Signs of the Times (4/24/15)

Court Allows ‘Killing Jews is Worship’ Ad on NYC Buses

Ads that read “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah,” will be allowed on New York City buses, after a court ruling. The ads, which were called “offensive” by a judge were deemed acceptable due to First Amendment protection. The New York Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) argued that the ads were demeaning and “savage.” Ultimately, Judge John Koeltl said that the MTA officials, “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements. Moreover, there is no evidence that seeing one of these advertisements on the back of a bus would be sufficient to trigger a violent reaction. Therefore, these ads—offensive as they may be—are still entitled to First Amendment protection,” he continued. The same ads are running in Chicago and San Francisco, according to Christian Today.

  • Can you imagine the uproar if the Ad read: Killing Muslims is worship that draws us close to Jesus. The same tolerance courts show toward Muslims in not extended to Muslims

Controversial California Sex-Ed Class Spurs Parental Rights Law

A controversial sex-education program at a California high school has provoked state lawmakers into proposing legislation that would increase parental rights over the content their students are exposed to. The controversy started with a ninth grade sex-education course taught at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, Ca. The Bay Area school contracted with Planned Parenthood for the classes, and parents were shocked to discover the course materials included a cartoon “Genderbread Person,” designed to prompt the young teens to question and explore gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation. The Acalanes Planned Parenthood instructors included a self-described “pleasure activist” and another who leads “pleasure workshops” for an adult toy store. Parents protested and legislators listened, submitting a bill that would require written parental consent for any sex education classes taught by an outside provider. Like most states, California already allows parents to opt-out their students from sex education, but the proposed legislation would set a higher standard for classes outsourced to third parties. In those cases, schools would be required to use an opt-in process instead.

  • Besides performing the most abortions in the U.S., Planned Parenthood also leads the way in promoting deviant sex among our youth, using taxpayer money no less.

ACLU Wants to Force Catholic Charities to Kill Unborn Babies

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU wants to force Catholic charities to provide contraception and abortions for illegal immigrants in their care. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been contracted by the federal government to help care for the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. housing immigrant children and teens in its shelters. The ACLU claims that the USCCB has been denying reproductive care for immigrants based on its religious doctrines and that by doing so the organization is breaking the rules of its contract with the federal government to provide necessary healthcare for immigrants.

  • As Godfather Politics points out, “Being pregnant isn’t an illness. Killing unborn babies is not like removing a tumor or an infected appendix.”
  • Ironically, immigrants from south of the border come to the United States so that their children can be born here and automatically become citizens.

More Violence in Same-Sex Relationships

A 2014 survey by the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center found that 21.5 percent of men and 35.4 percent of women living with same-sex partners experienced intimate-partner physical violence in their lifetimes, numbers significantly higher than opposite-sex relationships – 7.1% for males and 20.4% for females. The media has under-reported stories of same-sex domestic violence which have come to light recently among WNBA female basketball professionals.

Persecution Watch

Homosexual activists trashed two North Carolina churches over the weekend and spray-painted pro-“gay” messages over the church properties, which sustained thousands of dollars’ worth of damages. The weekend attacks on religious freedom in the Tar Heel State will set both congregations back in time and money to repair the damages. Despite both pastors’ forgiving hearts, law enforcement agencies from both Jamestown and Greensboro have launched a criminal investigation to bring the homosexual vandals to justice.

Tanzania’s Minister of Home Affairs, Mathias Chikawe, has announced that churches and religious institutions that publicly oppose the country’s new constitution will be deregistered, beginning from April 20. Tanzanian Christians oppose a bill that would introduce Kadhi (Islamic) courts across the country’s mainland in the new constitution.

