Priest Hears Confessions Through Snapchat

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Instead of turning to church to confess your sins, could you instead turn to your phone?  A Texas priest says he’s offering confessions digitally for the first time through Snapchat.

“It’s not confessions; it’s not what the sacrament is all about,” said Father Tony Vilano, a priest.

Vilano hears confessions in person daily at San Fernando Cathedral and he questions who can be behind the online confessions.

“He’s not a Catholic priest and because the church teaches that when you go to confession you should go to the priest either behind a divider or face to face,” said Vilano.

The priest wants to stay anonymous, but you can reach him through @Priest David.  He’s making himself available through the app through March 16.

“Doing it Snap Chat, I mean, you can do Snap Chat or through the internet and just list everything you’ve done and there’s no humility in there.  There’s no ownership of the sins that you’ve committed,” said Vilano.

Just last month, San Fernando expanded its hours to hear confessions every day.

“Ridiculous, absurd, that’s what the Catholic Church is for.  Internet is not reality, if you want confession, go see a priest,” said one San Antonio resident.

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More Than a Quarter of Sheldon Silver’s Frozen Funds Are Invested in Williamsville Firm

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has invested more than $1 million in Counsel Financial Services.
Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has invested more than $1 million in Counsel Financial Services.

If federal prosecutors ever prove their case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, they could end up recovering more than a quarter of the $3.8 million in alleged ill-gotten gains from a Williamsville firm in which he and his family invested.

That’s far more than the $100,000 figure attributed to Counsel Financial Services LLC in the federal indictment issued earlier this month by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Counsel attorney Terrence M. Connors of Buffalo acknowledged Friday that the Manhattan Democrat and other family members have invested more than $1 million in Counsel, which he represents. The indictment also indicated Silver had invested $380,000 with JoRon Management LLC of Buffalo.
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Keep Westwood Green Message

We have been in a deep freeze mentally for weeks, so we thought some pictures of a “greener” Westwood might shake off the frigid blahs as we watch MORE snow fall.

These photos show standing water and property flooding on Westwood as well as neighboring yards after only a small amount of snowfall from around the holidays/New Years melted. Now that Amherst has had several feet of snow it is going to be much worse when it all melts!

Neighbors have been dealing with this for years since the connecting wetlands and watershed were affected by improperly done “infrastructure improvements” many years ago.

Keep Westwood Green's photo.
Keep Westwood Green's photo.
Keep Westwood Green's photo.
Keep Westwood Green's photo.

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Buffalo Philharmonic Celebrates Beethoven With Music, Film, Lectures and Collaboration With Road Less Traveled Productions

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BUFFALO, NY – In March, the BPO will celebrate classical music’s most beloved and influential composer with a festival, including his groundbreaking Ninth Symphony.

The centerpiece of the Festival will be two weeks of concerts of Beethoven’s music on the M&T Classics series. At 8 p.m. Saturday March 21 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22, audiences will have a chance to experience the glory of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony live in the acoustic perfection of Kleinhans Music Hall. The symphony’s grand scale and emotional narrative have made it the most frequently-performed classical work. Its final movement, nicknamed “Ode To Joy” and based on a poem by Friedrich Schiller, will be instantly recognizable. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and soloists Sari Gruber, Ann McMahon Quintero, Robert Breault, and Kevin Deas join the orchestra in performing this touchstone of classical music. The concerts also include a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, written at the dawn of the nineteenth century.  BUFFALO, NY – In March, the BPO will celebrate classical music’s most beloved and influential composer with a festival, including his groundbreaking Ninth Symphony.

The following week, Road Less Traveled Productions collaborates with the BPO to provide an exciting dimension to Beethoven’s Complete Incidental Music to “Egmont.” The historical drama “Egmont” was written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and tells the tale of the famous Dutch warrior and nobleman, the Count of Egmont, who valiantly stood against oppression. Beethoven composed the well-known overture and nine incidental pieces for soprano, narrator and orchestra for a revival of the play two decades after its premiere. Buffalo actor Matthew Witten, who was most recently seen in the Irish Classical Theater Company’s production of “A Lion in Winter,” will serve as narrator. Emily Tworek-Helenbrook, an Alexander native who has won many national and international accolades for her vocal performance work, will sing the soprano role. Scott Behrend is the Artistic Director of Road Less Travelled Productions. The lighting design is by John Rickus, and stage management by Susan Dickinson.

Buffalo favorite Norman Krieger will be the soloist in Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto on the same concerts. Among his early accolades was the Buffalo Philharmonic Young Artists Competition Prize; he has since gone on to win the gold medal at the first Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition and perform on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series. The concerts take place at10:30 a.m. Friday, March 27 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 28. There will be complimentary coffee and doughnuts prior to the March 27 performance.

JoAnn Falletta will be on the podium for both concert weeks. The audience is invited to attend “Musically Speaking,” a discussion held one hour prior to Saturday and Sunday concerts, and ask questions of the conductor and artists before the concerts. “Musically Speaking” is sponsored by Uniland Development.

In addition to the concerts, the BPO hosts events for the community to learn more about this great composer and his music. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has taken on global significance since its premiere, serving as an anthem of hope for oppressed peoples around the world and an inspiration for many other artists. The documentary film “Following The Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony” will be screened at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at the Woldman Theater in Norton Hall on the UB North Campus. Filmmaker Kerry Candaele explores the work’s meaning, taking viewers on a journey across five continents and into the heart and soul of one of the world’s greatest works of art. A panel discussion will follow. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 with student ID or a ticket to one of the other Beethoven Festival concerts.

BPO Staff Conductor Paul Ferington will share his perspective on Beethoven and his music at three free BPOvations talks. He will speak at the Downtown Central Library at noon on Wednesday, March 4; at the Orchard Park Library at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4; and at the Amherst Audubon Library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11.

