WHY DO PEOPLE SEEK RELIGION?
While Buffalo, N.Y., may be viewed economically as the "Rust Belt," spiritually it might be dubbed America's "Faith Belt," The Buffalo News reports.
A survey by the Glenmary Research Center in Nashville shows 71 percent of the 1.1 million residents of the Buffalo metropolitan area consider themselves followers of some faith. The largest affiliation is Catholic with nearly 623,000, followed by Evangelical Lutheran at nearly 25,000, Lutheran-Missouri Synod, about 21,000, United Methodist at nearly 21,000 and Jewish, an estimated 18,000.
"This study reports that 140 million Americans are associated with one of the 149 religious bodies participating in the study," says Dale E. Jones, chairman of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, the group that directed the study for Glenmary. "That's half -- 50.2 percent -- of all Americans."
Among major metropolitan areas, Salt Lake City ranked second in percentage of religious adherents with 70 percent, followed by Pittsburgh with 67 percent, Providence, R.I., at 64 percent and Boston with 64 percent.
-- Some people think cities with strong immigrant ties seek religion more. Do you agree?
-- Others believe Buffalo's economic adversity has resulted in a pull toward religion. Do more people seek religion in bad times?
ENRON EXEC CHARGED WITH FRAUD
Former Enron Corp. Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow surrendered to the FBI in Houston to face federal securities fraud charges, UPI reports. In Washington, D.C., Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson says the government intends to ask the court to freeze an additional $11 million of Fastow's assets based on the allegations contained in the Houston complaint.
The government has frozen and will seek the forfeiture of a total of $37 million derived from alleged illegal activity at Enron. "We aim to put the bad guys in prison and take away their money," Thompson says.
The federal complaint says Fastow and others devised a scheme to defraud Enron and its shareholders through transactions with "special purpose entities" or SPEs.
The off-balance sheet SPEs structures allowed Enron to appear more attractive to investment analysts and credit rating agencies, the complaint says.
-- Are criminal charges against Enron executives a symbolic victory, because the jobs, retirement funds and stock losses most likely never will be returned?
-- If several accused Enron executives have to repay the money they gained, will that be enough of a victory?
WOMEN TREATED UNFAIRLY?
A poll of 800 American women nationwide finds 75 percent believe successful women are more likely to receive negative attention when accused of improper conduct than men in similar situations.
In addition, 87 percent say while women are ridiculed and criticized for doing something unfavorable, men earn a "cool" or "humorous" image from acting in the same manner.
"The intensity of agreement on this issue is simply stunning, and it is quite indicative of the fact that women are well aware of the type of public judgment to which they are subjected," says Kellyanne Conway, president of the polling company, WomanTrend.
Celebrity status does not shield women from this. The poll found 76 percent think Winona Ryder is the most recent case study illustrating this point, as has Kathie Lee Gifford, Martha Stewart, Drew Barrymore, Halle Berry and Jennifer Capriati, Conway says.
-- Do you agree with Conway that the media and prosecutors are overzealous in jumping to conclusions, often targeting prominent women?