Children Are a Blessing, Not a Carbon Curse

Researchers at Oregon State University recently published a study arguing that efforts to limit carbon emissions must take into account the impact of reproductive choices. The study, titled “Reproduction and the Carbon Legacies of Individuals,” was published in the journal Global Environmental Change. It stated that each child will add 9,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female. In response, a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention says the argument that the world’s carbon footprint should be limited by the number of children couples have is faulty and godless. Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says “If the world is really buying into the idea that climate change is the great challenge and the way to address that is by reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, then eventually you’re going to have to get to the point that this article directs us and there are going to be fewer people on the planet, and we’re going to have to have fewer babies.”

However, Mohler points out that scripture is clear when it comes to the blessings of having children. “One of the responsibilities of Christian people is to produce godly progeny. Nowhere in the Bible is there any kind of blessing upon any form of thinking that would see children as a burden,” he adds. “And in fact both, especially the Old and the New Testament, they were given to us at a time when many other people were sacrificing children on altars.”

  • While the leftist Western world opines about too many (poor) people on the planet, Islam has been successfully encouraging its adherents to produce as many children as possible as one of their key strategies to undermine democracy and Christianity. It’s already working in Europe where sections of England and France have areas under Sharia law based on the Quran.

Lutheran Gay Clergy Proposal Passes First Hurdle

The Associated Press reports that a proposal in the Lutheran church to allow openly homosexual clergy in the pulpit has passed its first hurdle. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s biennial convention voted Monday to pass of fail the measure with a simple majority vote, instead of the proposed two-third supermajority vote. Critics of the measure said such a significant move should reflect the attitudes of the full denomination. ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson says the majority versus supermajority vote shouldn’t be seen as strongly indicating the debate’s ultimate outcome. The 1,045 voting delegates will probably face a final vote on Friday determining which direction the church, which is the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States, will take in the future.

  • Mainstream Christian denominations continue to lead the “great falling away”

Domestic Partner Registry Draws Lawsuit

A group of Christian attorneys has filed a lawsuit against the city of Cleveland, Ohio, for its new “domestic partner registry.” Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jim Campbell claims the city has violated the will of the people. He is representing citizens who filed the suit to block recognition of domestic partnerships. “Ohio voters amended their state’s constitution by an overwhelming majority in the year 2004, using the democratic process to affirm the long-held legal definition of marriage and eliminate any attempts at counterfeits,” he points out. “Now, what the city of Cleveland has done here is attempting to create a marriage counterfeit, which is in direct violation of what the people have said in their own state constitution.”

Obama Still Wants to Repeal Marriage Law

President Obama insisted Monday he still wants to scrap what he calls a discriminatory federal marriage law, even as his administration angered gay rights activists by defending it in court. The president said his administration’s stance in a California court case is not about defending traditional marriage, but is instead about defending traditional legal practice. Justice Department lawyers filed new papers Monday seeking to throw out a lawsuit brought by a gay couple challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. Gay rights groups say that by doing so, the administration is failing to follow through on campaign promises made by Obama last year to work to repeal the law. Department lawyers are defending the law “as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged,” Obama said in a statement. The Clinton-era law denies federal recognition of gay marriage and gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Obama said he plans to work with Congress to repeal the law, and said his administration “will continue to examine and implement measures that will help extend rights and benefits” to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples under existing law.

Obama’s Approval Ratings Continue to Decline

According to a recent Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll (Aug. 18, 2009), President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to a new low of 47 percent. The poll appears to reflect the growing discontent over the healthcare reform push on Capitol Hill, as well as the continuing challenge the president faces in trying to turn public opinion. (Another recent Rasmussen poll showed 42 percent favor the Democrats’ healthcare plan, while 53 percent oppose it.) Obama’s approval rating has been dropping steadily in recent weeks, down from its high of 65% in January.

