Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Catholic Church Reverses Stance on Birth Control Following News of Snooki's Pregnancy

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Over the past few weeks, Catholic bishops have sparred with President Obama over the contentious issue of birth control, which they see as an issue of religious freedom. Mandating that faith-based organizations fund contraception, they claim, stifles those freedoms. Even though President Obama caved to pressure and exonerated religious employers such as hospital and universities, the Conference of Catholic Bishops continued to protest that the exemption didn't go far enough in protecting religious rights. "We've got to procreate as the Lord demanded," said Bishop Dick Reamer of the San Narciso County diocese. "We need to raise our numbers. At this point, it's a matter of competition. We've got the crazies jumping on board with Fred Phelps, the End Timers still clinging to hopes of Harold Camping, celebrities running with Scientology and Kabbalah, and like a gazillion Muslims to contend with. We need babies. Catholic babies." The anti-birth control stance within the church has become so critical that a priest was ex-communicated in January for counseling a family on the rhythm method. "It's still birth control," Reamer added. Amazingly, however, hardliners in the Catholic Church did a rare about-face Wednesday, with the Vatican issuing a papal decree striking down all previous condemnations against contraceptive devices and practices.

Monkee Davy Jones Dead at 66

Davy Jones: 30 December 1945 – 29 February 2012. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

IHOP Gives Away Stacks of Syrupy, Buttery Pancakes to Raise Money for Children's Health Network

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is offering a free stack of flapjacks Tuesday to patrons across the country as part of its National Pancake Day celebrations. Although the food is free, the restaurant urges customers to leave a donation for the charities it supports with the fundraising event. The primary recipient this year is Children's Miracle Networks. According to IHOP's website, monies raised for Children's Miracle Networks support the hospital's mission to save and improve the lives of children. "This is a first world country with third world health problems," said Ivanna Niet, an IHOP spokesperson. "Our program helps Children's Miracle Network treat the unacceptably high number of sick children. Promoting a healthy life for these kids is our number one priority." The iconic restaurant hopes to achieve this goal by giving away stacks of sugary, fatty cakes drowning in butter and gallons of gooey, sweet syrup. "When you consider that this breakfast counts for 25 to 50 percent of your day's caloric allowance, that's a lot of food for free," Niet added.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Costa Allegra Cruise Ship Stranded; Costa Cruise Owners Realize 'We Have Absolutely No Idea What We're Doing'

ROME, Italy (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The operators of the ill-fated Costa Concordia, which sent 32 passengers to Davy Jones' Locker on January 13 after the inept captain grounded the vessel and then abandoned ship, are facing a new series of problems as another ship, the Costa Allegra, has been stranded in pirate-infested waters off Seychelles. Representatives from Costa Cruises, which owns the fleet, told the press that a fire in the engine room set the ship adrift in the Indian Ocean with over 1,000 passengers and crew members aboard. Late Monday night, the vessel was located 200 miles south-west of the Seychelles and about 20 miles from Alphonse Island, with only the emergency lights operating. Paolo Raspanti, a public relations officer for Costa Cruises, addressed reporters Monday afternoon, explaining: "Our motto is 'Cruising Italian Style.' Sadly, the name says it all. If you consider that Columbus bumbled his way to North America while trying to find India, you must acknowledge that we Italians are horrible sailors. Last night's incident with the Costa Allegra further proves that we have absolutely no idea what we're doing."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Unfamiliar Ash Wednesday Rituals Cause Confusion and Confrontation in Suburb

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- A larger-than-usual gathering of Catholics celebrating Ash Wednesday in Bennington Vale caused confusion and havoc among the community's predominantly Evangelical Protestant population. According to Mike Fallopian, Yoyodyne executive and chairman of the conservative Peter Pinguid Society, the problem began with an incident at the area Trader Joe's.

"At first I wasn't sure what I was seeing," Fallopian explained. "These three women were standing in line with dirt smeared all over their faces. Normally, when you politely tell a person she has something on her face, she discreetly wipes it away and thanks you. Not so much on Ash Wednesday, it turns out."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Virginia's Controversial Adoption Bill Welcome News to Satanists and Scientologists

RICHMOND, Va. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- With Lent nearing, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell says he is poised to sign controversial "conscience clause" legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against families for religious and political differences. The bill protects private agencies from legal retaliation for denying placements based on sexual orientation, age, disability, gender, family status or political beliefs. It passed the state's Senate Tuesday, having previously been approved by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates earlier in the month. Virginia Catholic Conference Executive Director Jeff Caruso noted that "the bill does not change adoption or foster care law in any way, and it doesn't change who can or cannot adopt or be foster parents." Despite backlash from affirmative action and civil rights groups, the bill comes as welcome news to a number of Satanic cults that have previously been forced to place children of "liberated, carnal beasts" into Christian homes, which they describe as "prisons of guilt, oppression and anti-individuality."

