Doctors Sue to Overturn ObamaCare

Another complaint was filed Friday by a group of nearly 5,000 American physicians as the lawsuits continue to pile up in an effort to overturn the new healthcare reform legislation. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is the first medical society to sue to overturn the newly enacted healthcare bill. Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of AAPS, says several issues are of concern. Dr. Orient explains that the legislation is unconstitutional on several grounds. “There are no enumerated powers anywhere in the Constitution for the government to force people to buy insurance or to allow the government to intervene in the relationships between patients and physicians,” she argues. “In addition it violates the Tenth Amendment [by] putting a lot of unfunded mandates on the states. It’s usurping the role of the states in regulating both insurance and medical practice.”

U.S. Unveiling New, More Restrictive Nuclear Policy

The Obama administration is unveiling a new nuclear weapons policy that seeks to narrow the circumstances under which the United States would use such weapons while preserving long-standing assurances of nuclear protection for allies. It is a delicate balance that the administration described in a policy document, called a nuclear posture review, released Tuesday following a full year of deliberation led by the Pentagon in consultation with allied governments. The document includes language reducing U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons for its national defense by narrowing potential U.S. nuclear targets. That reflects President Obama’s pledge to move toward a nuclear-free world, and could strengthen U.S. arguments that other countries should either reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons or forgo developing them. The Obama administration is committing not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that are following international treaty agreements, even if they attack with biological or chemical weapons.

  • In an increasingly hostile world that hates the USA, is this really the right time to limit ourselves?

Census Bureau Urges Same-Sex Couples to be Counted

With strong backing from the Census Bureau, gay-rights activists are urging maximum participation by their community in the first U.S. census that will tally same-sex couples who say they’re married — even those without a marriage license. The move has drawn fire from conservatives, who complain that it’s another step toward redefining marriage. For the first time, the bureau has deployed a team of professional field workers — about two-dozen strong — to reach out to gays and lesbians. On Monday, the bureau unveiled its first public-service videos encouraging gay Americans to mail in their census forms.

  • Our godless, socialist government will use any means to encourage the further breakdown of marriage and families

Voters Favor Tea Parties Over Obama,

A new poll indicates that most voters, by a 48 percent to 44 percent margin, believe the tea party’s views are closer to their own than President Obama’s are. The question that Rasmussen Reports posed to 1,000 likely voters: “When you think about the major issues facing the country, whose views are closest to your own, President Barack Obama or the average tea party member?” Despite weeks of media reports portraying the tea parties as extremists, among all-important independent voters the pro-tea party sentiment was even stronger. Fifty percent of those not affiliated with a party favored the tea parties, compared to 38 percent who say President Obama’s thinking more closely reflects their own.

US Court Rules Against FCC On ‘Net Neutrality’

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company. It had challenged the FCC’s authority to impose so-called “net neutrality” obligations on broadband providers. The ruling also marks a serious setback for the FCC, which is trying to officially set net neutrality regulations. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski argues that such rules are needed to prevent phone and cable companies from using their control over Internet access to favor some online content and services over others. The decision also has serious implications for the massive national broadband plan released by the FCC last month. The FCC needs clear authority to regulate broadband in order to push ahead with some its key recommendations, including a proposal to expand broadband by tapping the federal fund that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural communities.

Vatican Blasts Critics for Anti-Catholic ‘hate’ Campaign

The Vatican heatedly defended Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday, claiming accusations that he helped cover up the actions of pedophile priests are part of an anti-Catholic “hate” campaign targeting the pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Vatican Radio broadcast comments by two senior cardinals explaining “the motive for these attacks” on the pope and the Vatican newspaper chipped in with spirited comments from another top cardinal. “The pope defends life and the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, in a world in which powerful lobbies would like to impose a completely different” agenda, Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, head of the disciplinary commission for Holy See officials, said on the radio.

