Victories at Arizona Capitol!

Six CAP-supported bills passed the last hurdle in the Arizona Legislature last week. All six should reach Gov. Brewer’s desk early this week where we are very hopeful she will sign them into law. These bills, if passed into law, collectively accomplish the following:

Ø      Provide women considering an abortion access to accurate information about the risks and alternatives to the procedure and at least 24 hours to consider her decision.

Ø      Protect the rights of parents whose minor daughters seek an abortion.

Ø      Guarantee that students in the public schools cannot be denied their religious freedom.

Ø      Protect patients who are unable to communicate their wishes.

Ø      Continue the scholarship tax credit beyond its current expiration date of 2011.

Ø      Prohibit the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure.

Ø      Simplify the charitable tax credit for donations to charities that are helping low-income Arizonans.

YouTube Spikes Pro-Life Video

The Internet giant YouTube has spiked a video that revealed Planned Parenthood telling a prospective abortion patient that those online images of mangled bodies aren’t real. Word of the action comes from Live Action Films, which sent volunteers under cover into Planned Parenthood facilities in several states to record their statements about abortion. The videos have revealed, among other things, Planned Parenthood officials apparently advising a “patient” to lie to a judge about her boyfriend’s age to avoid possible felony charges against him. Lila Rose, the 20-year-old president of Live Action, said YouTube should re-instate the video in accordance with its own rules: “Since the video we posted does not violate any terms of use, we expect YouTube to re-instate it immediately. YouTube’s own ‘Community Guideline Tips’ advise that intense or disturbing imaging should be ‘balanced with additional context and information,’ which is exactly what Live Action has done.” Google spokesman Scott Rubin said there is a company policy against commenting on individual videos.

  • YouTube is owned by Google which is a notorious supporter of all things secular, gay and anti-Christian.

Chicago School Children March in Gay Parade

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Chicago’s Nettlehorst Elementary School will be the first public school in the community to march in the city’s gay pride parade. According to the Tribune, the school’s fence is adorned with thousands of green, blue, purple, and red strips of fabric — each hand-tied by a student. A sign by the gate stated that the elementary school will “be the first Chicago public school to march in the city’s gay pride parade.” The sign also stated that the school believes that family means everybody.

  • Separation of church and state? Seems like the religion of Secular Humanism and its gay rights agenda is government sponsored.

Generation Gap Largest Since ’60s

American adults from young to old disagree increasingly today on social values ranging from religion to relationships, creating the largest generation gap since divisions 40 years ago over Vietnam, civil rights and women’s liberation. A survey being released Monday by the Pew Research Center highlights a widening age divide after last November’s election, when 18- to 29-year-olds voted for Democrat Barack Obama by a 2-to-1 ratio. Almost 8 in 10 people believe there is a major difference in the point of view of younger people and older people today, according to the independent public-opinion research group. That is the highest spread since 1969, when about 74 percent reported major differences.

Asked to identify where older and younger people differ most, 47 percent said social values and morality. People age 18 to 29 were more likely to report disagreements over lifestyle, views on family, relationships and dating, while older people cited differences in a sense of entitlement. Those in the middle-age groups often pointed to a difference in manners. About two-thirds of people 65 and older said religion is important, compared with just over half of those 30 to 49 and 44 percent of people 18 to 29.

House Passes Major Energy-Climate Bill

In a triumph for President Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed sweeping legislation Friday that calls for the nation’s first limits on pollution linked to global warming and aims to usher in a new era of cleaner, yet more costly energy. The vote was 219-212, capping months of negotiations and days of intense bargaining among Democrats. Republicans were overwhelmingly against the measure, arguing it would destroy jobs in the midst of a recession while burdening consumers with a new tax in the form of higher energy costs.

The legislation mandates reductions in greenhouse gases, puts emission limits on industry, and puts tighter restrictions on coal. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it will cost $175 a year per household. At the White House, Obama said the bill would create jobs, and added that with its vote, the House had put America on a path toward leading the way toward “creating a 21st century global economy.”

  • A “global economy.” That’s what the New World (Dis)Order folks are after and why they’re sinking ours with Captain Obama at the helm.

Republicans Asking ‘Where are the Jobs?’

