Tag Archives: service.

Texas Church Offering CHL Class as “Community Service”

Saying he’s not afraid to venture into places “where politics and the Bible intersect,” the pastor of a Southern Baptist church located in the Texas panhandle has gained some national media attention for offering state-certified concealed handgun license (CHL) classes as service to the community.

“This is an opportunity to meet a real need in our county,” Brad Foster, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dumas wrote in the church newsletter. “From the biblical perspective, we are especially interested as men to be protectors of innocents,” Pastor Foster said. “Jesus has a special place in his heart for children and innocents, and that’s an important role we have to play.”

The 10-hour class, to be held March 2 and taught by state-certified instructor Mike Cearley, will be held in the church’s fellowship hall. Cearley said the class would cover all aspects of gun safety and legal guidelines for carrying a firearm for personal and family protection.

Pastor Foster told the Amarillo Globe News the church isn’t making a political statement, “except we don’t mind being associated with being in support of the Second Amendment.”

“The main purpose of this class is to handle a firearm safely and know when to shoot or just be a good witness,” Foster told the newspaper. “There are parameters. You need to now where to carry, where you can’t carry and know you’re responsible for that round.”

In addition to the March 2 course, the church already has two additional CHL classes scheduled, and Foster said more would be held as the need arises.

“I think, more than ever before, I personally am drawn more to our Constitution, and we’re not overtly political, but at places where politics and the Bible intersect, we’re not afraid to go there,” Foster told the Amarillo newspaper.

A graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who has served the Dumas church for 13 years, Foster described the event as part of a larger effort to break out of old traditions in order “to better represent the Lord Jesus through new and fresh wineskins.”

He said his church has “always attempted to think outside the box as far as what the needs of the community are,” and firearms training fits with that philosophy.

Jim Edlin, Sunday school director at Calvary and an organizer of the class, said more than half the March 2 class enrollees are women.

“Some of them are teachers, and they’re more passionate about it than anyone else,” he told the Amarillo Globe News.

Founded in 1954 with a total membership of 335 and average attendance of 125, Calvary Baptist Church in Dumas is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Shooting Illustrated

Did Singer Chris Brown Lie About Completing Community Service Received for Beating Rihanna?

Chris Brown May Not Have Completed Community Service Received for Beating Rihanna

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 1: R&B singer Chris Brown appears in court for a probation progress report hearing on November 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend, singer Rihanna, after a pre-Grammy Awards party in 2009. Credit: Getty Images 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors have asked a judge to revoke Chris Brown’s probation, saying there is no credible evidence he completed his community service sentence for beating Rihanna, and citing several other incidents that they say point to anger management issues.

The motion filed Tuesday by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office focuses heavily on issues with Brown’s community labor in Virginia, citing numerous discrepancies and claiming the R&B singer essentially was unsupervised.

Brown’s attorney, Mark Geragos, blasted the filing, telling The Associated Press that it was frivolous and defamatory and he planned to seek sanctions against prosecutors.

The prosecution’s motion also notes several incidents in which Brown has lost his temper, including throwing a chair through a window after a “Good Morning America” interview in which he was asked about his beating of Rihanna on the eve of the 2009 Grammy Awards. The report also cites Brown’s Jan. 27 fight with R&B singer Frank Ocean, including Ocean’s claim that Brown threatened to shoot him in the brawl over a parking space.

Sheriff’s officials have said they are unlikely to seek charges against Brown for the recent fight with Ocean, since Ocean has posted online that he does not intend to seek criminal or civil penalties. Ocean told investigators that Brown shouted that he and his entourage “can bust on you too,” which authorities wrote was a street slang term for shooting someone.

Brown is due in court Wednesday for a probation hearing.

“The motion filed by the DA’s office is shameful and a disgrace,” Geragos said. “In essence, it calls everyone a liar in the Richmond Police Department and the Virginia Probation Department.”

