Obama Says to Legalize Illegals to Get Them Healthcare

President Obama said this week that his health care plan won’t cover illegal immigrants, but argued that’s all the more reason to legalize them and ensure they eventually do get coverage. Obama said, “If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all.” Republicans said that amounts to an amnesty, calling it a backdoor effort to make sure current illegal immigrants get health care. “It is ironic that the president told the American people that illegal immigrants should not be covered by the health care bill, but now just days later he’s talking about letting them in the back door,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Obama’s Week of High Diplomatic Stakes

The unrelenting global troubles confronting President Barack Obama are about to converge on him all at once, providing a stern test of leadership for a first-year president who has pledged to “change the world.” In a span of four days, Obama will plunge into the politics of the United Nations and host a summit in Pittsburgh on the world’s wobbling economy. The international stage is coming to him, and no one standing on it with him will have higher stakes. Obama is under pressure to push along stalled Mideast peace, prove the United States is serious about climate change and rally allies against the nuclear threats of Iran and North Korea. Restless leaders in Europe and elsewhere are pressing Obama to reform risky U.S. financial behavior and get Congress on board. He also bears the load of two inherited wars that now bear his imprint — the one he’s winding down in Iraq and the one that’s widening in Afghanistan. Eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Obama must hold together international will as he tries to keep Afghanistan from becoming an al-Qaeda launching pad again.

  • Obama’s international honeymoon is over. Now comes the tough part. This week will tell a lot concerning his and America’s leadership in the world.

Obama: Race ‘Not the Overriding Issue Here’

President Obama said Friday that angry criticisms about his health care agenda are driven by an intense debate over the proper role of government — and not by racism. “Are there people out there who don’t like me because of race? I’m sure there are,” Obama told CNN. “That’s not the overriding issue here.” Obama, the first black president in the nation’s history, spoke about the issue of race during a battery of interviews on Friday. In a media blitz aimed at pounding home his health care message, he taped interviews with ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Univision to be shown during the networks’ Sunday morning talk shows.

  • To his credit, Obama has not used race as an issue in the healthcare debate, although other less principled liberals have been quick to tarnish opponents with that false judgment

Congress, Obama Team Up to Kill Marriage

Nearly 100 members of the U.S. House are working in lockstep with the Obama administration to try to eliminate protections for traditional marriage in the United States with the “Respect for Marriage Act” that has just been introduced in Congress. H.R. 3567 was introduced just days ago by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, and more than 90 co-sponsors. “This legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law which discriminates against lawfully married same-sex couples,” Nadler said in a statement on his website.The proposal has been assigned to committee. “The introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act responds directly to a call from President Obama for congressional action on the issue. As the president recently confirmed: ‘I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It’s discriminatory, it interferes with states’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it,” the statement said. The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes. It was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

According to an analysis by Alliance Defense Fund, a repeal of the primary federal law that protects marriage opens the door for litigation that would seek to force states to recognize “marriages” between same-sex duos. “Marriage is not just any two people in a committed relationship. There’s more to a marriage than that. A decisive majority of Americans believe this, and they are tired of being treated with contempt by politicians,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.

1 in 3 Teen Girls Get Cervical Cancer Vaccine

One in three teenage girls have rolled up their sleeves for a vaccine against cervical cancer, but vaccination rates vary dramatically between states, according to a federal report released Thursday. The highest rates were in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where more than half of girls ages 13 through 17 got at least one dose of the three-shot vaccination. The lowest rates were in Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina, where fewer than 20% got at least one shot. Merck’s Gardasil vaccine targets strains of the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus that cause about 70% of cervical cancers. It came on the market in 2006. Health officials recommend that girls get the shots when they are 11 or 12, if possible, before they become sexually active so they have immunity before they are first infected. The shots are approved for females 9 through 26.

Vaccine proponents had been hoping for higher vaccination rates, saying the shots could dramatically reduce the nearly 4,000 cervical cancer deaths that occur each year in the United States. Money is an issue. Retailing at $390 for the three-dose series, Gardasil is the most expensive childhood vaccine. Efforts to make the vaccine mandatory in some states have failed. Opponents cite possible long-term health risks that have not as yet been studied.

More than 35 Million have Dementia

More than 35 million people around the world are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, says the most in-depth attempt yet to assess the brain-destroying illness – and it’s an ominous forecast as the population grays. The new count is about 10 percent higher than what scientists had predicted just a few years ago, because earlier research underestimated Alzheimer’s growing impact in developing countries. Barring a medical breakthrough, the World Alzheimer Report projects dementia will nearly double every 20 years. By 2050, it will affect a staggering 115.4 million people, the report concludes. The report aims to raise awareness of the threat in poorer countries, where finally people are living long enough to face what is mostly a disease of the 65-and-older population. The report puts North America’s total at 4.4 million.

Obama says No Job Growth until 2010

President Obama says that despite signs of economic recovery, the country will not see large-scale job growth until next year. In a wide-ranging interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Obama said reversing job losses from the recession will come at the end of the recovery period, not the start. Obama explained that he believes the economy will be creating jobs through the end of 2009 — but not enough to keep pace with population growth nor to make up for steep losses in employment that occurred earlier this year. “I think we’ll be adding jobs, but you need 150,000 additional jobs each month just to keep pace with a growing population,” the president said. “So if we’re only adding 50,000 jobs, that’s a great reversal from losing 700,000 jobs [a month] early this year – but… it means that we’ve still got a ways to go.”

Economic News

Forty-two states lost jobs last month, up from 29 in July, with the biggest net payroll cuts coming in Texas, Michigan, Georgia and Ohio. The Labor Department also reported Friday that 27 states and Washington, D.C., saw their unemployment rates increase in August, and 14 states and Washington reported unemployment rates of 10% or above. The report shows jobs remain scarce even as most analysts believe the economy is pulling out of the worst recession since the 1930s.

Despite all the talk about small cars, many used car buyers are thinking big again. Used small cars are taking the biggest hits on value in the resale market, Kelley Blue Book says. The trend reflects, for one thing, that gas prices seem relatively low and stable. And it shows that Americans may not be so quick to embrace smaller new vehicles the federal government is mandating — if they cost more.

Regulators shut down two banking units of Irwin Financial on Friday, marking the 93rd and 94th failures this year of federally insured banks. Hundreds more banks are expected to fail in the next few years largely because of souring loans for commercial real estate. The number of banks on the FDIC’s confidential “problem list” jumped to 416 at the end of June from 305 in the first quarter.

The Conference Board‘s index of leading economic indicators, which is supposed to forecast economic trends six to nine months ahead, rose 0.6% to 102.5, the highest level since January 2008, after a revised 0.9% gain in July.

Arizona is receiving $66 million from the federal stimulus package to revive more than 30 stalled affordable-housing projects for families, seniors and the disabled. The developments are expected to create at least a thousand homes for residents who cannot find housing they can afford, as well as at least 2,000 construction, government and service jobs.

Iran Building Backup nuke plant in Venezuela?

Iran may consider a proposal from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to build a backup “nuclear village” in his nation to produce nuclear energy and also to have a safe fall-back production capability in case there is an attack by Israel or the United States on nuclear facilities in Iran, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin. The WorldNetDaily founder reports that Chavez, in a visit last week to Iran, proposed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the idea of building a project in Venezuela. Security sources have confirmed such a “nuclear village” could become the Iranian nuclear production alternative, or a location to hide especially critical nuclear components from attack.

U.S. Envoy Leaves Israel Without Peace Talk Deal

President Obama‘s special Mideast envoy on Friday ended his latest mission to the region without agreement on the terms of renewing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the chief Palestinian negotiator said. The deep gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian positions raised doubt about Obama’s plans to revive Mideast peace efforts, including the possibility of holding a trilateral meeting with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders next week in New York, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. The key disputes are over Israeli settlement expansion and whether peace talks should begin where they left off. Israel has balked at a U.S. demand that it freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, war-won territory the Palestinians claim for their state.

