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So, I have not written in this blog in quite a while. My first blog post is going to be about cruelty to animals and particularly, chickens.

I have not eaten meat now in about a year; I have decided to become a vegetarian because far too often animals are treated cruel. Below is information that I took off of the website of a website that is hosted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

* The roughly 1 billion chickens killed each year for KFC's buckets are crammed by the tens of thousands into excrement-filled sheds that stink of ammonia fumes.
* The birds’ legs and wings often break because they’re bred to be too top-heavy and because workers carelessly shove them into transport crates and shackles.
* Chickens’ throats are slit and the animals are dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water to remove their feathers, often while they are still conscious and able to feel pain.
* KFC lets frustrated factory-farm and slaughterhouse workers handle live birds, so many of the animals end up being sadistically abused. At a KFC “Supplier of the Year” slaughterhouse in West Virginia, workers were documented tearing the heads off live birds, spitting tobacco into their eyes, spray-painting their faces, and violently stomping on them. This was discovered more than two years after KFC promised PETA that it was taking animal welfare seriously.
* KFC hides behind its Animal Welfare Advisory Council, even though five members of the council have resigned in frustration. One of them, Adele Douglass, told the Chicago Tribune that KFC “never had any meetings. They never asked any advice, and then they touted to the press that they had this animal-welfare advisory committee. I felt like I was being used.”

How KFC Can Clean Up Its Act

PETA wants KFC to adopt the animal welfare program developed by five members of its own animal welfare board. These advisors are the world’s top poultry experts; they advise the meat industry in North America and Europe and believe that KFC can—and should—adopt them. KFC has yet to do any of the following:

* Adopt the “Animal Care Standards” program. This would lower the amount of ammonia in the air in factory farms, improve the living spaces and lighting in chicken sheds, prohibit the intentional starving of breeding birds, and ensure that birds are provided with mental and physical stimulation.
* Switch to controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK). This would prevent live birds in slaughterhouses from being abused by workers, having their throats slit, or being scalded while they were still conscious. CAK would also improve conditions for workers and decrease contamination levels in chickens’ flesh.
* Switch to mechanized chicken gathering. This would drastically reduce the number of broken bones and painful bruising that birds endure when factory-farm workers carelessly throw them into transport crates.
* Breed for health rather than rapid growth, and stop feeding drugs to chickens. This would reduce the rate at which birds suffer painful, crippling diseases and injuries, such as broken legs, heart attacks, and lung failures.
* Make all welfare standards transparent and verifiable. This would simply ensure that the animal welfare program is being adhered to through announced and unannounced independent audits (the results of which must be made available to the public through KFC’s Web site).
Bye, bye, Foxx...

I have said it repeatedly that I am not anti-Obama; I am pro-Hillary. I will stand with HRC as long as she is in the running. It is my solemn belief that she is the best candidate that we have in the this race to lead our Country. She has passion, she has real plans that can possibly work and she has some great experience.

With that said, I want to make it clear, without equivocation, that I will NOT support John McCain if HRC does not win my party's nomination. If I had to choose between Barack Obama and John McCain, hands down, Obama. I do not trust McCain as far as I could throw him. He would give this country much as we have gotten under President Bush. There does not seem to be any real scrutiny of this man. It would be tragic, in one Red Letter Youth Pastor's Opinion, to have John McCain as our President. McCain is just too much for me. His Justice Department would be a mirror image of the Bush Justice Department. They would continue to roll back the clock on civil rights, women's rights, and privacy. They will continue to practice intimidation.

Won't the real McCain, please stand up:

Everyone can have an opinion based not on facts but on silly "feelings" that are had. I think that Hillary Clinton is the absolute best choice for this nation. She has a proven record of compassion, strength and ability. Hillary Clinton is right for this country!

This is the Hillary that so many people who know her knows:

Barack Obama is a fine enough gentleman. I have no beef with him. However, I think that it is vitally important that the media gets his record out there with the same tenacity that they get Hillary's record out there. Watch this clip and tell me what you think?

