Signs of the Times (2/15/13)

Obama Presses for More Spending

President Obama used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to press for more government spending, challenge Republicans over Medicare and declare that victims of gun violence “deserve a vote” on a sweeping gun control package. Obama largely pressed on with the policies of his first term, while adding a roster of wish-list items – including a call to increase the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, up from $7.25, and pass immigration reform. The speech was wrapped in the theme of boosting the middle class and jolting what continues to be a tepid economic recovery. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who was delivering the GOP response, said Obama’s solution “to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.”

Florida Judge Rules Homosexual Threesome Can Be Named on Baby’s Birth Certificate

A Florida judge has ruled that a gay man who fathered a child via artificial insemination may be listed on the girl’s birth certificate along with the two lesbian women that are raising her, the Christian News Network reports. The ruling ends a two-year legal battle between the women and their friend, who they approached to help them produce a child. Maria Italiano, 43, and Cher Filippazzo, 38, turned to Massilmiliano Gerina three years ago to ask if he would consider being a sperm donor so they could have a baby. When he agreed, the three made a verbal agreement that Filippazzo would adopt the baby and the two women would raise it. However, just before the baby was born, Gerina reportedly changed his mind and stated that he did not want to merely be the donor, but he wanted to have a parental role in the child’s life. The women disagreed and did not want Gerina to be listed on the birth certificate as the baby’s father, but Gerina hired an attorney and began to fight for legal recognition in the courts. Last week, Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge Antonio Marin ruled that Gerina’s name could be placed on the birth certificate along with Italiano and Filippazzo, making the baby the child of three parents.

  • More unnatural, ungodly family units will continue to mark our descent down the slippery slope away from the high calling of God’s ordained two-parent, male-female family units

5.8M Women have Used the ‘Morning After’ Pill

As many as 11% of U.S. women ages 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used a “morning after” pill at least once, according to the first federal report on emergency contraception, out Thursday. That’s 5.8 million women — and half say they used it because they feared their birth control method may have failed. The rest say they had unprotected sex. The FDA approved emergency contraceptive pills in 1998 for use up to five days after intercourse. The report shows that emergency contraception was most common among women 20-24, the never married, Hispanic and white women, and the college-educated. Internists say the “morning after pill” should not be confused with the “abortion pill which stops a pregnancy that’s already existing. The abortion pill is taken after you already know you’re pregnant and it’s given by a health care provider. Emergency contraception does not cause an abortion. You take emergency contraception pills to largely prevent ovulation from happening. This is pregnancy prevention.”

LGBT Catholic Groups Call for Gay-Friendly Pope to Succeed Benedict XVI

Several LGBT Catholic groups are calling for a new gay-friendly pope following news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation as head of the Roman Catholic Church, the Christian Post reports. “For the last three decades, Benedict has been one of the main architects of the Vatican’s policies against LGBT people,” said New Ways Ministry, a gay-rights group that seeks to “build bridges” between the homosexual community and the Catholic Church. The group said it was praying for a new pope that would “combine his intelligence with true and deep pastoral concern for the lives of the people of the world.” Hoping for a new pope that will be less conservative, the group added that they placed their trust in the Holy Spirit to “guide our church in the days and years to come.” Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic groups working on behalf of LGBT people and their families, also expressed wishes for a new pope that would be more gay-friendly. The group insisted that the Catholic Church needed to take this opportunity “to turn away from his oppressive policies toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, and their families and friends.”

  • A gay-friendly Pope would be a travesty against the Bible’s admonitions against homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27)

‘Final Pope’ Already Running Vatican?

Did Pope Benedict XVI line up his successor and then resign to fulfill a 900-year-old prophecy that the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church would be history’s “final pope?” The idea was posed by Tom Horn, co-author of the book “Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here.” As WorldNetDaily reported, Horn and his co-author, Cris Putnam, accurately predicted Benedict would become the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign. Horn believes the last pope, called “Petrus Romanus” in the prophecy by Irish Archbishop St. Malachy, could be the man who is set to take over interim leadership the moment Benedict resigns. Malachy described the last pope as “Petrus Romanus,” or “Peter the Roman,” writing: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock among many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people.”

  • This ‘final Pope’ might be the second beast and ‘false prophet’ prophesied in Revelation 13:11-17

Meteor Shower in Russia Injures Hundreds

Russia was hit by a meteor shower on Friday in the nation’s central Ural Mountains, injuring hundreds and causing damage to buildings in six cities, according to reports. Fragments of a 10-ton meteor fell in a thinly populated area of the Chelyabinsk region. At least three had been hospitalized in serious condition but the majority received treatment for minor cuts from broken glass after the explosions broke windows and shook buildings. More than 400 people had called for medical assistance. About 6,000 square feet of a roof at a zinc factory had collapsed. According to an unconfirmed report in Russia Today, the meteor was intercepted by Russian air defense.

