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October 29, 2010
CBO Director Says ObamaCare Will Drive People From the Workforce

(CNSNews)  Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf said the most significant economic effect of President Barack Obama’s health care reform package will be to drive people out of the job market.

“For the economy outside the health sector, the most significant impact of the legislation will be through the labor market,” Elmendorf said on Oct. 22.  “We estimated that the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent, primarily by reducing the amount that people choose to work.”

Elmendorf made the remarks at a conference sponsored by the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California.

He explained that people would choose not to work because they could subsist on the generous federal insurance subsidies and Medicaid payments contained in the health care overhaul.

“Some provisions of the legislation will discourage people from working more hours or entering the workforce, and other provisions will encourage them to work more,” he said, adding that “[t]he net reduction in the supply of labor is largely attributable to the substantial expansion of Medicaid and the provision of subsidies through the new insurance exchanges.”

Elmendorf’s analysis of the health care law’s economic impact seems to support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) seemingly off-the-cuff remark in May when she said that because of the subsidies in the health care bill, people could quit their regular jobs and pursue their artistic dreams because the government would now provide for their health care.

“We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,” Pelosi said on May 14, “a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.”

 

Elmendorf’s remarks further explain what the 2,000-plus-page "reform" package means in practical terms.

Already this year, major insurance companies, in anticipation of ObamaCare’s stringent regulations, stopped offering individual insurance policies for children.

In addition, McDonald’s and other large corporations signaled that they would have to stop offering health care coverage for their mostly hourly workers because of mandates in the new law that dictate how much premium revenue companies can put toward administrative and other expenses. McDonald’s was granted a waiver by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Elmendorf, who is Congress’ chief accountant, said the Democrats’ health care bill will reduce unnecessary spending on health care by insured people -- but only to a "very limited extent" over the next decade. One of the main complaints about the health care law, even as it was being written, is that it doesn’t do enough to control costs.

Elmendorf also said the new law will expand the health care sector of the economy. That`s because millions more people are expected to have health insurance by 2019 -- and the research suggests that "gaining insurance coverage will increase an individual’s demand for health services by about 40 percent." Elmendorf said this alone "would represent an expansion of the health sector of the economy..."

Elmendorf revealed that some of ObamaCare`s so-called reforms may not be reforms at all. Analyzing the many provisions that are supposed to make health care more efficient and less expensive, Elmendorf said that there was little evidence any of them would actually work -- leading CBO to view their potential with skepticism.

“The legislation set up a number of experiments in delivery and payment systems to induce providers to offer higher-quality and lower-cost care,” he said. “However, for a number of reasons, it is unclear how successful the experiments will be.

“As a result, CBO projects limited savings from the experiments in delivery and payment systems during the next decade," he said.

Elmendorf also said it is doubtful that lawmakers will be able to carry out the law’s vision of slowing the growth of Medicare. “It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate of [Medicare] spending could be sustained,” he said, “and if so, whether it would be accomplished through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or through reductions in access to care or the quality of care.”

October 29, 2010
Fewer People Mean Less Government Cost: Planned Parenthood President

(LifeSiteNews)  The president of Planned Parenthood has argued that the new federal health care reform ought to consider funding all contraception with taxpayer dollars because preventing new children leads to less government expense.

In an appearance on the Bill Press radio show, PP president Cecile Richards said that, although the costs of the federal health care bill already promise to skyrocket out of control, federal officials ought to consider covering birth control a priority because of the "cost savings" benefit of fewer children being born.

"I think it`s important, Bill, to understand that unlike some other issues of cost, birth control is one of those issues that actually saves the government money," said Richards. "So an investment in covering birth control actually in the long run is a huge cost savings because women don`t have children that they weren`t planning on having and all the sort of attendant cost for unplanned pregnancy.

"So we actually feel that covering birth control is not only it`s the right thing to do for women, it`s good for women, it`s good for their health care, but it`s frankly good public policy."

The remarks reflect sentiments aired by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when prompted to justify the contraceptive funding in last year`s massive stimulus bill. The speaker explained that preventing births "will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

Richards also touted artificial birth control as "the most normative medical care that exists in America," calling the push for its universal availability a "no-brainer."

Planned Parenthood and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently launched a massive campaign, called "Birth Control Matters," to pressure the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that all prescription contraception is completely covered by health insurers under "preventive care."

Rita Diller, the national director of Stop Planned Parenthood International, indicated that the true reason for the abortion giant`s campaign was not expanded contraceptive availability, but an expanded profit margin.

"In reality, birth control is already widely available to women and even young girls, on a sliding scale basis, so that those who cannot afford the dangerous steroidal pills can receive them at little or no cost," Diller told LifeSiteNews.com. Therefore, she said, covering all birth control as preventive care "will not increase its availability, but will dramatically increase Planned Parenthood’s profit margin, by not only requiring new private health plans to cover 100% of the cost, but also requiring state Medicaid programs to pay 100% of the cost for all Medicaid recipients."

Diller noted that, according to the testimony of former Planned Parenthood chief financial officer P. Victor Gonzalez, the organization purchases contraceptives "at rock bottom prices and resells it at up to 12 times its acquisition cost."

"If Medicaid is required to pay 100 percent of the price Planned Parenthood charges for prescription birth control, it will be laughing all the way to the bank, at our expense," she said.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has challenged Planned Parenthood`s campaign, arguing that contraception and sterilization "prevent not a disease condition, but the healthy condition known as fertility." In addition, the bishops pointed out the possibly severe repercussions such a mandate would pose for conscientious health care providers, especially in the case of abortifacient "contraceptive" drugs such as ella and other emergency contraception.

October 29, 2010
Dr. Jeremiah, White House `agree to disagree`

(OneNewsNow) While "cordial," yesterday`s dialogue between a well-known evangelical pastor and the White House brought little agreement on the ultimate consequences of Barack Obama`s economic policies.

Pastor David Jeremiah says he and President Obama`s liaison to the faith-based community had a "very cordial conversation" on Monday, but "agreed to disagree" about comments Jeremiah made last week about the president`s economic policies and the direction those policies are taking the U.S.
 
The phone conversation with Joshua DuBois was brought on by a OneNewsNow story in which Dr. Jeremiah described the president as a "globalist" and argued Obama was not an "asset" to the country, was moving the country toward socialism and, in that respect, was a "dangerous person."
 
Following his conversation yesterday with DuBois, Jeremiah released this statement to OneNewsNow:

"I talked with Joshua DuBois....He is a terrific young man who loves the president and his family. We had a very cordial conversation about the article that appeared in OneNewsNow last week, and we agreed to disagree on the issues reflected in that article.
 
"In this important dialogue about the future of our country and the resolution of the issues that we are currently facing as a nation, there must be room for criticism and debate, and each of us should feel the responsibility to speak out. Joshua knows of my concerns and left the door open for further discussions in the future.
 
"Please remember to pray for our nation and for our president!"

Just prior to his discussion with DuBois, Jeremiah appeared on American Family Radio`s Today`s Issues, sharing that he had no regrets about what he said in the initial article and did not offer the comments in a mean-spirited way. "It was my opinion that that`s where we`re going. Nothing that I know of that`s been brought to the fore...has made me change my mind about that. I am very concerned about where this country is going." (See earlier article)
 
Jeremiah is senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. DuBois is executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

October 29, 2010
The Reality of China`s One-Child Policy: A Forced Abortion at Eight Months

(CNSNews)  Critics of Beijing’s “one-child policy” say a televised clip showing a young mother enduring a forced abortion at eight months’ gestation calls for a worldwide response.

According to the report by al-Jazeera television, heavily pregnant Xiao Ai Ying was forced to undergo an abortion at a hospital in the southeastern coastal city of Xiamen because she and her husband, Luo Yan Qua, already have their permitted one child – a 10-year-old daughter.

“There were many men surrounding my wife,” Luo told a reporter outside. “They held her arms behind her back, pushed her head against the wall, kicked her stomach and I don’t know if they were trying to give her a miscarriage.”

The report said Xiao’s unborn baby was then given a lethal injection. She was filmed waiting to deliver the dead child.

“I have felt the baby moving round and round in my belly,” Xiao said. “Can you imagine how I feel now?”

Outside, Luo pondered the effect of the tragedy on their existing child.

“She’s been feeling my wife’s belly as it has grown larger and larger over the months,” he said. “My daughter says, ‘I will have a little brother soon.’ I don’t know how I can possibly explain to her what has happened.”

Introduced in the late 1970s, China’s birth limitation policy generally restricts couples to having one child. Exceptions are made in certain cases, including one that allows ethnic minorities or couples living in rural areas to have a second child if their firstborn is a girl.

The policy is enforced through large fines – known euphemistically as “social compensation fees” – threats of job loss or demotion and other punishments and disincentives. But human rights researchers have also recorded the use of even more troubling measures, including involuntary sterilization and forced abortion.

China’s communist government says the policy has been an essential factor in the country’s economic development, having successfully “prevented” 400 million births since 1979.

Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and a leading critic of China’s one-child policy, called the video clip “heartbreaking.”

“This video is further evidence that China’s coercive family planning practices cause more violence against women than any other official policy on earth,” she said Thursday.

“Thousands of women are being dragged out of their homes, thrown into ‘family planning’ jail cells, strapped down to tables and forced to abort pregnancies that they want, even up to the ninth month,” she added. “Forced abortion and forced sterilization are China’s war on women.”

October 29, 2010
One in ten teens has same-sex partners: study

(Reuters) A new study suggests that nearly one in ten teens have same-sex partners -- almost twice as many as previous research found.

According to a 2002 study of Massachusetts and Vermont teens, only 5 percent to 6 percent of teens had same-sex partners. In the new study, 9.3 percent of teens said they did.  

"Clearly there`s a high rate of same-sex partners among teens, and we need to recognize any vulnerabilities that may be associated with these behaviors," said Dr. Susan Blank, an assistant commissioner at the NYC Health Department. Blank, who was not involved with the study, was referring to a lower rate of condom use and unwanted sex among teens with same-sex partners seen in the study.

The new research, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at more than 17,000 teens in New York City. It found that teens who had sex with only their own gender or with both genders were more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, putting themselves at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of the 18 million new cases of STDs that occur each year happen among people aged 15 to 24.

Such risky behaviors included not using a condom during sex and having forced sex. More than half of boys who engaged in bisexual behavior didn`t use a condom, compared to a fifth of those who engaged exclusively in heterosexual behavior. The difference was not quite as large for girls who engaged in bisexual behavior and those who engaged exclusively in heterosexual behavior, but it was similar: About half of the former didn`t use a condom, compared to 30 percent of the latter.

About a third of those teens who engaged in bisexual behavior had forced sex at some point in their lives, much higher than the 6 percent of those boys who engaged exclusively in heterosexual behavior and the 16 percent of the similar group of girls.

Elizabeth Saewyc, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, told Reuters Health that these teens may engage in riskier behavior because sex education programs don`t always acknowledge gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships.

"Some teens I`ve seen tell me that they completely check out of sex ed because they feel what they were learning didn`t apply to them," said Saewyc, who was not involved in the new study.

She suggested that educators need to acknowledge gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships more often in sex education curriculums so that teens are more likely to listen and will feel more comfortable discussing any issues.

Though the authors of the new study report that the rate of same-sex partners is higher than previous studies, Saewyc pointed that this rate is actually similar to what she has seen in her own work and other studies.

In the 2008 British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey, for teens who were sexually active, 8 percent of males and 10 percent of females reported having had a same-sex partner. In a study looking at the 2001 Minnesota Student Survey, 9.4 percent of teens reported having had partners of the same or both sexes.

Dr. Preeti Pathela, lead author of the new study, said the results may have been different this time around because some states do not measure same-sex encounters.

Still, Pathela said, it`s clear that some teens are more vulnerable to risky behavior and STDs than others. In discussing sexual relationships and potential risks, she said it is important that parents, educators, and researchers focus on behaviors and not just on sexual identity.

"How teens identify themselves doesn`t always correlate with actual behaviors," said Pathela, a research scientist in the New York Department of Public Health and Mental Hygiene. "Behavior is a better measure of what`s actually happening because teens are changing rapidly."

SOURCE: link.reuters.com/gas77m Pediatrics, October 25, 2010.

October 29, 2010
Marijuana law would propel California into unknown territory

(Los Angeles Times) Vote yes on Proposition 19, the measure to legalize marijuana, and the unofficial state weed and largest cash crop will be controlled like alcohol, police will focus on serious crimes and California will get billions of dollars in new taxes. That`s the pitch proponents make.

"It`s a jumbled legal nightmare," opponents retort, disputing those claims and insisting that the measure would lead to stoned nurses in hospitals, drugged motorists on the road and more high teenagers.

Proposition 19, at three pages in the official voter information guide, is neither the longest nor the shortest initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot, but it would propel the state into unknown territory.What is clear is that after midnight on election day, if the initiative has passed and you are at least 21 years old, you will be allowed under state law to smoke a joint in your home or other private place when no kids are around, keep a stash of up to an ounce and grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana plants.

That change, however, would not protect you from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, who could still enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act. And the new law could face a legal challenge, although the courts have ruled that states can decriminalize marijuana.

Click here to read the entire article.

October 29, 2010
Former Muslim: Mullahs, Imams Coming to Christ in West Africa

(Christian Post)  Hundreds of imams and mullahs from West Africa have been coming to Christ in the past decade and in turn sharing the Gospel with their peers, said a former Muslim who witnesses to Muslim scholars and clerics.

Brother Daniel (last name withheld for security reasons) said that the initiative he started has exposed over 10,000 scholars, clerics and mullahs to the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ over the past 10 years. From that number, some 1,000 have come to Christ with 500 of them having completed discipleship training. Currently, 58 former mullahs, imams, and scholars from the initiative are sharing their faith in Christ, exclaimed Daniel to applause from the Lausanne III crowd.

