Christian Flag Removed from War Memorial

A holy war is brewing in a small North Carolina city, where the Christian flag seems to be flying everywhere. A meeting of the King, N.C., City Council was packed on Monday with dozens of citizens who asked city officials to put the Christian flag back up at the local Veterans War Memorial. The council had voted to take down the flag rather than spend the estimated $200,000 to $300,000 it would cost to fight the American Civil Liberties Union in a First Amendment lawsuit. “The city received inquiries from the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State suggesting that the Christian flag flying over the Veterans Memorial at Central Park violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” City Manager John Cater said. “At the advice of the city attorney, the City Council voted to take down the Christian flag at last night’s City Council meeting, citing the enormous cost associated with fighting a potential lawsuit on the issue.” But residents of King, a city of 7,000 that has more than 30 churches, overwhelmingly want the Christian flag put back in the public site, and they’re rallying around it by flying it throughout the city at local businesses, in homes and in cars.

Yes, Virginia — There Will Be a ‘Christmas Parade’

The pro-Christmas movement in America can chalk up a win after a well-known city has opted to change its “Holiday Parade” back to a “Christmas Parade.” The capital city of Richmond, Virginia, decided to rename its annual Christmas Parade a Holiday Parade, a move supported by the parade sponsor, Dominion — one of the country’s largest producers of energy. But when the American Family Association and its supporters got wind of the decision, things changed — in a hurry. AFA special projects director Randy Sharp explains. “We alerted our supporters in the ten states in which Dominion does business,” he says. “Within hours, hundreds of phone calls and thousands of emails were flooding into not only the Dominion company, but also into the parade organizers’ office.” Within 24 hours, Dominion and the parade organizers decided they had had enough and announced on their website that the event would revert back to the “Christmas Parade.” Sharp says because of the efforts of AFA supporters, that decision will serve as a model for other cities.

Christianity a ‘Faded Memory’ for Most Young Britons

Young adults in Britain don’t bear any animosity towards Christianity; they just consider it irrelevant, new research shows. Researchers surveyed 300 young people from Generation Y – those born after 1982 – who had attended a Christian youth or community project. Christian Today reports that the five-year study found that young people were more likely to put their faith in friends, family or personal experience rather than God. Sylvia Collins-Mayo, a sociologist of religion and one of the researchers behind the study, said, “For the majority, religion and spirituality was irrelevant for day-to-day living; our young people were not looking for answers to ultimate questions and showed little sign of ‘pick and mix’ spirituality.”

  • Apathy and complacency are Satan’s primary weapon against both believers and unbelievers

U.S. ‘Occupation’ to Blame for Terrorism, Muslims Assert

A University of Chicago professor and a Muslim organization linked to the terror organization Hamas are teaming up to proclaim that American occupation of foreign lands is the reason for terrorism. Word of the cooperation between the Council on America- Islamic Relations and University of Chicago political science professor Robert Pape over his new book, called “Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It,” comes from CAIR. The organization announced in a news release that the book is a “powerful education tool” to challenge “Islamophobia.” “Through a close analysis of suicide campaigns by al-Qaida and in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Israel, Chechnya, and Sri Lanka, the authors provide powerful new evidence that, contrary to popular and dangerously mistaken belief, religion alone motivates only a tiny minority of these attacks. Instead, the root cause is foreign military occupation, which triggers secular and religious people to carry out suicide attacks.”

  • There was no military occupation prior to Islamic terrorism attacks worldwide, especially 9/11

‘Growing Islamization’ Feared by Hindus

Increasing Islamist attacks on Hindus in India have intimidated local police to inaction, allowing militant Muslims to act with virtual impunity in their “growing Islamization” efforts in the region of West Bengal, where India’s fourth largest city, Calcutta. The development could pose increased threats to the stability of India, a U.S. ally, as neighboring Pakistan, which looks upon India as its enemy, assists Islamist proxies to engage Indian troops not only in India proper but in the Indian-administered region of Jammu-Kashmir. Islamist militants are in a virtual undeclared war with the Indian government. For some time, there have been numerous attacks in far-flung towns. Then in 2008 Islamic terrorists attacked India’s largest city, Mumbai. It was that November when Islamic terrorists hit 10 locations, including the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, a hospital, theater and an Orthodox Jewish-owned facility. The attack was launched by elements of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, a Pakistani-based Islamist terrorist organization. The LeT is associated with al-Qaida.

  • Will these Islamic militants also blame ‘occupation?’ Apparently, wherever ‘infidels’ exist constitutes ‘occupation.’

GOP Plans to Defund Obamacare

Republicans could keep their promises to stop healthcare reform even if they cannot repeal it, simply by blocking legislation needed to pay for it, one expert argued Wednesday. Control of one house of Congress could give the Republicans power to cripple the law, creating “zombie legislation,” healthcare expert Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution wrote in a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine. Many Republicans running for Congress in November have been promising to roll back as many of its provisions as possible or even to repeal it if they gain control of both the House and the Senate. Republicans are headed for gains in both chambers in the Nov. 2 elections and could take control of the House, but are not expected to win enough seats to override a presidential veto.

