February 14th, 2012
USA Today / By Cathy Lynn Grossman
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel today called on Mitt Romney to tell the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stop doing proxy baptisms in the names of dead Jews, including Holocaust victims such as Wiesel's parents.
It's not known whether Romney, a former Mormon bishop and still an active believer, baptized any late Jewish people when he participated in the LDS church's practice.
The Republican presidential candidate's not saying and neither is the LDS Church, according to Huffington Post where Andrea Stone is tracking the story.
"I think it's scandalous. Not only objectionable, it's scandalous," Wiesel told Stone, who notes:
Previous discoveries of proxy baptisms of Jews over the past 18 years have outraged Jewish leaders. Such baptisms are especially problematic since so many Jewish people over the centuries had been forced to convert to Christianity against their will and murdered or expelled from countries when they did not.
Romney is already on record that when he was a bishop in the church in Boston, he participated in this practice.
Jonathan Darman, now of The Daily Beast, and Lisa Miller interviewed Romney for Newsweek in October 2007. They wrote:
When asked by NEWSWEEK if he has done baptisms for the dead -- in which Mormons find the names of dead people of all faiths and baptize them, as an LDS spokesperson says, to "open the door" to the highest heaven-- he looked slightly startled and answered, "I have in my life, but I haven't recently."
On the New England Cable News Oct. 10, 2007 he was asked again about baptisms for the Dead and this time he ducked.He reiterated that he participated fully in his Church but ducks the question on whether one practice permitted by the church, but required, is baptizing dead people.
Stone reported that:
...formerly-Mormon researcher, Helen Radkey, some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had submitted Wiesel's name to a restricted genealogy website as "ready" for posthumous proxy baptism. Radkey found that the name of Wiesel had been submitted to the database for the deceased, from which a separate process for proxy baptism could be initiated. Radkey also said that the names of Wiesel's deceased father and maternal grandfather had been submitted to the site.
...Wiesel was among a group of Jewish leaders who campaigned against the practice and prompted a 2010 pact by which the Mormon Church promised to at least prevent proxy baptism requests for Holocaust victims. Wiesel said that proxy baptisms have been performed on behalf of 650,000 Holocaust dead.
According to Mormon theology, baptism is essential for salvation and the practice of baptizing the dead merely offers that option to that person, it doesn't make them Mormon or members of the church. ..
The LDS Church website also says,
...Some have misunderstood that when baptisms for the dead are performed the names of deceased persons are being added to the membership records of the Church. This is not the case.
Huffington Post offered the option of a reply to the Romney campaign but all that came back, Stone writes, is an errant email from someone suggesting they ignore this.
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February 14th, 2012
John Locke Foundation
By Sara Burrows
RAEFORD — A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
The girl’s mother — who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation — said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.
“I don't feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.
The girl’s grandmother, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Carolina Journal that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old who eats white whole wheat bread and is not big on vegetables.
“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told CJ. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”
When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.
“She came home with her whole sandwich I had packed, because she chose to eat the nuggets on the lunch tray, because they put it in front of her,” her mother said. “You’re telling a 4-year-old. ‘oh. you’re lunch isn’t right,’ and she’s thinking there’s something wrong with her food.”
While the mother and grandmother thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable were what disqualified the lunch, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child Development said that should not have been a problem.
“With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy,” said Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division. “It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standard.” The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said.
There are no clear restrictions about what additional items — like potato chips — can be included in preschoolers’ lunch boxes.
“If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the child care provider is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for the child,” Kozlowski said.
Ultimately, the child care provider can’t take the Coke and Twinkie away from the child, but Kozlowski said she “would think the Pre-K provider would talk with the parent about that not being a healthy choice for their child.”
It is unclear whether the school was allowed to charge for the cafeteria lunches they gave to every preschooler in the class that day.
The state regulation reads:
“Sites must provide breakfast and/or snacks and lunch meeting USDA requirements during the regular school day. The partial/full cost of meals may be charged when families do not qualify for free/reduced price meals.
“When children bring their own food for meals and snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements.”
Still, Kozlowski said, the parents shouldn’t have been charged.
“The school may have interpreted [the rule] to mean they felt like the lunch wasn’t meeting the nutritional requirements and so they wanted the child to have the school lunch and then charged the parent,” she said. “It sounds like maybe a technical assistance need for that school.”