“The Muslims that are around us are good people; they are sincere in their beliefs,” said Daniel Friday morning. “[But] even though they are very sincere, they are sincerely wrong.”

Daniel, who grew up in a Muslim setting in Africa, said Christians are not eager to share their faith with Muslims even though Jesus commanded them to spread the Gospel. Christians are “disobedient and fearful” to share the Gospel even though the Holy Spirit has worked on the hearts of Muslims and they are open and waiting to hear the good news, Daniel remarked.

He shared that he recently led a sharia (Islamic law) court judge to Christ. After the conversion, the former sharia judge lost his job and has faced “unbelievable persecution.” But despite the fierce obstacles, that former judge has alone led over 100 Muslims to Christ.

“Even if he is going to be killed, he is thinking of more ways to reach out to the Muslims,” Daniel shared.

“We are constantly threatened, persecuted, attacked, and ambushed. We get a lot of calls, sometimes from Mecca, Medina, Iran, from the local Hezbollah group in our nations. Yes, we become afraid. We are fearful. We are not that hero. But you know what? We need to be obedient to the call of Christ and go.”

The evangelist to Muslim clerics spoke during the session titled, “Discerning the Will of Christ for 21st Century World Evangeilzation,” with Paul Eshleman, founder of The Jesus Film Project, as the keynote speaker.

Eshleman, during his talk, emphasized that it is unacceptable that after 2,000 years since Jesus Christ came to earth there are still people all over the world who have not heard the Gospel.

“The fact that there is still people groups today that have no missionaries, no church, and nobody even planning to go is wrong. It is absolutely wrong,” said Eshleman, who now serves as vice president of Networks and Partnerships for Campus Crusade for Christ International. “My question to us is how much longer will we wait?”

Delegates at the Lausanne conference represent nearly five million local churches, and 12 million Christian workers, he pointed out.

“Surely we can decide today that it is long enough,” he said. “Tell us where the global body of Christ needs us to go and we will go."

There are a total of about 8,000 languages, of which only 448 have a complete Bible, said Eshleman. About an eighth of the world’s languages (1185 languages) have New Testaments; and another 843 languages have a portion of Scripture.

“Here is the real tragedy: today there are 2,252 languages that have not one verse of Scripture and no one is planning to go to them,” Eshleman lamented.

He urged Lausanne delegates to help provide the manpower for 4,000 story-telling teams to be sent within the next two to three years so that no people group on earth will be without at least an oral version of the Bible.

More than 4,000 Christian leaders representing over 190 nations have gathered for Lausanne III, also known as Cape Town 2010. The purpose of the Lausanne Congresses is to bring the global body of Christ together to discuss how to best evangelize the world. The Congress has also been addressing global problems facing the Church, including secularization, Islam, HIV/AIDS, prosperity gospel, and environmental concerns, among other topics. The conference program will conclude Sunday.

October 29, 2010
General: Muslim Brotherhood plots undoing of America

(WorldNetDaily)  Retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, former U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, made an impassioned plea for Americans – especially Christians – to learn about the inner workings of stealth jihadists by reading "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That`s Conspiring to Islamize America," a book based on the covert penetration of the Council on American-Islamic Relations .

Boykin, who has played a role in almost every recent major American military operation – serving in Grenada, Somalia and Iraq – spoke at a prophecy conference in California sponsored by evangelical leader Greg Laurie.

"There`s a recent book that came out called `Muslim Mafia,`" said Boykin, currently a professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and author of "Never Surrender: A Soldier`s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom." "Have any of you read this? Have any of you ever seen it? I encourage you to get this book – `Muslim Mafia.` … This book will scare you. This book will open your eyes. This book will shake you. What this book says is frightening."

Boykin went on to tell his audience of thousands at the Harvest Christian Fellowship about some of the revelations in the book by P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry:

  • New evidence that CAIR was launched to support the Hamas terrorist group and has transferred tens of thousands of dollars to a group recently convicted as Hamas` top fundraising arm in the U.S. – money that ended up aiding terrorist attacks on Israelis and Americans;

  • Internal documents showing CAIR, despite claims of cooperating with law enforcement, actively works behind the scenes to mislead and deceive the FBI on behalf of terrorism suspects – and has even cultivated Muslim moles inside law enforcement who have tipped off FBI terror targets;

  • CAIR is more closely tied to al-Qaida than previously reported;

  • CAIR claims to represent all Muslim Americans; however, it has victimized some 100 indigent Muslims in a massive fraud and threatened them when they tried to go to the media; and internally, personnel complaints reveal CAIR discriminates against Shiite Muslims and Muslim women within its own headquarters;

  • CAIR and its sister fronts are funded by foreign Muslim Brotherhood sources;

  • CAIR leaders share the Muslim Brotherhood`s ultimate goal to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law;

  • The Muslim Brotherhood investment in corporate America will be used to pressure U.S. companies into compliance with Islamic principles.

"That`s a testimonial I treasure," said Joseph Farah, chief executive officer of WND and WND Books, the publisher of "Muslim Mafia." "I`ve been promoting this groundbreaking investigation for a year, and for a year what I call the "Media Mafia" has been covering up the shocking revelations. I appreciate the courage General Boykin demonstrated by speaking out."

Coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the release of "Muslim Mafia" last October, Farah has been making a new effort to revisit the subject matter.

"Take General Boykin`s challenge – get yourself a copy of `Muslim Mafia` today," he says. "Share it with your friends. Donate a copy to your local library. Pass on a copy to your representative in Congress. Give one to your local law enforcement agency."

October 29, 2010
Concerned Women for America opposes Proposition 19

 (Concerned Women for America ) Substance abuse problems already plague our society whether drugs are legal or illegal.  The notion that legalizing a drug that alters one`s ability to perform tasks, impairs normal functioning and represents what many consider to be a gateway to stronger and more addictive and destructive substances can only be detrimental to our culture.  Law enforcement officials agree that Prop 19 endangers public safety.


Read CWFA talking points on Prop. 19 here.

October 29, 2010
Heavyweight Philosophers Clash at Abortion Conference

(C-FAM)  A baby`s cry, piercing the air from the back of an Ivy League academic hall, offered a disquieting counterpoint to a startling argument for abortion rights.

“An infant has no moral status because he is not self-aware,” said Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics. 

Singer argued this point at an historic conference he co-organized at Princeton University last weekend, seeking new dialogue on the heated issue of abortion. Remarkably, for a conference examining abortion, there was virtually no discussion about the act of abortion itself.  

“We have to get rid of the idea of evil,” said Frances Kissling, an abortion rights advocate turned bioethics scholar, who also organized the conference.

The headline panel featured two heavyweight Australian philosophers – Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton, and John Finnis, a professor emeritus of philosophy in the University of Oxford.  The two debated the “Moral Status of the Fetus.”

Finnis argued that biology and metaphysics determined the status of the fetus, not ethics as suggested by Singer.  Finnis objected to the very use of the term “fetus”, saying that it is an “F-word”.

“As used in the conference program and website, which are not medical contexts, it is offensive, dehumanizing, prejudicial, manipulative,“ Finnis said.  “A website describing ultrasound for expectant mothers doesn’t talk about her fetus but her baby, and so do her doctors unless they’re her abortionists or think she has been or is interested in abortion.”

Finnis underscored the point that rights are recognized, not conferred, and rejected Singer’s “moral status” approach, which negates the personhood of unborn children.

Singer defended his support for infanticide, stating that self-awareness confers moral status, and not species membership.  Abortion is the killing of a human being, but is not immoral because the child does not meet the self-awareness test, said Singer.

In his utilitarian view, Singer believes that there can even be a moral duty to kill humans lacking self-awareness, including the disabled, which he has been criticized for not following in the case of his mother.

The conference sought a new approach to talking and thinking about abortion. With one or two notable exceptions, it succeeded in its goal of conducting a civil debate between people on opposite sides of the issue.

Another conference goal, finding common ground between the two sides, proved more elusive.  The opening session took up this topic, and included a former general counsel for Planned Parenthood, a self-described pro-life progressive evangelical professor, an independent bioethicist, and Kissling.

Many pro-life participants complained about the composition of some panels, including the opening session, and two panels on pregnancy issues as lacking balance and speakers who could properly articulate a strong pro-life position.

Kissling shocked the audience in the last session by saying, “I don’t care how you accomplish it [the right to abortion], whether through a constitution, the UN, state laws or federals laws, or by the Taliban.”   The University of Pennsylvania, where Kissling is a visiting bioethics scholar, has drawn criticism for appointing the long-time abortion activist who lacks significant academic credentials.

Charles Camosy of Fordham University and Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International also organized the conference.  Other notable speakers included Helen Alvare, Sunny Anand, Christian Brugger, Eleanor Drey, David Garrow, Richard Garnett, William Hurlbut, Dawn Johnsen, Eva Kattay, and Robin West.

October 29, 2010
Purple Homosexualist `Spirit Day` Saturates U.S. Schools, Media, Stock Exchange

(LifeSiteNews)  An Internet-born movement to encourage solidarity with teen victims of gay bullying has spurred several celebrities, schools, and media to officially promote the pro-homosexual campaign by wearing purple this past Wednesday.

A young woman named Brittany McMillan, who spread the idea on her Tumblr account, and was championed by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), reportedly began the movement, which is intended to memorialize homosexual youths who have killed themselves.

Several media outlets endorsed the movement, including CNBC, the Today Show, E!, HGTV, Philadelphia Magazine, Ms. Magazine, The View, and numerous Spanish-language media. Even the New York Stock Exchange building was illuminated purple to celebrate the event.

But not everyone is pleased with the Spirit Day, which has been officially adopted in several U.S. schools, including high schools and elementary schools.

Carlos Barrera, a freshman at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, CA, said that his school announced Tuesday that it would sponsor the color-themed event "to stop hate and discrimination" against homosexuals.

"I saw on the news something about wearing purple, but I didn`t expect them to make the announcement during school, over the loudspeaker," Barrera, 14, told LifeSiteNews.com. "If you didn`t have purple, one of the teachers was passing out rainbow ribbons to the students to wear."

Barrera said he thought "a pretty good part" of the student body participated, but not everyone was pleased. "A lot of [the students] were disappointed, they were pretty upset," he said. "I didn`t like it at all." Barrera said that all of the faculty appeared to participate.

Daniel Perez, a teacher at Fremont who was in charge of the homosexualist Spirit Day, did not return calls as of press time Friday.

It`s unclear from the Facebook event page dedicated to the campaign how many actually signed up on the social network to attend: the number of those “attending” fluctuates intermittently from about 10,000 to over 1.7 million. The number “not attending” also appears to fluctuate between 10,000 and over 1.2 million.

The site states that, “Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality."

Homosexual individuals have been found to suffer a significantly increased risk of mental health issues, including drug abuse, depression, and suicide; a UK survey in 2008 found homosexuals twice as likely as the rest of the population to take their own lives.

While homosexualist leaders often attribute these symptoms exclusively to bullying and discrimination, pro-family experts, such as the group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), contend that homosexuality is itself a manifestation of a psychological disorder, and that engaging in the dangerous gay lifestyle presents a major threat to an individual`s physical and mental well-being.

PFOX executive director Regina Griggs says that school groups that encourage vulnerable teens to identify as gay or lesbian too early are doing them a great disservice by fostering a deep confusion about their own identity.

"Sexual attractions are fluid and do not take on permanence until early adulthood," said Griggs in response to news of a young man`s suicide in 2008. "Rather than affirming teenagers as `gay` through self-labeling, educators should affirm them as people worthy of respect and encourage teens to wait until adulthood before making choices about their sexuality. 

"If teens are encouraged to believe that they are permanently `gay` before they have had a chance to reach adulthood, their life choices are severely restricted and can result in depression."

October 29, 2010
President Obama Endorses LGBT Youth `Spirit Day`

(LifeSiteNews)  President Barack Obama has issued a message exhorting young people who consider themselves homosexual to "be true to" themselves and recognize their sexual tendencies as "a source of pride, and a source of strength."

Obama issued the remarks in the wake of a nationwide "Spirit Day" in which celebrities, media, and schools across the nation wore purple to express solidarity with homosexual youths who have committed suicide.

"Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives," said Obama in the short video clip.

"I don`t know what it`s like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it`s like to grow up feeling sometimes like you don`t belong," he continued.

"There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. You`ve got ot make sure to reach out to people you trust, whether it`s your parents, your teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are - you`ve got to reach out to them."

Obama exhorted the youth to embrace the homosexual identity in order to later advance the homosexual agenda in America. "In time, you`re going ot see that your differences are a source of pride, and a source of strength. ... It`ll help you get involved and make this country a better place. It`ll mean that you`ll be more likely to help fight discrimination, not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms," he said.

"Each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own versions of happiness ... most of all, to be true to ourselves," the president concluded.

While the many suicides among "gay" youth are generally attributed to anti-gay bullying, pro-family advocates have said the severe mental repercussions are in fact caused by those who pressure such youth to identify as gay while yet unsure of their sexual identity. 

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) hailed the video as an "historic" boost to the homosexualist campaign towards youth. "The President`s empathy and concern, so clearly and directly expressed, is an historic contribution to the outpouring of support for LGBT youth we have seen over the past few weeks," stated the GLSEN blog.

This was not the first time Obama has stepped into the battle for the sexual integrity of America`s youth. In June, Constance McMillen, a teenager who sued her high school for not allowing her to bring her female lover to the prom, was invited to a homosexualist reception at the White House.

October 29, 2010
Quebec Relativism Course Going to Supreme Court

(LifeSiteNews) The Supreme Court of Canada, in a case with implications for parental rights across the country, has agreed to examine whether Quebec parents should be allowed to exempt their children from the province`s mandatory course in moral and religious relativism.