Republicans concerned about the Obama administration’s big spending on economic stimulus, energy and health care are asking, “Where are the jobs?” “The president and Democrats in Congress claim this spending binge is necessary to put Americans back to work,” House Republican leader John Boehner said Saturday in the Republican radio and Internet address. “They promised unemployment would not rise above 8% if their trillion-dollar stimulus was passed. But our nation has lost nearly 3 million jobs this year. Unemployment has soared above 9%. And now the president admits that unemployment will soon reach double digits. After all of this spending, after all of this borrowing from China, the Middle East, our children and our grandchildren, where are the jobs?” Boehner said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said early this week that the president expects the nation will reach 10% unemployment within the next few months. In January, President Obama’s economic team predicted unemployment would rise no higher than 8% with the help of $787 billion in new government spending.

Swine H1N1 Flu

A potential fall swine flu immunization campaign may involve an unprecedented 600 million doses of vaccine, but health officials are still trying to figure out how to find enough workers to administer all those shots. Officials are also looking at how to keep track of side effects if it’s given at the same time as the seasonal vaccine. That could make it difficult to figure out which vaccine was causing the side effects.

Non-Profit Income Drops while Need Grows

More than one-quarter of Arizona non-profit organizations reported that they laid off employees in 2008 or planned to do so in 2009, according to an Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits survey released in February. That could put about 5,000 non-profit employees out of work by the end of this year. Many organizations are struggling to deal with falling income and still provide vital services as demand from the needy continues to rise. Demand for food spiked by 70 percent at St. Mary’s Food Bank this year. Many Arizona non-profits expect revenue to continue to decline through 2009 and have little choice but to scale back operations.

Economic News

Regulators on Friday shut down five small banks, boosting to 45 the number of failures this year of federally insured banks. More are expected to succumb in the prolonged recession. The 45 banks closed nationwide this year compare with 25 in all of 2008 and three in 2007.

Pump prices fell every day this week, easing off a summer peak near $2.70 a gallon as storage facilities swelled with unused gasoline. The national average for gasoline dropped to $2.66 a gallon Friday.

Inflation is as dead as the Wicked Witch of the West in a waterfall. The consumer price index has actually fallen 1.3% in the past 12 months. So why is everyone so worried about soaring prices? In a word: debt. The government owes the world $11.4 trillion — $37,000 for every person in the U.S. In the next fiscal year, the government will add $1.8 trillion to the deficit. The government casn simply print more dollars to pay off our debts with cheap currency — a tempting but inflationary solution. Until, of course, the currency collapses, interest rates soar and the economy craters. Some on Wall Street are betting on just that scenario. Respected hedge fund managers are raising millions to bet on soaring price increases. If inflation does hit, however, it won’t be this year.

NATO, Russia Resume Ties

NATO and Russia agreed to resume military ties Saturday in their first high-level meeting since Russia’s war with Georgia disrupted their relations 10 months ago. NATO’s outgoing Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced that the so-called NATO-Russia Council, a panel set up in 2002 to improve ties between the former Cold War rivals, was operational again. Relations between the alliance and the Russian military were frozen after the five-day Georgian war last August. Although political ties have thawed considerably over the past five months, there had been no formal military contacts since then.

Iraq Violence Trending Upward

Motorcycle bombs killed at least 20 people in separate attacks in Baghdad Friday, at least 19 of them in a crowded bazaar, part of an apparent trend toward increased use of motorcycles to thwart stepped-up security measures. The attacks were the latest in a week of violence that has killed more than 250 people, with just four days to go before the deadline for U.S. combat troops to withdraw from cities. The spike has raised fresh doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces to provide security and fight a stubborn insurgency as their American partners become less visible.

Iraq has declared Tuesday a national holiday, calling it National Sovereignty Day, with feasts and festivals to mark turning over control of the cities, towns and villages to Iraqi forces. Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said on Sunday that U.S. forces are already out of the cities in Iraq, ahead of the deadline. “It is time for them to take responsibility inside the cities,” Odierno said on Fox News Sunday about the Iraqis. Tuesday’s deadline for American troops to leave Iraqi cities gives U.S. commanders a new focus: securing rural areas that they say insurgents are using as hide-outs to plan attacks.