I am gonna tell you what, besides kids of my own I am not sure if I can love anyone's kids the way that I love my nieces and nephews. I must say, too, that my youngest nephew, Ian, has especially gotten my heart; he is so great. On Mother's Day I got the rare privilege to hang with him and his big sister and parents. We had such a great time. I, of course, took so many pictures and videos. I want to share them with you here. It really does make me desirous to hurry the day when Kelly and I have kids of our own.

Today also brought with it a victory for the HRC campaign. I am happy that she did so well in West Virginia. Of course, the mainstream media would lead you to believe that this race is effectively over and they are now calling BHO the "presumptive nominee" for the Democratic Party. Well, let me tell you, they had better not count our HRC just yet. They had better not sleep on her, nor her supporters. I think that it is very important for our party to take a long hard look at the candidate who is going to me most able to capture victory for us in the fall as well as who has the best plan for this nation. When the DNC and the super delegates do these things it is going to be very clear who is the winner!

I find it interesting that so many have counted her out of this race and BHO has all but declared victory. It would behoove the DNC-RBC to come up with a plan for the Michiganders and the Floridians that does not alienate them in the fall; if their delegates are not sat and if the votes don't count I am not sure it it will much matter is the nominee come June; we stand the chance of losing because we will have alienate millions of voters in those two states. It is the most asinine thing that I have heard to suggest that the people of Florida and Michigan's votes for the Democratic Presidential Nominee should not count. I can tell you right now that if I cast my vote and it did not count that I would be livid and would certainly not bother to give them my vote in November when it did not count in the Primary. So, to all of the Obama-ites and Obama-cans (Republicans who are supporting Obama; they do exist...believe it or not...) I would advise against counting those proverbial chickens before they are hatched.
Last night was mixed for me. I must say that I was extremely disappointed that Hillary did not do better than she did here in NC. I can tell you this, it was not for a lack of trying on her part or on the part of her supporters. I was happy to hear (finally...) that she won Indiana. I do hope that she stays in this race; she really is the best bet that we have to defeat McCain and that Republican attack machine. Hillary, you keep going as long as is necessary!

Unfortunately, the guy who I supported for Lt. Governor, Walter Dellinger, lost to Walter Dalton...but not by much. Alas, a loss is a loss...yeah?

On a lighter note, so many of the others who I support won decisive victories last night. For instance, on the local level Bernadette won the at-large commissioner seat. Glenn Gerding did not win the top seat but he made the cut to be one of two in November. Then we have the vicotories by Bev Perdue, Kay Hagan, Beth Wood, Wayne Goodwin, June Atkinson, and Janet Cowell .

My newest favorite Republican also had an outrageous victory against Republican status quo, Augustus Cho. I am so happy for this defeat. William "BJ" Lawson, is going to go against David Price in November and I think that it is time for change there and BJ is the guy to bring it. He is principled, intelligent and willing to stand alone, if need be. Congratulations, BJ!

Hillary Clinton has a long history of fighting for our veterans and will work to ensure our country fulfills its obligations to those who have served and sacrificed for the nation.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hillary has championed legislation to improve the lives of our veterans and their families. She worked to provide access to TRICARE for National Guard and Reserve members. She authored the Heroes at Home Act that will begin to help service members struggling with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. She worked with others in the Senate to pass legislation to increase the military survivor benefit from $12,000 to $100,000.

As president, she will honor three fundamental commitments: First, every member of our armed forces will receive a fair shot at the American dream when their service is over. Second, every veteran in America will have health care. Third, every veteran will receive the benefits they have earned and the assistance they need - right from the start.

Enact a GI Bill of Rights for the Twenty-First Century. Hillary will enact a GI Bill of Rights for the 21st century that will resurrect the spirit of the original 1944 GI Bill and offer service members, veterans and their families with expanded education, housing and entrepreneurial benefits. Her plan will guarantee equal access for all components of the Armed Forces - Active, Guard and Reserve - that have deployed overseas in support of a combat operation since September 11 or served two years of active duty since September 11. She will fund undergraduate education for service members, as well as education for specialized trade or technical training, and certification and licensing programs. She will expand the VA Home Loan Guaranty program to allow veterans to use low-interest, no-fee loans to purchase, build or improve a home valued up to $625,000. She will establish a Veterans Microloan Program to provide veterans with no-collateral, low-interest microloans of up to $100,000 for entrepreneurial ventures.

