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Thumbs down: Prosperity preachin'

If you felt a disturbance in the force on Friday, you weren't alone. Prosperty gospel televangelist, Joel Osteen, author of the best-selling Your Best Life Now and leader of the 38,000-strong Lakewood mega-church in Houston, spoke to a rapture-ready crowd at Conseco Fieldhouse last week, doubtless rolling out his tried-and-true message that God wants us to make money. Fine and good, we say: who doesn't want to earn more cash? But what's God have to do with it? The bible mentions the poor some 3,000 times; but what about wealth and prosperity? Well, it does say "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." We wonder if Osteen, whose net worth is estimated in the tens of millions of dollars, whipped out that verse on Friday, given the today's tough economy and talk of extending tax breaks for America's wealthiest?

Thumbs up: Parking decision pushed back

Despite efforts by the Mayor Greg Ballard to hustle through his plan to privatize city parking, the City-County Council has thrown up a yield sign. A meeting of the council's Rules and Public Policy Committee, originally scheduled for Monday, Sept. 13, was cancelled; had the meeting gone forward, committee members could have sent it to the floor of the council a week later. But resistance from council Democrats – and from an unconvinced public – has been fierce. Any agreement by the city to auction off its parking services for 50 years to a company (ACS) whose claim to fame in Indiana includes hopelessly bungling social welfare services, begs long, thoughtful consideration, if not outright rejection, no matter what the benefits (and there are benefits, including $35 million up front for city infrastructure improvements, and meter upgrades that would allow users to pay by credit card). We're glad to see things are slowing down.

Thumbs up: Organic giving

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery – formerly known as Farm Fresh Delivery – is doing its part for National Hunger Awareness Month by donating 10,000 pounds of fresh, organic vegetables to local community kitchen, Second Helpings. That's a lot of chlorophyll. Organizers at Second Helpings say they'll distribute those veggies among the nearly 3000 meals the group sends out each day to local social service agencies. For more information on Second Helpings, visit www.secondhelpings.org; for more on Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, which has several outstanding sustainability, education and charitable initiatives, go to www.GreenBEANDelivery.com.

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