Archive for May, 2011

May 29, 2011

Pastor Wins Battle to Cite Jesus in Memorial Day Prayer

The Department of Veterans Affairs cannot bar a Houston pastor from invoking Jesus Christ in a Memorial Day prayer, a federal judge ruled in a case that is yet another illustration of anti-Christian animus in the country. U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes told the department it was “forbidden from dictating the content of speeches – whether those speeches are denominated prayers or otherwise – at the Memorial Day ceremony of National Cemetery Council for Greater Houston.” “The government cannot gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat’s notion of cultural homogeneity,” the judge wrote. “The right of free expression ranges from the dignity of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches to Charlie Sheen’s rants.”

  • A rare judicial victory for Christians and advocates of free-speech.

Married Households No Longer the U.S. Majority

Data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows married couples have found themselves in a new position: They’re no longer the majority. It’s a trend that’s been creeping along for decades, but in the 2010 census, married couples represent 48 percent of all households. That’s down from 52 percent in the last census and, for the first time in U.S. history, puts households led by married couples in the minority. The flip in the 2010 census happened in 32 states. In seven other states, less than 51 percent of households were helmed by married couples. The reason for the change is two-fold, say demographic experts: The fast-growing older population is more likely to be divorced or widowed later in life, and 20-somethings are putting off their nuptials for longer stretches.

  • The real reason is the relentless attack of Satan to destroy the family unit, from emphasizing the gay agenda to promoting sexual liberation.

Congress Passes 4-Year Extension of Patriot Act

Congress on Thursday passed a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused. Following the 250-153 evening vote in the House, the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities headed for the president’s signature with only hours to go before the provisions expired at midnight. Minutes before the midnight deadline, the White House said Obama had signed the bill while in France on his European trip.

House Passes $690 Billion Defense Bill

The Republican-controlled House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a $690 billion defense bill that limits President Obama’s authority on reducing nuclear weapons and deciding the fate of terrorist suspects. n a 322-96 vote, the House approved the broad defense blueprint that would provide a 1.6 percent increase in military pay, fund an array of aircraft, ships and submarines and increase health care fees slightly for working-age military retirees. The bill meets the Pentagon’s request for $119 billion to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Final passage came shortly after the House narrowly rejected a measure requiring an accelerated timetable and exit strategy for withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan nearly 10 years after the conflict began.

Corporate Donations Ban Unconstitutional

A U.S. judge has ruled that the campaign finance law banning corporations from making contributions to federal candidates is unconstitutional, citing the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision last year in his analysis. In a ruling issued late Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Cacheris says that under the Citizens United decision, corporations enjoy the same rights as individuals to contribute to campaigns.

Tornado Prompts Nuclear Concerns

The closest nuclear power plant to tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo., was singled out weeks before the storm for being vulnerable to twisters. Inspections triggered by Japan’s nuclear crisis found that some emergency equipment and storage sites at the Wolf Creek nuclear plant in southeastern Kansas might not survive a tornado. Specifically, plant operators and federal inspectors said Wolf Creek did not secure equipment and vehicles needed to fight fires, retrieve fuel for emergency generators and resupply water to keep nuclear fuel cool as it’s being moved. Despite these findings, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded that the plant met requirements put in place after the Sept. 11 attacks that are designed to keep the nuclear fuel cool and containment structures intact during an emergency.

  • This is now the deadliest year on record for tornadoes, with the death count at 523 and the year not even half over. The previous high was 519 in 1953. Prior to 1950, records were based on estimates.

Space Station an Engineering Marvel

Spacewalking astronauts wound up 12 years of International Space Station assembly this past week, putting the finishing touches on a legitimate contender for the greatest engineering achievement of all time. The space station project involved 100,000 people in 15 nations on three continents, and the construction site is 220 miles high and requires a rocket-powered commute. The $100 billion station weighs 1 million pounds. It has a metallic backbone that stretches 335 feet — more than the length of an football field. Its massive solar panels stretch 240 feet from tip to tip — longer than the wingspan of a Boeing 777 jumbo jet. It sleeps six people on long stays; up to 12 or 13 for shorter visits. Rotating crews have staffed the station round-the-clock since the first tenants opened the outpost in November 2000. There were 159 spacewalks done during the assembly of the station.

  • It remains to be seen whether the station’s ongoing scientific experiments and its role as a jumping off point for space exploration will prove worth the tremendous investment of time and money.

Nation’s Front Yard in Poor Shape

Midway between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol, the National Mall is in need of an extreme makeover. The National Mall — the site of presidential inaugurations, Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech and political rallies — is the country’s most visited park. “It’s been worn down and loved to death,” says Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall, a non-profit group raising money for its restoration. She says the soil is now so compacted, after thousands of events and pickup softball games, that the Interior Department’s National Park Service can’t just lay down sod and hope it lasts. Also, because the park service has lacked funds, she says the front of the Jefferson Memorial plaza — built on pylons — has sunk 8 inches in the past two years, the Tidal Basin’s sidewalks are cracking, and the Lincoln Memorial’s Reflecting Pool leaks 50 million gallons of water annually. The 684-acre National Mall, largely designed by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791, has begun a multiyear restoration that includes new walkways, trees and visitors’ centers. The trust aims to raise half of the estimated $700 million cost.

FEMA Running Out of Money

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will have to stop recovery efforts in 50 states in the spring of 2012 without additional money for disaster relief. Beyond offering immediate disaster assistance, FEMA is vital to disaster recovery because it pays at least 75% of long-term projects, such as rebuilding schools, hospitals and roads. If the disaster fund dips below $1 billion, the agency will stop approving rebuilding projects until the fund is replenished.

Middle Class Hardest Hit by Outsourcing

It’s the middle class, studies have shown, that appears especially vulnerable to outsourcing or offshoring – and the ripple effects, which range from job losses to lower wages. The effects of globalization are as vast as the world’s new economy. Former aerospace engineers, IT programmers and call-center representatives who saw their jobs move overseas can attest to that. And so can the radiologist in India reading X-rays for local hospitals, as well as other foreign workers who have gained jobs at the expense of Americans. Given the burgeoning of technology and the potential of the Internet, the list of jobs that might be offshored in the future could continue to grow. A shared global economy has been decades in the making, with the growth accelerating in recent years. First, cheap consumer goods, clothing, cars and electronic goods flooded the U.S. market. Companies in other countries, particularly Japan and then China, learned how to grow their economies by catering to American consumers, especially its middle class. Americans helped by buying Toyotas, Hondas, Sonys and other products. The trend that has sucked away middle-class jobs in America has, ironically, fostered the growth of middle-class lifestyles in China, Brazil, India and other emerging economies.

  • Globalization, led by economic forces, is an end-time phenomenon leading toward the prophesied one-world government (Rev. 13)

Economic News

Consumers spent more in April, but much of the increase was eaten up by higher food and energy prices. After discounting for the jump in prices, spending barely budged and after-tax incomes were flat for a second straight month. Incomes rose 0.4% but after-tax incomes adjusted for inflation were flat. Analysts are worried that big gains in gasoline and food prices are leaving consumers with little left to spend on other products.

The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes fell sharply in April, hitting its lowest point since fall and renewing fears that a recovery in the housing market is far off. The National Association of Realtors says its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes sank 11.6% last month to a reading of 81.9. A reading of 100 is considered healthy. The last time the index reached at least 100 was in April 2010. That was the final month when people could qualify for a home-buying tax credit of up to $8,000.

Middle East

Rich countries and international lenders are aiming to provide $40 billion in funding for Arab nations trying to establish free democracies, officials said at a Group of Eight summit Friday. The autocratic regimes in the Arab world were warned that they will be shut out of aid and investment, while new democracies are encouraged to open their economies. The prime ministers of Tunisia and Egypt joined the G-8 leaders and appealed for help after uprisings earlier this year that overthrew longtime autocrats but also scared away tourists and investors.

After a four-year blockade, Egypt on Saturday permanently opened the Gaza Strip’s main gateway to the outside world, bringing long-awaited relief to the territory’s Palestinian population and a significant achievement for the area’s ruling Hamas militant group. The closure, along with an Israeli blockade of its borders with Gaza, had fueled an economic crisis in the territory. Saturday’s move also raises Israeli fears that militants will be able to move freely in and out of Gaza. Highlighting those fears, the Israeli army said militants from inside Gaza fired a mortar shell into southern Israel overnight. There were no injuries


Libya is calling on Russia to mediate a cease-fire, a sign that Moammar Gadhafi’s regime may be ready to bring about an end to the months-long war. In a telephone call, Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi asked for help in achieving a cease-fire and starting talks without preconditions, according to a statement posted by late Thursday by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The request comes after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was asked by the Group of Eight to mediate a settlement.

NATO says it has struck a command and control center where Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi sometimes lives but he was not a target. An alliance spokesman said the Bab al-Aziziyah compound in Tripoli was hit in the early hours of Saturday. Saturday’s strike came after leaders at a summit of G8 world powers reiterated that Gadhafi had to leave power.


Thousands of protesters returned to downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday for what they called a “second revolution,” pressing Egypt’s military rulers to speed up the pace of democratic reforms in a country that is still charting its political future. Protesters carried banners reading the “Egyptian revolution is not over” and chanted the slogan. They also called for the speedy trial of Mubarak and high-ranking members of his regime. Christians and Muslims took turns praying in Tahrir Square.


A mediator says Yemen’s president and the country’s most powerful tribal leader have agreed to end five days of urban gunbattles that killed at least 124 people and threatened to push the country into civil war. The deadly fighting that rocked the Yemeni capital this week spread beyond Sanaa on Friday as armed tribesmen seeking to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh seized two military camps in battles that killed at least 18 and prompted airstrikes by government warplanes. The fighting brought to at least 124 the number killed in the past five days of bloodshed, which has hiked fears that the Arab world’s poorest country could be thrown into civil war as Saleh clings to power.


A NATO airstrike targeting insurgents inadvertently hit two civilian homes in the volatile southwestern Helmand province, killing 14 women and children, an Afghan government official said Sunday. the alliance launched the airstrike late on Saturday in retaliation for an attack earlier in the day on a U.S. Marine base in Helmand’s northwest district.

A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up during a meeting at a provincial governor’s compound Saturday in northern Afghanistan, killing six people, including two German soldiers, and wounding the top German commander in the country.


A suicide bomber targeted pro-government tribal elders in Pakistan’s northwestern frontier Saturday, killing eight men, officials said, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a visit here implored Pakistanis to take decisive steps to fight terrorism. Ten people were also were wounded when a bomb ripped through a restaurant at a market in the troubled Bajur tribal region, near the Afghan border. On Saturday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tahmina Janjua said Clinton’s visit had helped clear up misunderstandings and that the two sides would cooperate on raids against terror suspects.


A leading charity has warned that a new wave of violent conflict has displaced up to 35,000 children in Sudan’s contested border region of Abyei. Northern Sudanese tanks rolled into Abyei last weekend and forced residents to flee, igniting a conflict that many fear could escalate into civil war. Both northern and Southern Sudan stake a claim to Abyei, a fertile grassland near several oil fields. Save the Children says children who have been separated from their families since fighting broke out are at “grave risk” of being targeted for sexual and physical abuse or recruited into the armed conflict.


Riot police firing rubber bullets and wielding truncheons clashed Friday with protesters as authorities cleared away a makeshift camp set up as part of a Spain-wide demonstration against the country’s economic problems. More than 100 people were injured. Many of the protesters, who are angry about high unemployment, anti-austerity measures and politicians’ handling of the economy, refused to move.


More and more Indian families with one girl are aborting subsequent pregnancies when prenatal tests show another female is on the way, according to a new study. The decline in the number of girls is more pronounced in richer and better educated households, according to research published last week in the medical journal Lancet. Those numbers show that a 1996 law that bans testing for the gender of a fetus has been largely ineffective, the study said. In India, there is a huge cultural preference for boys in large part because of the enormous expense in marrying off girls and paying elaborate dowries. The study said that between 4 million and 12 million girls are thought have been aborted from 1980 to 2010.


Firefighters in California are making progress against a wind-driven wildfire that burned more than 2 square miles, threatening hundreds of homes and prompting evacuations. Residents of 400 homes were under a voluntary evacuation and 100 homes were threatened.


A key highway into Yellowstone is closed for Memorial Day weekend because parts of the road have seen more than 25 feet of snow. And campgrounds are feverishly removing snow from campsites to clear the way for visitors. Welcome to Memorial Day weekend in much of the West. Epic snowpack in parts of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and California is forcing many tourists to abandon the annual rites of launching their summer holidays with a camping trip. Others plan to take advantage of prolonged skiing and snowshoeing this strange spring.

At least three people were killed in the Atlanta area as powerful storms toppled trees and power lines and knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers statewide. Heavy rains led the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for portions of Fulton and DeKalb counties. The deaths Thursday night came just days after a powerful tornado killed 126 in Joplin, Mo., and just over a month after an outbreak of tornadoes raked the Southeast, killing more than 300.

Montana residents struggled against widespread flooding that could linger for several weeks as the soggy Northern Plains braced for the flood waters to descend from higher elevations. Gov. Brian Schweitzer warned that it could be a month before flooding dissipates in many areas of Montana. Forecasters said Friday that heavy rains in the state over the holiday weekend followed by warming weather will likely speed up snowmelt and add to the inundation. Authorities have already started releasing massive volumes of water from overburdened reservoirs.

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May 26, 2011

Supreme Court Upholds Ariz. Illegal Worker Law

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday upheld an Arizona law that allows the state to shut down businesses that hire illegal immigrants. The court’s majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts rejected arguments by business and civil rights groups and by the Obama administration that the Arizona law conflicted with federal immigration law and must be struck down. The Supreme Court’s decision upholding the employer sanctions law could spur other states and cities to adopt their own tough anti-immigration measures. The 2007 law backed by the court is different from the strict Arizona law adopted last year and criticized by President Barack Obama that required the police to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. This law suspends or revokes licenses to do business in the state to penalize employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. It requires employers to use an electronic verification system to check the work-authorization status of employees through federal records.

Judge Voids Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Law

A Wisconsin judge has struck down a law taking away nearly all collective-bargaining rights from most state workers. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled Thursday that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law during the run up to passage. That renders the law void, she said. The decision is not the end of the legal fight. The state Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for June 6 to determine whether it will take the same case. Lawmakers also could pass the law again in order to nullify open meeting concerns that led to the judge’s ruling.

Abortion Rates Decline Overall, But Increase for Poor

Abortion rates fell among most groups of women between 2000 and 2008, except for those classified as poor, finds an analysis conducted by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute and published online Monday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Guttmacher, which has been tracking abortion since 1974, found that the abortion rate for low-income women increased 18% during the same period that the national rate dropped 8%.Low-income women (as an example, those earning $17,170 or less in a three-person household) accounted for 514,040 abortions, or 42% of all abortions, in 2008. The abortion rate for the poor rose from 44.4 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2000 to 52.2 in 2008. At the same time, the 2008 national abortion rate was 19.6 per 1,000, which dropped 8% from a rate of 21.3 in 2000. “There is an overrepresentation of the poor, of women of color, and clearly the economic recession that was at its height at the time this data was collected and had an impact on poor women’s decisions to proceed or not with a pregnancy,” says Carole Joffe of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of the 2010 book Dispatches from the Abortion Wars.

  • The New World Order folks are happy to see declines in births for the poor masses because population reduction of undesirables is a primary objective

State Legislatures Working to Defund Planned Parenthood

Legislators in several states are trying to do what social conservatives in Congress failed to do last month: cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The effort in Congress to end the flow of federal dollars to the organization brought the federal government to the brink of a shutdown. Now state legislatures — last year’s elections gave Republicans control of both chambers in 26 states — are taking aim at Planned Parenthood. Federal law prohibits federal funding of abortions. Planned Parenthood gets government contracts and grants to provide family planning and health services. Taxpayer dollars that go to Planned Parenthood don’t fund abortions directly, says President Carol Tobias of the National Right to Life Committee, which opposes abortion, but the money “is building their infrastructure. It is helping to attract clients.” Planned Parenthood’s budget is about $1.1 billion a year, about a third of it from government funding. It serves about 3 million patients annually.

  • Indiana’s law defunding Planned Parenthood is in the courts while Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas, Kansas and North Carolina are drafting their own legislation to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds.

Judgment Day Missed by Harold Camping — Again

California preacher Harold Camping said Monday his prophecy that the world would end was off by five months because Judgment Day actually will come on Oct. 21. Saturday was “an invisible judgment day” in which a spiritual judgment took place, he said. But the timing and the structure is the same as it has always been, he said.

  • Camping has missed several earlier dates as well. Jesus said we will not know the day or the hour of Judgment Day, so such predictions are wrong to begin with. Such nonsense is promoted by Satan as another way of casting Christianity as just another silly superstition.

Supreme Court Stands Firm on Prison Overcrowding

The Supreme Court declared California prison overcrowding unconstitutional and upheld an order by a 5-4 vote that could force the transfer or release of more than 30,000 convicted felons over the next two years. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials insisted Monday that a new state law, allowing some offenders to serve sentences under local county supervision, could significantly cut the need to release inmates. State legislators are still considering how to finance the shift to local incarceration. On Monday, it was unclear how quickly the court’s decision might impact prisoners and public safety in California. Under a lower court’s order, officials have two years to reduce the inmate population.

5.5% Drop in Violent Crime

Crime levels fell across the board last year, extending a multi-year downward trend with a 5.5 percent drop in the number of violent crimes in 2010 and a 2.8 percent decline in the number of property crimes. Year-to-year changes released Monday by the FBI also showed declines in all four categories of violent crime in 2010. All categories for property crime went down as well. The downward trend for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was especially pronounced in the nation’s smallest cities, where it went down 25.2 percent for cities under 10,000 people. Murder actually rose 3 percent in cities with populations of 250,000 to half a million. Some experts are puzzled. Expectations that crime would rise in the economic recession have not materialized. Violent crime last increased in 2005. Property crime last increased in 2002.

  • Or, is our transparent government cooking the books?

Tax Cheats Received Billions in Stimulus Funds

More than 3,700 federal contractors received $24 billion in stimulus money despite failing to pay federal income taxes, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office. The total tax liability was at least $750 million but likely much more, the GAO report says. About 35% of the unpaid taxes go back at least eight years. Investigators sampled 15 cases and found “abusive or potentially criminal activity” in every case.