ISIS Recruits in U.S. Increasing

A year after ISIS became a household name in America, using brutality and savvy propaganda to challenge al Qaeda and its affiliates for jihadist adherents, U.S. prosecutions of would-be recruits have been rising. At least 25 people have been detained since January. ISIS has benefited from a media environment that amplifies its propaganda, law enforcement officials said. The group quickly reached early recruits through videos that showcased the fear its adherents instilled in nonbelievers. At first, most of the recruits were self-starters — people radicalized on their own from consuming ISIS propaganda from YouTube videos and other social media. Much of the propaganda comes in the form of slick movie trailer-style videos, some glorifying brutal practices such as the beheading of anyone who ISIS leaders decide doesn’t comport with their medieval brand of Islam. But once those initial Western recruits arrived, living in the self-declared ISIS caliphate spanning parts of Syria and Iraq, they started to directly entice friends and other contacts back home to join them.

Obama’s Drone Strike Strategy Questioned

President Obama’s announcement on Thursday that a January strike on Al Qaeda in Pakistan had killed two Western hostages, and that it took many weeks to confirm their deaths, bolstered the assessments of the program’s harshest outside critics. The dark picture was compounded by the additional disclosure that two American members of Al Qaeda were killed in strikes that same month, but neither had been identified in advance and deliberately targeted. In all, it was a devastating acknowledgment for Mr. Obama, who had hoped to pioneer a new, more discriminating kind of warfare, notes the New York Times. Whether the episode might bring a long-delayed public reckoning about targeted killings, long hidden by classification rules, remained uncertain. Every independent investigation of the strikes has found far more civilian casualties than administration officials admit. Gradually, it has become clear that when operators in Nevada fire missiles into remote tribal territories on the other side of the world, they often do not know who they are killing, but are making an imperfect best guess.

Obama Facing Democratic Revolt on Trade Push

President Obama is facing a Democratic revolt over ambitious trade initiatives that are dividing the party, leading to tensions with everyone from Senate party leader Harry Reid to liberal icon Elizabeth Warren. The disagreements erupted on Wednesday as leaders of the Senate Finance Committee tried to proceed with a vote on trade legislation, but liberal opposition quickly delayed the process. The fight over trade promotion authority (TPA), or fast-track, legislation is crucial to Obama’s efforts to enact sweeping new trade deals — one with Europe and the other a 12-nation behemoth with countries from Asia to Latin America — that rank among the top policy priorities of his second term.

Avian Flu Crisis Grows for Poultry Producers throughout USA

Poultry producers in several states are bracing for more losses as a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza forced producers to kill millions of chickens and turkeys in the USA in recent weeks. The fast-moving H5N2 virus was confirmed on Monday at a chicken laying facility in Osceola County, Iowa. Some 5.3 million chickens will be euthanized to try to prevent the spread of the disease. Meanwhile, mega turkey producer Hormel Food Corp. confirmed that avian flu is causing significant supply chain problems in its Jennie-O Turkey Store segment as 17 turkey flocks owned or processed by the company have been hit by avian flu. Since the beginning of the year, commercial as well as backyard poultry flocks in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin have also confirmed cases of the H5N2 strain.

Mediterranean Migrant Deaths 30 Times Higher than 2014

The number of migrants who have died in the Mediterranean this year is more than 30 times higher than the number at the same time in 2014, the International Organization for Migration said Tuesday. The IOM said it believes that 1,727 migrants have perished in the Mediterranean so far this year. Some 800 people died after the wooden fishing boat they were in capsized off Libya’s coast late Saturday, the United Nations refugee agency said, in what may be the deadliest migrant tragedy ever. Another 400 people are likely to have drowned when their boat capsized April 13. Following Saturday’s disaster, the Tunisian captain of the boat, Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, and a Syrian crew member were arrested, prosecutors in Sicily said Tuesday.

A Global Surge in Refugees Leaves Europe Struggling to Cope

As Europe confronts a rapidly escalating migration crisis driven by war, persecution and poverty in an arc of strife from West Africa to Afghanistan, even high-level European officials say that the region’s refugee management system is broken. Globally, the world is witnessing a momentous period of instability and conflict that has produced what the United Nations now describes as the largest pool of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons since the ravages of World War II. In Western Europe, countries are dealing with the biggest wave of asylum-seekers and refugees since the 1990s, when war in the former Yugoslavia and the collapse of the Soviet Union sparked a massive migration west. As the new crisis develops, the nations of Europe appear overwhelmed, belatedly scrambling to plug the gaping holes in their asylum system and contain what has become a full-blown humanitarian emergency.