Conservatives Now Outnumber Liberals in 50 States

Self-identified conservatives now outnumber self-identified liberals in all 50 states of the union, according to the Gallup Poll. And more Americans nationwide are saying this year that they are conservative than have made that claim in any of the last four years, according to CNSNews.com. In 2009, 40 percent of respondents in Gallup surveys that have interviewed more than 160,000 Americans have said that they are either “conservative” (31 percent) or “very conservative” (9 percent). By contrast, only 21 percent have told Gallup they are liberal, including 16 percent who say they are “liberal” and 5 percent who say they are “very liberal.”

Family Doctor Shortage Looms

Longer days, lower pay, less prestige and more administrative headaches have turned doctors away in droves from family medicine, presumed to be the frontline for wellness and preventive-care programs that can help reduce health care costs. The number of U.S. medical school students going into primary care has dropped 51.8% since 1997, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Considering it takes 10 to 11 years to educate a doctor, the drying up of the pipeline is a big concern to health-care experts. The AAFP is predicting a shortage of 40,000 family physicians in 2020, when the demand is expected to spike. The U.S. health care system has about 100,000 family physicians and will need 139,531 in 10 years. The current environment is attracting only half the number needed to meet the demand. At the heart of the rising demands on primary-care physicians will be the 78 million Baby Boomers born from 1946 to 1964, who begin to turn 65 in 2011 and will require increasing medical care, and the current group of underserved patients.

AARP Loses Members over Health Care Stance

About 60,000 senior citizens have quit AARP since July 1 due to the group’s support for a health care overhaul. The membership loss suggests dissatisfaction on the part of AARP members at a time when many senior citizens are concerned about proposed cuts to Medicare providers to help pay for making health care available for all. But spokesman Drew Nannis said it wasn’t unusual for the powerful, 40 million-strong senior citizens’ lobby to shed members in droves when it’s advocating on a controversial issue. AARP is strongly backing a health care overhaul, running ads to support it and hosting President Obama at an online forum recently to promote his agenda to AARP members. However, the group has not endorsed a specific bill and says it won’t support a plan that reduces Medicare benefits.

Brits’ Healthcare System Not so Rosy

The founder of Liberty Counsel says lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are pushing for government-run healthcare need to take a lesson from the U.K. According to Mat Staver, the U.K.’s single-payer healthcare system has major issues. He explains that his organization looked at major British newspaper headlines and articles going back three years. “Article after article and headline after headline talks about the problem with their system — and here’s [sic] some of their problems: they’re rationing healthcare for the elderly, they are taking healthcare away from the vets.” The attorney says other healthcare problems in England include long hospital waits due to government bureaucracy, stories of people waiting for hours in emergency vehicles — and doctors leaving early on vacation after they have met their yearly or monthly quota on patients

Sweden Outlaws Home Schooling

The founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association says home schooling in Sweden will soon be banned altogether, with a few minor exceptions. Mike Farris says that Sweden will ban all home schooling except for children with medical exemptions and foreign workers with the appropriate work visas. “That’s it. People who have religious convictions or are home schooling for religious reasons will not be given one of these very rare exemptions,” he points out. “And so for all intents and purposes, home schooling is going to be banned in Sweden. They’re following the German statute, following the German model.” In Germany, parents face stiff penalties if they are caught illegally home schooling their children.

  • The underlying resistance to home schooling is anti-Christian bias which will continue to increase during these end-days

Park Service says Visits to National Parks are Up

The National Park Service said Monday that 127.7 million visits were made to national parks in the first six months of the year, an increase of about 4.5 million over the same period in 2008. In June alone, visits to national parks increased by more than 700,000 compared to June of last year. “America’s national parks and public lands provide affordable and accessible recreational opportunities from coast to coast,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “It is great to see so many Americans, including the first family, take advantage of the incredible natural, cultural and historic resources that we have here at home. Especially when times are tough, our parks and public lands refuel the spirit and help energize local economies.” The economic slowdown may have forced people to stay closer to home for their vacations.

