAKE SUCCESS HAPPEN which received a great review from a CBS 60 Minutes II correspondent.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Michael Moore on Wheels. I have often argued that folks like Michael Moore actually do more harm than good to the Democratic effort. Hysteria is the enemy. Falsehoods, dirty tricks, and the goal of being able to say "at least we're not as bad as them" is hardly the path back to P [electablog]

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


We are living in a time when many people are holding their heads and wringing their hands over the problems facing society.   Many people have finally come to the realization that "government" can't fix it all and now they believe their is little hope for the future.   In these critical times, every person who professes to be a follower for Jesus Christ is challenged to take authority over the situation.   The world is looking for answers and we know "THE ANSWER".   What are we going to do? 


A Door of Authority
has Opened in the Heavenlies
Victoria Boyson

Much is said in the church today about Christlikeness and we all want to be like Jesus. But what does Christlikeness really look like? If you examine the life of Christ you will see that He was loving and compassionate, but also, He did not coddle demons, He rebuked them. When He encountered demonic forces, He took authority over them. He did not try to reason with them, He just commanded them to leave. He had zero tolerance for the enemy!

The Terror of Hell!
Wherever Christ went, He spoiled the works of darkness and caused chaos in the enemy's camp. He was relentless against the powers of darkness. Where there was sickness, He brought healing. Where sin had taken hold, He blasted it with deliverance. No demon was safe wherever Jesus went, because He took authority over the demonic realm. Demons trembled when He approached them. He was the terror of hell!

Yes, because of the authority He walked in, hell feared Him and they had every reason to. Jesus knew who He was and Whose He was!

Jesus lived in the realm of the miraculous; His life was hemmed in by one miracle after another. He did amazing, incredible things. Wherever He went, blind eyes were healed, lame men walked, the dead were raised, demons fled, and lepers were cleansed. He astonished the world and then He set the stage for you and I to walk in the same power and authority that He did. He prophesied, "Greater works shall [you] do!" (Jn. 14:12).

Christ's Plan for Us: Greater Works!
He said that we would do even greater works than He did. He wants us to do greater works; that's His plan for us. It was His idea for us to do great, incredible, amazing things. He wants us to dwell in the realm of the miraculous. He wants us to cause as much trouble for the kingdom of darkness as we can.

Where there is sickness, He wants us to bring healing! He does not want us to beg Him for healings to take place, He wants us to command sickness to leave and healing to come in its place. And where there is demonic activity, He desires for us to cast it out. He wants us to tear down, rip apart and ravage the strongholds of the enemy.

A Door of Authority
A door to a greater level of authority has been opened in the heavenlies, and the church must walk through it. No longer should we hang our heads in shame or let self-pity wear us down. No, we must walk in the authority of Christ! It's time for the church to operate in the authority that Christ purchased for us with His life. It is time to walk in true Christlikeness, not false humility, but to truly live like Christ in every respect.

The enemy has been busy harassing the Body of Christ. He has tried to weigh us down with accusation and condemnation until we feel weak and incapable. But why has he done this? What is he afraid of?

He is trying so hard to condemn us and convince us we are powerless, because he is absolutely terrified of us!!! The thought that we might actually discover just how powerful we are is horrifying to him, so out of his fear of us he hounds and harasses us.

What Does the Enemy See When he Looks at Us?
What does the devil see in us that is so terrifying to him? He sees the righteousness of God in us (see 1 Cor. 5:21)! He sees untapped resources of the power of heaven! He sees the prophesy of Christ looming before him, and that at just the right moment the church is going to break forth in the power and authority of Jesus Christ!

He is petrified of you, beloved. That's right, you may see yourself as insignificant, but believe me, you are what hell fears! When you stand to your feet, hell trembles. When you kneel to pray, it panics. And when you speak forth the truth of God in the authority of Christ, demons run screaming.

Sickness knows it must flee when you tell it to. Death knows you have power to conquer it. The enemy knows that Jesus Christ has given you the keys to the kingdom, to unlock the power of heaven on the earth. The consumable, ferocious, devouring power of Almighty God is in your mouth. When you walk in the authority of Jesus Christ and command the enemy to BACK OFF, they know they must obey you.

For too long we have believed the lies of the enemy - we have tried to co-exist with him. But we can no longer tolerate the activity of the enemy in our hearts, minds, bodies, families, churches, cities, and nations.

There are no little saints in the kingdom of God; no second-hand anointings. Each one of us play an important role in the army of heaven. We must all do our part in fighting the enemy and take the ground where the Lord has placed us. You are important to the kingdom of God! He needs you!

"Stick Up for Yourself!"
I recently prayed for a brother in Christ, and as I did, the Holy Spirit spoke through me, "Stick up for yourself boy!" The words came with power, and such wonderful revelation too.  We have to stick up for ourselves; we must not let the enemy get away with his harassment of us! It is time we stick up for who we are in Christ and not let the enemy torment us with lies of accusation and condemnation.

It's time for the past to stay in the past! Do not let the enemy get away with reminding you of it in order to keep you chained to it. Rip off the chains of condemnation and guilt and use them to strangle him. Make him pay for harassing you and your loved ones and make him fear attacking you again. You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and great works shall you do.

I Hate Hell!
I hate hell! I hate hell having access or admittance to any member of the kingdom of God. I see a child of God as the greatest treasure on earth, and that treasure belongs to my God! How dare the enemy touch anything that belongs to Him. How dare he be so bold to think he can bring harm to the bride of heaven. His blatant audacity inflames me.

Beloved, it is time to get mad at the devil. He has tried to keep us focused on hating one another, but his onslaught against us must only rally us together to fight against him, and fight him we must! We must convince him we do mean business.
Saints, we have been too passive with the enemy for too long. No more! Grab hold of the authority of Jesus, man your battle stations and prepare for war!

Please pray this with me:

Dear Jesus,

I repent for not using the gift of authority that You purchased for me with Your precious blood. Make me the terror of hell and the joy of heaven. Lord, I thank you that I will walk in your fearless faith. And may I cause as much harm to the kingdom of darkness as it has caused me!

In Jesus' name, AMEN!