Economic News

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week for a third straight week. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 295,000 for the week ended April 18, the Labor Department said. Despite the increase, claims remained for a seventh consecutive week below the 300,000 threshold, a level associated with a strengthening labor market.

Orders for long-lasting goods unexpectedly surged in March, but a measure of business investment fell for the seventh straight month. Orders for durable goods such as computers, metals and electrical equipment rose 4% on a healthy rebound in motor vehicles and transportation. But demand for items excluding aircraft and defense – a proxy for business investment — fell 0.5% and have declined seven straight months. A strong dollar is making U.S. exports more expensive for foreign buyers, hobbling manufacturers.

Today’s young adults are three times as likely to say they got a lot of financial help from their parents when they were starting out, compared to what their parents say they got at the same age – 36% vs. 12% – a USA TODAY/Bank of America Better Money Habits survey found.

Almost a third of workers (28%) say they have less than $1,000 in savings and investments that could be used for retirement. Often people want to continue working until later in life, but the survey found that 50% of retirees left the workforce earlier than planned, and of those, 60% left because of health or disability problems and 27% because changes in their company such as downsizing or closure.


More than 100,000 Ethiopians on Wednesday protested the killing of Ethiopian Christians in Libya and their own government’s failure to raise living standards of the poor, with poverty fueling the flow of migrants through dangerous areas. The government-supported march at Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square turned violent as stone-throwing protesters clashed with the police, who arrested at least 100 people. The protesters said “We want revenge for our sons blood,” referring to Ethiopians seen being beheaded or shot in a video released on Sunday by the Islamic State. The Ethiopian victims are widely believed to have been captured in Libya while trying to reach Europe.


Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced the end of a month-long bombing campaign against the Houthis in Yemen, saying its coalition would now focus on a political solution and containing the rebels. The U.S.-backed bombing by the Gulf Arab allies, which began March 26, “achieved its goals” and was stopped at midnight (5 p.m. ET) at the request of exiled Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Saudi ground and naval forces would continue to guard the kingdom’s border with Yemen and seize all shipments to the rebels, which are backed by Iran. However, A Saudi-led coalition has launched airstrikes on Shiite rebels in Yemen’s third-largest city, less than a day after the end of a month-long bombing campaign was announced, according to media reports Wednesday.


A court in Egypt on Tuesday sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison over his role in the killing of protesters in 2012. The verdict is the first to be issued against the country’s former leader, who along with thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members is facing several other trials related to his time in power. The court said Morsi incited his supporters to attack opposition protesters, sparking clashes that killed at least 10 people. Morsi has consistently maintained his innocence and rejected the authority of the Cairo Criminal Court. He says that he was the victim of a military coup by Abdul Fattah al-Sisi — Egypt’s current president but chief of the army at the time of Morsi’s arrest.


French authorities on Wednesday said they foiled an “imminent” terrorist attack on at least one church after a man was arrested in Paris with an arsenal of weapons. The 24-year-old student was only detained on Sunday because he shot himself in the leg, prosecutors said. The man called for an ambulance, and was found bleeding on a pavement in the 13th arrondissement of the city, the Guardian reported. Police followed a trail of blood to his car, where they found the weapons. Several more weapons were found at the suspect’s home. “Documents were also found and they prove, without any ambiguity, that the individual was preparing an imminent attack, in all probability, against one or two churches,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.


Italian police busted an al-Qaeda-linked terror ring that planned, but never carried out, an attack on the Vatican five years ago and is believed to have been involved in a bombing in Pakistan that killed more than 100 people, authorities said Friday. Raids were carried out simultaneously in seven different Italian provinces with arrest warrants for 18 suspected Islamic extremists following a lengthy investigation in Cagliari, capital of the Italian island Sardinia. Mario Carta, an official from the counter-terror police force that carried out the raids, called it “one of the most important operations ever carried out in Italy.” Police said the operation targeted an “extremely well-structured terror network” based in Sardinia since at least 2005 that was made up of Pakistani and Afghan nationals.