Provide Affordable and Quality Health Care for All Veterans. As President, Hillary will ensure that all of the 1.8 million uninsured veterans in this country have access to quality, affordable health care. She will restore the Clinton-era policy that opened the VA’s excellent and cost-effective health care system to all veterans who seek to enroll. She will make a long-term commitment to the VA system to ensure it is adequately funded and has the capacity to avoid backlogs and to handle greater enrollments. And she will provide coverage through the American Health Choices Plan to all veterans who choose not to use the VA system.

Ensure All Veterans Receive the Benefits They Have Earned and the Assistance They Need -- Right from the Start. As President, Hillary will commit to getting a fair, accurate, and timely decision for every veteran filing a disability claim. She will increase the number of qualified VA evaluators to reduce the backlog of claims. She will provide fast-track training for new claims specialists and expand the Benefits at Discharge Program to smooth the transition from service to discharge for all those who serve our country.

Extend Hiring Preferences to Veterans-friendly Contractors. Today, there are between 7.2 and 7.6 million federal contractors, 2 million more than there were five years ago. The privatization of government by the Bush administration has meant veterans are losing job opportunities, because contractors do not necessarily have the same hiring policies as the federal government. Hillary will cut the number of contractors working for the federal government by 500,000 over the next 10 years, saving $10 to $18 billion a year. And she will restore and expand job opportunities for veterans by working to establish a system through which federal contractors afford veterans hiring preference comparable to the federal government’s.

Expand the Helmets to Hardhats Program. Hillary will increase funding for the Helmets to Hardhats program. This program links veterans with local job opportunities in the construction and trade industries by offering apprenticeship programs that teach veterans through on-the-job training supplemented by classroom instruction.

Give Veterans Additional Opportunities to Serve. Hillary will make vouchers worth up to $10,000 available to returning veterans who want to serve in AmeriCorps and select not-for-profit organizations. These organizations would provide at least $5,000 to supplement the voucher. This system will help veterans create normal routines and reenter their communities while doing meaningful work serving their country. Hillary will make this subsidy available to as many as 20,000 veterans a year.

Reduce Homelessness among Veterans. In 2006, nearly 200,000 veterans were homeless on any given night. Hillary will establish a pilot program on homelessness prevention for veterans that will provide subsidies, eviction prevention, and one-time assistance for veterans who fall behind on their rent. She will also expand rental assistance for veterans by calling on Congress to fund an additional 20,000 housing choice vouchers exclusively for homeless veterans.

Expand Veterans Homeownership. Hillary will make homeownership more affordable for veterans. Veterans will receive a 50% discount on foreclosed properties in the government’s inventory, which currently stands at 35,000 homes. And she will eliminate the upfront fees on VA mortgages for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who take out VA loans within two years of leaving active duty.

Hillary has proposed a comprehensive, 10-point plan to restore Americans' confidence in their government by increasing transparency and cutting waste and corruption. Her plan includes:

  • Banning Cabinet officials from lobbying a Hillary Clinton administration.
  • Strengthening whistle blower protections.
  • Creating a public service academy.
  • Ending abuse of no-bid government contracts and posting all contracts online.
  • Cutting 500,000 government contractors.
  • Restoring the Office of Technology Assessment.
  • Publishing budgets for every government agency.
  • Implementing Results America Initiative to track government effectiveness.
  • Tracking and eliminating corporate welfare.
  • Expanding voting access and safeguarding voting machines.

