Ariz. Taxi Driver Offers Kidney to Frequent Passenger

Rita Van Loenen had no idea that a trip in Thomas Chappell’s taxi cab could end up being the ride that saves her life. “There are better odds of getting struck by lightning,” Van Loenen said. “A random taxi driver offering to give me his kidney and all these pieces match. There has to be something behind this. How can this be?” Chappell, who has been driving Van Loenen to dialysis appointments, shocked the Gilbert, Ariz. woman a month ago by offering to donate his kidney. But even more shocking to her was that doctors found they had the same blood type, that they were compatible. The Phoenix taxi driver said he was a man of faith and that a higher power wanted him to step in. “By then, me and the good Lord already had a talk. He said ‘Tom, you go give her one. It will work,’ ” Chappell said.

One Year Later, Christians in Orissa Pray for Peace

Compass Direct News reports that one year after India’s worst-ever attack on Christians, churches across the country fasted and prayed for a peace that remains elusive. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India appealed to all the Catholic dioceses in the country to “pray for peace and harmony and a spirit of reconciliation” by fasting last Saturday, one year to the day that Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was killed by non-Christian Maoists last year. On Monday, Christians held an inter-denominational meeting to pray for peace, healing and reconciliation in New Delhi to mark “National Kandhamal Day.” Christians believe it may take a long time for peace and reconciliation to become a reality in Kandhamal, where the violence lasted for weeks 2008, killing more than 100 people and burning more than 4,500 houses, over 250 churches and 13 educational institutions.

Christians Called to Pray during Ramadan

The Christian Post reports that missionaries are urging all Christians to pray as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins. “It’s kind of a time of seeking in a certain sense, when they’re fasting and they’re more geared toward spiritual things,” said Sammy Tippit, an evangelist who focuses on reaching Muslims, to Mission Network News. “And it’s out of a sense for God – a thirst for God and a hunger for God. And during these times of Ramadan, many will have dreams about Jesus.” Mission News Network is offering a 30-day prayer guide to help Christians understand the holy month and pray effectively for different Muslim cultures worldwide. Younger Muslims in unstable countries such as Iran are especially open to alternatives from Islam, Tippit said.

Abortion ‘Explicitly’ Covered under ObamaCare says the National Right to Life Committee is correct concerning abortion provisions in ObamaCare. According to, President Barack Obama was right to a “limited extent” when he stated that his healthcare reform plan does not allow for “government-funded abortion.” Although states that under H.R. 3200 federal money is not used to fund abortion, under the public insurance option there is a provision for abortion coverage — as well as provisions for government-subsidized public and private insurance plans that cover what are described as “reproductive services.” Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the Washington, DC-based National Right to Life, says the president purposely neglected to tell the whole story. “President Obama really brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related components of this bill that his congressional allies have crafted and that his staff had a role in,” Johnson contends.

Obama Pressuring Veterans toward Euthanasia

The Wall Street Journal just published a shocking editorial written by a respected University President, confirming the Obama Administration is now using VA hospitals to order doctors to pressure all military veterans to sign “pull the plug” do-not-resuscitate orders, hastening their premature deaths through mandatory “end of life” counseling. President Jim Towey of Saint Vincent’s College, founder of the non-profit “Aging With Dignity” and former White House Director of faith based initiatives, wrote a blistering expose entitled “The Death Book For Veterans,” revealing President Obama’s new Veterans Administration (VA) directive, presumably signed by VA Secretary, General (ret.) Eric Shinseki, which mandates all veterans’ primary care physicians must graphically discuss “end of life planning” with all VA patients (not merely those nearing death), and must refer them to “Your Life, Your Choices,” a book that openly encourages Euthanasia and was written with guidance from the group formerly known as the Hemlock Society. That same pro-suicide group now boasts on their web-site of directly leading the charge to ensure “end of life counseling” is mandated in the Obamacare bill, HR 3200.  On page 21 of the Shinseki-mandated Veteran’s Euthanasia book, all military veterans are encouraged to complete a checklist of various scenarios, to decide whether their own life would be “not worth living.”

AARP Ramps up Support for ObamaCare

Although the AARP says it is not “officially” endorsing President Obama’s healthcare reform, it is conducting a huge and costly television ad campaign in support of ObamaCare and hosted the president at an online forum recently to promote his agenda to AARP members. On its website, AARP says, “We share the President’s commitment to act this year…” and “We look forward to working with leaders of both parties, including the President…” AARP even developed a dedicated website to help promote the president’s agenda.

