Grant helps scholars mine church records for hidden history

BOSTON — The history of the Congregational Church is the history of Colonial New England.

Before the birth of the nation and the separation of church and state, the plain Congregational churches that date to the time of the Pilgrims and are found in every community in the region chronicled just about every aspect of life.

Yet that history remains largely scattered and hidden, tucked away in damp, unexplored corners of church buildings from the coast to the mountains.

Now, with the help of a more than $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities being announced on Monday, the Boston-based Congregational Library and Archives Hidden Histories project is locating, securing, and digitizing church records from 1630 to 1800 and putting them online for anyone to peruse for free.

Some records are already online, but the new grant will allow the project to digitize an additional 18,000 documents and transcribe about 7,000 of them, said James Cooper, director of the Hidden Histories project.

The church was the dominant religion in Colonial New England and the focal point of every community, Cooper said.

And because of that, the records contain more than just information about births, baptisms, marriages and deaths.

“Essentially, everyone was a Congregationalist at that time,” he said. “Almost anything that happened in the community went through the doors of the church. If two people had a squabble, you didn’t go to court, you went before the minister and tried to settle it.”

And fortunately, the ministers, often the town’s sole record keeper, wrote everything down. Often in meticulous detail.

“They provide an amazing insight into the lives and minds of ordinary folks,” Cooper said.

The documents are of immeasurable value to anyone “exploring political culture, social history, linguistics, epidemiology and climatology … as well as to genealogists and members of the public interested in a range of subjects,” The National Endowment for the Humanities said in its announcement.

The Congregational Library and Archives already has the records of about 40 churches online. But most of them are from Massachusetts.

The grant will help the project branch into the rest of New England, Executive Director Margaret Bendroth said.

“This is a very big deal for us,” she said. “This is an affirmation of so much work and time and effort and expertise.”

Cooper, a professor emeritus of history at Oklahoma State University, has spent almost three decades tracking down the records, often forgotten by modern day congregations.

“A staggering amount of the records …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


5 questions for Mark Zuckerberg as he heads to Congress

SAN FRANCISCO — Congress has plenty of questions for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who will testify on Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday about the company’s ongoing data-privacy scandal and how it failed to guard against other abuses of its service.

Facebook is struggling to cope with the worst privacy crisis in its history — allegations that a Trump-affiliated data mining firm may have used ill-gotten user data to try to influence elections. Zuckerberg and his company are in full damage-control mode, and have announced a number of piecemeal technical changes intended to address privacy issues.

But there’s plenty the Facebook CEO hasn’t yet explained. Here are five questions that could shed more light on Facebook’s privacy practices and the degree to which it is really sorry about playing fast and loose with user data — or just because its practices have drawn the spotlight.


QUESTION: You’ve said you should have acted years ago to protect user privacy and guard against other abuses. Was that solely a failure of your leadership, or did Facebook’s business model or other factors create an obstacle to change? How can you ensure that Facebook doesn’t make similar errors in the future?

CONTEXT: Zuckerberg controls 59.7 per cent of the voting stock in Facebook. He is both chairman of the board and CEO. He can’t be fired, unless he fires himself. “At the end of the day, this is my responsibility,” he told reporters on a conference call last week. He also admitted to making a “huge mistake” in not taking a broad enough view of Facebook’s responsibility in the world.

Zuckerberg, however, has been apologizing for not doing better on privacy for 11 years . In the current crisis, neither he nor chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have clarified exactly how Facebook developed such a huge blind spot, much less how it can prevent history from repeating itself.

POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UP: Does Facebook need a chief privacy officer with the authority to take action on behalf of users?


QUESTION: Who owns user data on Facebook, the company or the users? If it’s the latter, why shouldn’t Facebook allow people to opt out of being targeted by ads?

CONTEXT: Facebook collects data on its own (your likes, which ads you click on, etc.); keeps data you share yourself (photos, videos, messages); and correlates data from outside sources to data on its platform (email lists from marketers, and until recently, information from credit agencies).

Who owns what …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


Daily horoscope for Monday, April 9, 2018

Moon Alert
We have the “all clear” today to shop and do business. The Moon is in Aquarius.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Great day to schmooze with old friends and people from your past. You might also have contact with past acquaintances from clubs or organizations. Share your hopes and dreams for the future with someone to get their feedback.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
You are high viz. today. People might notice you or they’re talking about you for something you did in the past. Meanwhile, you’re keen to travel or make plans to travel. You might also want to go to school or take a course to learn new!

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
You’re restless today because you want to escape somewhere that’s fun and frivolous! (You might talk a friend into doing this.) Someone from your past might appear again in your life. Could this be the excuse you need to take off into the wild blue yonder?

