Thousands Rally in Washington
Tens of thousands of people, drawn to the nation’s capital by conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck, rallied Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial in a show of political force that had the feel of a religious revival. “Something beyond imagination is happening,” Beck told a crowd that stretched across the National Mall. “America begins today to turn back to God.” The event, called “Restoring Honor,” was billed as a non-political tribute to the nation’s troops, and the crowd was packed with people wearing American flag and military t-shirts. Busloads of Beck supporters from across the country were brought together by members of the Tea Party, anti-immigration groups and other organizations that generally support conservative political candidates and oppose President Obama‘s policies. The three-hour rally, held at the site of and on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King‘s “I Have a Dream” speech on racial equality, featured gospel singers, military heroes and a few politicians, including 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and potential 2012 presidential aspirant Sarah Palin.
Nonreligious Doctors More Likely to Hasten Death
Doctors who are atheist or agnostic are twice as likely to make decisions that could end the lives of their terminally ill patients, compared to doctors who are very religious, according to a new study in Britain. Dr. Clive Seale, a professor at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, conducted a random mail survey of more than 3,700 doctors across Britain, of whom 2,923 reported on how they took care of their last terminal patient. Doctors who described themselves as “extremely” or “very nonreligious” were nearly twice as likely to report having made decisions like providing continuous deep sedation, which could accelerate a patient’s death. To ensure doctors are acting in accordance with their patients’ wishes, Seale wrote that “nonreligious doctors should confess their predilections to their patients.” Seale also found that doctors who were religious were much less likely to have talked about end of life treatment decisions with their patients. “Whatever your personal beliefs may be …you must be respectful of the patient’s dignity and views,” the association says.
Feds Reluctantly Release Pro-Abstinence Study
In response to heavy criticism, the Department of Health and Human Services has reluctantly released the full results of a national study that favors abstinence education. The survey, which was initially released in summary form only, revealed that about 70 percent of parents and their teenagers believed teens should wait until marriage to have sex. But when a researcher requested the full report and was denied by HHS officials, that launched a grassroots effort by pro-family groups encouraging the public to file Freedom of Information Act requests. The full results show that a majority of those surveyed favor abstinence education. “We know that the current administration does not support abstinence education, which is hard to understand in and of itself because this is kind of a common-sense approach and a common-sense strategy,” notes Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association.
School Exam Lauds Islam, Trashes Christianity
New York State education officials devised a high school exam containing passages extolling positive accomplishments of Islam while casting a negative light on aspects of Christian history. The reading selections from the state-wide Regents exam on Global History and Geography contained a passage that said wherever Muslims went in the centuries following the birth of Islam, they “brought with them their love of art, beauty and learning. From about the eighth to the eleventh century, their culture was superior in many ways to that of western Christendom.” AIt also said that “Indians supplied construction labor without receiving payment.” n excerpt discussing Christianity’s introduction in Latin America stated that “idols, temples, and other material evidences of paganism [were] destroyed,” and “Christian buildings [were] often constructed on sites of destroyed native temples.” Mark MacWilliams, a religious studies professor at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., told the Post: “Why does the exam seem to have only documents that portray Islam as a religion of peace, civilization, and refinement, while it includes documents about Christianity that show it was anything but peaceful in the Spanish conquest of the Americas?”
- Satan and the New World Order seek every opportunity to trash God’s true religion and raise up others instead
Feds to Drop Deportation of Thousands
The Obama administration is moving to throw out deportation cases against thousands of illegal immigrants if the immigrants have a potential path to legal residency. The move could affect as many as 17,000 immigrants who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas, including some who are currently being detained and could be released from detention facilities as part of the move, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. It comes amid a push by ICE to focus on illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, rather than seek to deport all illegal immigrants. Officials say the shift is needed to reduce massive clogs in the nation’s Immigration Courts, where detainees can wait for months or years before their cases are decided, and to use deportation as a tool for public safety.
National Guard Soldiers Arrive at Arizona-Mexico Border
About 30 National Guard soldiers are expected to hit the Arizona-Mexico border Monday, a first wave of reinforcements sent by the Obama administration to bolster border security. Additional troops will be deployed each Monday until the full complement of 532 has joined the mission. The soldiers, all volunteers, received two to three weeks training that included surveillance techniques and a refresher course in first aid. They will be armed for self-defense, but will not have law-enforcement authority. Instead, their mission is to serve as “extra eyes and ears” for the U.S. Border Patrol. Some troops will be assigned to teams posted in concealed locations to watch for smugglers and illegal immigrants entering the United States. When the troops spot interlopers, they will call in agents to detain the suspects.
