Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Wishes From My Family to Yours

Is a spring festival that celebrates the central event of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Christ three days after his death by crucifixion?
{1} Easter is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year. All the Christian movable feasts and the entire liturgical year of worship are arranged around Easter. Easter Sunday is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentance culminating in Holy Week, and followed by a 50-day Easter Season that stretches from Easter to Pentecost. The origins of the word "Easter" are not certain, but probably derive from Estre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring {2}. The German word Ostern has the same derivation, but most other languages follow the Greek term used by the early Christians: pascha, from the Hebrew pesach (Passover). In Latin, Easter is Festa Paschalia (plural because it is a seven-day feast), which became the basis for the French Pâques, the Italian Pasqua, and the Spanish Pascua. Also related are the Scottish Pask, the Dutch Paschen, the Danish Paaske, and the Swedish Pask. {3} The method for determining the date of Easter is complex and has been a matter of controversy (see History of Easter, below). Put as simply as possible, the Western churches (Catholic and Protestant) celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. But it is actually a bit more complicated than this. The spring equinox is fixed for this purpose as March 21 (in 2004, it actually falls on March 20) and the "full moon" is actually the paschal moon, which is based on 84-year "paschal cycles" established in the sixth century, and rarely corresponds to the astronomical full moon. These complex calculations yield an Easter date of anywhere between March 22 and April 25. The Eastern churches (Greek, Russian, and other forms of Orthodoxy) use the same calculation, but based on the Julian calendar (on which March 21 is April 3) and a 19-year paschal cycle. Thus the Orthodox Easter sometimes falls on the same day as the western Easter (it does in 2004), but the two celebrations can occur as much as five weeks apart. In the 20th century, discussions began as to a possible worldwide agreement on a consistent date for the celebration of the central event of Christianity. No resolution has yet been reached. {4} Recent and upcoming dates {5} for Passover (Judaism), Easter (Western Christianity), and Pascha (Eastern Christianity) are: There is evidence that Christians originally celebrated the resurrection of Christ every Sunday, with observances such as Scripture readings, psalms, the Eucharist, and a prohibition against kneeling in prayer. {6} At some point in the first two centuries, however, it became customary to celebrate the resurrection specially on one day each year. Many of the religious observances of this celebration were taken from the Jewish Passover. The specific day on which the resurrection should be celebrated became a major point of contention within the church. First, should it be on Jewish Passover no matter on what day that falls, or should it always fall on a Sunday? It seems Christians in Asia took the former position, while those everywhere else insisted on the latter. The eminent church fathers Irenaeus and Polycarp were among the Asiatic Christians, and they claimed the authority of St. John the Apostle for their position. Nevertheless, the church majority officially decided that Easter should always be celebrated on a Sunday. Eusebius of Caesarea, our only source on this topic, reports the affair as follows:
A question of no small importance arose at that time [c. 190 AD]. The dioceses of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast of the life-giving pasch, contending that the fast ought to end on that day, whatever day of the week it might happen to be. However it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world to end it at this point, as they observed the practice, which from Apostolic tradition has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast on no other day than on that of the Resurrection of our Savior. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all with one consent through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other day but the Sunday and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on that day only. {7}
With this issue resolved, the next problem was to determine which Sunday to celebrate the resurrection. The Christians in Syria and Mesopotamia held their festival on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover (which itself varied a great deal), but those in Alexandria and other regions held it on the first Sunday after the spring equinox, without regard to the Passover. This second issue was decided at the Council of Nicea in 325, which decreed that Easter should be celebrated by all on the same Sunday, which Sunday shall be the first following the paschal moon (and the paschal moon must not precede the spring equinox), and that a particular church should determine the date of Easter and communicate it

throughout the empire (probably Alexandria, with their skill in astronomical calculations). The policy was adopted throughout the empire, but Rome adopted an 84-year lunar cycle for determining the date, whereas Alexandria used a 19-year cycle. {8} Use of these different "paschal cycles" persists to this day and contributes to the disparity between the eastern and western dates of Easter. Over the centuries, these religious observances have been supplemented by popular customs, many of were incorporated from springtime fertility celebrations of European and Middle Eastern pagan religion. Rabbits and eggs, for example, are widely-used pagan symbols for fertility. Christians view the Easter eggs as symbols of joy and celebration (as they were forbidden during the fast of Lent) and of new life and resurrection. A common custom is to hide brightly colored eggs for children to find

