Signs of the Times (7/21/14)

California Bans the Words ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ In Marriage

In the state of California, heterosexual married couples can no longer be referred to as husbands and wives. Democrat Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that not only redefines marriage, but eliminates any reference to husband and wife, replacing each with the generic term of spouse. SB 1306 deletes all references to ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ in the Family Code and instead refers only to a ‘spouse.’

  • The absurdity of it all is beyond comprehension. But the Bible foresaw the day when “God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Clearly they are deluded and believe such ridiculous lies.

Christian Charities Step Up to Serve Border Crisis Refugees

Thousands of immigrant children remain in processing facilities in Texas, California and Arizona while the government deals with what is being called the “border crisis,” the 47,000 children who have entered the U.S. illegally since Oct. 1. While the children are being detained, Christian charities and churches have stepped in to tend to the needs of the unaccompanied children. Volunteers have distributed food, water and clothing. Texas Baptist Men have set up a laundry station manned by volunteers, as well as a place to shower. Pastor Chad Mason of Calvary Baptist Churchestimates that Catholic Charities have helped 6,000 children in McAllen, Texas so far. John Andrews of the Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino County said, “I would encourage [everyone] to view this as a humanitarian crisis. When your brother or sister presents themselves to you in their need, as we know from the parable of the Good Samaritan, then we don’t pick and choose. We don’t say, ‘Well, we’re going to help this person in need but not that person in need.’ When you see a person who’s presenting themselves to you and you can see clearly that they need your help, you see the Lord Jesus in them, and you help them,”

Illegal Immigrant Children Resettled in Cities & States without their Knowledge/Approval

High-ranking elected officials in two states far north of the U.S.-Mexico border claimed that the Obama administration resettled hundreds of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in their states without adequate notice — and has refused to disclose their exact locations. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman told the Wall Street Journal that 200 children were sent to his state without warning, adding that federal officials refused to disclose their names and locations. Fox News also reported that 748 unaccompanied minors have been transferred from areas near the border to the Chicago area; 319 of them have been placed with family members or sponsors while they await immigration hearings. But the other 429 have been placed in facilities run by the Heartland Alliance, a nonprofit organization that receives grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told Fox News Friday that he didn’t know the exact locations of the facilities holding the children and concluded that the White House didn’t want the children’s living conditions publicized.

In places such as Murrieta, California, and Oracle, Arizona, the message is clear: Thousands of immigrant children fleeing Central America are unwelcome in Small Town U.S.A, reports CNN. Southwest border towns, West Coast suburbs, and middle-America enclaves have become the newest battleground in the vitriolic political debate over immigration. In Oracle, a town of roughly 3,700, protesters faced off Tuesday at Sycamore Canyon Academy, a nearby boys ranch that is to be used as a temporary housing facility for the immigrant minors. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said accepting the unaccompanied juvenile immigrants only encourages more to come. Protestors in Waco, Texas, meanwhile, are demanding better conditions for the 250 men from El Salvador being held at the Jack Harwell Detention Center. And the League City, Texas, City Council approved a proposal banning the housing or detention of undocumented immigrants within the city at a recent meetingIn Artesia, New Mexico, hundreds of residents turned out for a contentious town hall meeting to decry the hundreds of women and children being housed at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, a facility that also trains Border Patrol agents.

  • Obama put out the welcome mat and now must be held accountable and forced to deal with the consequences without shunting the problem off onto states and cities.

Black Chicago Residents call Obama “Worst President Ever”

Last Friday evening residents from Chicago’s Southside held a protest in front of the Chicago Police Department against the intolerable violence plaguing their communities. The also sounded off about President Obama paying more favor to illegal aliens crossing the southern border than to the beleaguered Chicagoans. Residents also called for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy for their failure to effectively handle the city’s violence epidemic. The president’s handling of the illegal invasion in Texas prompted residents to call him out for ignoring the current state of Chicago, where 120 people have been shot and at least 26 killed so far this July. “Barack will go down as the worth president ever elected, Bill Clinton was the African-American President,” one resident said, in response to the president’s performance on the job, “President Barack needs to pay attention to Chicago, if he can not pay attention to Chicago and the African-American community, he needs to resign.”

