FixIt team heads to the Mission to field repair requests

first_img Tags: 16th Street BART Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Mayor Ed Lee’s “Fix-It Team” has arrived in the Mission District and will be touring the neighborhood and meeting with residents to figure out what quality of life issues can be addressed with quick fixes. At a meeting on Thursday night, Fix-It Team head Sandra Zuniga fielded concerns from residents living in the northern Mission. “You guys can pretty much guide my job description for the next several months,” she said.The dozen or so residents that had gathered at St. John’s church on 15th Street had plenty to keep Zuniga busy with. Several specific requests were made for the standard Fix-It fare: Trim the trees on 15th Street, there’s a streetlight out on 14th Street, we really need a trash can on 15th and South Van Ness, it’s hard to see pedestrians stepping into some of the crosswalks in the area, and the Walgreens parking lot is often full of litter. But neighbors also described a few bigger and more stubborn problems. The 16th Street BART Plaza, always a difficult spot, was called out more than a few times. The elevator has a strong urine smell, one neighbor said. The escalator that’s out of service has been enclosed in a large plywood box, said another, which attracts feces and needles and makes going down the adjacent stairs feel unsafe. Trash gets caught on the pigeon spikes on a billboard above the plaza, then blows down in stronger winds. Loitering on Mission near 16th was also a widespread concern, though city workers seemed dubious about being able to resolve that long and storied problem. Randy Quezada, a spokesperson for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, also did not see it as connected to the Navigation Center as some residents suggested. “The problem is bigger than the Navigation Center,” he said. There is a security guard on site, and residents are encouraged to relax inside the center and keep the area in front clear, he added.Another problem is bicycle “chop shops” neighbors see on the street. “I know it’s a commerce within the homeless community, but it’s not okay,” said one resident. Some in attendance asked about the status of Supervisor Jeff Sheehy’s proposed legislation to crack down on bike chop shops. The legislation is still being developed.Buses were also a concern – no, not tech buses, casino buses. A few neighbors were frustrated with the large tour buses idling and taking up space at the 16th Street BART station, behind Marshall Elementary, and along 14th Street. Enforcement efforts, they said, have simply shuffled the problem from street to street, but it persists. “They’re essentially commercializing [the street] to the extent that residents are second class citizens in our own neighborhoods,” said neighbor Marc Salomon.One neighbor had come in protest. Jackie Barshak, a Plaza 16 Coalition member, said after the meeting that she saw displacement and gentrification as the root causes of some of the concerns.“This is very superficial and does not address the real, systemic issues that people talked about,” she said.To begin work on the concerns in her purview, Zuniga will meet with neighbors in two weeks to tour the area on foot and see the problems in person. After that, another meeting is planned for the next portion of the Mission a step farther south, from 17th to 21st streets. That meeting will be held at Mission Pool at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7. In the meantime, residents are welcome to reach out to Zuniga with their own Fix-It concerns at or on Twitter, where she is @FixItTeamSF. The neighborhood walk for the northern area is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. at 14th and Mission streets on June 15. center_img 0%last_img read more