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The Struggle With Self

Key Verse: "By the grace of God, I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Do you know someone who is extremely critical? Regardless of what the
situation may be, she always manufactures something negative to say.
Seemingly oblivious to her own negativity, she lives with very little joy
and peace, meandering through life with a "glass is half empty" mentality.

What is the source of such pessimism? Why can't negative people see
beyond flaws and imperfection, and, instead, focus on the positive
aspects of life?

Usually, this type of defeatist attitude results from a poor self-image.
Overly critical, negative people will oftentimes project onto others the
same feelings they have about themselves.  Sadly, this attitude of
inadequacy seeps into their spiritual lives, hindering healthy relationships
with God by causing them to hold an erroneous view of Him.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul sets the model for self-image when he humbly
states, "I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle,
because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am
what I am" (15:9-10). On one hand, Paul realizes that he is a sinner, but,
at the same time, he understands that the grace of God makes him a new
creation-forgiven and in the process of being conformed to the image of

The question is-what are the characteristics of a positive self-image? A
person with a positive view of himself is aware of his strengths and
weaknesses, is open and honest, can say "I love you" without hesitation,
can voice his opinion without fear of criticism or retaliation. Most
importantly, though, he accepts himself-scars, blemishes, and
all-because God first accepted him. (1 John 4:19)

On the other hand, someone with a negative self-image doesn't trust
himself or others, questions his ability, suffers from a "persecution
complex" (i.e., "Everyone is out to get me!"), is scared to open up,
always wears a "mask"-so as not to let others in on his flaws-and
usually feels as though God determines his worth by how much good he
accomplishes, resulting in a "workaholic" mentality.

Now that we know the different outward displays of self-image, both
good and bad, what are some of the reasons for having an unhealthy view
of ourselves? 

First on the list is, of course, sin. Many times, sin causes us to fall into a
guilt trap. We look at our flaws and we ask, "How can God help me with
this sin in my life?" Guilt begins a process of self-deterioration that will
slowly wear on your mind over a long period of time.

Another reason for a negative self-image is the "overachievement trap."
The person with this mindset believes that he must prove his worth to
God through works. In order to feel worthy to God, he believes he needs
to accomplish something "great." If, and when, he reaches that milestone,
he sets the bar higher and higher until he eventually burns out.

Our unwillingness to accept criticism also hinders our ability to move
toward a positive self-image. A man with a godly view of himself decides
whose approval he wants-God's or the world's. From there he chooses
to live for the Lord and the issue is settled. As long as we live, there will
always be someone who criticizes us. We simply cannot be everything to
everybody. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Finally, one of the most harmful causes of a poor self-image is an
erroneous view of Scripture. In Philippians 2, Paul's call of "death to self"
doesn't mean that we are to no longer value or have worth within
ourselves. Many times, this Scripture passage can be distorted, causing
some Christians to view themselves as worthless. 

Philippians 2 simply calls for us to view ourselves from God's point of
view. Paul is asking us, as believers, not to use others as a stepping-stone
for our own personal gain, while, also, striving to humble ourselves to the
point that Christ humbled Himself. This is just one small example of how
Scripture can be erroneously interpreted, resulting in a poor self-image.

So how do we develop a positive view of ourselves and leave behind all
the extra baggage that weighs us down? Here are a few biblical pointers
for overcoming a negative self-image:

--Salvation: Obviously, it all starts with accepting the forgiveness Jesus
provided at the cross. Without this, we'll never view ourselves correctly
because, from an eternal standpoint, we have nothing without Christ.
(Ephesians 1:7)

--Saturate Yourself With Scripture: The more you read God's Word with
purpose, the more you will fill your mind with God's attitude toward
you-unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance.  (Matthew 6:5-6)

--Secure Forgiveness: Ask the Lord for forgiveness for certain sins that
have harbored within your soul. (John 3:16)

--Stop Bartering With God: Don't attempt to trade good works for God's
approval. The truth is, you can't do anything to make Him love you any
more or any less. Regardless of what you may have done, God can't love
you any more than He already does-His love for you is already perfect.
(Galatians 3:13-14)

--Share yourself: The man who is the happiest walks with his heart wide
open. Allow others into your life; share your thoughts and feelings with
those around you. (Proverbs 20:7)

--Stop Thinking About The Past: Focus on what God is doing in your life
today, rather than your failures from yesterday. Live in the present, and
let God guide you as you walk into the future. (Isaiah 65:17)

Until you develop a good self-image, you'll never realize the plans the
Lord has for your life. If you've been struggling with this issue, if you find
yourself in a persistent haze of criticism and negativity, take this month's
devotional to heart and ask God to help release you from the burden of
an unhealthy self-image.

* * * *

For more information related to this devotional, visit the IN TOUCH broadcast archive for the following messages:

In Touch Ministries
P.O. Box 7900
Atlanta, GA 30357

Monday, August 23, 2004

The Shrinking and Fading Garment Center. The fabled heart of the city's largest manufacturing industry continues to shrink, buffeted by cheap labor overseas, rising rents and an exodus of skilled workers. By By JOSEPH BERGER. [The New York Times > Home Page]

"What will be lost if the Garment Center fades is not just another storied neighborhood like Tin Pan Alley, but the patch of Manhattan where generations of immigrants - Chinese, Mexicans and South Americans being the latest - have found the low-skill jobs they need to establish a foothold in a new land. "

Soldiers face Abu Ghraib hearings. An alleged ringleader in the abuse at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison is the first of four soldiers to face a tribunal in Germany. [BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]
My name is Compassion. George Compassion.. Healthcare is my middle name when compassion isn't. [the american street]

Lessons from 'The Village'

by Belinda Ayers Producer

Rather than write off The Village as merely another summer horror film to be avoided for fear of the elements of violence and worldliness it may contain (and they are minimal), why not use the film to share your faith? If we look closely, I believe there are lessons we can learn from this thought-provoking film.

Just in case you still need a good reasons to install antivirus and anti-spyware sofftware on your PC. 

Meet the Peeping Tom worm. Spy on the wire [The Register]

Today's Article on Christian Science: Gathering of nations
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life.

"Think of the power in that Olympic idea - to subdue war, if only for a few months."

Today's Article on Christian Science: Gathering of nations
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life.