Britain Arrests over 600 Suspected Pedophiles

Over 600 suspected pedophiles have been arrested in Britain as part of a six-month investigation, the National Crime Agency said Wednesday. The NCA said that doctors, teachers, scout leaders, care workers and former police officers are among those detained. The operation targeted people viewing what it called “indecent” images of children online. The NCA said that some of those arrested had “unsupervised access to children in the course of their work.” Several child abuse scandals have rocked Britain in recent years.

Economic News

Housing starts fell for the second month in a row in June as construction fell off sharply in the South, the Census Bureau said Thursday. Permits, a barometer of future construction plans, fell 4% from May to their lowest level since January. Builders broke ground on new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000, down 9.3% from May’s rate. Construction starts plunged in the South, typically the USA’s biggest region for home building. Overall starts fell almost 30% and construction of new single-family homes was off about 20% from May.

Weekly applications for unemployment aid dipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, also dropped 3,000 to 309,000, the lowest level since June 2007, about five months before the start of the Great Recession. Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, the fifth straight month of job gains above 200,000. Still, the steady hiring gains have yet to boost wages significantly. Wage growth has barely matched inflation since the recession ended five years ago.

Retail sales rose just 0.2% in June as spending at building materials and garden supply stores fell. Despite the lower-than-expected increase, it’s the fifth straight month of increases since January, when there was a nearly 1% decrease in sales following the holiday season. June sales were also hindered by weak sales at restaurants and auto dealers. But sales at clothing and department stores, and sporting goods stores all rose.

U.S. public debt remains on an unsustainable path and will reach 106 percent of economic output in 25 years versus about 74 percent currently, the Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday The CBO said that, despite some near-term relief, the federal deficits are unsustainable and could lead to another financial crisis in the long run. It attributes much of the increase in deficits and debt through 2039 to the costs of caring for an aging population, especially the so-called baby boom generation. By 2039, spending on healthcare programs would rise sharply, to 14 percent of gross domestic product, up from a seven percent average over the past 40 years. As the federal debt load increases, net interest payments would balloon to 4.7 percent of GDP in 2039 from about 1.3 percent currently.

Microsoft confirmed it will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, part of the tech titan’s efforts to streamline its business under new CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft says about 12,500 of the professional and factory positions will be cut as part of its $7 billion acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, which the company closed in April. The layoffs by Microsoft — which employs 125,000 people — are the company’s largest since 2009, when they cut more than 5,000 jobs. Microsoft expects to incur pre-tax charges as high as $1.6 billion over the next four quarters, which will include $750 million to $800 million for severance and related benefit costs.

Middle East

A temporary cease-fire in the conflict between Hamas and Israel expired Thursday, followed quickly by a rocket attack from Gaza and a reported Israeli military strike. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported in the exchange of fire following a five-hour lull in hostilities, which had been requested by the United Nations to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and for the repair of water and electrical lines damaged in more than a week of Israeli airstrikes. The Israeli military attacked 37 targets in Gaza, including the homes of Hamas leaders Khalil al-Haya and Fathi Hamad, while Hamas fired another 11 rockets at Israel early Thursday, ahead of the planned cease-fire.

An Egypt-backed cease-fire between Israel and Hamas fell apart Tuesday as rocket attacks from Gaza were answered by Israeli airstrikes once again. The rocket attacks from Hamas militants in Gaza never ceased, Israeli officials said. For its part, Israel refrained from airstrikes for about six hours before announcing it was resuming the attacks. The Israel Defense Forces said 47 rockets were fired into Israel during the cease-fire period, which Hamas never accepted. The faltering of the cease-fire attempt means there may be little hope of seeing an end to the near constant exchange of fire that has so far killed more than 204 Palestinians in Gaza with one Israeli death. Israeli leaders had agreed to the cease-fire, but from the outset warned it would be short-lived if the attacks from Gaza didn’t stop.

Even as missiles fly from Gaza into Israel, Israel continues to supply electricity, food, and water to Gaza, as well as on-going humanitarian aid and medical treatment to any Palestinians in need, reports BridgeBuilders International. “Israel is the only nation in the world whose military warns its enemies of impending attacks on strategic sites in order to avert civilian causalities,” said U.S. Israeli Ambasador Meir Shlomo. When under attack, Israel has the right of self-defense and is obligated to act decisively, Abm.Shlomo said. Israel’s military directs only pinpointed attacks at missile launchers, terror infrastructures and the weapon depots of Hamas, which have turned the Gaza Strip into the center for attacking Israel.