  • A portent of end-time tribulation

Sources Confirm U.S. Gun-Running to Jihadists

WorldNetDaily has reconfirmed with multiple knowledgeable Middle Eastern security sources that the U.S. special mission in Benghazi was used to coordinate Arab arms shipments and other aid to the so-called rebels fighting in Libya and later in Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claims she did not know whether the U.S. special mission was involved in gun-running out of Benghazi, Libya. Now knowledgeable security sources have reconfirmed WND’s original reporting on the use of the Benghazi mission in aiding the rebels who are known to be saturated by al-Qaida and other Islamic terrorist groups. Slain U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens, played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.

Dick Act of 1902 – Gun Control Forbidden

It would appear that the Obama administration is counting on the fact that the American Citizens don’t know that the Dick Act of 1902, also known as the Efficiency of Militia Bill H.R. 11654, of June 28, 1902, invalidates all so-called gun-control laws. It also divides the militia into three distinct and separate entities. The Dick Act specifies that all members of the unorganized militia have the absolute personal right and 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms of any type, and as many as they can afford to buy. The Dick Act of 1902 cannot be repealed; to do so would violate bills of attainder and ex post facto laws which would be yet another gross violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, according to FourWinds10.com.

Americans More Dependent on Welfare

Department of Labor statistics show four programs in particular contribute to Americans’ increasing dependence on government:

  • Nearly 30 million more Americans receive food stamps now than in the year 2000.
  • 3 million Americans received Social Security Disability payments in 1990 — today it’s 8.6 million.
  • 3.9 million students were awarded Pell Grants in 2000. Today it’s 9.7 million.
  • 26 weeks of extended unemployment benefits had been the standard — today it’s 52 weeks or more

Ohio University economist Richard Vedder says the expanding system of government benefits has helped increase the poverty rate to 14 percent.

Tea Party Announces ‘Day of Resistance’

Conservatives and Tea Partiers plan to reignite the flame of 2010 next Saturday, Feb. 23, at rallies in cities and towns across America. The event is titled the “Day of Resistance” and more than 50,000 Americans have already signed up for 97 rallies in more than 30 states across the country. The rallies will focus on Second Amendment issues and President Barack Obama’s push for gun control, but they will also branch out into all aspects of oppressive big government. The gun control fight is a new launching pad for a bigger discussion, similar to how Obamacare sparked the Tea Party movement’s beginnings in 2009.

Economic News

After dropping during the recession, drug prices have reignited in the past four years, returning to growth rates of a decade ago. In 2012, prescription drug prices rose 3.6%, twice the 1.7% inflation rate, Bureau of Economic Analysis data show. What’s driving drug costs up: brand-name drugs paid for by insurance and often heavily advertised. The trend is in sharp contrast to other health costs. Prices for a doctor’s visit, lab test and nursing home room all fell below the rate of inflation for the past two years.

American Airlines, a storied but struggling carrier that sought bankruptcy protection 15 months ago, has agreed to merge with US Airways, creating what will be the largest carrier in the world. The deal would still need the approval of the bankruptcy court overseeing American’s restructuring, as well as federal regulators.

General Motors makes the most reliable pickups. Lincoln, struggling for its life, is as dependable a brand as Toyota. And Detroit brands overall are nearly as dependable as foreign brands. Those are some of the surprising results in J.D. Power and Associates’ latest Vehicle Dependability Study, which measures problems on three-year-old cars and trucks. The report card this year is for 2010 models.

Persecution Watch

Supporters of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran for practicing his Christian faith, have asked the United Nations to take up his cause. The European Centre for Law and Justice filed a formal request with the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to call on Iran to immediately release Abedini, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. “By bringing his story before a global audience, it’s our hope that member states and other organizations will become a strong voice for Pastor Saeed – raising the visibility of this troubling case and putting additional pressure on Iran to free him,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice.

The Christian-Armenian community in Syria is relatively small — between 60,000 and 100,000 people according to estimates — but its history has added to its unease. Armenians in Syria are descendants of people who fled to Syria after escaping a genocide against Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in World War I. Many worry the same can happen in Syria, where the Christian Armenians are again at the mercy of Muslim factions at war, and they are desperate to get out. The 7,000 who have fled to Armenia still face a struggle. Armenia is a former republic of the Soviet Union landlocked by Turkey, Georgia and Iran. Unemployment is estimated at 20%, according to the International Monetary Fund. Armenian authorities are trying to find ways to speed the exit from Syria and make the adjustment to life here easier.

For over 18 months now, the Burmese army has been ruthlessly attacking the predominantly Christian ethnic Kachin people. Children have been killed, women raped and people tortured in the conflict. Over 100,000 people have been displaced and around 200 villages destroyed. Western politicians are finally starting to speak out about the situation and preliminary peace talks have begun. It is time for Burma (Myanmar) to end this atrocious campaign once and for all.