Sylvain Lamontagne, president of the Coalition pour la liberte en education (CLE), praised the Supreme Court`s decision to hear the case, saying the ethics and religious culture (ERC) course "undermines the fundamental rights of freedom of conscience and religion, by imposing what some sociologists have likened to indoctrination."

The ERC program, which took effect in 2008-2009, purports to present the spectrum of world religions and lifestyle choices from a "neutral" stance.  It has been criticized for its relativistic approach to moral issues, teaching even at the earliest grades, for instance, that homosexuality is a normal choice for family life.

The course is being challenged by a Drummondville family who argue that its mandatory nature violates their freedom of religion and their right to direct the education of their children.

Despite legislation in the province allowing for exemptions, none have been given, and the Ministry of Education has even sought to impose the course on private schools.  They faced a setback on this in June, when the Quebec Superior Court allowed Loyola High School, a Catholic boys` school in the Jesuit tradition, to teach the course from a Catholic perspective.  Justice Gérard Dugré said the Ministry`s actions assumed "a totalitarian character essentially equivalent to Galileo`s being ordered by the Inquisition to deny the Copernican universe."

The Quebec Court of Appeal refused to hear the family`s case in February after they lost at the Quebec Superior Court in August 2009.  Justice Yves-Marie Morissette said the appeal was "doomed to failure."  He dismissed it in particular on the grounds that the parents no longer had children who were required to take the course, because one had graduated and the other was put in private school.

Opponents of the course argued that by dismissing the appeal partly because one of the children was in private school, the judge had thus recognized exemptions for private schools, and that students in public schools should then also be allowed the exemption.

The Catholic Civil Rights League, which hopes to intervene in the case, insisted in a press release yesterday that parents are the first educators of their children.  "This case is about the principle of parental authority in the religious education of their children," said League President Phil Horgan. "The appeal is a significant opportunity to affirm these rights in the public forum, and encourage parental rights in the implementation of moral and religious instruction in Quebec`s public schools."

Richard Decarie, a spokesman for CLE, which has been supporting the parents, compared the parents` case against the Quebec government to David and Goliath.  "The moral authority of parents over their children is at stake," he said.  "If the parents from Drummondville lose, the government will be free to go all the way in other areas," such as child care.

"For us it`s major because Quebec is the first province, but it could spread across Canada," he added.

October 22, 2010
Fix church, fix culture, fix politics

(OneNewsNow)  As one conservative believes the U.S. is trying to replace God with the government, a Christian leader and commentator says the outcome of the upcoming elections will be "profound" -- but won`t cure all of the nation`s problems.

Break Point host Chuck Colson recently shared on American Family Radio`s Today`s Issues program that he does not view the political system as the nation`s savior. He decides it is "nothing but an expression of culture."

"Our culture is sick. Why is our culture sick? Because the church is the root of culture. `Cult ` -- that`s what it means; that`s where the word comes from. So what you do is fix the church," he suggests. "If you fix the church, you`ll fix the culture. If you fix the culture, you`ll fix politics."

But the program host is quick to point out that Christians should not feel they should avoid serving in government or playing a role in policy. "That`s how you organize our lives together. But don`t put your ultimate hope there," he warns. "We`re not going to be delivered by the political system."

Since every aspect of culture points back to the church, Colson thinks it is time for the church to undergo "a lot of self-examination...a lot of repentance [and] a lot of time on our knees...begging God to use us."

Likewise, Daniel Diaz of Young Americans for Freedom believes America has been morally declining since it began removing God from the government in the 1960s.

"From the 1960s to today, if you look at every statistic in America, before 1960 there was not one school shooting. Since then, there [have] almost been a thousand school shootings...." Diaz points out. "Rape has gone up, SAT [scores] have gone down, diseases have gone up; it`s all related to the morality of our nation." (Listen to audio report)

He suggests the United States is seeking to replace God with the state to ultimately cause Americans to be dependent on government. "When you take God out of society, which they did in 1960 when they took prayer out of school and [when] they took the Ten Commandments out of schools in 1980, you start seeing that the society no longer has an objective moral truth," Diaz contends.

Even though the country has many faults, the Christian activist argues that America is still exceptional. "We believe in moral truths and freedom, and that`s why America is great," he explains. "We [have] to stop apologizing for our strengths."

So Diaz is calling for the U.S. to return to limited government, individual liberties, traditional values, and free markets.

October 22, 2010
Woman seeks `Christian roommate,` state cites her for discrimination

(WorldNetDaily) A single, 31-year-old woman in Michigan who posted a note on her church bulletin board seeking a "Christian roommate" to share her residence has been cited by the state for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against those of other faiths.

The complaint signed by Tyra Khan, a "Civil Rights Representative" of the state of Michigan Department of Civil Rights, surfaced when the Alliance Defense Fund announced today it was representing the woman.

ADF spokesman Joel Oster confirmed the organization sent a letter to the state explaining that such housing rules don`t apply to people living in their own homes and wanting to share their resources.

"[Tricia] is a single lady looking for a roommate. She is not a landlord. She does not own a management company. She does not run an apartment complex. She is a single person seeking to have a roommate live with her in her house," the letter said.

"She is not prohibited by either federal law or state law from seeking a Christian roommate. Neither Title VII of the US Fair Housing Civil Rights Act of 1968 nor the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act No. 453 prevents a woman like [her] from seeking a Christian roommate."

The letter asked for an immediate dismissal of the case, but Oster confirmed to WND today that he had not received a response.

WND contacted the agency`s spokesman, Harold Core, who said the case had been determined to be legitimate and the investigation was continuing.

He cited a regulation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and explained the state of Michigan agrees to enforce federal regulations.

He said section 604C states it is a "violation to make, print or publish or cause to be made, printed or published any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference" for a list of nondiscrimination categories, including religious belief.

The complaint specifically alleges the woman`s statement, "I am looking for a Christian roommate," prevents people of "other faiths" from contacting the woman and making arrangements to share her home with her.

Core declined to respond to questions about the complications that could arise should a full range of nondiscrimination factors, such as race, age and sex, be applied.

"The Fair Housing law is very clear," he warned. "You cannot advertising for preferences on certain … situations."

"Free speech isn`t the same as … a housing opportunity," he said.

"Christians shouldn`t live in fear of being punished by the government for being Christians. It is completely absurd to try to penalize a single Christian woman for privately seeking a Christian roommate at church – an obviously legal and constitutionally protected activity," said Oster, a senior legal counsel with the ADF.

"Not content to just lock Christians and their beliefs into the four walls of their church or home, some groups also want to invade those walls and force their own ideas upon them by force of law," he said.

The person who filed the complaint, whose identity was being protected by the state, complained about the "advertisement which contained the following sentence: `I am looking for a Christian roommate, ...` The claimant believes the statement expresses an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths."

The state, which got the complaint from the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, a private organization, ordered the defendant to provide information about her agent, the names and addresses of her management personnel, a copy of her anti-discrimination policy, addresses of her properties, tenants, witnesses and a copy of the advertisement.

The Fair Housing Center could not be reached for a comment.

The state also warned, "You must preserve all records relevant to this complaint until final disposition is issued by the department and until litigation and all appeals are concluded. Revelant records, would, for example, include records relating to the aggrieved person and all persons similarly situated."

 

October 22, 2010
Facebook Teams Up with Gay Activist Orgs to Stop Hateful Comments

(LifeSiteNews)  The social networking site Facebook has teamed up with a who’s who list of homosexual advocacy groups to set up a Network of Support for homosexuals, part of an effort to remove “hateful” speech and bullying from the social network site.

But pro-family groups are expressing serious concern about the arrangement, as some of the homosexualist organizations call not only for the removal of legitimately hateful or violent speech, but also censorship of statements that are merely critical of homosexuality.

Facebook announced recently that it was launching a Network of Support after a Facebook page set up to discourage anti-homosexual bullying and to commemorate the recent deaths of six homosexuals by suicide, received vulgar and obscene comments.

The Network of Support encourages users to report “hateful” comments to Facebook, which will then be deleted by the site, and gives instructions on how to prevent such comments from happening in the first place, such as blocking profiles, reporting harassment, sticking up for others, thinking twice about posts, or directing individuals to FB’s Network of Support.

The social network site announced that it is teaming up with MTV`s A Thin Line campaign; the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); the Trevor Project; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in establishing this Network of Support for troubled homosexual youth.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins blasted the partnership, expressing concern that groups like GLAAD may actually try to use their influence to push Facebook to adopt a much wider definition of hate speech.

GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios has indicated that Facebook’s efforts are only “an important first step,” and Perkins says he believes GLAAD will work to expand the definition of hate speech beyond hateful attacks to include any speech critical of homosexual behavior.

“It may happen slowly, but I guarantee that Facebook will begin to broaden its definition of what`s ‘hateful’ based on GLAAD`s prior actions,” said Perkins.

The pro-family leader referred to GLAAD’s campaign to get him banned from the Washington Post’s editorial page after he penned a column where he said the blame for bullying should rest at the feet of bullies themselves and not at church-going Christians, who believe homosexual behavior is wrong, but affirm the goodness of the person.

Perkins had made clear in that opinion piece that Christians condemn bullying and violence against homosexuals, and said Christian compassion motivates them to seek to turn homosexuals away from “self-destructive” behavior.

However, GLAAD told its followers, “Perkins blames the recent teen suicide tragedies on the victims themselves” and accused the Post of making its editorial pages a “platform for an anti-gay activist.”

Perkins warned that the Facebook partnership with GLAAD “is significant because it puts Facebook on the media`s growing path toward censorship.”

“Like the mainstream media, they`re succumbing to pressure to silence free speech.”

The Daily Caller (TDC) responded to the partnership by pointing out that that Facebook hosts a number of sites that direct hatred or death wishes toward prominent conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. 

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes attempted to explain to TDC what appeared to be a double standard, saying that “Direct statements of hate against particular communities violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and are removed when reported to us.

“However, groups that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs — even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some — do not by themselves violate our policies. When a group created to express an opinion devolves into hate speech, we will remove the hateful comments and may even remove the group itself.” (See the Daily Caller story here)

October 22, 2010
Freeze granted on lifting military ban

(OneNewsNow)  A conservative military watchdog wonders what will prevent federal judges from imposing their personal will in other areas of the armed forces if one judge is permitted to force the military to allow homosexuals in the ranks.

On Wednesday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Obama administration`s request for a temporary freeze on Judge Virginia Phillips` order for the military to stop enforcing the 1993 law that declares homosexuals ineligible to serve in the military, a law often confused with Bill Clinton`s "don`t ask, don`t tell" policy.

The California-based judge denied a government request on Tuesday to delay her order, which prompted the Obama administration to appeal to the Ninth Circuit. President Barack Obama wants Congress to repeal the policy, but he thinks it should be handled by Congress.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), warns that if unelected federal judges are able to force the military to accept homosexuals, then there is no end to the interference the courts could impose on the armed forces. She says that could include "whether or not we should fight a certain war, whether or not certain equipment should be used, [or] whether or not people are so inconvenienced as to have to wear uniforms."

She argues that the courts could be left to decide "every single issue, [including] the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a very special code of conduct. If someone takes it into court as a civil rights issue, and you have a judge with a similar mindset -- that he or she has the power to rule the military -- well, we don`t have a military anymore."

So the CMR president contends it was a mistake for the military to bow to Judge Phillips, whom Donnelly has sarcastically referred to as the "Supreme Judicial Commander of the U.S. Military."

October 22, 2010
Prop. 8 hearing set for Dec. 6

(SCOTUS) The Ninth Circuit Court on Thursday scheduled a two-hour hearing on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, to be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, December 6. The three judges on the panel will not be announced until about a week before the hearing.

A hearing in the Ninth Circuit Court on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 — a state constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage — has been set for 10 a.m. (Pacific time) on Monday, Dec. 6, the Court announced Thursday.  Each side will have one hour for argument.  The hearing will be a combined one on the appeals of the backers of Proposition 8 and by Imperial County (dockets 10-16696 and 10-16751, respectively).  Both cases carry the title Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Under the practice of the Circuit Court, the three judges who will hear the case will not be identified publicly until the week before the hearing.  The merits briefing of the case is scheduled to be completed on Nov. 1, with the filing of the reply briefs by the Proposition 8 backers and Imperial County.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker has struck down Proposition 8, but the state is refusing to appeal.   The measure’s supporters and Imperial County are attempting to stand in for the state to defend the measure’s validity.

The December hearing will be at the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco.

October 22, 2010
Study: Too Much Screen Time Linked to Psychological Difficulties, even for Physically Active Kids

(LifeSiteNews)  A new study conducted at the University of Bristol has found that too much TV and computer screen time is bad for children, regardless of how much physical activity they get.

Previous research has shown that too much screen time has an adverse effect on children`s mental well-being, but whether the lack of physical exercise and long periods of sitting still significantly contributed to this was not clear.

Dr. Angie Page, from the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol in England, and colleagues, asked 1013 children aged 10 and 11 to wear accelerometers for seven days, to measure how much they moved, and to self-report average daily television hours and computer use outside of school and homework.

The children then completed a "Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire," which is designed to measure psychological difficulties such as hyperactivity, inattention, social problems and conduct issues.

The researchers found that those kids who spent more than two hours a day watching TV were 61% more likely than children with less screen time to have increased psychological difficulties.

More than two hours per day using a computer for activities other than homework was associated with 59% greater likelihood of psychological problems.

Unexpectedly however, those children who were measured to have been moderately or vigorously active for an hour or more each day during the test were not shown to have substantially lower psychological difficulties.

The physically active kids who had 2 hours or more of TV or computer screen time were still 54 percent and 48 percent more likely, respectively, to have psychological problems.