He claimed prosecutors ignored interviews “where sworn peace officers stated unequivocally that Mr. Brown was supervised and did all of the community service.”

“I plan on asking for sanctions from the DA’s office for filing in frivolous, scurrilous and frankly defamatory motion,” he said. A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment on Geragos’ statements.

Brown’s time serving community service in Virginia has been under scrutiny for months, and Tuesday’s motion asked a judge to order the singer to repeat his entire 180-day service sentence in Los Angeles. Brown had been given permission to perform cleanup and manual labor duties in Virginia, but LA prosecution investigators found no evidence that he completed his work as ordered.

Richmond, Va., Police Chief Bryan Norwood was supposed to be supervising Brown and submitted paperwork last year indicating the singer had completed his sentence. But prosecutors cite numerous shortcomings and possible misstatements in those records, which show the singer performing double shifts in the city and at a day care center where his mother once worked.

“This inquiry provided no credible, competent or verifiable evidence that defendant Brown performed his community labor as presented to this court,” Deputy District Attorney Mary Murray wrote.

The records submitted by Norwood are “at best sloppy documentation and at worst fraudulent reporting.”

Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley declined to discuss the allegations.

“We believe it would inappropriate to comment on a matter that’s before the court,” Lepley said.

According to the motion, officials with Virginia’s probation office told investigators that Brown’s arrangement to be supervised by Norwood was “extremely unusual” and had not been approved by the agency. No one from Virginia’s probation department oversaw Brown’s hours, the filing states.

Chris Brown May Not Have Completed Community Service Received for Beating Rihanna

Credit: Getty Images

The motion notes that the only records the department has to indicate Brown was supervised were officers’ overtime sheets. Five of 21 days that officers logged overtime for Brown were spent providing security for the singer’s concerts.

One-third of Brown’s hours were logged at a daycare center where the singer spent time as a child and where his mother once served as director, an analysis performed by The Associated Press in September showed.

The center is an hour’s drive from Richmond, and the prosecution motion says a detective checked on Brown on only nine occasions when he was working there. Each time, the singer was found at the center, accompanied by his mother and a bodyguard but no law enforcement personnel.

The hours Brown recorded as working at the center were done overnight when children were not present. Some of the records stated Brown waxed floors or did “general cleaning.”

“Claims that the defendant cleaned, stripped and waxed floors at that location have been credibly contradicted,” the prosecution motion states. A professional floor cleaner contracted to work at the daycare center told investigators he had been cleaning the floors throughout the months Brown reported working at the facility.

Brown’s mother, Joyce Hawkins, no longer had a formal role at the Tappahannock Children’s Center but had her own set of keys and coordinated her son’s work at the facility, the motion states.

The filing also alleges Brown violated his probation with several violent outbursts that haven’t resulted in arrests or charges. In addition to the fight between Brown and Ocean, the motion cites a 2012 incident in Miami in which Brown was accused of taking a woman’s cellphone and the March 2011 incident in which Brown threw a chair through a window after appearing on “Good Morning America.”

Brown and Ocean are both nominated for the Best Urban Contemporary Album category at Sunday’s Grammys. Ocean, who has said his first love was a man, told authorities that someone may have shouted a gay slur during the fight, but he wasn’t sure.

Ocean suffered cuts on his right index finger and minor cuts to his left temple.

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Secret Service Chief to Step Down This Month

Secret Service Chief Mark Sullivan to Step Down This Month

Mark Sullivan, Director of the united States Secret Service, listens during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill May 23, 2012 in Washington, DC. Sullivan was called to testify about the recent prostitution scandal involving members of the Secret Service in Cartagena, Columbia prior to a visit by US President Barack Obama. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan announced his retirement Friday, bringing to a close a turbulent period for the law enforcement agency that included a South American prostitution scandal and a pair of White House gate-crashers.

In nearly seven years as director, Sullivan had to answer serious questions from lawmakers on two occasions about his employees’ actions on the job and off.

