Court Bans Illegal Word “Jesus” During Public Prayers

A federal judge in North Carolina just ruled it’s illegal to pray “in Jesus name” before Forsyth County public meetings.  The seven-member board of county commissioners is evenly split about whether to appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court, or cave-in to ban Jesus permanently. Alliance Fund is representing, but will NOT cover the risk of loss to pay opposing ACLU attorney fees, so Pro-Jesus groups have raised $155,000 of the $225,000 needed to mitigate that risk of loss. (Otherwise the county just won’t risk tax-payer funds, and Jesus will be permanently banned.)

PepsiCo Practices Reflect Change; AFA Suspends Boycott

Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association reports: “When AFA called for a boycott of PepsiCo because of its support of homosexual activist groups, I knew we were taking on a huge task. After all, PepsiCo is a huge company. But I knew we had a lot of friends who would stand with us. Now, I’m glad to report to you that we are suspending the boycott of PepsiCo. After monitoring the company for several months, AFA is satisfied the company has withdrawn its major financial contributions to gay activist groups. I truly believe this is a direct result of your willingness to become involved. In fact, more than 500,000 people signed the Boycott PepsiCo Pledge.”

Freedom-Destroying Dietary Supplement Safety Act

New legislation targeting nutritional supplements would considerably broaden the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) already expansive regulatory authority by allowing the FDA to impose draconian restrictions on developers, manufacturers, and sellers of nutritional products and on the products themselves. The misleadingly titled Dietary Supplement Safety Act, introduced by Senator John McCain on February 4 as S. 3002 (bill text), is a regulatory scheme which would dictate which vitamins, minerals, or herbal products will be permitted for use and in what potency; install an onerous registration system for dietary supplement manufacturers; impose a burdensome documentation process for sellers complete with monetary penalties for non-compliance; and grant sole discretionary powers to the Secretary for immediate product recall.

  • To help preserve the freedom to control your own health treatments, contact your federal legislators urging them not to cosponsor, support, or vote for S. 3002 or any similar bill.

Mixed GOP Response to White House Health Summit

Republicans sent mixed signals after President Obama challenged them to participate in a one-of-a-kind televised summit with Democrats to come up with health care legislation. House Republicans derided the Feb. 25 event, casting doubt on whether it would produce any bipartisan agreement to extend coverage to millions of people and rein in medical costs. The summit is considered a last attempt to revive Obama’s year-long health overhaul quest, now stalled after Democrats lost their filibuster-proof Senate majority. Some in the GOP wondered if it would be nothing but a spectacle that could benefit the president at their expense.

Health Care Declaration

Nearly 100 lawmakers have signed a formal Declaration of Health Care Independence to reject an unconstitutional Washington takeover of American health care – and now one representative is challenging Americans to deliver it to Congress and the White House to hold them accountable to the people. The declaration is a commitment to protect the rights of the American people to make their own health decisions, reduce bureaucratic red-tape, decrease intergenerational debt and implement 10 common-sense principles for future health-care reform.

Federal Judge Rules Against ‘Muslim Mafia’

A federal judge has dismissed an attempt by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to re-file yet another lawsuit against Air Force special agent P. David Gaubatz and his son Chris, the father-and-son team that investigated and exposed the group’s terrorist ties. Defense lawyers are hailing the decision as a victory over CAIR’s alleged plan to “chill” free speech critical of the organization through an avalanche of court cases and legal costs.

New Uncertainty Surrounds 9/11 Terrorist Trial

The Obama administration appears increasingly unsure what to do with professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after officials indicated they are reconsidering not just where he should go on trial, but whether he should face civilian or military justice. Trying Mohammed in military court would mark a further political retreat from the announcement last year that Mohammed and the four other Sept. 11 suspects now held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be tried in federal court in New York.

Obama Names Envoy to Global Islamic Group

President Obama on Saturday named a White House lawyer as his special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, part of his continuing effort to repair strained U.S. relations with the world’s Muslims. Obama announced Rashad Hussain’s appointment during a video address to the 7th U.S.-Islamic World Forum meeting in Doha, Qatar. As his liaison to the OIC, the president said Hussain will continue working to repair U.S.-Islamic relations and develop the types of partnerships Obama called for when he addressed the Muslim world during a speech last year in Cairo. In the video address, Obama said he called in Cairo for the U.S. and Muslims to start anew “based on mutual interest and mutual respect” because the relationship had “slipped into a cycle of misunderstanding and mistrust that can lead to conflict rather than cooperation.”