"These data support some restriction of screen entertainment use irrespective of levels of physical activity and indicate that guidelines for both sedentary and physical activity behavior are warranted," Dr. Page and her colleagues concluded.

The researchers also noted that screen time (or sedentary time), and sedentary behaviors such as reading or socializing, which "may have a beneficial impact on psychological well-being," must be considered and studied separately.

"The weak association between sedentary time and screen entertainment found here and in other studies supports the view that sedentary time and sedentary behaviors are different constructs," the researchers wrote, adding that, "Additional studies are necessary to confirm the relationship between sedentary time and psychological difficulties and should include sedentary activities that may have a beneficial impact on psychological well-being (for example, socializing and reading), as well as those that have a negative impact."

This research, titled "Children`s Screen Viewing is Related to Psychological Difficulties Irrespective of Physical Activity," was published online Oct. 11 in "Pediatrics," the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

An abstract, with links to the full text of the study, is available here.

October 22, 2010
`Transgenderism` up in public schools
(OneNewsNow)  As public schools already face challenges in teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, intense pressure from the radical homosexual agenda is forcing schools to deal with a number of issues never before presented.

According to Candi Cushman, education analyst for CitizenLink, the sexual chaos and confusion occurring in society is finding its way into the classroom. For instance, some school administrators are spending more time accommodating cross-dressing and transgender students.

"They are facing demands for boys to be able to use girls` restrooms [and for] girls to be able to use boys` locker rooms," she reports. "We`re seeing these cases involving, for example, a girl wanting to run as prom king. It`s a very difficult situation out there on all fronts for school officials."

The education analyst is concerned that pro-homosexual groups purposely want to trump parents` authority by forcing the transgender message into the schools.

"It is a radical redefinition of what it means to be male and female; it`s basically a deconstruction of the meaning of God created gender -- male and female," Cushman laments.

She reminds Christians of their responsibility to share Christ`s compassion with everyone, including students who struggle with gender-identity. But at the same time, parents also have the right to speak out because they should be in control of how, when and if their children are exposed to controversial sexual topics.

October 21, 2010
The Samuel Adams Scholarship for Journalism

(Patrick Henry College) Do you consider yourself a talented young journalist? Then you’ll be excited to learn that Patrick Henry College is offering exceptional Christian journalism students the opportunity of a lifetime.

Patrick Henry College is offering four-year scholarships for highly-qualified applicants to the College’s Journalism Major. There will be four awards with a maximum award of up to $10,000. These privately funded scholarships will make it more financially viable for talented, dedicated young people to take advantage of the unique education opportunities available to Journalism students at PHC.

To be considered for the scholarships, applicants should apply through the regular application for admission and scholarship. Take care to study and fulfill all the basic requirements.

Fall 2011 Deadlines

  • Early Action and Scholarship Priority: November 1, 2010
  • The Samuel Adams Scholarship for Journalism: December 1, 2010
  • Regular Decision and Financial Aid: February 1, 2011

To be eligible for The Samuel Adams Scholarship for Journalism, applicants must submit a completed admission application package and journalism portfolio to the PHC Office of Admissions by December 1, 2010.

Founded in 2000, Patrick Henry College is known for its Christian classical liberal arts approach and emphasis on apprenticeship methodology. This dual emphasis provides a potent foundation for journalistic excellence in a spectrum of writing, reporting, and communications disciplines.

Students who qualify for The Samuel Adams Journalism Scholarship will have a strong academic record, outstanding references, and a demonstrated interest and experience in journalism, as shown by a record in high school of internships or paid positions with newspaper, magazines, news websites, or broadcast stations. Include with your application a portfolio that best exemplifies your journalistic work and experience, featuring the following components:

Required:

  1. SAT score of at least 1250 (Math and Critical Reading) or an ACT score of 28.
  2. A short essay describing your interest in journalism and how PHC’s journalism program would help you achieve your career goals
  3. Two letters of recommendation from an employer, supervisor, or mentor addressing your potential as a journalist
  4. A résumé focusing on journalistic experience and journalism-related skills
  5. A feature story or news story of at least 1,000 words (may be published or unpublished)

Optional:

  • Clips of published articles
  • Samples of news-related multimedia work, such as videos, podcasts, photos, or web pages (submit on CD or DVD)

To be eligible for The Samuel Adams Scholarship for Journalism, applicants must submit a completed admission application package and journalism portfolio to the PHC Office of Admissions by December 1, 2009.

October 21, 2010
Obama Administration Uses Taxpayer Funding to Encourage ‘Sustainable Communities’

(CNSNews)  The U.S. government is stepping in with millions of taxpayer dollars to create affordable places for Americans to work and live.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last week announced nearly $100 million in new grants "to support more livable and sustainable communities across the country."

Forty-five regions will receive various amounts of the funding through the new initiative, which aims to connect housing with jobs, schools and transportation.

“Regions that embrace sustainable communities will have a built-in competitive edge in attracting jobs and private investment,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in an Oct. 14 news release announcing the 45 grant recipients.

“Planning our communities smarter means parents will spend less time driving and more time with their children; more families will live in safe, stable communities near good schools and jobs; and more businesses will have access to the capital and talent they need to grow and prosper.”

Rather than dictate how communities can spend the grant money, HUD encouraged “creative, locally focused thinking,” Donovan added.

The Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program -- funded for the first time this year -- is part of the Obama administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an interagency collaboration that brings HUD, the Transportation Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency together to help communities across the country “create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support the kinds of neighborhoods that attract businesses.”

One category of grants will assist regional planning for sustainable development where such plans do not currently exist. A second category of funding will support the implementation of existing sustainability plans.

The 45 organizations that received grants (see list) were competitively selected from more than 1,000 applicants from across the country. The grants were judged by a team drawn from eight federal agencies and from partners in philanthropy.

Land-use choices

One of the largest grants, $5 million, is going to the Metropolitan Council of St. Paul, Minn., to support planning along the region`s five “transit corridors.”"

The goal, said Metropolitan Council Chair Peter Bell, is to make transit more successful, promote housing and transportation affordability and availability, and make communities more vital.

“Increasingly we recognize that transit isn’t just about moving people from one place to another,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough. “Transit and transit corridors pose unlimited opportunities to mold and shape our communities, our environment and our economic circumstances. Ultimately, the land use choices we make as we develop our network of transit corridors will shape our destiny as a region.”

When people can live in housing they can afford, near transportation they can afford and have community amenities available in the same area, "it’s a platform for success,” said Minnesota Housing Commissioner Dan Bartholomay.

Another $4.9 million is going to Washington State`s Puget Sound Regional Council "to support regional planning for more livable, prosperous and sustainable communities in the Puget Sound area," a press release said.

"This funding is about creating economic opportunities for communities throughout the Puget Sound and Thurston County," said Sen. Pat Murray, chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee. Murray, a Democrat, is in a tight race for re-election.

"This funding will bring transit closer to commuters and commuters closer to their jobs and families. I funded this program because we need to think comprehensively about how we plan our communities. This funding will help Washington families have an affordable place to work and live."

“We’re very grateful to the Obama Administration for its leadership and its role in securing these grant funds,” said Ray Stephanson, President of the Puget Sound Regional Council and Mayor of Everett.

“Here in the Puget Sound region, we’re leading the way when it comes to growing our economy. This grant award will help shape the future of our region in ways that create a more livable and prosperous future for all of us. We’re taking a big picture approach to creating job opportunities closer to where people live, while promoting a healthy environment and a healthy economy.”

In the Fiscal 2010 budget, Congress provided a total of $150 million to HUD for a Sustainable Communities Initiative to improve regional planning efforts involving housing and transportation decisions, and increase the capacity to improve land use and zoning, HUD says on its Web site.

October 21, 2010
Study: Gay Parents More Likely to Have Gay Kids

(AOL News)  Walter Schumm knows what he`s about to do is unpopular: publish a study arguing that gay parents are more likely to raise gay children than straight parents. But the Kansas State University family studies professor has a detailed analysis that past almost aggressively ideological researchers never had.

When one such researcher, Paul Cameron, published a paper in 2006 arguing that children of gay parents were more likely to be gay themselves, the response from the academic press was virulent, to say nothing of the popular press; the Southern Poverty Law Center, for instance, equated Cameron to a Nazi.

Not all of the vitriol was hyperbolic. Cameron does not tolerate gay people. He believes that "homosexual practice is injurious to society."

The gay press, as far back as the 1980s, labeled Cameron "the most dangerous anti-gay voice in America." Though Cameron was the first to publish papers on the dangers of secondhand smoke, the scientific community has abandoned him. The American Psychological Association long since dropped him from its membership for an "ethical" violation.

Today, Cameron is the founder and chairman of the Family Research Institute, whose "overriding mission" is to publish "empirical research on issues that threaten the traditional family, particularly homosexuality."

Schumm doesn`t go for that sort of research. After Cameron`s 2006 paper, Schumm listened as the academic community stated certainty of two things: Cameron was an idiotic bigot; and the existing literature showed little to no societal, cultural or parental influence on sexual orientation.

Schumm began investigating the second premise. "I just want to know the truth about something," he tells AOL News. And he found it strange that parents can influence so many facets of their children`s lives -- but not in any way their sexual orientation.

Click here to read the entire article.

October 21, 2010
Alito Won’t Attend Next State of the Union

(NewsMax)  Asked if he would attend the State of the Union address next year, after the TV cameras this year caught him objecting to President Obama’s denigration of the country’s highest court, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said, “I doubt that I will be there in January.”

Delivering the Manhattan Institute’s prestigious Wriston Lecture on Wednesday evening, Alito noted that other justices, like the recently retired John Paul Stevens and current Justice Antonin Scalia “stopped the practice of attending State of the Union addresses, because they have become very political.”

Attendees of the black tie event in New York City told Newsmax that Alito complained of it being “very awkward” for the justices who attend the annual speech in the presence of the assembled members of both houses of Congress.

“We have to sit there like the proverbial potted plant,” Alito said, and provoked howls of laughter from the crowd when he deadpanned that the justices who are “more disciplined refrain from manifesting any emotional opinion whatsoever.”

It was a self-deprecating remark; in January, as he sat near the podium during Obama’s speech in the Capitol, Justice Alito was affronted by the president’s charge that “the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.”

Videotape of the event shows Alito wincing, then apparently saying, “that’s simply not true.” Directly behind Alito, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Senate Democratic Caucus vice chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the second and third ranking Democrats in the Senate, gleefully took to their feet and cheered as Alito and the five other justices in attendance remained seated, looking uncomfortably intimidated.

Alito also joked regarding State of the Union addresses that “presidents will fake you out. There are certain things that a president will say that everybody has to applaud” like, “‘Isn’t this the greatest country in the world?’ … so you get up and you start to clap, and the president will say, ‘…because we are conducting the surge in Iraq.’”

Justice Alito’s speech was entitled “Let Judges Be Judges” and he used the occasion to warn that the nation’s most prestigious law schools are now dominated by “judicial theorists” who oppose judges applying the laws and the Constitution as written.

“It’s critical for alternative voices to be heard in the law schools,” the justice said during the question-answer period. “The Federalist Society does a fantastic job of providing an alternative voice in law schools,” Alito said, referring to the 20,000-strong conservative legal society that believes the judiciary should “say what the law is, not what it should be.”

“Asked whether a judge should apply the law as written or do what the judge thinks is fair and just, two thirds of those polled said ‘apply the law as written,’” Alito noted. Judges “have no warrant to pursue a reform agenda that is not grounded in the Constitution, and they should not aim to be theorists or crowd-pleasers,” he added. “Let judges be judges, for if they are not our legal system as we know it will fade away.”

Justice Alito also used the occasion to deride the New York Times, charging that “the popular media, unfortunately, often obscures” the fundamental point that “the Constitution does not always mean what we would like it to mean,” and that “the statutes the Congress enacts do not always mean what we would like them to mean.”

Alito alluded to a July New York Times article calling the Roberts Court “the most conservative in decades.” The online version featured an interactive quiz on how Times readers’ views align with those of the Roberts Court, including questions on highly-charged issues like banning partial-birth abortions.

Justice Alito called it “fundamentally at odds with the traditional understanding of the judicial role.” The question at issue in the abortion case was not supporting or opposing partial-birth abortion, but “whether the federal statute violated the Constitution; the New York Times quiz question obscured this critical point.”

And he added that “while the creator of the New York Times quiz may not appreciate the difference between what the Constitution means and what one might like it to mean, ordinary people still do get this critical distinction.”

October 21, 2010
Christian Groups Intensify Efforts Against U.N. Defamation Resolution

(Christian Post)  A U.N. resolution that seeks to criminalize words and actions perceived as attacks against religion – particularly Islam – will be up for vote again this year.

This time, however, the U.N. Defamation of Religions resolution is picking up more opposition than in previous years and might not pass as it has in the past.

“The resolution lost support in the U.N. General Assembly vote during the last couple of years and we think this year may be the tipping point,” reported Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors, which has launched a campaign to rally concerned individuals against the resolution.

“We need to encourage key countries to change their vote on this resolution, supporting the efforts of our State Department,” it added.

Annually sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) since 1999, the anti-defamation resolution – which has been presented in various forms and under various titles – seeks to make the "defamation of religions" a human rights violation.

According to the resolution, the "defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred
in general could lead to social disharmony and violations of human rights."

It also claims there is a “need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred in general and against Islam and Muslims in particular."

However, while supporters of the resolution insist that there is a need for the "defamation of religion" to be considered a human rights violation, critics of the resolution, including more than 180 non-government organizations, have warned that such a move could be manipulated to justify anti-blasphemy laws and intimidate human rights activists and religious dissenters.

Instead of protecting adherents of religions, including those of religious minorities, the resolution protects religions themselves, critics say. Furthermore, the only religion mentioned in the text of the resolution is Islam.