  • Typical government inefficiency, in the least, and possibly some outright corruption as the politicos reward their supporters

Bad Year for Allergy Sufferers

For people with pollen allergies, this year is especially tough, say allergy experts. “It’s been a very unusual allergy season. I don’t know if it’s because of the very wet winter or that it’s been cold longer, but the pollen counts are much higher. This week, it’s been running about 6,000 grains a day, instead of the usual 1,500,” said Dr. David Rosenstreich, director of the allergy and immunology division at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola University Health System’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., said 2011 is the worst year he’s ever seen for high pollen counts. An unusually wet winter and temperatures that varied from too warm back down to colder than average have made trees in the Midwest pollinate in stages, and to finish pollinating later than normal, Leija said. “Usually, by this time of the year, the pollen count goes down.”

Developmental Disabilities Affect 1 in 6 Kids

One in every six American children now has a developmental disability, a 15 percent increase since 1997, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. The increase is due almost entirely to a rise in the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and is based on reports by parents during a telephone survey, researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics. But because ADHD has become a catchall phrase for a variety of behavioral problems in schools and elsewhere, it isn’t clear whether the increase represents a real upsurge in such developmental problems or simply parents and physicians attributing old behaviors to a disorder that might be treated with drugs.

Measles Epidemic Poses Travel Risks

Measles — a disease that was declared eliminated in the USA in 2000 — is again breaking out across the country, in the largest outbreak in 15 years, spread largely by unvaccinated travelers who bring home the disease. Doctors have reported 118 measles cases in the USA since January — nearly twice as many as the total for all of last year. About 90% of this year’s patients were unvaccinated, and 40% had to be hospitalized for complications. About 15% of the patients diagnosed with measles this year were under 1 year old. Most of the patients brought the disease with them from Europe, which is in the throes of a major epidemic, with more than 10,000 cases and six deaths in France alone. Thousands of additional measles cases have been reported across Europe, affecting 38 countries.

Yellow Dot Program Speeds Help to Car Crash Victims

A national program that immediately provides first responders with vital information about automobile crash victims is spreading rapidly, fueled by the growing wave of maturing Baby Boomers. The Yellow Dot program is designed to help crash victims, especially seniors, communicate with rescuers during the crucial “golden hour,” the first 60 minutes after a serious crash that can make the difference between life and death for the critically injured. It is simple but effective: Participants in the free program receive a yellow dot to place on their rear window; it alerts emergency services personnel to look for a corresponding yellow folder in the glove box. That folder contains a photograph, their medical conditions, prescriptions and other vital information.

U.K. Plans World’s First Green Investment Bank

The British government outlined plans for the world’s first state-backed green investment bank Monday — a key plank of its pledge to transition the country to a low-carbon economy. The bank will open for business next April and will likely focus initially on investing in areas such as offshore wind, waste and non-domestic energy efficiency. The bank will be capitalized with an initial 3 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) from the Treasury but will be given independence from the Treasury and will be able to borrow in the capital markets and from the private sector beginning in April 2015. President Obama left Ireland early in an effort to get ahead of volcanic ash coming from Iceland.

Economic News

U.S. economic growth remained disappointingly weak the first three months of the year, the government reported Thursday. Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation’s economic health, grew at an annual rate of 1.8% in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department, well below the 3.1% pace of economic growth in the final three months of 2010.

More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the first increase in three weeks. The number of new people seeking benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 424,000. Applications are above the 375,000 level that is consistent with sustainable job growth.

Around 450,000 people who work for U.S. states, counties, cities, towns and villages could get pink slips in fiscal 2012, sharply up from the 300,000 positions shed this year, a report said on Monday. The number of job cuts will rise mainly because the federal stimulus program is ending while the cost of Medicaid is “spiraling,” said the report by UBS Investment Research.

More Americans bought new homes for a second straight month in April, a hopeful sign. Still, sales remain far below the pace that would represent a healthy housing market. New-home sales rose 7.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 323,000 homes. A normal housing market would mean a pace of about 700,000 new-home sales a month.

Businesses cut their orders for heavy machinery, computers, autos and airplanes by 3.8% in April, reducing demand for long-lasting manufactured goods by the largest amount in six months. The weakness was widespread across a number of industries and likely was influenced by supply chain disruptions stemming from the Japanese earthquake in March. Demand for motor vehicles and parts, an industry heavily dependent on Japanese component parts, saw a decline in orders of 4.4% in April.

The number of banks at risk of failing made up nearly 12% of all federally insured banks in the first three months of 2011, highest level in 18 years, though the increase in the number of banks on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s confidential “problem” list is slowing. The industry reported its highest earnings in the January-March quarter since before the financial crisis more than three years ago. The big banks accounted for about $24.4 billion of the $29 billion industry earnings.

Chrysler announced Tuesday that it’s going to pay back billions in government loans that kept the smallest of Detroit’s Big 3 automakers afloat. The Chrysler that is getting saved, however, is run by Italians, not Americans. And the government isn’t getting all its money back. It will still hold about a $2-billion stake.

The U.S. government is selling a chunk of its stake in American International Group,squeezing out a profit as it moves to bring an end to its bailout of the insurance giant. The New York company and the Treasury Department said they are selling 300 million shares of AIG at $29 each, t just above the $28.73 price per share the government needs to recoup its investment in the company.

Middle East

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel “will be generous” in giving back land to establish a Palestinian state, but will not return to the 1967 borders and will not agree to a divided Jerusalem. “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967,” he said.

  • Israel should not be generous to the Palestinians who seek only to completely destroy and annihilate Israel


NATO warplanes bombarded targets in Tripoli with more than 20 airstrikes early Tuesday, striking around Moammar Gadhafi’s residential compound in what appeared to be the heaviest night of bombing of the Libyan capital since the Western alliance launched its air campaign against his forces. At least three people were killed and dozens wounded in NATO strikes that targeted buildings said to be used by volunteer units of the Libyan army.

The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in the Middle East was in the de facto rebel capital in eastern Libya on Monday — a show of growing support for the loosely formed movement that seeks to oust longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi. A State Department statement called the visit by Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, “another signal of the U.S.’s support” for the rebels’ National Transitional Council, which it called “a legitimate and credible interlocutor for the Libyan people.”


A roadside bomb killed 10 workers in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, and NATO again promised that the coalition would not abandon the country even if some members plan to withdraw their forces. Also Tuesday, two high-ranking government officials survived attempted assassinations. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that plans to hand over control of seven provinces to Afghan soldiers in July remained on course, despite new bombings and assaults by insurgents.


Two bomb blasts targeting security forces in different parts of Iraq Monday killed two people and wounded 20, underscoring Iraq’s instability, though the nation’s prime minister insisted that security forces have been mostly successful in curbing insurgent attacks. Police said a car bomb killed two people and injured 10 in Kirkuk, a northern Iraqi city torn by ethnic tensions. Another bomb in Baghdad also wounded 10, including four Iraqi soldiers.


The world’s global nuclear inspection agency, frustrated by Iran’s refusal to answer questions, revealed for the first time on Tuesday that it possesses evidence that Tehran has conducted work on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology that experts said could be used for only one purpose: setting off a nuclear weapon. The disclosure by the International Atomic Energy Agency was buried inside a nine-page report on the progress of Iran’s nuclear program. The agency did not say where the evidence came from, nor did it provide many details about the allegations. The European Union significantly extended its sanctions against Iran on Monday, reflecting mounting frustration over a lack of progress in nuclear talks with Tehran.


A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden pickup truck leveled a police building in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, killing six people and wounding 30 in the latest attack to rattle the country since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Already this month, the The Pakistani Taliban has claimed three other revenge attacks, including a bloody 18-hour siege of a naval base. The United States is reducing the number of its military personnel in Pakistan at that country’s request after U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden.


Fighters from Yemen’s most powerful tribes fired on government buildings and soldiers retaliated with intense shelling Tuesday, killing 38 on both sides, as the uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh threatened to become a militia-led revolt after street protests and Arab mediation failed. The State Department on Wednesday ordered nonessential U.S. diplomats to depart Yemen and urged all Americans there to leave as security conditions deteriorated with the country’s embattled leader refusing to step down. Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed Wednesday he would not step down or allow his impoverished nation to become a “failed state” even as urban combat between government troops and armed tribesmen engulfed parts of the capital.


Fierce fighting among apparent rival drug gangs in western Mexico bloodied one highway with 28 dead, while in a nearby state more than 700 people huddled in shelters after fleeing villages that had become battlegrounds. The violence escalated Wednesday in the western states of Nayarit and Michoacan, where drug cartels have been warring for territory. The drug cartel violence prompted frightened villagers in Michoacan to flee hamlets and take refuge at five shelters set up at a church, event hall, recreation center and schools.


Britain’s weather service said the ash from Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano had moved over parts of Scotland, prompting air regulators to warn airlines that they had to seek permission to fly to and from the area. Hundreds of flights were canceled in Britain and Ireland.


In storm-weary middle America, powerful storms swept through the region Wednesday for the third time in four days but apparently claimed no lives. Dozens of people were injured, mobile homes were flipped and roofs were torn off houses when tornadoes and thunderstorms hit Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and other states Wednesday evening. On Tuesday, violent storms with winds of more than 150 mph slammed into a chunk of the central U.S., killing at least 15 people in three states, flattening homes, crushing cars and ripping apart a rural Arkansas fire station. The high-powered storms arrived Tuesday night and early Wednesday. The latest storms killed at least eight people in Oklahoma and two in Kansas before trekking east into Arkansas to claim three more lives.

The death toll in Joplin reached 125 and was expected to climb further. But there were glimmers of hope: Rescuers pulled 17 people from the rubble, and Gov. Jay Nixon vowed that crews would keep searching until everyone is accounted for. The killer tornado with winds topping 200 mph ripped through the heart of Joplin, a blue-collar southwest Missouri town of 50,000 people, Sunday night, slamming straight into St. John’s Regional Medical Center. The hospital confirmed that five of the dead were patients — all of them in critical condition before the tornado hit. A hospital visitor also was killed. The tornado destroyed possibly “thousands” of homes, Fire Chief Mitch Randles told AP. It leveled hundreds of businesses, including massive ones such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart.

Joplin wasn’t the only city hit hard that day. Minneapolis-based Finance and Commerce reports that officials there are dealing with a “very preliminary” estimate of $166 million in damage to homes, buildings and infrastructure in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The storm that tore through sections of north Minneapolis on Sunday left two people dead and dozens injured.

Floodwaters from the Mississippi River are slowly falling, but for people from Tennessee to Louisiana, the misery it left behind is only beginning as they face gutting their ruined houses soaked in polluted water. The bloated river has crested through the South and farmers with any hope of salvaging some of the growing season will have to scrub their fields of sandy sludge. Shipping is likely to be restricted for weeks and a close watch will be kept well into the summer on strained levees, bridges and other structures.

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May 23, 2011


A massive tornado that tore through the southwest Missouri city of Joplin on Sunday and killed at least 89 people, but authorities warned that the death toll could climb Monday as search and rescuers continued their work at sunrise. The twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town. Sirens gave residents about a 20-minute warning before the tornado touched down on the city’s west side. Much of the city’s south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins. Parts of the city are unrecognizable. Cars are stacked and strewn everywhere. Houses are piles of wreckage.

At least one person has died after a storm fueled three tornado touchdowns in the Minneapolis metropolitan area Sunday afternoon. A severe storm system rolled through the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area Sunday afternoon, toppling trees, ripping roofs from buildings and causing power outages. No injuries have been reported so far.

Flooding in Montana caused the cancellation of several high school graduations and fishermen were trapped by washed out roads on Saturday, while swelling rivers led to voluntary evacuations in a community near Billings. Much of the eastern two-thirds of the state is dealing with flood warnings or actual flooding as a slow-moving storm has dumped rain across the region for several days.

The Mississippi River crested Friday more than 14 feet above flood stage in Vicksburg on Thursday, slightly lower than expected. But officials warned that the flood was by no means over. The river was expected to stay at its crest for several days before beginning a long, slow retreat. It could remain above flood stage until mid-June. At least eight deaths in Arkansas have been attributed to flooding. The New Orleans area now warily awaits the dangerously large Mississippi River that has drowned towns from Missouri to Mississippi and is marching their way.

Barges broke free from a towboat and the swift Mississippi River current carried them into a bridge as America’s busiest inland waterway became even more challenging to traverse. The Coast Guard shut down a 5-mile stretch of the river until they could make sure the area was safe. The Coast Guard said there was no damage to the levees, but the scene was clear evidence of how challenging the bloated river has become to navigate. Officials say they plan to spend at least a week re-marking the river so cargo ships and barges can safely navigate the waterway.

Two landslides that hit a Malaysian orphanage killed 15 boys and one adult but nine people survived, police said Sunday after a nearly 15-hour rescue mission ended. The 25 people buried by the landslides were among 49 who were attending a motivational camp at the orphanage. Though it wasn’t raining when the landslides occurred Saturday afternoon, wet weather over the past few days was the cause.


Iceland’s most active volcano has started erupting, scientists said Saturday — just over a year after another eruption on the North Atlantic island shut down European air traffic for days. The eruption was accompanied by a series of small earthquakes. The plume of smoke has reached jet flying altitude, so a no-fly zone has been designated for 120 nautical miles in all directions from the eruption. The volcano flung ash, smoke and steam miles into the air Sunday, dropping a thick layer of gray soot in an eruption far more forceful  than the one that grounded planes across Europe last year.


A 5.9-magnitude earthquake partly collapsed some buildings and one mosque in western Turkey, , killing at least three people and injuring nearly 100 people. The quake that struck at 11:15 p.m. on Thursday, sent terrified residents running from their homes before midnight. Two people, including one who jumped out of a window in panic, were killed and another 79 people, including some who suffered injuries after jumping from balconies and windows and those who suffered from heart attacks or panic-related shock, were taken to hospitals


The Horseshoe2 fire in Arizona has now burned over 40,000 acres (about 62 square miles) with no containment thus far. Residences continue to be threatened and evacuations are in effect. Northeast of Bisbee near Portal, the wildfire was started by illegal aliens in the area of Burro Springs near the headwaters of Horseshoe Canyon  Border Patrol agents tracked four aliens to the very start of the fire. Horseshoe Fire #1 was started near the same spot almost exactly a year ago, also ignited by illegal aliens. In the last 3 years alone no less than 11 fires have been started by illegal aliens in the Chiracahua Mountains and the adjacent Peloncillo Mountains . Over 120,000 acres have burned. The cost to the American taxpayers to fight these fires is nearing $70 million.

Meanwhile, the Miller fire in New Mexico has now consumed over 81,000 acres (about 125 square miles), also with no reported containment. Four structures have been destroyed.

Middle East Betrayal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that U.S. President Barack Obama’s vision of a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 could leave the Jewish state “indefensible”. “The viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of Israel’s existence,” the Israeli leader said in a statement before flying to Washington for scheduled talks with Obama on Friday. Obama’s blunt language about the need to find an end to Israel’s occupation of Arab land gives Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a major boost in the on-again, off-again negotiations which fell apart last fall. Senior Palestinian officials say that negotiations with Israel have become pointless after Netanyahu rejected Obama’s call to base Mideast border talks on the pre-1967 war lines. Netanyahu’s stance strengthened the Palestinian resolve to bypass such talks, largely deadlocked since 2008, and seek recognition of a state at the U.N. instead.

ICEJ, a Jerusalem-based Messianic Jewish ministry dedicated to solidarity with Israel, says President Barack Obama has effectively destroyed the special relationship between Israel and the United States. Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, notes, “A war of biblical proportions is being fought between a Liberal Left president and his state department and the leaders of the nation of Israel. Never has Israel experienced as much pressure and attack by the U.S. government as it has now. Ancient prophecy and modern-day conspiracy are on a collision course.”

  • Obama continues to pull the rug out from under Israel, leaving it more and more isolated on the world stage. But those who curse Israel will ultimately be cursed by God, according to Scripture (Genesis 12:3)

Obama’s Offer of $2 Billion to Egypt Meets Resistance

President Obama’s call for $2 billion in loan assistance to Egypt has left many political figures scratching their heads as they try to figure out why a debt-ridden U.S. would commit that much money to a country whose new government may not end up friendly to America. The president said he wants the U.S. to forgive roughly $1 billion in debt owed by Egypt and to provide another $1 billion in loan guarantees to free up money for job-creation efforts there. But with the U.S. grappling with more than $14 trillion in debt and lawmakers fighting over the terms for increasing the nation’s own ability to borrow money, the president’s call to help Egypt faces stiff resistance in Congress. “Considering our own national debt, we cannot afford to forgive up to $1 billion of Egypt’s debt,” said Rep. Elena Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

  • Obama continues to try and curry favor with Muslim nations, but this will only come back to bite him in the end

Top Lawmakers Agree to Patriot Act Extension

Top congressional leaders agreed Thursday to a four-year extension of the anti-terrorist Patriot Act, the controversial law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks that governs the search for terrorists on American soil. The deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner calls for a vote before May 27, when parts of the current act expire. The idea is to pass the extension with as little debate as possible to avoid a protracted and familiar argument over the expanded power the law gives to the government. Support for the extension was unclear. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wanted tighter restrictions on the government’s power and may seek to amend it. In the House, members of the freshman class elected on promises of making government smaller were also skeptical. The provisions at issue allow the government to use roving wiretaps on multiple electronic devices and across multiple carriers and get court-approved access to business records relevant to terrorist investigations. The third, a “lone wolf” provision that was part of a 2004 law, permits secret intelligence surveillance of non-U.S. individuals without having to show a connection between the target and a specific terrorist group.

Minnesota Legislators Pass Gay Marriage Bill

The Minnesota House has signed off on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, meaning voters will decide the issue in 2012. After nearly six hours of emotional debate, the House voted 70-62 to approve the plan late Saturday. State law already prohibits gay marriage, but supporters of the proposed amendment say it’s necessary to prevent judges or future lawmakers from making it legal in Minnesota. The amendment would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

A  recent Gallup poll shows 53 percent of Americans support making gay marriage legal, Reuters reports. The poll shows a significant change in mood on the issue from a year ago, when a majority opposed same-sex matrimony. The latest Gallup findings, Reuters reports, are in line with two earlier national polls this spring that show support for legally recognized gay marriage has gained a newfound majority among Americans.

  • God’s Kingdom is not a democracy. Majority opinion doesn’t change His laws. This is but another indicator of end-time lawlessness that will only increase as the Beast’s one-world government takes shape.

Feds Might Seize Private Retirement Savings

How long before Uncle Sam hits private pensions to balance the public budget? It’s quickly becoming a reasonable question to ask. As Congress squares off over a debt ceiling vote, Treasury is scrambling to find cash in the couch cushions. One of the ways it will scare up extra money is by putting off saving for the retirements of federal workers — in effect, short-term “borrowing” from public pension funds. By suspending investments into the civil service retirement and disability fund, as well as putting off reinvestments into another big retirement bucket known as the G-Fund, Treasury could “claw back” up to $202 billion, estimates Reuters. That sounds like a lot, but it’s just 10 percent of the $2 trillion the agency says it needs to stay afloat until after Election Day 2012, and it will have to be put back.