David Evans of the Jerusalem Prayer Team notes, “The reality is that Israel is not really fighting against Hamas. The real enemy is Iran. The mullahs of Tehran provide the weapons, equipment, training, and funding for these attacks on the Jewish people. What has happened so far is only scratching the surface. There are tens of thousands of rockets and missiles pointed at Israel, provided by Iran. And there is another threat as well. Al Qaeda and ISIS both have fighters in Gaza right now. Their goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate. This is a battle against the powers of evil.”

Syria

Proclaiming the Syrian people winners in a “dirty war” waged by outsiders, President Bashar Assad was sworn in on Wednesday, marking the start of his third seven-year term in office amid a bloody civil war that has ravaged the Arab country. Meanwhile, a Sunni extremist group has taken over opposition-held areas of another city, Syrian activists say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, says militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took over the areas in Deir el-Zour on Monday. The Islamic State group has captured territories in the east mostly and merged those captured areas with its areas in Iraq. According to reports, about 7,000 people have been killed in the rebel-on-rebel fighting since January. The majority of those killed have been militants.

Iraq

Iraqi lawmakers have broken their deadlock and elected a new speaker of parliament — the first step toward forming a new government. The legislature chose Sunni lawmaker Salim al-Jubouri as the new speaker with 194 votes Tuesday in the 328-seat parliament. It was unclear whether al-Jubouri’s election indicated that a larger agreement had been struck among political blocs for the posts of president and prime minister. Under an informal agreement that took hold after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the speaker’s chair goes to a Sunni, the presidency to a Kurd and the prime minister’s post to a Shiite. Parliament is under pressure to move quickly to fill all three posts and form a new government that can confront the Sunni militants who have overrun much of northern and western Iraq.

Afghanistan

Gunmen launched a pre-dawn attack on the Kabul International Airport in the Afghan capital on Thursday, raining down rockets, setting off a gunbattle with security forces and forcing the airport to close for hours. The militants occupied two buildings which were under construction some 700 meters (yards) north of the facility, and were using them as a base to direct rockets and gunfire toward the airport and international jet fighters flying over Kabul. Kabul Police Chief Mohammed Zahir Zahir later said four of the attackers were killed and that the attack was halted without any civilian or police casualties. The airport was later reopened and operations returned to normal after security forces inspected the runways for shrapnel and explosives.

The death toll from a suicide car bombing in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province has climbed to 90, with more than 40 people wounded. The blast took place on Tuesday when the bomber detonated his explosives-packed vehicle near a crowded market and a mosque in the Urgun district of Paktika province. Also Tuesday, a roadside bomb ripped through a minivan carrying employees of the presidential palace in eastern Kabul, killing two passenger. The explosion also wounded five other people inside the minivan. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack. Roadside bombings are a major threat to both Afghan security forces and civilians across the country. Such attacks have escalated as the Taliban intensify their campaign ahead of the U.S.-led foreign forces’ withdrawal by the end of 2014.

Ukraine

A Russian military plane shot down a Ukrainian jet fighter over Ukrainian territory, forcing the pilot to eject. The latest reported skirmish came as Russia hit back at the United States on Thursday following the imposition of a new round of sanctions for its actions in Ukraine. The United States is escalating its sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, targeting some of Russia’s largest banks, energy companies and arms-makers and individuals tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin said the sanctions will ultimately backfire against American companies working in Russia and that they are “driving into a corner” relations between the two nations. President Obama said Wednesday that the sanctions were and designed to minimize “spillover effects” on U.S. businesses.

A celebrated Ukrainian bomber pilot who faces murder charges in Moscow has become a new, high-profile flash point between Ukraine and Russia as they clash over deadly fighting along their border. First Lt. Nadiya Savchenko, 33, Ukraine’s first female military pilot, is accused of complicity in the June 17 killing of two Russian journalists during a mortar attack on a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists outside Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. She was captured the next day by the separatists and surfaced this month in Voronezh, southwestern Russia, where she is to go on trial. The case is stoking new tension between Ukraine and Russia because Ukraine contends Savchenko was taken to Russia against her will.

Nigeria

A new report detailing the extent to which the radical Islamist group Boko Haram is using brutality and murder to spread terror among Nigerian villages reveals that 2,053 people have been killed in 95 attacks in the first half of 2014. Human Rights Watch, which authored the report, also said that the militant Islamist group is increasing its use of bombs, detonating 14 explosions that killed 423 people during that same period. The blasts, including several apparent suicide bombings, occurred in a brothel, a technical college, marketplaces and, on two occasions, in venues where people were watching soccer matches. In other attacks, armed Boko Haram militia opened fire in places of worship. In April, the organization kidnapped 276 girls from a school in Chibok. Boko Haram leaders reportedly are willing to return the young women in exchange for members being held in Nigerian prisons, but such a deal appears highly unlikely.

Wildfires

A total of 21 large wildfires (over 100 acres) were burning in Washington and Oregon as of Thursday morning, having consumed about 148,000 acres (about 231 square miles). A state of emergency has been declared in 20 eastern Washington counties because of multiple wildfires and scorching hot temperatures coupled with high winds on Wednesday. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber also declared a state of emergency so the state could mobilize the Oregon National Guard to help combat the fires. And Oregon Washington state officials are worried about extreme fire conditions, including temperatures above 100 degrees and winds forecast at 30 mph in portions of the state east of the Cascade Range. A handful of new wildfires, some started by lightning, grew dramatically Tuesday in central Washington, and several threatened homes even as firefighters made progress against a destructive Oregon blaze.

A brush fire that jumped containment lines Tuesday night temporarily closed a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 90 in the central part of the Washington. Washington’s largest wildfire, the Mills Canyon blaze near the central Washington town of Entiat, was 40 percent contained Tuesday and holding steady about 35 square miles. In southern Oregon, winds turned around a spreading wildfire and kept the fire from breaking out of a 4-square-mile area near the ranching town of Sprague River. The fire claimed six houses when it broke out Sunday in the Moccasin Hill subdivision, and destroyed 14 other structures, such as barns and garages. The Bully Fire around the rural community of Igo in Shasta County, California, has destroyed eight homes and 10 other structures and had burned through nearly 13 square miles, or 8,100 acres, of forest land. It was 20 percent contained as of Wednesday morning.

Weather

Temperature records set way back in the 1880s are in jeopardy as unusually cool air is blanketing a large part of the country in the heart of summer. It will feel more like fall from the Upper Midwest into the South through this weekend. An unusually strong cold front for July began its southward plunge on Monday. The result is below-average temperatures for much of the East. The potential for record lows and record cool highs extends all the way from the Northern Plains to the Gulf Coast. Record low temperatures have already been broken on Thursday morning. So far, Mobile, Alabama has tied their record low of 65 set back in 1886. Record lows also fell in Atlanta, Georgia, Pensacola, Florida and Jackson, Kentucky.

The drought in California – the third most severe on record – is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen for the state’s agriculture industry. River water for Central Valley farms has been reduced by roughly one-third, according to a study out Tuesday from the University of California-Davis. Farmers in pockets of California hardest hit by the drought could begin to see wells run dry next year. The entire state is in a drought. More than 36% of the state is in “exceptional” drought, the worst level, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal website that’s updated weekly. The UC-Davis report found that direct costs to agriculture total about $1.5 billion (which include revenue losses of $1 billion and $0.5 billion in additional pumping costs). This net revenue loss is about 3% of the state’s total agricultural value.

Heavy rain slammed the New York City Tri-state Tuesday afternoon, knocking out power and snarling the evening commute. Flooding closed several main thoroughfares, including the Cross Bronx Expressway at Jerome Avenue. In White Plains, southbound lanes of the Bronx River Parkway were shut down, along with two miles of the Hutchinson River Parkway in Mount Vernon. More than 700 flights were canceled at the four regional airports. Delays stretched into the 90-minute range. A lightning strike hit power lines in Graniteville on Staten Island, knocking out power to more than 1,400 customers. At least 12,000 more customers in New Jersey also lost power during the storms.

Typhoon Rammasun — called Glenda in the Philippines — swept through the Philippines Wednesday, leaving at least 38 people dead, 10 more missing and forcing the evacuations of more than 500,000 people. The typhoon destroyed more than 7,000 houses, $14 million in crops and damaged more than 19,000 homes. A landslide in Quezon forced 21 families to evacuate, although no one was hurt. The death toll could’ve been worse, however, if not for the evacuation of some 500,000 people across a dozen or so provinces. Although the capital city of Manila was spared the brunt of the storm—most power had been restored in Manila by Thursday— thousands in areas to the southeast of the capital city remained without power.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: