Signs of the Times (8/27/13)

Two-Thirds of Americans Want the Bible in Public Schools

A recent American Bible Society survey found Americans overwhelmingly (77%) believe morals and values are declining in the U.S., and 75% believe a valid reason to teach the Bible in public schools is because it would provide kids with the moral principles that are badly needed. Currently, only Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas allow elective Bible courses in public high schools. Arkansas, Wyoming and North Carolina may soon follow suit. The State of the Bible 2013 survey, conducted by Barna Group on behalf of American Bible Society, found that: 66% of adults think it is important for public schools to teach the values of the Bible; 75% think teaching about the Bible in public schools would be valid because it teaches moral principles badly needed today; but 45% think a valid objection to teaching the Bible is because it would favor one religion over another, 32% fear it might offend people and 9% believe there is no valid reason to teach the Bible in schools.

  • Our government no longer cares what Americans think because they believe they know better and feel justified to impose their secular, socialistic agenda on us

State, County Officials Defying NM’s Marriage Law

While a case currently before the New Mexico Supreme Court could determine if the Land of Enchantment is the next state to legalize homosexual “marriage,” some duly elected officials there are defying the state’s current marriage law. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit to legalize homosexual marriage and that case is now before the New Mexico Supreme Court. Chris Plante of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) points out his organization’s concern. “The [New Mexico] attorney general [Gary King] has refused to defend the law as it stands and to fight the case,” he points out, “and so New Mexico could very well follow in the way of California, as well as Pennsylvania, where attorney generals refused to step in and defend the law as it stands.” Plante notes that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder refused to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Pennsylvania’s attorney general refused to defend that state’s law, and California’s governor and attorney general declined to defend Proposition 8 – all “defying their oath of office and betraying the people who put them into office and becoming the law unto themselves.”

  • Laws defending Christian tenets are now ignored (lawlessness) and hate crime laws only are applied against Christians and conservatives (intolerance)

Churches Preparing for Law Suits Over Gay Marriage

Worried they could be sued by gay couples, some churches are changing their bylaws to reflect their view that the Bible only allows marriage between one man and one woman, the Associated Press reports. Although there have been lawsuits against wedding industry businesses that refuse to serve gay couples, attorneys promoting the bylaw changes say they don’t know of any lawsuits against churches. Critics say the changes are unnecessary, but some churches fear that it’s only a matter of time before one of them is sued. In a June decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law. A second decision was more technical but essentially ushered in legal gay marriage in California. Kevin Snider, an attorney with the Pacific Justice Institute said some religious leaders have been threatened with lawsuits for declining to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. Eric Rassbach, an attorney with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said it is unlikely the government would try to force a pastor to perform a same-sex marriage, but churches that rent out their facilities to the general public could face problems if they refuse to rent to gay couples.

  • It’s only a matter of time before our anti-Christ government and organizations attack churches to spread the rapidly spreading cancer of gay marriage

DOD Training Manual Calls Founding Fathers “Extremists”

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch recently obtained a Department of Defense training manual which lists people who embrace ‘individual liberties’ and honor ‘states’ rights,’ among other characteristics, as potential ‘extremists’ who are likely to be members of ‘hate groups. This training guide elaborates: In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples…Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place…

  • There are entrenched New World Order flunkies throughout our increasingly socialistic anti-Christ government who want to obliterate the founding Judeo-Christian principles of this once great nations

NSA Officers Sometimes Spy for Own Purposes

National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said. The practice isn’t frequent, but it’s common enough to garner its own spycraft label: LOVEINT. Last week officials revealed that NSA had violated privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions in a one-year period.

  • That’s the danger of invasive surveillance, that it can and will be used for prurient or political purposes

Poor Children Overprescribed with Anti-Psychotics

Federal health regulators are investigating why so many doctors are prescribing antipsychotic drugs to Medicaid-eligible children. The number of poor kids on the powerful medication tripled between 1999 and 2008, and the program now spends more money on antipsychotics than any other drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been investigating the phenomenon for several months, according to a recent story in The Wall Street Journal. The study focuses on drugs like Abilify, part of the newest class of antipsychotics called “atypicals.” Though Abilify is the no. 1 drug in the country, drugs like it are prescribed to the poor in highly disproportionate numbers. Stephen Crystal, a health policy professor at Rutgers University, found that children on Medicaid are four times more likely to be on antipsychotics than privately insured children.

  • Some have blamed the anti-psychotic drugs for school violence

Thousands Join Anniversary March on Washington

Tens of thousands gathered Saturday on the nation’s “front yard,” the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial, yearning for that transcendent sense of racial unity heralded on this spot by the Rev. Martin Luther King 50 years ago in his “I Have a Dream” speech. With a message that the nation’s racial tension remains unfinished to this day, aging veterans of the original March on Washington gathered with younger generations, amassing a crowd that in contrast is more female, more Hispanic, more diverse by sexual orientation and far more tech-savvy than 50 years ago.

U.S. Federal Employees Highest Paid in World

Federal employees in the United States receive significantly higher total compensation than do central-government workers in other developed nations, according to a new analysis of income data. On average, American federal government workers receive 16 percent higher total compensation than do similar workers in other developed nations, even after differences in the countries’ average income levels are taken into account. American government workers’ salaries are not outrageously higher than those in other countries, but their benefits are. U.S. federal employees’ total benefits add up to 37 percent of their wages, compared to 16 percent for employees in Australia, 27 percent in the U.K., and 23 percent as a whole.

Economic News

New home sales plunged 13.4% in July, in one of the first signs that higher mortgage rates may be cutting into home demand. Sales fell to a seasonally adjusted rate of 394,000 a year, from 497,000 in June, the Census Bureau reported Friday. Sales were 6.8% higher than last July. The median price was $257,200, up from $249,700 last month.

Orders for durable goods dropped in July by the most in almost a year, calling into question the strength of the projected pickup in U.S. growth. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years fell 7.3 percent, the first decrease in four months and the biggest since August 2012

The United States will reach the limit of its borrowing authority in mid-October, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Monday. At that point, Lew warned, unless Congress has raised the debt ceiling, the Treasury Department will only be able to pay the country’s incoming bills with the cash it has on hand. Treasury forecasts that by mid-October it will have a cash balance of only $50 billion, as the debt ceiling now stands at $16.699 trillion.

A growing number of older people are still working and retiring later. Every day for the next 16 years, 10,000 people will turn 65, according to the Pew Research Center, Of those 65 and older, 18.5% are remaining in the work force.

Persecution Watch

An international relief agency plans to airlift some 3,400 Christians out of Sudan, where they face increasing persecution from the Islamist government. The Barnabas Fund has already whisked about 5,000 Christians from the embattled country, where President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has vowed to create a “a 100 percent Islamic constitution, without communism or secularism or Western [influences].” The Christians will be taken to South Sudan, a smaller nation formed in 2011 where religious freedom is better tolerated.

Middle East

A Palestinian official says planned peace talks with the Israelis scheduled for Monday have been called off following a deadly clash in the West Bank. Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians Monday in clashes during an arrest raid in the West Bank outside Jerusalem. The violence came as Israel and the Palestinians were expected to begin rounds of peace talks, the first such meetings in five years. The Palestinian official says the Palestinians decided to postpone Monday’s meeting to protest the killings. He says the Palestinians are also upset about an Israeli announcement on Sunday pushing forward with new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

An official at a Ramallah hospital said the three died from gunshot wounds sustained in the nearby refugee camp of Qalandia. More than a dozen others were wounded. Israeli security forces attempted to arrest terror suspects in the village of Kalandiya near Ramallah Monday morning, but came under attack from a large mob who surrounded the vehicles on all sides and from nearby rooftops and threw stones and building materials at them which, of course, the Palestinians neglect to mention.

Syria

The Pentagon is moving naval forces closer to Syria in a potential attempt to be prepared should President Obama order military strikes, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. “The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the president with options for contingencies, and that requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets, to be ale to carry out different options – whatever options the president might choose,” Hagel said. The Obama administration moved closer to military action against Syria on Monday. The White House started reaching out to congressional leaders Monday to clear the way for military action. The U.S. military is now moving cruise missiles into position for a possible strike against Syrian government forces, reports CBS News Saturday.

The Syrian government accused rebels of using chemical weapons Saturday and warned the United States not to launch any military action against Damascus over an alleged chemical attack last week, saying such a move would set the Middle East ablaze. The accusations by the regime of President Bashar Assad against opposition forces came as an international aid group said it has tallied 355 deaths from a purported chemical weapons attack on Wednesday in a suburb of the Syrian capital known as Ghouta. Syria has agreed to allow weapons inspectors full access to any site of a purported chemical weapons attack, Syria’s deputy foreign minister said Sunday. A vehicle used by U.S. chemical weapons investigators was shot at Monday by snipers. There were no reported injuries. As the car was no longer serviceable, the team returned safely back to the government checkpoint.

Lebanon

A pair of blasts in Lebanon, the magnitude of which have not been seen since the 1980s, is raising fears of heightening sectarian tensions. The two powerful explosions ripped through neighborhoods near mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday. At least 27 people died and 600 were wounded in the bombings. While the motive for the attacks was unclear, the state-run National News Agency said they appeared to target mosques run by imams with ties to Syrian rebels. Lebanon has been the scene of increasing sectarian violence recently, including battles between supporters and opponents of the regime in Syria,

Egypt

Egypt’s government on Saturday shortened a widely imposed evening curfew, signaling that authorities’ sense turmoil is waning after unrest following president’s ouster threatened to destabilize the country this month. The Cabinet’s decision to cut the curfew by two hours came as Egypt’s interim prime minister vowed that his government’s priority is restoring security. Nationwide clashes and attacks killed more than 1,000 people after the security forces cleared two Cairo sit-ins belonging to supporters of toppled president Mohammed Morsi.

Iraq

Insurgents bent on destabilizing Iraq killed at least 46 people in numerous attacks scattered around the country on Sunday, striking targets as varied as a coffee shop, a wedding party convoy and a carload of off-duty soldiers. The boldest attack was near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where militants set up a fake security checkpoint, captured five soldiers and shot them. Attacks have been on the rise in Iraq since a deadly security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest camp. More than 3,000 people have been killed in violence during the past few months, raising fears the country could see an even deadlier, sectarian round of bloodshed similar to what brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

Yemen

A powerful blast ripped through a bus carrying air force personnel down a main street in Yemen’s capital on Sunday, causing at least a score of casualties About 24 officers and soldiers were on the bus, and at least 20 were either wounded or killed. The bus was heading to air force headquarters when the blast went off, most likely originating from inside the vehicle. Yemen’s government is battling militants linked to al-Qaeda, who regularly target the country’s military.

China

Internet users in China were met with sluggish response times early Sunday as the country’s domain extension .cn The attack was the largest of its kind ever in China, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, a state agency that manages the .cn country domain. The double-barreled attacks took place at around 2 a.m. Sunday, and then again at 4 a.m. The second attack was “long-lasting and large-scale,” according to state media, which said that service was slowly being restored. Denial of service attacks aren’t technically “hacks,” since they can be done without breaking into any systems. Typically, DoS attacks overwhelm a website’s servers by flooding them with requests. That makes websites unreachable or unresponsive. came under a “denial of service” attack. Chinese authorities closely regulate content and websites available to Internet users in the country. The restrictions are extremely sophisticated, leading some to call it a second “Great Wall.”

Wildfires

Inaccessible terrain, strong winds and bone-dry conditions have hampered their efforts to contain the Rim Fire, which began Aug. 17 and has grown to become one of the biggest in California history. Firefighters were hoping to advance on the flames Monday but strong winds were threatening push the blaze closer to Tuolumne City and nearby communities. The fire has consumed nearly 251 square miles of picturesque forests. Officials estimate containment at 20% Monday. It continues burning in the remote wilderness area of Yosemite and is edging closer to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of San Francisco’s famously pure drinking water. Despite ash falling like snowflakes on the reservoir and a thick haze of smoke limiting visibility to 100 feet, the quality of the water piped to the city 150 miles away is still good, say officials with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The city’s hydroelectric power generated by the system has been interrupted by the fire, forcing the utility to spend $600,000 buying power on the open market.

Weather

Authorities say crews carried out 18 swift water rescues after flash flooding hit the Las Vegas area. A large-scale weather pattern helped to draw copious amounts of moisture from the tropical storm Ivo northward into the Desert Southwest, fueling the development of drenching thunderstorms. Nevada Highway Patrol says that the Kyle Canyon Road will remain closed indefinitely because part of the road was washed away. Ivo’s lingering moisture will keep the flood threat going in the Southwest through Monday.

A massive monsoon storm walloped the Phoenix valley on Monday evening, downing trees and power lines, flooding roadways and leaving nearly 14,000 customers without power. Pushing a wall of dust hundreds of feet high, the storm struck first in the southeast Valley with wind gusts of 62 mph reported in Chandler. Damaged trees littered the Valley, with some uprooted and some snapped in half. A few were engulfed in flames from lightning strikes. Flooding closed several lanes on U.S. 60 near Mill Avenue, and water spanned roadways in south Tempe.

A dome of high pressure in the upper-levels of the atmosphere will set up over the central Plains and Missouri Valley over the next several days. Sunny skies, sinking air, and gusty southerly surface winds will send temperatures rocketing well into the 90s over a large swath of the Plains and Upper Midwest. The broiling heat has already begun in parts of the Plains, where highs over the weekend included 102 in Pierre, S.D., and 100 in McCook, Neb.

Minneapolis, and St. Cloud, Minn., both broke their record highs on Sunday as the mercury peaked at 96 and 94 degrees respectively. Schools in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and Illinois let out early on Monday as temperatures crept toward the mid-90s – beyond in some places. After-school sports practices and evening games were canceled in St. Paul, Minn., and misting stations were keeping people cool at the Minnesota State Fair, where about 90 fairgoers had been treated for heat-related illnesses over the weekend.

Tropical Storm Fernand formed in the southwest Gulf of Mexico late Sunday afternoon. The storm then made landfall Sunday night into early Monday morning in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Fernand will weaken and eventually dissipate as it moves farther inland, however a heavy rain, flooding and mudslide threat will continue. Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches (locally up to 12 inches) are expected in the region of Mexico where Fernand made landfall. The storm is no threat to the United States.

 

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