  • The debt load is becoming more dire every day. Creative financing will become the new watchword, fending off massive defaults through smoke and mirrors. But that will only delay the inevitable.

Economic News

Nearly two years after the economic recovery officially began, job creation continues to stagger at the slowest post-recession rate since the Great Depression. The nation has 5% fewer jobs today — a loss of 7 million — than it did when the recession began in December 2007. That is by far the worst performance of job generation following any of the dozen recessions since the 1930s. In the past, the economy recovered lost jobs in about 13 months on average after a recession. If this were a typical recovery, nearly 10 million more people would be working today than when the recession officially ended in June 2009.

Fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in April. Activity among first-time homebuyers increased and foreclosure sales declined, but those factors weren’t enough to signal a recovery in the weak housing market. The sales report came out as fixed mortgage rates continued to fall. Sales of previously occupied homes fell 0.8% in April while purchases made by first-time homebuyers rose 3%.Annual sales hit a record high of nearly 7.1 million homes in 2005. Since then, sales have fallen in four of the past five years before hitting a 13-year low last year.

President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government’s debt would be about 67 miles high. That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall. In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back – twice. announced Friday that it’s now selling more electronic books through its Kindle e-readers than it is selling printed books. In addition, music CDs are getting hard to find as consumers download more and more of their music over the Internet. CD sales fell 19% in 2010 to $3.5 billion, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and are down 8.8% this year. Meanwhile, sales for downloaded complete albums are up 16.8%, and downloaded tracks are up 9.6%.

Japan’s troubles are Detroit’s blessing when it comes to sales of new cars. America’s homegrown automaking giants are poised to pick up sales from Japanese brands facing growing shortages of popular new models after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Best of all for General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler Group, the shortages come as they have some of their freshest new model lineups for fuel-efficient cars and crossovers in years.


After two months tackling the beached ships, crushed cars and mountains of twisted debris left by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government has acknowledged that people have grown impatient with the protracted problems in dealing with the Fukushima plant and delays in revealing the full extent of damage. Only recently did TEPCO announce that three of the reactors had suffered a meltdown soon after the earthquake. The latest attempt to cool the No. 1 reactor was abandoned after radioactive leaks followed efforts to fill the containment chamber with water. Japan’s embattled government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, both promised to keep a deadline of January 2012 for achieving “cold shutdown” of the reactors.


Islamist militants attacked a naval base in the Pakistani city of Karachi late Sunday, rocking the base with fiery explosions in a daring raid by anti-government forces. Many ambulances were being held back because of the fighting inside the base that was still going on more than 2 1 / 2hours after the attack began. On Friday, a Taliban suicide bomber rammed his motorbike into an armored vehicle taking American officials to the U.S consulate in northwest Pakistan. Two Americans suffered minor injuries, but one Pakistani passer-by was killed and at least 10 others were wounded.


Gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed a government building in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday and engaged in a shootout with Afghan security forces who surrounded the compound, officials said. At least three police officers were killed in ongoing fighting. On Saturday, a Taliban suicide bomber targeting NATO medical trainers infiltrated Kabul’s main military hospital and blew himself up in a tent full of Afghan medical students eating lunch, killing six and wounding 23. The blast, which thundered across the capital, came as the Taliban have stepped up attacks as part of a spring offensive against NATO, Afghan government installations and officials.


A wave of early morning explosions in and around the Iraqi capital killed 16 people Sunday and for the third time this month, Iraqi security forces were the main target. Twin bombs that lured policemen out of their fortified headquarters in a northern Iraqi city killed 27 people Friday, most of them police officers. Scores were wounded in the double blasts in Kirkuk, and a third explosion 45 minutes later on a road to a city hospital brought the number of injured to at least 70.

British operations in Iraq are officially ending, more than eight years after the country joined the U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Most British troops left the country in 2009, but a small naval force remained to train Iraqi sailors. That Royal Navy mission ended Sunday.


Iran’s Intelligence Ministry claimed Saturday that it has arrested at least 30 people allegedly linked to a CIA-run spy network in accusations that also could spill over into the country’s deepening political power struggles. The Intelligence Ministry is at the heart of a messy political showdown and could be seeking to boost its credentials as a front-line defender of the country. Last month, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forced out the intelligence minister as part of government infighting, but the minister was immediately reinstated by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei’s loyalists warned Ahmadinejad he was on dangerous ground by challenging the ruling system.


NATO warplanes bombed command centers near Tripoli and in Libya’s southwest Saturday as part of a continuing effort to cut communications links between Moammar Gadhafi and his units on the battlefields. The alliance said its aircraft has flown more than 7,500 sorties since it took command of the aerial offensive, including nearly 3,000 strike missions. NATO jets pounded Libyan ports Thursday night, destroying eight of Moammar Gadhafi’s warships. NATO targeted the ships in Tripoli, Al-Khums and Sirte after it was apparent that Gadhafi’s forces were increasingly using naval vessels to launch attacks on civilians. As the fighting intensified last week, the rebel leadership in the east of the country said Thursday it was getting graphic reports of hospitals overwhelmed with casualties.


Syrian security forces opened fire on a funeral procession for slain anti-government protesters Saturday, pushing the number of people reported killed in a two-month uprising to more than 900. At least 21 people are dead after Syrian forces fired live rounds into crowds of protesters as thousands took to the streets for pro-democracy demonstrations Friday. Syria accused the United States of meddling Friday after President Barack Obama said that the Syrian president should lead his country to democracy or “get out of the way.” Syria’s official news agency said Obama’s speech amounted to “incitement.”

Christians in Syria fear the government’s violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, but they also fear a change from President Bashar Assad’s secular rule. Greg Mussleman with Voice of the Martyrs Canada says Christians in Syria know they won’t be getting a Christian president, “but at least there is some measure of religious freedom. If this government, as we know it, comes down now, it’s unknown, and it’ll likely be something worse than what they have now.” According to Mission News Network, Mussleman says Sunni Muslims form the majority in Syria. “With the more militant, radical elements of Islam, [they] will try to enforce Sharia law, and that will cause problems for Christians–similar to what happened in other parts of the Middle East.”


A heavy gun battle erupted in Yemen’s capital Monday after embattle president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s own tribe — the country’s most powerful — defected to the opposition, the Associated Press reports. Yemen’s president said Saturday he will sign a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators for him to step down, but he condemned the deal as a “coup” and warned al-Qaida will take control of the country. Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has clung to power despite more than three months of daily protests and defections by military commanders and other allies, has pledged before to sign the deal only to back down at the last minute.

The American, British and European Union ambassadors to Yemen were trapped Sunday in an embassy surrounded by gunmen angry about efforts by Arab mediators to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power. U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein said the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are also being prevented from leaving the UAE embassy.


Tens of thousands of people are defying a pre-election ban on demonstrations and protesting unemployment in squares around Spain in defiance of an order to quit at midnight. People are angry over Spain’s high unemployment rate and what they see as the national political parties’ ineptitude in dealing with a deep economic crisis. Protesters built a camp in Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square Sunday, a week ahead of nationwide elections. Many protesters have said they were influenced by recent pro-democracy uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

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May 19, 2011

Prophetic Word (5/11/11)

Within the next 6 months to 2 years, the world will experience increasingly severe financial, earthquake, weather, wildfire, nuclear and terrorist catastrophes in a run-up to the 7-year Tribulation. The USA will especially be afflicted financially when the dollar loses its status as the world’s reserve currency. Hyperinflation will wipe out the savings of many and defaults on government debt will plunge America into an unprecedented depression. War in the Middle East will once again break out. This will not be Armageddon, but rather the crisis that will bring the anti-Christ to the forefront as the Beast orchestrates a false peace and deceives the world into believing that he is humanity’s savior. The Tribulation will begin when he signs a peace accord with the many involved nations (Daniel 9:27) and subsequently institutes a global, one-world government (Revelation 13:7-8,12)

Obama Shocker: Palestinian State Must Be Based on 1967 Borders

President Obama, delivering his first major address tackling the uprisings in the Middle East, on Thursday endorsed Palestinians’ demand for their own state based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. Until Thursday, the U.S. position had been that the Palestinian goal of a state based on the 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps, should be reconciled with Israel’s desire for a secure Jewish state through negotiations. Obama said he will also offer new levels of support to Egypt and Tunisia, countries where demonstrations ousted entrenched leaders and which the administration plans to hold up as a “beacon” in the region, according to one official. Obama plans to forgive roughly $1 billion in debt owed by Egypt to free up money for job-creation efforts there. Plus he plans to guarantee up to $1 billion in loans for Egypt through the Overseas Private Investment Corp., a U.S. government institution that mobilizes private capital. Obama is pushing other steps to bolster loans, trade and international support in Egypt and in Tunisia. Protesters in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and other nations have endured brutal setbacks.

  • Obama continues to sacrifice Israel on the altar of Muslim appeasement

Planned Parenthood Given Unprecedented Access to White House

Pro-Life watchdog LifeNews just revealed important data uncovered in their investigation of White House visitor logs. It appears that Planned Parenthood and specifically PP President Cecile Richards has had unprecedented access to the White House. Visitor logs show that Richards was present at the White House nearly every time Congress was deciding on an abortion-related matter – including Obama’s first day in office, the White House “Health Care Summit” and even the day of former Congressman Bart Stupak’s now infamous ObamaCare Abortion Vote betrayal. Over the last two years, Richards has publicly bragged(via the social networking site Twitter) about her easy on-demand access to the White House. Just this week, Obama met with Richards over a cozy and uber-expensive dinner with a handful of Texas-based abortion mill supporters in an effort to raise money for his 2012 Presidential run.

  • The Faith & Freedom Foundation comments, “With ‘friends’ like these, is it any wonder Planned Parenthood feels comfortable enough to demand abortion quotas from their member clinics, while they flagrantly violate state and federal laws protecting minor girls from predatory older men AND they keep on raking in YOUR tax dollars to subsidize their sick and twisted agenda?”

Americans as Unhappy as Ever with Congress

Americans voted to turn over control of the House of Representatives to Republicans last fall, but a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds they remain as unhappy as they have ever been with Capitol Hill. By more than 2-1, voters say most members of Congress don’t deserve re-election, matching the historic low reached last spring. The levels of discontent are higher than they were just before elections in 1994, 2006 and 2010, all years when control changed hands.

  • Despite a lot of rhetoric so far, nothing much has been accomplished

Senate Blocks GOP Bid to Speed Offshore Drilling

A GOP bid to expand and hasten offshore oil drilling in the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices suffered an overwhelming defeat in the Senate on Wednesday. Five Republicans joined 52 Democrats or independents in rejecting a bill to speed up decision-making on drilling permits and force previously scheduled lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Alaska and Virginia coasts. The bill was supported by 42 Republicans, well short of the 60 needed to advance it. The Obama administration suspended several lease sales after last year’s massive BP oil spill.

Conservatives Slam ‘Corrupt’ Pelosi Healthcare Waivers

Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and other leading conservatives blasted former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration Wednesday over the huge number of waivers from the national healthcare law being granted to posh eateries and other businesses in Pelosi’s San Francisco district. The dustup may have obscured a more pressing question for Democrats: Why are businesses in liberal San Francisco and elsewhere clamoring to opt out of the massive healthcare law that was supposed to help them? The answer boils down to simple dollars and sense, experts say. Because so-called Obamacare prohibits lifetime dollar limits on health insurance plans, businesses from Pelosi’s — as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s — districts are demanding waivers because they already are paying for employees to be covered in plans with limits in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Obamacare forbids insurers from placing annual and lifetime limits on health plans.

Illegal Asian Immigrants on Rise

The shocking discovery Tuesday of 513 migrants –many of them from India and other Asian countries — in two trucks in Chiapas, Mexico headed for the U.S. border, lays bare the growing importance of an illegal pipeline that funnels people from South Asia to the United States. Increasingly, immigrants from India seem to be using Guatemala – which doesn’t require a visa for Indian nationals – as a bridge to begin an illegal journey through Mexico, where a visa is required, to their final destination in the United States. An abrupt increase in the number of Indian citizens entering Enrique Degenhart, Guatemala’s director of immigration services, says, “An abrupt increase in the number of Indian citizens entering Guatemala led us to ponder whether they were using this country as a bridge. “After exchanging information with Mexico, we realized that a high percentage [of Indians] entered Guatemala and crossed the border illegally onto Mexico.”

Debt Limit Reached, U.S. Stops Pension Investments

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Monday that he will immediately halt investments in two big government pension plans so the government can continue to borrow money after reaching the debt limit Monday. He repeated a warning that if lawmakers do not increase the borrowing limit by Aug. 2, the government is at risk of an unprecedented default on its debt. Even though the government has reached its official borrowing limit, Geithner said unexpected revenue and bookkeeping maneuvers will allow the Treasury to continue auctioning debt for another 11 weeks. The money that the two pension funds lose will be replaced if Congress votes to raise the borrowing limit. The debt limit is the amount of money the government can borrow to help finance its operations. The nation has reached its limit because the federal government has grown accustomed to borrowing massive amounts of money. The latest estimate is that it borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends.

Budget Deal Actually Costs More in Short-Term

Remember that budget deal last month between President Obama and congressional Republicans that averted a government shutdown? The one that would cut the budget? Only in the long-term, it turns out — and not by as much as once projected. The deal will actually cost the government $3.2 billion in the current fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office reported yesterday. The reason: A $7.5 billion shift in defense spending that outweighs $4.4 billion in cuts to domestic programs. The deal will cut budget deficits by $122 billion over the next decade, the CBO reported. But that is less than half the more than $300 billion in savings that deal advocates promoted when it passed in April.

Rural Community Facilities Program Provides Economic Boost

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, known for its drought and disaster assistance to farmers, is providing hundreds of millions of dollars to cash-strapped towns and public safety agencies to buy police patrol cars, equip fire stations and renovate courthouses. Part of a broad mission directed by the agency’s Rural Community Facilities Program, the mix of grants and loans is offering a lifeline to small communities across the country that are struggling in a difficult economy. Since FY 2006, the program has doled out $770million in public safety funding, including $39million for 1,235 police cars and $120.5million for 1,149 fire trucks. Though not widely known outside rural areas served by the program, the funding is drawing new interest from financially stressed communities and as traditional sources of public safety aid — from the U.S. Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security— are being reduced.

  • If the federal government can’t find money in one trough they use another, simply adding more and more to the heavy debt load that will soon sink the economy

One-Quarter of Hospital ERs have Closed over Past 20 years

Over a quarter of emergency departments closed shop over the past two decades, a new study shows. From 1990 to 2009, the number of hospital emergency departments in non-rural areas in the USA declined by 27%, according to a study in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found that the number of emergency departments dropped from 2,446 to 1,779 — an average of 89 closings per year. The figure included only non-rural locations. ERs shut down were more likely to: have low profit margins; serve patients below the poverty level; and serve patients with poorer forms of insurance, including Medicaid. The report notes that it’s a major concern that there’s been a 35% increase in ER visits during the same period of time that number of ERs has decreased.

  • Note that these conditions also match areas with high concentrations of illegal aliens

Economic News

New claims for benefits dropped 29,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 409,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The declines come after applications had surged to an eight-month high of 474,000 last month. That was nearly 100,000 above February’s three-year low of 375,000 — a level typically consistent with sustainable job growth. Weekly applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.

Construction of new homes plummeted in April, another troubling sign for the battered housing market. The Commerce Department says construction of new homes fell 10.6% in April from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 523,000 homes. That’s down nearly 25% from one year ago and less than half the 1.2 million homes per year that economists consider a sign of a healthy market.

As gas prices hover near $4 a gallon, nearly seven in 10 Americans say the high cost of fuel is causing financial hardship for their families, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found. More than half say they have made major changes to compensate for the higher prices, ranging from shorter trips to cutting back on vacation travel. For 21%, the impact is so dramatic they say their standard of living is jeopardized.

People are holding on to cars and trucks about a year longer than before the recession, which has created a tight supply of used vehicles. So few are on the market that prices are the highest in at least 16 years, up almost 30% since December 2008.

European finance ministers on Monday signed off on 78 billion euros ($110 billion) in rescue loans to Portugal to give the debt-ridden country time to overhaul its economy. One-third of the package will be financed by other eurozone states, another third will come from a fund backed by the EU budget, and the International Monetary Fund will contribute the final 26 billion euros.

The European Commission insisted Thursday that the next leader of the International Monetary Fund must come from the 27-nation European Union, a stance backed by the Germany, the continent’s economic heavyweight. Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as IMF chief Wednesday, saying he wants to devote “all his energy” to fighting sexual assault charges in New York. Fast-growing nations such as China, Brazil and South Africa are trying to break Europe’s grip on an organization empowered to direct billions of dollars to stabilize the global economy.

Bin Laden Replaced

Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian, was named al-Qaeda’s interim leader, and Mustafa al-Yemeni will direct operations, Al Jazeera reports. The website says al-Adel is one of al-Qaeda’s leading military commanders and helped plan the bomb attacks against the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. The presumed successor to bin Laden is his long-time deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is also Egyptian. Benotman said the temporary appointment of al-Adel may be a way for the leadership to gauge reaction to the selection of someone from beyond the Arabian Peninsula as the group’s leader.


Pakistani troops and a NATO helicopter that crossed into Pakistani territory exchanged fire on Tuesday, wounding two soldiers, local officials said, and Pakistan protested, further straining relations with the West following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Pakistan’s army has lodged a strong protest and demanded talks with NATO commanders after an allliance helicopter hit the Pakistani checkpoint. Tuesday’s incident came hours before Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, arrives in China on a visit seen by some as a diplomatic effort to seek closer and more productive ties with another major power.


Hundreds of Moammar Gadhafi’s loyalists staged a show of support in the capital early Thursday, claiming the rebel insurgency is nearing its end, even as the Libyan leader’s forces have intensified their campaign to take strategic heights in a western mountain range and targeted a road that many people have used to flee the fighting. Meanwhile, a Tunisian security official says Libya’s oil minister has defected, The Associated Press reports. Shukri Ghanem, the head of the national oil company and Libya’s oil minister, crossed into Tunisia by road on Monday and defected, the Tunisian official said. Ghanem is among Gadhafi officials under U.S. sanctions announced by the Treasury Department in early April.

A reporter working for USA TODAY in Libya who was held for 44 days by the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was released Wednesday along with another American reporter after being convicted of entering the country illegally. Gillis was a freelance reporter who had been covering the conflict in Libya for weeks when she was taken April 5 with Foley and a Spanish photographer, Manuel Varela. Also released was Nigel Chandler, a British freelance journalist who was captured elsewhere. Tuesday, the Libyan government gave each journalists a one-year suspended sentence on charges of illegally entering the country and fined them roughly $150 apiece.


Students in Syria’s second-largest city called for a nationwide strike today amid a government crackdown on democracy protesters, some of whom alleged Tuesday that they had discovered a mass grave of victims of attacks ordered by President Bashar Assad. Two videos posted by activists on YouTube showed decaying bodies being dug up from a pit in Daraa. People in Daraa have reported finding four burial sites in their region in recent days, including two mass graves in the city itself. Since March 15, the area has been the flash point of a pro-democracy movement against Assad, whose family has been in power for 40 years.

The United States slapped sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six senior Syrian officials Wednesday for human rights abuses over their brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, for the first time personally penalizing the Syrian leader for actions of his security forces. The sanctions will freeze any assets Assad and the six Syrian government officials have in U.S. jurisdiction and make it illegal for Americans to do business with them.


An Afghan company says insurgents have shot and killed more than 30 construction workers in the country’s eastern province. CNN, quoting provincial officials, reported earlier that Taliban forces had abducted 72 road workers and burned their equipment in Paktia province. Elsewhere, hundreds of protesters, angered by an overnight NATO raid that they believed killed four civilians, clashed on Wednesday with security forces on the streets of a northern Afghan city. Twelve people died in the fighting, government officials said. There was also deadly violence in the east on Wednesday. A suicide bomber crashed a car into a police bus, killing 14 people and wounding 16. Four American soldiers serving with NATO forces in Afghanistan died Monday in an explosion in the country’s southern region. They were hit by an improvised explosive device. The latest deaths make a total of 16 NATO service members killed so far this month, and 167 so far this year.


Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the semi-official Press TV news station on Wednesday that the Bushehr nuclear power plant is operational. “As we have previously announced, Bushehr power plant has reached the criticality stage, meaning it has been successfully launched,” Salehi said. “This stage lasts for two months. We hope the plant will gain some 40 percent of its power within the next one or two months.” The plant, which has been built by Russian engineers, has been plagued by repeated delays and safety concerns, but Iran has forged ahead, considering Bushehr to be a major component of its renegade nuclear program.


Authorities in southern Mexico say gunmen opened fire on four local police officers Monday, killing them and two bystanders. Two other bystanders were wounded when the gunmen shot the officers Monday in the downtown area of Coyuca de Catalan. a mountainous zone known as Tierra Caliente that is plagued by drug violence. More than 35,000 people have died in such violence nationwide since Mexico began a crackdown on cartels in December 2006.


Wildfires that blazed through a northern Canadian town forced the evacuation of nearly 7,000 people. Nearly one-third of the buildings were destroyed after strong winds suddenly turned the flames on the town. All residents were ordered to leave Sunday afternoon, but evacuation proved difficult as smoke and fast-moving flames blocked some of the highways. No deaths or injuries have been reported but rescue officials were knocking on doors to ensure that everyone ordered out had gone.

Warnings about a difficult allergy season have come from allergy specialists from New York to Atlanta, Chicago to California. Heavy snow and rain in some parts of the country have nourished a profusion of tree pollen, while a sudden shift to warm, sunny weather has made its release more robust. The deluges and, in some places, flooding have pumped up the volume on mold. Add in the wind, and the suffering skyrockets. Allergy seasons in general have been getting longer and more challenging, said Angel Waldron, spokeswoman for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.” Warmer temperatures are allowing trees to pollinate longer than usual,” she said.


The Honey Prairie wildfire in Georgia has grown to 147,000 acres (about 230 square miles) with no containment in sight yet. Meanwhile, the Miller fire in New Mexico has consumed almost 77,000 acres (about 135 square miles) and is threatening some nearby residences. In Arizona, the Horseshoe2 fire northeast of Bisbee grew to almost 33,000 acres (about 51 square miles) Thursday, also threatening some residences in the area.


Cargo was slowly moving along the bloated Mississippi River Wednesday after a costly daylong standstill, while officials kept an eye on the lower Delta where thousands of acres of farmland could be swamped by water that is inching closer to the top of a levee. The Coast Guard closed a 15-mile stretch Tuesday at Natchez, Miss., north of New Orleans, blocking vessels heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and others trying to return north after dropping off their freight. Later in the day, barges that haul coal, timber, iron, steel and more than half of America’s grain exports were again allowed to pass, but at the slowest possible speed. Such interruptions cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars for each day the barges are idled, as the toll from the weeks of flooding from Arkansas to Louisiana continues to mount.

Flood-weary residents in the path of the swollen Mississippi River and its tributaries have a new worry — snakes. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is advising residents in flooded areas to remain on the lookout for venomous snakes. Snakes may move into residential and commercial areas as flood waters drive

them from their habitat, the department warns. Of the 22 species of snakes in the Morganza-Atchafalaya spillway, three are venomous: the Copperhead, the Cottonmouth and the Canebrake Rattlesnake.

As the Mississippi River reaches historic crests, the flood control system designed to protect property is instead destroying crops, homes and businesses that will cost billions of dollars and require months of recovery efforts, flood experts and conservationists say. That has prompted them to call for a major shift in federal policy that since the 1920s has tried to limit Mississippi River flooding through a massive system of levees, release valves, floodways and drainage basins. The shift would let the river run more freely but would probably force the relocation of communities to convert developed areas into open space.

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May 16, 2011

Florida Imam, 2 Sons Arrested for Supporting Taliban

A Miami imam and two of his sons were arrested Saturday on charges they provided some $50,000 to the Pakistani Taliban, designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization. The men are U.S. citizens. Also named in the indictment are three others at large in Pakistan — Hafiz Khan’s daughter, grandson and an unrelated man, all three of whom are charged with handling the distribution of funds to terrorists. The funds were used to buy guns, support militants’ families and promote the cause of the Pakistani Taliban, according to the indictment. The indictment recounts recorded conversations in which Hafiz Khan allegedly voices support for attacks on the Pakistani government and American troops in the region.

Different U.S. Attitude about Syria, Libya

Like Libya’s dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Syria’s dictator Bashar Assad also has been attacking his own cities to crush peaceful protesters demanding democratic reforms. He, too, has killed hundreds of civilians with troops and tanks and indiscriminate shelling of the kind that led the United Nations to approve the NATO air campaign that continues in Libya today. Yet Assad has escaped the same treatment from the West, and President Obama has not called for the world to unite in a military action against it as he did for Gadhafi. Some foreign policy experts say the White House is conflicted over Syria not because it is any less violent than Libya but because it is critical to Obama’s attempt to end Iran’s nuclear program and to promote Arab-Israeli peace. They say Obama’s State Department wants Syria, which is Iran’s greatest ally in the region, to persuade Iran’s leaders to end its nuclear program and its support of anti-Israeli terrorism and if not, end its alliance with Iran.

Bin Laden Aftermath

A pair of suicide bombers attacked recruits leaving a paramilitary training center in Pakistan on Friday, killing 80 people in an especially deadly strike that the Pakistani Taliban claimed it carried out to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. The blasts in the northwest were a reminder of the savagery of al-Qaeda-linked militants in Pakistan. They occurred even as the country faces international suspicion that elements within its security forces may have been harboring bin Laden, who was killed in a raid in Abbottabad, about a three hours’ drive from the scene of the bombing. The bombers blew themselves up at the main gate of the facility for the Frontier Constabulary, a poorly equipped but front-line force in the battle against al-Qaeda. A roadside bomb has hit a passenger bus in eastern Pakistan Saturday, killing at least three people and wounding several others.

Members of Pakistan’s Parliament slammed the United States on Saturday for the raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden on their soil. The parliamentary resolution that emerged from the gathering termed the U.S. raid as an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty. It also criticized the American missile strikes in Pakistan’s militant-riddled tribal areas, and said the government should consider preventing U.S. and NATO supply trucks from using land routes in Pakistan if the strikes continue. Many analysts have long suspected that Pakistan secretly allows the drone attacks while publicly denouncing them.

With Pakistani intelligence officers in the room, U.S. intelligence officer have interviewed three of Osama bin Laden’s widows. CNN, quoting two senior U.S. officials and a senior Pakistani official, says the eldest of the three widows spoke for the group and that they were “quite hostile.” Sources said the interview did not yield much information, but note that it is early in the process.

Donations Keep Indiana Planned Parenthood Afloat

Planned Parenthood of Indiana said Friday that it had enough private donations to continue the treating its existing Medicaid patients around the state for one week. The announcement came after a first-in-the-nation law cutting state Medicaid money to the health care provider took effect Wednesday. Planned Parenthood is challenging the constitutionality of the new law, and a federal judge is expected to make a decision by July 1 on whether the law should remain in effect while the court is hearing the case or be placed hold until a verdict.

  • The so-called health care provider is mostly an abortion mill

Georgia Governor Signs Immigration Bill

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, calling it “a rather historic moment,” on Friday signed a bill that cracks down on illegal immigration in the state by increasing some enforcement powers and requiring many employers to check the immigration status of new hires. “While I believe immigration is an issue that can ideally be identified and addressed — and should be addressed— at the federal level, this legislation I believe is a responsible step forward in the absence of federal action.” The new law — the subject of heated debate in the Legislature — shares some similarities to a controversial law enacted last year in Arizona and another enacted this year in Utah. Part or all of those two laws have been blocked by federal judges, and opponents have said they’ll sue to try to block Georgia’s law.

Latinos: Obama’s Pandering on Immigration Falls Flat

Reaction from Hispanic leaders suggests President Barack Obama’s charm offensive with Latinos in the run-up to the 2012 election may be falling flat. Polls indicate that far fewer Hispanics say they’ll cast their vote for the president than did so in 2008. One prominent observer of the Latino community, syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr., is calling on Hispanics to launch a third-party movement to ensure their interests receive genuine representation rather than political pandering. “America’s largest minority needs to take a cue from the Tea Party movement and start an insurgency challenging both political parties — the one that takes them for granted and the other that writes them off,” he wrote. Frustrated Latinos in Arizona have formed a nonpartisan “Tequila Party” movement. The group, whose primary objective is boost the Latino voter turnout in 2012, was created by a self-identified Republican.

Obama Announces Steps to Speed US Oil Production

Facing continued public unhappiness over gas prices, President Barack Obama is directing his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production by extending existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska’s coast and holding more frequent lease sales in a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska. His announcement followed passage in the Republican-controlled House of three bills — including two this week — that would expand and speed up offshore oil and gas drilling. Republicans say the bills are aimed at easing gasoline costs, but they also acknowledge that won’t happen immediately. The White House had announced its opposition to all three bills, which are unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, saying the measures would undercut safety reviews and open environmentally sensitive areas to new drilling.

Some Still Question Obama’s birthplace

President Obama released his long-form birth certificate last month, confirming he was born in Hawaii, but that hasn’t settled the question of his birthplace for some Americans. In a Gallup Poll taken May 5-8, 47% of those surveyed say they believe the president was “definitely” born in the United States. Another 18% say he “probably” was born here. But a third of Americans remain skeptical or unsure: 8% say he probably was born elsewhere, 5% say he definitely was, and 20% say they don’t know enough to say.

  • Questions have arisen about whether the long-form birth certificate is a fraud, doctored after the fact. The real issue is why Obama waited over two years to make it public?

Air Traffic Controller Errors Way Up

The Transportation Department’s in-house watchdog said Thursday it isn’t clear why air traffic controller errors soared by 53 percent last year, but inexperience could explain it in large part. Inspector General Calvin Scovel told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee the Federal Aviation Administration has placed large numbers of inexperienced controllers at some of the nation’s busiest and most complex air traffic facilities. The agency plans to hire 11,000 new controllers by 2019 to make up for a wave of retirements, he said. Many of the more than 15,000 controllers now working for the FAA were hired following President Ronald Reagan’s firing of striking controllers three decades ago, and are now eligible for retirement. Scovel said that as of March, 25 percent of controllers were still in training compared to 15 percent in 2004. For example, at a regional Denver radar center that handles airport approaches and departures, 43 percent of controllers are in training. At LaGuardia Airport in New York, the trainees make up 39 percent of the work force.

Scientists Find MRSA Germ in Supermarket Meats

MRSA, a bacteria resistant to common antibiotics, has been discovered in supermarket meats, and the germ is apparently being introduced by human food handlers, a new study reports. Although thorough cooking will kill the bacteria, consumers run the risk of infection if they handle meats contaminated with the germ, researchers said. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is common in hospitals and nursing homes, where it can cause serious illness and even death. The risk of becoming infected is especially high if you have open cuts or sores on your hands or skin.

Cellphones Get Emergency Alerts

Consumers will get emergency alerts for hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters on their cellphones as part of a new alert network to be announced Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission. The Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) will allow emergency officials to send geographically targeted text messages to cellphones in areas where danger threatens. Some current cellphones, including some iPhones and some Android phones, already have the circuitry required to receive PLAN alerts. New AT&T phones due out in October will be PLAN-ready. Carriers eventually will be required to tell consumers at retail whether phones are PLAN-enabled. Consumers are automatically signed up for alerts, but they can opt out of alerts relating to imminent threats to life and safety and Amber Alerts. However, they cannot opt out of presidential alerts.

  • What else will this new chip do? Track U.S. citizens?

Should Drivers Pay by the Mile Instead of by the Gallon?

For nearly 80 years, motorists have paid a tax every time they put gas in their cars. What if they were taxed based on how far they drive instead? That’s just what a number of groups, including the organization representing state transportation agencies, say ought to happen — and soon. With the cost of building and maintaining highways and mass transit outstripping the money collected from fuel taxes, and no appetite in Washington to raise tax rates, they say it’s time to redesign the way people pay for their transportation system. The idea, known as vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) taxes, is scheduled to come up next week at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on ways to pay for future infrastructure. The Congressional Budget Office has talked up the idea, as did a group commissioned by Congress to explore transportation financing.

Health Insurers Making Record Profits as Many Postpone Care

The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care. The UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest commercial insurers, told analysts that so far this year, insured hospital stays actually decreased. Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends.

  • No matter how the healthcare debate winds up, we can be sure that insurance companies and lawyers will profit handsomely

Federal Debt Limit to be Reached Monday

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned Congress today that its refusal to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling could worry not just foreign investors but seniors reliant on Social Security and Medicare. With the debt limit set to be reached on Monday, the Treasury Department has been forced to “set in motion a series of extraordinary measures” that will enable the world’s richest nation to pay its bills through early August. At that point, its obligations would not be payable — something that Medicare and Social Security trustees warned would happen to the two government programs in the future as its trust funds run dry.

  • Despite the dire warnings and harsh impacts, it is time to reduce debt, not increase it further

Economic News

Americans are reducing mortgage payments at a record clip. Low interest rates, defaults and refinancings have shaved more than $100 billion off the nation’s annual mortgage bill — an amount comparable to all unemployment benefits for one year or this year’s Social Security payroll tax cut.

  • At least consumers are doing something to decrease our monumental debt load. The federal government needs to follow their example

Consumers paid more for gas and food in April, pushing inflation to its highest level in two and a half years. The Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% in April, the Labor Department said. In the past 12 months, prices have risen 3.2%. That’s the biggest annualized gain since October 2008. Excluding volatile food and energy, prices ticked up 0.2% and have risen only 1.3% this year. That’s double the gain posted six months ago, but still below the level the Federal Reserve considers a healthy pace of inflation. The Producer Price Index (PPI) increased 0.7% last month. This equates to 8.4% annual wholesale inflation in the pipeline.

To help cut California’s multibillion-dollar deficit, Gov. Jerry Brown plans to close 70 state parks, beaches and historical sites and reduce services at those that stay open. Never before in the Golden State’s history have parks been closed because of budget problems, the San Francisco Chronicle  noted. Brown’s office said today that the closures, covering 25% of all California parks, are the result of cuts approved by the Legislature. The shutdowns won’t begin until September, so summer camping and reservations will not be affected. Closures are to be completed by July 1, 2012.

Drivers are facing higher tolls this year to pay for road maintenance and improvement projects that are in some cases being hampered by state budget shortfalls and declining gas tax revenue. Tolls increases so far this year have included the Pennsylvania Turnpike, bridges and tunnels in New York City and Virginia’s Chesapeake Expressway. Four Delaware River Port Authority bridges will increase tolls in July, as will seven bridges in California.

The nation’s biggest banks are increasing many of their fees, adding new ones, eliminating debit card rewards programs and making it harder for customers to avoid paying monthly charges for checking accounts. Banks say they don’t want to raise fees but they are losing revenue from new regulations.

Forecast-busting economic growth in Germany and a surprise rebound in Greece helped the 17-nation eurozone start the new year with a bang, with the region growing twice as fast as the U.S. despite constant fears about debt. The eurozone economy expanded at a quarterly rate of 0.8% the first three months of the year, more than twice U.S. growth.  However, government debt also increased: Greece’s debt reached 158% of their total economic output, with Ireland at 112% and Portugal at 102%, rates that are forecast to increase even further next year. Signs that European bailouts will be larger than originally forecast upended financial markets Friday, sending the dollar up nearly 1% and erasing the week’s gains in the stock market.


Residents from two towns in an expanded exclusion zone around Japan’s damaged nuclear power complex were adjusting to life in evacuation centers Monday after leaving their homes on government orders. The towns are among several that have registered relatively high radiation readings but are outside a previous 12-mile radius evacuation zone around the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Officials in Iitate said they intend to have most of the town’s residents evacuated by the end of the month. The scenic, rural village had a population of 6,500 before the earthquake and about 2,000 people have already moved out voluntarily. Some residents have trouble leaving because they own livestock.

Middle East

Clashes erupted between pro-Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces in multiple locations along the country’s borders Sunday as tensions flared on a Palestinian mourning day marking the birth of the Jewish state. Israeli troops fired on demonstrators who were illegally crossing the borders from Lebanon and Syria and damaging “security infrastructure.” Thousands rallied in support of Palestinians on Friday, with demonstrators in Jordan’s capital heeding a call by Facebook organizers to demand a sovereign Palestinian state, others near the Jordanian-Israeli border chanting “Death to Israel,” and still more activists filling Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Palestinian youth groups called for protests in the West Bank and nearby Arab countries to mark the anniversary of the May 15, 1948, creation of the Jewish state. Palestinians call the anniversary the “day of catastrophe” because of the refugee crisis and loss of land that accompanied the creation of Israel.