Friday, February 17, 2012

After Vetoing Same-Sex Marriage, Gov. Chris Christie Compares Gay Unions to Monte Cristo Sandwiches

TRENTON, N.J. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Gov. Chris Christie followed through on his promise to veto a bill seeking to legalize same-sex marriages in New Jersey, disappointing but not surprising Democrats in the state. Christie quickly struck down the measure Friday, sending the bill back to the Legislature like an undercooked pork chop. Progressive pundit Ferrel Michaels said: "Gov. Christie told me directly that he would move quickly to kill any gay marriage measure that hit his desk. I laughed, because it's funny to imagine Christie moving quickly for anything that doesn't involve pie. But he honored his commitment to slapping a 'big fat veto' on the bill. Pretty much sums the guy up. I mean that he infuses his personal ideology into the law, not that he's fat -- although he's certainly that too." In rejecting the proposed bill, Christie reiterated that voters -- not the individuals they elected to represent them in the Assembly -- should decide how to define marriage within New Jersey.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Texas Officials Praise Honduras Prison System Efficiencies

Courtesy Getty Images
COMAYAGUA, Honduras (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- In one of the world's worst prison fires, flames raged through an overcrowded complex in Honduras, leaving 359 people dead. Officials suspected a convict of starting the blaze by igniting his mattress. A phone call placed to the governor by another inmate, who claimed to have witnessed the incident, seemed to confirm this. Unable to escape the inferno that gutted the Comayagua National Penitentiary on Tuesday night, terrified prisoners died screaming to be let out of their cells. One man, serving a 10-year sentence for murder, managed to escape. He told reporters that fire brigades did not arrive for more than a half an hour. Relatives of the victims denounced the government for maintaining inhumane living conditions through massive overcrowding, negligent guards and a "failed" justice system. But despite the notoriety and criticism the prison has drawn, officials from the Texas penal system praised the reaction of the facility's staff and noted several efficiencies they may adopt stateside.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Energized by Birth Control Victory, Catholic Bishops Seek Constitutional Amendment for Leviticus Laws

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Over the past few weeks, Catholic bishops have sparred with President Obama over the contentious issue of religious freedom as symbolized by federal mandates that require health insurance plans to offer free contraception. Obama caved to the pressure and offered a compromise that considers the priorities of all parties -- insurance companies, people seeking birth control and church-sponsored employers who object to the provision of contraceptives on religious grounds. As part of the agreement, faith-based organizations such as hospitals, schools and universities would be exempt from funding the coverage. For employees who request birth control, their insurance providers would issue it without raising premiums. Some Catholic groups have praised the compromise, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops continues to protest that the exemption doesn't go far enough in protecting religious rights. Now, energized by their recent victory, Catholic leaders are planning an aggressive campaign to rally the devout against a long list of government measures they feel intrude on religious liberties. "We want to make it something that will get peoples' attention," said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. With that, the council demanded that Christians be allowed to practice the severe laws outlined in Leviticus without legal repercussions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Special Events for Lovelorn Singles on Valentine's Day

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Alone on Valentine's Day and not sure what to do? If you live in Bennington Vale, and you fall into that odd one percent of the city's unwed yet heterosexual residents, then February 14 can present an understandably bleak outlook. Fortunately, we at The Bennington Vale Evening Transcript have reached out across the community to find some lovely things to fill in that hole where your heart should have been. It's better than sticking your head in an oven, we promise.

Dining and Drinking
Piers Addleson's Pea House is offering an off-menu special for single men. In order to get the multi-course meal, for the astoundingly low price of seven dollars, simply approach the hostess and say, "I'm so lonely, I could die."

Friday, February 10, 2012

As California Receives $18 Billion Mortgage Settlement, Responsible Renters Buy Overpriced Homes and Apply for Government Relief

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a statement Thursday announcing that California will receive up to $18 billion in relief benefits under a federal-state mortgage settlement. Of that money, $12 billion will be allocated to cutting debt for the state's distressed homeowners and to assist with short sales, a more favorable alternative to foreclosure proceedings. The decision comes on the heels of rules introduced in October 2011 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to help underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages at lower rates through the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). "If you view the situation as a microcosm," said Len Waybill, chief economist for San Narciso's Peter Pinguid Society, "these homeowners are now no different than AIG or Lehman Brothers. They've become institutions so large and interconnected to other financial players that their failures would be disastrous to the economy." As a result, millions of responsible Californians, who opted to rent instead of signing risky subprime loans during an outrageously overpriced market, are now scrambling to bury themselves in as much debt as possible in hopes of becoming "too big to fail."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rev. Ted Haggard Denies Endorsing Rick Santorum Despite Being Credited with Spurring Colorado Victory