Egypt

Security forces sprayed protesters with water hoses and tear gas outside the presidential palace as Egyptians marked the second anniversary of the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s with angry demonstrations against his elected successor. Earlier, masked men briefly blocked trains at a central Cairo subway station and a dozen other protesters blocked traffic with burning tires on a main overpass in Cairo. Hundreds rallied outside the office of the country’s chief prosecutor, demanding justice and retribution for protesters killed in clashes with security forces after Islamist President Mohammed Morsi took office last summer. Another group of protesters locked shut the doors of the main administrative building for state services just outside the subway station at Tahrir Square. For many in Egypt, the past two years have only increased frustration, with the economy deteriorating as political bickering between a largely secular opposition and a tightly organized and conservative Islamist bloc obstructed progress.

Iran

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) think tank released a report on Wednesday indicating that Iran is making rapid progress in its renegade nuclear program. Specifically, the Islamic Republic recently attempted to buy 100,000 magnets used in centrifuge machines, despite UN sanctions forbidding such transactions. “This large potential order by Iran in late 2011 for 100,000 ring magnets ready for use in IR-1 centrifuges implies an Iranian intention to greatly expand its number of these centrifuges,” the report stated. Elsewhere on Wednesday, Iranian officials told local media that it intends to build a large network of advanced uranium enrichment machines, marking a significant technological advance in its atomic infrastructure.

Afghanistan

President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night that some 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have returned home by this time next year. The move will reduce the number of U.S. forces in the country by more than half. There are now about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Afghan forces will take the lead in combat missions throughout the country starting in the spring, instead of mid-year, as was previously expected.

A NATO airstrike struck two houses, killing as many as nine Afghan civilians and four insurgents in an eastern province near the Pakistani border. The attack occurred Tuesday during a joint NATO-Afghan operation in the Shigal district of Kunar province. The civilians killed were in one house while four senior Taliban leaders were slain as they were gathering next door. The civilians killed included five children and four women.

Mali

Obama administration officials said Thursday that France will lead the fight against terrorists in north Mali without U.S. combat support, but one adviser to U.S. forces in Africa warned that the United States may not be able to avoid direct involvement. French and Malian forces continue to fight remnants of jihadist Muslim militias in north Mali that are headed by al-Qaeda’s North African franchise, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Obama officials from the State Department and the Pentagon said the militias pose a significant threat to U.S. interests and security.

  • Our interests are Mali’s natural resources

North Korea

North Korea said Tuesday that it had conducted a new, more powerful underground nuclear test using more sophisticated technology, jolting the already fragile security situation in Northeast Asia and drawing condemnation from around the globe. It is the first nuclear test carried out under the North’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, who appears to be sticking closely to his father’s policy of building up the isolated state’s military deterrent to keep its foes at bay, shrugging off the resulting international condemnation and sanctions. The test was designed “to defend the country’s security and sovereignty in the face of the ferocious hostile act of the U.S.,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said, referring to new U.S.-led sanctions on Pyongyang after the recent launch of a long-range rocket. Experts say North Korea’s successful detonation of a miniaturized nuclear device is concerning because it indicates the country may be getting closer to the ability to put a nuclear device on a missile.

Weather

Snow-weary Northeasterners still digging out driveways and clearing roads from a weekend storm were hit with potential danger coming from above as well – roofs collapsing from the weight of snow and ice along with recent rainfall. In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the number of reported roof collapses across Connecticut had grown to at least 16 by early evening on Monday, up from five in the morning. He warned places with flat roofs, like schools, to get them cleared. Police on Long Island evacuated one of the area’s biggest malls on Monday because of major roof leaks. Schools remained closed across much of New England and New York on Monday after the epic storm swept through on Friday and Saturday with 1 to 3 feet of snow that entombed cars and sealed up driveways.

With schools still closed, cars still buried and streets still blocked by the widespread weekend snowstorm, officials around southern New England are asking people to pick up a shovel and help out. In Boston, a “snow angel” campaign is using social media to encourage neighbors and friends to be an angel and help dig out the stranded. Hundreds of volunteers carried shovels to downtown Waterbury, Conn., after the mayor promised to pay minimum wage to anyone who helped clear the City Hall area and the schools Tuesday. By early Wednesday, more than 6,800 utility customers still were without power, including 5,539 in Massachusetts, which was hardest hit with outages.

Officials estimate it will take tens of millions of dollars to repair damage at the University of Southern Mississippi caused by Sunday’s tornado. The tornado damaged eight buildings at the southern edge of campus. Officials say USM plans to resume classes Thursday, although 87 sections will be in temporary quarters. Because the school was already closed Monday and Tuesday for Mardi Gras, only one day of class was canceled. USM officials said nearly 1,000 students and other volunteers helped to clean up debris Wednesday, filling 1,450 trash bags.

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