  • There’s no doubt that the anti-Christ spirit in the world looks for any opportunity to bash God and Christianity, but the Catholic Church opened the door with their mishandling of priestly pedophiles

West Virginia Mine had Worst Safety Record

The West Virginia mine where 25 people died Monday has the worst safety record of any underground coal mine in its county, federal documents show. On 54 occasions since Jan. 1, 2009, federal inspectors took the strong step of shutting part of the Upper Big Branch mine after finding persistent and serious safety violations. The 54 closure orders “suggest that not enough attention was being given to the safety conditions,” said J. Davitt McAteer, who ran the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) during the Clinton administration. Mine owner Massey Energy was excoriated in a MSHA investigation of a 2006 underground fire that killed two miners in the company’s Aracoma Alma coal mine in West Virginia. Massey subsidiary Aracoma Coal pleaded guilty in 2008 to 10 safety crimes, paid a $2.5 million fine and another $1.7 million for more than 1,300 violations.

  • With such a documented track record, this mine should have been shut down completely until conditions were rectified. Undoubtedly, politics intervened.

Community Colleges Receive Increased Attention

Politicians and policymakers are lavishing unprecedented attention on community colleges, promoting them as engines to train workers in the recession and boost the country’s college graduation rates. Grappling with soaring enrollment and plummeting state support, community colleges are grateful for the higher profile but disappointed money has yet to materialize to help them keep up with demand, let alone meet ambitious Obama administration goals to make the U.S. the global leader in college graduates again by 2020. No longer the afterthought of higher education, the nation’s 1,200 community, technical and junior colleges enroll more than 6 million students — almost half the nation’s college population. The economic downturn has pressured both schools and their students, most of whom work long hours. Sinking tax revenues at state and local levels have forced public colleges to cut courses or schedule them around the clock, slash summer sessions, eliminate academic programs and even restrict enrollment.

Walking Women have Reduced Stroke Risk

Women can lower their stroke risk by lacing up their sneakers and walking, a new study suggests. Women who said they walked briskly had a 37% lower risk of stroke than those who didn’t walk. Women who reported walking at least two hours a week at any pace had a 30% lower risk, according to a study published online Tuesday in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. “I think what’s encouraging is that moderate activities are powerfully effective in reducing the risks of stroke,” said Dr. Anand Rohatgi, a cardiologist at the University of Texas.

Breast-Feeding Would Save Lives, Money

The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90% of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says. Those startling results, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The findings suggest that there are hundreds of deaths and many more costly illnesses each year from health problems that breast-feeding may help prevent. These include stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and even childhood leukemia. Among the benefits: Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight infections; it also can affect insulin levels in the blood, which may make breast-fed babies less likely to develop diabetes and obesity. The analysis studied the prevalence of 10 common childhood illnesses, costs of treating those diseases, including hospitalization.

Many Specialist Doctors Face Retesting for Board Certification

For the first time since leaving medical school, many doctors are having to take tests to renew board certification in their fields — 147 specialties from dermatology to obstetrics. Certification means the doctor had special training in that field and passed an exam to prove knowledge of it. They used to do this once and be certified for life. That changed in the 1990s — doctors certified since then must retest every six to 10 years to prove their skills haven’t gone stale. For some specialists, this is the first year many are going through retesting. Older doctors also are feeling the heat. More than a quarter of a million of them were “grandfathered” with lifetime certificates, but are being urged to retest voluntarily to show they still know their stuff. Most don’t want to do this.

Jobless Hits New Vets Hard

Unemployment for male Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans has tripled since the recession began, rising from 5% in March 2007 to 15% last month, Labor Department statistics show. More than 250,000 of these veterans were unemployed last month. An additional 400,000 have left the workforce to attend college or raise children, or because they have stopped trying to find a job. Veterans are having a difficult time translating military skills — initiative, leadership and coolness under pressure — into job-application language that civilian employers can grasp. In addition, employers are skittish about hiring National Guard and Reserve troops because these forces are so frequently deployed for up to a year or more, which requires employers to hold their jobs open. As a result, re-enlistment numbers for the Army, lagging during years before the recession, are now topping 100%, according to Army figures.