"Think of the power in that Olympic idea - to subdue war, if only for a few months."

Christian World eNews for Aug. 16, 2004

Kenya at a Crossroads: Fighting Radical Islam in Africa
KenyaKenya, a close partner in America's war on terror, is flirting with a strict form of Islamic law, called Sharia. Church leaders there fear it could plunge their nation into a religious war. Others say it's part of an ambitious strategy by Islamists to make Africa the first all- Muslim continent. This spring I visited this beautiful and diverse country to learn more. .

* Microsoft Updates Works
Works 8 adds utilities to productivity suite that delivers all the basics.,aid,117376,tk,wb081604x,00.asp

* Newest Ad-Aware Exposes Some Users
Earliest adopters of updated program should download again to ensure full security.,aid,117372,tk,wb081604x,00.asp

Windows Tips: Use a Super Boot Floppy After an XP Meltdown
Recover when XP won't load; get the full view of new Windows; color-code your file names; the fastest way into Outlook.,aid,117007,tk,wb081604x,00.asp

Running out early on the NFL
In recent years, more and more NFL players are retiring at the top of
their game. By Erik Spanberg

Despite the records beckoning to be broken, and the lure of cheers, money, and fame, some professional athletes suddenly call it quits. At the top of their game, they retire from the sport that made them famous.

It can happen to any athlete. But in recent years, retiring young has become a recurring theme in the National Football League, especially among running backs. The latest to turn in his shoulder pads: Ricky Williams, the 27-year-old star of the Miami Dolphins.

Today's Article on Christian Science: Hired and fired
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life.

King Kong debt meets middle-class life
In a generational shift, Americans have come to accept big credit-card
balances as inevitable. By Stacy A. Teicher

"Debt may not be as widespread a problem as smoking or overeating, but it's gaining attention as perhaps a form of addiction. Yes, overspending is largely a matter of personal choice, but many observers say an increasingly materialistic culture conspires against people's desire or ability to act wisely. Still others call for reform of certain practices in the credit-card industry that make it easier for people to build up balances to the point where they are trapped"

Humanity Under the Big Top
The public and governments need to keep the pressure on, for better
treatment of show animals.
From the Rhema Journals of Sandy Warner
Aug 21, 2004


[Deliverance From the Shame of Isolation]


HEARD [3/17/04]: Disassembled. I will assemble you.

Heb 10:24-25 NKJV
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

paneguris (pan-ay'-goo-ris); from NT:3956 and a derivative of NT:58; a mass-meeting, i.e. (figuratively) universal companionship: KJV - general assembly.

parakaleo (par-ak-al-eh'-o); from NT:3844 and NT:2564; to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): KJV - beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.

QUICKENED QUOTE: [From Joel Olstein]: "Birds travel in flocks, God has called you to be an eagle."

HEARD: Presents. Here's one from the fowler. VISION: I saw a bird with talons drop a broken padlock from the sky, right down at my feet.

Ps 124:7 NKJV
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped.

HEARD: Urgent. Very reluctant. Pow. Just remove my shame. Soften the blow. Asked Him to remove the stumbling blocks. They lost their confidence. Shame. Put them back together again. Confidence, move into place. As I said, the lock is broken.


HEARD: My Beloved bride. I will go with you. I am so ashamed.

VISION: I saw Bobby Conner and he said, "Now hold steady." I saw him shoot the padlock off and then he handed it to me.

HEARD: Relax, I'm not going to hurt you.


HEARD: I am with you, sweet one, always. Overcome shame. One day you will notice it is not there. It's a matter of priority. What man thinks or what I think.


{Words to Ponder are summaries of His quickened Words}

Broken and disassembled, My body is scattered in parts and pieces all over the world. Even in a crowd, they suffer the coldness of isolation. Broken, alone, and separated, the comfort of fellowship has become a rarity. How it grieves My heart to see My loved ones in such disarray!

Although the enemy has tried to plunder My isolated people, I ordered the wilderness seasons to raise My eagles to search for food and trained them to climb higher. Birds fly in flocks and eagles fly alone. This is the way of training leaders. I have raised a generation of leaders, who will nurture the great harvest of newborns. And how they will love their children! The chatter, the activity, the questions, the hungry hearts will be like a balm to My isolated ones who have suffered years of detachment. The shame of those years will melt away within the deep pools of My children's hugs. Lost confidence and joy shall return as I reassemble My body back together again. United in kindred hearts of loving appreciation, I shall remove the stumbling blocks and bring My own into one big family.

Heb 10:24-25 NKJV
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

"Ears 2 Hear" are excerpts from the rhema journals of Sandy Warner. To better understand how God speaks, read Sandy's book, "101+ Ways God Speaks, And How to Hear Him." ~ Website: ~ Email: ~ Permission to forward and/or post at websites is given with this footer included.
Sandy Warner
Aug 20, 2004

How I yearn, along with My beloved children who are chained behind the doors of isolation! My precious ones, I have felt every tear, know every sorrow and experience every longing in your hearts. So MANY are in your shoes.

Rejection, infirmity, shame, pain, fear, weakness, broken hearts, broken families, transition… the list goes on and on. There are so many reasons for the isolation that My people are suffering.

You may feel shut in behind closed doors, but I have placed a window of light before you. Listen to the memory in your heart, I have already given you a way out. I have already pointed towards an opportunity. The stronghold of isolation has fallen, I have broken the locks and it is time for you to put actions to the glimmer of hope before you. Step out, reach out, take that step and move forward. You will find that when you reach out, there are others who are feeling just as you are… lost within a crowd. Touch their life and see the chains of your own isolation melt away.

"...So will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered..." (Ezekial:34:12)

Click here for specific rhema behind this Word to Ponder:;GroupID=EB005Z4Z

Words to Ponder are summaries of prophetic revelation, punched with the word of wisdom and written under inspiration. [Sandy Warner: / website: ] Permission given to forward or post.
From the Rhema Journals of Sandy Warner
Jul 31, 2004


[It is Time For Answers to Prayer]

HEARD [3/11/04]: My house shall be called the house of prayer. We are one, let us begin. Why do we pray?

[Well Lord, I thought we pray to bring Your kingdom on earth]

HEARD: Good answer, what else?