North Korea

Chinese nuclear experts reportedly warned the U.S. earlier this year that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is larger than previously estimated, creating a heightened security threat to the U.S. and its East Asian allies. The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday that by Beijing’s estimate, North Korea may already have manufactured 20 nuclear warheads and is capable of producing enough weapons-grade uranium to double that amount by next year. Washington has not had high-level talks with Pyongyang since 2012, when North Korea conducted a banned nuclear missile test. In the intervening time, the U.S. has relied on China to use its economic leverage to put pressure on the impoverished nation’s missile program while the Obama administration works toward a nuclear deal with Iran.


Parts of Miami-Dade County’s skyline was hidden from view Monday as smoke from a growing 1,850-acre wildfire loomed over portions of the county. By Monday night, the fire was 50% contained, the fire department said. High temperatures and gusty winds helped the fire spread. One school, Lincoln Marti, was evacuated as a precaution.


Scientists using real-time monitors have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection. In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking. It’s an area that had no recorded quakes for 150 years on faults that have been inactive for hundreds of millions of years. The scientists concluded that removing saltwater from the wells in the gas production process and then injecting that wastewater back underground “represent the most likely cause” for the swarm of quakes


A massive eruption occurred Wednesday evening at Chile’s Calbuco volcano, spewing ash and hot rocks as high as 40,000 feet into the air. The blast forced local officials to issue mandatory evacuations for a nearby town, pushing more than 1,000 people from their homes. Regional emergency directors told AP the eruption caught them by surprise. It was the first eruption at Calbuco in 42 years.

As tourists stroll between Yellowstone’s 300 active geysers, taking selfies in front of thousands of bubbling, boiling mud pots and hissing steam vents, they are treading on one of the planet’s greatest time bombs. The park is a supervolcano so enormous, it has puzzled geophysicists for decades, but now a research group, using seismic technology to scan its depths, have made a bombshell discovery. Yellowstone’s magma reserves are many magnitudes greater than previously thought. Underneath the national park’s attractions and walking paths is enough hot rock to fill the Grand Canyon nearly 14 times over. Most of it is in a newly discovered magma reservoir, which the scientists featured in a study published on Thursday in the journal Science.


Severe thunderstorms pounded the Gulf Coast Monday before moving up along the East Coast, leaving toppled trees in their wake. A funnel cloud was spotted in Miami Monday afternoon. Two building collapses were reported in Anderson County, South Carolina. A tree crashed into a home in Roswell, Georgia, and another tree collapsed onto the road in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Storms brought down trees and knocked out a few traffic signals in St. Petersburg, Florida. Throughout Tallahassee, Florida, there were several reports of trees blocking roadways and damaging homes. Severe thunderstorms producing large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes will be more numerous again in two separate events on Friday and Saturday, then potentially again Sunday into Monday in parts of the Plains and South.

As of Wednesday night, up to 12 inches of snow was reported in Bessemer, Michigan. Some higher terrain locations in western Pennsylvania, western Maryland and northern West Virginia have also seen a few inches of snow. Meanwhile, parts of North Dakota woke up to temperatures in the teens Wednesday morning. Daily record lows were set Wednesday in Pierre, South Dakota (19), Aberdeen, South Dakota (15), and Sioux City, Iowa (24). Wednesday’s high in Marquette, Michigan (26) was the coldest ever so late in the season.

A slow-moving storm has hammered parts of eastern Australia’s New South Wales province with damaging winds and destructive flooding, and some Sydney residents have been urged to evacuate. The BBC reported that three people were found dead in the town of Dungog. All three deaths were elderly people trapped in their homes by quickly rising floodwaters. Homes were swept away as over 12 inches of rain in just 24 hours swamped the town of about 2,100 residents 135 miles north of Sydney. New South Wales Fire and Rescue ushered four people from a flooded home and local government urged residents of Dungog to evacuate to a local high school.

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