  • What would improve relations a whole lot more would be a cessation of Islamic terrorism

Dem. Rockefeller on Obama: Prez isn’t ‘believable’

Republican Rep. Joe Wilson created waves that left Washington rocking for weeks by shouting “You lie” to Barack Obama during the president’s address to Congress last fall, and now a similar message has been delivered by a member of the president’s own party. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., told an audience Friday the president is “beginning to be not believable to me.” The comment was just the latest evidence of the dissension in the Democratic Party that prevented Obama from passing his health care proposal last year despite having a significant party majority in the U.S. House and a supermajority of 60 votes in the Senate.

Economic News

Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts, according to the New York Times. As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels. Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning.

For the U.S., the crushing weight of its debt threatens to overwhelm everything the federal government does, even in the short-term, best-case financial scenario — a full recovery and a return to prerecession employment levels. The government already has made so many promises to so many expanding “mandatory” programs. Just keeping these commitments, without major changes in taxing and spending, will lead to deficits that cannot be sustained. Social Security, Medicare and other benefits plus interest payments on a national debt that now exceeds $12.3 trillion will gobble up 80 percent of all federal revenues by 2020, government economists project.

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans support cutting the size of the government workforce to reduce the deficit — and a majority favor cutting pay for non-military government employees, according to a new poll by Rasmussen Reports. The survey found that 58 percent of respondents think the government workforce should be trimmed; 22 percent are opposed to the idea; and the rest are “not sure.” The poll disclosed that 51 percent favor cutting government employees’ pay; 32 percent oppose it; and 17 percent are not sure.

Australia

An Australian court Monday sentenced five Muslim men to prison terms of 23 to 28 years after convicting them of preparing for terror attacks on unspecified targets by stockpiling explosive chemicals and firearms. The men were found guilty last October on charges linked to preparing for a terrorist act between July 2004 and November 2005. The men — Australian-born or naturalized citizens with Muslim immigrant backgrounds — had all pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the trial, a former associate of the suspects testified the group had considered bombing an Australian Rules football final in Melbourne in 2005 that was attended by almost 92,000 people. They had also discussed killing former Prime Minister John Howard, prosecutors said.

Haiti

Ask any of the hundreds of thousands of earthquake victims living outdoors in Haiti‘s shattered capital and you’re apt to get the same plea: “Give us a tent.” Few will get one. Aid agencies and Haitian officials have given up plans to shelter the homeless in tents, even if that means many will likely face hurricane season camped out under flapping sheets of plastic. Tents are too big, too costly and too inefficient, aid groups say. So Haitians must swelter under flimsy tarps until fixed shelters can be built — though no one believes nearly enough can be will be up in time for spring storms.

A man who provided legal assistance to 10 jailed U.S. missionaries and who may be wanted for human trafficking in El Salvador was not known to the Americans’ church group before their arrest, a relative said Saturday. Lawyers for the missionaries argued, his legal troubles should have no bearing on whether the missionaries are released provisionally, as a judge has recommended. They thought Puello, a yarmulke-wearing Jew from the Dominican Republic, was a good Samaritan and had no reason to doubt his intentions.

The U.S. military is scaling back — a month after its troops arrived in haste to aid victims of Haiti’s catastrophic quake. U.S. Navy ships have been leaving Haiti’s battered shores as thousands of U.S. service members pack up. Troop strength is down to 13,000 from a Feb. 1 peak of 20,000. The mission, however, is far from over. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States will be in Haiti for the long haul.

India

A bomb detonated in a crowded bakery popular with foreigners in western India killing nine people and wounding 57, officials said Sunday, the first terrorist attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai massacre. The blast Saturday in the city of Pune, 125 miles southeast of Mumbai, threatened to damage new efforts to reduce tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, with Hindu nationalist leaders placing blame for the attack on India’s Muslim neighbor.

Iran

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that Iran is becoming a military dictatorship, a new U.S. accusation in the midst of rising tensions with Iran over its nuclear ambitions and crack down on anti-government protesters. Speaking to Arab students at Carnegie Mellon’s Doha campus, Clinton said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps appears to have gained so much power that it effectively is supplanting the government. The Revolutionary Guard has long been a pillar of Iran’s regime as a force separate from the ordinary armed forces.

Iraq

A leading Sunni politician said Sunday that he may call on his supporters to boycott next month’s national elections in Iraq. Saleh Mutlak, who is among more than 400 candidates banned from running because of purported ties to Saddam Hussein‘s outlawed Baath Party, told USA TODAY he hopes Iraq’s parliament or Supreme Court will intervene to reverse the ban by the Accountability and Justice Committee. If that doesn’t happen, Mutlak said, a boycott is an option — a move that could threaten the credibility of the vote that U.S. commanders see as a milestone ahead of the American withdrawal from Iraq.