Short-Sale Program Aims to Help ‘Underwater’ Homeowners

The government launched an effort on Monday to speed up the time-consuming, often-frustrating process of selling your home if you owe more than it’s worth. The Obama administration will give $3,000 for moving expenses to homeowners who complete such a sale — known as a short sale — or agree to turn over the deed of the property to the lender. It’s designed for homeowners who are in financial trouble but don’t qualify for the administration’s $75 billion mortgage modification program. Owners will still lose their homes, but a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure doesn’t hurt a borrower’s credit score for as much time as a foreclosure. For lenders, a home usually fetches more money in a short sale than a foreclosure. And the bank avoids expensive legal bills, cleanup fees and maintenance costs that follow a foreclosure.

Economic News

If other states are any indication, the real surprise about Arizona’s proposed 1-cent-per-dollar sales-tax hike is that it hasn’t already happened. Since the economic meltdown in late 2008, most states have raised income taxes, business taxes, sales taxes, or fees that apply to car insurance, fishing licenses and other purchases. Some states are looking to raise taxes and fees even more. In most cases where tax hikes passed, state lawmakers enacted the changes themselves. Only a few states have raised taxes by submitting the question to voters, as Arizona will do this spring.

The number of Phoenix-area homes foreclosed on by lenders hit a new record in March. There were 5,556 foreclosures in metropolitan Phoenix last month, a 30 percent jump from February. The previous record for Valley foreclosures was 5,316 last July.

The government said Tuesday it has proof that Toyota knew about a safety problem involving sticking gas pedals for four months before it recalled vehicles and said it will penalize the automaker the maximum $16.4 million for the delay. That would be a record penalty for foot-dragging. The highest so far: $1 million against General Motors in 2004 for taking too long to fix potentially faulty windshield wipers. The law says an automaker must tell the government about a safety defect and begin a recall within five business days after discovering the problem.

Oil and gasoline prices climbed to 18-month highs Monday as a batch of economic reports provided more signs that the U.S. economy is back on steady footing and demand for crude will follow. The worry now among some analysts is whether gasoline pump prices are starting to approach a level that could choke off the recovery. Oil, which has been trading between $75 and $85 a barrel for months, now appears to be in a new range that could go up to $95. The average retail price for gasoline hit $2.828 per gallon Monday. The price has risen 5.2 cents in the past month and now is 78.8 cents higher than a year ago.

Iraq

At least five bombs ripped through apartment buildings across Baghdad Tuesday and another struck a market, killing 49 people and wounding more than 160. Iraqi officials blamed al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgents for the violence — the latest sign the country’s fragile security is dissolving in the chaos of the unresolved election. It was the fourth set of attacks with multiple casualties across Iraq in five days, a spate of violence that has claimed more than 100 lives. Attacks have spiked as political leaders scramble to secure enough support to form a government after the March 7 elections failed to produce a clear winner.

ASSIST News Service reports that 4,320 Iraqi Christians have been displaced following recent unrest in the northern city of Mosul in Iraq. Many families remaining in Mosul are allegedly confined to their homes out of fear of their safety. Christian university students are reportedly not attending classes and workers are not attending their places of work. In October 2008, more than 12,000 Christians fled Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, following an upsurge in attacks, threats and intimidation, with some returning later after hearing that the security situation had improved.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan‘s military said 27 insurgents have been killed in ground fighting and airstrikes in a western province on Tuesday, in what appeared to be a major blow to Taliban influence in the region, while four civilians died in a NATO airstrike in the south. A NATO airstrike on a residence in southern Afghanistan killed four civilians and four insurgents Tuesday. Afghan authorities and NATO said they had launched a joint investigation into the deaths, which could further strain relations between President Hamid Karzai and his international allies. According to NATO and provincial government spokesman Dawood Ahmadi, insurgents had fired at NATO troops and Afghan army and police from inside the compound in Helmand province‘s Nahri Sarraj district on Monday, prompting the airstrike. The presence of the civilians — two women, an elderly man and a child — was discovered only after the troops entered the compound, NATO said.