AZ Rep Paul Gosar Speaks Out Against Neglect in the Phoenix VA Health Care System

PHOENIX, ARIZ. - The following remarks by U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) were read by Sean Johnson, the Congressman’s Wounded Warrior Military and Veteran Liaison, at Concerned Veterans for America's rally in Phoenix, which was organized to bring attention to mismanagement in the Phoenix VA Health Care System and the need for congressional reform:
“It is no secret that the Department of Veterans Affairs is failing countless veterans all over this great nation.  For years now, our servicemen and women have waited extraordinary amounts of time for the benefits promised to them.  Initial responses to claims still hover close to 1 year, with appeals taking even longer.  It is with a heavy heart that I say many of these veterans simply give up.  They feel abandoned by the country they fought for, and they either discontinue their pursuit of their rightful benefits, or worse, they give up on life completely.  Such instances are all too common today, and it is absolutely heartbreaking.
“More recently, reports have surfaced about neglect, and even malfeasance, on the part of the VA in terms of treating sick veterans.  A recent study conducted by the House Veterans Affairs Committee showed that as many as 40 veterans may have died as a result of the lengthy waits for care in the Phoenix VA Health Care System.  As you may have seen in a recent editorial in The Arizona Republic, apparently these VA workers are going so far as to keep two completely separate sets of records so they may conceal these ridiculously long wait times.
“Enough is enough.
“I agree with the end of that editorial, which simply asserted ‘Let the heads begin to roll.’
“To that effect, I have co-sponsored Congressman Jeff Miller’s bill, H.R.4031, also known as the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act.  As you may know, Congressman Miller is the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  This bill amends current law to allow the Secretary of the VA to terminate senior executives at the VA who have failed at their jobs.
“As an aside, I am frankly appalled at how difficult it is to fire ANY federal employee who is terrible at his or her job, but I will leave that for another discussion.  This bill is getting a lot of attention, and I will fight to ensure that it becomes law.
“I have also personally made legislative efforts to strike some fear into VA employees.  Recently, I made an effort to amend one of the Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bills in such a way to withhold bonuses for senior executives at the VA for such a complete failure of our veterans.  Chairman Miller also liked the idea and co-signed that letter to the House Appropriations Committee.  We will find out soon if it will be considered by the full House of Representatives as part of the overall bill.
“As I conclude, I would like to applaud the Concerned Veterans of America and the countless other veterans service organizations out there fighting on behalf of those who have sacrificed so much for all Americans.  With your help, these veterans have a strong voice with which to call for change.”


Business So Bad Family Dollar Closing 370 Stores

It was announced on Thursday that Family Dollar Stores is going to cut jobs, cut prices and close some 370 stores across the country, according to USA Today. The chain is a discount retailer for those who are budget-conscious. It announced that it would slash prices on some 1,000 basic items and close the stores in response to the dropping sales disruptions in business from the harsh winter.

“Our second quarter results did not meet our expectations,” said CEO Howard R. Levine, in a statement. “The 2013 holiday season was challenged by a more promotional competitive environment and a more financially constrained consumer.”

The chain is based in Matthews, North Carolina and has some 8,100 stores in 46 states.

The changes for the company come after the management’s review and they could generate some 440 to $45 million in annual operating profit. Family Dollar will also slow down its process for opening new stores in fiscal 2015 in hopes of saving expenses. Right now, there are 350 to 400 new stores planned for fiscal 2015. This is compared to the 525 that were planned for fiscal 2014.

Net income for the 2014 fiscal second quarter dropped by 35 percent to $90.9 million from one year ago. The fiscal second quarter ended on March 1. Sales dropped to $2.7 billion, good for a 6 percent drop, from year-over-year. Source

Abortions, Birth Control Pills Tax Deductible Says The IRS

Here’s something from the “Did you know that?” category.