Trumps Apostle

first_imgHere’s Robert Jeffress, talking to the hundreds of thousands of people watching conservative cable news on a typical Friday evening, and he’s defending President Donald Trump against the latest array of accusations in the news this week. And he isn’t simply defending Trump—he’s defending him with one carefully crafted Bible-wrapped barb after another, and with more passion, more preparation, more devotion than anyone else on television. As Lou Dobbs finishes his opening remarks, Jeffress laughs and nods. It’s early January, about two weeks into what will prove to be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are missing paychecks, worrying about mortgages, car payments, utility bills. Some have started going to food banks. But Dobbs waves his hand up and down and tells Jeffress that he hasn’t heard anyone—“literally no one!”—say they miss the government. The jowly host revels in Trump’s threats that the shutdown could continue “for months, if not years,” if that’s what it takes to get more wall built on America’s border with Mexico.Jeffress, speaking from a remote studio in downtown Dallas, agrees completely. “Well, he’s doing exactly the right thing in keeping this government shut down until he gets that wall,” he says. Jeffress is the senior pastor at First Baptist Dallas, a 13,000-member megachurch that’s one of the most influential in the country, but he’s known best for appearances like this one: he’s often on Fox & Friends or Hannity or any number of sound-bitey segments on Fox News or Fox Business. His own religious show airs six days a week on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. He has a daily radio program too, broadcast on more than nine hundred Christian stations across the country, though it’s TV he loves best. Dobbs invites Jeffress onto his show nearly every week. Here’s Robert Jeffress in his office again, on a weekday afternoon in early fall. He’s sitting flat-footed in a blue leather chair, wearing one of his usual dark suits and satiny ties, like he’s ready to appear on camera at a moment’s notice, should the need arise. I’m sitting at the end of a big leather couch, a few feet away, with my recorder between us. We’re talking about the distinction he makes between what he considers spiritual and political. I want to know if it’s really tenable, if it’s really honest. On Twitter, he promotes his sermons and events at the church right next to his appearances on Fox News. When his choir performed “Make America Great Again” in D.C., it was a de facto Trump rally—and now the song is in the church hymn database. He doesn’t just invite Fox personalities like Sean Hannity and politicians like Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott into his sanctuary; the church often uses their appearances as bring-a-friend promotions. Our conversations over the months often return to this topic, and he agrees it’s an important one.“If someone asks me to talk on a subject,” he says, “I ask myself the first question: Does the Bible have a particular point of view on this?”The Bible has a point of view on many things, he explains. Some things, like capital punishment or whether a country’s leader has a right to defend its borders, he thinks, are clear. Other issues, like marginal tax rates and public health-care policy, are less clear. And besides, when Hannity was there to promote a Christian movie, they didn’t say much about politics at all.What about when you call Democrats the “party of immorality”? I ask. Isn’t that crossing the line into politics? “I think, in a lot of ways, the Republican party is just as spiritually bankrupt as the Democratic party, but at least at this point in time they are championing some moral principles like the right to life and the right of religious liberty.”It’s an interesting equivocation, and I’m reminded how, in our exchanges, he has emphatically insisted that he’s not a Republican or a Democrat. He has also told me his congregation has plenty of Democrats, though I haven’t met one. When I ask him if he’d ever invite a Democrat or someone from CNN to speak at his church, he laughs. “You know, I would have to think about it,” he says. Then he adds, “But if we haven’t, it’s not because they are Democrats. It’s because of the point of view they would articulate on these basic core spiritual issues. I mean, try to find me a pro-life Democrat leader. You can’t find one.”“Basic core spiritual issues” is usually his answer when I press him on why he goes out of his way, again and again, to defend Trump. He cares about religious liberty—which for him essentially boils down to whether churches and businesses should be required to provide birth control for employees and whether businesses can deny service to gay or trans people. And nearly every policy discussion eventually comes back to what he sees as the national battle that started in Dallas when he was a teenager. He believes Roe v. Wade, not the issue of sexual assault or of judicial temperament, was at the heart of the fight over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Democrats were worried that Kavanaugh’s rulings would “somehow lessen the number of babies being murdered every year in the womb through abortion.”Gun rights is one of the two main issues on which he disagrees with the Republican party. The other is health care. He has been a vocal critic of Obamacare, but Jeffress does tell me, “The GOP is on the wrong side of this.”This is why Trump is the sort of warrior evangelicals have long craved, a warrior who will fight for their beliefs regardless of whether he holds those beliefs himself. This is why Jeffress doesn’t worry about Trump’s personal behavior. “When you’re in a war, you don’t worry about style,” he explains. “Nobody would have criticized General Patton because of his language. We’re in a war here between good and evil. And to me, the president’s tone, his demeanor, just aren’t issues I choose to get involved with.” (When I look this up later, I learn that some top commanders and many members of Congress did criticize—and discipline—General Patton for verbally abusing and slapping two soldiers. He was suspended from his command and made to apologize.)I ask Jeffress why, since he believes all sin is equal, abortion is more important than every other issue. Criswell, his mentor, and other past religious leaders didn’t feel nearly as strongly about the topic. Criswell stated publicly that life begins at birth and didn’t change his stance until after the widespread use of ultrasound technology. “Criswell and other evangelicals were just ignorant of the science,” he says. “We didn’t have the ability to view a life inside the womb as we do today and understand that that’s a real, live human being.” What about children at the border and the administration’s policy of separating families? Doesn’t he think we should protect babies at our borders too?“Look,” he tells me, “if you have a woman who is convicted of a bank robbery and she has an infant child and she’s sent to prison, I mean, her baby is going to be ripped from her.”But of course, we have gradations of crimes in this country, and crossing a border—even if it’s illegal—is a far different thing than robbing a bank. This policy was instituted as a deterrent. I remind him that many people, including some Baptists, believe it’s a callous way to treat children.“If we don’t secure our borders, we’re enticing the needy people, the persecuted people, to make a dangerous journey to come to this country or try to enter illegally, and I think, in part, we are morally responsible for doing that,” he tells me. He compares it to laws that hold homeowners responsible when a child strays into an unfenced pool and drowns. “We’ve got to figure out a way to secure our borders and at the same time deal equitably and justly with people who want to enter this country for legitimate reasons.”I bring up some other children: the survivors of mass shootings. After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, in Parkland, Florida, when students organized marches across the country to protest U.S. gun laws, Jeffress told Fox News viewers that changing the laws would not help because laws couldn’t change the evil in someone’s heart—though maybe displaying the Ten Commandments in schools could. Talking with me, though, he admits that mass shootings weigh on him heavily. He points out that, in Genesis, the primary reason God floods the earth is violence. “God hates those who harm others,” he says. “I don’t believe that the Bible or even the Constitution gives a unilateral, unconditional, unrestrained right for guns. The government has a right and responsibility to control that.”Gun rights, in fact, is one of the two main issues on which he disagrees with the Republican party. The other is health care. He has been a vocal critic of Obamacare, but Jeffress does tell me, “The GOP is on the wrong side of this.” He says, “There ought to be a safety net” and “Americans want coverage for preexisting conditions” and that “before we dismantle something, we ought to have something better ready in its place.”I ask Jeffress if he’d be critical of, say, someone like Democratic senator Cory Booker, if the public learned he’d had an affair with a porn star.“I have to be consistent,” he tells me. “And consistent would say that my objection to Cory Booker would not be his personal life but his public policies.”Here’s Robert Jeffress in January 2016, sitting on Trump’s plane between campaign stops in Iowa, and the pastor and the presidential candidate are finishing their lunch of Wendy’s cheeseburgers when Jeffress says, “Mr. Trump, I believe you’re going to be the next president of the United States. And if that happens, it’s because God has a great purpose for you and for our nation.” Jeffress quotes from the book of Daniel, chapter two, and explains, “God is the one who establishes kings and removes kings.”Trump looks at the pastor and says, “Do you really believe that?”“Yes, sir, I do,” Jeffress says.Trump asks, “Do you believe God ordained Obama to be president?”“I do,” Jeffress tells Trump. “God has a purpose for every leader.”This is certainly not the way Jeffress talked about Barack Obama when he was president. Jeffress wasn’t a fan. Shortly before Mitt Romney secured the Republican nomination in 2012, Jeffress said he’d “hold [his] nose” and vote for him instead of Obama, despite believing that Mormonism is a cult and Romney is going to hell. (He’s also said that Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and nonbelievers are destined for hell.) He criticized both Obamacare and National Security Agency surveillance as violations of Americans’ freedom. In 2014, citing Obama’s support for same-sex marriage, Jeffress declared that the president was “paving the way for the Antichrist.”Jeffress very much believes that an Antichrist will rise to power one day—possibly soon—before Jesus returns to earth. This isn’t entirely surprising. After graduating from Baylor, he attended Dallas Theological Seminary, a hub of twentieth-century dispensational theology, where he was taught, and embraced, the idea that God reveals himself progressively through different dispensations, or ages, and that these would culminate in an epic showdown between Christ and a fearsome enemy. Key events of this apocalypse would occur in Israel, went the thinking, and it was common for dispensationalists to publicly identify people they thought might be the Antichrist. Henry Kissinger was a popular pick; so was Mikhail Gorbachev, whose prominent birthmark looked suspiciously, to some, like the mark of the beast. Eventually most religious figures stopped trying to identify the Antichrist and the exact date of Christ’s return, but they didn’t stop believing that the supernatural confrontation was imminent. At one point, not long after Trump meets with Kim Jong-un and it feels like we might be closer to nuclear annihilation than we have been in half a century, I ask Jeffress, mostly as a joke, whether evangelicals support this president because they secretly think he’s hastening the end times and the return of Jesus.Jeffress lets out a quick chirp of a laugh. Actually, he explains, a lot of evangelicals view Trump as a brief reprieve from a downward moral spiral: everything from the removal of Ten Commandments monuments to restrictions on prayer in schools to the ways our culture flaunts sex and corrupts minds. He’s under no illusion that the Democrats won’t return to power again one day. Trump, he says, is a way to push in the other direction, if only temporarily.He anticipates my follow-up. “Why would Christians want to put off the return of Christ?” he asks. “To give us more time to save people.” The truth for him personally, though, is that he also just likes Trump. Jeffress insists that theirs isn’t just a quid-pro-quo sort of friendship, a calculated, cynical partnership. He says he genuinely enjoys Trump’s company. He’d like to think they’d be friends regardless of the presidency.Jeffress says Trump isn’t as impulsive as he might seem. He says the president has told him how he workshops insulting nicknames he plans to call opponents on Twitter. He says he watched as Trump agonized at the White House over what to do about DACA recipients. He’s seen the president demonstrate diligence and control, unlike the raging character often depicted in the press.Several times in our conversation, Jeffress plays it a little safer and parses his words, saying that he and the president “aren’t bosom buddies.” Is he protecting himself in case one day his association with Trump becomes toxic?“Not at all,” he says. “I just want to be as accurate as possible.”A few months after his inauguration, Trump boasts about issuing an executive order instructing the Department of the Treasury not to pursue religious organizations when they violate the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits nonprofits from making partisan political statements, a restriction Jeffress has spoken out against for more than a decade. Then, in May 2018, the Trump administration does something even more important for evangelicals: it officially relocates the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, much of which is regarded under international law as occupied territory. Jeffress, the lifelong dispensationalist, is invited to give the opening prayer at the new embassy’s dedication. He’s there, in Jerusalem, standing at the lectern with his eyes closed. He’s just feet from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner—all Jewish, all going to hell in Jeffress’s view, all sitting together in the front row. After thanking God for the blessing and protection of Israel, and for the work of both Netanyahu and the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Jeffress thanks God for the “tremendous leadership” of Donald Trump. “Without President Trump’s determination, resolve, and courage, we would not be here today,” Jeffress says. “We thank you every day that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history but, more importantly, stands on the right side of you, O God, when it comes to Israel.”A few months after that, in August, the White House hosts an elaborate dinner for a hundred or so evangelical leaders from across the country. Franklin Graham is there. So are James Dobson and Paula White, a TV host and pastor of a Florida megachurch. Jeffress is one of the preachers Trump thanks by name. Reading prepared remarks, the president lists his evangelical-friendly accomplishments: issuing orders limiting government funding for groups that provide abortions, helping to free an American pastor being held in Turkey, moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Of course, there’s no record of him mentioning any of these issues before campaigning for president and meeting people like Jeffress.At the end of his short speech, Trump thanks the religious leaders. He calls them “special people.” Then he looks up from his script.