Signs of the Times (7/7/14)

Hobby Lobby Case Not Just a Win, But an Important First Step

By a scant 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court ruled the Obama Regime cannot use the Obamacare Mandate to force a private, for-profit business like Hobby Lobby to pay for the taking of innocent human life. The mainstream media failed to report that Hobby Lobby was already voluntarily offering its employees over 90% of the contraception Obamacare demands in its benefits package before this battle began. This dispute was really about certain kinds of contraception methods — abortion and abortifacients — that result in the killing of innocent life. But at the heart of the matter was this question: is the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution still constitutional? For decades we have seen our freedoms and liberties previous generations took for granted eroded by the federal government’s shift toward socialism — the pace of which has been greatly accelerated by the Obama administration, especially through ObamaCare.

  • Among other freedoms, the first amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from impeding the free exercise of religion.

Star Goalkeeper Tim Howard Says Christ is ‘Most Important Thing’ in His Life

Americans cannot stop talking about Tim Howard after the Tuesday’s World Cup match against Belgium. Despite the heartbreaking loss, the star goalkeeper kept hopes alive making a record-breaking 16 saves throughout the game. But it seems that Howard is not just a world-renown soccer player; he is also a faithful Christian. In an interview with Campus Crusade for Christ, Howard said, “The most important thing in my life is Christ. He’s more important to me than winning or losing or whether I’m playing or not. Everything else is just a bonus. All praise be to God.”

Amnesty Groups Burn, Tear, Impale U.S. Flag on July Fourth

In a clear demonstration of what’s really at stake in the current border crisis whipped up by President Obama’s open-border policies, members of La Raza and other pro-amnesty activists confronted legal Murrieta, California, residents on the Fourth of July as they attempted to stop a second effort by federal agents to dump busloads of illegal aliens in their town. Amnesty supporters burned a U.S. flag and tore and impaled flags on fences during their protest. On Friday, while the nation celebrated its independence from a tyrannical government that took advantage of citizens and suppressed their rights, the federal government once again bused in a throng of illegals they planned to inflict on the town. This time, residents were met with the pro-amnesty counter-demonstration, which included people dressed up in Aztec garb shouting, “White supremacists out!” and “F*** America!” reports Breitbart News.

  • These are people Obama supports which reveals his own attitude toward America

Colorado Teen Charged with Aiding ISIS Terror Group

FBI officials confirmed Wednesday an Arvada, Colorado woman has been charged with aiding an ISIS terror group. Nineteen-year-old Shannon Maureen Conley was arrested April 8 at the Denver International Airport after confirming to FBI agents her intent of waging Jihad, also known as a holy war. Agents claim she met a Tunisian suitor, identified as Y.M., online and planned to join Y.M. and the militant group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq) in Syria where she would use her training from the U.S. Army Explorers to aid the Islamic cause against the governments of Iraq and Syria. Conley’s plans to marry her Tunisian suitor went against the wishes of her family. Church staff of Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada were the first to discover clues of Conley’s scheme.

Burger King Offers a Gay Burger

Burger King is once again showing its true colors. Literally. The company has recently released its “Proud Whopper” in the San Francisco market to honor the gay community. The Proud Whopper, as it’s called, comes wrapped in a rainbow colored wrapper with this inscription: “We are all the same inside.” “It showcases who we are as a brand,” says Fernando Machado, senior vice president of global brand management at Burger King. Burger King also was a sponsor of San Francisco’s gay pride parade. All Proud Whopper sandwich sales, Machado says, will be donated to the Burger King McLamore Foundation for scholarships benefiting LGBT high school seniors graduating in spring 2015.

Social Security Shutters Numerous Offices

Since 2010, Social Security has closed 64 field offices and 533 temporary offices, reduced hours and gotten rid of more than 11,000 employees in its remaining 1,245 field offices. That’s according to a report from the bipartisan staff of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, which held a hearing on Social Security’s downsizing last week. The committee pointed out that while the agency has been trying to move as many users online as possible, it made these closing decisions without considering that more than half of people 65 and older don’t have online access at home. Nancy Berryhill, deputy commissioner for the Social Security Administration, defended the online emphasis. “As customer expectations have changed, we need to balance those needs with the needs of those who prefer alternative options,” she said.

Economic News

A worrisome sign in last Friday’s generally encouraging employment report was a sharp rise in the number of part-time workers who prefer full-time jobs. The total jumped by 275,000 to 7.5 million, the Labor Department said. June’s total is the highest this year. Since the recovery began five years ago, the drop in the number of these part-time workers had been tracing the decline in the overall unemployment rate, but it has lagged so far this year.

An analysis by USA TODAY shows that living the American dream would cost the average family of four about $130,000 a year. Only 16 million U.S. households — around 1 in 8 — earned that much in 2013, according to the U.S. The median household income is about $51,000. Three-quarters of Americans polled by the Brookings Institution in 2008 said the dream was harder to attain. The report concludes, “it’s clear that though the American dream is still alive, fewer and fewer of us can afford to live it.

Persecution Watch

Open Doors is asking for prayers for Christians living in Muslim nations where they face discrimination and even death for their faith. They are asking in particular that Christians pray for the church in Sudan, following a church demolition, and in Nigeria where more Christians have been killed in attacks by insurgents.

Middle East

Palestinian militants vowed to take revenge on Israel Monday after at least seven Hamas members were killed in early-morning airstrikes in the deadliest exchange of fire since the latest round of attacks began weeks ago. The Hamas group, which rules Gaza, said its men were killed by an Israeli airstrike on a tunnel used by the militants. The men were involved in rocket attacks on southern Israeli communities, the Israeli military said. The attacks follow an announcement Sunday from Israeli authorities that they arrested six Jewish suspects in connection with the murder of an Arab teen whose death last week inflamed already heated conflicts in the region.

Clashes broke out Friday between Palestinians and Israeli security forces after the funeral of a Palestinian teenager abducted and killed in Jerusalem this week. More than 60 people were injured in fighting in parts of Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a group that said it was involved in evacuating injured Palestinians. It said the injuries mostly involved rubber bullets fired at the upper body and chest. Israeli police said 13 officers were slightly injured in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, where Palestinian protesters were throwing rocks at police.

Germany

Germany is demanding an explanation from the United States after the arrest of a German foreign intelligence service official who says he passed along secret documents to the Americans. The bust comes less than a year after reports that U.S. National Security Agency surveillance included Merkel’s cell phone. The Germans sought a no-spying pledge from the United States, but did not get one. In this latest incident, prosecutors say a 31-year-old German was arrested last week on suspicion of spying for foreign intelligence services, and that he allegedly handed over 218 documents from 2012 to 2014. German media, without naming sources, have reported he was an employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence service who says he sold his services to the U.S.

Ukraine

Government troops have taken a rebel stronghold in east Ukraine Saturday. President Petro Poroshenko said in a statement that government troops took Slovyansk, a city of about 100,000 that has been a center of the fighting between Kiev’s troops and the pro-Russian insurgents, after a night of fighting. It was a rare significant success for Kiev’s forces in their struggle to quell the rebellion. Separatists claimed the army’s campaign had left the city “in ruins.” Pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine have retreated to the last major city under their control after a series of successes by the Ukrainian army earlier this week. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that rebels had abandoned the town of Kramatorsk, just south of Slovyansk, while the BBC reported that the cities of Artyomivsk and Druzhkivka had also been retaken by Ukrainian forces in another sign of the army’s increased traction in the east.

Afghanistan

Attackers set fire to hundreds of fuel tanker trucks in a parking lot on the outskirts of the Afghan capital Saturday, prompting angry drivers to block a major highway to demand reimbursement for their losses. Hundreds of other drivers stood by helplessly on Saturday morning, unable to salvage any property. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants were targeting fuel tankers belonging to NATO forces. Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said about 400 trucks caught fire late Friday and continued to burn through Saturday morning.

Nigeria

Sixty-three women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram last month in Nigeria escaped from their captors and have returned to their burnt village, a security source and a local vigilante fighting the militant group said. The hostages were seized from the Kummabza village in northern Borno state on June 18 after a four-day invasion of the village by Boko Haram insurgents. The militants killed 30 men and burned the entire village. The group is still believed to be holding over 200 schoolgirls abducted April 14 from their hostels in the town of Chibok — a case that drew international outrage and prompted a global campaign for their release.

Kenya

Twenty-nine people were killed in overnight attacks by gunmen in two counties on the Kenyan coast, where Al Qaeda-linked militants last month claimed responsibility for killing 65 people, the Kenya Red Cross said Sunday. Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants from Somalia claimed responsibility for the attacks. A group of about 15 gunmen raided the Malamandi village of Hindi and started shooting at residents. The gunmen also attacked the Gamba police station. The gunmen got to the police station by car-jacking a truck and killing its three occupants. Five police officers were wounded in the attack and one officer was killed

Somalia

Four people were killed Saturday when a car laden with explosives blew up near the parliament building in the Somali capital. The Somali terror group al-Shabab, which has recently targeted parliamentarians, claimed responsibility. Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab has said it was responsible for the killing of a Somali lawmaker and his bodyguard in a drive-by shooting earlier this week.

Myanmar (Burma)

Authorities have imposed a curfew in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, following nights of deadly communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims. Two people have been killed and 14 injured since rioting erupted Tuesday. The rioting began when a mob attacked a tea shop owned by a Muslim man accused of raping a Buddhist woman, and continued into the following night. Eight separate conflicts took place in the region over two nights, involving gangs of as many as 450 people, some armed with weapons including swords, firearms, knives, rods and “incendiary materials.” Myanmar has witnessed several outbreaks of violence targeting Muslims in recent years as the country emerges from decades of authoritarian military rule.

Earthquakes

At least two deaths were reported after a magnitude-7.1 earthquake rocked much of southern Mexico and Central America on Monday. The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor, which hit at about 7:23 a.m ET, was centered about 5 miles northeast of the town of Puerto Madero near the Guatemala border. At least two people were killed in the Guatemalan town of San Marcos. Cracks opened up in buildings, and there were landslides in the area, authorities said. The region of San Marcos had reports of 30 houses damaged. The same region was victimized by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in 2012 that killed 48 people.

Wildfires

Firefighters held back a fast-moving blaze that marched to the edge of a rural Northern California neighborhood on Saturday, saving about 40 homes during a busy holiday weekend that saw several destructive fires across the state. Tinder dry conditions and rising temperatures fueled the fire on the southeast shore of Lake Berryessa, which quickly consumed about 8 square miles of rolling hillsides. The fire was just 15% contained. Firefighters who had been battling another blaze northwest of Lake Berryessa were being reassigned to attack the so-called Monticello Fire, which erupted Friday night near the Monticello Dam that forms the man-made lake. That fire was 70% contained after burning nearly 7 square miles and destroying two homes. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze. Further north, a fire tore through the tiny community of Collinsville along the Sacramento River on Friday, destroying eight homes and damaging three more, Meanwhile in Southern California, a fire near the mountain town of Julian that had destroyed two homes was 90% contained Saturday after burning about 220 acres. Four firefighters were injured.

Weather

Hurricane Arthur became the first hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. since Hurricane Isaac struck Louisiana on Aug. 28-29, 2012. Arthur is also the first hurricane of Category 2 or greater strength to make landfall in the Lower 48 since Hurricane Ike struck Texas on Sept. 13, 2008. In addition, Arthur made landfall earlier on the calendar than any other known hurricane in North Carolina history. The center of Arthur then crossed over the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina near Nags Head around 4:30 a.m. EDT on July 4. The peak reported land gust was 101 mph at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. A 4.48-foot storm surge (above normal tide levels) was reported in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina the morning of July 4.

Arthur then made its closest approach to New England during the late evening hours of July 4, with its center of circulation moving within 75 miles of Nantucket and Cape Cod. As much as 8 inches of rain fell in portions of Massachusetts. Wind damage was also reported in Massachusetts and Maine with wind gusts as high as 71 mph. Numerous trees were uprooted and over 4 inches of rain were reported in eastern Maine on July 5. Heavy rain continued in Maine through Saturday. As Arthur continued into eastern Canada, wind gusts reached 86 mph at Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

A wall of dust slammed Phoenix on Thursday evening and brought with it heavy rains and lightning, knocking out power to thousands. The wall of dust that enveloped parts of the city snarled traffic and grounded flights. The storm with wind gusts of up to 50 mph was the first of the yearly monsoon, or summer thunderstorm, season. A monsoon is a season of high temperatures, high winds and high moisture, resulting in potentially deadly weather. The term “monsoon” comes from the Arabic “mausim” meaning “season” or “wind shift.”

 

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