Did you know that abortions are apparently eligible for a tax deduction? That appears to be true, so says the IRS.
From the Washington Examiner, in a list of odd tax deductions:
1.  Pet moving
Did you get a new job? Besides deducting your regular moving expenses, you can
also deduct your pet moving expenses. If you don’t want to take Fido or Fluffy with
you as you drive across the country, you can deduct the cost of shipping them to
your new home like doggy or kitty furniture. Note: If you’re flying on the same plane
as your pet, make sure they’re properly sedated. The last thing you want is to sit in
the back of a tiny plane and hear your pet crying in the cargo hold behind you. (You
know, hypothetically speaking. Not saying this ever happened to me.)
2. Fostering a pet
While we’re on the subject of animals, did you know you can deduct expenses for fostering an animal? If you’re taking care of a dog or cat while it’s waiting for adoption, you can deduct expenses for food, vet bills, cat litter and more. The “catch” is that you have to be working with a 501(c)(3) charity. So,no taking in wild animals for tax purposes.
3. Guard dogs and service animals
I promise to stop talking about animals in a minute (trust me when I say you won’t be happy about it). But first, if you use a guard dog (or cat, or ferret or whatever) to protect your property, you can deduct expenses related to its care.
The cost of buying and training a service animal can also be deducted, as well as its food, grooming and vet bills.
4. Alternative medicine,Sorry, not marijuana.
But you can deduct expenses related to acupuncture and chiropractors.
You can also deduct the fees for Christian Science practitioners.
5. Abortion and birth control pills
Have an abortion, get a tax deduction! How strange that pro-abortion advocates aren't using this as a selling point. Hmmm.
Oh, and while they hyperventilate over Hobby Lobby not wanting to provide every type of birth control without a co-pay, it turns out that birth control pills can be deducted if prescribed by a doctor.
Also, you can deduct the purchase of pregnancy test kits and vasectomies.
6. Clarinet lessons
Does Junior have an overbite? Clarinet lessons might help, and then you can deduct the instrument and the lessons from your taxes.
Why? Orthodontists lobbied the government for the deduction because playing the clarinet helps with the overbite. (Full disclosure: I used to have an overbite. Sadly, piano lessons don’t fix the problem.)
7. Whale, whale, whale, what have we here?
Whale hello there, tax deduction! (Okay, I’m done.)
If you just so happen to be a indigenous Alaskan with a whaling ship (I’m sure a lot of you reading this fall into this category), you can deduct up to $10,000 for ship repairs, equipment and other whaling expenses.
Just a reminder: Whaling is banned in the U.S. except in indigenous Alaskan cultures.Whale just have to wait and see what other tax deductions are available. 
8. Legal defenses
Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
But you can deduct your legal expenses if you were caught.
9. Wigs
Wigs can be deducted if they are purchased “upon the advice of a physician for the mental health of a patient who has lost all of his or her hair from disease,” according to the Internal Revenue Service.So no, you can’t deduct part of your Halloween costume.Not included in the tax break: hair transplants.
10. Assume deer donated
You can get a $50 rebate in South Carolina if you donate a processed deer carcass to charity to feed to the hungry.This donation only applies to professional meat processors in South Carolina, so please, don’t shoot Bambi for a tax deduction.
11. Childcare (if you volunteer)
If you do charity work, you may be able to deduct childcare costs.
Or, as Turbo Tax put it, “you can pay someone to babysit your kids while you work a job that gives no pay, and you may be able to write it off.”
'Merica. Oh, you might also be able to deduct some of the travel expenses for that charity work as well.
12. B-I-N-G-Oh heck yeah!
In some parts of the country (Long Island, for example), bingo is a way of life, and as such, you can deduct your losses just like any other gambling.
13. Breast reconstruction
We've all heard the story of the stripper who wrote off her breast enlargement as a business expense, but did you know that women can deduct expenses for breast reconstruction surgery if they've has a mastectomy due to breast cancer?The IRS lists such a deduction as an example under its cosmetic surgery (which can't be deducted) section. “An individual undergoes surgery that removes a breast as part of treatment for cancer. She pays a surgeon to reconstruct the breast. The surgery to reconstruct the breast corrects a deformity directly related to the disease. The cost of the surgery is includible in her medical expenses.”
Have an abortion, get a tax deduction! How strange that pro-abortion advocates aren’t using this as a selling point. Hmmm. Oh, and while they hyperventilate over Hobby Lobby not wanting to provide every type of birth control without a co-pay, it turns out that birth control pills can be deducted if prescribed by a doctor.
Also, you can deduct the purchase of pregnancy test kits and vasectomies.

Hillary Clinton "Hard Choices"

Hillary Clinton’s new book will be titled Hard Choices and will discuss her time as secretary of state. It will be released in June, though no doubt every single sentence will be picked over by the press before anybody gets the chance to read it.
Expect book title to be worked into pointed questions about Benghazi response.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Video BLM Trying To Steal Ninety Thousand Acres Of Texas Rancher's Land Along Red River

Thirty years ago the BLM stole the Henderson Ranch along the Red River in Byers, Texas.
The BLM stole Tommy Henderson’s ranch and paid Henderson him absolutely nothing for the 140 acres. He sued and lost.
Now the BLM is using that court case as precedent to do it again. The problem is, the land they want to seize is property that ranchers have a deed for and have paid taxes on for over a hundred years.