“The support you’ve given me has been incredible,” the president says. “But I really don’t feel guilty, because I have given you a lot back.” Here’s Robert Jeffress at a Maggiano’s in North Dallas, standing in front of two hundred or so people at an event called Dinner With the Pastor. Every few months, prospective church members are invited to have a meal and conversation in a private room, all on First Baptist’s tab. The massive serving plates on each table are full of ravioli slathered in cream, balsamic-glazed chicken, and meaty lasagna. There are Frisbee-size crème brûlées and gallons of iced tea. The highlight of the evening, though, is when attendees are invited to ask the pastor anything they want. One woman says she campaigned for Trump and wants to know if Jeffress really told him he knew he would be president. Jeffress recounts the conversation they had over Wendy’s cheeseburgers. But he adds that he doesn’t consider himself a Republican. First Baptist, he says, has “plenty of people who love President Trump and people who don’t love President Trump.”To watch him find new ways to justify his support is as impressive as it is exasperating.Someone wants to know when Jeffress finds time to read the Bible. Someone has a specific question about a verse in the book of Isaiah. Then a woman with an Australian accent asks Jeffress if Trump is saved. The room gets quiet. Jeffress explains that early on in his relationship with Trump, he asked, “Mr. Trump, what do I say when people ask me about your faith?” He says Trump responded, “Tell people that my faith is very important to me but that it’s also very personal.” Then someone asks if he agrees with the president about the news media. Jeffress looks right at me and smiles. He tells the audience that his mother was a high school journalism teacher. Her former students went on to work for some of the best newspapers in the country. “I honestly believe that most of the media tries their hardest to get it right,” he says, adding that the freedom of religion and freedom of the press are inextricably linked by the First Amendment. Over the following weeks, Jeffress and I discuss Russia and the forthcoming Mueller report, the joys of raising children (he has two daughters), the #MeToo movement and the church’s relationship with women. Every time we talk—no matter the headlines, no matter the president’s latest inflammatory remarks—Jeffress is steadfast in his defense of Trump. When the Mueller report is released in April and shows ample evidence of obstruction of justice, Jeffress says he still believes the entire investigation has been a political ploy to damage the president. To watch him find new ways to justify his support is as impressive as it is exasperating. I ask him if he’s bothered when the president tells easily disprovable lies—like when he claims, contrary to the evidence, that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is a Democrat. “I operate under the assumption that the president knows more than we do,” he says. “I think he probably has insight into that investigation that I don’t have.”Not once, in all the months we’ve met, has Jeffress criticized Trump. I want to know if he is at all concerned by the cost of this allegiance. I ask if he worries about turning off seekers with what they might perceive as his hypocrisy. Even Billy Graham ultimately regretted his involvement with Richard Nixon. He tells me he isn’t concerned. He endorses the president’s policies and not necessarily his behavior, he says, and most people are smart enough to know the difference. I ask if he worries that Trump is driving deeper the wedges in our society or stoking dangerous ideologies and emboldening nefarious actors. He tells me he believes the president has merely exposed the division in our country and that a public figure isn’t responsible when someone misinterprets a message as a call for violence. “There have been screwballs and zealots throughout history who have taken the truth and twisted it,” he says.I ask if he at least holds Trump accountable. Does he ever criticize the president in their private meetings? “If it had happened, I wouldn’t tell you about it,” he replies, “because I just feel like friends don’t do that to one another.”I ask him whether Trump might be a test from God, a test of whether Jeffress’s devotion is to the Bible’s teachings and requirements or whether it’s to a powerful leader whose policies he finds agreeable.“You have to operate on the best information that you have, and what we had in 2016 was the choice between two diametrically opposed candidates,” he says. “One was pro-life, pro–religious liberty, pro–conservative judiciary. His name was Donald Trump. One was a pro-choice candidate who would not stop an abortion or limit an abortion for any reason at all. It could not have been a more clear choice at that point.”Did he consider any of the sixteen other Republican candidates, most of whom would have appointed pro-life judges?“I don’t think any of them could have won,” Jeffress says.Jeffress is often asked what it would take for evangelicals to walk away from the president. If the economy collapses, he tells me, people will probably want a change. And if the president were caught being unfaithful to his wife while in office, he could see people having a problem with that. But more than anything, it would take a change in policies. “If he said, ‘You know, I think we’ve got enough conservatives on the Supreme Court. It’s time for us to have some more moderate views and balance things out.’ Or if he suddenly decided, ‘You know what, I used to be pro-choice, and then I turned pro-life. I’m gonna go back to pro-choice again.’ I mean, those would certainly be deal-breakers, I think.”Then he clarifies. He knows his audience. What he meant was that these changes would be deal-breakers for evangelicals politically, not for his own relationship with Trump.“I’m his friend,” he says. “I’ll never walk away.”This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “The Pastor and the President.” Subscribe today. Editor’s Desk(Monthly)A message from the editors at Texas Monthly Jeffress continues. He cites the Old Testament tale of Nehemiah, who was inspired by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. “The Bible says even heaven itself is gonna have a wall around it,” Jeffress adds. “Not everyone is gonna be allowed in.” Why am I seeing this? First Name Robert Jeffress at First Baptist Dallas on March 27, 2019.Photograph by Trevor Paulhus If you fill out the first name, last name, or agree to terms fields, you will NOT be added to the newsletter list. Leave them blank to get signed up. Enter your email address It’s not clear whether Dobbs buys this theological reasoning, but he’s at least amused by it. “What would be the point of those pearly gates if there weren’t a wall, right?” the host says with a Cheshire grin. The pastor keeps going. “What is immoral,” he says, “is for Democrats to continue to try to block this president from performing his God-given task of protecting this nation.”The 63-year-old Jeffress is trim and winsome, with a natural smile and a syrupy demeanor. Tonight he’s wearing a charcoal suit and a gleaming magenta tie with matching pocket square. As he speaks, the screen behind him shows generic patriotic imagery. He has the syntax and enunciation of a champion debater and the certitude of someone who believes he gets his instructions directly from God.He is known for leaning into controversy, whether it’s declaring that Mormonism is “a heresy from the pit of hell” (which resulted in an extended public beef with Mitt Romney) or preaching a sermon titled “Why Gay Is Not Okay” (which resulted in a protest outside his church) or having two hundred or so members of his choir and orchestra perform a rendition of a hymn called “Make America Great Again” at a concert in Washington, D.C. (which resulted in not one but two approving tweets from President Trump).He is also known, of course, as one of the president’s most avid and outspoken advocates. While other evangelical leaders were slow to get behind Trump—James Dobson, for example, wondered about Trump’s religiosity—Jeffress campaigned with him before the 2016 primaries even started, before Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio flamed out. If some evangelicals who now back Trump fret that they’ve entered into a Faustian bargain, for Jeffress it’s a wholehearted embrace. It’s become one of the most fascinating symbiotic relationships in modern politics: the pastor gets a national platform for his message and a leader who appoints conservative judges who will in turn restrict access to abortion; the president gets the support of evangelical voters he needs to win reelection, along with an energetic and effective promoter who can explain or excuse all manner of polarizing behavior. When the Access Hollywood tape leaked before the election and America heard Trump brag about grabbing women, Jeffress went on Fox News to say that the candidate’s words were “crude, offensive, and indefensible, but they’re not enough to make me vote for Hillary Clinton.” After the president said there were “some very fine people on both sides” of the deadly clash between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, Jeffress appeared on the Christian Broadcasting Network to say that Democrats were falsely painting Trump as a racist. “Racism comes in all shapes, all sizes, and, yes, all colors,” explained the pastor. “And if we’re going to denounce some racism, we ought to denounce all racism.”When the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels announced that she’d had a sexual encounter with Trump and was paid to keep quiet before the election, Jeffress explained in a Fox News debate with Juan Williams that evangelicals “knew they weren’t voting for an altar boy.” Never Miss a StorySign up for Texas Monthly’s State of Texas newsletter to get stories like this delivered to your inbox daily. Subscribe Jeffress defended Trump when the president referred to a kneeling NFL player as a “son of a bitch.” He justified the administration’s separating children from their parents at the border. When Trump questioned why America would accept immigrants from “shithole countries,” Jeffress responded this way: “Apart from the vocabulary attributed to him, President Trump is right on target in his sentiment.”Ten days before tonight’s appearance with Dobbs, Jeffress was on a different Fox show, scoffing at a Christmas tweet from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, suggesting that Jesus was a refugee. “There’s nothing in the Biblical text to suggest that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus came to Egypt to flee Herod illegally,” Jeffress said, laughing and shaking his head. “And they certainly didn’t come in a caravan of five thousand, threatening Egyptian sovereignty.”No doubt Jeffress knows that a lot of the people waiting at the border are there precisely because they want to enter legally, as asylum seekers, but that didn’t come up on air. These television exchanges, usually over in five minutes, don’t allow for such distinctions.Robert Jeffress being interviewed for a TV segment in Dallas on May 20, 2011.During this evening’s three-minute discussion with Dobbs, Jeffress sounds more like a fiery Old Testament prophet than a turn-the-other-cheek Christian: he decries Democrats for supporting sanctuary cities laws he believes led to the death of a police officer in California. He says Michigan representative Rashida Tlaib is “despicable” for using “gutter language to curse our president.” He declares, “The Democrats are the party of immorality.” He calls Romney a “self-righteous snake.” His animated ranting earns a belly laugh from Dobbs. Finally, the host tells him, “Pastor, good to have you with us!”With that, the camera’s off. After wiping away his TV makeup, Jeffress will walk out of the studio, drive to his home in North Dallas, and spend the rest of the evening watching TV with his wife, Amy. He may even watch a replay of tonight’s show. TV reaches people, and reaching people is important to Jeffress. And to reach people, he knows, you must understand who they are and how they will hear you. You must be, as the Apostle Paul once put it, all things to all people.Here’s Robert Jeffress as a boy in the sixties, well-mannered and bright, so infatuated with the power of television that he dreams of one day becoming—of all things—an executive producer on a TV show. He’s so dedicated to this dream, so enthralled by show business, that he wakes up early some days to play his accordion before school on a children’s morning show in Dallas called Mr. Peppermint.His family lives in Richardson, but they spend plenty of time at First Baptist, downtown. It’s a turbulent time for Dallas, where the president has just been assassinated, and for the church, which is reckoning with desegregation. First Baptist has always been enmeshed in politics: George Truett, who became pastor in 1897, gave his most famous sermon, about the separation of church and state, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C. His successor, W. A. Criswell, is not shy either: He has decried the Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools as “idiocy” and suggested that Catholics do not make good presidents. In 1968 Criswell reverses his position on desegregation and is soon thereafter voted in as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. The move puts North Texas at the center of a massive conservative movement.His ninth-grade speech teacher tells him, “Jeffress, you’re going to be a preacher one day, and it scares the bejeebers out of me because you can sell anybody anything!”Young Robert absorbs all this. His parents campaign for Barry Goldwater in 1964. When he is fourteen, Roe v. Wade goes to court, just a short walk from First Baptist; he’s seventeen when the Supreme Court legalizes access to abortion. In 1976 Criswell endorses Gerald Ford from the pulpit, but Jeffress casts his ballot—his first—for a Democrat, a born-again Christian from Georgia named Jimmy Carter. center_img Sign up for free access Although Jeffress is just a boy, people around him are already taking notice of his power to influence others. His ninth grade speech teacher tells him, “Jeffress, you’re going to be a preacher one day, and it scares the bejeebers out of me because you can sell anybody anything!” Criswell becomes his mentor, and in fact, when he’s a freshman in high school, Jeffress hears God tell him to abandon his executive producer dreams. For the first fifteen years of his career as a pastor, at a small church in Eastland and then a larger First Baptist in Wichita Falls, Jeffress doesn’t get political. He rarely mentions abortion or homosexuality. But he learns the power of controversy in 1998, when a member of his church shows him two children’s books from the local library: Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy’s Roommate. Jeffress announces that he will not allow the books to be returned. The city council takes his side, the American Civil Liberties Union sues the city, and the story makes national headlines. Eventually a court decides the library can keep the titles in the children’s section, but by then Jeffress has received letters and donations from all over the country. Church attendance goes up, and soon comes an expensive new sanctuary. Jeffress will remember these lessons when he is invited, in 2007, to return to First Baptist Dallas as senior pastor. In his first few years back, he gives sermons with attention-grabbing titles on the marquee and makes controversial statements about, in no particular order, Mormons, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, gays, lesbians, and Oprah Winfrey. Almost a decade later, he embraces one of the most controversial presidential candidates of all time, and in 2018 the church reports the highest giving levels in its 150-year history. Now, like Criswell and Billy Graham, who was himself a longtime member of First Baptist Dallas, Jeffress has the ear of the president. Through all this, he retains his affinity for television. In 2018 his entire family is featured on a TLC reality show centered on his oldest daughter’s newborn triplets. At First Baptist, the main sanctuary gets outfitted with six or seven high-definition screens that can be made into a long LED scroll that ribbons across the back of the proscenium. Sunday services are broadcast live on the church website, an operation that includes seven cameras, a team of grips and technicians, and a control room that rivals studios at CNN and Fox. The church posts his cable news clips on YouTube. Jeffress says TV accounts for a small percentage of his work but that Fox News—where he becomes a paid contributor under contract—is a “gateway to bring people into our ministry.”Donald Trump greeting Jeffress at the Celebrate Freedom Rally in Washington, D.C., on July 1, 2017.Olivier Douliery-Pool/GettyAnd television, it turns out, is how he connects to the president, a man with his own affinity for reality shows. In mid-2015, after seeing Jeffress compliment him on Fox News, Trump tweets out the clip and has someone from his office—Jeffress doesn’t remember who—reach out so he can thank the pastor for the kind words.When Jeffress recounts the story, he lowers his voice an octave to repeat the way he’s heard Trump describe it: “ ‘You know, I was watching TV one night, and I’ll never forget, I saw Pastor Jeffress saying, ‘Trump’s a lousy Christian, but he’s a good leader. ’ ”The pastor interrupts himself to clarify. “Of course, I didn’t quite say it that way,” he explains, lest anyone think he called the president lousy. “I said, ‘He’s not a perfect person, but he’s a tremendous leader.’ ”Jeffress has also heard Trump tell it this way: “I was watching television with Melania, and I saw Pastor Jeffress, and I said, ‘Look at his mouth move! Look at how quickly that mouth moves. It’s like a machine gun! I would never want to see that used against me someday!’ ” Trump’s campaign asks Jeffress to pray at a rally in Dallas that fall, and soon the two forge what they describe as a friendship. The candidate sends nice notes or has his assistant email, and in early 2016, Trump invites Jeffress to join him on the campaign trail. The pastor spends a weekend with Trump in Iowa, where, both men understand, evangelical support can make or break a Republican presidential run. Jeffress says things like “I don’t want some meek and mild leader or somebody who’s going to turn the other cheek. I’ve said I want the meanest, toughest SOB I can find to protect this nation.” Then Jeffress is at Trump Tower on the day of the election. The mood is not optimistic. Jeffress tells Trump he hopes they’ll stay friends, no matter the outcome. Trump asks him if he thinks evangelical voters will show up for him. The pastor says he does. Later that night, Jeffress and his wife go to the Hilton to watch the results come in. For a while, it’s slow and quiet, and the couple debate leaving early. But as the evening wears on, the feeling in the room starts to change. “I will never forget when the spotlight was thrown on the balcony of the ballroom,” he recalls later, his voice slowing for dramatic effect. “The president and the first lady and their family entered to the soundtrack of the movie Air Force One. It was a chill-bumps moment.”After a speech, Trump comes down from the stage to shake a few hands. Spotting Jeffress, he walks over and puts his arm around the pastor. The boy who used to play his accordion on Mr. Peppermint is now standing next to the future president. “Did you see it?” Trump says. “Largest evangelical turnout in history!”“Yes, sir, I saw it,” Jeffress tells him. “I just wanted to be sure you saw it.”Here’s Robert Jeffress in his office, a year or so into Trump’s first term, speaking to a reporter: me. We have a bit of history. In late 2011, around the time Jeffress was first upsetting conservatives by criticizing Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, I wrote a profile of Jeffress for D Magazine. In the story, I explained that despite the fact that I disagreed with him on virtually every issue—at the time, he was supporting a presidential run by Texas governor Rick Perry—I found Jeffress charming and personable. Yes, he insists that the vast majority of humanity will spend eternity in a pit of fire. But he’s also self-deprecating and disarming. I was curious about his political advocacy and how he squares it with the teachings of Jesus.After the story ran, we continued to have lunch every couple of months, usually in his office. It’s on the sixth floor of one of the church’s eight buildings, with towering shelves of scholarly journals, framed covers of his books (he has written more than twenty), and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the Nasher Sculpture Center. We ask each other about family and work. We discuss news and politics and whatever’s happening in the world that week.He’s completely engaged, attentive. With or without the TV makeup, he’s the same man. Same rapid-fire delivery. Same polite, saccharine manner. Same unapologetic born-again Baptist view of the world. He says he genuinely wants me to dedicate myself to Jesus Christ, and he prays for me and my wife. His goal is to save as many souls as possible before the end times. He knows journalism is important to me, and he reminds me that some of the greatest writers in history were Christians. I joke that I know he’d love to brag that he helped shape some sort of present-day C. S. Lewis.Jeffress often tells his flock that God sends us tests and trials. I want to ask Jeffress if he thinks there’s any chance Donald Trump is a test from God—and if maybe he’s failing.I’m also forthright: about my curiosity, about my dismay at the many things he says and does that have the potential to hurt so many people. He knows what I’m talking about, and he laughs and nods. We discuss my writing something about him and his friendship with the president. He likes the idea. Then he jokes, “Now, don’t pull a Michael Cohen on me!”So for months, I attend Sunday services, hang out at church events, spend hours talking politics with religious conservatives, and meet over and over with Jeffress himself. The unlikelihood of the Trump presidency has occasioned much ink and froth about the many purported reasons that white evangelicals supported him: economic and racial fears, Supreme Court picks, abortion, the fact that he wasn’t Hillary Clinton, and so on. It’s also provoked condemnation of Jeffress and his fellow Trump-supporting religious leaders for seemingly abandoning Christian principles in exchange for power—for becoming “court evangelicals,” as historian John Fea, the author of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, puts it. Fresh-faced 2020 presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, a gay military veteran and a Christian, likes to say that support for Trump is in tension with much of the New Testament, including, for example, the way Jesus condemns those who truckle to the strong while neglecting the poor. Closer to home, Eric Folkerth, the senior pastor at the much more liberal Woods United Methodist Church, in Grand Prairie, writes an open letter to Jeffress in May, calling him “a Pharisee of our time.”And so I press Jeffress to explain the choices he makes, to explain the things he says in front of the cameras. Jeffress has told me he was drawn to Trump’s leadership and intellect. “He’s a very smart person,” he’s said. “You don’t become a billionaire and president of the United States by being an idiot.” But none of that quite explains why a pastor goes out of his way to publicly defend the president’s every indiscretion. He could easily vote according to his views on the Supreme Court or according to his conscience on abortion without also going on TV, over and over, in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers, to explain away things like Trump’s adultery and language that inflames foreign policy. He could be in favor of immigration reform, for example, and not feel compelled to rationalize the separation of families. He could believe that God has put someone in power and still hold that person to a high moral standard.Jeffress often tells his flock that God sends us tests and trials. I want to ask Jeffress if he thinks there’s any chance Donald Trump is a test from God—and if maybe he’s failing. Here’s Robert Jeffress on a Sunday morning, surrounded by lights and cameras and flat screens the size of school buses, taking the stage with the confident stride of a talk show host. He’s looking out on an audience of roughly 1,600, with thousands more watching and listening in, delivering a sermon that’s at turns funny and thoughtful and ripe with references to pop culture and historic events and scholarly interpretations of biblical passages. Jeffress is wearing a dark suit with faint pinstripes, a red tie that glimmers under the lights, and a nearly imperceptible wireless microphone over his right cheek, and he’s nailing the timing of every joke and pausing for laughs and modulating his voice in just the right way to create connection. Today’s sermon is about “the antidote to worry,” and it unfolds like a forty-minute brimstone-scented TED talk. In the first few minutes alone, he mixes in quotes from obscure authors, anecdotes from World War II, and the etymology of the word “worry.” Sprinkled throughout are also copious references to supporting Scripture; there are more than ten, from the Old Testament and New, in the first twenty minutes. After each citation, he pauses to let his words linger. His reasoning is based on the fact that every word of the Bible is literally true.Jeffress agrees with the popular comparison evangelicals draw between President Trump and Cyrus the Great, the ancient Persian king who, according to Jewish tradition, allowed the exiled Hebrews to return to Jerusalem. Cyrus is thought of as a secular agent of God’s divine plan, and this oft-cited parallel is useful to Trump’s most enthusiastic backers as a way of explaining their support: they can champion him, they say, because there is a difference between the earthly realm and the heavenly one, between government and church. In an interview with the Washington Post, Jerry Falwell Jr. put it this way: “In the heavenly kingdom, the responsibility is to treat others as you’d like to be treated. In the earthly kingdom, the responsibility is to choose leaders who will do what’s best for your country.”But keeping your realms separate is not so clear-cut when you’re both a pundit and a pastor. Jeffress, unlike his peers, is the full-time shepherd of a flock. In the lustrous sanctuary of First Baptist—the church has multiple six-story garages and crowded escalators and feels a little like one of the theaters or music halls a few blocks away in the Arts District—Jeffress preaches two sermons nearly every Sunday. He attends luncheons and prayer meetings and Bible studies. He visits people in the hospital and performs weddings and funerals. He helped raise more than $135 million for a renovation that included a new children’s building, sky bridges, and a dancing, LED-loaded fountain. At special events, visitors are given not a Bible but a copy of one of his books. “He is so right,” one of his members, a black mother in her thirties, tells me. “It is time to stop being wimpy about Christianity. I wish more Christians had the heart for the Lord that he does.”Jeffress studiously insists that his politics and his pastorate are separate. “We don’t check green cards or passports at First Baptist Dallas,” he’s fond of saying. When he’s at the podium in church, he seldom utters a word about the president. And while some of the older men in the pews are wearing American flag and Israeli flag pins on their suits—and there’s at least one bumper sticker in the parking garage for QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory alleging a “deep state” plot against Trump—it’s not like members are debating legislative policy in the halls. It’s more that there’s a general celebration and commingling of patriotism and piety. I recently attended services on and off for five months and never heard Jeffress mention politics explicitly in a sermon. I heard him talk about how heaven is a real place and what people do there: enjoy the relief of a job well done, share fellowship with loved ones, get to better know their Lord. Though First Baptist doesn’t keep records on its racial demographics, the congregation seems as diverse as that of any megachurch in North Texas. Affluent older white people dressed in stiff suits and flowery dresses with matching hats. Young couples, the men in jeans and tucked-in button-downs, the women in cotton dresses. A black family spanning four generations. Immigrants from Latin America and Africa and Eastern Europe and East Asia. At the other end of the building, in a separate sanctuary, hundreds more people—mostly younger—watch Jeffress on a live broadcast.About twenty minutes into his sermon about worry, Jeffress says something that makes me perk up a bit. He’s hoisting an open Bible in his left hand when his tone changes for just a moment, and he stares into the camera, his right hand gesturing to the breast of his pinstriped suit. “I can tell you from personal experience: God’s discipline is never pleasant,” he says. “There are times in my life—don’t ask for details, I’m not gonna give ’em to you—but I can tell you, there are times that I have not been doing the right thing, and God put his heavy hand upon me. And I can tell you for sure, I never want to experience that again.”He explains that we don’t have to experience God’s discipline if we live our lives the right way. He makes another emphatic gesture with his right hand, this time with his thumb out in a way that evokes Bill Clinton. “Today,” he says, we can “start walking in a new direction.”As he always does, Jeffress invites anyone who wants to be saved to come forward and dedicate their life to Jesus Christ. His voice is soft. Even in a crowd of some 1,600 people, for a split second it can feel as if he’s talking to you personally. “It’s no coincidence that you’re hearing my voice today,” he says. When he’s done this morning, there are at least a dozen people walking down the aisles, ready to be born again. Already a subscriber? Login or link your subscription. Hope you enjoyed your free ride. To get back in the saddle, subscribe! Sign UpI agree to the terms and conditions. The State of Texas(Daily)A daily digest of Texas news, plus the latest from Texas Monthly This Week in Texas(Weekly)The best stories from Texas Monthly Subscribe now, or to get 10 days of free access, sign up with your email. Cancel anytime. Last Name Jeffress preaching at First Baptist Dallas on April 1, 2018.First Baptist Dallas You’ve read your last free articlelast_img read more