Ready to Lead

In addition to her comprehensive plan for government reform, Hillary has proposed a detailed plan to restore professionalism to the Department of Justice. Under President Bush and his attorneys general, partisanship and cronyism have driven investigations, case selection, and the hiring of new career personnel. We have to believe that justice is blind in America and that our government will effectively and impartially uphold the law. Hillary has a plan to restore that belief. She will:

  • Rebuild the Department of Justice's traditional role in defending civil rights and the rule of law, and review charges of improper, politically motivated hiring.
  • Help local school districts pursue voluntary integration and reduce racial inequality, in the face of a Supreme Court decision limiting districts' options.
  • Strengthen our voting laws so that every citizen can fully exercise his or her constitutional right to vote.
  • Combat ongoing racial and sex discrimination in the labor market by improving laws and expanding enforcement.
  • Modernize and strengthen the federal hate crimes law.

Hillary has also outlined a set of proposals to end the Bush administration's war on science and to restore scientific integrity to government decision-making. She will:

  • Rescind the ban on ethical embryonic stem cell research.
  • Ban political appointees from unduly interfering with scientific conclusions and publications.
  • Direct department and agency heads to safeguard against political pressure that threatens scientific integrity and to promote transparency in decision-making.
  • Appoint an Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Policy and strengthen the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Torture is wrong no matter how you slice. I do not agree that the ends justify the means. We are a nation of law, rules and supposedly morals. It is NEVER ok to torture people. It is NEVER ok to deprive people of rights. Finally, it is NEVER ok to lie while under oath. Bye-bye, Condi!

Click here to go to the CondiMustGo website and sign the petition!

I'm supporting Hillary Clinton for president, and I hope you will too. I trust her to end the war in Iraq, put our economy back to work for the middle class, and make sure every man, woman, and child in America has health care.

But Hillary needs our help to get to the White House. This is a hard-fought race, and every dollar you can spare will make a difference. Join me in supporting her campaign by making a secure online contribution:

I know Hillary has the strength and experience America needs, and she needs our help to win!

If you want more information on Hillary you should check out her website at:
Recently, I met with a group of religious leaders who have become increasingly disturbed by the alliance between evangelical Christians and the Republican Party. Karl Rove, President Bush’s political strategist, has brilliantly and successfully served as the matchmaker to arrange this union, which was consummated in the last presidential election when 83 percent of evangelicals voted Republican.

The meeting was joined by the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine; Father Richard Rohr, a well-known Catholic writer and speaker; Brian McLaren, a leader of the emergent church movement; the Rev. Dr. Cheryl J. Sanders, a prominent African-American pastor; the Rev. Noel Castellanos, a strong voice in the Hispanic community; and several other outstanding Christian communicators.

The purpose of this gathering was not to create a religious left movement to challenge the religious right, but to jump-start a religious movement that will transcend partisan politics. Believing that Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, we want to unite Christians who are concerned about what is happening in America. We are evangelicals who are troubled by what is happening to poor people in America; who are disturbed over environmental policies that are contributing to global warming; who are dismayed over the increasing arrogance of power shown in our country’s militarism; who are outraged because government funding is being reduced for schools where students, often from impoverished and dysfunctional homes, are testing poorly; who are upset with the fact that of the 22 industrialized nations America is next to last in the proportion of its national budget (less than two-tenths of 1 percent) that is designated to help the poor of third-world countries; and who are broken-hearted over discrimination against women, people of color, and those who suffer because of their sexual orientation.

Because being evangelical is usually synonymous with being Republican in the popular mind, and calling ourselves “progressive” might be taken as a value judgment by those who do share our views, we decided not to call ourselves “progressive evangelicals.” We came up with a new name: Red-Letter Christians.

You know, Kelly and I were talking the other night about this entire controversy over Rev. Wright's comments and we concluded that this type of speech really does go on a lot within the black community, but just as Barack said, it is odd to hear it broadcast so that whites and others outside the black community can hear the comments. Don't misunderstand me, I in no way approve nor condone the statements, I only want to point out that this is not as uncommon as it may appear to be.

I applaud Sen. Obama for his honest and poignant words. He really is a classy guy!
I must say that this speech by Sen. Obama is wonderful. I just had to share it...

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