“The resolution seeks to protect ideas instead of individuals undermining the true purpose of international human rights law,” remarked Open Doors. “It also legitimizes national blasphemy laws used by countries such as Pakistan to silence Christians and other religious minorities, as well as Muslims who do not conform to the government`s ideas.”

Late last month, several Christian groups submitted a consultation paper to the U.N. Human Rights Council, urging it to protect religious expression, interpret “incitement” in a manner that protects religious minorities from “actual, imminent harm,” and reject the call for vague “hate speech” codes that penalize speech that merely makes the listener uncomfortable.

The groups – which included Alliance Defense Fund, Christian Legal Fellowship, Jubilee Campaign, World Evangelical Alliance, and Advocates International – offered a handful of examples of censorship of “perfectly legitimate opinion under the guise of suppressing ‘hate speech,’” including the case of two pastors in Australia who were found guilty of “hate speech” for criticizing Islam.

“In particular, we have seen ‘hate speech’ codes used to suppress actual and accurate information about Islam if it is presented in a critical context,” they noted.

Click here to read the entire article.

October 21, 2010
Christians Urged to Wake Up to Reality of GLBT Agenda

(Christian Post)  Dr. Michael Brown believes Christians have already lost the battle when it comes to public opinion on homosexuality and gender identity issues.

Pro-gay books are being read in elementary school classrooms, teachers are being mandated to use gender neutral language, gay activists have been welcomed in the White House, and young evangelicals see no problem with same-sex marriage.

Yet the prevailing thought in churches is that "this stuff is happening elsewhere" or that Jesus is coming back soon and "we`re out of here any minute," Brown, a Jewish believer in Jesus, lamented.

"[We can] put our heads in sand or we can recognize that massive transformation is happening in our society right in front of our eyes, on our watch," he told Christians over the weekend at the National Conference on Christian Apologetics in Charlotte, N.C.

Author of 20 books, Brown has spoken to revival in America, the need for moral and cultural revolution and Jewish outreach throughout his ministry career. But homosexual issues were never on his radar.

"This is not something that made sense for me to focus on," he said.

It was just six years ago when he felt a divine mandate to start dealing with the issue.

Since then he has realized that many Christians have largely avoided the issue as well.

"The definitions of male and female are being eroded but don`t sweat it because praise the Lord you had a lovely service last Sunday," he said sarcastically. "Don`t let me disturb you with these trivialities."

Brown wants to awaken the conscious of Christians and bring them to a "divine reality" about what`s happening in America.

There is a need to reach out to homosexual men and women with compassion, he said, but at the same time there is "a gay activist agenda that we must resist."

The speaker and author listed a host of examples, particularly in the public school system, to demonstrate how much GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) activism has advanced.

Currently, the Los Angeles Unified School District has a policy on "ensuring equity and nondiscrimination" for "transgender and gender nonconforming students." The policy defines gender identity as "one`s understanding, interests, outlook, and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one’s biological sex."

In San Francisco, the school policy for restroom accessibility states, "Students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity exclusively and consistently asserted at school."

And the policy for locker room accessibility states, "Transgender students shall not be forced to use the locker room corresponding to their gender assigned at birth.

In other words, if Joey`s convinced he`s Jane, then he can use the girls` locker room and restroom, Brown summarized.

Pro-gay books have also become prevalent in the classrooms. Just ten years ago, it was difficult to get a copy of Heather Has Two Mommies. Now, Brown has been able to collect stacks of similar children`s books.

They include One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue DadsTwo Daddies and MeOh The Things Mommies Do!: What Can Be Better Than Having Two?; and the coloring book Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls.

Click here to read the entire article.

October 21, 2010
Miners Clad in Jesus Shirts Give Glory to God

(Christian Post)  When the 33 trapped miners in Chile emerged from underground, at least two dozen of them were wearing T-shirts that proclaimed "Gracias Senor," or "Thank you Lord."

Christian Maureira, national director of Campus Crusade for Christ in Chile, who helped provide the shirts, said the miners wanted to recognize and thank God publicly as the world watched the anticipated rescue this week.

The miners were rescued on Tuesday and Wednesday after being trapped in the San Jose mine in Chile since the Aug. 5 cave-in.

During the 10-week stint some 2,000 feet underground, Jose Henriquez, 55, stepped up as a spiritual leader in the group, leading prayer services at noon and 6 p.m. each day.

He wrote a letter to Maureira after MP3s of the "JESUS" film and the New Testament were delivered to the miners through a 4-inch-wide tube.

"Thank you for this tremendous blessing for me and my coworkers. It will be good for our spiritual edification. I am fine because Christ lives in me," Henriquez, who is part of a Pentecostal church, wrote.

He also quoted the Old Testament passage Psalms 95:4 – "In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him."

That passage was printed on the back of the T-shirts that a majority of the miners wore as they were pulled out to safety this week.

Berry Fiess, director of Field Information Services of The JESUS Film Project, made it clear that the miners decided on their own to ask for shirts that essentially give glory to God. The shirts also have the JESUS Film Project logo on the sleeve.

"They requested – after we sent the MP3s – that we get these shirts for them. They told us what they wanted on the front and back sides," Fiess explained. "There appears to be this strong desire to honor God and I think that this situation must have brought them close to their Maker."

Maureira worked with a designer to produce the shirts and they were delivered to the miners on Monday, just a day before they began hopping into the "Phoenix" escape capsule to reach the surface.

According to Maureira, who had initiated delivering audio Scripture to the miners, several of the men gave testimonies about meeting God while trapped.

Responding to those who wonder where God was during other cave-ins where miners died, the CCC Chile director commented, "I believe that God is sovereign and all miners – either those that have survived or those who have died – accomplish the will of God."

Another collapse could have happened during the rescue process in Chile, or the instruments might not have worked, Fiess noted.

"And like the shirt said on the back, `In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him,`" he said.

Fiess also noted that there have been many Christians who were saved miraculously and those who suffered and died. But he cited three biblical figures, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Old Testament book of Daniel, who were prepared to give glory to God whether they were delivered from a blazing furnace or not.

In the case of the miners in Chile, Fiess said, "I think it`s valid to give God the honor and the glory here because God is the one who can provide His grace and mercy at any time that He wants."

October 21, 2010
Federal Appeals Court Finds Ill. School ‘Moment of Silence’ is Constitutional

(CNSNews) A federal appeals court has overturned a 2009 lower court ruling that had found that a mandatory moment of silence in Illinois public schools was unconstitutional.

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld the law, which requires all public schools in the state begin the day with a moment of silence designated for “silent prayer or for silent reflection on the anticipated activities of the day.”

Judge Daniel Manion, writing for the majority, said that a moment of silence law does not violate the Establishment Clause “by favoring some religions.”

“The government may not favor `one religion over another without a legitimate secular reason,” Manion wrote. “In this case, to the extent it could be considering `favoring` some religions by providing a period of silence, there is a valid secular reason for not allowing vocal prayer during that time -- maintaining silence. Therefore, Section 1 neither advances nor inhibits any particular religion

The Illinois ACLU, which had filed the original legal challenge to the law, expressed disappointment with the appellate ruling, saying in a news release that the law "coerces children to pray in our public schools” -- an argument that Appellate Judge Ann Claire Williams echoed in a dissenting opinion. 

“The Act makes what I believe to be an unnecessary reference to prayer, signaling a predominantly religious purpose to the statute,” Williams wrote. “And by enumerating prayer as one of the only two specific permissible activities, the Act conveys a message that Illinois students should engage in prayer during the prescribed period as opposed to a host of other silent options.”

But Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group dedicated to advancing religious freedom, said the majority on the court got it right.

“A moment of silence does not endorse a religion contrary to the First Amendment,” Staver told CNSNews.com. “In fact a moment of silence is just that --   a moment for a person to pray or meditate or do nothing. The courts have generally upheld a moment of silence.”

Staver added: “They are not forcing anyone to pray or not to pray. It’s an accommodation of people who choose to use this time for prayer.”

He also pointed out that Congress itself opens up every session with a moment of prayer and the Supreme Court has found that to be constitutional.

David Smith, executive director for the Illinois Family Council in Chicago, which filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of the Illinois law, said he was encouraged by the reversal.

“This ruling gives all students a choice,” Smith said. “Students can use the moment of silence to pray or not to pray. It is fully constitutional and simply allows students to take a moment to recognize their creator if they choose to do so.”

October 15, 2010
Feds oppose Calif. Prop 19 to legalize marijuana

(OneNewsNow)  Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal government will enforce its marijuana laws in California even if voters next month make the state the first in the nation to legalize the drug.

The Justice Department strongly opposes California`s Proposition 19 and remains firmly committed to enforcing the federal Controlled Substances Act in all states, Holder wrote in a letter to former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, dated Wednesday.

"We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law," Holder wrote.

The attorney general also said that legalizing recreational marijuana in California would be a "significant impediment" to the government`s joint efforts with state and local law enforcement to target drug traffickers, who often distribute marijuana alongside cocaine and other drugs.

He said the ballot measure`s passage would "significantly undermine" efforts to keep California communities safe.

The ex-DEA chiefs sent a letter to Holder in August calling on the Obama administration to sue California if Proposition 19 passes. They said legalizing pot presented the same threat to federal authority as Arizona`s recent immigration law that spurred a federal lawsuit.

If California voters approve the ballot measure, the state would become the first to legalize and regulate recreational pot use. Adults could possess up to one ounce of the drug and grow small gardens on private property. Local governments would decide whether to allow and tax sales of the drug.

The state has clashed with federal authorities over marijuana since 1996, when voters approved a first-of-its-kind ballot measure that allowed people to grow and use pot for medical purposes. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.

Under federal law, marijuana is still strictly illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government has the right to enforce its ban regardless of state law.

During the Bush administration, retail pot dispensaries across the state faced regular raids from federal anti-drug agents. Their owners were sometimes sentenced to decades in prison for drug trafficking.

Yet the medical marijuana industry still grew, and has expanded even more since Holder said last year that federal law enforcement would defer to state laws on using it for medicinal purposes.

Some legal scholars and policy analysts have questioned how much the Justice Department could really do on the ground to halt a state-sanctioned recreational pot trade.

Nearly all arrests for marijuana crimes are made at the state level. Of more than 847,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2008, for example, just over 6,300 suspects were booked by federal law enforcement, or fewer than 1 percent.

Los Angeles County`s top law enforcers said Friday the federal government would still have help from them regardless of the vote`s outcome on Proposition 19.

County Sheriff Lee Baca and District Attorney Steve Cooley said at a news conference that the law would be unenforceable because it is trumped by federal laws that prohibit marijuana cultivation and possession.

"We will continue as we are today regardless of whether it passes or doesn`t pass," Baca said. His deputies don`t and won`t go after users in their homes, but public use of the drug will be targeted, he said.

A spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to comment on how the Democratic gubernatorial candidate would respond as governor to a federal crackdown if Proposition 19 passes.

"We have to win and it has to pass before we get to answering that question," spokesman Sterling Clifford said. Brown is opposed to Proposition 19.

Meg Whitman`s campaign did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. During a recent debate, the Republican candidate for governor reiterated her strong stance against legalizing pot.

"I think this is not the right thing for our young people. It`s not the right thing for our community of citizens of California, but don`t ask me. Ask law enforcement."

October 15, 2010
Christian Groups Intensify Efforts Against U.N. Defamation Resolution

(Christian Post)  A U.N. resolution that seeks to criminalize words and actions perceived as attacks against religion – particularly Islam – will be up for vote again this year.

This time, however, the U.N. Defamation of Religions resolution is picking up more opposition than in previous years and might not pass as it has in the past.

“The resolution lost support in the U.N. General Assembly vote during the last couple of years and we think this year may be the tipping point,” reported Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors, which has launched a campaign to rally concerned individuals against the resolution.

“We need to encourage key countries to change their vote on this resolution, supporting the efforts of our State Department,” it added.

Annually sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) since 1999, the anti-defamation resolution – which has been presented in various forms and under various titles – seeks to make the "defamation of religions" a human rights violation.

According to the resolution, the "defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred
in general could lead to social disharmony and violations of human rights."

It also claims there is a “need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred in general and against Islam and Muslims in particular."

However, while supporters of the resolution insist that there is a need for the "defamation of religion" to be considered a human rights violation, critics of the resolution, including more than 180 non-government organizations, have warned that such a move could be manipulated to justify anti-blasphemy laws and intimidate human rights activists and religious dissenters.

Instead of protecting adherents of religions, including those of religious minorities, the resolution protects religions themselves, critics say. Furthermore, the only religion mentioned in the text of the resolution is Islam.

“The resolution seeks to protect ideas instead of individuals undermining the true purpose of international human rights law,” remarked Open Doors. “It also legitimizes national blasphemy laws used by countries such as Pakistan to silence Christians and other religious minorities, as well as Muslims who do not conform to the government`s ideas.”

Late last month, several Christian groups submitted a consultation paper to the U.N. Human Rights Council, urging it to protect religious expression, interpret “incitement” in a manner that protects religious minorities from “actual, imminent harm,” and reject the call for vague “hate speech” codes that penalize speech that merely makes the listener uncomfortable.

The groups – which included Alliance Defense Fund, Christian Legal Fellowship, Jubilee Campaign, World Evangelical Alliance, and Advocates International – offered a handful of examples of censorship of “perfectly legitimate opinion under the guise of suppressing ‘hate speech,’” including the case of two pastors in Australia who were found guilty of “hate speech” for criticizing Islam.

“In particular, we have seen ‘hate speech’ codes used to suppress actual and accurate information about Islam if it is presented in a critical context,” they noted.

Click here to read the entire article.