  • God created Israel over two thousand years ago, long before so-called Palestinians even existed


Gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed a Saudi diplomat as he was driving in Pakistan’s largest city on Monday, just days after two hand grenades were tossed at the Arab state’s consulate building, The motive for the attack was not clear, but it comes against a backdrop of tensions between Islam’s Sunni and Shiite branches, both in the Middle East and in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has funded hardline Sunni groups in Pakistan for years, angering its minority Shiites. Meanwhile, Iran has channeled money to Shiite groups, and in the 1980 and 1990s the country was the scene of an effective proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Karachi an especially bloody battleground.


Pressure is mounting on Moammar Gadhafi from within his stronghold in the Libyan capital, with increasing NATO airstrikes and worsening shortages of fuel and goods. Residents said Thursday there has also been a wave of anti-government protests in several Tripoli neighborhoods this week — dissent that in the past has been met with zero tolerance and brutal force. Taunting NATO, Moammar Gadhafi said Friday that he is alive despite a series of airstrikes and “in a place where you can’t get to and kill me.” The defiant audio recording was broadcast after the Libyan government accused NATO of killing 11 Muslim clerics with an airstrike on a disputed eastern oil town.


Syrian security forces and snipers opened fire on thousands of protesters Friday, killing at least six people as mass arrests and heavy security kept crowds below previous levels seen during the two-month uprising against President Bashar Assad. Human rights groups say more than 775 people have been killed since the start of the protest movement in Syria in mid-March. The violence has become a deadly cycle each week, with protesters taking to the streets every Friday only to be met with bullets, tear gas and batons, with funerals a day later. Crackling gunfire and explosions echoed through a Syrian border town Sunday, as hundreds of frightened civilians poured into neighboring Lebanon to escape a harsh crackdown against anti-government protests,


Yemeni troops loyal to the country’s embattled president attacked the camp of a senior military commander-turned-defector in the capital Sanaa on Friday and an ensuing gunbattle left at least three soldiers dead. The clash between the rival forces took the turmoil gripping Yemen to a new level, even as anti-government demonstrators rallied Friday in several cities and towns across the country pressing their demand for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office. In the southern town of Ibb, security forces opened fire on a funeral procession for a protester killed there the day before, leaving three demonstrators dead and scores wounded. And seven soldiers died as gunmen ambushed troops elsewhere on Friday.


An angry mob attacked a group of mainly Christian protesters demanding drastic measures to heal religious tension amid a spike in violence, leaving 65 people injured. The Christian protesters have been holding their sit-in outside the state television building in Cairo for nearly a week following deadly Christian-Muslim clashes that left a church burned and 15 people dead. More than 100 people lobbed rocks and fire bombs at the few hundred protesters sleeping in the area. Vehicles were set on fire and fires burned in the middle of the street. Police and army troops fired in the air to disperse the crowd.

Egyptian authorities ordered the detention of Suzanne Mubarak, wife of deposed President Hosni Mubarak, the government-run MENA news service says. The move on Friday comes a day after the government reported that Mubarak and his wife were questioned over suspicions they illegally amassed vast wealth. MENA said prosecutors ordered Suzanne Mubarak detained for 15 days pending further investigation of the allegations. She was hospitalized in the intensive care unit Friday after suffering severe chest pains upon hearing the news that she had been ordered detained on corruption allegations. The 82-year-old former president is in a hospital in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with what is believed to be a nervous breakdown.


Protecting troops on foot patrol in Afghanistan from makeshift bombs and stemming the flow of explosives from Pakistan are top Pentagon priorities as the military prepares for what it expects will be the worst fighting of the year, a top. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the No.1 cause of fatalities and injuries to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The devices have killed 657 U.S. troops and wounded 6,330 since the war began in 2001 through March of this year. Warmer weather and the end of the poppy harvest have generally heralded the beginning of the toughest combat in Afghanistan. During the harvest, the Taliban focuses on taxing the opium poppy crops, one of its main sources of revenue. Afghanistan produces the raw opium used to make 90% of the world’s heroin.


In Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square, two mortar rounds slammed into the street at about 1:00 p.m., killing two pedestrians and injuring eight others. The mortar rounds were aimed at Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses Iraqi government headquarters and the U.S. and British embassies. Two other mortar rounds landed in the Green Zone, but there was no immediate word on casualties. Although violence has ebbed nationwide in recent years, militants are still capable of launching deadly attacks.


Italian border police on Saturday escorted a boat with 218 Tunisians aboard to tiny Lampedusa island, where tens of thousands of illegal migrants have arrived since January to escape turmoil in North Africa. Meanwhile, Africans fleeing Libya by sea reached Sicily. The Tunisians will be soon deported. Italy and Tunisia struck a deal in early April to give temporary residency permits to Tunisians who had already arrived but to send back future arrivals. Lampedusa is a fishing and vacation island closer to north African shores than to the Italian mainland.


Mexican security forces have discovered another 17 bodies from mass graves found last month in the northern state of Durango. The discovery brings the number of bodies recently unearthed in Durango to 218. That total eclipses the 183 bodies found in pits last month in Tamaulipas. Drug cartels have been blamed for the mass graves found in several states. The Sinaloa, Zetas and Beltran Leyva cartels have been fighting for control in Durango. U.S. companies are shying away from new investments south of the border, where organized criminals are increasingly turning to kidnappings, extortion and cargo thefts despite a government offensive against drug cartels.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne told Congress last Wednesday that the United States should designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. Such a designation by the State Department would place Mexican drug trafficking organizations on the same list as al-Qaida, the Taliban, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. And it would subject the cartels to the freezing of monetary assets and tough criminal prosecution of those who provide them with material or monetary support.


Assailants killed at least 29 people — decapitating most of the victims — on a ranch in a part of northern Guatemala plagued by drug cartels, national police said Sunday. It is one of the worst massacres since the end of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war in 1996. Police are investigating whether the attack is related to Saturday’s killing in Peten of Haroldo Leon, the brother of alleged Guatemalan drug boss Juan Jose “Juancho” Leon.


A magnitude-6 earthquake shook the capital city of Costa Rica on Friday. The quake was felt strongly in San Jose but there were no immediate reports damage or injuries. There were reports of fallen objects but none of major damages to buildings. On Jan. 8, 2009, a 6.1 quake in central Costa Rica killed at least 20 people. A 5.9-magnitude quake shook the country in October 2010.

  • Major end-time earthquakes will continue to increase, just as the Bible foretells.


The USA has been hit with five weather disasters costing more than a billion dollars each in 2011, setting a modern record for the most high-cost weather events so early in a year, according to insurance estimates and government records. Tornadoes, floods and storms have inflicted unusually high costs because of their severity and their location, hitting populous areas such as Memphis, Raleigh, N.C., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. The severe damage could affect people nationwide, increasing insurance rates and draining taxpayer-supported disaster-relief funds. Storms this year have “produced significant damage, disruption to business and closures and increased car accidents,” said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, a leading research group supported by insurers.

Federal engineers took the rare step Saturday of opening a major spillway in south-central Louisiana to alleviate pressure from the dangerously swollen Mississippi River. The opening of the Morganza Spillway – the first time since 1973 and the second time ever it’s been done – will flood thousands of acres of farmland, towns and homes between Morganza, La., and the Gulf of Mexico, but potentially save populated cities downriver like Baton Rouge and New Orleans from catastrophic flooding. The floodwaters are expected to cut a swath 20 miles wide and 150 miles long, up to 25 feet deep, along southern Louisiana’s Cajun country. About 25,000 people and 11,000 structures could be in harm’s way. Sheriffs and National Guardsmen were warning people in a door-to-door sweep through the area, and shelters were ready to accept up to 4,800 evacuees. Southwestern Louisiana wildlife, including a segment of the state’s black bear population, will begin seeking dry ground as the Atchafalaya Basin slowly floods from the opening of the spillway. On Sunday, the Mississippi River crested higher in Vicksburg, Miss. than it has in 183 years of record-keeping

  • Increasingly severe end-time weather will continue to plague the USA and the world

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May 12, 2011

Spaniards Flee From a Series of Earthquakes

Thousands of Spaniards were stunned by the country’s deadliest earthquakes in 55 years and fled Lorca, a small agricultural city, fearing aftershocks might level it after a pair of moderate temblors killed nine people and caused extensive damage Wednesday. Lorca has a population of about 90,000 but was transformed into a ghost town. tens of thousands slept outside in makeshift camps, and many of those who remained were poor Latin American immigrants who work the fields and had nowhere else to go. Spain’s government promised to set up a shelter to house 3,500 people. One child died and thirty people remained hospitalized Thursday a day after the quakes. Only a few buildings were destroyed, but the quakes with magnitudes of 4.4 and 5.2 reported by Spain’s geological institute sent brick building facades and parts of terraces plunging into the streets and caused damage to hundreds of apartment buildings.

Indiana Cuts Off Funds for Planned Parenthood

A federal judge today denied Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s request that she order the state to hold off on enforcing a new law cutting funds to the health care provider.Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a bill Tuesday that would end the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. Supporters of the bill, HB1210, say they do not want their tax dollars going to an organization that provides abortions. The bill also moves the deadline for women to receive abortions down to 20 weeks and mandates that doctors tell patients that abortion has been linked to infertility. The bill would cut off about $2 million of the $3 million Planned Parenthood receives annually in government funds and make Indiana the first state to prohibit the use of Medicaid at Planned Parenthood.

Presbyterians Clear the Way for Ordaining Gays, Lesbians

Non-celibate gays and lesbians will become eligible for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) following ratification of a constitutional amendment that reverses decades of official policy. The long-debated change came late Tuesday when a Minnesota presbytery, or regional governing body, voted 205-56 to ratify an amendment lifting an effective ban on gay ordination in the church constitution. That vote by the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area brought to 87 the number of presbyteries approving the change for the Protestant denomination based in Louisville, Ky. — the majority needed to amend the constitution.

  • Another step down the slippery slope of end-time immorality and lawlessness

Governor Signs Delaware Civil Unions Bill

Gov. Jack Markell signed Delaware’s civil unions bill into law Thursday morning. Lawmakers passed the bill in both chambers by margins of almost 2-to-1. Effective Jan. 1, the law will provide legal protections and benefits for same-sex couples who solemnize their relationships. With the signing, Delaware becomes the eighth state to grant comprehensive same-sex relationship rights — either through same-sex marriage laws, civil unions or domestic partnerships. The law does not change federal law, which restricts marriage benefits to opposite-sex couples.

  • Legal, but still immoral

Judge Halts Enforcement of Utah’s New Immigration Checks

A federal judge has halted enforcement of Utah’s new immigration law, citing its similarity to Arizona’s. U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups issued the temporary restraining order who said that the state’s lawyer did not successfully rebut the plaintiff’s argument that there would be “irreparable harm” to people if the law remained in effect, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Both sides will be back in court July 14 to argue the case.

Obama Proposes New Immigration Plan

President Obama laid out a plan in El Paso on Tuesday that would continue to strengthen security along the southwest border, make it harder for businesses to hire illegal immigrants and overhaul the nation’s visa system to attract better-educated foreigners to study and work in the United States. Critics pounced on one aspect of the president’s first push to overhaul the nation’s immigration system: a path for legalization for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. Obama’s plan would require illegal immigrants to register with the government, undergo criminal background checks, pay back taxes and fines, learn English and get in line behind people who have already applied to enter the country. Then, they would be eligible to become legal permanent residents in eight years, and full U.S. citizens five years later. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, responded by calling the plan an “amnesty” and said more needed to be done to secure the border.

House to Vote on Lifting Offshore Oil Moratorium

With almost 98 percent of America’s offshore oil off-limits to drilling, and sustained gas prices nearing $4 a gallon, congressional Republicans say only one thing is keeping America from tapping into its offshore resources — President Obama. On Wednesday, Congress will consider a bill to void that. The House is expected to pass H.R. 1231, a bill titled, “Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act”. The bill would require the administration to allow drilling in at least 50 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf areas known to contain the most oil and gas. Specifically, that means southern California, the Arctic, mid-Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. It would also open up other areas in the southern Atlantic and allow governors there to to opt in to the plan if they chose.

Brain Drain in Silicon Valley

The nation is experiencing a brain drain. Silicon Valley may be the cradle for tech start-ups, but some foreign-born executives, engineers and scientists are leaving because of better opportunities back home, strict immigration laws here and California’s steep cost of living. President Obama highlighted the quandary in a speech Tuesday in El Paso. He pointed out that immigration reform is essential and that Intel, Google, Yahoo and eBay were all founded by immigrants. There are no hard data available, but authorities agree the number of foreign-born workers returning to India and China annually is in the tens of thousands. India is now flush with Internet service companies vying to become the country’s version of, Groupon or Expedia. American-educated and trained Chinese are returning home and playing a key role in helping major R&D innovation.

Squeezed Cities Ask Nonprofits for More Money

As recession-racked cities struggle to balance their budgets, a growing number are seeking more money — just don’t use the word taxes — from nonprofit institutions that occupy valuable land but by law do not pay property taxes. Boston has been sending letters to its largest nonprofit institutions this year, telling them the value of their land and asking them to begin making annual payments that would eventually rise to a quarter of what they would owe if they paid property taxes. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel of Chicago wants the city to begin charging water fees to nonprofits, which have been spared them in the past. And the mayor of Providence, R.I., Angel Taveras, cited Boston’s example this month when he called on nonprofits to pay more money to the city.

Economic News

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week, reversing nearly all the sharp rise reported the previous week. The number of new workers seeking unemployment benefits dropped 44,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The drop suggests that the increase of 47,000 reported last week was mostly due to temporary factors. Still, the latest applications figure is far above the 375,000 level typically consistent with sustainable job growth.

Job openings rose by 99,000 to 3.1 million in March, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That’s the highest level of openings since September 2008 and the second straight monthly increase. But it is still significantly below the 4.4 million openings recorded in December 2007, when the recession began.

Sales at U.S. retailers rose in April, reflecting gains at service stations and grocery stores as fuel and food prices climbed. The 0.5 percent increase was the smallest since July and followed a 0.9 percent March gain. Mounting bills for gasoline and groceries are leaving Americans with less money for other purchases.

Oil prices continued falling Thursday, dropping below $96 a barrel on expectations that global oil demand growth will slow this year, particularly in the U.S. The Paris-based International Energy Agency said world demand for oil would be less than previously expected due to persistently high prices and lower expectations of economic growth in advanced economies. The national average gasoline price remained at $3.99 Thursday.

U.S. companies sold a record amount of goods and services overseas in March, but a big jump in oil imports pushed the nation’s trade deficit higher. The Commerce Department says the trade deficit rose 6% to $48.2 billion. despite exports increasing to a record $172.7 billion. oil imports soar d to $39.3 billion, an 18% rise from the previous month. The trade deficit with China decreased slightly to $18.1 billion.

Global insurance company American International Group and the federal government are offering to sell a total of 300 million AIG shares to the public. The stock sale would be a big step by the government to disentangle itself from AIG after spending billions of dollars on its rescue of the New York insurance company at the height of the financial crisis. AIG paid the Treasury Department nearly $7 billion in March to trim its outstanding balance to just under $60 billion of the $182 billion government bailout it received in 2008.

General Motors announced Tuesday that it will spend more than $2 billion on plant updates and expansion in eight states, creating 4,200 jobs. Most of the jobs will be on the plant floor, but some white-collar jobs are part of the plans.

Microsoft has agreed to buy the popular Internet telephone service Skype for $8.5 billion in the biggest deal in the software maker’s 36-year history. Buying Skype would give Microsoft a potentially valuable communications tool as it tries to make a bigger splash on the Internet and become a bigger force in the increasingly important smartphone market.

Bin Laden Kin Want Proof of Death

Relatives of Osama bin Laden want proof that the terrorist leader is dead and are calling for an investigation into how he was killed. “They just really want some answers, and they would just really like to know what exactly happened, why they weren’t called,” said author Jean Sasson, who worked with Omar bin Laden to pen a memoir entitled Growing Up bin Laden. “Many people will not believe that he’s dead,” she told CNN Wednesday. Her comments come a day after a statement from Omar bin Laden and his brothers was provided to The New York Times. The statement says that despite the extensive coverage of his death, “we are not convinced on the available evidence in the absence of (a) dead body, photographs, and video evidence that our natural father is dead.”


The death of Osama bin Laden and growing pressure from Congress to shrink the U.S. presence and expense in Afghanistan have given new impetus to those within the Obama administration who favor a swift reduction of U.S. forces, according to senior administration officials and leading lawmakers. Even before the death of bin Laden, the confluence of the national debt crisis, the 2012 election and events on the ground had bolstered arguments that the administration’s plans to remake Afghanistan’s government and economy went too far beyond the goal of safeguarding U.S. security. Current expenditures of $10 billion a month are “fundamentally unsustainable” and the administration urgently needs to clarify both its mission and exit plan, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said Tuesday. In Afghanistan, the U.S. commander in charge of the country’s east cautioned that bin Laden’s death hadn’t changed the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan, and it must continue.

  • The Afghanistan mission got off course when it switched from destroying terrorist camps and training facilities to winning control of that nation’s government and economy.


Fresh tension has erupted between the CIA and Pakistani intelligence after several Pakistani media outlets published the alleged name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad. Two senior Pakistani officials said the name published was incorrect, but one said it was similar to the real one. Despite the inaccuracy, publication of the name was seen as a sign of worsening relations between the two spy agencies a week after the death of Osama bin Laden in a garrison town north of Islamabad.

Middle East

Israel began moving additional forces into the West Bank on Wednesday ahead of threatened protests on May 15, the 63rd anniversary of Israeli independence (according to the Gregorian calendar) which Palestinians call “Nakba (Catastrophe) Day.” Security officials believe that widespread protests are possible as early as Friday, although intelligence estimates are that the protests will not be violent. The planned protests are being coordinated through several Facebook groups, which claim to have drawn inspiration from recent events in Egypt and other Arab countries.


NATO airstrikes struck Moammar Gadhafi’s sprawling compound in Tripoli and three other sites early Thursday, hours after the Libyan leader was shown on state TV in his first appearance since his son was killed nearly two weeks ago. Explosions thundered across the capital and wailing ambulances raced through the city as the last missile exploded. NATO has hit Tripoli repeatedly this week as part of its effort to weaken the regime’s resistance to a 3-month-old rebellion. NATO said most of the alliance’s 46 air strikes on Wednesday were concentrated in and around the Libyan capital, hitting command and control centers, ammunition dumps and anti-aircraft missile launchers.