IT may have been cold and wet but Australia and Fi

first_imgIT may have been cold and wet but Australia and Fiji served up a World Cup treat to warm the packed crowd at Langtree Park.The Kangaroos eased to a 34-2 victory, but for 20 minutes the Bati threw everything at them.Fiji began the first half well peppering the Aussie line and eventually grabbing the lead through a Alipate Noilea penalty.But once the Aussies got a foothold in the match through Josh Papalii, on his debut, they never looked back.Further tries from Darius Boyd, Michael Jennings, Josh Morris, Daly Cherry-Evans and Luke Lewis underlined their dominance.Fiji kept at it though and Civoniceva almost grabbed a consolation at the end – but it was wiped off by the video referee much to the dismay of the 14,137 crowd.Australia:Tries: Papalii, Boyd, Jennings, J Morris, Cherry-Evans, Lewis Goals: Thurston 5Fiji:Goals: NoileTeams:Australia: Inglis; Hayne, J. Morris, Jennings, Boyd; Thurston, Cherry-Evans; Scott, Smith, Tamou, Lewis, Papalii, Myles.Subs: Cordner, Farah, Fifita, Gallen.Fiji:K. Naiqama; Koroibete, Waqa, D. Millard, Uate; Noilea, Groom, A; Sims, Storer, Civoniceva, T. Sims, Bukuya, K. Sims.Subs: Koroisau, Vunakece, Evans, Roqica.last_img read more

