Pro-Life Bills Survive Okla. Governor’s Veto
Following the lead of the state’s House of Representatives, the Oklahoma Senate has voted to override two pro-life bills vetoed by Governor Brad Henry — making the bills law in the Sooner State. “The first one is a bill that would allow the mother to see her unborn child on an ultrasound prior to making that life-and-death decision,” she says, “and the other one prevents wrongful birth/wrongful life lawsuits,” explains Mary Spaulding Balch of the National Right to Life Committee. Nineteen other states have enacted similar legislation that provides women the opportunity to view an ultrasound of their preborn babies before those children are destroyed through abortion.
Va. Governor Restores “Jesus’ Name” by Police Chaplains
Christian Newswire reports that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has restored the rights of six State Police Chaplains to pray publicly “in Jesus name.” The executive order reverses the policy of his predecessor Governor Tim Kaine. “This victory comes after our two-year campaign for Jesus name,” said Chaplain Klingenschmitt, who led a 1,000 person rally outside the Governor’s mansion in 2008, then submitted up to 15,000 petitions to reinstate the chaplains jobs and free speech. Now that McDonnell has fulfilled his campaign pledge, the six chaplain heroes including Rex Carter and Mike Honaker, who had turned in their badges rather than deny Christ, will be invited back to their chaplain jobs, and given free speech to pray “in Jesus name.”
- Since the federal government is so clearly anti-Christian, states have begun to pick up the mantle to preserve the spiritual foundations of our country and constitution
Arizona Immigration Law Boosts Gov. Brewer’s Rating
Signing the nation’s toughest immigration legislation into law has thrust Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer into the national spotlight, and recent polls suggest the move has given her job-performance ratings a boost. The immigration measure makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally and requires police and other law-enforcement officials to check documents of people they reasonably suspect to be illegal. Critics said it could lead to racial profiling, although the governor has said the law-enforcement community will be trained to avoid that.
A poll released Wednesday suggests that 56 percent of Arizonans approve of Brewer’s job performance as governor. In a poll two weeks ago, just 40 percent indicated they approved of the job she was doing. A new Gallup Poll, meanwhile, shows 39% of Americans support the law, 30% oppose it, and 31% have not heard of it or have no opinion of the measure
- Despite the hue and cry in sensationalist reporting in the mainstream media, the general public is behind stronger immigration measures
A referendum launched Wednesday could put Arizona’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration on hold until 2012 if organizers can gather the more than 76,000 signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot. Opponents of the law have until late July or early August to file the signatures – the same time the law is set to go into effect. If they get enough signatures, the law would be on hold until a vote takes place. The first lawsuits in a planned wave of legal challenges to the controversial Arizona immigration law were filed Thursday in Phoenix and Tucson, as a volatile national debate stretched from street protests to the courts. A week after the measure was signed into law, a national consortium of Latino churches and a Tucson police officer sued to try to stop it from taking effect. Three other activist groups announced plans to file legal challenges.
- A referendum would only yield the same result because the majority favor this bill
Arizona Out of National Health Care Abortion Mandate
At the annual Center for Arizona Policy Family Dinner last week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1305 to opt Arizona out of abortion coverage in any insurance exchanges created by the new federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Arizona is now the first state to have a bill signed into law to drop abortion funding under Obamacare. Approximately 28 other states are considering similar steps.
Muslims Want Graham Barred from Capitol Hill Prayer Event
Religion News Service reports that just, days after evangelist Franklin Graham was disinvited from a Pentagon observance of the National Day of Prayer, a Muslim organization has asked members of Congress to follow suit. Corey Saylor, national legislative director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, questioned Graham’s inclusion in a Capitol Hill event on May 6 because of his past statements that Islam is an “evil and wicked religion.” John Bornschein, executive director of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, the host of the Capitol Hill observance, also said that Graham will be there. “Although the Pentagon has rescinded Franklin Graham’s invitation to speak at their event, he will still be the keynote speaker at the national observance in Washington, D.C., at the Cannon House Office Building,”
U.N. Elects Iran to Commission on Women’s Rights
Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which the stoning of women is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.” Buried 2,000 words deep in a U.N. press release distributed Wednesday on the filling of “vacancies in subsidiary bodies,” was the stark announcement: Iran, along with representatives from 10 other nations, was “elected by acclamation,” meaning that no open vote was requested or required by any member states — including the United States. Iran’s election comes just a week after one of its senior clerics declared that women who wear revealing clothing are to blame for earthquakes, a statement that created an international uproar — but little affected their bid to become an international arbiter of women’s rights. Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, is “appalled” that leading feminists, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continue to give Muslims a pass when it comes to their treatment of women.