Hundreds of Egyptians, many of them Coptic Christians, demonstrated on Monday in Cairo to protest Muslim-Christian clashes that left 12 dead and a church burned. Demonstrators, who numbered about 1,000 by midday, said they feared that some in Egypt seek to create an Islamic state that would marginalize the Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s nearly 80 million population. Most are Coptic Christians. Some of the protesters gathered outside the building that is headquarters for state-run TV criticized the army’s handling of the weekend clashes and demanded that the military ruler step down.


The Syrian army shelled residential areas in the country’s third-largest city Wednesday, sending people fleeing for cover in a sharp escalation in the government’s attempts to crush a popular revolt against President Bashar Assad’s autocratic rule. Heavy tank- and gunfire rocked at least three residential neighborhoods in the besieged city of Homs, which has seen some of the largest anti-government demonstrations during the seven-week-long uprising. More than 750 people have been killed in a crackdown on the unrest and thousands of Syrians have been detained, with about 9,000 still in custody.

As demonstrations against the Syrian government intensify, Christians are coming under increasing pressure to join the uprising – or leave. In one Christian village outside the southern city of Deraa a home came under fire by a group of masked men on motorbikes, while Muslim residents in the village of Hala have issued an ultimatum to their Christian neighbours either to join the demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime or to leave. Their demands are making life extremely difficult for the Christians, who have closed their shops and are considering what course of action to take. Churches have also received threatening letters.


Yemeni police trying to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters in two cities Thursday wounded 45 people. Taiz has been a hotbed of anti-government protests. Crowds seized control of the Oil Ministry building Thursday. Protesters have been demanding the resignation of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh in weeks of demonstrations, some involving tens of thousands of people. Saleh has been clinging to power, warning that if he leaves without an orderly succession, the al-Qaida branch in Yemen will take advantage of the resulting chaos. Saleh torpedoed a mediation effort last month that appeared to be close to resolving the crisis.


Baptist Press reports that at least 13 members of a Beijing church were arrested Sunday, May 8, in the fifth straight week of its defiance of the Chinese government. Officials have continued to force people out of their homes in an effort to pressure the congregation. One family learned they were being kicked out of their home at 6:40 Sunday morning, before the service even began. The high-profile clash between the government and Shouwang Church — one of the largest unregistered illegal churches in Beijing — has led to hundreds of house arrests or detentions. More than 500 church members were placed under arrest on Easter weekend alone, prevented from leaving their houses or apartments. Shouwang Church itself is homeless, having lost its meeting space when the government pressured the owners of a restaurant — its last home — to kick out the church. The church also has tried to rent space, only to see various landlords pressured not to cooperate.


Japan will scrap a plan to obtain half of its electricity from nuclear power and will instead promote renewable energy and conservation as a result of its ongoing nuclear crisis, the prime minister said Tuesday. Nuclear plants supplied about 30% of Japan’s electricity, and the government had planned to raise that to 50% by 2030. The operator of the stricken power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has been struggling for nearly two months to restore critical cooling systems that were knocked out by the disaster. Some 80,000 people living within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius of the plant were evacuated from their homes on March 12, with many now living in gymnasiums. On Tuesday, about 100 evacuees were allowed into that exclusion zone briefly to gather belongings from their homes.


The African nation of Congo has been called the worst place on earth to be a woman. A new study released Wednesday shows that it’s even worse than previously thought: 1,152 women are raped every day, a rate equal to 48 per hour. Congo, a nation of 70 million people that is equal in size to Western Europe, has been plagued by decades of war. Its vast forests are rife with militias that have systematically used rape to destroy communities. Margot Wallstrom, the U.N. special representative for sexual violence in conflict, said she consistently stresses that “the number of reported violations are just the tip of the iceberg of actual incidents,” since many women are reluctant to report being raped or abused.


Time is running out for many Haitians who came to the USA after the 2010 earthquake and now may be sent back to a country in chaos. President-elect Michel Martell, who will be inaugurated Saturday, has an ambitious agenda to restore his country, but conditions are grim: hundreds of thousands still living in tents, scant public services, a stubborn cholera outbreak. In the USA, meanwhile, many earthquake survivors are jobless, scrambling for medical care and relying on friends and family for food and shelter. Visas are expiring, and immigration officials have not acted on most requests for a change in status that would let them stay in the USA.


Wildfires have consumed over 2.5 million acres (almost 4,000 square miles) in the U.S. so far this year, the most in decades. Currently there are 9 large (over 100 acres) wildfires burning in Texas, 7 in New Mexico, 5 in Arizona, 2 in Florida, and one each in California, Georgia, North Carolina and Kansas. The largest wildfire has destroyed 314,444 acres in West Texas with another having consumed 89,200 acres. A 98,000 acre wildfire is burning in Georgia while a New Mexico wildfire has burned 60,920 acres in New Mexico with the largest one in Arizona has consumed 13,300 acres 50 miles northeast of Bisbee and is only 10% contained.


Although Texas is finally receiving some rain, the drought report issued Thursday shows all of the state suffering drought conditions to some degree, with the drought level for 47% of the state rated “exceptional,”.35% “extreme” and another 11% “severe.” All of New Mexico is also experiencing drought conditions, with 30% “exceptional,” 31% “extreme” and 26% “severe.”  Arizona is rated at 16% “extreme,”, 15% “severe,” 27% “moderate” and 28% “abnormally dry.”

The bloated Mississippi River continued its yawning, destructive march downriver, surpassing one historic height after another since cresting at Memphis last week. Even as the river’s system of levees and floodwalls hold the river in check, dozens of tributaries from Missouri to Natchez are overflowing, swamping neighborhoods, devouring homes and driving people and animals to higher ground. The slow-moving disaster is expected to cause more than $4 billion in damages and displace thousands.

Mississippi River rose Monday to levels not seen in Memphis since the 1930s, swamping homes in low-lying neighborhoods and driving hundreds of people from their homes. But the levees held and protected the city’s world-famous musical landmarks, including Graceland and Beale Street. All but three of Mississippi’s 19 river casinos were closed Wednesday because of flooding and the others in Vicksburg are expected to shut down by the weekend, the state’s gaming commissioner said, noting that some could be out of business for up to a month. It is the first time since the river casinos opened in the early 1990s that the state has closed so many because of a disaster. And the closures are going to put a dent in local tax revenues and cash registers.

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May 9, 2011

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Bin Laden Raid Sparks Intense Criticism in Pakistan

Outraged Pakistanis stepped up calls Saturday for top government officials to resign following the daring American helicopter raid that killed Osama bin Laden and embarrassed the nation. Some of the sharpest language was directed at the army and intelligence chiefs, a rare challenge to arguably the two most powerful men in the country, who are more accustomed to being feared than publicly criticized. With anti-American sentiment already high in the South Asian nation, many Pakistani citizens were incensed by the fact that the country’s military was powerless to stop the American raid.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, in his first public response to the killing of Osama bin Laden, rejected charges of incompetence or complicity by Pakistan’s military or intelligence agencies. In his first public comments on Pakistan since the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama said the al-Qaeda leader must have had “some sort of support network” there. President Obama’s national security adviser demanded Sunday that Pakistan let American investigators interview Osama bin Laden’s three widows, adding new pressure in a relationship now fraught over how Bin Laden could have been hiding near Islamabad for years without local assistance. Senior Pakistani security officials said Osama bin Laden’s daughter had confirmed her father was captured alive and then shot dead by the US Special Forces during the first few minutes of the operation

Bin Laden Aftermath

Some of the first information gleaned from Osama bin Laden’s compound indicates al-Qaeda considered attacking U.S. trains on the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. But counterterrorism officials say they believe the planning never got beyond the initial phase and have no recent intelligence pointing to an active plot for such an attack.

Only one of the five people shot and killed during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound was armed, the head of the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday as officials revised the tale of the al-Qaeda leader’s takedown for the third day in a row. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said White House officials “got a little ahead of themselves” earlier in the week when they mistakenly described a sustained firefight between Navy SEALs and those in bin Laden’s compound. Seeking to satisfy a demanding media — which is now armed with the tools to disseminate information instantly — the Obama administration rushed out details of Osama bin Laden’s death that have since had to be changed and corrected. No, bin Laden was not armed. No, he did not use his wife as a human shield. No, there wasn’t much of a firefight.

  • So why kill him? Better to flaunt him as a continual symbol of a USA triumph over Islamic terrorism. And bury him at sea while no one’s looking? A coverup of some kind is underway.

The government’s hunt for Osama bin Laden has left the country questioning whether the tactics used to interrogate suspected terrorists were successful and lawful. With his death, both sides of the debate have regrouped along familiar lines, claiming they were right all along. “For those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, to say that it should be stopped and never used again: We got vital information, which directly led us to bin Laden,” the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said last week. But current and former officials directly involved in the interrogation program say that’s not the case.

Strain on Armed Forces in the Field at a Five-Year High

U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan are experiencing some of the greatest psychological stress and lowest morale in five years of fighting, reports a military study. Mental health strain was most severe among veterans of three or more deployments, with a third of those showing signs of psychological problems defined as either stress, depression or anxiety as the U.S. approaches the 10th year of its longest war. The report says decline in individual morale is significant: 46.5% of troops said they had good morale, compared with 65.7% who said so in 2005. The study’s researchers also found evidence of physical wear-and-tear with a third of the force experiencing chronic pain. “We’re an Army that’s in uncharted territory here,” says Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff. “We have never fought for this long with an all-volunteer force.”

Challenges to Health Care Law Get Appellate Hearing Tuesday

The legal battle over the federal health care law shifts to a historic Richmond courthouse Tuesday, in the first appellate hearing on the constitutionality of the Obama-sponsored legislation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will consider two cases testing the sweeping law that requires people to buy health insurance by 2014 or face a tax penalty. In one of those two cases, a trial judge declared that mandate, the linchpin provision of the 2010 health-care law, unconstitutional. In the other case, a judge upheld it. Competing arguments from the Obama administration and its challengers will now play out before the highest court to date — one that brings the case closer to its likely destination, the U.S. Supreme Court. .

Feds Order Release of Illegals to “Phony Up Numbers”

The U.S. Border Patrol has told its agents to stop arresting illegal aliens crossing the border from Mexico to keep the illegal immigration numbers down, Arizona Sheriff Larry Dever told Newsmax. He also charges that Attorney General Eric Holder is “holding hands with the ACLU” to protect illegal aliens from prosecution, says illegals are committing “heinous crimes” across America every day, and calls claims that the federal government should be solely responsible for controlling illegal immigration “balderdash.” Dever is sheriff of Cochise County, which shares an 83-mile border with Mexico, and he says his Border Patrol sector is responsible for half of all illegal aliens caught trying to enter the country. “For the secretary of homeland security to say the border is more secure than ever, well, I’ve been there forever and there was a happier time than what it is today. We have a long, long way to go.” Dever recently told Congress that in one district in Texas, illegals are allowed to be caught crossing the border 14 times before being charged with a felony, and federal smuggling charges are not considered unless at least six illegal aliens are being smuggled into the country.

Navy Allows Chaplains to Perform Same-Sex Unions

The Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains is now allowing same-sex couples in the Navy to get married in Navy chapels by Navy chaplains under condition that same-sex marriage is legal in the state where the ceremony is to be performed. “Regarding chaplain participation, consistent with the tenets of his or her religious organization, a chaplain may officiate a same-sex, civil marriage: if it is conducted in accordance with the laws of the state which permits same-sex marriages or union; and if the chaplain is, according to applicable state and local laws, otherwise fully certified to officiate that state’s marriages,” the directive concludes.

The Family Research Council says that this is yet another violation of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) being forced upon military chaplains on U.S. Military bases by the Obama Administration.  Christian chaplains will be forced to support or facilitate homosexual marriage ceremonies, and desecrate their Protestant or Catholic chapels by welcoming sodomite weddings. “By pretending that all military chapels which sit on federal land, for example a federal U.S. military base surrounded by the state of Massachusetts, are now under control of the state, Obama has effectively kicked all chapels off of federal land, and given the Christian chapel buildings over to control of pro-homosexual states.”

AFA Forces Sears to Remove Pornographic DVDs

When the American Family Association reported Sears was selling pornographic DVDs on its website, Sears initially told AFA supporters that it was untrue. Finally, Sears called AFA on May 6 after AFA supporters flooded the company with calls and emails. During the call, Sears again vigorously denied they were selling pornography. However, AFA clearly showed Sears the material on their very own website! When Sears realized they were wrong, they issued this statement to AFA: “We sincerely apologize to any customers who were offended. Our agreements with our vendors prohibit content that is pornographic or sexually explicit in nature. We are removing these items that do not meet our guidelines. We regularly review our processes to ensure compliance by our vendors, and we encourage our customers and community to help us flag any items that they believe might violate our guidelines.”

U.S. Tax Burden at Lowest Level Since ’58

Americans are paying the smallest share of their income for taxes since 1958, a reflection of tax cuts and a weak economy, a USA TODAY analysis finds. The total tax burden — for all federal, state and local taxes — dropped to 23.6% of income in the first quarter, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data. By contrast, individuals spent roughly 27% of income on taxes in the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s — a rate that would mean $500 billion of extra taxes annually today, one-third of the estimated $1.5 trillion federal deficit this year. “We have a 1950s level of taxation and a 21st-century-sized government,” says Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a deficit-reduction advocacy group.

  • Even as government increased spending, overall tax rates were reduced – a recipe for disaster. Not only do we need to decrease the size of government, but we also need to pay the piper and increase taxes to balance the budget in the short-term. Long-term, though, decreased entitlements will be required.

Deficit-Reduction Talks Sidestep Medicare, Taxes

Democrats and Republicans agreed Thursday to focus initially on areas of potential compromise — rather than overhauling Medicare or raising taxes — as they seek to reduce a $1.4 trillion budget deficit and slow the growth of the $14.3 trillion national debt. They will meet again Tuesday. Biden and the six lawmakers representing House and Senate leaders face two deadlines: The nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit will be reached this month; and any further effort to control the nation’s long-term debt will have to be done before Congress adjourns this year, because neither side expects action during the 2012 election year.

Economic News

Employers added 244,000 jobs in April for the third straight month, the biggest hiring spree in five years. But the unemployment rate rose to 9% in part because some people resumed looking for work. Job gains were widespread. Retailers, factories, financial companies, education and health care and even construction companies all added jobs. Federal, state and local governments cut jobs. The rise in the unemployment rate from 8.8% in March was the first increase since November.

Home prices nationwide have double dipped, with prices plunging below their March 2009 bottom, the Clear Capital research firm reports. The company’s monthly Home Data Index shows home prices double dipping 0.7 percent below the previous record low set in March 2009.

The price of silver collapsed for the fourth-consecutive day, falling a brutal 8% Thursday to $36.23 an ounce. Silver lost 25% of its value in just four days after hitting a peak of $48.58 last week. Silver now finds itself in a crushing bear market that’s not showing any signs of relenting. A 20% decline from a market high is the unofficial definition of a bear market.

Has the soaring price of gas finally peaked ? Possibly. Oil prices fell 15% this week, the steepest decline in two and a half years, and futures prices for light, sweet crude fell below $100 a barrel  Oil hit a two-year high of $114.83 Monday. Authorities say they’re unclear whether the sell-off is more than a blip and can reverse 44 straight days of rising prices at the pump. Gas prices stayed basically flat at $3.984 a gallon on average.

Fannie Mae asked the government Friday for an additional $8.5 billion in aid after declining home prices caused more defaults on loans guaranteed by the mortgage giant. The company said it lost $8.7 billion in the first three months of the year. Those losses led Fannie to request more than three times the federal aid it sought in the previous quarter. The total cost of rescuing the government-controlled mortgage buyer is nearing $100 billion — the most expensive bailout of a single company. Combined with the bailout of sibling company Freddie Mac, the government expects their rescue to cost taxpayers about $259 billion.

European authorities have conceded they may need to do more to help Greece with its massive debts more than a year after it was first bailed out. Though Greece has enacted stringent austerity measures, started reforming the economy and announced a 50 billion euro ($73 billion) privatization program, the government is having trouble raising revenue through tax receipts as the country remains in recession.


The U.S. carried out its first drone attack in Pakistan since Osama bin Laden’s death in an American raid this week, killing 15 people in a hail of missiles near the Afghan border Friday. The strike targeted a vehicle suspected of carrying foreign militants in the North Waziristan tribal area, an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold that has been subject to frequent missile attacks. The aircraft fired eight missiles at the vehicle as it drove near a roadside restaurant, killing at least 15 people. Drone attacks are extremely unpopular in Pakistan, and the most recent attack could further increase tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan that have spiked in the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s death.


Taliban gunmen unleashed a major assault Saturday on government buildings in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s largest southern city — a former Taliban stronghold where international and Afghan forces are trying to establish security and a functioning government. Government and hospital officials confirmed that the governor’s compound, the mayor’s office and the intelligence agency offices had all been attacked. At least 12 people had been wounded, according to officials at the city’s main hospital.


Witnesses say Gadhafi forces have bombed the main fuel depot in Misrata, intensifying the regime’s campaign against the rebel-held city that has been under siege for over two months. Smoke from the main fuel depot near the city port is still billowing into the skies following Saturday’s overnight bombing. Amnesty International said Gadhafi’s forces may have committed war crimes in Misrata where the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating because of regime attempts to tighten its siege and block access by sea.


Relations between Egypt’s Muslims and Christians degenerated to a new low Sunday after riots overnight left 12 people dead and a church burned, adding to the disorder of the country’s post-revolution transition to democracy. The attack on the church was the latest sign of assertiveness by an extreme, ultraconservative movement of Muslims known as Salafis, whose increasing hostility toward Egypt’s Coptic Christians over the past few months has met with little interference from the country’s military rulers.


Syrian security forces arrested hundreds of activists and anti-government protesters in house-to-house raids across the country Monday, part of an escalating government crackdown aimed at stamping out the nationwide revolt engulfing the country. President Bashar Assad has dispatched army troops and tanks to crush the seven-week uprising that has posed the most serious challenge to his family’s 40-year rule. The widening crackdown suggests that Assad’s regime is determined to crush the uprising by force and intimidation, despite rapidly escalating international outrage and a death toll that has topped 630 civilians since the unrest began.

Anti-government protests in Syria have increasingly targeted Christians in the country, according to sources for International Christian Concern. One Christian leader said, “People want to go out and peacefully ask for certain changes, but Muslim Salafi groups are sneaking in with their goal, which is not to make changes for the betterment of Syria, but to take over the country with their agenda.” He said Christians have been told join protests or else leave the country, at least one Christian home was attacked, and several churches received written threats over Easter. Another Syrian Christian leader told ICC, “If Muslim Salafis gain political influence, they will make sure that there will be no trace of Christianity in Syria.” ICC says if the situation further deteriorates, the country may see an exodus similar to that of Iraq’s Christians, in which more than half the Christian population has left over the last eight years.