Phone Scams Up Despite Do-Not-Call registry

Complaints about unwanted phone calls from people registered on do-not-call lists are on the rise, and the poor economy is largely to blame, state officials say. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, says that “predatory” telemarketers are more bold and victims more vulnerable in hard times. Bogus offers to help with foreclosure or credit card debt have become more common, he says. The Federal Trade Commission, which handles the National Do Not Call Registry, receives more than 100,000 complaints a month, according to statistics obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The statistics show complaints for July 2008 through June 2009 are up 11% over the prior 12-month period.

40% of Twitter Posts “Pointless Babble”

Tweets aren’t always sweet — sometimes they’re just “pointless babble.” Actually, they are 40% of the time, based on a study of 2,000 random tweets over two weeks by Pear Analytics. The researcher deemed 811 tweets as babble, compared to 751 (38%) as conversational, 174 (8%) as moderately interesting and 117 (6%) as self promotional. Spam accounted for only 4%, or 75, of the tweets. The results surprised Pear researchers, who expected a preponderance of self-promotional tweets.

UBS will Give IRS 4,450 Names of Suspected Tax Cheats

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman says Swiss banking giant UBS will give his agency details of 4,450 client accounts suspected of holding undeclared assets. The deal to end a contentious international lawsuit between U.S. tax collectors and Swiss bankers was announced Wednesday morning. UBS has an estimated 52,000 accounts of U.S. customers. Shulman said the 4,450 accounts were the ones most suspected of containing undeclared assets.

Economic News

Americans had to work from January 1 until August 12 this year just to cover the cost of government. That is 26 days more than they had to work last year to cover the cost of government. “Cost of Government Day” this year fell on Wednesday, August 12, according to Americans for Tax Reform, the conservative group that calculates when the day occurs. Cost of Government Day is the day in the year when the American people have earned enough income to pay the total cost of the spending and regulatory burden imposed by government at the federal, state, and local level.

Construction of new U.S. homes dipped slightly last month, missing expectations, in a sign that the building industry’s recovery from the housing bust is likely to be bumpy and gradual. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that construction started on homes and apartments fell 1% in July.

The commercial real estate downturn is deepening, threatening to slow the economic recovery. About $83 billion of office, retail, industrial and apartment properties have fallen into default, foreclosure or bankruptcy this year, says research firm Real Capital Analytics. The default rate for commercial mortgages jumped from 1.62% to 2.25% in the first quarter and should hit 4.1% by the end of the year. Fueled by easy credit, developers built too many shopping malls and office buildings from 2004 to 2007. As the economy soured, vacancy rates rose. Property values are down about 40% from their 2007 peak, Deutsch Bank says, and loans for commercial properties have come to a virtual standstill. As a result, hundreds of smaller regional banks, which are heavily exposed to commercial mortgages, could go bankrupt the next two years.

A wholesale price index dropped sharply in July, and over the past 12 months fell by the largest amount in more than 60 years of record-keeping. The Labor Department said that its producer price index dropped 0.9% last month,.driven by big decreases in both energy and food costs. Over the past 12 months, the prices of goods before they reach store shelves fell 6.8%. Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, also was well-behaved. It dropped 0.1% in July.

Iraq

A series of explosions targeting government and commercial buildings struck Baghdad Wednesday, killing at least 75 people and wounding more than 300. The blasts in the capital followed a string of attacks in Iraq this month that have claimed hundreds of lives and raised concerns about the ability of Iraqi security forces to keep the lid on violence in advance of an American withdrawal.

Police say Iraqi forces seized a launcher loaded with 13 Iranian-made rockets after an attack against the U.S. base outside the southern city of Basra. The U.S. military says Iran is continuing to support violence in Iraq. Tehran denies the allegation.