Oil Leak Worsens
The Coast Guard revised the amount of oil spewing from a damaged wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico to 5,000 barrels — or 210,000 gallons — a day, five times higher than earlier estimates. The increased estimate doesn’t change the overall strategy for combating the spilled oil, he said. “We’ve always anticipated and planned for a much larger spill,” Ron Labrec, spokesman for Rear Adm. Mary Landry said. Doug Helton, incidents operations coordinator for NOAA, said strong southeasterly winds will push the oil spill closer to land and could reach Louisiana‘s Mississippi River delta by Friday.
More than a week after the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded off the Louisiana coast, faint fingers of oily sheen were reaching the Mississippi River delta Friday morning, lapping the Louisiana shoreline in long, thin lines, the Associated Press reported. Thicker oil was about five miles offshore. President Obama pledged “every single available resource” to help, including inflatable booms from the Navy to try and corral the spill. But he warned that the oil eventually could affect a wide stretch of coastline from Texas to Florida.
First Offshore Wind Farm Gets OK
The Obama administration on Wednesday approved the USA’s first offshore wind energy project, but opponents to the turbines off Cape Cod vowed the fight is not over. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his decision after a nine-year federal review of the project that pitted environmentalists against one another and drew opposition from across party lines. Among opponents to Cape Wind in Massachusetts was Edward Kennedy, a Democrat whose family estate is in nearby Hyannis Port. Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who now holds the Senate seat long held by Kennedy, also opposes it. He has called the Nantucket Sound “a national treasure that should be protected.” The 130 turbines, 440 feet tall, would sit in waters between Nantucket Island and Cape Cod. The turbines would be 5 miles off Cape Cod at their nearest point to land.
Congress Approves Referendum on Future of Puerto Rico
The House on Thursday approved legislation that could set in motion changes in Puerto Rico’s 112-year relationship with the United States, including a transition to statehood or independence. The House bill would give the 4 million residents of the island commonwealth a two-step path to expressing how they envision their political future. It passed 223-169 and now must be considered by the Senate. Initially, eligible voters, including those born in Puerto Rico but residing in the United States, would vote on whether they wish to keep their current political status or opt for a different direction. If a majority are in favor of changing the current situation, the Puerto Rican government would be authorized to conduct a second vote and people would choose among four options: statehood, independence, the current commonwealth status or sovereignty in association with the United States. Congress would have to vote on whether Puerto Rico becomes a state.
The economy grew at a solid 3.2% annual rate during the first quarter this year as consumers boosted their spending by the most in three years. Still, growth was weaker than in the fourth quarter last year, when the economy grew at a 5.6% rate. Consumers increased their spending at a 3.6% rate, strongest showing since early 2007, before the economy tipped into recession. That marked a big improvement from the fourth quarter, when consumer spending grew at a lackluster 1.6% pace.
Buyers have been in a final sprint for the past week to meet Friday’s deadline for signing purchase contracts to stay eligible for the tax credit, worth up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers and up to $6,500 for move-up buyers. Many Realtors have been busier than in months past, homes that languished on the market have suddenly gotten offers, and buyers who were sitting on the fence have quickly cobbled together offers in the nick of time. If a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, home buyers have until June 30 to complete the purchase. The tax credit is projected to have added 2 million first-time buyers in 2009 and be adding another 900,000 in 2010, plus 1.5 million repeat buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped for a second week, adding to evidence that the job market is slowly improving. The Labor Department says initial applications for jobless benefits dropped 11,000 to 448,000 the week ended April 24, lowest level in four weeks. However, the four-week average for claims edged up slightly to 462,500, still well above the level economists believe signals sustained improvements in the job market.