Security forces backed by army units opened fire Sunday on protesters demanding the ouster of Yemen’s longtime president, killing three. In all, tens of thousands of protesters mobilized in several cities and towns, according to activists — the latest installment of daily protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh that have been staged for almost three months. More than 140 people reportedly have been killed in the government crackdown on the protesters, who have nonetheless grown in number week after week.


Tunisia’s caretaker government has ordered an overnight curfew for the capital and nearby areas, following three days of renewed protests over fears that the country’s efforts at democracy are in jeopardy. The move, after three days of clashes between hundreds of angry protesters and riot police, marked the interim government’s effort to bring order back to Tunisia after massive street upheaval brought down the 23-year regime of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January. The new curfew harkened back to similar measures instituted by Ben Ali’s regime before it fell.


Bahrain’s king set a fast-track timetable to end martial law-style rule Sunday in a bid to display confidence that authorities have smothered a pro-reform uprising even as rights groups denounced the hard-line measures. The announcement to lift emergency rule came just hours after the start of a closed-door trial accusing activists of plotting to overthrow the Gulf state’s rulers. The decision appears part of Bahrain’s aggressive international campaign to reassure financial markets and win back high-profile events. They include the coveted Formula One grand prix that was canceled in March amid deadly clashes and protests by the country’s majority Shiites, who are seeking greater rights and freedoms.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is mired in a political dispute with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that could result in the president’s resignation, Al Jazeera English reported Friday. The dispute is reportedly so severe that Ahmadinejad staged a 10-day walkout protest, during which time he was not seen in a single cabinet meeting. This split between the men has now boiled over: as many as 25 people close to Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested and accused of sorcery, according to The Guardian. The row between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei came to a head on April 17, when the president demanded that his intelligence minister resign. In a rare public reaction, Khameni rebuked the president and reinstated the minister, setting up a conflict between the two.


Japan urged a power company Friday to suspend all three reactors at a coastal nuclear plant while safety measures are taken to ensure damage from a major earthquake or tsunami does not cause a second nuclear accident. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference Friday evening the shutdown was requested for safety reasons, citing experts’ forecast of a 90 percent probability of a quake with magnitude of 8.0 or higher striking central Japan within 30 years. A safety review of all Japan’s 54 nuclear plants was prompted by the radiation crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that also left more than 25,000 people dead and missing on the northeast coast.


A United Nations-sponsored report into the causes of a deadly cholera outbreak that ravaged Haiti in the wake of its disastrous 2010 earthquake has discovered a culprit — the U.N. itself. The 32-page report, prepared by an independent panel of medical experts at the behest of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, clearly states that the source of the epidemic was most likely a camp for U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti, whose human waste was dumped by independent contractors into an unsecured pit that was susceptible to flooding in heavy rainfall. That conclusion, the report notes, mirrors “a commonly held belief in Haiti” virtually from the moment the outbreak began. The cholera epidemic, which is still ongoing, has killed some 4,500 Haitians through severe diarrhea and dehydration since its outbreak in October 2010. There had been no previous cholera outbreak in Haiti for nearly a century.


Key US lawmakers urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a letter released Friday to support labeling Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups and craft a strategy to help Mexico defeat them. “The Mexican drug cartels present a dangerous threat to the national security of the United States,” said the group, led by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, a Republican. “It is clear violent actions taken by the Mexican drug cartels have evolved and are acts of terrorism. These cartels should be classified as terrorist organizations,” they wrote.

Mexico sent hundreds of soldiers and federal police to a drug-violence plagued northern region Friday, the same day cartel gunmen fired on a military convoy with a grenade launcher and hit a bus carrying employees of a U.S.-owned assembly plant. The attack on the army convoy underscored the growing boldness of Mexico’s drug cartels. The army said attackers believed to be working for the Zetas cartel opened fire on the army vehicles with guns and a grenade launcher from a highway overpass on the outskirts of the northern city of Monterrey. One soldier and five people in passing vehicles were wounded, and one attacker was killed. The army said it found grenades, guns and hats with the letter “Z” — the Zetas symbol — at the scene.


April’s ferocity was one for the record books: There were more tornadoes in April 2011 than in any month in U.S. history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates there were more than 600 tornadoes in April, shattering the record of 543 in May 2003. With an estimated 327 deaths, the tornado outbreak April 25-28 was the third-deadliest on record, After a relatively quiet first week of May, the atmosphere appears to be gearing up for another round of violent weather this week in parts of the country.

The swollen Mississippi River is threatening record flooding this week along its path through Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. Officials went door to door in Memphis on Sunday to warn 243 more households to prepare for possible evacuations. Parts of the Mississippi Delta are already beginning to flood, sending white-tail deer and wild pigs swimming to dry land, submerging yacht clubs and closing casino boats, and compelling residents to flee from their homes. The flooding is already breaking many high-water records that have stood since the 1930s.

While a vast swath of America’s midsection braces for Mississippi River flooding, a small corner of the Northeast is quietly dealing with high-water headaches of its own. Gorged on snowmelt and incessant rain, normally placid Lake Champlain is overflowing, creeping into homes, businesses and neighborhoods in upstate New York and Vermont. In Vermont, the floodwaters threaten to swamp the two access roads leading to the island communities of Grand Isle County, home to about 7,500 people. While there have been no deaths and no mandatory evacuations, record-high lake levels have caused flooding in Burlington — the state’s biggest city — and numerous towns.

  • While not of the epic proportions of Noah’s worldwide flood, which God promised not to repeat, increased rainfall and record flooding will be a hallmark of increasingly severe end-time weather

May 5, 2011

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National Day of Prayer Focuses on USA’s Need for God

People across America are gathering at many locations today, the National Day of Prayer (NDP), to humble themselves before God in prayer. On Friday, the White House released a presidential proclamation marking today’s observance of the National Day of Prayer — the constitutionality of which was affirmed in a recent federal court ruling. “Throughout our history, Americans have turned to prayer for strength, inspiration, and solidarity,” President Barack Obama states in the proclamation. “Prayer has played an important role in the American story and in shaping our nation’s leaders.” Michael Calhoun, director of communications for the NDP Task Force, concurs, noting prayer has been an “indispensible” part of the nation’s heritage. “We must remain faithful in our commitment to intercede on behalf of our nation and its leaders — especially at this challenging time.” Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, says it is important that people pray for America’s national leaders — whether they agree with those leaders or not. “We need to pray for godly wisdom for our country,” Wildmon says. “That’s what we’re asking people to do on the National Day of Prayer…remember to honor God with our individual lives and pray for our future here in America because we desperately need God’s help — and without him we will not survive.

House Votes Pro-Life; Senate in Doubt

The House has passed a comprehensive bill banning use of federal tax dollars for abortion — but it’s unlikely to gain approval in the Senate. The vote, 251-175, was essentially along party lines, with 235 Republicans voting for the measure (five did not vote) and only 16 Democrats joining them. “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, where it is not expected to pass; in addition, the White House this week threatened to veto it if it made it that far. Marilyn Musgrave, special projects director of the Susan B. Anthony List, says that the vote sends a strong message to the Senate. She believes pro-life Americans are faithful in supporting candidates who support life. “I believe that many of them will decide that if a United States senator doesn’t care about the most vulnerable among us, if the United States senator doesn’t care about using our tax dollars for something we find abhorrent, I think they’re going to send a strong message come the next election cycle.”

Obama Faith Adviser: American Freedom, Equality Just ‘Myths’

President Obama’s faith adviser, Eboo Patel, blasted what he called the “myths” of America – including beliefs that the country is “a land of freedom and equality and justice.” Patel further explained how he has used the “faith-based movement” to channel his rage at America “in a direction far more compassionate and far more merciful.” In February 2010, Obama named Patel to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Patel is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects. WorldNetDaily reports that, like Obama, Patel is deeply tied to William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground terrorist group. In a 2007 interview with NPR to promote a book he wrote that year, Patel said that his own life story “is much closer to Bill Ayers… I was kind of taught the same myths about America, a land of freedom and equality and justice, et cetera, et cetera.” In 2005, he co-authored a book with Ayers’ adopted son, Chesa Boudin. The preface of Patel’s 2005 book, meanwhile, was written by Ayers’ wife, Weather Underground co-founder Bernardine Dohrn.

  • It’s shameful how many current administration officials, including the Obamas, are on record denouncing our country and its inherent values. These socialists are closely aligned with the New World Order globalists seeking to destroy the world’s last bastion of Christianity.

Christian Music Tour Was #1 in World

The Winter Jam 2011 Tour Spectacular – a multi-artist tour featuring many of Christian music’s biggest names – was the #1 tour in the world for the first quarter of the year, according to Pollstar. WOLRD News Service reports that the event outpaced attendance for all other tours in the first quarter, including U2, Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley and Justin Bieber, according to Pollstar’s 2011 Worldwide First Quarter Ticket Sales “Top 100 Tours” chart. The tour drew a record total audience of 524,239 during stops in 46 markets and featured headliners Newsboys, David Crowder Band, Kutless, Francesca Battistelli, RED, KJ-52, and guest speaker Tony Nolan. “We are grateful and humbled by the response to this year’s Winter Jam that only God Himself could have orchestrated,” said NewSong’s Eddie Carswell, tour founder. “It is amazing to think that nearly 100,000 people made meaningful, life-changing decisions to follow Christ and that over 13,000 made a commitment to assist orphans through our partnership with Holt. To truly impact lives is the reason that Winter Jam was created 16 years ago.”

  • The mainstream media would have us believe that Christianity is dead, but that is far from the truth. Christian and family-value movies are the most profitable, another item the leftist media ignores.

Bin Laden Hiding in Plain Sight

After almost a decade of pursuit, the world’s greatest manhunt ended with Osama bin Laden cornered not in a cave but in a mansion on the edges of a leafy city near Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. He was hiding, in a sense, in plain sight. That U.S. intelligence agents and special operations forces tracked bin Laden there, and that he appeared to have been with family and aides for considerable time, has raised questions about the role and veracity of Pakistan’s government, a nuclear power and nominal ally of the United States in its war against Taliban in Afghanistan. It casts doubt on the degree to which Pakistan was complicit in hiding and protecting bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda. Pakistan criticized the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden as an “unauthorized unilateral action,” laying bare the strains the raid has put on an already rocky alliance. Pakistan’s has shared information about about Osama bin Laden’s compound hideout with the CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009, the Pakistan foreign ministry says.

  • Besides evoking feel-good revenge, Bin Laden’s demise will mean very little in the ongoing war against Islamic militancy

Questions Arise Over Bin Laden’s Burial at Sea

Osama bin Laden was buried at sea early Monday morning in conformance with Islamic rites, U.S. officials said. The move raised questions about the government’s motive and how it would prove the body was bin Laden’s. “The burial at sea gives the whole story an air of incredulity,” said Mahmoud Ayoub, professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary. “That means there are no remains to verify the whole story.” Pentagon and intelligence officials said they’ve taken several steps to identify bin Laden, including visual and photo identifications and a DNA analysis. Politico reports that the raid photos of bin Laden are gruesome, complicating the White House decision on whether to release them. President Obama said Wednesday that he would not release photos of the terrorist leader’s corpse as proof that he is dead because they are too “graphic.”

After he was shot in the head in a firefight with U.S. Navy SEALs, bin Laden’s body was taken to the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea, where it was washed, placed on a white sheet and put in a weighted bag. An officer read religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. The body was then placed on a board and eased into the sea, a Pentagon official said. Bin Laden was buried within 24 hours of his death. Under Islamic rites, a person must be buried as quickly as possible. The most dignified place for burial is in the ground, Ayoub said. Muslims consider remains buried at sea to be lost, not buried.

Bin Laden Raid Nets ‘Significant’ Information Cache

The cache of information seized from the Pakistani compound of Osama bin Laden and his reliance on couriers suggests that the terror leader — despite nearly a decade spent in hiding — still sought to provide strategic guidance to terrorists within the organization, a U.S. government official said Wednesday. The material seized on about five computers, 100 remote electronic storage devices, such as flash drives, and 10 hard drives is one of the “most significant in the history of the war on terror.” An initial review of the information already has produced some potential threat information, but the official did not elaborate, saying the review was in its early stages. Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that teams of federal officials gathered from across the government are reviewing the information in the hope that it will offer fresh leads about plots and the whereabouts of surviving terrorists.

Groups Sue to Block Utah Immigration Law

Immigrant and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday aimed at halting a Utah immigration law that they say will create a police state and is too much like one of the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration law, which is also before the courts. The Utah law, signed by Gov. Gary Herbert in March, requires people to prove their citizenship if they’re arrested for serious crimes — ranging from certain drug offenses to murder — while giving police discretion to check citizenship on traffic infractions and other lesser offenses. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said the measure is “completely defensible” because, unlike Arizona’s law, it requires police to check citizenship only when a person is arrested for a felony or a class A misdemeanor.  Officers can use discretion for minor offenses, such as a traffic violation. That discretion forces everyone to carry papers proving their legal presence in the U.S. and constitutes an extreme violation of civil liberties, said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. The law center and the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in federal court in Salt Lake City. They’re seeking an immediate injunction against the law, which is set to take effect May 10.

Thousands of Illegal Immigrants Spared Deportation

Conservative Action Alerts reports that, “In a perplexing development ignored by the mainstream media, the Obama Administration suspended tens of thousands of deportations last year and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano lied to a Senate committee to cover up the astounding figure. Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee that has oversight over the Department of Homeland Security that her agency halted the deportation of only 900 illegal immigrants in fiscal year 2010. She did admit that the figure could be higher because it excludes “deferred action” granted to illegal immigrants for “humanitarian” reasons.” It turns out that the Obama Administration halted the deportation of 34,448 illegal immigrants last year, according to Homeland Security figures obtained independently by Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who sits on the Judiciary Committee.

White House Seeks to Sell Unused Government Property

The White House has identified 12,218 properties the federal government no longer needs, but the administration says Congress must act to reach the $15 billion President Obama hopes to save in three years by dumping unneeded property. That’s why the president sent legislation to Congress Wednesday to create an independent commission — modeled after the military’s Base Realignment and Closure Commission established in 1988 — to identify civilian federal properties that could be closed, sold or demolished. Jeff Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said bureaucratic, financial and political hurdles have “created a culture of inertia.” Twenty different laws govern the sale of federal property and should be streamlined, Zients said.

Feds Sue Deutsche Bank for Mortgage Fraud

The federal government sued Deutsche Bank Tuesday, saying the bank committed fraud and padded its pockets with undeserved income as it repeatedly lied to benefit from a government program that insured mortgages. The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeks to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims the government had to pay when homeowners defaulted on their mortgages. The lawsuit also asks for punitive damages. The government said the bank made substantial profits between 2007 and 2009 from the resale of the risky mortgages, leaving the government to foot the bill for loans that defaulted. The lawsuit said the bank carried out the fraud through its subsidiary, MortgageIT, which employed more than 2,000 people at branches in all 50 states. Deutsche acquired MortgageIT in 2007.

Deficit Reduction Talks Hit Roadblocks

The White House seeks to jump-start budget talks today amid signs that bipartisan efforts to save trillions of dollars have stalled over the two toughest issues: taxes and entitlement programs. A new round of negotiations headed by Vice President Biden will begin at Blair House, across from the White House, even as Democrats and Republicans in the Senate struggle to nail down a plan that could have bipartisan appeal. But the “Gang of Six” senators have not been able to agree on tax increases sought by Democrats or entitlement cuts favored by Republicans.

Economic News

Not even rising oil prices, it seems, can dampen U.S. companies’ surging profits. Three-quarters of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index who have released their first-quarter results have reported 17% higher profits in total, marking the sixth quarter in a row of higher earnings. The strong bottom line reported by companies has yet to filter down to workers and the labor market. Private industry wages and salaries in first quarter grew just 0.4%, and unemployment is still 8.8% in the face of slow job growth.

Manufacturing grew for the 21st straight month in April, fueled by a weak dollar that has made U.S. goods cheaper overseas. But the cost of raw materials rose for the fifth straight month, a growing concern for many companies. Manufacturing has been one of the economy’s brightest spots since the recession ended in June 2009. Factories have benefited from strong overseas demand for machinery and other goods. And U.S. consumers have spent more on autos, appliances and computers.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits surged last week to the highest level in eight months. The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for unemployment benefits rose 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ended April 30, the third increase in four weeks. Applications near 375,000 are typically consistent with sustainable job growth. Weekly applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.

Apartment rents are rising at their fastest pace in years. Nationwide, rents started edging up last year after several years of little growth or even declines. Apartment rents will jump 4.3% this year, marking the biggest annual increase in four years.

Gasoline demand continues to fall in the U.S. as pump prices keep climbing. Motorists have been cutting back on the amount of gas they put into their tanks for more than a month. Since January, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded has risen 91 cents, or 30 percent, to $3.98. The main reason is a 20 percent gain in the price of oil this year. Gas is now above $4 per gallon in 13 states and Washington D.C.


Workers entered one of the damaged reactor buildings at Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant Thursday for the first time since it was rocked by an explosion in the days after a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Workers are connecting ventilation equipment in Unit 1 in an attempt to absorb radiation from the air inside the building. The work is expected to take about four or five days. The utility must lower radiation levels inside the reactor before it can proceed with the key step of installing a cooling system that was knocked out by the March 11 quake and tsunami that left more than 25,000 people dead or missing along Japan’s northeastern coast.


A car bomb tore through a cafe packed with young men watching a soccer match Tuesday in Baghdad, killing at least 16 people, officials said. It was the first major attack since U.S. commandos killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Iraqi security officials said Monday that they were increasing security amid fears that insurgents would try to strike immediately following bin Laden’s death as a way to show they are still a potent force.


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration is moving to releasesome of the more than $30 billion it has frozen in Libyan assets to support opponents of Moammar Gadhafi. Clinton said the administration would ask Congress for legislation that would allow it to tap portions of the money to help the Libyan people. The administration has already authorized up to $25 million in non-lethal military assistance to the opposition and has pledged $53 million in humanitarian aid. A meeting of the Libyan Contact Group at the Italian Foreign Ministry on Thursday is expected to seek ways to give financial support to the rebels, who have indicated they need $1.5 billion in the coming months. A Libyan rebel spokesman, Mahmoud Shamam, put the estimated amount of money needed by the rebels in coming months at $1.5 billion.


The United States and Italy are warning Syria that it will face penalties and increasing isolation if it does not halt its violent crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini say Syrian authorities must be pressured to end the violence that has left more than 550 people dead since the uprising began, as security forces cracked down on protests. Scores of soldiers also have been reported killed.


