Prayer to Satan during MTV Telecast

During last month’s MTV music video awards ceremony, actor Jack Black urged the audience join hands and pray to “dear dark lord Satan.” In his prayer, the actor prayed that the musicians and nominees would have “continued success in the music industry.” The awards program was broadcasted on the MTV network (a subsidiary of the Viacom Corporation) throughout the country through cable and satellite television. The Radio City Hall audience readily acquiesced to Black’s invitation to pray to the devil. In a video posted on YouTube, Black encouraged the large audience to join in by saying, “let me see those horns.” Black, dressed in a “muscle suit” continued by asking the awards ceremony audience to join hands during “the prayer.” He then held hands with actress Leighton Meester while he prayed aloud.

  • Any doubt who the god of this music age is?

3.5 Million Congressional ‘Pink Slips’ Hit Mark

As more than 3 million “pink slips” descend on the Capitol, members of Congress are commending the WorldNetDaily program that warns of overspending and federal power grabs as a “great way to get the attention of members who have forgotten they will have to answer to the people next year.” Many of the “pink slips” just arrived this week, after being delayed for delivery by Capitol mailroom authorities because of the sheer volume. But they are now making their way to individual offices of every senator and representative. “The pink slips program is a great way to get the attention of members who have forgotten they will have to answer to the people next year on out-of-control spending and Washington power grabs,” said Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn.

White House Escalates War on Fox News

The White House escalated its offensive against Fox News on Sunday by urging other news organizations to stop “following Fox” and instead join the administration’s attempt to marginalize the channel. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN that President Obama does not want “the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox.” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is “not a news organization.” By urging other news outlets to side with the administration, Obama aides officials dramatically upped the ante in the war of words that began earlier this month, when White House communications director Anita Dunn branded Fox “opinion journalism masquerading as news.”

  • Such paranoid scheming is a strong indicator of an administration afraid of the truth

Swine H1N1 Flu

Swine flu is causing unprecedented illness for so early in the fall — including a worrisome count of child deaths — and the government warned Friday that vaccine supplies will be even more scarce than expected through this month. Overall, what CDC calls the 2009 H1N1 flu is causing widespread disease in 41 states, and about 6% of all doctor visits are for flu-like illness — levels not normally seen until much later in the fall. Eighty-six children have died of swine flu in the U.S. since it burst on the scene last spring — 43 of those deaths reported in September and early October alone. Federal health officials said 11 more children have died in the past week because of the virus. Federal health officials said 11 more children have died in the past week because of the virus.

House & Senate Democrats at Odds over Healthcare Bill

You may think Democrats and Republicans are at odds over health care. Well, they’ve got nothing on House and Senate Democrats going after each other. The intraparty disputes may prove the most grueling test of all as Congress tries to write a bill that fulfills President Barack Obama‘s goal of extending coverage to millions of Americans and reining in rising medical costs. The disagreements extend well beyond whether or not to allow the government to sell insurance in competition with the private market, though fissures over the so-called public plan — preferred in the House, less so in the Senate — have drawn the most attention. Some of the toughest fights loom over what requirements employers should have to shoulder to see that their workers are covered, and perhaps stickiest of all, how to make coverage affordable and pay for extending it to millions of uninsured. Senators would tax high-value health insurance plans to pay for covering the uninsured, an approach supporters say would curb health costs because it would lead to employers offering less generous benefits. The more populist House would tax the highest-income people, placing the burden of caring for the neediest Americans on the backs of millionaires.

Vehicle Theft Rate Hits 20-year Low

Reported vehicle theft has fallen to a 20-year low even as the number of vehicles on the road has doubled, as manufacturers install sophisticated anti-theft technology in cars and police target organized car-theft rings. The FBI estimates 956,846 motor vehicles were stolen in 2008 — 315 cars for every 100,000 people. That’s less than half the rate in 1991, when a high of 1.66 million vehicles were stolen — 659 for every 100,000 people. Data for 2009 are not yet available. There are more than 245 million vehicles on the road today, up from 122 million in 1989. “It’s a much tougher job to be a car thief today,” says Russ Rader, spokesman for Highway Loss Data Institute, a research group funded by auto insurers that analyzes data from insurance claims. “The technology in new vehicles makes it much harder to make off with a car.”

Federal Deficit Hits Record $1.42 Trillion

What is $1.42 trillion? It’s more than the total national debt for the first 200 years of the Republic, more than the entire economy of India, almost as much as Canada‘s, and more than $4,700 for every man, woman and child in the United States. It’s the federal budget deficit for 2009, more than three times the most red ink ever amassed in a single year. And, some economists warn, unless the government makes hard decisions to cut spending or raise taxes, it could be the seeds of another economic crisis. Treasury figures released Friday showed that the government spent $46.6 billion more in September than it took in, a month that normally records a surplus. The previous year’s deficit was $459 billion. Forecasts of more red ink mean the federal government is heading toward spending 15% of its money by 2019 just to pay interest on the debt, up from 5% this fiscal year.

