With a thick puff of black smoke from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney, day one of the conclave on Tuesday ends with no conclusive first vote in the conclave to elect a new pope at a time when the Roman Catholic Church really need a leader. The smoke came at 2:41 p.m. U.S. Eastern time leaving the church’s 115 cardinals to meet Wednesday morning to vote for the second day to elect a pope needing at least 77 votes to elect a new pope. There will be up to four votes per day until a pope is elected. If a new pope is elected, white smoke will be released from the Sistine Chapel at 5:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. Italy), 7 a.m., 12:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. and if no pope is elected then black smoke will rise from the chapel at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Times may vary and times are estimated based on previous elections and predictions. The new pope must accept the position before the white smoke is released and as promised if the smoke is released at night then the Sistine Chapel chimney will be lit for onlookers to see the smoke as it was on Tuesday. Of course, as stipulated, if no pope is elected by Friday then the cardinals will pause Saturday for reflection and prayers thus continuing the voting pattern until 34th voting round which will lead to a runoff between top candidates. Once the white smoke is released, the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica will ring as in 2005 and the senior cardinal deacon, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, will stand on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica shouting “Habemus Papam!” (“We have a new pope!”) then present the new pope with his white papal cassocks to give his first blessing as pope. Thousands watched in St. Peter’s Square as the black smoke poured out of the narrow flue in the rain following a day rich in ritual and pageantry.
After prayer for divine guidance, the cardinals took an oath in Latin to never divulge any details of their deliberation before they secluded themselves behind the chapel’s heavy wooden doors. No conclave in modern times has elected a pope the first day and some cardinals believe it could take four or five days to pick a man to replace the recently retired Pope Benedict. The “Princes of the Church” will spend the night in a Vatican hotel then begin day two of voting in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday with two rounds of voting one in the morning and two in the afternoon. Voting will continue until a new pontiff is appointed and communication with the outside world will be smoke from the Chapel chimney indicated by black smoke when the voting sessions end with no result and white smoke when a pontiff is elected. Whom ever becomes the 266th pontiff of the Catholic church in its 2,000 year history will face several challenges including sex abuse scandals, infighting within the Vatican bureaucracy and the secularism in its European heartland and beyond. No clear cut contenders have emerged since some want a stronger manager to control the Curia and others calling for a powerful pastor to promote faith around the world. The doors of the Sistine Chapel were closed at 5:34 p.m. after the master of ceremonies, Guido Marini, said “Extra Omnes” or “Everyone Out” asking those no associate with the gathering to leave the room except Maltese Cardinal Prosper Grech, an 87 year old who is too old to participate in the vote, who gave a sermon to remind the 115 cardinal electors of their responsibility.
The faithful gathered in Rome in hopes that a new leader would bring change after a difficult eight year reign by Pope Benedict. As Maria Dasdores Paz, a Brazilian nun who attended the Mass explains to Reuters that the new pope “must be a great pastor with a big heart, and also have the capacity to confront the Church’s problems, which are very great…Every day there seem to be more.” All of the prelates in the Sistine Chapel were appointed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI or Pope John Paul II and the next pope will certainly defend the traditional moral teachings of the church, but many point out the failures of Benedict and Paul to reform the Curia leaving many feeling that the next pope must be a good chief executive or have good management put in place under him. Several papal candidate have been discussed including Italian and non-Italian prelates with growing pressure to choose a pontiff from somewhere else in the world since only 24 percent of Catholics live in Europe. Only time will tell if the next pope will live up to the position or falter in one respect or another as popes before him have.
Even though the nation is now up to its eyeballs in the sequester and gun control on a national level has been put on hold, the debate has now been taken up by the states. Safety will always be a concern no matter where you go because according to the Second Amendment supporters Americans have the right to carry weapons either conceal or not depending on the state. The only places we do not have guns are actually almost everywhere so the solution some people think will work is more guns more safety especially after the Sandy Hook shooting. The problem is not enough guns, the problem is not enough regulation and enforcement. Putting, not more guns, but guns in the school will only add to the problem not the solution and unfortunately gun violence cannot be completely prevented in this country unless their is a complete ban on weapons totally, but have no fear gun toting Americans and NRA you will always have the second amendment to cling to (even though you don’t fully understand what it means).
A Kansas legislative committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow concealed guns in public building and allow teachers to carry guns at school. State Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee) who presented the guns for teacher amendment said the measure gives school board the discretion to implement it as well as decide who specifically are allowed to carry a gun. According to Huff Post who spoke with state Rep. Travis Couture Lovelady (R-Palco), he commented that, “It is an excellent bill and a great step forward. With these gun-free zones and what we have seen around the country, they are a target for mentally ill people to do mass harm to folks…They are having the opposite effect. It is putting the public at risk. The only people following the law are the law abiding citizens who are potential victims. If we empower them to defend themselves they can.” Hildabrand also commented that,”If someone goes into a school with the intent of a mass murder and knows that there is no law abiding person who can fight back, they would be more willing. If they don’t know if someone would shoot back it creates hesitation.”
However, not everyone agreed with the bill. State Rep. Emily Perry (D-Mission) voted against explaining there are other ways to safe guard the schools and noted that the teachers she had spoken to did not like the idea and spoke of the costs involved to install required equipment. The bill allows public colleges, nursing homes, and hospitals to have a four year waiver on guns which Perry fought to have extended every four years but was unsuccessful as the Legislature though it was unnecessary and could be reviewed again in 2017. Perry also wanted to included mental health centers in the list of places with a ban on concealed weapons which also failed. According to Huff Post, Perry explained her dismay by saying, “We need to help those struggling with mental health… The idea of mixing concealed carry with mental health is not a good idea.” However Couture Lovelady argues that those opposing concealed carry in public building do not realize the danger of having a gun free environment. As he explains, “There is a lot of fear out there that doesn’t match up with reality and logic…Gun-free zones actually hurt people and don’t help.”
Are we really surprised by this? On Thursday, North Korea threatened to launch a pre-emptive strike against the U.S. as the U.N. diplomats try to decide whether or not to level new sanctions against Pyongyang for its nuclear testing. An unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang commented that Washington is pushing for war against the North so the North is well within their rights to do this. The North however has not been able to produce a warhead missile capable of reaching the U.S. even though they do have the nuclear fuel. In recent days, such inflammatory rhetoric has become even more common since the possibility of a sanction is more than likely leading to a mass rally in Pyongyang on Thursday to protest the upcoming U.S. South Korean war drills and sanctions. According to the Associated Press, Army Gen. Kang Pyo Yong told the crowd that North Korea is ready to fire long range missiles at Washington.
The U.N. Security Council is considering a fourth round of sanctions against Pyongyang in order to keep tighter reins on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The resolution, drafted by the U.S. and China, will be put up for council vote just 48 hours later and will most likely have the support of all 15 council members. The statement made by North Korean foreign Ministry spokesman, according to the North’s Korean Central News Agency, accuses the U.S. of being the prime suspect in slapping the sanctions on North Korea however in the statement the new sanctions will only speed up the timing to fulfill previous vows to act on their enemies. The statement, according to the Associate Press, said North Korea “strongly warns the U.N. Security Council not to make another big blunder like the one in the past when it earned the inveterate grudge of the Korean nation by acting as a war servant for the U.S. in 1950.” North Korea in an effort to counter the resolution being passed threatened to end the cease fire of 1953 that ended the Korean War. If the proposed resolution passes, then according to U.S. U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, the sanctions imposed would be the strongest ever ordered by the United Nations. The final draft of the resolution released Wednesday not only puts sanctions on North Korea but two other individuals, one a corporation and one organization, who are the country’s primary arms dealer and exporter of ballistic missile equipment while the other is a national organization in charge of research and development. The success of these sanction depends on China where most of the companies and banks that North Korea is believed to work with are based.
The United States and other nations are concerned that North Korea’s third test has moved them closer to missiles capable of reaching the U.S., while the international community has condemned the government’s nuclear and missile efforts as a regional security risk and a drain on resources that could be allocated to the destitute. The draft condemns the latest test of violating the council’s resolutions, bans on ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests, and North Korea’s ongoing nuclear activities especially uranium enrichment and demands the country return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The proposed resolution would also make it harder for North Korea to move around funds for its illicit activities as well as strengthen existing sanctions and inspect all suspect cargo bound for and from the country. It also will impose travel sanctions on senior diplomats that would require countries to expel agents working for sanctioned North Korean companies. Even with existing and new sanctions and resolutions put in place, North Korea has also found ways to conduct business around these measure so only time will tell whether such measure will work. Let’s wait and see who blinks first.
Sequestration 2013: With Cuts In Place, Obama And GOP Brace For Next Fight.
To all my readers, I find it important for everyone to inform themselves about the actual sequester with an official document sent to Congress as a direct result of Congress and the President’s inability to reach a decision to avoid the sequester that has now gone into effect on March 1. There is a lot of misinformation going around through various groups so I decided that the actual facts might be nice, then let you the reader decide what is truth. Since both parties the President and Congress refuse to come to a decision on Saturday to avoid sequester, we as a country now face the consequences through automatic spending cuts of $85 billion. Even with last minutes talks and no deal, the sequester which is outline in the official document below has gone into effect with the stroke of Obama’s pen. There are no signs that either group will budge as the Republican refuse any deal with more taxes and Democrats will not do a deal without it. Both parties lay the blame on the other for damages the cuts might inflict which are across the board. In the words of Obama on his weekly radio and internet address, “None of this is necessary…It’s happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit.” The president also commented that the cuts will cause ripples across the economy the longer they stay in place and could cost more than 750,000 jobs not to mention disrupt the lives of middle class families. The next major battle for both will be to negotiate a plan to fund the government beyond March 27 or possibly face a government shutdown and another debt ceiling clash in May.
I could not have said it better myself. I encourage everyone to listen to the words and think really hard about their lives. This video encompasses what my blog is about the heart of everything. What would you do if money didn’t matter? This is the key to happiness but only you can unlock it. I hope that the young to the old will find inspiration in the words and go on a journey to find your happiness because in the end that is all we have that is constant yet ever changing. Inspiration can be found everywhere you just have to be willing to listen and follow your dreams.
I love this guy, why not give peace a chance? You never know Pakistan you might like it. In Karachi, Pakistan, youth leader Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi has found a way to counter the violent message preached by the radical Islamic groups in his country. His weapon of choice is his three wheeled motorized rickshaw with his overwhelming message of peace you can’t miss. Radical Islamists have used the rickshaws to market their religious warfare slogans to gain support in India and Afghanistan and foster hate in the United States. Zaidi is turning that message on its head by running a fleet of rickshaws with peace slogans and decorated in colorful designs. According to the Huff Post, Zaidi the head of the Pakistan Youth Alliance said,”We need to take back this romanticized art form and use it for peace sloganeering and conflict resolution.” Domestic Taliban militants have waged a bloody insurgency across the country killing thousands of people in recent years, while many militants have focused their fight on U.S. led forces in Afghanistan and battled for control of Kashmir with India. Zaidi’s crusade is focused on Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and home to 18 million people, to begin his peace rickshaw project. The Youth Alliance worked with 200 students in the conflict prone city to come up with designs and slogans utilizing common Urdu street expressions with a peace twist like “Hey dude, don’t tease” into “Hey dude, don’t fight.” One of the more direct slogans being used is “I’m driving a rickshaw, not a bullet.” Initial funding through donor who wish not to be credits has allowed the group to decorate 5 rickshaws and plans to decorate 50 more in Karachi. The plan is to spread the fleet through the country once more funding is available. A radical Islamist group such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa have long used rickshaws to promote their messages and pay their drivers $5 to carry their slogans like “War against India will continue until the liberation of Kashmir.” Mohammed Salahuddin, a driver of the peace rickshaw, says it has helped his business even made people choose his rickshaws over others. Zaidi is also discussing putting a peace rickshaw in front of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington with Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman. Like Zaidi, I know this won’t solve the problem in Pakistan but maybe it will help the people to find peace and move toward a more peaceful society there and in the world.