October 15, 2010
Former Brazilian Soldiers Say they Were Forced to Have Sex with Homosexual Superior

(LifeSiteNews)  A group of former Brazilian soldiers say that a lieutenant colonel sexually harassed and forced recruits to engage in sex acts with him in order to continue their military careers, according to the Brazilian television network R7.

However, despite photographic and video evidence, formal complaints by six soldiers, and numerous witnesses interviewed by R7, the Brazilian military denies that evidence implicating the colonel exists.

Following the initial complaints in 2009, Alberto Almeida was promoted from the rank of major to lieutenant colonel and put in charge of a local hospital, where he also engaged in sexual harassment and misbehavior, according to witnesses.

Soldiers who worked under Almeida say that the colonel attempted to kiss them on the mouth and touch their genitals, and repeatedly invited them to his home.  He is also accused of holding parties for young recruits at an isolated beach known as a hangout for couples, and inducing them to have sexual intercourse in exchange for career benefits.

Video supplied to R7 shows one of the beach parties, where Almeida is shown in a bathing suit opening the flap of a tent where soldiers are sleeping together, and making sexual insinuations.  Fifteen recruits reportedly participated in the outing. Other photos show Almeida dressed as a woman and embracing young soldiers, one of whom is dressed as a fairy, in sexually suggestive ways.

In addition to two male soldiers who say they suffered harassment under Almeida, R7 interviewed other witnesses who worked at the hospital, including a female soldier who was discharged from the military for insubordination following her own complaint against Almeida.

“The whole world knows" about the behavior of Almeida, former Sergeant Rubenice Dias Martins told R7, "but no one has the courage to tell the truth, out of fear of being persecuted, and even of being sued."

She is now seeking legal recourse against the military, and wants to be restored to her previous position.

"I don`t have anything to be ashamed of," said Dias Martins. "They are the ones who should be ashamed."

October 15, 2010
Rescued Chilean Miner: God Won

(Christian Post) The last of the 33 miners who were trapped underground for over two months was pulled out to safety Wednesday evening.

After the successful rescue, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera thanked the families of the miners "who maintained faith – this faith that ended up moving mountains."

The plight of the miners captured the attention of people around the world who stood by their televisions to watch each miner emerge from underground in "Phoenix" escape capsules. Each time a miner stepped out of the capsule, crowds would break into a loud cheer.

The rescue began Tuesday night and was completed within 24 hours.

Mario Sepulveda, 40, was the second miner to be lifted up after being trapped some 2,000 feet underground since Aug. 5.

He told CNN through a translator, "I was with God and I was with the devil. But God won. I held on to God`s hand. At no point in time did I doubt that God would get me out of there."

After the San Jose mine in Chile collapsed early August, the 33 miners could not be located for 17 days. When a drill broke through the rock to the miners` refuge, searchers felt someone tap back.

The last of the 33 miners who were trapped underground for over two months was pulled out to safety Wednesday evening.

Since then, the miners were given food, medicine and other supplies, including Scripture, through a 4-inch-wide tube to survive as drillers tried to create an escape shaft.

The miners also sent letters up, notifying the public of their good condition and of their hope.

"There are actually 34 of us because God has never left us down here," Jimmy Sanchez, 19, wrote Tuesday, according to Time magazine.

Others working on the rescue effort also acknowledged divine intervention.

"It was 75 percent engineering and 25 percent a miracle," topographer Macarena Valdes commented, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Churches across Chile had hosted prayer vigils until the final miner was rescued. Jose Henriquez, 55, one of the trapped miners, also led a prayer group from underground.

As the miners recover both physically and mentally from the nearly 10-week stint, Chilean President Pinera announced that the 125-year-old San Jose mine will never open again. He also said the protection of workers will be the focus of government concern.

October 15, 2010
Barton: No need for pastors to fear IRS
Becky Yeh -OneNewsNow California correspondent

church steepleA Christian constitutional expert thinks the Internal Revenue Service`s lack of response to a recent initiative shows there is no longer any reason for pastors to be silent on political issues when standing behind the pulpit. (See earlier story)

Current law prohibits pastors from speaking on politics or endorsing a political candidate, but David Barton of WallBuilders says the IRS`s intimidation of removing a church`s tax exemption status is unconstitutional. Even though some pastors have intentionally crossed the line, Barton does not think the IRS wants to take them to court because it may lose.

David Barton (WallBuilders)"The IRS doesn`t have any interest in doing this because if they do, I believe they know they are going to lose. And if they lose, you have 370,000 pastors in America who suddenly find out that there`s no restriction on them," Barton suggests.

The WallBuilders president explains that churches are guaranteed tax exemption status under the Constitution, but he believes many pastors are afraid to speak about politics because they fear they will lose their letter of tax exemption.

"You cannot lose your tax exemption as a church because as a church, you have a constitutional standing for tax exemption," he points out. "So with that basis, losing your letter means absolutely nothing -- and that`s something pastors are now figuring out."

Barton argues that the pulpit was and should continue to be the news perspective for America, so he encourages all pastors to speak out and stand for truth.

October 15, 2010
U.S. Taxpayers Spend Twice as Much Globally on AIDS as on All Other Diseases, GAO Reports

(CNSNews)  U.S. taxpayers spend almost twice as much to combat HIV/AIDS worldwide as they do on all other global health-related assistance programs combined. Also, U.S. funding to other countries for HIV/AIDS has gone up sharply since 2004. 

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), U.S. spending worldwide on HIV/AIDS has gone from $204.1 million in 2001 to $3.3 billion in 2008 – an increase of more than 1,500 percent over seven years. 

At the same time, U.S spending worldwide on all “other health” programs, which includes “maternal and child health, infectious disease prevention and malaria control,” according to the GAO, went from $1.3 billion in 2001 to $1.7 billion in 2008. 

Since 2003, meanwhile, payments to foreign countries for HIV/AIDS have grown significantly, in comparison with spending on other health programs, which have gone up and down over the same time period, the government watchdog reported. 

The U.S. spent $204 million on aid to foreign nations for HIV/AIDS in FY 2001; $310 million in FY 2002; $700 million in FY2003; $1.21 billion in FY2004; $1.74 billion in FY2005; $2.15 billion in FY2006; $2.68 billion in FY2007 and 3.3 billion in FY 2008.

By contrast, on “other” health programs abroad, the U.S. spent $1.29 billion in FY 2001; $1.42 billion in FY2002; $1.2 billion in FY2003; $1.36 billion in FY2004; $1.73 billion in FY2005; $1.6 billion in FY2006; $1.48 billion in FY2007 and $1.70 billion in FY2008. 

Any way you parse the numbers, however, the increases in spending for HIV/AIDS are huge. 

For HIV/AIDS programs abroad, total disbursements grew from $1.2 billion during FY2001-2003 to a total $11.1 billion over FY 2004-2008.  

“In fiscal year 2004, the amount of money that U.S. taxpayers spent on HIV/AIDS programs was roughly equivalent to the total for the previous 3 years combined,” according to GAO. 

“By fiscal year 2008, annual U.S. spending on global HIV/AIDS programs was nearly three times the 2004 total,” the report noted, adding that in 2005, U.S. spending on HIV/AIDS programs “was, for the first time, higher than spending on other health programs.” 

By 2008, “almost twice as much was spent on HIV/AIDS programs as on other health programs,” the government auditor reported.  

U.S. spending on AIDS to foreign countries began to skyrocket in FY2004, according to the GAO, because in July 2003 President George W. Bush and Congress created a program called PEPFAR – the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- a five year program worth $15 billion. 

“The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), reauthorized in 2008 at $48 billion through 2013, has made significant investments in support of prevention of HIV/AIDS as well as care and treatment for those affected by the disease in 31 partner countries and 3 regions,” the GAO said.  

The GAO noted that, in 2009 – outside the time frame for its audit -- PEPFAR reported it had paid for the drugs to treat more than 2.4 million patients with HIV/AIDS and to care and support for more than 11 million people affected by the disease.  

Fifteen nations, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa – Botswana; Côte d`Ivoire; Ethiopia; Guyana; Haiti; Kenya; Mozambique; Namibia; Nigeria; Rwanda; South Africa; Tanzania; Uganda; Vietnam; Zambia -- have been the recipients of the bulk of PEPFAR money, though other nations have received money from U.S. taxpayers. 

South Africa, for instance, which received a combined total of $76,897,857 in U.S. aid for HIV/AIDS from 2001-2003, received $727,364,762 under PEPFAR during 2004-2008. 

The United States, meanwhile, has contributed other funds to combat AIDS worldwide. In fact, it is the largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria -- an international public-private partnership based in Switzerland. 

“From 2001 to 2008, the United States has contributed about $3.5 billion to the organization,” the GAO said. “For 2009 and 2010, the United States has pledged $1 billion and $1.05 billion, respectively, to the Global Fund.”  

Spending on HIV/AIDS promises to go significantly higher in the near future, the report noted. 

In May 2009, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new Global Health Initiative (GHI) and proposed $63 billion in funding for all global health programs, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and maternal and child health, through 2014.  

“According to the proposal, the majority of this funding--$51 billion, or 81 percent--is slated for global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs,” the GAO report noted.

Meanwhile, UNAIDS, the United Nations HIV/AIDS directorate, says the number of diagnosed cases of HIV/AIDS worldwide went from 29.5 million in 2001 to 33.4 million in 2008. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 20.4 million cases in 2001, increasing to 23.9 million in 2008. 

According to World Health Organization figures, in 2008, approximately 2 million people worldwide died of HIV-related causes, and the GAO report noted that an estimated 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV. 

By contrast, WHO says 9 million people become ill with just one non-AIDS disease -- active tuberculosis – and nearly 2 million die each year. 

October 15, 2010
Calif. school district threatens to terminate principal for endorsing prayer breakfast

(Alliance Defense Fund)  An ADF-allied attorney filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of an elementary school principal against the Goleta Union School District after it threatened to end his contract for appearing in a short video promoting the 52nd Annual Community Prayer Breakfast to honor teachers. Foothill School Principal Craig Richter, a Christian, did not participate in the event, which welcomed all religious faiths, but the district proceeded to discipline him for endorsing the event in the video.

“It’s ridiculous to punish and fire a Christian administrator simply because he wanted to honor teachers at an event that includes prayer,” said ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco. “Principal Richter did absolutely nothing wrong by appearing in the ad, which welcomed all Santa Barbara community members to join the half-century-old community event. The district’s contention that he was somehow violating the Constitution is not only unfounded, but absurd, as the video itself demonstrates.”


In March, Richter appeared for 30 seconds in the video with a Santa Barbara-area school superintendent and a local teacher. Organizers of the prayer breakfast designed the video to promote the event to local business owners who might also wish to honor teachers.


Richter identified himself in the video as the principal of Foothill School. Though he did not mention the school district, district officials incorrectly charged that he identified himself in the video as a principal in the district and that this implied its support of the event. Richter and Foothill School teachers ultimately did not attend the event because the district decided not to participate. It said that traffic safety and the possibility of teachers returning from the event too late to let students into their classrooms on time were the reasons for not participating. The district gave no indication at the time about its objection to the event because of perceived concerns about promoting religion.


After a district board member viewed the video on the Internet and complained, the district wrongly concluded that Richter crossed the line in the so-called “separation between church and state” and subsequently threatened to end his contract in March 2011--placing him on a disciplinary “performance plan.”


“Personally endorsing a prayer event that invites people of all faiths to honor teachers should not be twisted into a constitutional violation,” said William Rehwald, who is serving as lead counsel in the case and is one of more than 1,800 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “Principal Richter did a good thing, not a bad thing, and should keep his job.”


The lawsuit 
Richter v. Goleta Union School District was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

October 15, 2010
Judge orders `don`t ask, don`t tell` policy killed

(WorldNetDaily)  A federal judge today issued a global injunction telling the U.S. military to stop enforcing the 1993 policy implemented by President Clinton, "don`t ask, don`t tell," which allows homosexuals to serve only if they are not open about their sexual orientation.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips previously ruled that the policy violates the rights of homosexual military personnel.

An official with the U.S. Department of Justice told the Associated Press the decision was being reviewed, and there was no immediate indication whether an appeal would follow. An appeal is not mandatory, and observers suggest the DOJ under President Obama`s supervision simply could allow the judge`s ruling to stand.

The lawsuit had been brought in 2004 by the Log Cabin Republicans, an advocacy organization for homosexuality.

The Obama administration sought to limit the ruling to the homosexual-rights organization that brought the complaint, but Phillips disagreed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Last month, the Senate rejected by 57-43 a defense spending authorization bill laden with controversial amendments that would have promoted homosexuality in the military, permitted abortion on military bases and provided new ways for illegal aliens to become American citizens.

Conservatives have been alarmed by the judge`s actions. Tom Sears, executive director of the Center for Military Readiness, called Phillips` conclusions the work of an "activist."

"This [ruling] is particularly egregious because it disregards the deference that is traditionally given to the military and to Congress by the courts," he said of the verdict in the case.

"Outrageous. Unbelievable. Our armed forces are fighting the enemy overseas while this lunatic judge behind our own lines decides to throw a hand grenade right into our own barracks," Robert Knight, senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries, said when the original decision was made public.

"The arrogance of this judge is stunning," said Knight, an expert on homosexuality-related political issues and a long-time leader in the fight against homosexual activism.

"She has decided she is smarter than God, more than 1,163 retired generals and admirals who support the military`s policy, the hundreds of congressmen and senators who voted for the law in 1993 and generations of military leaders who believed that morality affects discipline and that homosexual conduct undermines military preparedness," Knight said.

Sears pointed out that the judge appeared to confuse the law passed by Congress in 1993 explicitly banning homosexuality in the military with Clinton`s executive policy, "don`t ask, don`t tell."