Health Insurance Costs Rise

Costs for employer-provided health plans are expected to rise more than 10% within the next 12 months, a jump workers may feel in their paychecks or through changes to their insurance coverage. An aging population, rising costs and growing patient demand for services are among the reasons for the higher costs. Some employers might swallow the higher costs because workers this year already have had to contend with salary freezes. However, others may ask workers to pay more through increased deductibles or co-payments.

Swine H1N1 Flu

The global flu pandemic expected to return to the USA this fall may infect as much as half the U.S. population, flooding hospitals with nearly 2 million patients and causing 30,000 to 90,000 deaths, according to the first official forecast of the scope of the flu season now getting underway. The report, released Monday by the White House, was prepared by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. It offers the forecast as the most plausible of a range of scenarios that reflect the potential impact of a new form of H1N1 flu, known as swine flu, which the report calls “a serious health threat to the United States.” “While this is not the 1918 flu pandemic, it infects younger people more, and serious complications do occur,” says panel co-chairman Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, warning that infants and children, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses are at special risk of serious complications. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 2 million people nationwide have been infected with the virus and 522 have died. But flu experts worry that cases will mount as youngsters return to school and as cold weather drives people indoors.

  • As the government continues its scare campaign for this manufactured virus, are forced vaccinations on the horizon for our school children and others?

Democrats Censor GOP Mail

An Arizona congressman says liberals on the “Franking Commission” have deliberately tried to censor mail that conservative Republican House members are attempting to send out to their constituents. Democrats on the bipartisan Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards have been blocking Republicans from sending out franked mailings to constituents that refer to the cap-and-trade bill as “cap and tax,” the stimulus bill as the “so-called stimulus,” and the healthcare reform bill as “socialized medicine.” Representative Trent Franks (R-Arizona) says the Franking Commission even told him to stop using the phrase “Democratic majority” in his newsletters, and to use “majority” instead. “For instance, I can say ‘the Speaker,’ but I can’t say ‘Speaker Pelosi’ because that’s too inflammatory. Well, you know, I understand their problem — they don’t want people to really identify the Democratic Party with Nancy Pelosi,” he notes. “But the point is, we are forced to change our vernacular and how we say things in order to comport with their attitudes and their way of believing [how] we should say it.”

  • Liberal bias has become quite blatant reflecting their desire for more and more government control

Probe of CIA Imperils Interagency Trust

The Justice Department’s decision to investigate CIA interrogation practices increased tension between the agencies and prompted a sense of betrayal among some CIA officers, current and former officials said. Many CIA officers were stunned by Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to launch a probe. Some were deeply angered by what they consider a selective declassification of documents describing the acts at issue, former agency officials said Tuesday. Of particular concern to some: their agency’s decision not to release a rebuttal of a 2004 CIA inspector general report criticizing the agency’s conduct in interrogations along with the report, which was made public Monday in response to a lawsuit. “The employees that were involved wrote a joint rebuttal and they believe it was ignored deliberately by [Justice] for political reasons,” said one former CIA official.

  • The CIA has become a political football, largely its own fault as it has often pursued its own agenda

Social Networks Making Students More Narcissistic

College students say social networking makes them more narcissistic, a national survey reports today — and they also believe their generation is the most narcissistic of all. That’s what a majority of 1,068 college students said when asked about narcissism in a poll on social networking sites in June by Ypulse. More than half (57%) said their peers used social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter for self-promotion, narcissism and attention-seeking. And 92% said they used MySpace or Facebook regularly. Two-thirds said their generation was more self-promoting, narcissistic, overconfident and attention-seeking than others.

  • Takes one to know one, I guess

Economic News

More Americans are having their power shut off as the weak economy makes it harder to pay bills. Regulations differ by state, but utilities generally may not cut power off during extremely cold, and in some cases extremely hot, weather. The federal stimulus package includes $1.5 billion to prevent homelessness, in part by helping people pay utility bills.

Consumer sentiment rose more than expected in August, an indication that Americans’ pessimism about the economy may be lifting. The Conference Board said Tuesday its consumer confidence index rose to 54.1 from an upwardly revised 47.4 in July. Still, the index is far below 90, the minimum level associated with a healthy economy.