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Discussions about shared property or inheritances might move things along today. They might even be resolved. That’s because past issues will be addressed and finished in a swift manner. Talk to bosses, parents and authority figures if necessary.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
You have to go more than halfway when dealing with others today because the Moon today is opposite your sign. You might be involved with someone from another culture or a different country. Relations with authority figures are supportive and cozy.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
You’re in the right mood to start this week because you’re ready to work hard. You want to be efficient! You also want to address your health so that you can be as healthy as possible. These are wonderful motivations. If you begin this week this way, you will accomplish a lot. Bravo!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
This is a playful day for you. (Let’s face it, you’re a Friday person in a Monday world.) Take a long lunch. Grab every chance to schmooze with others. Enjoy social diversions, sports events and playful activities with children. Laugh it up in the company of friends from the past. “Boris!” “Natashsa!”

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
You have a strong desire to hunker down at home today and cocoon among comfy, familiar surroundings. I’m sure that most of you cannot do this. But if you can – by all means, stay home and tweak your digs after you have a second cup of coffee.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
By nature, you …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


Toronto Maple Leafs to face Boston Bruins in first round of Stanley Cup playoffs

TORONTO — At long last, the Toronto Maple Leafs know who they will face in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Toronto had to wait for the final game of the NHL’s regular season to learn that the Boston Bruins will be their opponents to start the post-season. A complex series of scenarios meant that the Maple Leafs could face either Boston or the Tampa Bay Lightning, dependent on the outcome of that final game.

Roberto Luongo came off the bench to shut down the Bruins in the third period, and the Florida Panthers dashed Boston’s hopes of getting the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 4-2 win Sunday night.

The Bruins will host the Maple Leafs in the first round beginning Thursday night. The Leafs were 3-1 against the Bruins in the regular season.

A classic Original Six matchup, Boston and Toronto have met in the NHL playoffs 14 times, with the Maple Leafs winning eight times.

The two teams last met in the 2013 playoffs when Toronto held a 4-1 lead in the third period of Game 7 of their first-round series but lost to Boston 5-4 in overtime.

…read more

Source:: Nationalpost


‘You close your eyes and you still see the accident’: The story of the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash

By Arthur White-Crummey in Regina, Sask., Andrea Hill in Humboldt, Sask., and Graeme Hamilton, Douglas Quan, Maura Forrest, Alicja Siekierska, Stuart Thomson and Jake Edmiston

Myles Shumlanski was at home on his Tisdale acreage just before 5 p.m. Friday, winding down after the work week, when he looked out his window and saw the bus carrying his son Nick and the rest of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey squad roll by. “There goes the boys,” Shumlanski remembers saying to his wife Vivian, who was getting ready for a family outing to the arena to watch the Broncos’ playoff match in Nipawin, Sask., about 20 kilometres to the north.

Minutes later, Shumlanski’s phone rang. Nick, 20, was on the line, and he was hysterical. “The bus was in an accident,” he screamed into the phone.

What should have been a roughly two-hour trip northeast from Humboldt, Sask. had come to crashing halt at a highway intersection just half a kilometer from Shumlanski’s home.

He and his wife jumped into their car and rushed to the scene. He imagined they would find the bus had rolled into the ditch, but they arrived to find the bus mangled and all but unrecognizable, its roof nearly ripped off by a collision with a semi. The truck’s freight of peat moss was scattered across the highway and fields. Moans filled the air. The bus’s passengers were covered in blood.

“As soon as I came,” Shumlanski said. “I knew that it was a disaster.”

Nick ran over to him, one of only two passengers who seemed to be mobile. Some were pinned under debris. Most couldn’t move. Everyone was in a state of shock.

Shumlanski put his son in the car and along with passing motorists who’d stopped, went to work helping victims. “It was chaos,” he said. They held the kids steady and did what they could while they waited for emergency workers to arrive.

“People were getting blankets. You were taking your jackets. You were doing anything to cover these boys,” he said. “They were in snow and ice and it was very cold. … They were in very bad shape.” Of the 29 people on board the bus, 15 were killed — 10 players, the driver, two coaches, a volunteer statistician and a broadcaster.

The scene of a deadly bus crash on a Saskatchewan highway. “We can now confirm fourteen people have died as a result of this collision,” RCMP said in …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


Maryland House Passes $5BN Incentive Package Meant To Lure Amazon’s HQ2


In one of the most aggressive attempts to cajole Amazon into selecting their state as the location for the e-commerce giant’s second headquarters, the Maryland General Assembly just passed a bill offering the company a $5 billion incentive package should Amazon choose to settle in Maryland’s Montgomery County.

Montgomery County is competing with Washington DC, Northern Virginia and 17 other areas that made Amazon’s HQ2 “short list”, which was released earlier this year. Specifically, Amazon is eyeing the site of the former White Flint Mall.

The “Promoting ext-Raordinary Innovation in Maryland’s Economy,” or PRIME (yes that misplaced capitalization was intentional) would require Amazon to create at least 40,000 qualified jobs (with an average comp of at least $100,000). The company would also need to spend $4.5 billion on “eligible costs” like capital projects, the Baltimore Business Journal reported.