Afghanistan

Sniper teams attacked U.S. Marines and Afghan troops across the Taliban haven of Marjah, as several gun battles erupted Monday on the third day of a major offensive to seize the extremists’ southern heartland. Multiple firefights in different locations taxed the ability of coalition forces to provide enough air support as NATO forces forged deeper into the town, moving through suspected insurgent neighborhoods. The massive offensive involving some 15,000 U.S., Afghan and British troops is the biggest joint operation since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. Twelve Afghans died Sunday when two rockets fired at insurgents missed their target and struck a house in Marjah.

Winter weather failed to deter insurgents from stepping up roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan, as both blasts and casualties among U.S. and allied troops in January more than doubled from a year earlier, Pentagon data show. Coalition troops found 727 bombs in January compared with 276 in the same month of 2009. Blasts killed 32 U.S. and allied troops and wounded 137 others, compared with 14 deaths and 64 injuries in January 2009. These bombs are the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan

A suspected U.S. drone fired a missile at a vehicle in Pakistan’s volatile northwest on Monday, killing three people in the second such strike in as many days in an area dominated by militants who regularly attack U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama has stepped up the use of missile strikes in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area since taking office, partly in response to the Pakistani government’s reluctance to target Taliban militants who are not deemed a direct threat to the state.

Burma

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that more than 70 houses, a mobile health clinic and two schools in eastern Burma have been burnt down by army patrols stepping up the offensive on a Christian minority. According to the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People (CIDKP), Burma army allied troops set fire to 46 houses in Toe Hta area and 28 houses in Ka Di Mu Der area of Ler Doh township, Nyaunglebin District. Other schools have been forced to close. Thousands of people have been displaced and are still in hiding following the attacks, according to Free Burma Rangers (FBR), a relief organization working in the conflict zones of eastern Burma. Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at CSW, said, “These latest attacks serve as clear evidence of a brutal plan of ethnic cleansing against the minorities, instigated by Burma’s military regime.”

Earthquakes

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake rattled San Bernardino County but there are no reports of damage or injury. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck at 1:39 p.m. Saturday about three miles south of Redlands. It was followed by two aftershocks within eight minutes, a magnitude 1.5 and a 1.4. Earlier Saturday a magnitude 3.4 earthquake shook a desert area about 170 miles to the south in San Diego County.

Weather

Cyclone Rene slammed into Tonga on Monday with powerful winds ripping off roofs, tearing down trees and downing power lines in the South Pacific island nation. The central islands group of Ha’apai faced “very destructive hurricane force winds” with gusts of 143 miles an hour, the Meteorological Office said. Heavy rain, thunderstorms, sea swells and flooding were expected. People were moved to higher ground and into emergency centers from low-lying Ha’apai.

The Big Chill turned into the Big Dig on Saturday for many Southerners in America — those who least expect to open their doors to see up to a foot of snow. Dallas got 12.5 inches of snow, while Harkers Island, North Carolina, got 8.8 inches, Belleville, Alabama, got 6 inches, Foreman, Arkansas, got 4 inches (10 centimeters) and Atlanta got more than 3 inches. The weather was blamed for deaths in the Macon, Georgia, and the Louisville, Kentucky, areas. Airlines canceled nearly 1,900 flights on Friday. More flights were canceled Saturday due to weather.Aanother dose of snow could roll through some parts of the region on Monday.

Forty-nine states had snow on the ground as of Friday, from the Gulf Coast’s Redneck Riviera to the skyscrapers of Dallas. The lone holdout? Hawaii. Although snow falls every winter on Hawaii’s two tallest volcanoes, the National Weather Service in Honolulu said there was no snow in the state Friday.

Due to a strong El Nino climate pattern, the Earth’s temperature in January 2010 was the warmest it’s been in January in 32 years, according to climate scientists from the University of Alabama-Huntsville. El Nino is a periodic natural warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean, which also heats the atmosphere to above-average levels, and can affect weather worldwide. Overall, the Earth was about 1.3 degrees above average in January. Is global warming strengthening El Ninos? No, says atmospheric scientist John Christy. “I haven’t seen any evidence that El Ninos are becoming more intense,” he said.

  • El Nino is a regularly occurring event. Temps should be compared to previous El Nino years, not just to last year

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