Standard & Poor’s cut Spain‘s credit rating one level to AA and maintained its negative outlook. The move came just one day after the rating agency dropped Greece three levels to junk status and pulled also-troubled Portugal down two notches. The European Union said it expects to conclude talks with the IMF and Greek officials on a deal to lift Greece out of its “debt spiral” by the weekend.
Spain’s jobless rate has surpassed 20% for the first time since 1997, the government said Friday as it offered more dismal news for a recession-plagued economy that is being dragged into Europe’s debt crisis. While other major economies in Europe and elsewhere have posted at least tepid growth as they fight to crawl out of recession, the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy is still contracting after the collapse of a construction boom that had fueled years of expansion.
US President Barack Obama told Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas that he was committed to creating a sovereign Palestinian state within two years and would make great efforts to achieve that goal, an Egyptian official told the Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat on Thursday. The official also claimed Israel had rejected special US envoy George Mitchell’s proposal that the IDF withdraw to its pre-intifada positions of September 2000. Instead, Israel offered other goodwill gestures, such as removing checkpoints and releasing certain Palestinian prisoners. Meantime, the US brokered “proximity talks” between Israel and the PA will begin within two weeks, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman estimated on Thursday. Lieberman added, however, that the Palestinians’ recent conduct has been non-conducive to peace. “It’s unreasonable to talk about peace while at the same time perpetuating terror by naming town squares after bloodthirsty terrorists,” he said. Vice Premier Silvan Shalom also affirmed today that Israel was nearing renewed peace talks with the Palestinians, and that the time had come for Abbas to make the strategic decision to return to the negotiating table. Shalom also stressed the importance of ending the Palestinian method of appealing to the US. “If they want peace, they will find the Israeli government ready for true peace,” he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani, held their first meeting in more than nine months on Thursday, signaling a thaw in icy relations since the deadly 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.. The talks lasted for an hour and 15 minutes Details about the talks were not immediately available. Peace talks between India and Pakistan were stalled after a terror attack on Mumbai, India’s financial hub, in 2008 in which 166 people were killed. New Delhi blamed the attacks on Pakistan-based militants.
The Christian Post reports that the National Council of Churches and its partners have appealed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help protect Iraq’s Christian minority. The letter, also addressed to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, cited the region’s violent recent history. “Christians in Iraq have suffered more than a dozen violent deaths so far this year,” the letter states. “Our concern is now particularly acute because it is possible that tensions will increase as various political forces continue to vie for power following the recent elections.” The letter also pointed to the “growing climate of mistrust and animosity” that may upset recent gains in security. The letter comes days after Christians in northern Iraq erected a statue of Jesus, modeled after Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, despite increasing attacks by extremists.
The largest ever World’s Fair blasts off tonight with a massive fireworks display over Shanghai. China expects about 400,000 daily visitors. The World Expo 2010 Shanghai, dubbed the “Economic Olympics” by Chinese officials, is a record-breaker in multiple ways. This gathering of 189 nations, including debutantes such as reclusive North Korea, aims to draw 70 million visitors from May to October this year. From food supply to bathroom places, China’s financial powerhouse is shattering World’s Fair records, according to Chinese media feasting on the logistics of the nation’s next march onto the global stage after the successful 2008 Beijing Olympics. Local media have estimated the total cost at $58 billion, including citywide infrastructure projects. That is far more than the $42 billion cost of the Olympics. To leave the right impression, Shanghai authorities have cajoled their sharp-elbowed citizens to line up better, spit less and stop wearing pajamas in public. The 3,500 police who will patrol the Expo site have been forbidden to eat garlic or other noxious foodstuffs.
A late-season snowstorm dumped up to 2 feet of heavy, wet snow on northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire by Wednesday morning, cutting off power to thousands, closing some schools and leaving roads slippery. “It definitely caught people off guard, considering we had 80 degrees back in March. It’s a problem because some people swapped their (snow) tires out already,” said Vermont highway dispatcher Greg Fox. About 30,000 customers were without power in Vermont, New Hampshire and northern New York. Large storms so late in the season are rare, said Mark Breen, the senior meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury.