Wednesday, November 01, 2006

October 31 -- afternoon / evening posts

Here are Kendall's four posts from yesterday afternoon / evening.

Is Halloween the New Christmas?

October 31st, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:06 pm

Halloween is no longer just about costumes and candy.

It’s now the second-biggest decorating holiday of the year — right behind Christmas.

For Tony Bianchi, that means October is by far the busiest month of the year.

The co-owner of Halloween Adventure, a chain of Halloween superstores, hired an additional 65 workers at his flagship store in downtown New York City to handle the increase in Halloween sales.

Why the growing popularity? Bianchi says for one, it’s all about you.

“Mother’s Day, you’re giving gifts. Christmas, you’re giving gifts. Here, you’re giving gifts to yourself,” he said.

His shoppers seem to agree.

One told ABC’s David Muir, “I’m pretty intense when it comes to Halloween. … It’s just my favorite holiday.”

Bianchi’s been in the Halloween business for 20 years, operating three permanent stores.

Every year, he also opens satellite stores — this year, 100 of them.

Read it all.

In Ohio, Democrats Show a Religious Side to Voters

October 31st, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:17 pm

Representative Ted Strickland, an Ohio Democrat and former Methodist minister, opened his campaign for governor with a commercial on Christian radio vowing that “biblical principles” would guide him in office.

In his first major campaign speech, Mr. Strickland said “the example of Jesus” had led him into public service. He has made words from the prophet Micah a touchstone of his campaign.

Ohio, where a groundswell of conservative Christian support helped push President Bush to re-election two years ago, has become the leading edge of national Democratic efforts to win over religious voters, including evangelicals.

Explaining his hope to win conservative Christian votes, Mr. Strickland said, “I try to make a distinction between the religious right — people who have a conservative theological perspective — and the political religious right, who seem to have as their primary motivation political influence.”

Polls show a notable decline since 2004 in support for Republicans among white evangelical Christians, who make up about a quarter of the electorate. The slip in Ohio has been especially steep. In 2004, 76 percent of white evangelical Christians in Ohio voted for Mr. Bush over the Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry. But in a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, 53 percent of the same voters approved of the president’s performance, and 42 percent disapproved.

Democrats, meanwhile, have stepped up efforts to lure religious voters in states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. But Mr. Strickland has capitalized more than anyone else on evangelical disaffection from the Republicans, helping to give him a lead of more than 20 percentage points in the race.

Mr. Strickland faces a Republican opponent, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who speaks just as openly about his evangelical faith, staunchly opposes abortion rights and same-sex unions and carries the endorsement of several nationally known Christian conservatives. But in a recent Quinnipiac University poll, Mr. Blackwell led Mr. Strickland among white evangelical voters by only three percentage points, which is within the margin of error.

Read it all.

Abstinence message goes beyond teens

October 31st, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:04 pm

The federal government’s “no sex without marriage” message isn’t just for kids anymore.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it’s a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.

“They’ve stepped over the line of common sense,” said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. “To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It’s an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health.”

Abstinence education programs, which have focused on preteens and teens, teach that abstaining from sex is the only effective or acceptable method to prevent pregnancy or disease. They give no instruction on birth control or safe sex.

The National Center for Health Statistics says well over 90% of adults ages 20-29 have had sexual intercourse.

But Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the revision is aimed at 19- to 29-year-olds because more unmarried women in that age group are having children.

Government data released last month show that 998,262 births in 2004 were to unmarried women 19-29, the ages with the most births to unmarried women.

“The message is ‘It’s better to wait until you’re married to bear or father children,’ ” Horn said. “The only 100% effective way of getting there is abstinence.”

Read it all.

An Announcement from the Diocese of Albany

October 31st, 2006 posted by kendall at 1:53 pm

At the meeting of the Standing Committee today (Oct 30) Bishop Dan Herzog and Bishop Dave Bena advised the members that they each intend to retire in early 2007.

“We have both prayerfully considered what God’s will is, and believe that this is the right time to pass on the apostolic ministry.

We have discussed this with Bishop William Love, the Coadjutor of the Diocese, and he is ready to assume leadership as Ninth Bishop of Albany. By the time we retire on January 31, over ten months will have elapsed since his election.

Bishop Bill was for some time a member of the Standing Committee and the Diocesan Council and therefore well acquainted with the vision and operations of the diocese. Since March he has been able to participate in many meetings, ministries and events along side us. He is an able leader, committed to Christ and His kingdom.

Each of us has been especially blessed by having a supportive and prayerful wife. Carol Herzog and MaryEllen Bena have sacrificed time and companionship so we could carry out this ministry. Words are inadequate to express our gratitude.

Both of us have been blessed to labor together in this portion of the Lord’s vineyard. We have been particularly blessed by our fellow disciples, both lay and ordained. Both of us are deeply grateful for the help of so many as we endeavored to carry our episcopal ministry across this vast diocese.

In Christ Jesus,

+ Bishop Dan Herzog + Bishop Dave Bena


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