The partnership further enhances the strong links

first_imgThe partnership further enhances the strong links between the two clubs and will continue the already successful player pathway.St.Helens will have a team in the Women’s Super League whilst Thatto Heath will also play in the Merit League, with a crossover of players from both sides.Saints will also continue to support Thatto Heath’s successful girls section.Craig Richards, Lead Community Coach, said: “There is already a strong bond between the Saints and Thatto Heath’s women’s and girls’ sections and this partnership is a direct result.“The girls’ pathway will continue to be supported by Community Saints coaches and those players will hopefully progress into the women’s teams.“Seven Thatto Heath – St Helens women were called up into the England squad for the World Cup and we hope there are many more to come through this partnership.”Mike Denning added: “We are delighted to support all initiatives which seeks to promote the Women and Girls game. We have worked hard to give the Women and Girls competitive games and believe the time is right to take further steps to get these talented players recognised in the rugby communities.“I would like to thank Saints for their understanding of how the community games works for the Women and Girls and working with us to ensure all have a pathway to continue to enjoy their Rugby League at all levels.”Training will remain at Thatto Heath Crusaders Close Street home with some sessions for the Women and Girls taking place at the Cowley Training Centre.The club will also use the Totally Wicked Stadium when fixtures allow.“This is an exciting time for St Helens and Thatto Heath Crusaders,” Craig added. “If you want to get involved in sponsoring the team or the players, please contact the club for further information.”last_img read more

The prop forward caps a stellar season with his fi

first_imgThe prop forward caps a stellar season with his first ‘cap’ in the national side’s game with France at Leigh Sports Village (7:45pm).He is joined by teammate Mark Percival who will start the game at centre.England Squad:James Shaul (Hull FC)Tom Johnstone (Wakefield TrinityReece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity)Mark Percival (St Helens)Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants)Richie Myler (Leeds Rhinos)Jake Connor (Hull FC)James Graham (St. George Illawarra Dragons)Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders)Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)Oliver Holmes (Castleford Tigers)Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)Adam Milner (Castleford Tigers)Luke Thompson (St Helens)Robbie Mulhern (Hull KR)Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos)Saints’ Theo Fages will also play for France once more.Congratulations to all three Saints!last_img read more

They are now available in store and online whilst

first_imgThey are now available in store and online, whilst you can also purchase yours via mail order by calling 01744 455 050. (Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm, Saturday: 10am – 4pm).2019 members can get 10 per cent off either or both of the shirts in November and December, in store only.If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to collect your 2019 Membership card from the ticket office before being able to access the discount.The Fit:The shirts are produced in the UK by O’Neills Sportswear from a fabric called Koolite.This is breathable, cool and offers high wicking properties for enhanced wearer comfort.It also compromises anti-bacterial properties keeping the shirt and you fresh, with good shape retention after multiple washing.There is also a player-fit version of both shirts, which hugs the body and has extra stitching. It also has a sublimated Club crest and a rubber gripper.Remember to select your size carefully bearing in mind it is tight-fitting for a more athletic physique.Personalisation is available in store and online, with red lettering and numbers on the home shirt and white on the away shirt, subject to availability, and subject to squad lists being confirmed.The squad list for 2019 will be announced shortly.Prices:Adult Replica shirts are available in sizes X-small through to 7XL and are priced at £50.Player Version Shirts are available in sizes X-small through to 3XL and are priced at £70.Ladies Shirts are available in sizes 8 through to 18 and are priced at £50.Children’s Shirts are available from age 5/6 years through to 13/14 years and are priced at £36.Baby’s Shirts are available from 0-6 months and 6-12 months and are priced at £30.Infant Kits, for ages 1 to 2 and 3 to 4 are on sale for £40 and include shorts and socks.last_img read more

Orton Plantation burning nearly 900 acres

first_img Orton Plantation says they have experienced local fire and safety professionals on site at all times.The annual control burn season for the plantation lasts until May 1. BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — If you see or smell smoke today it might be from a prescribed burn in Brunswick County.Orton Plantation is conducting controlled burning on 866 acres Thursday as part of its management plan to improve forest health and restore longleaf pine habitat.- Advertisement – last_img

Four charged after investigators recover 600K in stolen items

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Detectives with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office say four men have been charged after recovering more than $600,000 in stolen goods and equipment. BCSO says two men are behind bars, while two others are still on the run.Brandon Johnson Inman, 30, of Vedra Lane, Leland, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with two counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, felony larceny, attempted breaking or entering, five counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and four counts of obtaining property by false pretense. Inman was booked into the Brunswick County Detention Facility where he remains under a $130,000 bond.- Advertisement – James Christopher Faulk, 49, of Merrywood Drive, Leland, was arrested Thursday and charged with three counts of possession of stolen goods, and three counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Faulk was also processed into the Brunswick County Detention Facility where he remains under a $50,000 bond.Eliott Watkins, 26, of Andrew Jackson Hwy, Delco, is wanted on charges of larceny of a motor vehicle, felony larceny, and attempted breaking or entering.Toby Ray O’Neal, 58, of Green Loop Road, Leland, is wanted on charges of possession of a motor vehicle, altering or removing NMV serial number, vehicle or vehicle part without manufacturer’s number, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.Related Article: WANTED: Trio accused of selling prescription pillsThe investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected.Deputies say equipment recovered included a Caterpillar front end loader, a John Deer Gator, an Evenrude 70HP outboard, a Club street car, a Ford F-250, a Miller welder, 7 X 14 enclosed trailer, a Kubota side by side, a Road King trailer, mud mats and a Mako Pro skiff.last_img read more

New Hanover County hosting Hurricane Survivor Housing Resource Fair

first_img Representatives from New Hanover County’s Hurricane Recovery Coordination Office, Department of Social Services, American Red Cross, Amigos Internacional, Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity, Cape Fear REALTORS®, Catholic Charities, North Carolina Emergency Management Housing Specialists and Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM), among others, will be at the housing fair to help residents.For more information, visit or call 910-798-7007. (Photo: WWAY) New Hanover County, NC (WWAY) – The New Hanover County Hurricane Florence Recovery Coordination Office will host a housing resource fair on Tuesday, March 5, from 4 to 7 p.m. for survivors who are displaced or in need of home repair because of Hurricane Florence. The Hurricane Survivor Housing Resource Fair will be held in the Oleander Room of the Northeast Library at 1241 Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington.The Hurricane Florence Recovery Coordination Office will provide information about Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs and participating organizations will offer information on housing assistance, repair resources and other types of financial assistance.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Need for foster parents high across the Cape Fear

first_img In New Hanover County alone, there are more than 300 children who need a foster parent.One of the biggest myths people have is that assuming parents must be married but the organization actually recruits parents who are single or in a long-term committed relationship including heteorosexual, gay or lesbian couples.Nicole Smithers, who is the foster care program coordinator, says the basic requirement is that you love kids and want to help.If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent, an Open House will be held Tuesday, April 2, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Easterseals UCP Wilmington Child Development Center office located at 4130 Oleander Drive, Wilmington. LELAND, NC (WWAY) — There is a tremendous need for single and married people who are willing to become foster parents.The Easterseals UCP Wilmington Child Development Center license foster homes primarily in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender Counties. The organization’s Foster Care Program receives about 5-to-7 referrals daily.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Northside Pool repairs almost complete

first_img00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– Who doesn’t want a dip in a pool on a hot summer day?According to the City of Wilmington, repairs to the Northside Pool are almost complete after the pool was damaged during Hurricane Florence.The Northside Pool on Bess Street is one of 3 city pools.- Advertisement – During Florence the roof of the pump house was torn off and the building was damaged. Extensive electrical work is also being done.The splash pad is open, even though the pool is closed.The operating hours at both Legion and Robert Strange pools have been extended.last_img read more

Updated Man murdered and two injured in Birżebbuġa

first_img SharePrint CMRUCMRU The police have confirmed that a 42 year old male originating from the Ivory Coast was shot and killed on Saturday night.A 22 year old male of foreign nationality, who was a resident of Hal Far, has also suffered grievous injuries.The third man of 45 years old believed to be from Georgia, is also at risk of losing his life.Police are still investigating.Man murdered and two injured in BirżebbuġaA man was killed and another two were injured in a residence in Triq tal-Ġebel, Birżebbuġa on Saturday night.In a statement, the Police said that what originally started off as a heated argument, ending up in a fatal shooting. All this happened at around 11pm. When they went on the site, the police noticed that two men were injured and were transferred to Mater Dei Hospital by ambulance. One of the men was also operated upon as he was found to be in a critical condition. The dead man has not yet been identified whilst one of the injured is a 45-year-old from Georgia. An inquiry is being led by Magistrate Dr R. Montebello. The Police said that this case is being treated as a murder.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Photos Are we fostering aggression racism or hate – Archbishop Scicluna

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Curia – – Archbishop Charles Scicluna asked the faithful whether through their actions they are professing their values, during his homily on Friday.Mgr Scicluna was delivering his homily during a mass celebrated at Swatar Parish Church for which APS employees were present. Earlier Archbishop Scicluna together with Archbishop Emeritus Paul Cremona led the Our Lady of Sorrows procession in Valletta for which thousands were in attendance.READ: “Follow in Mary’s footsteps this Lent” – Archbishop SciclunaDuring his homily Mgr Scicluna asked the faithful to reflect on whether one is listening to and living the Word of God, explaining that while one acknowledged one’s weaknesses, one is still called to live by God’s Word, during the Holy Week. The Archbishop asked those present “When we ‘like’ a Facebook post, what values are we putting into practice? Are we fostering aggression, racism or hate? Are we keeping in mind the word of God?” He observed that while surfing on social media he often encounters aggressiveness, racism, and hatred.‘We’re weak’Archbishop Scicluna said that many a times one feels irritated by the Word of God as it would go against one’s instincts. He encouraged the faithful not to give up and to turn to the Lord and admit one’s weakness reminding those present of the Penitent Thief who was described by Luke as asking Jesus to ‘remember him’ when he comes into his kingdom. Mgr Scicluna explained that perhaps the Penitent Thief had never heard words of gratitude and was only condemned throughout his life, however on the cross Jesus has assured him that ‘today you will be with me in Paradise’, therefore the Penitent Thief who was condemned and humiliated was assured that eternity was his.  Curia – Curia – Curia – Ritratti: Kurja – SharePrintlast_img read more

Indian Christians pray for peaceful elections good of nation

first_img SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Insara Indjani jitolbu għal elezzjonijiet paċifiċi u l-ġid tal-pajjiżInsara Indjani jitolbu għal elezzjonijiet paċifiċi u l-ġid tal-pajjiż In view of the next general elections that started on 11 April, India’s Christians are praying that a peaceful and transparent vote may bring “well-being and harmony” for the future of the country.Fides News Agency reported that at least 5,000 Indian Christians, including bishops, clergy and Christian faithful of various confessions joined recently in the capital Delhi to pray for the nation.Prayer and fastingArchbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto, who leads the Archdiocese of Delhi, urged the faithful “to fast and pray for the good of the country,” and expressed the hope that the people “will choose leaders with great vision for the development of society and the nation and asked them to work for good of humanity. We pray to God that peace and harmony may prevail in India.”In recent weeks hundreds of intellectuals, journalists, artists, and activists spoke in public urging citizens to “put aside the policy of hatred”, promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, running for a second five-year mandate. Under his government, Christians and Muslims all over the country have experienced attacks of violence often organised by nationalist Hindus.Modi nullified 100 years of progressExpressing his concern Catholic lay leader John Dayal, and also human rights activist, told Fides: “In five years (2014-2019), this government has succeeded in nullifying the progress achieved in India, regarding the struggle for freedom and human rights over the past 100 years. This has affected the principles of equality and above all brotherhood.”Some 900 million Indians are called to the polls to elect 543 members of the Federal Government in a process articulated in 7 stages, beginning on April 11 and closing on May 19. Among its population of 1.3 billion India has 966 million Hindus, equal to 80 percent. Muslims constitute 15 percent and India’s Christians comprise 2.3 percent (about 28 million).WhatsApplast_img read more

Help each other Pope tells prisoners at foot washing rite

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint Pope Francis holds a service during the celebrations of the Holy Thursday at the District House of Velletri prison, in Velletri near Rome, Italy, April 18, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERSPope Francis holds a service during the celebrations of the Holy Thursday at the District House of Velletri prison, in Velletri near Rome, Italy, April 18, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 prisoners on Thursday at a traditional service, telling them to shun any inmate hierarchy structure or law of the strongest and to help each other instead.Francis’ predecessors held the traditional Holy Thursday rite in one of Rome’s great basilicas, washing the feet of 12 priests. But to emphasise its symbolism of service, Francis transferred it to places of confinement, such as prisons, immigrant centres or old age homes.He travelled this year to a prison in the town of Velletri, about 40 km south of Rome.It is the fifth time since his election in 2013 that he has held the service, which commemorates Jesus’ gesture of humility towards his apostles on the night before he died, in jail.Francis told the inmates that in Jesus’s time, washing the feet of visitors was the job of slaves and servants.“This is the rule of Jesus and the rule of the gospel. The rule of service, not of domination or of humiliating others,” he said.“Among you, it must not be this way (domination). The strongest must serve the smallest one. The one who thinks he is the strongest must be a servant. We must all be servants,” he said.Pope Francis washes feet of an inmate during the celebrations of the Holy Thursday at the District House of Velletri prison, in Velletri near Rome, Italy, April 18, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERSOf the male inmates whose feet Francis washed, there were nine Italians, one Brazilian, one Moroccan and one Ivorian. The Vatican did not give their religions.In the past, conservative Catholics criticised the pope for washing the feet of women and Muslim inmates.The Velletri prison, which is overcrowded like most Italian jails, mostly holds foreigners for common crimes, but one section holds turncoats who collaborated with investigators and get special protection.On Good Friday, Francis, marking his seventh Easter season as Roman Catholic leader, is due to lead a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession around Rome’s ancient Colosseum.The 82-year-old leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholics leads an Easter vigil service on Saturday night and on Easter Sunday reads the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (To The City and The World) message.WhatsApplast_img read more

Watch What will happen to Maltese students accepted for Erasmus in the

first_img SharePrint Chief Negotiator of the European Union for Brexit Michel Barnier said that he thinks that the Erasmus programme is, has been and will remain one of the strongest, most positive and most human programmes in the EU, so they will do everything they can for it to continue.But now the United Kingdom has decided to leave, it cannot be business as usual and a specific agreement with the UK will have to be allow it to participate in the programme, possibly similar to the agreements they have with countries outside the EU such as Norway and Sweden, he said.Barnier was answering the question made to him by after the news conference at Castille with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was over, as a number of journalists were not permitted to ask Barnier any questions during the press conference itself.Watch: “The answers are in London and not in the European Union” – Barnier on BrexitWhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Watch There were many unanswered questions about the moon – Apollo specialist

first_imgDuring the interview, Pace was asked about why there had only been 6 intended lunar landings despite aborted the Apollo 13.Pace instead pointed out that NASA had actually planned 9 missions which would include Apollos 18,19 and 20. But, due to the exorbitant amount spent on the programme ($25bn then / $60bn now), those remaining three were scrapped.He added that this had been connected to the political and financial turmoil facing the US both at home and abroad as well as the declining interest in the programme since the first successful mission.‘The US was fighting the Vietnam War, it was dealing with flower power and protests. President Richard Nixon was noticing the popularity of the Apollo missions decreasing. People were not interested in more lunar landings. “We got there, we don’t need to go 10 times”’.Pace explains that from a monetary standpoint, the last three lunar missions were scrapped and now their rocket boosters could be found as museum pieces.Was the end of Apollo a Giant Leap Back? No Despite previous missions making lunar orbits of the moon, astronauts and scientists still had many ‘unanswered questions about the moon,’ Apollo Missions specialist David Pace explains.Speaking to, he explained that one of the biggest worries was how deep the dust on the moon’s surface would be and if it posed a risk to the astronauts and the lunar lander.‘They were worried that the lander would sink into the dust and they had found it hard to replicate the conditions of the moon on the earth.’At the same time, lunar dust is not just any dust, he explains.‘Lunar dust is electrified due to the solar wind, it sticks together and it is very toxic. They were worried that running around on the moon and bring the dust back into the lunar module would gunk up the works.’In addition to dust, Pace explained that our knowledge of the moon’s geology was also extended by the by the amount of lunar rocks and samples gathered from different areas.‘The rocks are very ancient. 3.6 billion years old.’He explains that this allowed them to build the theory that the Moon was formed after the earth as a result of a collision with another body. It was also airless and suffered from extremes of temperature.The 50th AnniversaryPace spoke to shortly before the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings which took place on July 20th 1969.While Michael Collins remained in the command module above the lunar surface, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ventured to the Moon becoming the first men to set foot there and to immortalise the line ‘One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind.’Pace was set to deliver a speech on the Apollo 11 mission as part of a commemoration organised in collaboration between the Euro Media Forum and the US Embassy in Malta.It was getting very expensive and people were losing interest One of the key burning questions needing to be asked of Pace was if the lunar mission had been a hoax.His response? ‘If it didn’t happen, the Russians would’ve pounced.’Pace explains that the Cold War adversaries in the Soviet Union had been watching the Apollo missions closely and had been developing their manned lunar programmes.  They had however expressed to the US that they had no intention of sending their cosmonauts on the moon. Pace says this was just the Russians showing a sign of ‘sour grapes’ over failing to be first to the moon despite being first into space.At the same time, he stresses that managing such a large conspiracy with many thousands of people involved would be too big of a secret to keep.Secondly, Pace stresses that there have been numerous efforts to try and debunk the scientific occurrences on the moon, namely the lighting, displacement of the ground, gravity and the important ‘waving flag’.He explained that the theory that the US flag planted into the ground has supposedly waved, was caused only by virtue of the astronaut forcing the pole into the ground. The force then created a vibration causing the flag to wave, Pace said.‘As an astronomer, I know that the moon has no air. I observe occultations  of the moon. There is a star which sits close to the Moon in the night’s sky. If there was air, the star would shimmer, it doesn’t shimmer.I don’t have to be there to tell you there is no air on the Moon. I can tell you from earth.Sceptics say there is no flame Another conspiracy which Pace believes can be debunked by science is that of the Eagle’s flight back to the Command module.Pace says that the propellants used in the stage were what is known as ‘hypergolic’. When the Hydrazine and Nitrogen tetroxide mixed together, they instantly started to burn, but burn with a transparent flame.WhatsApp SharePrintcenter_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> When asked about whether the ending of the Apollo missions had been a regression for NASA, Pace disagreed.Instead, he perceived the end of Apollo and its manned operations as a logical result of the rise of more technological space operations. It was safer and cheaper to deploy unmanned spacecraft.However, he also stressed that NASA can only plan in 5 year stages depending on political priorities and the sitting president.According to the specialist, NASA’s previous $8bn Aries project conducted under the Obama Administration was subsequently halted and the money lost in order to meet President Trumps’ new focus of returning to the Moon. It is hoped that the US can send astronauts back to the Moon under the Artemis programme by 2024.The shuttle derailed the space programmeSpeaking further about near-orbit projects, Pace explained that the space shuttle programme which was heralded in the 1980s as a key next stage for NASA that ended up almost bankrupting the agency and ‘derailed the space programme.’Pace said that up until the retirement of the fleet in 2011, the shuttle programme swallowed the bulk of the agency’s finances resulting in them being unable to invest in other unmanned space projects.While other countries did not see the need to invest in similar programmes, the door flung open for the ‘commercialisation of space.’Was it a hoax?last_img read more

First round of the National Drifting Championship

first_imgOn Sunday 14th April, the Malta Drifting Association organised the first round of the National Drifting Championship at a new venue in Ta’ Qali. This was possible thanks to the collaboration of several different authorities and especially that of the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre. This new venue offered a bigger challenge to the organisers but at the same a more challenging track to the participants.Eight cars competed in two different classes, that for professionally-built cars and that for street-legal cars.Andrea Fabri, winner of the 2018 Championship, won this first round on his Enemed Supra. Fabri was followed by Marisa Grixti, who returned to compete following one year of absence and Christian Borg on his Yato Silvia who also returned to the sport after two years.The next round is set for Sunday 28th April.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=a7617b59&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Apples New MacBook Will Have One Port To Rule Them All

first_imgAdvertisement Apple just announced its latest MacBook. It’s tiny. It makes the Macbook Air look like a Dell Inspiron circa 2002. But hopefully you’re not one of those jerks that actually uses the ports on the side of your computer. This MacBook only has a single USB-C and it does everything from charging, to sending video out and transporting data.It’s the only port on the computer meaning owners cannot charge the computer and an iPhone at the same time. It’s not possible to output video to a monitor and input data from an external drive — at least not without a hub. – Advertisement – This single port was likely the byproduct of Apple’s quest to make the thinnest MacBook possible. Ports take a lot of room. Thanks to their physical structure, the female jack cannot be made that much smaller.This isn’t the first time Apple threw out industry standards. In 1998 Apple shocked the industry and didn’t include a floppy drive or serial ports in the iMac G3. Instead Apple included a CD-ROM and two USB ports. In 2008, much to the chagrin of video producers, Apple stopped including Firewire ports, a standard it created, on its computers. Apple did away with CD-ROM drives as soon as it could and completely ignored Blu-ray.But has Apple gone too far here? A single port, one that charges the computer along with much more, forces the owner to turn to other devices to use their devices in familiar ways.Apple doesn’t rely on the industry to dictate what should be included in its computers, consumer be damned.Here are the cables and accessories you’ll need for the MacBook.Source Techcrunchlast_img read more

How Technology Has Influenced Entertainment

first_imgComputers have become common place, cell phones, tablets and similar devices have revolutionised the way we socialise and communicate with one another. Advertisement We have become so accustomed to technology and all the conveniences that it affords that we don’t often take the time to consider how differently we would do things should someone pull the proverbial big internet plug and we were no longer connected to the world wide web. How would we find out information if we couldn’t make use of a web browser? Would we have to go off to our local library, the newspaper archives or write a letter requesting information?The same is true for entertainment. For centuries we would have to give thought and generally plan entertainment in advance. If the weather was poor, one may have to stay indoors and find an activity such as reading, storytelling or games with which to occupy ourselves. The past decade, in particular, has changed the way we do things considerably. Computers have become common place, cell phones, tablets and similar devices have revolutionised the way we socialise and communicate with one another.Computers have become common place, cell phones, tablets and similar devices have revolutionised the way we socialise and communicate with one another.Here are a few prime examples of how things have changed.Casinos are scattered all over the world, but are not always accessible to all. While you may be in the mood for a few games or poker or roulette, there may not be a casino in or near the city where you live – and even if there is, other factors such as transport, weather, not having a babysitter may interfere with your plans. Online casinos offer convenience, security, great value and the ability to access them from almost anywhere in the world. By simply logging in to your favourite online casino, you’ll find yourself almost instantly able to begin your adventure and let your hair down.Social media has grown to such a point that no matter how remote you are, no matter how bad the weather is and how isolated you are, provided that there is an internet connection you’re able to feel connected to the outside world and keep up to date with family and friends across the globe. Granted, it doesn’t replace true connections, but it certainly does a fantastic job of uniting and creating bonds.When last did you have to go to the library to look up information in a reference book? The internet is like one enormous encyclopaedia containing the answers to almost every question you could possibly ask. On the downside, there is a fair amount of misleading, incorrect information available, but the onus lies on you to do your research and cross-check facts.For years, should we wish to play a computer game against a friend (remember Nintendo), we’d have to be in the same room, hooked up to the same console, but now you are able to play your favourite online game against a friend on the opposite side of the globe – you don’t even need to know the so called friend! – Advertisement – Yes, things have changed remarkably and will continue to change. So next time you decide to play a few rounds of Texas Hold’em Poker while reclining in your bed, wearing your favourite PJ’s, consider how fortunate you are that thanks to technology, the casino now comes to you.[related-posts]last_img read more