  • The so-called “war-won territory” was originally part of Israel. The world has very short memories as far as Israel is concerned. There never has been a Palestinian state, despite what the media attempts to portray.

Conference Criticizes Israeli Nukes

Overriding Western objections, a 150-nation nuclear conference on Friday passed a resolution directly criticizing Israel and its atomic program for the first time in 18 years. Iran hailed the vote as a “glorious moment.” The result was a setback not only for Israel but also for the United States and other backers of the Jewish state, which had lobbied for 18 years of past practice — debate on the issue without a vote. It also reflected building tensions between Israel and its backers and Islamic nations, backed by developing countries. Of delegations present at the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting Friday, 49 voted for the resolution. Forty-five were against and 16 abstained from endorsing or rejecting the document, which “expresses concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities,” and links it to “concern about the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons for the security and stability of the Middle East.”

Thousands March in Iran Protests

Hard-liners attacked senior pro-reform leaders in the streets as tens of thousands marched in competing mass demonstrations by the opposition and government supporters. Opposition protesters, chanting “death to the dictator,” hurled stones and bricks in clashes with security forces. The opposition held its first major street protests since mid-July, bringing out thousands in demonstrations in several parts of the capital. In some cases only several blocks away, tens of thousands marched in government-sponsored rallies marking an annual anti-Israel commemoration. The commemoration, known as Quds Day, is a major political occasion for the government — a day for it to show its anti-Israeli credentials and its support for the Palestinians.

During a speech for the rallies, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against Israel and the West, questioning whether the Holocaust occurred and calling it a pretext for occupying Arab land. Quds is the Arabic word for Jerusalem. But the opposition was determined to turn the day into a show of its survival and continued strength despite a fierce three-month-old crackdown against it since the disputed June 12 presidential election. Iran’s Supreme Leader warned government supporters on Sunday against accusing opposition members of wrongdoing without proof, an indication that the Islamic government may be easing up on critics of the June presidential election.

Russia Scraps Missile Plan

Russia has scrapped a plan to deploy missiles in a region near Poland after President Obama dumped his predecessor’s plan for a U.S. missile defense in Eastern Europe, a Russian deputy defense minister said Saturday. Vladimir Popovkin told Ekho Moskvy radio that Obama’s move has made the deployment of Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region unnecessary. Russia staunchly opposed the plan by the former administration of George W. Bush to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic and said if the project went ahead it would respond by deploying the Iskander missiles in its westernmost Baltic Sea region. Obama’s decision to scrap the plan was based largely on a new U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran’s effort to build a nuclear-capable long-range missile would take three to five years longer than originally thought, U.S. officials said.

China: 400 Officials Attack Sleeping Church Members

Mission News Network reports that Christians sleeping at a new church site were surprised and brutally attacked by 400 Chinese officials on Sunday. Several believers were left unconscious with severe bleeding and injuries. Fellow Christians who took them to the local hospital discovered that hospital staff had been ordered not to treat them. The building stands on property owned by a Christian factory, preventing officials from refusing authorization as they would normally. “They called it a worship center. It’s a part of the factory owned by the Christians, and the government regarded it as a church, so that’s why they started attacking,” explains ChinaAid Association President Bob Fu. The building was destroyed in the attack. About 80,000 believers of an underground network hoped to use the worship building at different times.

Earthquakes

A hospital official says an earthquake on the Indonesian resort island Bali has injured at least seven people and sent many others fleeing outside. Indonesia’s Meteorological and Geophysics Agency measured the quake at a powerful 6.4 magnitude..It struck 45 miles south of Denpasar early Saturday. No tsunami alert was issued. Dr. Ken Wirasandi says seven people were treated for head injuries and broken bones at the Sanglah Hospital in Bali’s capital, Denpasar. Wirasandi said the shaking had caused panic and women and children ran screaming out of their houses, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage.

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