Arizona Sen. John McCain did not mince words when commenting on the news of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death. A statement on the Senator’s web site reads:
“The world is a better place now that Kim Jong-il is no longer in it. For more than six decades, people in North Korea have been consigned to lives of dire poverty and cruel oppression under one of the most totalitarian regimes the world has ever known. I can only express satisfaction that the Dear Leader is joining the likes of Qaddafi, Bin Laden, Hitler, and Stalin in a warm corner of hell.”
The 2008 Republican nominee for president goes on to write that the dictator’s death presents a “historic opportunity” for Koreans and those interested in deepening the security of North East Asia and the world.
Sen. McCain calls on China to play a lead role as a responsible world power, to work with the US and other allies to shape “a peaceful transition to a unified, democratic, and independent Korean Peninsula.”
Read more here.
Televangelist Pat Robertson doesn’t mince words when it comes to faith and this time is no exception. The outspoken faith-keeper blasted Saturday Night Live‘s recent skit of Denver Bronco’s quarterback Tim Tebow on Monday, calling the parody a “disgusting” attack on Christianity.
“There’s an anti-Christian bigotry that is just disgusting and I think Saturday Night Live did a parody of that, had Jesus come in,” Robertson said.
Robertson even went on to suggest that if SNL had done a similar parody mocking Muslims, there would be “bodies on the street.”
“If this had been a Muslim country and they had done that, and had Muhammad doing that stuff, you would have found bombs being thrown off!”
“And bodies on the street!” interjected co-anchor Terry Meeuwsen. “And bodies on the street!” Robertson repeated. “And we think it’s okay.”
“Tebow is an example, and I think he is a wonderful human being,” Robertson said. “We need more religious faith in our society. We’re losing our moral compass in our nation and this man has been placed in a unique position and I applaud him. God bless him.”
Members of a close knit Amish community gathered Saturday night to mourn the death of a 15-year-old girl, who was shot to death under circumstances that are shrouded in mystery.
David Zuercher, a friend of the family of 15-year-old Rachel Yoder, told Fox 8 News, “Just total disbelief and shock. I just couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke, that it was not so.”
Relatives initially believed that Rachel suffered a head injury while on her way home from a Christmas party for employees at a produce shop.
The girl was discovered on the ground near her buggy Thursday night at the family farm in Fredericksburg, but when she was flown to Akron City Hospital, doctors discovered the teenager had been shot in the head.
Authorities said the girl’s horse had instinctively galloped home after the shooting, and Wayne County authorities traced a trail of blood from the Yoder farm back to Holmes County’s Salt Creek Township, and the intersection of County Road 229 and Township Road 614.
“To think that somebody would do something like that to a sweet, innocent young lady,” said Zuercher, “I mean, she didn’t have a care in the world to anybody, and no problems to anybody.”
There are several theories about the shooting, including the possibility that the Amish buggy was targeted, or that Rachel was accidentally shot by a hunter.
“Somebody unloading a weapon, coming home from muzzle loading, hunting or something like that,” said Zuercher.
The Yoder family’s grief is compounded by the fact that Rachel’s mother, 54-year-old Mary Yoder, was killed in September, when the van she was riding in was hit by a flatbed truck.
“Oh, it’s terribly difficult. The impact on the family is just unimaginable, said Zuercher. “I mean, the hurt will never go away.”
The death of Rachel Yoder is being investigated as a homicide; however, investigators are not sure if it was an accident or not.
Anyone with information on what happened is asked to call the sheriff’s office in Holmes or Wayne counties.
MDP Submits Phase 1 of Long-Range Plan for Sustainable Growth
Governor Martin O’Malley today accepted “PlanMaryland,” the State’s first long-range plan for sustainable growth, from Secretary Richard Eberhart Hall of the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) – achieving a vision first laid out by the General Assembly a half-century ago.
PlanMaryland is an executive policy plan that better coordinates the smart growth efforts and programs of state government. The Governor filed the Plan with the Secretary of State, as required by law. The Governor also filed an Executive Order to provide an overview of the process for implementation of the plan. During the coming year, state agencies will work to identify changes in strategy to achieve the goals of the plan and will work with local governments on delineating areas for future state investment, growth and preservation.
“There are some challenges so large we can only hope to tackle them together. Creating jobs and expanding opportunity is one of the, and building a sustainable, long-term future for our children is another,” said Governor O’Malley. “That’s what PlanMaryland is all about- it’s Maryland’s first long-range, sustainable growth plan, which will serve as a tool for targeting state resources with maximum transparency to encourage smarter growth. In the long run, that means a healthier environment, stronger communities, and a more sustainable future and a better quality of life for our kids.”
The Plan culminates four years of development that included meetings with more than 3,000 people across the state and thousands more reached online through surveys and social media — one of the largest outreach efforts of its kind in Maryland planning history. More than 300 comments were received during two public comment periods in summer and fall 2011. The second comment period was added after local officials in August requested more time for deliberation. MDP also received advice from the Smart Growth Subcabinet, the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, sister state agencies and local planning officials in preparing the 116-page document. The Plan fulfills legislation from the General Assembly in 1959, 1974, 2007 and 2010 that required or laid out the process for a state development plan — a mandate that until now had gone unmet.
“We need PlanMaryland because the rate of land conversion for development has grown at triple the rate of population since 1970. That is not sustainable,” said Planning Secretary Hall. “Without a smarter approach, we’ll face billions of dollars in additional cost for more road and school construction and we’ll undercut the enormous public and private efforts and investment already being made or planned to clean our bays, rivers and streams. After many years of pursuing a goal of smart growth, Maryland finally has a game plan to approach it more efficiently and effectively.”
“The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission is grateful to Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly for asking us to provide advice on the preparation and content of PlanMaryland,” said Commission Chairman Jon Laria. “The Commission is charged with a broad array of growth-related responsibilities, but none is more important than working with PlanMaryland’s stakeholders to ensure that the Plan contributes positively and meaningfully to the State’s smart growth goals.”
Over the last five years, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has invested approximately $9.9 billion in public schools and over $660 million in public school construction in rural Maryland. Recognizing the importance of our community colleges in preparing our workforce for the jobs of the new economy in Maryland, the administration has invested approximately $485 million in operating funding for community colleges and over $218 million in community college capital projects in rural Maryland. By providing over $1 billion in funding for transportation projects in rural Maryland, the administration has been supporting investments like rehabilitating and replacing bridges in Western Maryland, widening of highways on the Eastern Shore, the Hampstead Bypass and Taneytown Streetscape projects in Central Maryland, and upgrading and widening roads in Southern Maryland. Working through programs such as Community Legacy, the Community Development Block Grant, and Main Street Maryland, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has been helping local partners bring new investment and vitality to the state’s core communities. By leveraging technical assistance and State resources, 20 Main Streets sites in rural Maryland have funded $82 million in public improvement projects and over $65 million in private improvement projects since 2008.
The full plan and other information about it can be accessed at Plan.Maryland.gov