"`Don`t ask, don`t tell` is not the law. The law states plainly that homosexuals are ineligible for military service, a point that is conspicuously ignored by this judge`s ruling. What they and other judges who oppose this policy have attempted to do is to characterize the policy as the law," he said.

Sears argued that the purpose of the law is not to create a right for homosexuals to serve.

"The purpose of the law is to maintain the effectiveness of the military," said Sears. "In 1993 Congress conducted numerous hearings and studies and concluded that the presence of open homosexuality in the military was not conducive to good order, discipline, unit cohesion and morale."

October 15, 2010
Council on American-Islamic Relations Launches ‘Islamophobia’ Division
(CNSNews)  Spurred by the controversies over Quran-burning and the planned Ground Zero mosque, the most visible Islamic advocacy organization in the United States says it is launching a department to deal with “Islamophobia.”

In doing so, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is following the example of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the 57-member bloc of Islamic states. The OIC set up an “observatory” five years ago to monitor and report on incidents and trends around the world it regards as amounting to “Islamophobia.”

CAIR, which calls itself “America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization,” said in a statement Monday that its executive director, Nihad Awad, had announced the move at the group’s annual banquet, held in Arlington, Va. on Saturday.

“We have seen a small but vocal group of bigots and hate-mongers manufacture an atmosphere of anti-Islam hysteria through smear campaigns that rely on distortions, misinformation and outright falsehoods,” Awad said.

The statement said the new “Islamophobia” department would produce an annual report tracking “trends in rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims and will offer accurate and balanced information to be used in the struggle for tolerance and mutual understanding.”

It would also “organize conferences, seminars, cultural exchanges, and other activities and events designed to provide opportunities for education and dialogue.”

“It will take joint efforts by people of goodwill of all faiths to challenge this epidemic of hate,” Awad said.

‘A wretched concept’
 
The term “Islamophobia” has become widely used in recent years despite criticism – even from some Muslims – about a term which etymologically suggests an irrational fear or horror of Muslims or Islam.

Critics say proponents use the word to cover everything from acts of unjustified discrimination targeting Muslims to legitimate opposition to Islamic tenets, practices, leaders or institutions.

CAIR itself has labeled “Islamophobes” critics who have drawn attention to the fact that the organization was named by federal prosecutors in 2007 among “unindicted co-conspirators” in a case against the Holy Land Foundation in Texas. Five former Holy Land organizers were convicted the following year of providing support to the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas.

Islamophobia is “a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it,” a group of writers and intellectuals, including British author Salman Rushdie, said in a joint 2006 statement condemning Islamism as a “reactionary ideology.”

Although increasingly fashionable since 2001, the term “Islamophobia” predated the 2001 terror attacks and their aftermath.

A Nexis search suggests that the earliest usage in media reports came around 1990, when a Soviet Academy of Sciences academic told an Uzbekistan-based newspaper that “Islamophobia” on the part of Soviet leaders could lead to an “Islamic explosion.”

In 1995, Jordan’s Prince Hassan, brother of the late King Hussein, used the word in an address at the U.N. General Assembly.

“The attention of this body should be turned to the spreading of Islamophobia,” he said. “This phenomenon occurs in all manner of ways, from the purely verbal to the bluntly physical. Its proponents deal in inflammatory rhetoric. They preach the inevitability of cultural apocalypse, tarring all Moslems with the brush of fanatical extremism.”

In 1996 a British think tank focused on multiethnic affairs, the Runnymede Trust, set up a body called the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, which the following year produced a report entitled “Islamophobia: A challenge for us all.”

As the decade progressed Iranian diplomats used the term more and more frequently at the U.N. and its now-defunct Commission on Human Rights, describing the phenomenon as “the perception of Islam and its followers as threats to the West.”

The OIC in 1999 introduced its first resolution at the Commission on Human Rights on what it calls “religious defamation” and over the ensuing decade has passed one at the U.N. every year.

Initially the annual resolutions referred to problems like “stereotyping” or “xenophobia” but from the middle of the 1990s the term “Islamophobia” was introduced. Today it appears regularly in U.N. documents, and the OIC last month called on the U.N.’s top human rights official to start tracking “Islamophobia.”

The U.S. State Department has in recent years used the term periodically – sometimes in quotes, sometimes not – in annual human rights and religious freedom.

In a joint op-ed published in several European newspapers last month, President Obama’s envoy to the OIC, Rashad Hussain, and special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, wrote, “We are deeply aware of the growing anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry that have blossomed worldwide.”

October 14, 2010
Campaign gets Bibles to children ... in school!

(WorldNetDaily)  This is not your grandfather`s Gideons organization.

That organization is famous for handing out to children at schools copies of the Bible, which the volunteers often provided at their own expense.

But in today`s world, school districts are sharply censoring any such activities. Court cases have erupted in just the past few years in Maryland, Florida and Missouri over Bible distributions on public property.

Now a new outreach has been launched by the Gideons called the Lifebook. In just a few weeks of actual operations, it`s delivered more than 300,000 copies of the Gospel message to students inside their own schools.

This is possible because the books are delivered by volunteer students on a peer-to-peer basis during noninstructional blocks of time, such as between classes.

Carl Blunt is chief of the new outreach, which is a separate organization but still has links to the Gideons.

"It`s difficult with the establish guidelines and case law to stop a student from distributing religious literature in the public school," he said.

The program isn`t complicated: A local church is identified to provide leadership and coordination, student volunteers are recruited and trained, and the Bible messages are given to the students to hand out.

Simple as that. And probably unstoppable.

Even the America Civil Liberties Union, often the legal arm cracking down on Christians who want to provide information to students in schools, has written that the students have such rights.

The ACLU acknowledged it in a 2002 statement on its website.

Regarding an Iowa dispute over Christian students who wanted to distribute religious literature during non-instructional time, an organization executive said, "The school`s policy against the distribution of religious literature outside of class is clearly wrong. Not only does the policy violate the students` right to freely exercise their religious beliefs, but it also infringes on their free speech rights."

Blunt told WND the distribution does not interrupt the educational environment, it`s not during class periods and leaves in the dust many of the traditional problems of having adults hand Bibles to public school students.

"We`re not like Russia, where teachers actually can teach from the Bible," he noted.

He said a few test procedures were done with a handful of schools in the fall of 2009. Twenty-thousand copies of the Lifebook were handed out. This year the program expanded to include the distribution of 60,000 in the spring. This fall`s campaign surpassed 250,000, and plans are being made for a springtime 2011 campaign that could handle a million copies.

After a distribution in Missouri, Blunt said, he got a report from a student who had helped hand out copies of the book. Scheduled to take a week, volunteers had finished giving a book to every student, however, by Wednesday.

It was at that point, he said, one volunteer was sitting in an open reading period for her class, turned around to look at her classmates and realized more than half were perusing a Lifebook in their public school classroom.

"We are hearing amazing stories," Blunt said.

Ultimately, officials said, God`s Word is planned to be delivered to the more than 17.5 million high school students across the U.S.

The program is supported solely by donations.

The Lifebook is not a traditional King James Authorized Version of the Bible, either. It tells the story of God in several parts, including this explanation of Genesis: "Before time began (as we know it), God existed. That seems tough to understand, but God was and is and will always be. I guess when you are God, you don`t have to explain it all."

It also talks about Jesus` invitation to eternal life: "It doesn`t matter who you are or what you`ve done. You don`t have to clean up your life first, God is passionately in love with you and is waiting with open arms for you to run to him. You can make that decision right now, wherever you are and whatever you`re doing."

The website explains the effort "brilliantly threads a separation-of-church-and-state loophole by getting [the] publication into the hands of Christian high school students and having them pass the books out to classmates."

"It`s like we`re helping students smuggle God`s Word into a closed country (public high schools) to reach an unreached people group because studies show that only 4 percent of today`s teenagers are Bible-believing Christians," Blunt said.

October 14, 2010
New Film `Blood Money` Reveals the Business Behind Abortion

(Christian Post)  In a new documentary that looks to blow the lid off the pro-choice movement, a former independent abortion clinic owner reveals the abortion industry as one of sales, scripts and marketing.

“The abortion clinic is a constant cycle of making money,” says Carol Everett, who managed three different abortion clinics in Dallas County before becoming a pro-life author and speaker.

“Blood Money,” which screened Wednesday night at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, features the testimony of lawyers, scientists, priests, abortion patients and clinic insiders to expose abortion more as a money-maker than a medical service.

Everett is especially crucial to the film’s premise. The former abortion provider gives chilling accounts of how she ran her business. According to Everett, counselors answering the phones were actually trained saleswomen reading from scripts. Doctors performing the abortions packed their schedules to perform 20 to 30 abortions an hour. Newly diagnosed moms were encouraged to make on-the-spot decisions for an abortion for a discounted price.

“Nobody knows what goes on in an abortion clinic,” Everett says in the film. “I realize I have been involved in the deaths of 35,000 babies.”

In “Blood Money," as she’s done in a number of speaking engagements, Everett tells the tales of some of those abortions. In one particular story, Everett tells the story of a woman who came in to have an abortion and ended up with a perforated uterus.

“Her uterus was perforated [and] her bowel was sticking out of her vagina,” she recalls.

In another story, Everett tells of a woman’s procedure going horribly wrong.

“I’ve never seen so much blood,” she recalls thinking upon opening the door to the operating room. The patient was eventually sent home, where she bled to death later that night.

“We killed that woman,” says Everett, who was actively involved in the abortion rights movement for over six years.

For “Blood Money,” filmmakers gathered a number of testimonials from advocates in several pro-life groups, including Priests for Life and Pro-Life Unity.

“We asked a number of people in the pro-life community to make a list of those they thought should be in the film,” says executive producer David Kyle.

As for the post- abortive women, Kyle says, “It was providence that we just happened across them.”

In the movie, abortion patients share their stories of being coerced into abortion, and their unforgettable procedures.

They also talk about experiencing depression and suicidal tendencies afterward.

“I took a bunch of drugs and slit my wrist,” one woman says.

Regarding the testimonies, film narrator Alveda King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, blames the U.S. Supreme Court for having “opened up the floodgates for abortion clinics to make money off the pain and suffering of women.”

In the infamous Roe v. Wade case, the 1973 Supreme Court held in a 7-2 ruling that the constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman`s decision to have an abortion. Abortion, therefore, was deemed a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution.

In addition to testimonies, the film also explores the origins of the landmark Roe v. Wade case, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and statistics that some pro-lifers say prove that abortion is wiping out the African-American minority.

Kyle says he is currently trying to drum up enough interest to get the film in theaters.

“If we could find a distributor willing to [show the movie nationally], we would. Unfortunately, to date none have shown an interest,” he reports.

The movie was featured in Chicago last month. A DVD of the film has also been made available for purchase on the website www.bloodmoneyfilm.com.

“Friends of the Film” currently include Priests for Life, King for America, Pro-Life Unity, and Living Hope for Life. The movie also has over 9,000 Facebook members.

October 14, 2010
Eminem Bans Profanity at Home: “If you`re the parent, be a parent”

(LifeSiteNews)  Marshall Mathers, the popular rap music star known as “Eminem,” told CBS that despite what his lyrics may indicate about him, he has no tolerance for profanity at home.

"Profanity around my house? No," Eminem told reporter Anderson Cooper, who profiled the rapper for CBS’s upcoming "60 Minutes" program. Cooper’s exclusive interview with Eminem is scheduled for this Sunday, October 10 at 7 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

Eminem`s music features lyrics that notoriously range from the extremely sexually graphic and obscene to the mildly profane. But CBS reports that while the rap star says that his music does reflect something of his real life and how he feels, he considers the use of profanity just part of his art form.

At home, it’s an entirely different story, he says. He has zero tolerance for foul language, adding that at home, “I don`t cuss."

"I`m a parent. I have daughters,” Eminem tells Cooper. “I mean, how would I really sound, as a person … walking around my house [saying] `Bi**h, pick this up,` you know what I mean?”

As for youth who imitate the language in his songs, Eminem lays the blame on parents who don’t do their jobs raising their kids, not himself.

"I feel like it`s your job to parent them” he said. “If you`re the parent, be a parent."

October 08, 2010
Schwarzenegger Vetoes Gay-Sponsored “Trojan Horse” Measure on Marriage

(LifeSiteNews)  California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger earned muted praise from pro-family advocates last week after he vetoed a measure that one pro-family group described as a “Trojan horse” that could have helped homosexuals overturn Prop. 8 in 2012.

SB 906, authored by the openly homosexual Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and supported by many homosexual groups, would have changed the Family Code to refer to “civil marriage” instead of just “marriage.” The bill also stated that no authorized religious official would be forced to officiate a marriage against the tenets of “his, her, or its [sic] faith,” and that religious entities would not face loss of tax-exempt status for refusing to do so.

However, the Civil Marriage Religious Freedom Act still would not have protected individuals who have conscience or religious objections to homosexuality, who are not ministers but who are involved in the wedding industry, such as caterers, photographers, and renters.

Supporters of SB 906 had hoped that it would have helped blunt the criticism that gay “marriage” infringes upon freedom of religion (a key factor in the passage of Prop. 8 in 2008), and thereby increase the odds of successfully overturning the pro-marriage amendment on a 2012 ballot measure.

Catholics for the Common Good (CFC) called Leno’s bill a “Trojan Horse measure.” By creating a “new class of marriage into California law,” the bill could provide the legislature and the courts a backdoor opportunity to legalize same-sex “marriage,” said the group.

While maintaining his support for the goal of same-sex “marriage,” Schwarzenegger vetoed the law on the basis that the legislation was redundant and created the impression of different kinds of marriage, i.e. “civil and religious marriage.”

“Unfortunately, I cannot sign this bill due to the extraneous amendments that will change the term `marriage` to `civil marriage` within the California Family Code,” said Schwarzenegger in his veto message.

