Friday, May 22, 2009

ACLU targets alleged Bible distribution in Wylie Schools

— Wylie Independent School District is one of six Texas public school districts asked Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas to disclose all information about distribution of Gideon Bibles and other religious information on its schools’ grounds.

The ACLU filed open records requests with school districts in Frisco, Marshall, Plano, Westwood (of Palestine), Wylie and Wichita Falls.

“We have received numerous complaints about the Gideon (International) distributions from parents and students in school districts all over the state. This is the first step in a statewide investigation,” said Lisa Graybill, legal director of the ACLU of Texas. “We are very concerned that some school districts are knowingly flouting the law.”

The open records request called for the named school districts to disclose religious information — including but not limited to Gideon Bibles — that was distributed or displayed during the 2007-08 and the 2008-09 school years or will be distributed or displayed during the last week and a half of the 2008-09 school year.

School districts are also asked to deliver records of individuals and organizations who requested permission to distribute or display religious information on each campus during the past two school years. Officials must include information that shows how each request was answered — approved or denied — and why.

The ACLU is also asking for all information relating to complaints lodged against the district regarding the distribution or display of religious information during the past two school years.

That would include all agendas, minutes, audio or video recordings of district school board meetings when such distribution and display was proposed, discussed or approved, according to an ACLU news release.

“When public school officials endorse the distribution of religious materials, they risk violating the Constitution, no matter what the religion,” Graybill said. “School endorsement of the Bible is no more acceptable than endorsement of any other religious text, like the Quran or Torah.”

The ACLU said its concerns included children as young as fifth-graders who had been targeted. Others were in middle school.

“For some children, having a Bible thrust at them goes against their religious beliefs. Because of the climate in many of the offending school districts, children who have voiced objections to this practice have been humiliated and shamed by their peers and, in some cases, by school district personnel,” said Terri Burke, ACLU of Texas executive director.


Are the Bibles being forced on children? Are they being made to stand in front of the class and read from them? Are they humiliated by their fellow students for not taking one (maybe they can definitely be cruel)?

The most common argument from the liberal side is 'separation of church and state,' and for the millionth time, that is NOT what the Constitution was providing. They were protecting us from a government controlled/enforced religion. Our forefathers were largely God-fearing men.

Seriously. How does allowing a private group to pass out Bibles ENDORSE a specific religion or text? When you find a Gideon Bible in the drawer at your hotel room, do you throw a fit proclaiming how religion is being thrown in your face? Sigh.

Why do we let the bitching of a few determine the lives of the rest of us? If you don't want one, don't take one. Say 'no thank you' and move on.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

just a little update

Things have been pretty quiet lately, which is a nice change from the whirlwind of the last few months. I've had a few lazy nights this week, where I've done nothing but sit on the couch and veg. The first night I was a bit restless, like surely there was something productive I should be doing instead of just sitting here...but no. I just had to keep telling myself to relax and take it easy for a change. And it's definitely been nice.

My head is full of projects that I want to work on, so I think that on this long weekend (yay for days off!!) I'll try to tackle a few of those. I have a set of chairs that I need to revamp, some intense organization and boxing up of old work files that needs to be done, some boring white closet doors that need a makeover, and a bathroom with incredibly bad wallpaper that needs a transformation. Busy busy! But I'm SO looking forward to it.

Oh and maybe I'll hit a few garage sales and thrift stores this weekend, cause I need more projects. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

American Idol? Not quite sure...

Last season, I hand-picked David Cook from the audition rounds. It's true, you can ask my roommates (you HAVE to go back and listen to the guy with the red streak in his hair, he's aMAzing!). This season, though, I've not had a clear favorite. I loved Megan Joy, and I also loved Allison Iraheta (though her lack of enunciation week after week really started to bother me).

But...Adam Lambert?

Really? What's with the fascination? I don't like him, gay-straight-bi-whatever. His constant need to be completely and ridiculously over the top, and the way he sticks his tongue out to hit those girlishly high notes, it just wears me out (thank the Lord for DVR). I would never buy his album, or go see him in concert. He's too much of a theatrical attention whore to be the American Idol.

What I don't understand is why all of the judges adore him. They're usually the first ones to say, 'too theatrical.' 'too over the top.' 'you should be on a cruise ship.' What's different about Adam? After butchering U2's 'One' on Tuesday, I thought the U2 fans would vote en masse and send him packing.

Kris. He's inventive. He's adorable. The boy can sing, play the guitar, play the piano...really, what's not to love? After his performance of Kanye's 'Heartless' on Tuesday night, I was in awe. I also LOVED 'She Works Hard for the Money' from a few weeks back. He's able to put his spin on anything, and that's a true star.

I'm also a big fan of Danny Gokey. The raspy, bluesy-ness of his voice is addictive. I was SO hoping it would be he and Kris in the finale next week. But noooo.....

At least I have Glee to look forward to. And oh MAN am I looking forward to that, the previews nearly make me jump off the couch in anticipation. AND So You Think You Can Dance (I. Cannot. Wait!).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


As of late, I have become a HUGE fan of art and design blogs. You find one great one, and that leads you to 2 or 3 more, which snowballs into a delicious avalanche of creativeness.

A few of my favorites:
Design*Sponge - each day is dedicated to something, DIY Wednesdays and Before&After Thursdays are my faves! I already have at least 5 projects bouncing around in my head (hmm, that could explain my headaches lately...).

The Brightside Project
- Fantastic giveaways. Every. Single. Day. Yes, that's right. All you have to do is answer their fun little question. I've already bought a few things that have been featured here.

Heart of Light - a little of this and a little of that, and her recipes are DIVINE.

Oh Joy!
- she's all about eye candy, be prepared to drool over things you can never afford.

Craftynest- lots of fun DIYs.

And, of course, ETSY! Sigh. I could spend hours perusing. And I do, on occasion. While you're perusing, head on over to my etsy shop. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lester Wedding!

What a crazy day it turned out to be (for me)! The wedding was absolutely wonderful. Everything went beautifully and the bride (of course) was stunning.

There's nothing quite like seeing two good friends who are completely enamored with each other profess their love and start a life together. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. James & Carol Lester!

And, as promised, here a few of my favorites from Carol's bridal shoot.

Friday, May 08, 2009


The last few weeks have been a creative bonanza, and I love it!

Two graduating Seniors to design announcements for:

This is Charles, my sister Leslie shot his photos (go sister!!), and I designed the cards.

This is Autumn, she's the daughter of one of the ladies I work with. Her photos were done by a talented photog in San Angelo, Starla Warren.

A bridal portrait session with my good friend Carol (I'll upload a few of my favorites next week, they're getting married tomorrow!), and a spring formal for the DBE girls of McMurry University.

Tonight's the bachelorette party (PAR-TAY!), and I'm co-shooting James and Carol's wedding tomorrow. Then it's off to WF on Sunday to hang with my family on Mother's Day.

I need a vacation! :)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Playoff system near?

Congress interested in fairness of college football's BCS

By Frederic J. Frommer Associated Press
Originally published 08:46 a.m., May 1, 2009
Updated 08:46 a.m., May 1, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress are interested in learning more about the Bowl Championship Series and whether it is a fair way of choosing a college football champion.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee is holding a hearing today to delve into how revenue generated by the series is distributed, and the impact that may have on some colleges.

"We will be asking some pretty tough questions about financing," said Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the committee's top Republican and sponsor of legislation aimed at prodding college football to change to a playoff system.

Expected to testify are BCS coordinator John Swofford, along with officials from the Football Bowl Association, the Mountain West Conference and the Boise State athletic director.

Barton's bill is one of several in Congress seeking a revamp of the BCS. It would prevent the NCAA from labeling a game a "national championship" unless it culminates from a playoff system. He called the BCS system "more about cartels and revenue sharing" than athletic performance.

"It's big money," Barton said. "We're going to start looking into where the money goes."

The BCS is in its final season of a four-year deal with the Fox network. A new four-year deal with ESPN, worth $125 million per year, begins with the 2011 bowl games.

Under the BCS, some conferences get automatic bids to participate while others do not. Conferences that get an automatic bid -- the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC -- get about $18 million each, far more than the non-conference schools.

The Mountain West Conference, which does not get an automatic bid, has proposed a playoff system and hired a Washington firm to lobby Congress for changes to the BCS. MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson is scheduled to testify today on behalf of the conference.

The BCS features a championship game between the two top teams in the BCS standings, based on two polls and six computer ratings.

Swofford, the BCS coordinator, is expected to tell the subcommittee that the bowl system -- which includes 34 games -- would not survive a playoff system, and that the BCS has contributed to college football's overall health.

The BCS has come under attack from a range of politicians up to President Barack Obama. Last November, as president-elect, he told "60 Minutes" he would prefer an eight-team playoff system.

"I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this," he said. "So I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit."

In the Senate, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch has put the BCS on the agenda for the Judiciary's antitrust subcommittee this year, and Utah's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, is investigating whether the BCS violates federal antitrust laws.

People in that state were furious that Utah was bypassed for the national championship despite going undefeated in the regular season. The title game pitted No. 1 Florida (12-1) against No. 2 Oklahoma (12-1); Florida won 24-14 and claimed the title.

Hmmm. This could get interesting.