Former president Hosni Mubarak’s top security official was convicted Thursday of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The conviction of former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly was the first against any of the some two dozen Mubarak-era Cabinet ministers and regime-linked businessmen who have been detained since Mubarak’s Feb. 11 ouster. They include a former prime minister, speakers of parliament’s two chambers and Mubarak’s two sons, all suspected of corruption. El-Adly is separately facing allegations that he had ordered the deadly use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters during the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak. If convicted on that charge, el-Adly would face the death penalty.

Middle East

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas on Wednesday proclaimed a landmark reconciliation pact aimed at ending their bitter four-year rift that has left them with competing governments in the territories envisioned for a future Palestinian state, but Israel’s leader denounced it as a “mortal blow to peace.” The alliance set off ecstatic celebrations in the Palestinian territories. International mediator Tony Blair insisted their new government must recognize Israel, a step Hamas has always rejected. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas brushed off the criticism and instead used the occasion to deliver a scathing attack on Israel, saying “we reject blackmail and it is no longer possible for us to accept the (Israeli) occupation of Palestinian land.”


For the fourth week in a row, a Chinese “illegal” church refused Sunday to follow government orders not to meet, and this time at least 31 of its members were arrested. Baptist Press reports that, the arrests of the members of Beijing’s Shouwang Church in a public square came after church leaders made clear in the preceding days that they would not buckle to pressure from the Communist Party. More than 160 were arrested the first week they tried to meet outdoors, about 50 were arrested the second week and approximately 40 on the third week, Easter Sunday. The declining number of arrests likely is due to the government placing so many other members under house arrest, which prevents them from even leaving their homes. On Easter Sunday, more than 500 church members — including every church staff member, lay leader and choir member — were under house arrest. The church is attempting to meet outdoors because the government has blocked all attempts by the church to rent or purchase a building. Members say failing to come together and worship would be an abandonment of biblical commands.


Romania’s president said Tuesday his country will host missile interceptors as part of a planned U.S. shield over Europe. Traian Basescu announced that Bucharest had agreed to build the interceptor site at the Deveselu former air base near the Bulgarian border, in a remote agricultural region. The president, a staunch ally of the U.S., said it would give Romania “the highest security level in its history.” An average of 200 troops will be based at the site.


Monday’s elections mark a change in the country’s political landscape with opposition Liberals and Quebec separatists suffering a punishing defeat. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Conservatives won their mandate because of the way they have governed so far, and he sought to allay fears he would implement a hidden right-wing agenda. Harper, who took office in 2006, has won two elections but until Monday’s vote had never held a majority of Parliament’s 308 seats, forcing him to rely on the opposition to pass legislation. Harper has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation and promoted Arctic sovereignty. He has also increased military spending, extended Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan and staunchly backed Israel. But he also stood by Canada’s state-run health care system.


Three recent explosions by the Army Corps of Engineers at levees have helped ease the dangerously swollen Mississippi River, though the waterway continues to rise to historic levels and threatens to overrun some cities. Emergency officials from Missouri to Mississippi scrambled Wednesday to prepare for potential flooding as the river continued to rise. Fears have prompted an emergency declaration for 920,000 residents in Memphis and surrounding Shelby County, Tenn., where authorities blocked some suburban streets and more than 200 people evacuated to shelters. President Obama on Wednesday declared parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky disasters, making them eligible for federal help with relief efforts. Heavy snowmelts from Minnesota and North Dakota combined with three large rain events this year have triggered the rising river levels.

A tornado ripped across part of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, on Tuesday, upturning cars and sending debris slicing through the air.. At least one person was killed and about 20 injured. The swirling dark-gray column of air and cloud cut a 3-mile path across the Auckland suburb of Albany at mid afternoon, tearing off roofing iron, flattening trees and tossing vehicles around. Tornados are not uncommon in New Zealand, particularly on the country’s North Island, where Auckland lies. But they tend to be smaller than this one. New Zealand has been hit by several disasters in recent months, including a Feb. 22 earthquake that devastated the South Island city of Christchurch and killed at least 169 people.

Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and could raise the average global sea level by as much as five feet this century, an authoritative new report suggests. The study by the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, or AMAP, is one of the most comprehensive updates on climate change in the Arctic, and builds on a similar assessment in 2005.The report says that Arctic temperatures in the past six years were the highest since measurements began in 1880, and that feedback mechanisms believed to accelerate warming in the climate system have now started kicking in. One mechanism involves the ocean absorbing more heat when it’s not covered by ice, which reflects the sun’s energy.

  • Global warming is an end-time phenomenon, not human-induced but rather human exacerbated

May 2, 2011

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Osama bin Laden Killed

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the world’s most wanted man, was killed in a targeted raid in Pakistan, President Obama said late Sunday in an announcement that surprised the world. Bin Laden met his end 10 years after the 9/11 attacks in a firefight with a small team of U.S. forces that launched a daring raid on the compound where he was holed up with some trusted advisers. He was hiding only 35 miles from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. His location, “custom built to hide someone of significance,” raised pointed questions of whether Pakistani authorities knew the whereabouts of the world’s most wanted man. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda,” the president said in a dramatic White House announcement made shortly before midnight.

  • While Osama’s death is welcome news, this “most significant achievement” is but a drop in the bucket in the war on Islamic terrorism. Many others have already filled the partial vacuum created by Osama’s years in hiding, and many more will follow.

National Day of Prayer This Thursday, 5/11

The annual National Day of Prayer is scheduled for this Thursday, May 11th. Now, more than ever, our nation is in need of intensive prayer. Go to to find a prayer gathering near you. In Maricopa County, Arizona, there are two noteworthy events:

Annual Capitol Prayerwalk: Prayer at the State House and Senate chambers and prayer walk around the grounds of the State Capitol will take place from 7:00am –  8:30am, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007. Free parking directly across the street; contact: Guy Chadwick – 602-570-4162

Ignite! Stadium Event
Join thousands of believers on Friday, May 6 from 7:00 to 10:00pm to unite together at the Diamondback’s new facility (Salt River Fields) for an evening of worship and prayer for Metro Phoenix.  This non-denominational, multi-church event is free of charge.  Several incredible worship teams from around the Valley will be ministering along with pastors and prayer warriors leading focused prayer.  Stick around for AFTERBURN – starting at 10:30pm.  There will be several bands and on-field activities happening until 1:00am.

Judge’s Revelation Prompts Challenge to Prop 8 Ruling

Now that retired U.S. District judge Vaughn Walker has revealed he is in a committed relationship with a man, do grounds exist to cancel his ruling that California’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional? Supporters of the ban, known as Proposition 8, say yes and have filed a motion contending Walker should not have heard the case because he might want to marry his partner someday. The new claim filed by Washington lawyer Charles Cooper on behalf of the Proposition 8 backers is scheduled to be heard June 13. It marks the latest move in the protracted battle over the proposition adopted by California voters in 2008 and a new chapter in the debate over when judges should sit out disputes. Challenges to judicial ethics are hardly new, yet a spate of high-stakes appeals, including over new federal health-care legislation, have spawned fresh questions about judges’ impartiality.

  • The New World Order folks have been stacking the courts for years with liberal, secular humanists. Judicial activism is a malignant cancer that has spread throughout the entire justice system. Walker is just the tip of a very large iceberg.

ADF Defending ‘Constitutionally Permissible Memorials’

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is taking an ongoing case involving roadside crosses for Utah’s slain Highway Patrol officers to the U.S. Supreme Court. The American Atheists Association filed the lawsuit against the crosses that are located where officers lost their lives along stretches of the state’s highways. “One atheist group’s agenda should not diminish the sacrifice made by Utah Highway Patrol officers and their families,” contends ADF attorney Byron Babione. “We’re asking the Supreme Court to allow the families of the fallen to honor their loved ones through these constitutionally permissible memorials.” A federal district court has already upheld the constitutionality of the crosses, but the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck them down, despite the high court’s recent comments affirming the constitutionality of such crosses.

Rhode Island Unable to Pass Gay Marriage Bill

Marriage has won another tremendous victory in yet another deep blue state: Rhode Island. House Speaker Gordon Fox, after claiming for weeks that he had the votes to pass gay marriage, has just thrown in the towel. Just a few short months ago, Fox was pledging to push a gay marriage bill quickly through the House. Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, says thanks are due to “Bishop Tobin’s tremendous leadership in Rhode Island, the Hispanic Pastoral Association which delivered thousands of petitions from Hispanic Christians in deeply Democratic districts, and thousands of ordinary Rhode Islanders who rose up to tell their political reps: ‘Don’t mess with marriage.’”

Was Obama’s Online Birth Certificate Altered?

A computer document expert who analyzed the online image of Barack Obama’s purported Certificate of Live Birth for WorldNetDaily confirmed there are anomalies inconsistent with a simple scanning process, and there is evidence it has been manipulated, but there’s no way to determine exactly what may have been modified. It was analyzed by Ivan Zatkovich of Tampa-based eComp Consultants, which consults on intellectual property for telecommunications, web publishing and ecommerce and has provided services for corporations such as McGraw-Hill, Houghton-Mifflin, Citicorp and Zatkovich has 28 years experience in computer science and document management and for more than 10 years has been an expert witness providing testimony in federal court in both criminal and civil litigation.

Feds Approve Key Arizona Medicaid Cut

Federal health officials on Friday reluctantly authorized Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to stop paying medical bills for people who suffer costly health emergencies, the first of several deep Medicaid cuts proposed to take effect this year. Effective Sunday, Arizona will stop accepting enrollment in the medical-expense-deduction program and will eliminate it entirely Oct. 1 to help bridge state budget deficits. Medicaid does not require the state to cover these patients. Some version of the program has existed in Arizona for generations. The program now offers temporary help to about 5,700 people, including nearly 1,000 children, whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but whose medical expenses from catastrophic illness or injury cause their remaining income to fall well below the poverty line. They receive Medicaid coverage for three to six months, which is intended to allow them to regain their health and return to work.

Governor Brewer Vetoes Arizona Gun Bills

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Friday night vetoed Senate Bill 1201, which would have required state and local governments to either allow guns in public facilities or secure those buildings with metal detectors and armed guards. Last week, she vetoed SB 1467, which would have allowed guns on college-campus rights of way. The vetoes shocked gun advocates. In Brewer’s veto letter for SB 1201, she said the bill had “too many loopholes and flaws” to sign. During her first year in office, Brewer signed a bill allowing loaded guns in bars and restaurants, as well as another that prohibits property owners from banning guns from parking areas, so long as the weapons are kept locked in vehicles.

Oil Drilling Moratorium Costing Government Billions

The Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore drilling is depriving governments of billions of dollars in royalties, lease bids, and taxes — and the lost revenue will grow significantly if no new drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico are sold this year. In the wake of the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, the administration issued the moratorium on May 6. It suspended work on 33 wells in various stages of construction, halted new lease sales, and suspended permitting for leases already offered. As a result, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects a decline of 240,000 barrels a day in oil production in the Gulf this year. That represents billions of dollars in potential revenue that could help close the federal deficit, as well as an increased need to purchase foreign oil. This year could be the first since 1965 in which the federal government did not sell leases in the Gulf.

  • While the Deepwater catastrophe reveals the need for greater oversight, America’s debt crisis and dependency on foreign (mostly Arabian) oil sources mandate the need to expand offshore drilling; However, the New World Order folks (Tri-Lateral Commission, World Bank, et. al.) want to maintain control over the USA through our indebtedness and thirst for black gold.

Economic News

Major makers of everyday consumer products and groceries say they have to raise prices to offset soaring costs for their fuel and the materials and ingredients that go into their products. Retailers are trying to pass that along at the cash register, adding pressure on a sluggish U.S. economic recovery. The list of companies saying this week that they are raising prices is quite long.

The rising national debt may be alarming to many Americans, but it’s not as scary as it seems compared with how much many large U.S. companies owe. The U.S. has $9.7 trillion outstanding in Treasury securities, equal to 63% of GDP. There are 147 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 that have total debt that is 63% or greater than the company’s revenue dring the past 12 months,. Companies such as General Electric, Lennar and Harley-Davidson have debt that’s 306%, 131% and 116% greater, respectively, than the companies’ revenue.

Chrysler reported a net profit $116 million in the first quarter of 2011, its first quarterly profit since its government-run bankruptcy reorganization in June 2009. The now Fiat-run company had a net loss of $197 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Global investors are dumping dollars like there’s no tomorrow. After plunging for nearly a year, the greenback is down a staggering 15.9% since last June alone. The dollar is sinking fast against major world commodities like oil, which has surged beyond $113 per barrel in the U.S. and $125 in Europe. The U.S. dollar is at all-time lows when measured against gold, which has just sailed past the $1,550 per ounce and is making a beeline for $1,600. The big danger ahead is that we could see a bust in the biggest bubble of all — the U.S. government bond market.

  • The declining dollar hurts our economy and deepens our debt crisis. Globalists are leveraging our debt problems to influence government policies. China and Muslim countries could sink the USA economy whenever they want since they own most of our debt.


Japan’s parliament passed a $48 billion tsunami recovery budget Monday, but it will cover only a fraction of the cost of what is the most expensive disaster ever. Mounting frustrations over the government’s response and a still unfolding nuclear crisis, meanwhile, are threatening to topple the country’s increasingly unpopular prime minister as more budgetary battles lie ahead. The budget will cover the building of new houses for the more than 100,000 people who remain without proper shelter, the massive undertaking of clearing debris and rubble, reconstruction of fishing grounds, and support for disaster-hit businesses and their employers. TEPCO, the plant operator, is preparing to install an air purifier inside the Unit 1 reactor building to reduce radioactivity by 95 percent over the next few days — a step to allow workers into the area for the first time since the crisis began so they can resume their primary goal of restoring cooling systems.


Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi escaped a NATO missile strike Sunday in Tripoli, but his youngest son and three grandchildren under the age of 12 were killed. The Libyan government vowed to retaliate with death to “invaders” in the nation, and empty Western embassies were vandalized on Sunday. The strike, which came hours after Gadhafi called for a cease-fire and negotiations in what rebels called a publicity stunt, marked an escalation of international efforts to prevent the Libyan regime from regaining momentum In his rambling pre-dawn speech which lasted for more than an hour, Gadhafi appeared both subdued and defiant. NATO officials insisted Sunday that an airstrike that may have killed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son was aimed at destroying a military control center, not an assassination attempt.


Syrian army tanks shelled the old quarter of a city at the heart of the country’s six-week-old uprising Sunday and rolled in more reinforcements to the area, which has been under siege for nearly a week. Syrian army troops backed by tanks and three helicopters on Saturday took a prominent mosque that had been controlled by residents in a besieged southern city killing four people. The operation in the town of Daraa came a day after President Bashar Assad unleashed deadly force to crush a months-old revolt, killing at least 65 people, mostly in Daara. President Bashar Assad is determined to crush the six-week-old revolt, which began in the southern city of Daraa but quickly spread across the nation


Yemen’s embattled president backed away from a mediated deal that would have seen him step down in exchange for legal immunity, and his forces Saturday killed four people while pushing hundreds of anti-government demonstrators out of a square where they had been camped. It was a new blow to efforts to mediate the months-old crisis between the U.S.-backed Saleh and tens of thousands of demonstrators demanding the ouster of their ruler of 32 years.


Egypt’s justice minister says that ousted President Hosni Mubarak would face the death penalty if convicted of ordering the shooting of protesters during the uprisings that brought him down. Mohammed el-Guindi told the daily Al-Ahram Saturday that Mubarak, his two sons and wife are also facing allegations of corruption. He added that former first lady Suzanne Mubarak will be questioned for the first time in a few days over her illicit amassing of wealth.


The style of the bomb that killed 16 people in a crowded tourist cafe matches al-Qaida’s, Morocco’s interior minister said Friday. He said 25 people were injured, 14 of them hospitalized. The bomb was triggered remotely and packed with nails. No one has claimed responsibility for Morocco’s deadliest attack since 2003.


The Taliban on Saturday announced the beginning of their spring military offensive against the U.S.-led coalition, a day after a new Pentagon report claimed that the militants’ fighting spirit was low after sustaining heavy losses on the battlefield. In a two-page statement, the Taliban said that beginning Sunday they would launch attacks on military bases, convoys and Afghan officials, including members of the government’s peace council, who are working to reconcile with top insurgent leaders. Intelligence officials say the Taliban has plans to conduct a brief series of high-profile attacks, such as suicide bombings, across the country in a display of power as fighting gears up with the warmer weather. On the first day of its promised spring offensive, the Taliban used a 12-year-old boy as a suicide bomber in an attack Monday that killed four civilians.


Iraqi officials say a suicide bomber blew himself up near an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, killing seven and injuring 16 people. Four of the dead were Iraqi soldiers. Iraqi security at checkpoints or on patrols are often targeted by Sunni insurgents who see them as collaborators with the Shiite-led government. Meanwhile, Iraqi lawmakers approved a controversial $400 million settlement Saturday for Americans who claim they were abused by Saddam Hussein’s regime during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The settlement is part of a deal reached between Baghdad and Washington last year to end years of legal battles by U.S. citizens who claim they were tortured or traumatized, including hundreds held as human shields.


A newly disclosed cable sent by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reveals that a Chinese company is transferring equipment and technology to a secret plant in Iran that is part of the Islamic Republic’s chemical weapons program. The cable, dated July 24, 2009, is a WikiLeaks document obtained by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. It shows that Clinton instructed the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to take action against the Chinese firm, Zibo Chemet. China is party to an agreement forbidding sales of vital equipment for chemical weapons programs. Clinton’s cable asked the embassy to pass information about the transfer to the Chinese government and demand that it take action to halt the sales. It also disclosed that the United States blacklisted Zibo Chemet in April 2007 over suspicions that it supplied similar equipment to North Korea and Syria as well as Iran.


Eight wildfires are actively burning in drought-stricken Florida, having consumed over 17,000 acres (about 30 square miles) as of Monday morning. Ten structures have been destroyed thus far. Meanwhile, Texas is getting a handle on its numerous wildfires, with many of them now completely contained. Only six remain active. At one point, sixteen large (over 100 acres) wildfires were burning in east Texas.


A legal fight over whether the Army Corps of Engineers should blast open a levee to relieve the rain-swollen Mississippi River went to the nation’s highest court Sunday as Cairo, the Illinois town at risk of flooding, was cleared out. Missouri asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the corps’ plan. Cairo, near the confluence of Ohio and Mississippi rivers, resembled a ghost town. Illinois National Guard troops went door to door with law enforcers to enforce the mayor’s “mandatory” evacuation order the previous night.