EXPERIENCE: Then I began to hear Him, as well as feeling and experiencing phrases from both His and my own memories. They were so painful that I stopped recording. They were on the subject of travail, Gethsemane and other experiences. Just as I was wondering why I had this painful experience, I heard:]

HEARD: Finished. The time is up, the time is up, the time is up!
VISION: I saw a screw being screwed down with a power driver.

INTERPRETATION: The forerunner intercessors have gone through painful travail and the intercession of waiting is complete and finished. It is now time to be confirmed, established and driven into a sure and strong place.

Isa 22:22-23 KJV
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house.


This above rhema reminded me of a significant revelation the Lord gave to His people in January of this year. I was on my way to church and I heard the Lord say:

HEARD [1/04/04]: Give them what they want!

Upon hearing this, it put the fear of God into me! This can be interpreted ANY way… you shall have what you say… you shall have what you believe, whatever you want, whether good or evil, it shall be given to you! For this reason instead of being overjoyed, I felt the awesome responsibility of such a door being opened.

CONFIRMATION: Later at church, the pastor mentioned that God does not always give us what we want, because we ask amiss and it would not be good for us. (James 4:2,3) He brought out the fact that the Lord granted Hezekiah's request to live and not die, but his son became Israel's most wicked king. His son was not born until after the Lord had extended his life for 15 more years.


HEARD: Before you stands an open door, sweet one. I promised this to you, years ago. The door of yes. Where are we? You will understand when you look them up. It's a new day in every way.

VISION: I saw that I hit the hard page return on my computer keyboard 8 times. This keystroke created 8 new blank pages. This represents a brand new beginning not yet written.


Denny Cline posted a Word on Elijah List that confirmed, "Give them what they want."

(Excerpt of Word)
"Tuesday night the 13th of January, I woke up and decided to worship. As I continued, this Word came to me more clearly than most things I feel or hear from the Lord.

"I am looking at America through the eyes of the church now." When I asked the Lord what this meant, here are the impressions I received:

1. What the church believes for, America will receive. 2. What the church allows is what America will endure. 3. What the church disallows is what will be prevented. 4. The way the church views America is what she will become.


The following (excerpt) went out on Elijah List from Todd Bentley for 2004: "Ask big! I believe that there is a grace on this year to ask God for the impossible! I believe for men and women who dare to dream big and lift your vision higher, God is releasing a special grace for you in 2004."


The following (excerpt) came out on Elijah List from John Paul Jackson on 2/3/04: "…four words leaped off the page at me: "because you have prayed" (verse 21). God was telling Hezekiah that because he had prayed, God would act on Hezekiah's behalf…."

"How does this apply to us, thousands of years later? I am convinced that many Christians live a prayer-less life. It's not because they do not believe God will act - they do. However, they believe God will act without their prayers. Scripture tells us differently: "because you have prayed." An indifferent attitude toward prayer is both inaccurate and costly."


{Words to Ponder are summaries of His quickened Words of prophetic revelation, punched with the word of wisdom and written under inspiration.}

There are promises I made to you years ago. You have faithfully waited for the timing and now the door of promise is open. Trust Me, when I say it's a new day in every way. I know you do not understand this to the degree that I intend. It would simplify matters if you would simply call this door, the door of yes.

Yes, dear one, you are writing history. The pages are blank because it is a new beginning, - yet to be discovered. Do you understand what this means? I have granted a second chance, a clean slate.

The pain of travail and delay is over. You are about to reap the joy of answered prayer like never before. Yes indeed, I do listen and hear you as you pray and I will plant this deeply into your heart and renew your faith. Pray like you have never prayed before. I am offering you a door of Yes, a door that says, "Give them what they want." The ramifications of such a time as this are immense. Think it through and plant your daily prayers wisely.

Josh 10:14 KJV
And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.

"Ears 2 Hear" are excerpts from the rhema journals of Sandy Warner. To better understand how God speaks, read Sandy's book, "101+ Ways God Speaks, And How to Hear Him." ~ Website: ~ Email: ~ Permission to forward and/or post at websites is given with this footer included.

From the Rhema Journals of Sandy Warner
Jul 3, 2004

[We are Kept in His Sovereignty]


HEARD 3/07/04: Over and above all, you need to apply yourselves to faith. Because that's where it begins and that's where it ends.

HEARD: Friendship. Bubble. Come unto Me and we will sup together. Impenetrable shield. It's true, nothing can pass through without My permission.

{Note: Bubble cross references with the post called "Bubble Protection" found at the website, }


{Excerpt quoted from "The Light Wave, pg 54, Book 4}

"… Certain things will produce great "wearings out" in those new ones, for there are certain things that must be worn down. Only when they are worn down will they be advantageous to them: the very battle of this wearing down process, which is of God, is for the reforming and transforming of their beings.

He told me that I must not attribute anything to the power of evil in these things, for all things proceed forth from God - not from some diabolical force, but from Him. In all things pertaining to His elect, nothing proceeds from the devil; all things proceed forth from God Himself and are for the good and the development of His loved ones."

HEARD 8/17/98: Nothing happens without My permission. You just wait, you're going to see some awesome things. Vision.

QUICKENED FINGER: I experienced an involuntary prophetic gesture while laying in bed. I "doubled clicked" (like clicking the mouse on the computer) with my finger directly positioned at my eye. FUNNY!


HEARD 3/11/02: Be not afraid, only believe. I kept you.

HEARD: The angels told me. Preserve. Watch. We abide by your trust. Moving out. Right now.

HEARD: Abide. My daughter. I kept you. From harm. Expedient.

ANOINTED HANDS SCRIPTURE: Jer 39:18 For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.

HEARD (at the store): Keep her. Is she afraid? No, she's just tired.



Ps 91:11 KJV
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep {#8104} thee in all thy ways.

Gen 28:15 KJV
And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep {8104} thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

John 17:12 KJV
While I was with them in the world, I kept {5083} them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost.

Rev 3:10 KJV
Because thou hast kept {5083} the word of my patience, I also will keep {5083} thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

TO KEEP - HEBREW - # 8104 Strong's Concordance Dictionary shamar (shaw-mar'); a primitive root; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.:

KJV - beward, be circumspect, take heed (toself), keep (-erself,), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).