Judge Rules Healthcare Law is Constitutional

A federal judge in Michigan ruled Thursday that the new health-care-overhaul law is constitutional, rejecting an argument that Congress lacks the power to require the legislation’s “individual mandate,” which orders virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance. Other federal courts have already dismissed some challenges to the law on technical grounds, ruling, for instance, that the plaintiffs lacked standing. However, the decision issued Thursday by Judge George Caram Steeh of the Eastern District of Michigan is the first to reject a claim based on the merits, marking a notable victory for the Obama administration. The plaintiffs, three people and the Thomas More Law Center, a nonprofit public-interest law firm in Ann Arbor, had objected to being compelled to choose between buying health coverage that they do not want or paying a tax penalty that, they argued, would go into the nation’s general fund and could end up paying for abortions. The judge echoed the Obama administration’s contention that unless young and healthy people are required to purchase coverage, the pool of those who are insured would be skewed toward the sick, making it impossible for insurers to comply with protections such as the law’s prohibition on discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions.

  • Socialistic control over individual rights is becoming the norm as our country tilts further and further leftward

Stimulus Checks Went to Dead, Imprisoned Americans

The Social Security Administration sent $250 stimulus checks to nearly 72,000 beneficiaries who were dead, but more than half the payments have been returned, the agency’s inspector general has found. More than 17,000 inmates also received money — but they were entitled to it under the 2009 measure Congress passed. The combined total of the erroneous payments — most made by electronic transfers to bank accounts — is $22.3 million. So far, about $12 million hasn’t been returned. But the agency says lawmakers didn’t include a provision for it to recover funds sent mistakenly. As the Wall Street Journal points out, money may be just sitting in accounts of the dead. As for inmates, who received a total of $4.3 million, Congress only prohibited payments to people who went to jail in the three months before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed — from November 2008 through January 2009.

1 in 4 U.S. Youth Binge Drink

More than one in four U.S. teens and young adults admit they are binge drinkers, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the United States, binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks for women, and five or more drinks for men, over a couple of hours — numbers that are different because men and women metabolize alcohol differently. And it’s not just teens who are affected –  more than 33 million adults have reported binge drinking in the past year, according to the report. More than 79,000 deaths each year in the United States result from drinking too much, with about half of these attributable to binge drinking, according to Dr. Robert Brewer, alcohol program leader at CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Binge drinkers also put themselves and others at risk for alcohol-related car accidents,. Moreover, drinking too much can lead to liver disease, certain cancers, heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases. Pregnant women who binge drink can also harm their developing fetus, resulting in permanent mental retardation and other birth defects, the CDC says.

Economic News

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate held at 9.6% last month. The jobless rate has now topped 9.5% for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s. Nearly 14.8 million people were unemployed last month. A wave of government layoffs in September outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down U.S. payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs. The private sector added 64,000 jobs, the weakest showing since June. Local governments cut 76,000 jobs last month, most of them in education. That’s the largest cut by local governments in 28 years. And, 77,000 temporary Census jobs ended in September.

Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell last week for the fourth time in five weeks. The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for jobless aid dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 445,000. It’s the lowest level since the week ending July 10. Economists were mildly encouraged by the drop. But they also pointed out that claims remain at an elevated level consistent with weak job growth. A record 30% — or 4.4 million — of the nation’s 14.8 million unemployed workers were out of work at least a year in August, up from 23% in December

Retailers are reporting surprisingly solid sales gains for September, boosted by back-to-school shopping in the first half of the month. An array of chain stores reported better-than-expected results. An improving stock market also might have spurred some shoppers to spend. The S&P 500 rose 9% during the month.

The European Central Bank left its main interest rate unchanged at a record-low 1% for the 17th consecutive month on Thursday. The 16-nation eurozone posted decent second-quarter economic growth but has seen a flare-up lately in fears over the debt troubles of Ireland in particular. Still, that hasn’t troubled the euro, which has hit eight-month highs against the dollar on worries that the U.S. may be headed back into recession and expectations the Federal Reserve will announce new stimulus measures.

Puerto Rico

Nearly 100 current and former Puerto Rican law enforcement officers were arrested Wednesday on drug-related charges as part of the largest police corruption investigation in the history of the FBI. Attorney General Eric Holder said the two-year inquiry involved 1,000 FBI agents, including 750 federal investigators secretly dispatched to Puerto Rico in the past week to participate in the arrests. Of the 133 people charged in 26 indictments unsealed Wednesday, 97 are current or former law enforcement officers.. Other defendants include two U.S. Army officers and three soldiers in the National Guard in Puerto Rico. Court documents allege that all of the defendants accepted payments from undercover federal agents to provide armed protection for what they believed were drug shipments.

Afghanistan

An airstrike and a raid by ground troops killed eight insurgents, including a senior Taliban leader who spearheaded attacks against Afghan security forces, NATO said Thursday as the war in Afghanistan entered its 10th year. Thursday was the ninth anniversary of the American invasion of Afghanistan, a frustrating benchmark for those who expected a quick exit after small targeted special forces toppled the Taliban from power in 2001. This week also marked another milestone, as the death toll for NATO forces surpassed the 2,000 mark. The Taliban issued a statement marking the invasion anniversary, claiming 75% of Afghanistan was now under its control.

A massive bomb blast at a mosque in northern Afghanistan killed 15 people Friday, including a provincial governor who had survived a series of assassination attempts More than 20 people were wounded in the explosion during Friday prayers at the Shirkat mosque in Takhar province. Takhar Gov. Abdul Jabar Taqwa said the bomb was meant to kill Mohammad Omar, the governor of neighboring Kunduz province, who regularly attends Friday prayers at the mosque. Omar had survived at least three previous assassination attempts, including ambushes and roadside bombs. Afghan officials are prime targets for the Taliban and other militant groups that have instituted an assassination campaign against people who work with the Afghan government or NATO forces.

Pakistan

Pakistan said Thursday it has not decided when to reopen a key border crossing NATO uses to ship supplies to Afghanistan despite a U.S. apology for a helicopter attack that killed two Pakistani soldiers. Both the U.S. and NATO expressed their condolences Wednesday for the Sept. 30 attack and said American helicopters mistook the Pakistani soldiers for insurgents being pursued across the Afghan border. The apologies raised expectations that the Torkham border crossing along the famed Khyber Pass could reopen very soon. But Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said Thursday during a news conference that authorities were still evaluating the situation and would make a decision “in due course.” Pakistan closed Torkham to NATO supply convoys on the same day as the attack, leaving hundreds of trucks stranded alongside the country’s highways or stuck in traffic on the way to the one route into Afghanistan from the south that has remained open.

Two suspected suicide bombers attacked the most beloved Sufi shrine in Pakistan‘s largest city Thursday, killing at least eight people, wounding 65 others, and sending a stark reminder of the threat posed by Islamist militants to this U.S.-allied nation. Angry mobs burned tires and torched buses in the aftermath of the bombings in Karachi. The explosions at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Karachi happened on Thursday evening, the busiest time of the week for Sufi shrines across the country. Thousands typically visit the Ghazi shrine on Thursdays to pray, distribute food to the poor and toss rose petals on the grave of Saint Ghazi, an 8th century saint credited with bringing Islam to the region along the coast..

Members of Pakistan’s spy agency are pressing Taliban field commanders to fight the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan, U.S. officials and Afghan militants have told The Wall Street Journal, a development that undercuts a key element of the Pentagon’s strategy for ending the war. The explosive accusation is the strongest yet in a series of U.S. criticisms of Pakistan, and shows a deteriorating relationship with an essential ally in the Afghan campaign. The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in military and development aid to Pakistan for its support. Some Taliban commanders and U.S. officials say militant leaders are being pressured by officers from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency not to surrender.

  • Ultimately, Pakistan is a Muslim nation which trumps any financial aid or military cooperation. We have been arming an enemy.

Hungary

The toxic red sludge that burst out of a metals plant reservoir and inundated three villages reached the Danube RIver on Thursday, but an Hungarian emergency official said no immediate damage was evident on Europe’s second-longest river. The European Union and environmental officials fear an environmental catastrophe affecting half a dozen nations if the red sludge, a waste product of making aluminum, contaminated the 1,775-mile long Danube, a river that runs through four European capitals and makes up the border for 10 countries. The reservoir break Monday disgorged a toxic torrent into local creeks that flow into waterways connected to the Danube. Creeks in Kolontar, the closest town to the spill site, were swollen ochre red Wednesday and villagers said they were devoid of fish. New Hungarian government figures on the red sludge flood show that the volume of muck that escaped from a burst reservoir was almost as high as the blown-out BP oil well spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Haiti

A report says more than one million people are still living in 1,300 mostly unmanaged camps nine months after Haiti‘s devastating earthquake. Sexual violence is rampant and gangs often roam freely. Refugees International, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that advocates to end refugee crises, says its investigators found during a recent visit to Haiti that less than 30% of the camps have managers. That means more than 70% of the camps are unable to communicate or coordinate with the international humanitarian community. The report, released Thursday, said the humanitarian response “appears paralyzed” and called for urgent action to protect the basic human rights of quake victims living in the squalid overcrowded camps.

Weather

At least four tornadoes tore through northern Arizona Wednesday morning, destroying homes, blowing over recreational vehicles and derailing train cars. Among the three tornadoes confirmed by the National Weather Service, one touched down about 12:05 p.m. near Munds Park, approximately 20 miles south of Flagstaff,. Another ripped through the Bellemont area Wednesday morning, causing severe damage to houses and the destruction of multiple trailers. The tornado also derailed 28 cars on a parked Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) freight train. National Weather Service meteorologist George Howard said 22 tornado warnings were issued Wednesday. Weather radar showed many more twisters likely formed but weren’t confirmed.

Tropical Storm Otto has unleashed floods that overturned cars, toppled power lines and washed out roads in the northeastern Caribbean, officials said Thursday, adding that efforts to free a grounded oil tanker have stalled. The British Virgin Islands has been hit with the worst flooding in its history, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. The rush of water downed power lines, broke underground drainage pipes and flipped cars that remain mired in mud. Nearly 20 inches of rain have fallen since Tuesday,.

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