India

Maoist rebels launched a series of devastating attacks Tuesday on paramilitary forces patrolling the forests of eastern India, killing at least 67 troops in one of the deadliest insurgent strikes on the government. That attack, which came amid a major Indian offensive aimed at crushing the Maoists, fueled concerns the government is sending poorly trained forces to the front lines to battle the raging insurgency. At least 81 troops were in a patrol party that had spent three or four days scouring forest in the rebel stronghold of Dantewada, in Chhattisgarh state. Early Tuesday, rebels ambushed some of the troops.

Kyrgyzstan

Civil unrest engulfed the politically troubled central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan Wednesday, with the government declaring a state of emergency and street fighting resulting in 17 deaths. Most of them died from bullet wounds. More than 140 people have been injured. Ten people at an opposition rally in Bishkek were shot and killed by police dispersing demonstrators near a government building. Protesters want detained opposition leaders to be released, and Interfax is reporting that opposition supporters have seized control of Naryn, Talas and others towns, such as Tokmok, Karakol and Cholpanata.

Mexico

The U.S. military is strengthening its ties with Mexico‘s armed forces and using its experience in fighting insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq to assist in Mexico’s war on increasingly violent drug cartels. The training and exchange programs with Mexico have concentrated on sharpening the capabilities of Mexico’s armed forces to quickly act on intelligence and integrate operations with law enforcement agencies. The U.S. military has honed techniques aimed at dismantling insurgent networks in countless operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

North Korea

North Korea has sentenced an American teacher to eight years of hard labor and ordered him to pay a $700,000 fine after he crossed illegally into the country — the fourth U.S. citizen to be detained by the isolated regime since last year. Aijalon Mahli Gomes, of Boston, acknowledged his wrongdoing during a trial at the Central Court Tuesday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said in a brief dispatch on Wednesday. Gomes, a graduate of Bowdoin College in Maine, had been teaching English in South Korea and no details have emerged about why he went to the North. However, Jo Sung-rae, a Seoul-based activist, said Gomes may have been inspired by his acquaintance with an American missionary who made a similar trip to the North in December to protest the country’s human rights record.

Earthquakes

Police in Calexico patrolled streets littered with shattered glass Monday as aftershocks continued to rock the U.S-Mexican border area in the wake of the earthquake on Easter Sunday. No injuries were reported in Calexico, the area hardest hit in the USA by the magnitude-7.3 quake. A 3-block-by-4-block area containing prewar buildings housing businesses was closed because of damage. At least a half-dozen aftershocks with magnitudes of 5 to 5.4 were reported, including a magnitude-5.1 shaker at 4:14 a.m. centered near El Centro. Scientists measured about 100 aftershocks early Monday morning.

A 7.8 earthquake shook Indonesia‘s northwest island of Sumatra early Wednesday, prompting a brief tsunami warning and sending residents rushing for higher ground. There were no immediate reports of widespread damage. The quake struck at 5:15 a.m. and was centered 125 miles northwest of Sibolga in Sumatra at a depth of 28.6 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The Indonesia Meteorology and Geophysics Agency issued a tsunami warning following the quake, but lifted it two hours later. Local media reports said the quake, which struck as people in the region were preparing for morning prayers, caused panic in North Sumatra’s capital of Medan and other cities in the province. Electricity was cut in Medan.

Weather

The heaviest rains in Rio de Janeiro‘s history triggered landslides Tuesday that killed at least 95 people as rising water turned roads into rivers and paralyzed Brazil‘s second-largest city. The ground gave way in steep hillside slums, cutting red-brown paths of destruction through shantytowns. Concrete and wooden homes were crushed and hurtled downhill, only to bury other structures. The future host city of the Olympics and football World Cup ground to a near halt as Mayor Eduardo Paes urged workers to stay home and closed all schools. Most businesses were shuttered. Eleven inches of frain fell in less than 24 hours, and more rain was expected. Officials said potential mudslides threatened at least 10,000 homes in the city of 6 million people.

  • Earthquakes and severe weather continue to escalate as these end-times unfold

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