Friday, March 31, 2006

Prayer Does Not Heal the Sick

A new study shows that praying does not heal the sick. This is actually kind of funny. Talk about the dream study of every agnostic in academia. Or maybe this is just further evidence for the long-held American War on Christianity--yes, I'm being sarcastic...
Members of three congregations - St. Paul's Monastery in St. Paul; the Community of Teresian Carmelites in Worcester, Massachussetts[sic]; and Silent Unity, a Missouri prayer ministry near Kansas City - were asked to pray for the patients, who were divided into three groups: those who would be told they were being prayed for, those who would receive prayers but not know, and those who would not be prayed for at all.

The worshippers starting praying for the patients the night before surgery and for the next two weeks, asking God to grant "a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications".

The study found no appreciable difference between the health of those who did not know they were being prayed for and those who received no prayers. Fifty-two per cent of patients in both groups suffered complications after surgery. But 59 per cent of those who knew they were prayed for went on to develop complications.


Hat-tip to Op-Ed News.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Contribute to Chuck Pennacchio!

Contribute to Chuck Pennacchio! Tomorrow is the deadline for first quarter fundraising. These numbers are reported by the media and have a significant effect on a candidate's perceived viability. So come on, shell out some cash! How about 25 or 50 bucks? Think about how many times you have spent that much on a single dinner! Enjoy some mac & cheese with a hefty portion of self gratification tonight. Any amount will help.

Contribute here.

Response from Alan Sandals


This bumped post was taking up way too much space on the blog. Consequently, I've decided to change this into a post with links to the two previous posts that were reproduced here. Keep in mind, that there was no new original content in this post--just a repetition of two previous posts--so nothing is being purged from the site.

Open Letter to the Alan Sandals Campaign About NOW PAC Endorsement Flip-flop

Response from Alan Sandals

I've also written about my exchange with Alan Sandals in my Daily Kos diary.

Sandals Mentioned on Kos

Kos just mentioned the NOW PAC endorsement of Alan Sandals on the front page of Daily Kos. Go fight for Chuck in the comments!

Monday, March 27, 2006

State Democratic Committee Breaks Rules to Suppress Pennacchio's Supporters

I've been curious about what went on at the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee meeting where Casey was endorsed. It seems odd that Casey would roll over Chuck so easily. Sure, Casey is the front-runner, but multiple counties have supported an open primary. Shouldn't the vote for keeping the primary open have been closer? I contacted someone at the Pennacchio headquarters for more details. Apparently, the meeting was rather chaotic and certain pro-Casey forces pressured and intimidated Pennacchio's supporters. What follows is my transcription of her account (this is a long post):

No one expected Chuck to win the state endorsement; rather, the hope was that Chuck could force an open primary. Although the State Committee meetings were dominated by Casey supporters, Chuck managed to speak with all of the caucuses individually. While many remained staunchly in favor of Bob Casey, a significant number of committee members said that they were afraid to buck the party in the open, but would vote for Chuck during the secret ballot election to endorse a candidate.

Officially, two motions were made: a motion to vote for no endorsement and a second motion to vote for a particular candidate's endorsement. The first took place during the Business Meeting, which convened at 11:30. Originally, the campaign was told the candidates would speak during the Business Meeting. Instead, New Business was called for at the beginning of the meeting instead of at the end, which is customary, and no opportunity was given for candidates to speak. So Chuck couldn't argue for the motion. The first motion (against endorsement) was proposed by John Fox of Lancaster. It was seconded by a state committee supporter in the audience. John made the motion in the precise form given to Pennacchio's people and to the Chairman of the Lancaster County Dems by the Parliamentarian. He was not permitted to offer an argument in favor. Then Bill George, of the AFL-CIO, went to the podium and belligerently attacked the motion. Many people cheered, as this was predominantly a Casey crowd. The motion was defeated.

Immediately thereafter, the endorsement meeting was convened. The second motion--to endorse a specific candidate--was proposed. Casey needed a two-thirds vote to win the endorsement. Alan Sandals had already withdrawn his name from running for endorsement. This was probably because no state committee members would likely propose and second the motion that he be endorsed. For Sandals, removing his name was the politically expedient thing to do. Chuck, however, kept on fighting. The motion to endorse Chuck Pennacchio was made by Chuck Pascal of Armstrong County and seconded by John Fox of Lancaster County. The procedure for endorsements is as follows: A voice vote, which is challenged; followed by a stand-up vote, which is challenged; concluded with a final secret ballot vote.

This time, Pennacchio did have a chance to speak. He said something along the lines of, "My name is Chuck Pennacchio, and I'm going to be your next US Senator. I'm going to win the primary on May 16th. I'm going to win the general in November, and I'm going to go to Washington in January and fight everyday, of every month, of every year I'm in the Senate for what Pennsylvanians want." He criticized the State Committee members for thinking that their only reason for being was to endorse candidates. Chuck told the State Committee members, that, historically, they used to build, recruit, organize and mobilize the party--exactly what his campaign was doing. Chuck was fearless.

The chairman, T.J. Rooney, proposed skipping the first two votes, because he knew that they would be challenged. Once again, Bill George objected, motioning that the stand-up vote be held as official. When Chuck Pascal asked asked about the basis for this motion, Mr. Rooney said that he was the Chair and he was recognizing it, and it was based in "Rule 10," which allows for the suspension of the rules. This passed by a 2/3rds majority. About 15-20 people then publicly stood-up in the vote for Chuck Pennacchio, so Casey was declared the victor.

Pennacchio, he's so hot right now, Pennacchio.

Gosh it's that damn Pennacchio! He's so hot right now! Ok, that's only funny if you have seen Zoolander. Be that as it may, according to the authoritative source on what's hip, PennPatriot Online's Hot & Not, Chuck Pennacchio is so HOT right now.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

State Democratic Committee Endorses Casey

As expected, the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee endorsed Bob Casey Jr. for US Senate. My inner Lebowski reacted with an immediate, "this is a bummer, man." I was hoping that Chuck and Sandals combined would secure enough votes (one third plus one) to force a mandatory open primary endorsement from the committee. Apparently, Casey received near unanimous support. What really annoyed me was the subheading on the AP article written by Peter Jackson (not the The Lord of the Rings guy):
Casey easily wins state committee's vote

The Democrat will take on Rick Santorum, who he said was out of touch with Pennsylvanians [emphasis my own].
Excuse me? Just because the State Democratic committee endorses a candidate does not mean that the he has won the primary election. Last time I checked, Bob Casey Jr. was endorsed by the State Democratic committee in 2002 when he lost the primary election for Governor to Ed Rendell. In fact, Casey also had a double digit lead in that primary. So, yes, Casey is the front-runner, but by no means has he won this election.