TO KEEP - GREEK- # 5083 Strong's Concordance Dictionary

tereo (tay-reh'-o); from teros (a watch; perhaps akin to NT:2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from NT:5442, which is properly to prevent escaping; and from NT:2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus), i.e. to note (a prophecy; figuratively, to fulfil a command); by implication, to detain (in custody; figuratively, to maintain); by extension, to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively, to keep unmarried).

KJV - hold fast, keep (-er), (pre-, re-) serve, watch.


{Words to Ponder are summaries of His quickened Words}

My love, I know that you are very tired after a very long and arduous journey. So much has been accomplished. I am so proud of you, that in spite of everything that you are not afraid, but have learned to trust Me explicitly even when evil befalls you. For you have learned the secret of My Sovereignty, that nothing touches your life without My permission and only for your good. It is only through My love and longing for you that I allow anything to resist you.

I have also given you angels that keep you in your way. They have specific instructions not to interfere with your will, but they are allowed to intervene that nothing can come against you unless I say so. Every detail of your training is under tedious care and planning, and I have left nothing out. I truly keep you My Love, and you are truly kept in Me. Now abide and rest in My love, for your life has been given to you as a prey. Have courage and rest knowing that in My keeping power nothing is lost except what does not belong to you.

Rom 8:28 KJV
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

"Ears 2 Hear" are excerpts from the rhema journals of Sandy Warner. To better understand how God speaks, read Sandy's book, "101+ Ways God Speaks, And How to Hear Him." ~ Website: ~ Email: ~ Permission to forward and/or post at websites is given with this footer included.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Some Vermonters want to 'Live Free or Die'
Killington wants to lead other Vermont towns in an exit strategy - to
join low-tax New Hampshire. By Sara B. Miller

Ok here are a few changes to ponder:

New York, New Jersey

Boston, Rhode Island

Phildelphia New Jersey

Underneath the competition, sportsmanship ethic prevails Many athletes exude ideals of Games, from embraces in the pool to a fencing timeout. By Mark Sappenfield

"To be sure, the foibles and frustrations of humankind find a forum here just as they do outside the Olympic rings - in everything from judging controversies to judo boycotts. The Games are not a separation from the world, but an amplification of it. Yet no other event holds athletes to such high standards of sportsmanship, and no other event so celebrates the noble and selfless in sport."

I don't expect the NBA, MLB, NFL & NHL players & owners to really learn anything from this.  I think the movie Jerry McGuire captured it best.  Professional sports in America is about the money. The mantra for athletes ( and owners is "Show Me the Money".  But maybe the America fans can start giving a second thought when they shell out the money for their next ticket . The new chant from the stands should be "Show US Why You're Worth It"


The great Olympic beach bash
Buoyed by legions of young fans, beach volleyball is one of the few
events to sell out night after night. By Peter Ford

Bush Promises to Offer Detailed Plans at Convention. Republicans also plan on portraying street demonstrations as Democratic-sanctioned displays of disrespect for a sitting president. By By ADAM NAGOURNEY. [The New York Times > Home Page]

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 - President Bush will present what aides say will be a detailed second-term agenda when he is nominated in New York in 10 days, part of an ambitious convention program built on invocations of Sept. 11 and efforts to paint Senator John Kerry as untrustworthy and out of the mainstream.

Mr. Bush's advisers said they were girding for the most extensive street demonstrations at any political convention since the Democrats nominated Hubert H. Humphrey in Chicago in 1968.

But in contrast to that convention, which was severely undermined by televised displays of street rioting, Republicans said they would seek to turn any disruptions to their advantage, by portraying protests by even independent activists as Democratic-sanctioned displays of disrespect for a sitting president.

And after months in which Mr. Bush stressed issues of concern to conservative supporters - from restrictions on stem cell research to a constitutional amendment to bar gay marriage - the convention will offer its national television audience a decidedly more moderate face for the president and his party.

If "strength" was the leitmotif of the Democratic convention in Boston, "compassion" will be the theme in New York, marking the return of a mainstay of Mr. Bush's 2000 campaign, party leaders said.

Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat from Georgia who has become increasingly estranged from his party, will lead a prime-time televised lineup of speakers as notable for who is not there (conservative Republican leaders) as for who is (Mr. Miller and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the moderate Republican governor of California).

To a large extent, Mr. Bush's aides said, they were orchestrating a convention that would be as much about celebrating the nation and what they portray as its success at weathering the attacks of Sept. 11 as it would be talking about Mr. Bush's tenure.


Chemical may cause muscle disease. Scientists say a defect in a key protein may cause the muscle-wasting disease muscular dystrophy. [BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]

'Tax super-rich at 50%' proposal. Hit the super-rich with a 50% inheritance tax and allow cuts for the middle class, says a leading think tank. [BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]

"Between 1991 and 2001 wealth held by the elite increased from 47% to 56% and a third of Britain's riches are owned by 2% of the population, according to the IPPR"

When you're in a hole, stop registering. College Republicans quit. [the american street]

Boston Globe, August 20, 2004 -- With Senator John F. Kerry enjoying a sizable lead among college students, College Republicans on several liberal campuses in Massachusetts and other states say they will not work with Democrats on voter registration drives this fall because the efforts lock in more youth votes for President Bush's opponent.

Instead, members of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, as well as their fellow Republicans in other Democratic-leaning states, are pursuing their own, more targeted, voter registration drives.

"We faced a dilemma of what organizations to join in terms of voter registration possibilities, and we decided that we could be more effective if we did it ourselves," said Max Buccini, treasurer of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans, a organization with clubs on more than 30 college campuses.

A national poll released in July by the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government found Kerry had built a 20-point lead among college students, with 55 percent of the vote.

The Democratic contender's lead has widened since March when a similar Institute of Politics poll found that 50 percent of students surveyed said they would vote for Kerry while 39 percent would vote for Bush.

At Tufts University, a group of students calling themselves the Tufts 1200 have pledged to register 1,200 new voters before the election.

Conservatives' reluctance to register more college liberals extends beyond Kerry's home state.

At Northwestern University in Illinois, where the College Republicans have 150 members, compared with 900 College Democrats, the Republicans have not considered voter registration as part of their campaign strategy.

"If you aim to increase the number of young conservatives registered, you are not going to do it at an elite university campus."

John Velasco, MIT chairman for Student for Bush, said voter registration will be more effective only when Republicans make the political sacrifice and target all students to register.


Straw to visit Darfur camp. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is to meet Sudanese government leaders to assess the humanitarian crisis. [BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]

kicking the little guy. United Airlines, currently in bankruptcy proceedings, seems to be going ahead with plans to terminate its existing pension plans and replace them with less generous ones as a means of cutting costs to help them come out from under Chapter... [the american street]

If Uniteds Airlines is allowed to replace its pension plans then its top executives should be required to take deep salary cuts.  plk

Ready to Bet on Alternative Energy? Well, Think Again. When oil prices rise, public interest in alternative energy often does, too. But the logic is evidently escaping Wall Street. By By CONRAD DE AENLLE. [The New York Times > Business]
Somali legislators to be sworn-in. Somalia's first parliament for 13 years is expected to be sworn in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Sunday. [BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Effort by Bush on Education Hits Obstacles. Since President Bush signed No Child Left Behind, the law has imposed undeniable changes on public education, but it has also faced a backlash. By By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO. [The New York Times > Home Page]

"Faced with the challenge of raising all students to academic proficiency by 2014, however, some states simply lowered their standards, while many others came up with statistical devices to exclude whole groups of children from the law's umbrella.

Critics contend the law gives schools dozens of ways to fail, but does little to help them tackle the causes of low achievement among poor, minority and disabled children. Others complain that the law's reliance on standardized tests is unsound, that its strict rules conflict with existing state efforts, and that its remedies for struggling schools are largely punitive. As a result, in the two and half years since President Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law, a political backlash has curtailed its reach.

Though the law passed with strong bipartisan support, Democrats, civic groups and teachers' unions complain that federal spending consistently falls short of the amounts authorized when they signed on - an accusation that Republicans reject, saying that spending on the nation's poorest schools has risen by more than 50 percent on Mr. Bush's watch."

Consumer Prices Drop as Industry Output Is Up. Consumer prices dropped in July for the first time in eight months as a sharp run up in gasoline costs reversed, the government said. By By REUTERS. [The New York Times > Business]
Quit the woe, and applaud the 'mo'. Why do they think America lost? I think the jock talkers have it wrong. [the american street]
When Will the Bush Bubble Burst?. Bush's Brain and his braintrust are betting that he can get elected without ever having to come before real voters and certainly never having to come face to face with any protestors. As I've written before, the bubble surrounding Bush... [the american street]
Under God and Under the Radar. Another independent report on the Bush administration uncovers the extent to which the administration has pushed through government support for faith-based programs. You may have missed the broad-ranging public debate about these program changes that g [electablog]
Under God and Under the Radar. Another independent report on the Bush administration uncovers the extent to which the administration has pushed through government support for faith-based programs. You may have missed the broad-ranging public debate about these program changes that g [electablog]
If you or someone you know has ever considered a payday loan to meet a sudden emergency, please read this first.  This summary only recaps approximately 50% of this article, please read the whole article. at: plk

The 'wild, wild west' in loans

August 15, 2004

BY CHERYL L. REED Staff Reporter




When Brenda Spinato's furnace went out on a freezing day in January 2001, she had two choices: Take out a two-week payday loan or borrow from her parents. Spinato was 29 years old and a fiercely independent single mother of three girls. "My pride was a little high," said Spinato as she looked around the immaculate living room of her brick ranch in River Grove. For a quick $1,000 cash loan, Spinato now owes $10,743 -- most of it interest that accumulated for more than three years at 521.43 percent annually. "I feel they waited so long to collect so that they could charge so much in interest," Spinato said.

A payday loan is a short-term loan for a small amount of money, usually $100 to $1,000, from a storefront lender. Borrowers submit a pay stub and a bank statement. The interest charged is an average of 512 percent in Illinois.

Spinato says she got better rates from a neighborhood gang-banger who once loaned her $700 and allowed her to pay it back over time. Street loans with illegal loan sharks in Chicago charge 2 to 5 percent a week, which is 104 to 260 percent annually.  Living paycheck to paycheck, Chicago's working class is stung with interest rates on payday loans ranging from 101 percent to 1,541 percent, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation shows.

Only Illinois and six other states allow payday lenders to charge whatever the market will bear. "We're the largest state that doesn't regulate this industry. It's the wild, wild west here," said Michele Latz, director of Illinois' Division of Financial Institutions, which oversees payday lenders.

The industry has fought the state's attempts to regulate it -- hiring former Gov. James R. Thompson to challenge the state's authority before the Illinois Supreme Court last year.  Even Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow had to recuse herself; she owns an interest in currency exchanges where some payday loans are issued.  But Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants payday loan rates capped at 36 percent -- which payday lenders argue would drive them out of business in Illinois. "It's going to continue to be a battle, but at the end of the day, we're going to win," Madigan insists.

To recoup their high interest, payday lenders use the municipal courts as the ultimate bill collector.  They can pass judgments and garnishee wages.  Despite thousands of court judgments against defaulting borrowers, Illinois' payday loan industry contends large interest cases, such as Spinato's, are rare.

But the Sun-Times found dozens of big-dollar cases similar to Spinato's, including one in which a 61-year-old Chicago woman took out two $600 loans in 2000 from 10 Minute Payday Loans.  With 573.57 percent interest accruing over 18 months, the woman's final bill came to $11,789.  That case, says Bob Wolfberg, president of the Illinois Small Loan Association, should never have happened.  "The president of the company was shocked," Wolfberg said.   As a result of the Sun-Times inquiry into the case, the attorney who pursued such high interest has been fired, Wolfberg said. 


They are short-term loans for small amounts," Wolfberg said.  "A payday loan is similar to using a taxi cab -- good for a short trip across town but not intended to take you to Orlando."  Most payday loans are paid back on time, says Wolfberg.  They serve a vital need for people requiring emergency cash before payday.

The payday lenders say they have to charge hefty finance fees to turn a profit.  Conventional banks have shied away from such low-dollar, short-term loans because their administrative costs make them unprofitable.  While some payday loan stores stop charging interest after the due date -- usually two weeks to 31 days -- Wolfberg's association is adamantly opposed to any law that would cap interest and limit loan amounts.

Another payday lender association favors restrictive laws.  "We believe a payday loan should be a good loan on the front end," said Tony Colletti, spokesman for the Consumer Financial Services Association, which has been working with community groups to draft a law.  "You should not try to make your money on the collection side through triple damages or attorneys fees or interest building up."

Despite opposition to the payday industry that included an influential Catholic priest, legislation to regulate the industry has only met defeat.  "I don't have enough fingers or toes to give you all the lobbyists, but it's a $2.4 billion industry," says state Sen.  Schoenberg plans this fall to introduce -- for the third time -- a bill that would curb what he sees as predatory practices.  "Payday loans exploit people's financial vulnerability and suck them deeper into a whirlpool of debt that they cannot extricate themselves from," Schoenberg said.

At least one Chicago municipal judge has ruled that payday loan interest is "unconscionable" and "obscene."  He's ordered the court not to enforce the accrued interest.  "Only Tony Soprano gets interest rates like that," Judge Wayne Rhine said in court.  Four years after his decision, Rhine remains adamant: "These payday loan folks are predator loan people," he told the Sun-Times.

"You have to be very very desperate to go to them -- so desperate that you'll sign anything to get the money.  Usually it's someone who is facing perhaps an eviction, a medical bill or an emergency where the need for cash is urgent and they have no other place to turn."

Such was the case for Amy Peters, who in December 2000 took out a loan for $300 after she had an emergency appendectomy and had missed work as an office temp.  Peters was overwhelmed with hospital bills, and her check to E Z Payday Loan in Crystal Lake bounced.  Three months later, the store sued her, charging three times the amount of the check -- which is allowed by law -- plus attorney fees.  "It's like they are legalized loan sharks," said Peters, a 27-year-old single mother who lives in Wonder Lake.  "It was the worst mistake of my life."

Mark Maksymowicz, a 39-year-old father of three girls, says his ability to pay back two $600 loans at 1,541.11 percent interest was complicated by his wife Wendy's illness.  She died of a brain tumor last November.  "I was missing work left and right," he said.  He contends he made payments but they were never credited to his account.
The Payday Loan Store is suing Maksymowicz for $2,010.

Despite the industry's claims, Judge Rhine says payday loans have a high default rate.  He and other Chicago municipal judges typically knock off interest over 100 percent. With an annual caseload of 66,000 cases, some payday cases get by, like Spinato's, which came before Rhine in May. "That one must have snuck past me," Rhine said with regret.  "The interest should have been knocked off.  If I had been aware of it, it would not have gotten through."  In July, she filed for bankruptcy court protection from creditors to save her house. She now has to work out a repayment schedule with the loan store.

Spinato insists she tried to pay back the loan after her check bounced in 2001, but she was told she would hear from the store's attorney.  Over the years, Spinato admits she received numerous phone calls from collectors, but in each case, she says, they demanded payment in full, which kept going up because the interest kept accruing.

Michael Greene, the bill collector in charge of Spinato's case, details a different scenario. He says Spinato's collection file shows that she agreed numerous times to repayment plans she didn't fulfill.  "But she never kept her word on at least six conversations with my agency.  He added: "I don't think payday loans are lily white either.

Rochelle, a 40-year-old legal secretary who lives in Glen Ellyn, compared her payday loan to a "death sentence."
"It's like you have to cut off your right leg.  They'll stop at nothing," said the mother of two teenagers.  Just before Thanksgiving in 2000, Rochelle took out an installment loan from a Payday Loan Corp. store in downtown Chicago.
Rochelle made two payments and then she says she lost her job.  This spring, Payday Loan Corp. took Rochelle to court. 
The judge ordered her to pay $3,477, most of it interest, and garnisheed her wages.

Even when the interest stops after six months -- as some contracts stipulate -- the amount can clobber those who live paycheck to paycheck, as most payday clients do.

Edina, a 26-year-old customer service representative and mother of one, became stretched with bills in 2002.
She took out six loans from several Americash stores totaling $1,500.  "I kept trying to pay off a little at a time, and they aren't interested in you paying anything unless you pay the whole amount."  After six months, the interest had accrued to $3,954.   Americash -- the most aggressive pursuer of defaulted loans in Chicago -- took Edina to court and was awarded a judgment of $6,029.  Paying 15 percent of each paycheck, it will take her a year and a half to pay off the judgment.

Half of all bankruptcies involve payday loans, claims bankruptcy attorney Melvin Kaplan.  "Payday loan stores aren't interested in working out payment plans," he said.

Since 1995, Chicago mail handler John Gray has filed for bankruptcy protection three times after falling behind in payday loans.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

If you care about the environment and its impact on your health you might be interested in the following excerpt from the Lou Dobbs tonight program, aired August 4, 2004 - 18:00   ET.  The topic is Robert F. Kennedy Jr's book Crimes Against Nature.  Read an excerpt from the book at

CNN Anchor Kitty Pilgrim filled in for Lou Dobbs. 




PILGRIM: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has written a new book lambasting the Bush White House. It accuses the administration of jeopardizing our health, national security and democracy all for greed.

The new book is called "Crimes Against Nature: How George Bush and His Corporate Pals are Plundering the Country and Hijacking our Democracy." Robert Kennedy is one of the nation's most prominent environmental advocates and he joins me now. Thanks very much for joining us.


PILGRIM: These are very harsh words and yet you maintain that this is not a political book.

KENNEDY: I've been disciplined over 20 years as an environmental advocate about being nonpartisan and bipartisan. I don't believe that there's such thing as Republican or Democratic children. I've supported both Republican and Democratic candidates with strong environmental records.

But in this case, we have never seen anything like this in our history, where we have a concerted, disciplined assault on 30 years of environmental legislation that threatens now to dismantle, to eviscerate all of our federal environmental laws.

It's a stealth attack that's not being covered by the media. It's deliberately a stealth attack because the President has seen the poll numbers. His own pollster warned him that this radical agenda would be unpopular, not only in the Democratic Party but equally so within the rank and file of the Republican Party.