The school principal, Jackie Samuels, said he didn’t “know anything about” parents being charged for the meals that day. “I know they eat in the cafeteria. Whether they pay or not, they eat in the cafeteria.”
Pridgen’s office is looking into the issue.
More from the Carolina Journal Online
Sara Burrows is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.
February 14th, 2012
February 14th, 2012
By Kate Hodal
An Iranian man has blown off his own legs and wounded at least four other people in grenade attacks in Bangkok, according to the police.
It remains unclear what the man's targets were, but the blasts come just a day after two bomb attacks aimed at Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia.
Israel on Monday blamed Iran for the bombings in India and Georgia, a claim denounced in Tehran as "sheer lies".
Thai security forces found more explosives in the suspect's rented house in the capital, said Police General Pansiri Prapawat.
Police said the explosions happened on Soi Sukhumvit 71, a street running off a busy road that bisects the capital.
A photo posted on Twitter showed a wounded man lying on a pavement outside a school, his legs apparently blown off by an explosion. The pavement was strewn with broken glass.
Several Thai television stations reported that the man had been carrying explosives. They said an identification card found in a nearby satchel indicated he may have been of Iranian descent.
The Thai-Asean News network said police had identified the man as Sayed Murabi, an Iranian thought to have set off a bomb at his own house and then hailed a taxi.
When the driver refused to pick him up, Murabi reportedly threw a grenade at the car. Police then pursued him before he tried to throw another grenade at them, but failed and blew off his own legs.
The first explosion took place at about 2.20pm local time (7.20am GMT) at a house in the Ekamai area in central Bangkok, which three Iranians reportedly rented.
Police fear there may be more bombs in the area and have closed the street to traffic.
Doctors at Chulalongkorn hospital confirmed a man had been admitted as a patient but did not disclose his name or nationality.
Doctors said the patient's right leg had been blown off above the knee, and his left leg was so badly damaged it had had to be amputated above the knee.
Local media reported the police as saying one of the bomber's legs had been blown into a nearby school.
Reports also said security was being boosted at the hospital, with police unsure whether or not to classify the man as a terrorist.
In Jerusalem, the Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said there was not yet any sign that any targets in Bangkok were Israeli or Jewish.
Israeli police have increased the state of alert in the country, with the emphasis on public places, foreign embassies and offices, as well as Ben-Gurion international airport.
Related from the Guardian
February 14th, 2012
A longtime high school football coach in Maine has resigned after one of the more embarrassing and bizarre social media snafus in recent memory (if not of all time) when he accidentally posted a nude photo of himself on Facebook. The lewd photo was viewable by the general public and was recognized by a parent of a player on his football team, leading to the coach's self-imposed departure.
As reported by the Bangor Daily News, Associated Press and a handful of other Maine media outlets, South Paris (Me.) Oxford Hills Comprehensive High football coach Paul Withee tendered his resignation as both a football coach and math and science teacher in the Oxford Hills School District on Monday, days after he inadvertently sparked a major scandal by accidentally posting a completely nude photo of himself on his publicly viewable Facebook page.
Withee allegedly claims the racy photos were only intended for his girlfriend, but the coach -- who has led Oxford Hills' program since the 2009-10 school year -- posted them to his general Facebook profile instead.
While Withee has refused public comment on the incident, Oxford Hills Superintendent Rick Colpitts told Portland ABC affiliate WMTW that the photo was only online for approximately 10 minutes before it was removed. Despite that brief air time, Withee's rather bare photo was seen by a football parent, who immediately reported the incident. It has not been divulged whether Withee removed the photo of his own accord or whether he was told that the shot could be seen by his entire Facebook network and then took it down.
Either way, the brief nude incident raised flags for the Oxford Hills School District because of a general policy stance that allows for teachers to be friends with students on Facebook. That means that students could have possibly seen Withee's nude photo in their own timeline, even if there is no indication that any did.
That concern of exposure to Oxford Hills students motivated the school district to open its own investigation into the incident, though WMTW reported that investigation had since been closed because of Withee's resignation.
While there are any number of common sense lessons that Withee's former students can take from their teacher and coach's fall (never post naked photos of yourself anywhere on the internet chief among them), the need for strong privacy settings on social media sites is certainly likely to sink in at this point. If that does, perhaps Withee's departure won't be for naught, even if it has brought on one of the strangest justifications for a coach's departure in recent memory.
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