Marriage Group Fights to Keep Traditional Definition

The Summer Marriage Tour 2010: One Man One Woman, a campaign for traditional marriage, is preparing to hit the road. Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), will be taking his organization on a month-long bus tour to promote marriage between a man and a woman. He tells OneNewsNow this summer is an important one for marriage. “The fact is that we’re expecting a court decision in California that could invalidate the votes of millions of Americans in 31 states to protect marriage as a union [between] a man and a woman,” he explains. That is a reference to a trial challenging Proposition 8 and the November 2008 vote made by the majority of Californians to preserve traditional marriage. That case is expected to go to the Supreme Court, where he says five justices could create a “constitutional right for homosexual marriage.” The organization hopes its 20 rallies will send a strong message and encourage people to take a stand for traditional marriage.

UN Approves New Commission to Promote Women’s Equality

The General Assembly on Friday unanimously approved the establishment of a single U.N. body to promote equality for women. The resolution adopted by consensus by the 192-member world body will put four existing U.N. bodies dealing with the advancement of women under a single umbrella that will be known as “UN Women.” Approval of the resolution culminates a four-year campaign to streamline the U.N.’s activities promoting the status of women led by the European Union and strongly supported by women’s organizations and other non-governmental groups who hailed the birth of UN Women. For many years, the United Nations has faced serious challenges in trying to promote equality for women around the world because of the lack of funding and the lack of a single high-powered spokesperson and agency to pursue action.

House Democrats ‘Deem’ Faux $1.1 Trillion Budget ‘as Passed’

As part of a procedural vote on the emergency war supplemental bill on Friday, House Democrats attached a document that “deemed as passed” a non-existent $1.12 trillion budget. The execution of the “deeming” document allows Democrats to start spending money for Fiscal Year 2011 without the pesky constraints of a budget. The procedural vote passed 215-210 with no Republicans voting in favor and 38 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote against deeming the faux budget resolution passed. Never before — since the creation of the Congressional budget process — has the House failed to pass a budget, and then deemed the non-existent budget as passed as a means to avoid a direct, recorded vote on a budget, but still allow Congress to spend taxpayer money. “Facing a record deficit and a tidal wave of debt, House Democrats decided it was politically inconvenient to put forward a budget and account for their fiscal recklessness.  With no priorities and no restraints, the spending, taxing, and borrowing will continue unchecked for the coming fiscal year,” House Budget Committee Ranking Member Paul Ryan said.

Gulf Oil Spill

Oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill has as high as an 80 percent chance of reaching the Florida Keys and Miami, according to a computer model released Friday by the federal government. Meanwhile, across the oil-stained Gulf Coast, it’s going to be a glum Fourth of July. Tourism officials say there have been numerous hotel cancellations across the coast. About 25 percent of all rooms in the Pensacola Bay area were still vacant on Friday, said Ed Schroeder, director of the convention and visitors bureau. Last year, hotel occupancy was 100 percent at the start of the holiday weekend. Many businesses are fighting the misperception that every stretch of beach is coated in oil. About 1,300 BP employees and county crews are working overnight to clean whatever oil washes up during high tide. By most mornings, the tourist sections are largely clean, with only orange and brown stains in the sand left behind. BP’s costs for the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill climbed nearly half a billion dollars in the past week, raising the oil giant’s tab to just over $3 billion for work on cleaning and capping the gusher and payouts to individuals, businesses and governments.

Gulf of Mexico cleanup crews working to block millions of gallons of oil from reaching land may soon have a giant on their side, if a weekend test of a new skimmer goes well. The Taiwanese vessel dubbed “A Whale,” which its owners describe as the largest oil skimmer in the world, began showing its capabilities on Saturday just north of the Macondo Deepwater well site. The vessel will cruise a 25-square-mile test site. The U.S. Coast Guard, along with BP, are waiting to see if the vessel, which is 10 stories high and as long as 3 1/2 football fields, can live up to its makers’ promise of being able to process up to 21 million gallons of oil-fouled water a day. The ship works by taking in water through 12 vents, separating the oil and pumping the cleaned seawater back into the Gulf.

Planned Parenthood Loses $1.3 billion of Taxpayers’ Money

A U.S. Government Accountability Office report says Planned Parenthood Federation of America cannot find some $1.3 billion given to it by the federal government from 2002 through 2008. In response to an information request from 26 House members and five senators, the GAO report said that Planned Parenthood had received $2.02 billion in federal grants from 2002 through 2008 but that the nation’s largest abortion-industry player only reported spending $657.1 million of the taxpayer funds. Planned Parenthood has established a pattern of a lack of accountability with the taxpayer’s money. One Planned Parenthood entity in Kansas is facing more than 100 counts of failing to abide by state law, and a request has been made to authorities in Iowa to investigate alleged criminal violations of the law there. The gaps in Planned Parenthood funding are disturbing, but American Life League President Judie Brown says the biggest issue is the amount of American taxpayers’ money going to fund and promote abortion.

  • The enemy always seeks to do its dirty deeds within darkness and secrecy

Muslims Face Resistance to New Mosques in U.S.

Like many American mosques, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, TN, faces a dilemma. As the number of Muslims in the United States grows, mosques know they must expand as well. But those plans to expand often run into hostile resistance. Opponents, like some in Murfreesboro, try to use zoning laws to block mosque building or expansion. That has left some local Muslims wondering if they are second-class citizens when it comes to religion. “These people who go out and oppose mosques, they are opposing American values,” said Yasser Salet Arafat, who is helping organize a proposed mosque in Antioch. “You are betraying America by standing against our basic values, by saying you cannot have a mosque, you cannot be a Muslim in the United States.” Of the estimated 330,000 houses of worship in the United States, only 2,500 are mosques. Fewer than 200 were built new, said Omar Khalidi, librarian for the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. “The vast majority of American mosques were buildings built for other purposes,” he said. Muslim groups now seek to build new mosques modeled after megachurches.

  • While many Muslims are peaceful American citizens, mosques often become havens for Muslim extremists who seek to destroy our country. Only the Muslim religion teaches violence to overcome unbelievers.

Assaults on Guantanamo Guards Drop

More prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are sharing meals and recreation time with fellow inmates — an easing of conditions that has led to fewer assaults against guards at the U.S. base in Cuba. Nearly 160 prisoners have been shifted into a communal living setting instead of spending most of the day confined alone in solid-wall cells. As a result, there have been only about 60 cases of prisoners assaulting guards in the first seven months of the year, compared to more than 1,000 for all of 2009.

When is a Drug Too Risky?

Drug safety questions arose again this week, as calls mount for the diabetes pill Avandia to be withdrawn. Surprisingly, the Food and Drug Administration has no firm rules for deciding such cases — just a murky guideline of “when the risks exceed the benefits.” The arthritis pill Vioxx was withdrawn but menopause hormones were not, even though both were tied to heart risks. A multiple sclerosis medicine was pulled and later allowed back on. “Each drug has its own complex story,” so comparisons to previous decisions can’t be made, said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner. The agency does need better criteria for weighing drug safety, he said. It has asked a group of outside scientists, the Institute of Medicine, to give advice. A report is expected before the July 13-14 hearing on Avandia,. The FDA can order a drug off the market, but that can be challenged in court. Usually, a company voluntarily withdraws the medicine at the FDA’s request.

New Meningitis Vaccine to Stop Outbreaks in Africa

Health officials say a new meningitis vaccine will help prevent epidemics in Africa for the first time, revolutionizing how doctors fight outbreaks of the deadly disease. Meningitis, a potentially fatal infection of the lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, strikes more than 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia. Last year, there were about 80,000 cases including more than 4,000 deaths. While rich countries have used meningitis vaccines for years, those available in the developing world cannot be used to prevent outbreaks because they don’t last very long. Last week, the World Health Organization approved a new vaccine that could stop outbreaks before they even begin. The new vaccine is the result of a partnership that began in 2001 between the World Health Organization, the Serum Institute of India, and PATH, an international nonprofit funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Kids Smuggling Drugs Over Border

In the past two years, Homeland Security officials have witnessed a disturbing development along the Mexican border: kid smugglers. Customs and Border Protection records show 130 minors were caught attempting to bring drugs through entry ports from Sonora into Arizona during fiscal 2009, an 83 percent increase over the previous year. Narcotics organizations – always on the lookout for ways to penetrate increasing border security – are recruiting American teens with claims that they won’t face major punishment if they are caught. In fact, prison terms are not uncommon for teen smugglers. The problem escalated last year to a point where federal and local authorities created programs to warn Yuma County students about the dangers and consequences of drug smuggling. The federal campaign includes a presentation by border agents and a video with arrest re-enactments.

Economic News

President Obama said today his administration is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional grants to a pair of solar energy companies that have pledged to build plants in the United States. In addition to supplying new clean energy, Obama said in his Saturday morning radio address that the new plants will help an economy that is about 8 million jobs in the hole.

Orders to U.S. factories declined broadly in May after nine straight months of gains, raising concerns that the recovery is stalling. The Commerce Department said Friday that orders for manufactured goods decreased 1.4% in May. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders fell 0.6%. Orders for big-ticket durable goods were down 0.3%, after a 2.0% increase in April.

The auto industry sold nearly 984,000 vehicles in June, up 14.4% from June 2009, when General Motors was in bankruptcy. But sales were down 10.8% from May, another worrisome indicator of a slowdown in the U.S. recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped for a seventh straight day, its longest losing streak since the height of the financial crisis in October 2008. A disappointing jobs report added to investors’ concerns that the economic recovery is losing steam. The Dow ended down 46 points Friday.

Middle East

Turkey will sever diplomatic ties with Israel unless it apologizes over the commando raid on an aid convoy to Gaza in which nine Turks died, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying Monday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out any apology Friday, and a senior Israeli government official said Monday after Davutoglu’s remarks that Israel would never say sorry for defending itself.

Mexico

President Felipe Calderon’s allies headed toward some surprising victories in Mexican state elections marred by drug gang violence so severe only a trickle of citizens voted in one state where the leading gubernatorial candidate was slain. The opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, the former longtime ruling party, had hoped for significant gains Sunday to add momentum to its bid to regain the presidency in 2012, trying to capitalize on discontent over drug violence. But it appeared the PRI would not significantly improve on the nine governorships it already held among the dozen seats up for grabs.

The drug-cartel enforcer told an unsettling story: A woman who worked in the Mexican border’s biggest U.S. consulate had helped a rival gang obtain American visas. And for that, the enforcer said, he ordered her killed. Nonsense, says a U.S. official, who said Friday the motive for the slaying remains unknown. The employee, Lesley Enriquez, and two other people connected to the U.S. consulate in the city of Ciudad Juarez were killed March 13 in attacks that raised concerns that Americans were being caught up in drug-related border violence. Jesus Ernesto Chavez, whose arrest was announced Friday, confessed to ordering the killings, said Ramon Pequeno, the head of anti-narcotics for the Federal Police. Pequeno said Chavez leads a band of hit men for a street gang tied to the Juarez cartel.

Ø      Bribery and corruption will keep the illegal immigration spigot open to some degree no matter what we do to stem the flow

Ecuador

The Drug Enforcement Administration said Saturday it has helped seize a submarine capable of transporting tons of cocaine. DEA officials said that the diesel electric-powered submarine was constructed in a remote jungle and captured near a tributary close to the Ecuador-Colombia border. Ecuadorean authorities seized the sub before it could make its maiden voyage. The sophisticated camouflaged vessel has a conning tower, periscope and air-conditioning system. It measured about nine-feet-high from the deck plates to the ceiling and stretched nearly a 100 feet long. The DEA says it was built for trans-oceanic drug trafficking. Colombia‘s drug cartels have been known to use home-built submarines to smuggle large amounts of cocaine past U.S. and Colombian patrol boats to Central America en route to the United States.

Iraq

Vice President Biden urged rival Iraqi politicians Sunday to end months of delays and select new leaders for their wobbly democracy, predicting a peaceful transition of power even as suicide bombers struck government centers in two major cities. In addition, Rockets were fired at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad while Vice President Biden was in Iraq, but no casualties were reported. The attacks in Mosul and Ramadi underscored persistent fears that insurgents will exploit Iraq‘s political uncertainty to stoke widespread sectarian violence. Four people were killed and 25 injured in the two blasts that occurred hundreds of miles apart. The twin explosions on the Fourth of July illustrated the vexing nature of the U.S. involvement in Iraq and its efforts to nudge the country toward stability and democracy.

Afghanistan

“We are in this to win,” Gen. David Petraeus said Sunday as he took the reins of an Afghan war effort troubled by waning support, an emboldened enemy, government corruption and a looming commitment to withdraw troops even with no sign of violence easing. Petraeus, who pioneered the counterinsurgency strategy he now oversees in Afghanistan, has just months to show progress in turning back insurgents and convince both the Afghan people and neighboring countries that the U.S. is committed to preventing the country from again becoming a haven for al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies. Petraeus, widely credited with turning around the U.S. war effort in Iraq, said the Taliban and their allies are killing and maiming civilians — even using “unwitting children to carry out attacks” — in an attempt to undermine public confidence in the Afghan government and the international community’s ability to prevail.

Nigeria

Twelve foreign sailors taken hostage off Nigeria‘s oil-rich and restive southern delta were safely released Sunday. All the men were in good condition. There was no information on whether a ransom had been paid to secure the men’s release. The pirates kidnapped them off the coast of Nigeria‘s restive and oil-rich southern delta during an attack that left one crewmember injured, a naval spokesman said Saturday. Pirates boarded the German-flagged cargo ship BBC Palonia Friday night off the coast of the Niger Delta. A struggle broke out during the attack and pirates shot one crewmember in the leg during the fight. The Nigerian navy escorted the ship to safe waters and got medical aid for the wounded sailor. “All efforts are being made to … rescue the kidnapped crew,” Commodore David Nabaida said.

Congo

A fuel tanker flipped over and exploded into flames in eastern Congo overnight, killing at least 230 villagers and wounding more than 100 — many who had rushed to siphon leaking liquid from the vehicle illegally. The truck was transporting fuel when it overturned at high speed late Friday. A fire started, and the people trying to siphon the fuel were killed or injured. A dozen of homes in the vicinity had also been destroyed in the blaze. Most people in the area live in thatched huts made of dried leaves and hardened mud.

Earthquakes

One of our loyal readers in Alaska reports a series of earthquakes there measuring 4.0 or more that have gone unreported in the media. In researching this, I came across a website (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php) that lists all the earthquakes in the world measuring 2.5 or greater over the past week. The Alaska quakes were listed there as just a small part of over 200 such earthquakes worldwide just this past week, a rather astounding number about which we hear little or nothing.

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