DENVER, Colo. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- What seemed impossible only a week ago -- that Rick Santorum could pick up enough steam to displace Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee -- now seems merely improbable. With three major victories Tuesday, Santorum's financially challenged grass-roots campaign stands poised for transformation. The biggest surprise of the evening came in Colorado, where Santorum defied political analysts by seizing a 3,600-vote win against front-runner Mitt Romney. Although voters in many of the state's precincts expressed a desire to see a more socially conservative candidate vie for the White House, Santorum remained a long-shot in the eyes of most observers. That is, until Colorado megachurch leader Rev. Ted Haggard generated a groundswell of support for Santorum. Haggard is the controversial but influential pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs. According to reports, a conservative power-broker who uses the same massage parlor as Haggard overheard the endorsement while waiting for his session.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nation's Abused Children Urge Suicidal Parents: "Please Don't Take Us With You"

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Over the last few years, it seems the news has been filled with alarming reports of distraught, homicidal and suicidal parents planning their exits from this world as a sort of family vacation from hell by including their children in the itinerary. The most recent story involves the Powell family of Utah. Two years ago, Susan Powell went missing. Her husband, Josh, was considered a person of interest at that time, but no evidence could be found to link him to the disappearance. Even a drawing made by one of the children -- depicting Susan Powell's body in the trunk of the car during an impromptu camping trip in the middle of a snowy night -- failed to arouse suspicion. On Sunday, Josh Powell trapped his children in the home and set it ablaze. There were no survivors. The incident has provoked abused children across the nation to form a coalition with the simple message: "You can make your point -- you can even kill yourself if it seems easier than therapy-- but please, please, please don't take us with you."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein Identifies with Struggling Americans After Bonus Cut in Half

Sources inside Goldman Sachs worry about Blankfein making his rent this month

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein revealed Wednesday that he too is feeling the pinch of the weak economy as his company announced a 47-percent plummet in earnings, the most severe drop since 2008. As a result, the financial group decreased Blankfein's annual bonus, seemingly in tandem, by nearly 44 percent. Blankfein, who was raised in a Bronx housing project, said the dramatic reduction in pay evoked memories of his humble origins. After being awarded a paltry $7 million -- down from $12.6 million the previous year -- Blankfein put on a brave face and told reporters: "Sure, it's hard. I'm like so many Americans who've had their compensation shredded to a questionable living wage. And, you know, it's easy to complain -- to say, 'why they'd even bother,' or to think of the stipend as a hollow gesture in the face of horrendous morale. But then I take a look around and consider myself lucky that I'm even employed. The bank already fired 2,400 people. Unlike Mitt Romney, they didn't seem to enjoy it. I'm grateful, actually."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Enraged Mob of Frozen Americans Kill Groundhog After Extended Winter Prediction

The Gingrich Campaign Capitalizes on the Momentum by Using a Newt to Predict the Length of Obama's Presidency

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- According to the 2012 Farmers' Almanac, which called its annual forecast "clime and punishment," this winter will see unusually cold and stormy conditions. For some regions of the country, frigid climates will be the norm. In many others, people have been told to expect a substantial amount of rainfall and snow. The areas most affected will be the Northern Plains, parts of the Rockies and the western Great Lakes. For the myriad citizens likely to be impacted by these adverse weather conditions, a great deal of hope was placed on promises of an early spring this morning from Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who emerges from his den each February 2 to predict the length of winter. But as 12,000 freezing people gathered before dawn in western Pennsylvania, the world's most famous groundhog saw his shadow and delivered the bad news that winter will last another six weeks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Susan G. Komen Cuts Planned Parenthood Funding to Save Women from Wrath of Misogynistic God

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation's most prominent breast-cancer charity, announced Tuesday that it was pulling its grants from Planned Parenthood and severing its ties with the organization. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has invested more than $1.9 billion in breast-cancer research, related health services and advocacy. In 2011, Planned Parenthood received $680,000 from Komen, which it distributed among its 19 affiliates. The money was used to cover the costs of critical screenings for women unable to afford traditional health care. Critics and disillusioned supporters cried foul, blaming the charity for caving to pressure from conservative religious groups that have boycotted Komen since it formed its partnership with Planned Parenthood in 2005. Representatives from Komen insisted the move was not politically motivated but stemmed from new rules that prohibit it from giving money to groups under federal investigation. This claim too remains disputed as the "investigation" is merely a probe launched by a single Republican at the behest of an anti-abortion group. However, Komen said it also believes shunning Planned Parenthood could save even more lives, citing new intelligence that abortions increase the risk of breast-cancer by invoking the wrath of God.

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