Meanwhile, a heavy sandstorm has blanketed Iraq’s capital. Visibility is only a few yards and most of the few people on the streets are wearing surgical masks. Doctors at the city’s hospitals said Sunday that people were coming in complaining about shortness of breath and other problems. Sandstorms are a regular occurrence in Baghdad although it is shielded from the desert by a thin strip of arable land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Iranian Turmoil Spoils Obama’s Plans

Several thousand protesters — some chanting “Where is my vote?” — clashed with riot police in Tehran on Sunday as Iran detained local employees of the British Embassy, escalating the regime’s standoff with the West and earning it a stinging rebuke from the European Union. Witnesses said riot police used tear gas and clubs to break up a crowd of up to 3,000 protesters who had gathered near north Tehran’s Ghoba Mosque in the country’s first major post-election unrest in four days. Some described scenes of brutality, telling The Associated Press that some protesters suffered broken bones.

President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that his hopes for a direct U.S.-Iranian dialogue, one of his signature foreign-policy initiatives, have been dashed for now by the Iranian government’s violent quashing of protests over the disputed June 12 election. Obama’s proposed direct outreach to Iran dates to the 2008 presidential campaign. Even last week, well after Iranian police began beating and shooting at mostly young protesters, the president and his aides insisted engagement was still possible. On Friday, however, Obama said that there was “no doubt that any direct dialogue or diplomacy with Iran is going to be affected by the events of the last several weeks.”

Nevertheless, Obama said Washington will continue to take part in multination talks with Tehran over its suspected nuclear-weapons program “because the clock is ticking,” a reference to the possibility Iran in the coming years will acquire enough fuel to build a nuclear weapon. That’s the same approach President George W. Bush adopted during his last six months in office. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Saturday to make the U.S. regret its criticism of Iran’s postelection crackdown and said the “mask has been removed” from the Obama administration’s efforts to improve relations.

  • You can’t negotiate rationally with Islamic militants who want to destroy Israel and take over the world.

U.S. Shifting Afghan Drug Policy

The U.S. has announced a new drug policy for opium-rich Afghanistan, saying it was phasing out funding for eradication efforts and using the money for drug interdiction and alternate crop programs instead. The U.S. envoy for Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, told The Associated Press on Saturday that eradication programs weren’t working and were only driving farmers into the hands of the Taliban. Afghanistan is the world’s leading source of opium, cultivating 93% of the world’s heroin-producing crop. The United Nations has estimated the Taliban and other Afghan militants made $50 million to $70 million off the opium and heroin trade last year.

Pakistan War Against Extremists Continues

Pakistani security forces raided a Taliban hideout in the southern city of Karachi Saturday and pounded suspected militant training camps in the northwest, killing at least 20 people and underscoring the nationwide challenge of eradicating insurgents. Police officials said the foray in Karachi thwarted plans for terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s largest city, while the bombing and shelling of targets in South Waziristan on the border with Afghanistan further weakened the Taliban as the military prepares for a new offensive there. The government is confronting militants on two fronts in the volatile northwest, and Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has responded with a series of attacks across the country that have killed more than 100 people in the past month.

Honduras President Ousted by Military

Honduras is now torn between two presidents: one legally recognized by world bodies after he was deposed and forced from the country by his own soldiers, and another supported by the Central American nation’s congress, courts and military. Presidents from around Latin America were gathering in Nicaragua for meetings Monday to resolve the first military overthrow of a Central American government in 16 years. There is a deep rift between the outside world — which is clamoring for the return of democratically elected, but largely unpopular and soon-to-leave-office President Manuel Zelaya — and congressionally designated successor Roberto Micheletti. Micheletti said the army acted on orders from the courts, and the ouster was carried out “to defend respect for the law and the principles of democracy.”

Village Christians in Hiding after Clash in Egypt

Compass Direct News reports that nearly 1,000 Coptic Christians are hiding in their homes after clashes with the village’s majority-Muslim population Sunday. The crisis began Sunday morning when a group of 25 Christians from Cairo stopped in Ezbet Boshra-East, a village of about 3,000 people three hours south of Cairo. The Christians were beginning to enter a three-story building owned by the Coptic Church, where the priest lives with his family, when Muslim neighbors approached the group outside. A Muslim woman walked up to one of the visiting women, he said, and slapped her. Soon village youths gathered and started throwing stones at the visitors and the building, and according to Castor within minutes hundreds of villagers, Muslims against Christians, were fighting each other in the streets of Ezbet Boshra-East.

Weather

The searing heat of the last 10 days, preceded by a long wet spring, has caused road pavement around Missouri to buckle or blow up. When pavement temperatures rise, concrete slabs expand, push up against each other and either heave up or crumble. Temperatures around the state have been in the 90s for 10 days, giving Missourians an early burst of summer.

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