Afghanistan

A suicide car bomb attacked a NATO convoy Tuesday on the outskirts of Kabul, killing at least seven civilians and wounding more than 50 people, officials said. Afghans working for the United Nations were among the dead and wounded. The attack occurred two days before national elections in which Afghans are to select a new president. The Taliban have denounced the election and warned people they would be at risk if they go to polling stations. Hours before the suicide blast, two mortar rounds struck near the presidential palace in Kabul. Police stormed a bank in Kabul on Wednesday and killed three insurgents who had taken it over, while a wave of attacks killed at least six election workers around the country on the eve of the presidential election.

Pakistan

A bomb exploded on a truck at a fuel station in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing seven people, police said, while the Taliban claimed responsibility for two weekend suicide attacks in a valley recently retaken by the army. Gunmen also assassinated the leader of a feared Sunni sectarian group, triggering rioting in three southern cities. Pakistan is battling al-Qaeda and Taliban militants seeking to topple its secular, pro-Western government. It has been bracing for possible revenge attacks following the reported death of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in a CIA missile strike Aug. 5 close to the northwestern border with Afghanistan. Security forces captured the Pakistani Taliban’s top spokesman, and he acknowledged the death of the group’s leader in a recent U.S. missile strike, officials said Tuesday — further signs the militants are in disarray since the American attack.

Russia

The death toll from the suicide truck bombing of a police station in Russia’s North Caucasus has risen to 21, and nine police officers are still missing, officials said Tuesday. More than 130 people were wounded in the Monday bombing in the city of Nazran in Ingushetia, the worst attack in the volatile North Caucasus region in years. The bombing undermined Kremlin claims that its efforts to bring calm and prosperity to the impoverished patchwork of ethnic groups, clans and religions are succeeding. Like other North Caucasus regions, Ingushetia has been reeling from rising violence in recent months, including a suicide bombing that badly wounded the Kremlin-appointed leader, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov. While Chechnya has become more stable after the two separatist wars since 1994, Islamic militants continue to mount regular hit-and-run attacks and explosions and violence that has increasingly spilled into neighboring provinces.

Philippines

Philippine troops stormed a remote southwestern islet Wednesday to remove some 30 Muslim gunmen who took over a village near beach resorts popular with foreign tourists. The raiders led by Abdullah Abdurajak, a commander facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, started extorting money from residents and seized a mosque over the weekend. They claimed to be members of the Moro National Liberation Front, a Muslim separatist group that signed a peace deal with the government in 1996 in exchange for an autonomous region in the southern Philippines. Many of its fighters have refused to disarm, adding to insecurity in a region where two other Muslim rebel groups operate.

  • Odd, we never hear about Baptists or Methodists of other Christian sects perpetrating violence and terrorism, but let’s be tolerant anyway

Wildfires

One of the most dramatic fires in Northern Arizona to date this year, the so-called Taylor Fire is burning in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness above the Rim, south and east of Turkey Butte and several miles from the historic Taylor Cabin. The fire put out so much smoke that Verde Valley fire companies are being deluged with phone calls. The Coconino National Forest has staffed the sudden fire with over 400 crews, hotshots, helicopters, air tankers and engines and a Type-2 Incident Management Team. The Forest is proposing to suppress this fire rather than allowing it to burn naturally as has been the case with many fires this year. There are no immediate threats to structures in the area. Firefighters on Tuesday completed containment lines around the 3,545 acre wildfire that has been throwing smoke into Flagstaff, Sedona and other spots in northern Arizona.

California authorities now believe a wildfire that has burned more than 88,000 acres in Santa Barbara County was started at a marijuana field run by a Mexican drug cartel. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said investigators came to that conclusion because of the size of the pot field in the Los Padres National Forest and the equipment found at the campsite where the fire began Aug. 8. He said 30,000 pot plants were found, along with stacks of propane tanks, melted irrigation tubing, empty canisters of fertilizer, mounds of trash, a torched cooking stove and a semiautomatic rifle.

Weather

Police say a tornado in Beaumont, Texas has collapsed a department store roof, overturned cars and scattered debris throughout a mall parking lot, sending several people to the hospital with minor injuries. Nearby Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital says that fewer than ten patients are there and all are in stable condition.

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