Kindergartens See More Hispanic, Asian Students
The kindergarten class of 2010-11 is less white, less black, more Asian and much more Hispanic than in 2000, reflecting the nation’s rapid racial and ethnic transformation. The profile of the 4 million children starting kindergarten reveals the startling changes the USA has undergone the past decade and offers a glimpse of its future. In this year’s class, for example, about one out of four 5-year-olds will be Hispanic, a big jump from 19% in 2000. The percentage of white 5-year-olds fell from 59% in 2000 to about 53% today and the share of blacks from 15% to 13%. The proportion of Asian children was up slightly from 4% to 5% with multicultural kindergarteners up from 2% to 3%.
Recession Pushes U.S. Birth Rate to New Low
The U.S. birth rate has dropped for the second year in a row, and experts think the wrenching recession led many people to put off having children. The 2009 birth rate also set a record: lowest in a century. Births fell 2.7% last year even as the population grew. The birth rate, which takes into account changes in the population, fell to 13.5 births for every 1,000 people last year. That’s down from 14.3 in 2007 and way down from 30 in 1909, when it was common for people to have big families. Another possible factor in the drop: a decline in immigration to the United States. The birth rate is still higher than the birth rate in many wealthy countries.
Congress Investigates Egg Recall Delay
A top food-safety watchdog in Congress has asked federal health agencies to explain their apparently slow and “disjointed” alerts to consumers about the massive egg recall and salmonella outbreak. USA TODAY reported that by the end of July health officials in California and Minnesota had identified Wright County Egg as a supplier to eight restaurants that had illness clusters. But a recall wasn’t announced until Aug. 13. The FDA said that although it was aware of the state’s findings in July, it needed to gather invoices and other paperwork to further confirm the data before contacting the company around Aug. 9.
In the wake of one of the largest egg recalls on record critics say the egg industry is resorting to the worst tactic of all — blaming the victim. More than 1,400 illnesses now appear to be tied to an outbreak of salmonella enteritidis definitively linked to eggs produced on two Iowa farms. “Consumers that were sickened reportedly all ate eggs that were not properly or thoroughly cooked. Eggs need to be cooked so that the whites and yolks are firm (not runny) which should kill any bacteria,” says Mitch Head, spokesperson for the United Egg Producers. This isn’t sitting well with food safety advocates. “Telling me that basically ‘You didn’t cook it right,’ it’s just offensive,” says Nancy Donley, board president of Safe Tables Our Priority, a food safety consumer group.
BP Probe Blames its Workers for Gulf Blowout
BP said Monday that it won’t comment on a report that the company’s own investigation has faulted employees for failing to spot danger signs before the disastrous blowout of a well in the Gulf of Mexico. Bloomberg News, citing an unidentified source, reported that BP’s investigation determined that some of its employees misread pressure data from the Macondo well hours before it blew out on April 20. The report is expected to be released in coming weeks. Bloomberg quoted its source as saying the report concluded that BP managers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig concluded that the pressure test confirmed that the well was in good shape, when it was not.
Mortgage Brokers Becoming a Vanishing Breed
Most of the mortgage brokers that seemed to populate every office building and commercial street in cities nationwide just five years ago have vanished. Brokers and loan originators find lenders for people seeking a mortgage on a new home purchase and charge a fee for that service. Much of the decline has come from the implosion of the housing sector since 2007. Prices and sales plunged during the recession. Foreclosures hit record highs almost everywhere. As government rushed in to respond to the crisis, caused in part by overselling of risky mortgages by brokers who got rich on exorbitant fees, regulations on the industry multiplied. States in the past two years began requiring brokers to pass licensing exams and undergo background checks. A criminal record, even a past bankruptcy, can now prevent someone from writing a mortgage. If states don’t already do it, a federal law coming in January will require licensing exams and criminal background checks nationally. Many of the sometimes-exotic products that independent brokers used to push — jumbo loans, subprime mortgages — also have been restricted or banned. The new industry that’s emerging is much more conservative, regulated and, some would say, less consumer-friendly.
Military Economy Up, Civilian Down
The use of the military-industrial complex as a quick, if dubious, way of jump-starting the economy is nothing new, but what is amazing is the divergence between the military economy and the civilian economy, as reported by the New York Times. In the past nine years, non-industrial production in the US has declined by some 19 percent. It took about four years for manufacturing to return to levels seen before the 2001 recession — and all those gains were wiped out in the current recession. By contrast, military manufacturing is now 123 percent greater than it was in 2000 — it has more than doubled while the rest of the manufacturing sector has been shrinking… It’s important to note the trajectory — the military economy is nearly three times as large, proportionally to the rest of the economy, as it was at the beginning of the Bush administration. And it is the only manufacturing sector showing any growth.
Consumer spending rose in July at the fastest pace in four months, helped by a jump in demand for automobiles. Consumer spending rose 0.4% in July after three lackluster months, the Commerce Department said Monday. Spending fell 0.1% in April, rose a tiny 0.1% in May and was flat in June. The July spending gain was the highest since a 0.5% rise in March. But the concern is that demand could taper off in the second half of this year if unemployment remains near double digits.
Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand. More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, the federal-state program aimed principally at the poor. That’s up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007. The program has grown even before the new health care law adds about 16 million people, beginning in 2014. That has strained doctors. Private physicians are already indicating that they’re at their limit. More than 40 million people get food stamps, an increase of nearly 50% during the economic downturn. Close to 10 million receive unemployment insurance, nearly four times the number from 2007. Benefits have been extended by Congress eight times beyond the basic 26-week program, enabling the long-term unemployed to get up to 99 weeks of benefits.
Stocks posted big gains after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank was ready to step in if the U.S. economy showed further signs of weakening. The Dow Jones industrial average and other indexes all gained more than 1%. The upturn was a respite from a mainly dismal month on the stock market, which has been falling steadily since its recent high reached on Aug. 9 on a series of poor indicators on the economy. Bernanke said in a speech at the Fed’s annual conference that while the economic recovery remains tentative, the central bank remains ready to take extra steps to stimulate the economy if necessary, such as buying more debt securities in order to keep interest rates low. He said he still expects the economy to grow next year.
Japan‘s central bank further eased monetary policy Monday in response growing political pressure to take action on a faltering economic recovery. To boost liquidity, the central bank unveiled a new six-month low-interest loan program to financial institutions. Combined with an existing three-month funds-supplying operation worth 20 trillion yen ($236.4 billion), banks will now have access to a total of 30 trillion yen ($355 billion).
Just six months ago, one of the largest earthquakes in a century tore Chile apart, physically ripping the ground, triggering a deadly tsunami and leaving in the wreckage a divided society and government trying to decide whom to blame. Now, with Chile confronting a new disaster — 33 men trapped alive in a mine below the Atacama Desert since Aug. 5 — the nation is unified by the drama playing out in slow motion. This time, Chileans are less interested in the blame game and more concentrated on getting the men out of the ground alive. Many see the united effort and support for the miners as a way to move past the shameful episodes surrounding the quake and to demonstrate the better side of Chileans in the face of adversity. Chile’s navy and emergency management office were criticized for failing to issue an alert that might have saved hundreds from the tsunami that caused the quake’s largest death toll. Chileans were also angered by a massive wave of looting after the huge quake.
Iraq‘s prime minister put his nation on its highest level of alert for terror attacks, warning of plots to sow fear and chaos as the U.S. combat mission in the country formally ends on Tuesday. The Iraqi security forces who will be left in charge have been hammered by bomb attacks, prompting fears of a new insurgent offensive and criticism of the government’s preparedness for the American troop drawdown. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Friday that Iraqi intelligence indicated an al-Qaeda front group and members of Saddam Hussein‘s outlawed Baath party are collaborating to launch attacks “to create fear and chaos and kill more innocents.” A senior Iraqi intelligence official said security forces believe suicide bombers have entered the country with plans to strike unspecified targets in Baghdad by month’s end.
A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children’s hospital goes unused in the south. As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds has been wasted – more than 10 percent of the roughly $50 billion the U.S. has spent on reconstruction in Iraq – according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency. That amount is likely an underestimate, based on an analysis of more than 300 reports by auditors with the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. And it does not take into account security costs, which have run almost 17 percent for some projects. Nevertheless, There are success stories. Hundreds of police stations, border forts and government buildings have been built, Iraqi security forces have improved after years of training, and a deepwater port at the southern oil hub of Umm Qasr has been restored. However, even completed projects for the most part fell far short of original goals, according to an Associated Press review of hundreds of audits and investigations and visits to several sites. And it remains to be seen whether the program reached its goal of generating Iraqi goodwill toward the U.S. instead of the insurgents.
Seven U.S. troops have died in weekend attacks in Afghanistan‘s embattled southern and eastern regions, while officials found the bodies Sunday of five kidnapped campaign aides working for a female candidate in the western province of Herat. The latest deaths bring to 42 the number of American forces who have died this month in Afghanistan after July’s high of 66. A total of 62 international forces have died in the country this month, including seven British troops. Fighting is intensifying with the addition of 30,000 U.S. troops to bring the total number of international forces in Afghanistan to 140,000 — 100,000 of them American. Most of those new troops have been assigned to the southern insurgent strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar provinces where major battles are fought almost daily as part of a gathering drive to push out the Taliban.
Americans are giving a paltry amount for relief efforts in flood-stricken Pakistan compared to other overseas disasters. They were more than 40 times more generous for the Haiti earthquake. Reasons include the slow-motion nature of the calamity, relatively scant TV coverage, and — unmistakably — the fact that the strategic Muslim ally is viewed warily by many Americans. No disasters are alike. Yet a month into Pakistan’s flood catastrophe, with 8 million people in dire need and a fifth of its territory affected, the donation comparisons are startling. InterAction, an umbrella group for U.S. relief agencies active abroad, says its affiliates have raised about $12 million thus far for Pakistan, compared to more than $500 million at the same stage of the Haiti earthquake relief effort earlier this year.
Ø You don’t suppose that this Muslim nation that harbors Islamic militants is reaping what they’ve sown?
Scores of bare-chested skinheads attacked a crowd of about 3,000 people at a rock concert in central Russia on Sunday, beating them with clubs, media reports said. Dozens of people were left bloodied and dazed in the attack, television and news agencies reported, and state news channel Rossiya-24 said a 14-year-old girl was killed at the concert in Miass, 900 miles east of Moscow. Fourteen ambulances were called to the scene, the channel said, citing witness accounts. The motive for the attack was not known. Russia has an ingrained neo-Nazi skinhead movement. Attacks on dark-skinned foreigners in Moscow and St. Petersburg have been relatively common in recent years. Neo-Nazi and other ultranationalist groups mushroomed in Russia after the 1991 Soviet collapse. The influx of immigrant workers and two wars with Chechen separatists triggered xenophobia and a surge in hate crimes.
About 3,200 Mexican federal police have been fired for failing to do their work or being linked to corruption, Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas said Monday. Of those, 465 have been charged with crimes and 1,020 faced disciplinary proceedings. The fired officers account for about 9 percent of the federal police force, which has about 34,500 officers. None of the dismissed officers will be allowed to be rehired on police forces at the local, state or federal levels.
An Indonesian volcano dormant for four centuries erupted for the second straight day Monday, shooting clouds of hot ash more than a mile into the air and forcing 30,000 people to flee. Some domestic airplanes had to be diverted because of poor visibility. Many villagers living along the slopes of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province wore masks as they packed their belongings and headed to emergency shelters, mosques and churches. Their abandoned homes and crops were blanketed in gray soot and the air was thick with the smell of sulfur. Sinabung last erupted in 1600, so observers don’t know its eruption pattern and admitted over the weekend they had not monitored it closely before it started rumbling days ago in the lead-up to Sunday’s first, less-powerful blast. Like other volcanoes along the Sumatra fault line — the meeting point of the Eurasian and Pacific tectonic plates that have pushed against each other for millions of years — it has the potential to be very destructive.
Wildfires drove early morning evacuations in western Montana and thunderstorms sparked dozens more blazes in Idaho and Nevada as crews battled dozens of blazes throughout the West. Cooler temperatures and calmer winds helped firefighters control wildfires that had flared up Thursday across eastern Washington in hot, gusty winds. But in Montana, a cold front brought lightning and sparked eight fires on forest service and private land. About 70 homes in the Blodgett and Canyon Creek areas have been evacuated and fire officials said residents of another 100 homes were warned they may have to leave. Temperatures in the high 90s and strong winds Thursday afternoon helped blow a prescribed burn out of control, forcing the evacuation of more than two dozen homes.
In Idaho, thunderstorms sparked dozens of new wildfires on state and federal lands, adding to several significant blazes that have forced evacuations and threatened homes. The 50 lightning-caused blazes that erupted Thursday afternoon in southern Idaho and the Boise, area come after an estimated 250 to 300 residents were evacuated from the Tamarack Resort area Thursday. The Hurd Fire there more than doubled in size from 550 acres late Thursday to nearly 1,300 acres, or two square miles, early Friday. In northeastern Washington, a fire near the town of Arden, Wash., grew to about 500 acres, the state fire marshal’s office said Friday. About 145 homes were threatened by the fire, and about 500 people have been evacuated from the area. A wildfire in rugged country near the Columbia River town of Lyle, Wash., grew to 1,200 acres by Friday morning. Residents of 40 homes faced mandatory evacuations, and people in another 50 homes were told to prepare to evacuate. Lightning also sparked two small wildfires Thursday in the Mount Charleston recreation area just outside Las Vegas.
Hurricane Earl lashed the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and strong winds Monday, causing flooding in parts of the low-lying Leeward Islands and emptying the streets and beaches as people waited out the storm. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Earl, which formed on Sunday, already had sustained winds of 120 mph and was likely to keep growing. The storm’s forecast track would carry its center north of the Caribbean, then forecasters say it is likely to bend to the north, moving roughly parallel to the U.S. East Coast. In Antigua, powerful wind and rain destroyed at least one home and at least eight people had to be evacuated, though there were no reports of critical injuries. Local weather authorities reported at least 5 inches of rain and 10-foot waves. In St. Maarten, the storm toppled trees and knocked out electricity to much of the island but there were no reports of serious damage. Heavy gusts of wind swirled debris across streets that were empty due to a government-imposed curfew.