Last May, in testimony before Congress, Sullivan apologized for the conduct of Secret Service employees caught in a prostitution scandal in Colombia. Thirteen agents and officers were implicated after an agent argued with a prostitute over payment in a hotel hallway in Cartagena, Colombia.

The employees were in the Caribbean resort city in advance of President Barack Obama’s arrival for a South American summit in April. After a night of heavy partying in some of Cartagena’s bars and clubs, the employees brought women, including prostitutes, back to their hotel. Eight of those Secret Service employees were forced out of the agency, three were cleared of serious misconduct and at least two were fighting to get their jobs back.

The incident prompted Sullivan to issue a new code of conduct that barred employees from drinking within 10 hours of the start of a shift and from bringing foreigners to their hotel rooms

In 2009, Sullivan had to answer questions about how a pair of aspiring socialites talked their way into a state dinner at the White House. That the pair made it into the highly secured event was not only a violation of protocol but raised questions about how easily an unauthorized person could gain close access to the president and vice president.

“In this case, I fully acknowledge the proper procedures were not followed and human error occurred in the execution of our duties,” Sullivan told lawmakers after the incident.

Sullivan struck a similar tone in May when he apologized to lawmakers for the behavior of the Secret Service employees in Colombia, insisting that the incident was not indicative of a larger culture problem at the agency.

Sullivan’s retirement is effective Feb. 22. His replacement has not been announced.

In an internal message Sullivan sent to employees Friday, he said he was “extremely proud to have had the opportunity to work with the men and women of the Secret Service and represent an agency so deserving of its reputation as one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the world.”

Sullivan joined the Secret Service in 1983 after three years as a special agent in the Inspector General’s Office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was appointed director in 2006.

Despite the scandals and questions from lawmakers, he maintained support from Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and numerous lawmakers.

“I want to thank Mark Sullivan for nearly 30 years of service to our nation at the United States Secret Service, a tenure that saw the agency protect five first families including my own,” Obama said in a statement. “And since 2006, as director, Mark has led the agency with incredible dedication and integrity.”

Napolitano thanked Sullivan for his service. “His commitment to keeping our country and its top officials safe is unparalleled and his devotion to the mission of the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security has been unwavering,” she said in a statement.

In three decades with the Secret Service, Sullivan’s career took him to Detroit, Columbus, Ohio, and ultimately Washington, where he served on the security detail for President George H.W. Bush.

Sullivan, who is from a large Irish Catholic family, has been married to his wife, Laurie, for more than 20 years, and they have three daughters. He loves hockey and played in an adult league until a few years ago.

“If you were casting someone for the role of director of the Secret Service, he looks the part,” Sullivan’s former boss in the service’s Detroit division, James Huse, told the AP last year. “He’s a tall, handsome Irishman, with grey hair and the demeanor of a born leader.”

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Secret Service dog protecting Vice President Joe Biden at Landrieu fundraiser killed in fall

WWL-TV’s Katie Moore is reporting that a Secret Service dog protecting Vice President Joe Biden was killed in a fall from a parking garage roof as Biden spoke at a fundraiser tonight.

Biden was speaking at a fundraiser for Sen. Mary Landrieu, and he managed to show his personal brand of, um, enthusiasm. Sure, it’s just Joe Being Joe™ again, but doesn’t even the vice president himself get tired of being Joe?

Did we hear that correctly?

Also a compliment (we think, but it’s hard to tell without hearing it firsthand) was Biden’s assurance that Landrieu “makes the case for Louisiana, and everybody knows that if they don’t vote with her, she’ll make their lives miserable. She can exasperate the hell out of everybody and make them feel better for it.”

We’d feel better if the dog hadn’t been killed, but maybe now we can have a moratorium on Seamus Romney jokes?

Twitchy » US Politics

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Giveaway of the Day

RealA2V is a simple tool for converting audio files to video format to share on YouTube, Facebook or other video hosting or sharing service.

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