After passing the House, the bill now passes to the desk of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

As lawmakers see it, if Amazon chooses Montgomery County, the incentives will be worth the 50,000 jobs the company could bring to the county. If Amazon doesn’t, the state loses nothing.

Montgomery County, specifically a site encompassing the former White Flint Mall, is the only Maryland site on Amazon’s HQ2 short list. Maryland is competing with Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and 17 other areas across the country for the 50,000 jobs and $5 billion investment the online retail and web services giant has promised with its second headquarters. Seattle-based Amazon is expected to fill at least 8 million square feet as it phases in HQ2 over the next two decades.

However, while the bill found broad support among Democratic state legislators, Republicans vehemently opposed it on the grounds that it amounted to a corporate giveaway. A legislative study found the bill would cost the state $5.5 billion in total revenue through 2054 – while the county would lose nearly $1 billion. However, that analysis doesn’t factor in any revenue generated by Amazon.

Opposition to the bill, largely from Republicans, was intense. They described the incentive — to include roughly $3 billion in property, income and sales tax credits and $2 billion in transportation improvements — as a “bribery package,” an “expensive pig in a poke,” as “craziness,” as “corporate welfare,” and as a “gold mine” for one of the wealthiest companies, led by one of the wealthiest people, in the world.

“They need economic stimulus like a fish needs a bicycle,” said …read more



Q&A: WWE legend Mick Foley brings ’20 Years of Hell’ tour to DC Improv

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Mick Foley at the DC Improv

Jason Fraley

Download audio

WASHINGTON — “Good, God Almighty! … As God as my witness, he is broken in half!”

Jim Ross’ legendary call cemented the most brutal match in WWE history, as Mick Foley’s masked masochist Mankind faced the undead phenom The Undertaker in a “Hell in a Cell” match at the “King of the Ring” pay per view in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 28, 1998.

Two decades later, Foley looks back on that fateful night in his “20 Years of Hell” tour, which crashes into the DC Improv comedy club in Downtown D.C. this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

“One of the things I plan to do with this show is take people behind the scenes and show the evolution, execution, aftermath and legacy of this infamous night,” Foley told WTOP. “I had no idea how important that night was going to turn out to be (with) a series of bizarre, surreal circumstances. The fact that we lived through it made that night take on a life of its own.”

While Foley and Undertaker had battled in other gimmick matches, including “Boiler Room Brawl” and “Buried Alive” matches in 1996, they had a high bar for “Hell in a Cell.” There had only been one such prior match, a classic between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels in 1997.

“I watched the first one with Terry Funk and it was an amazing match,” Foley said. “I was not an incredibly gifted athlete, not a great climber, not a great pullup guy, all the things you need to excel in that type of match. … Terry said, ‘I think you ought to start the match on top of the cell.’ We started brainstorming ludicrous ideas, laughing about how impossible it sounded. I turned to him and said, ‘I think I can do it.’ We had a way of starting the match.”

Thus, on a warm summer night in The Igloo arena, there was a chill in the air as Foley climbed the cage to start the match on top of the cell. Just minutes later, The Undertaker tossed Foley off the top of the cage, hurdling 16 feet and crashing through the announcer table below.

“The idea of starting a match that appears to end in ten seconds,” Foley said. “Jim didn’t know what was going …read more

Source:: Wtop – Entertainment


NHL releases 2018 Draft Lottery odds

The 2017-18 NHL regular season has come to an end. With 16 teams looking towards the playoffs, those not as fortunate will now shift focus to the draft and the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes.

Here are the official odds for the draft lottery, with the Buffalo Sabres holding the best chance of landing the top pick. The Ottawa Senators and Arizona Coyotes round out the top three.

Official odds for the 2018 NHL draft lottery, which will be held April 28 in Toronto:

— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 9, 2018

The lottery will consist of three draws: one for the first-overall pick, one for the second-overall pick and one for the third. Those teams not selected in the lottery will be assigned picks No. 4 through No. 15 in inverse order of regular-season points.

The 2018 NHL Draft will take place on June 22-23 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

…read more



Prolific voice actor and comedian Chuck McCann dies at 83

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor and comedian Chuck McCann, who recorded the famous line “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!” has died. He was 83.

His publicist Edward Lozzi says McCann died Sunday of congestive heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital.

McCann was born Sept. 2, 1934 in Brooklyn. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s and made guest appearances on shows including “Little House on the Prairie,” ”Bonanza,” and “Columbo.”

He began an animation acting career, in which he voiced Mayor Grafton on “The Garfield Show,” and reprised Ducksworth in “DuckTales: Remastered.”

He also played Heff Heffalump in Disney’s “The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh.”

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Fanning, and two daughters.

…read more

Source:: Timesunion