The BLM claims that about 90,000 acres (116 miles along the Red River) have never belonged to Texas in the first place. They will seize the land and it will seriously change the boundaries between the two states. Source: Via My Texas Family 

Boats 'N Hoes Pac Shuts Down Thursday Will Be A Memory in Texas

PAC to Shut Down After Name Draws Furor
A Texas political action committee called Boats 'N Hoes PAC will be just a memory by Thursday, according to the Republican political consultant who is the boss of the man who started it.
Houston consultant Allen Blakemore confirmed Wednesday evening that his firm’s bookkeeper, Shaun Nowacki, started the PAC, which is a reference to a song from the 2008 film Step Brothers. The committee will be dissolved on Thursday, Blakemore said.
Blakemore said Nowacki was contrite about the controversy created by the PAC’s name, which surfaced on social media Wednesday afternoon. Nowacki filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission to create the PAC on April 1 and named himself treasurer. The PAC has not filed any fundraising reports since its creation two weeks ago. It is the only PAC Nowacki is listed with on the Texas Ethics Commission’s website.
Nowacki did not respond to several requests for comment Wednesday.

The Texas Democratic Party immediately denounced the PAC and noted the tie to Blakemore, who has consulted for several high-profile Republicans and is the senior strategist for state Sen. Dan Patrick's campaign for lieutenant governor. Blakemore's previous clients include Attorney General Greg Abbott, the GOP's candidate for governor

Adultery May Soon Be Legal In New Hampshire

Original Article and Photo The Economist
223 years later New Hampshire House of Representative voted to repeal Adultery in February and it heads to the State Senate. Not everyone is happy. A letter to the Concord Monitor huffed that adultery was “repugnant” and should remain a crime.

A law in 1791 called for convicted adulterers to be paraded on the gallows for an hour and then “publicly whipped not exceeding 39 stripes” before being sent to prison and fined £100 in that time. Today’s penalty doesn’t include a whooping’ Adulterers now face a $1,200 fine, which is not enforced.
More than 20 states still have laws against adultery. Colorado (the state of Gary Hart, whose adultery cost him dear in the 1988 presidential race) did not decriminalize it until last year. Courts rarely hand down convictions; the most notable of recent times was in Massachusetts in 1983, when two policemen caught a married man and woman having sex in a van. They weren’t married to each other, and the woman, who challenged the charge, was fined $50.

Few Americans want the state to police their bedrooms, but 93% think adultery is morally wrong, a recent CNN poll found. That view has stiffened over the past few decades, even as attitudes to homosexuality have softened dramatically (see chart). This may be because, since the liberalizing 1960s, Americans now know more about the real-world consequences of both. Many grow up at ease with gay friends but upset by their partents divores.
Chart titled 'It's fine to be gay but not to stray'

Don't Mess With Texas Or Pee on The Alamo

According to the Daily Mail 23-year-old Daniel Athens on April 14th was discovered by an Alamo Ranger peeing on the Alamo according to reports he will receive 18 months in jail.

police arrest report states that the 23-year-old was "making the motions of putting his penis back in his pants and saw a puddle on the original mortar of the Shrine and Next to the shrine."
The ranger noticed signs that indicated Mr. Athens was drunk. The report said Athens "had bloodshot eyes, and the odor of intoxication on his breath. When I asked [him] to stand up, he was unsteady on his feet and almost fell to the ground."
Urinating on the Alamo is considered a serious charge, especially since the historic building is made of limestone, which absorbs salt.
"Urine contains salt and the limestone absorbs salt and then pushes the salt out," the arrest report said. "When the salt gets pushed out so does the face of the limestone and through this process the urine contributes to the eroding of the limestone."
In 1982, Ozzy Osbourne urinated on the Alamo, according to the San Antonio News-Express. As a result, the rocker was banned from San Antonio but eventually came back to the city for a concert over ten years later. Upon his return, Osbourne reportedly gave a $10,000 donation to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

The Daily Mail reported that an individual may receive up to two years in jail for urinating on the landmark. Athens received a relatively short sentence for his crime because he accepted a deal in February related to another criminal charge that "capped" his possible jail time.