The White House has put the polluters in charge of virtually all the government agencies that are supposed to enforce our environmental loss.

PILGRIM: By polluters you mean people who have previously worked for corporations?

KENNEDY: Well, look, the second-in-command of the EPA is a Monsanto lobbyist. The head of the Forest Service is a timber industry lobbyist. The head of Public Lands is a mining industry lobbyist. The head of the Air Division at EPA is a utility lobbyist who has done nothing but represent polluters for his entire career.

These are people who did not enter government service for the public interest. They are at work dismantling and subverting the very laws that they are charged now with enforcing.

PILGRIM: So, do you think people who worked in these industries should be precluded from working in government in these areas?

KENNEDY: No, of course not. I don't think that there's anything wrong with having people who work for corporations be in power. But if the corporations are actually dictating our federal policy -- which is happening with this administration -- I'll give you an example with mercury.

In the state of Connecticut it's now unsafe to eat any fresh water fish in the state. The same is true in 17 other states. That mercury is coming from 1100 power plants primarily that are discharging it illegally.

The Clinton administration proposed a regulation that would force them to clean up within 3.5 years. It would have cost them -- we can do it easily -- it costs less than 1 percent of the revenues to the plants. But this is an industry that gave $100 million to the Bush administration, and six weeks ago the Bush administration announced that it was abandoning those regulations and adopting, instead, regulations that would require them never to clean up.

The new regulations were written by Latham & Watkins, a law firm for the utilities that were being prosecuted for breaking the law. The head of the chief lobbyists of that law firm is now the head of the Air Division at EPA.

PILGRIM: It's a compelling argument and you make it well. But isn't it incumbent on Congress to pass a legislation when it's proposed? It seems to have lagged in Congress.

KENNEDY: No. We have strong laws on the books. We have very good regulations and very good laws in this country to protect the environment. But those laws are being subverted. The enforcement has virtually stopped throughout the administration because the enforcement divisions have been de-funded. So, there's no money to enforce these laws. Then the people who are supposed to be enforcing the laws are the polluters from the companies that are being prosecuted.

And so, you've basically got a situation where we have very strong laws but the whole government is ignoring them and allowing criminals to flourish in our marketplace when we should be prosecuting them.

PILGRIM: You made this a lifetime...

KENNEDY: It's like if you put a bank robber the head of the SEC and who said, "I'm going to turn my back on all bank robbers." That's what's happening. And it's laughable but it actually is happening throughout all these agencies, and, you know, I give hundreds and hundreds of examples of this in the book.

PILGRIM: And it's a great book, and it's very compelling. And it is disturbing that some of our environmental issues are languishing and particularly in a campaign year, where distraction is being made over other issues. Great debate over homeland security; great debate over jobs.

Are environmental issues going by the wayside in this campaign year? Are you disturbed with the lack of focus?

KENNEDY: Yes. But this is always a challenge for the environmental movement. Americans care deeply about the environment, both Republicans and Democrats. There's almost no difference in the poll...

PILGRIM: It should be above politics.

KENNEDY: That's right. It should be above politics. And it's very bad for the environment to become the province of a single political party.

The problem is that you have an administration that is deliberately mounting a stealth attack and, you know its own pollster advised them: Frank Luntz advised the President in 2002, "We have to hide this from the American public because it's a radical agenda that is going to be offensive to people within our own party."

Plus you have a media that has been negligent about covering these issues. And actually Paul Krugman did a wonderful article this weekend for "The Sunday Times" in which he showed that the media is covering the fist fight but they're not -- the political fist fight, but there's almost no coverage of the actual positions of the candidates or the outcomes of many of these policies that have been promoted by the Bush administration.

PILGRIM: Well, hopefully through this segment and through your efforts we can draw more detail to this debate. Thank you very much for joining us.

KENNEDY: Thanks for having me.

Sunday, August 8, 2004

 From  GetReligion -

antiquarian_booksPeter Steinfels asked several scholars a bold, even-handed question for his Beliefs column in Saturday's New York Times: Which one book would you recommend to President Bush and Sen. John Kerry? (Beret tip: Philocrites.) Here are two of the better-aimed pinpricks:

Stephen L. Carter, professor of law at Yale Law School, recommended that Mr. Kerry read Mark DeWolfe Howe's "The Garden and the Wilderness" (out of print), which he called a "flawed but still important book" that might correct the senator's "misconception of the separation of church and state as designed to protect the weak, trembling, helpless government apparatus from the powerful and terrifying power of religion.'' Professor Carter added, "This error of history and analysis would have silenced, to pick a name at random, Martin Luther King Jr." For the president's understanding of "the historical background and vast complexity of the difficult conflicts between religion and state," Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, recommended "the great case book" by John T. Noonan Jr. and Edward McGlynn Gaffney Jr., titled "Religious Freedom: History, Cases, and Other Material on the Interactions of Religion and Government" (West, 2001). Professor Sarna especially commended Judge Noonan's "Ten Commandments on Religious Freedom in America."

My recommendations are decidedly less scholastic. For Bush: Spiritual Perspectives on America's Role as Superpower by the editors of SkyLight Paths (2003). For Kerry: Between Heaven & Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley by Peter Kreeft (InterVarsity, 1982). Other ideas are welcome here. Any suggestions for Ralph Nader? (7/26/2004 4:28:31 PM) --  

My recommendations to both candidates would be:

Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness by Charles R Swindoll


Divided We Fall: Gambling with History in the Nineties by Haynes Johnson

From the Pulbisher: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Haynes Johnson traveled the country interviewing Americans about their hopes and fears. Freely opening up to him, people spoke of their concerns - about jobs, crime, race, schools and services, values and leadership, and what lies ahead for the next generation. The problems that faced us when he wrote Divided We Fall are even more pressing today. Here is an unforgettable portrait of a people at a pivotal historical moment: disconnected from their government, yearning for change but acutely aware of the hard choices facing us as we prepare for the twenty-first century.;isbn=0393036294&itm=10

If you could recommend one book to President Bush and Senator Kerry what would it be?  (Assume that they both already read the bible of their faith).  I'd love to hear your thoughts.