The Commerce Department said new home sales surged 9.6% in July from June, the fourth straight monthly increase. U.S. home prices posted their first quarterly increase in three years, adding to evidence that the three-year housing slump is easing. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller’s U.S. National Home Price Index released Tuesday was up nearly 3% from the first quarter to 133, though that reading was still down almost 15% from the second quarter last year.

Orders for durable goods rose last month by the largest amount in two years, as the manufacturing sector rebounded from the depths of the recession. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for goods expected to last at least three years increased 4.9% in July, the third rise in the past four months.

More than half the employers in a new poll say they plan to hire full-time employees in the next 12 months, Some 14.5 million U.S. workers are unemployed, according to recent U.S. government statistics. The areas most likely to be adding jobs are technology, customer service and sales, the research found.

The avalanche of potential new-car sales that took down the government’s computers in the final hours of its “cash for clunkers” program Monday is evidence of the program’s overwhelming success. The program leveraged $3 billion in clunker rebates into $20 billion-plus in new-car sales. That far exceeded the initial goals for what is arguably the most successful of the government’s recent economic-stimulus programs.

Guar­anty Bank in Texas is the 84th bank failure (and the second largest) this year. The FDIC seized the bank and promptly sold it off to a for­eign bank, BBVA of Spain. In the process, the FDIC took a $3 bil­lion loss.


President Hamid Karzai widened his lead over his top challenger Wednesday after Afghan officials released more partial vote results. The president’s new total pushed him closer to the 50% threshold that would allow him to avoid a two-man runoff. More results will be released in coming days, and final certified results will not be ready until at least mid-September, after investigations are held into the dozens of serious complaints of fraud that have been filed. The latest returns boost Karzai’s standing to 44.8%. Abdullah now has 35.1%. The count is based on returns from 17% of polling stations nationwide.

Five car bombs detonated in a single simultaneous blast Tuesday in Afghanistan‘s largest southern city, flattening buildings and killing at least 41 people, officials said. The force of the explosion just after nightfall shattered windows around the city and sent flames shooting into the sky. So many houses and nearby buildings had collapsed that officials feared the death toll could rise further.

American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama’s chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders. The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war that has lost popularity at home. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, described a worsening situation in Afghanistan despite the recent addition of 17,000 American troops ordered by the Obama administration.

Darfur, Sudan

Darfur activists upset about President Obama‘s Sudan policy are launching a critical advertising campaign that urges him to step up pressure on Khartoum. The move comes as the Obama administration is preparing to release a delayed review of U.S. policy on Sudan. Activists, who had hoped Obama would focus more than the Bush administration did on Darfur and take a tougher line, say they fear disappointment. Advertisements purchased in U.S. newspapers to begin running Tuesday highlight past statements on Sudan by Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and urge the officials to live up to their words. While the administration wants to pressure Khartoum to prevent further violence in Darfur, where conflict has led to the deaths of up to 300,000 people and the displacement of 2.7 million, it also is seeking help in fighting terror. Some of the activists say the administration needs to make clear that it will press for sanctions and other punitive measures if the Sudanese government commits or condones human rights violations.


With a wildfire contained after raging for days near Athens, the Greek government faced a different kind of firestorm Tuesday as opposition parties and media lambasted its response to the blaze as inadequate. At least 150 homes have been damaged, officials said, while thousands of hectares of pine forest, olive grove, brush and farmland have been destroyed. Experts warned it would take generations to replace the forests, and that many were burnt beyond the hope of natural regrowth.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he wants President Obama to reconsider sending federal disaster aid to help California‘s drought-stricken communities. Three dry years coupled with restrictions on water pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have cut the irrigation supplies of many San Joaquin Valley farmers and deepened rising unemployment. Last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor showed 43% of the state listed as being in a severe drought.

The nation is headed for strong heat waves in coming decades that will hit cities and farmers and threaten wildlife with extinction, a new global warming report warns. The report, “More Extreme Heat Waves: Global Warming’s Wake Up Call,” sponsored by medical, environmental and civil rights organizations, comes as a legislative fight over a climate change bill gets ready to resume next month in Congress. “The report highlights the current vulnerabilities from heat waves growing,” says climate scientist Amanda Staudt of the National Wildlife Federation, a report sponsor. Average temperatures are expected to grow 4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit nationwide over the next century.

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