The Festival is sponsored by Superior Group, and the concert sponsor for Beethoven’s Ninth is Hodgson Russ.

For all ticketed events, patrons can call (716) 885-5000 or visit bpo.org to purchase. Student tickets to BPO concerts are $11 with ID.

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Poll: New Scandal Not Up to Clintons’ Usual Standards

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A new poll indicates that the American people are deeply disappointed in Hillary Clinton’s State Department e-mail flap because it does not live up to the high standards of sordidness set by Clinton scandals of the past.

Davis Logsdon, who supervised the poll for the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, said that those surveyed were “receptive and even intrigued” by the idea of a new Clinton scandal, but then were deflated when they learned what the scandal actually involved.

“When people hear the words ‘Clinton scandal,’ they expect a certain amount of sex and sleaze,” Logsdon said. “But once they find out that this one is about State Department e-mail regulations which may or may not have been disobeyed, they feel very let down.”

“In a sense, the Clintons have created this problem for themselves,” Logsdon added. “They set an extremely high bar with some very memorable scandals in the past, and for a lot of people, this one just doesn’t live up to the hype.”

The current scandal could be salvaged in the public’s eye if some of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails turn out to have sexual content, but Logsdon called that “a long shot.”

“The poll results show that there’s a genuine appetite out there for a juicy Clinton scandal,” he said. “But, sadly, there’s also a sense that maybe they did their best work in the nineties.”

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Cruz: “The Dream of Keeping Poor People from Seeing a Doctor Must Never Die”

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Acknowledging that the government shutdown was coming to an end, an emotional Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took to the Senate floor today to make an impassioned speech, telling his colleagues, “The dream of keeping poor people from seeing a doctor must never die.”

His eyes welling up with tears, Sen. Cruz said, “I embarked on this crusade with a simple goal: to keep affordable health care out of the reach of ordinary, hard-working Americans. And while this battle was lost, that dream—that precious, cherished dream—will live on.”

Reflecting on the government shutdown and near-default that almost touched off a global financial apocalypse, Sen. Cruz said, “We’ll give it another try in a few weeks.”

Sen. Cruz’s closest ally, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also spoke reverently of the shutdown, calling it “the most expensive Civil War reënactment in history.”

“Unfortunately, once again, the wrong side won,” he said.

Over in the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) congratulated his colleagues on the deal to resolve the shutdown, telling reporters, “This proves that when we work together, we can come up with a totally unsatisfactory solution to a completely unnecessary crisis.”

But the last word belonged to Sen. Cruz, who ended his emotional speech with a quiet benediction: “Goodnight stars. Goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere.”

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Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email, May Have Violated Federal Law as Secretary of State

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton may have violated federal record keeping laws by exclusively using a personal email account during her time as secretary of state

Clinton used a personal email address to conduct government business, and did not even have a government email address during her four-year tenure as secretary of state. Additionally, her aides took no action to have her personal emails preserved, which is required of all officials under the Federal Records Act, according to the Times. The law is designed to allow congressional committees, historians and members of the media to have access to officials’ emails, which are considered government documents.

Clinton stepped down as Secretary of State in 2013, but it wasn’t until recently that a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi discovered her use of a personal account.
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Boehner Calls Netanyahu Closest Ally in Fight Against Obama

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—On the eve of the Israeli Prime Minister’s address to Congress, House Speaker John Boehner used a joint press conference to praise Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him “our closest and most important ally in the fight against President Obama.”

“Even as the President threatens us with provocative acts, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s support for us has been unwavering,” Boehner said. “He understands what many of us have long known: that peace with this enemy can only be achieved through total victory.”

Netanyahu had equally high praise for Boehner, saying that “no one has been more steadfast and dedicated in the struggle against your President.”

“This foe is not to be trusted or appeased,” Netanyahu said. “Your resolute refusal to find any common ground with him whatsoever has earned my undying respect.”

As the press conference drew to a conclusion, Boehner appeared to fight back tears as he called Netanyahu “a brother in arms” in the ongoing hostilities with Obama.

“A wise man once said that my enemy’s enemy is my friend,” Boehner said, choking up. “You, sir, are my best friend in the world.”

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St. “Practice” Day Pub Crawl

St. Patrick's Day crawl

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Walker Vows to Destroy ISIS’s Teachers

'Walker Vows to Destroy ISIS’s Teachers<br />
WASHINGTON – In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker expanded on his comment that battling his state’s teachers’ union had prepared him to fight the terrorist group ISIS, telling host Chris Wallace, “All I meant was, if you want to eliminate ISIS, the first thing you must do is get rid of their teachers.” Expanding on that remark, Walker said,  “Chris, we must identify the people who are teaching ISIS their tactics – in other words, their teachers – and eliminate them. I did that in Wisconsin and I can do it in Iraq and Syria.” As President, Walker said, he would rebrand the war on terror as “a global war on teachers,” adding, “Behind every problem, there are teachers you need to  get rid of." More here: http://nyr.kr/1aIYHzk'

WASHINGTON – In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker expanded on his comment that battling his state’s teachers’ union had prepared him to fight the terrorist group ISIS, telling host Chris Wallace, “All I meant was, if you want to eliminate ISIS, the first thing you must do is get rid of their teachers.”

Expanding on that remark, Walker said, “Chris, we must identify the people who are teaching ISIS their tactics – in other words, their teachers – and eliminate them. I did that in Wisconsin and I can do it in Iraq and Syria.”

As President, Walker said, he would rebrand the war on terror as “a global war on teachers,” adding, “Behind every problem, there are teachers you need to get rid of.”
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