Arizona Agencies Paint Dire Picture

Further cuts to Arizona’s state agencies could mean eliminating insurance coverage for children, early release for thousands of prisoners and layoffs of more than 500 Highway Patrol officers, according to budget scenarios released Friday. The range of drastic measures was handed to Gov. Jan Brewer last week, after she asked state agencies to submit proposals for reducing their budgets by an additional 15 percent. The cuts would be necessary to resolve the state’s $1.5 billion budget shortfall if the Legislature pursued a cuts-only approach. The proposals also could provide Brewer with political leverage as she seeks a ballot measure to temporarily increase sales taxes by 1 cent on the dollar.

Economic News

The Reuters/University of Michigan con­sumer sen­ti­ment had risen in August to 73.5, which was the highest level in a year. This was one of the “green shoots” being touted by Gei­thner, Bernanke and other econ­o­mists. In Sep­tember, the index reversed gears and dropped to 69.4 Most all of last quarter’s sales fig­ures were skewed by gov­ern­ment stim­ulus plans like cash-for-clunkers and the home pur­chase rebate. The tem­po­rary blip is now over, and sales are seeking their orig­inal trajectory. This is under­scored by the highest unem­ploy­ment in at least 26 years if you use offi­cial fig­ures, and over 50 years if you use the real figures. This puts fore­clo­sure activity into a frenzy all its own: up 23 per­cent in the third quarter of 2009 as com­pared by the same period in 2008.

Tax rev­enue con­tinues to fall in every state, but the big states are still the hardest hit: Cal­i­fornia, New York, Michigan and Illinois. California’s new budget is already sloshing in red ink because tax income esti­mates were way too high and spending isn’t as easy to cut as they said; the state will con­tinue to have trouble in selling its bond offer­ings, which means they cannot rely on more bor­rowing to cover the deficit.

The recession is already difficult to live through, but it may also have everlasting effects. Cemeteries are having trouble expanding because of the high cost of real estate and a drop in revenues as strapped families increasingly turn to cheaper cremations. Communities struggling with budget deficits have also had to curtail spending on public cemeteries, which means many people may find that their hometown cemeteries are full.

Pakistan

Pakistan launched a much-awaited ground offensive in the al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan early Saturday, officials told the Associated Press, the toughest test yet in the nuclear-armed U.S. ally’s struggle against militants aiming to topple the state. The ground offensive comes on the heels of months of airstrikes that have softened up militant defenses and spurred tens of thousands of civilians to flee the region along the Afghan border. The full-scale operation also comes after two weeks of militant attacks that have killed more than 175 people and ramped up the pressure on the army to take on the insurgents. With winter snows weeks away, the army has limited time to pursue a major ground attack. The U.S. has raced to send in night vision goggles and other equipment to aid the effort. The Pakistani army and the Taliban claimed to be inflicting heavy casualties on each other as fierce fighting raged Sunday on the second day of a military assault on an al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary close to the Afghan border.

Afghanistan

President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, says the central issue that must be settled before the president makes a decision about troop levels in Afghanistan is whether there is a credible government in Kabul that can work with the United States and other countries seeking to stabilize that country. Fraud investigators have thrown out hundreds of thousands of ballots for Afghanistan’s president from the country’s disputed August election. The report sets the stage for a runoff between him and his top challenger. International officials say the panel determined that President Hamid Karzai‘s total fell below the 50% needed for outright victory.

Iraq

A suicide bomber who hid among the Sunni congregation in a northern Iraqi mosque sprayed gunfire at Muslim worshippers Friday and then blew himself up, killing at least 15 people, including the imam leading prayers. The brazen attack is the latest against Sunni clerics who have increasingly spoken out against al-Qaeda in Iraq since U.S. combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities at the end of June. The clerics and others fear militants could take advantage of the transition to step up the kind of sectarian attacks that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war two years ago. A bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded on Sunday near a popular cafe in a largely Sunni district of Baghdad Sunday, killing five people and wounding sixteen others,

More than 30,000 Iraqis have moved to the United States under a resettlement program that began in 2007 while much smaller numbers have gone to other countries, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has recommended to the participating countries the names of 82,500 Iraqis who should be moved, but so far only 33,117 have been able go to their new homelands. These refugees have been determined to be in need of international protection and that no other solution is possible.

Iran

A suicide bomber killed five senior commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guard and at least 26 others in an area of southeastern Iran that has been at the center of a simmering Sunni insurgency. The other dead were Guard members or local tribal leaders. More than two dozen others were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the region in Iran’s southeast has been the focus of violent attacks by a militant group from Iran’s Sunni Muslim minority called Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, which has waged a low-level insurgency in recent years. The group accuses Iran’s Shiite-dominated government of persecution and has carried out attacks against the Revolutionary Guard and Shiite targets in the southeast.

  • When they’re not attacking us, they’re attacking each other. Islam, such a peaceful religion.

Weather

An autumn storm brought snow to parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, the earliest snow on record in some towns used to harsh winters. The National Weather Service says there’s 4.5 inches of snow in State College, Pa., and 2 more inches are possible through Saturday morning.

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