All marriages are civil marriages under California law, as is the case in most jurisdictions. The state authorizes religious representatives to officiate marriages on the state’s behalf in the context of that religion’s wedding ceremonies.

While Schwarzenegger said that in his view SB 906 would actually harm “the goal of marriage equality” in California, homosexual groups were less than pleased.

In a statement released by Equality California (EQCA), Rev. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director of California Council of Churches IMPACT, accused Schwarzenegger of playing “partisan politics” and insisted that “the reason given for the veto is not even remotely credible."

Sen. Leno also said in the EQCA release that he disagreed with Schwarzenegger’s assertion that there was no legal difference between civil and religious marriage.

“The state cannot, and never will be, in the business of religious marriages,” Leno said. “The Governor’s belief that this bill would have created a separate classification of marriage is misguided.”

Pro-family groups that fought against the bill had restrained words of praise for Schwarzenegger, who has declined to defend constitutional challenges to Prop. 8 in federal court.

“While we’re glad the Governor vetoed SB 906, which would have deceptively aided homosexual `marriage` legalization on a future ballot, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the great damage he’s inflicted upon marriage, the California Constitution, and the voters by refusing to appeal the judicial-activist ruling that struck down Prop. 8,” said Randy Thomasson, President of SaveCalifornia.com, another California pro-family group opposed to the measure.

October 08, 2010
Pornographers taking advantage of iPhone app

iPhone 4G (2)(OneNewsNow)  The iPhone`s FaceTime video conference feature has created a fresh situation for parents to deal with.

Well over three million of the new iPhone 4 devices have already been sold, and Cris Clapp Logan, director of communications and congressional relations for Enough is Enough, tells OneNewsNow several pornography companies have already created services for it.

"Because of this feature, you have a backward-facing video and a forward-facing video, so the recipient can see your face. And if they have an iPhone, you can see theirs as well," Logan explains. "So individuals can actually talk through their phone in a video conferencing-like way -- and the pornographers are really trying to capitalize on this new feature."

She notes that Apple has done a good job of trying to keep its application center porn-free, but it is possible to get around the system and access the applications. "So one of the things that we`re recommending that parents do is actually disable this feature from their child`s iPhone," the communications director adds.

She stresses that pornography addiction in this country is skyrocketing, even among young people. Industry officials have admitted in the past that if they can capture the youth, they likely will have a customer for a lifetime. In response to that, Enough is Enough`s website features Internet Safety 101, which is a specific help for parents.

 

October 08, 2010
23 Million Americans Hit by a Tax Hike, But They May Not Know It Yet

(CNSNews)  Almost 23 million American households have already had their federal taxes raised by an average of $3,900 this year, but they may not know it yet.

They could get a big surprise when they prepare their tax returns next year.

Among those subject to this already-in-place tax increase are some families making less than $50,000 per year, and virtually all married couples earning between $100,000 and $500,000 a year, according to data published [2] by the Congressional Budget Office.

This insidious tax hike is contrary to President Barack Obama`s repeated promise not to increase taxes on any individual earning less than $200,000 a year or on any household earning less than $250,000.

This tax increase on almost 23 million people will happen if Congress does not quickly pass legislation that temporarily increases the amount of income exempt from the Alternative Minimum Tax.

The temporary reprieve passed by Congress for each of the past nine years expired on Dec. 31, 2009, and so far, Congress has not extended the AMT "fix" for 2010. 

According to the CBO [2], an estimated 4.5 million American households were subject to the AMT in 2009, and 27.2 million are now liable to pay the AMT for the 2010 tax year unless Congress acts before Dec. 31. Under current law, at least 22.7 million American households that did not have to pay the AMT last year will have to pay it on the income they have been earning since Jan. 1 of this year.

Repealing the AMT completely and permanently would add $626 billion to the federal debt over the next ten years, according to CBO.

The AMT was enacted in 1969 and was intended to impose taxes on high-income individuals who used deductions and loopholes to reduce or eliminate their liability under the regular income tax. Because the tax has not been adjusted for inflation since then, additional families at progressively lower income levels become subject to the tax each year.

The tax especially hits married couples with children and mortgages because of the deductions and credits they are allowed under federal income tax laws. "Because of the particular tax preferences and exemptions disallowed under the AMT, that tax structure is more likely to affect married couples, large families, and taxpayers in states with high state and local taxes," says CBO.

Click here to read the entire article.

October 08, 2010
The Supreme Court of the Ninth Circuit

 

(National Review Online)  The Supreme Court continues to spend a disproportionate amount of its time on Ninth Circuit cases. According to this Daily Journal article, “Of 54 cases the court has agreed to hear so far, 18 are 9th Circuit rulings.” The article tries to put this Ninth Circuit caseload in context:

The 9th Circuit is the biggest circuit by area and population, and its caseload constitutes 20 percent of the total heard by federal circuit courts. But its rulings make up 33.3 percent of the cases the Supreme Court has agreed to review so far.  

I think that the Supreme Court’s docket of Ninth Circuit cases is even more disproportionate than this context suggests:

1.  Six of the cases on the Court’s docket have come up through state-court systems, so the relevant denominator of cases that have worked their way through the federal system is 48, not 54. That adjustment would bump the Ninth Circuit’s share of federal cases up to 37.5%.

2.  Yet another case (in Schwarzenegger v. Plata) is from a special three-judge district court in California that included notorious Ninth Circuit judge Stephen Reinhardt as one of its members. The two other judges were hard-Left Carter-appointed district judges who fully embody the zaniness of the Ninth Circuit. So it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to count this case as number 19 from the Ninth Circuit. That would take the Ninth Circuit’s share right up near 40%.

3.  In other words, the Ninth Circuit, with 20% of the total cases heard by federal circuit courts, accounts for nearly 40% of the Court’s cases from the federal system.  The other circuits, with 80% of the cases, account for around 60%.  So, compared to the baseline of the other circuits, the Ninth Circuit is overrepresented by a factor of 2.5 or higher (2.67, if you round the numbers in this paragraph).

October 08, 2010
Why the US Should Not Ratify the CRC

(Howard Center)  In what may be the greatest assault ever on parental rights in America, liberal leaders are pushing for Senate ratification of a United Nations treaty called the Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC. If ratified, it would:

• radically encroach on our sovereignty;

• subject us to an independent UN committee of “experts” in Geneva;

• allow the government in all cases to determine what is in a child’s best interest;

• intrude on parents’ rights to teach values and faith; and

• grant to children autonomous rights, which many believe would include access to controversial sexual information and even abortion.

Good Intentions

To protect children is a noble aim, and the United Nations has taken major steps in that direction. Shortly after its own creation, the UN created the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, to provide relief for children in countries devastated by World War II. Later, UNICEF (with the name changed to the United Nations Children’s Fund) became a permanent part of the UN, with an expanded mission to serve the children of the world.

The UN’s concern for children continued in its 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declared that motherhood and children are deserving of “special care and assistance.” The UN sought to encourage such special care by its 1959 Declaration on the Rights of the Child. Then, in a laudable effort to strengthen protection of the world’s children, the UN worked toward creating an international treaty (called a “convention”). It became a reality with the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, enacted with reservations expressed by various countries. The treaty is unquestionably well-intentioned and addresses many important areas of concern for the protection of children. But good intentions do not assure good laws.

President Obama’s Embarrassment and Commitment 

Within a year of its enactment in 1989, some 130 nations had already ratified the treaty, and today it is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. Only two nations have not joined: war-torn Somalia, and the United States. The Clinton Administration signed the CRC in 1995, but the Senate has never ratified (although it has ratified the Convention’s two optional protocols: one on children in armed conflict, the other on child trafficking, prostitution, and pornography).

That the US has never ratified the treaty itself is galling to President Obama. “It is embarrassing,” he has stated, “to find ourselves in the company of Somalia.” President Obama’s Ambassador to the UN is Susan Rice, who during her Senate confirmation hearing referred to the CRC as “a very important treaty and a noble cause…. There can be no doubt that [President Obama] and Secretary Clinton and I share a commitment to the objectives of this treaty and will take it up as an early question,” she stated, “to ensure that the United States is playing and resumes its global leadership role in human rights.”

What’s in a Name?

One of the Senators pushing hard for ratification is Barbara Boxer. “Children deserve basic human rights,” she declared, “and the convention protects children’s rights by setting some standards here so that the most vulnerable people of society will be protected.” Boxer’s words sound appealing. Who could be against protecting children? Indeed, who would dare oppose a treaty bearing the name “Convention on the Rights of the Child”?

But if, as a Chinese proverb holds, it is the beginning of wisdom to call things by their right names, then the title “Convention on the Rights of the Child” may be misleading. For however noble the motives behind it, and however good the aspirations of its proponents, and whatever good provisions it does contain, yet the fact remains that, in the words of law professor Bruce Hafen, the treaty “includes an unprecedented approach to the autonomy of children” and thereby jeopardizes parents` rights to protect and guide their children. 

Trumping Our Laws and Handing over Parental Rights to the Government 

Because of our Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, ratification of this international treaty would make it “the supreme law of the land,” superior to all other state and federal laws. This would disrupt our federal system created under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which reserves to the states all powers not specifically granted to the federal government.

Even more troubling is the CRC’s approach to allow government to step in and, without any showing of any harm on the part of parents, to override parental decisions based on what the government believes is in the child’s best interest. Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, writes:

This is contrary to traditional American law, which provides that absent proof of harm, courts and social workers simply do not have the authority to intervene in parent-child relationships and decision-making. The importance of this tradition and practice is that the government may not substitute its judgment for that of the parent until there is proof of harm to the child sufficient to justify governmental intervention. It is clear that in two very important areas of the parent-child relationship, religion and education, there will be potential for tremendous conflict [if the CRC is ratified].

Becoming Subject to an International Committee of “Experts”

As if all this were not bad enough, the CRC places each nation under the oversight of an unelected and unaccountable United Nations committee of eighteen “independent experts” who meet in Geneva. This Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors compliance with the treaty and the committee’s interpretation of it. The committee requires regular reports from each country and then provides “recommendations.” While the committee has no official enforcement authority, these recommendations can carry substantial weight. 

In a study entitled “How U.N. Conventions On Women`s and Children`s Rights Undermine Family, Religion, and Sovereignty,” Patrick Fagan of the Family Research Council tells that the Committee on the Rights of the Child is “targeting patterns of behavior and social norms that have had the greatest positive effects on society and the individual:… motherhood and fatherhood, caring for children in the family, chastity, and the special role of religion.” Fagan points to several examples of the committee’s recommendations.

• The committee criticized the United Kingdom for the fact that parents were allowed to remove their children from sex-education classes without giving due consideration to the wishes of the children themselves.

• The committee criticized Austria for not providing a legal minimum age for medical counseling and treatment without parental consent (“targeted specifically,” notes Fagan, “at removing parents’ control over the moral formation of their children and the parameters of their children`s sexual behavior.”)

• The committee told Belize that it needed to establish legal mechanisms to allow children to challenge their parents, and criticized the government for not allowing children to seek medical or legal counseling without parental consent.

Why would we Americans submit ourselves to an outside body in this vital area of parent-child relationships? Why would we voluntarily subject ourselves to global governance by handing over a key part of our national sovereignty to a foreign committee? 

What Children Really Need 

Allan Carlson, President of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, in speaking of the CRC, has emphasized that children’s real needs include the right to a father and a mother united in the bonds of marriage, the right to religious faith, and the right to mature physically, emotionally, and morally (“How to Make the World Truly Safe for Children”).

For further information, see www.nocrc.org.

 

October 08, 2010
Major Businesses Sponsor Dinner for Leading Gay Activist Group That Promotes Same-Sex Marriage, Attacks Catholic and Mormon Churches

(CNSNews)  Dozens of major American corporations are listed as sponsors of the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) annual fundraiser, both on the homosexual advocacy group’s Web site and in advertising to promote the event.

HRC advocates same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, and ending the military`s ban on homosexuals.  The group has also accused Pope Benedict XVI of "hurting people in the name of Jesus" for stating that condoms are not the solution to the AIDS problem, while accusing the Catholic church of being "immoral and insulting to Jesus" for declining to serve communion to a openly lesbian couple.

The HRC is currently running a letter-writing campaign demanding that Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Church of Latter Days Saints, retract statements he made on Sunday that homosexual behavior is “impure and unnatural” and that the America should not legalize same-sex marriage.  "There are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God`s laws and nature,” Packer said.

The HRC’s open letter to Packer accuses him of “potentially contributing” to suicides among young people. “I’m appalled that you chose this moment to deliver a sermon saying same-sex attraction is unnatural and same-sex unions are immoral,” says the HRC letter to Packer. “You have risked further alienating LGBT youth and potentially contributing to suicides of even more vulnerable young people.”

Among the corporations supporting the Saturday’s event include Marriott, Comcast, Giant, Hyatt, Food Lion, Macy’s, MetLife, Chipotle and Hershey’s. (A complete list of sponsors follows this story).

The HRC did not respond to questions from CNSNews.com about what kind of donation is necessary to earn a sponsorship spot for what is billed as the “No Excuses” National Dinner.

President Barack Obama spoke at HRC’s dinner last year. This year’s speakers and honorees are scheduled to include pop-singer Pink, entertainer Bette Midler, and the cast of the ABC series “Modern Family.”

The HRC actively for same-sex marriage, overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, adoption rights for same-sex couples and workplace policies in private sector businesses such as diversity training that includes sexual orientation and “guidelines for gender transition.”

In its mission statement, the HRC expresses its broad goals:

“HRC seeks to improve the lives of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. 

“HRC works to secure equal rights for LGBT individuals and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other LGBT organizations.”

CNSNews.com asked nine sponsors of the HRC dinner – Marriott, Comcast, Giant, Hyatt, Food Lion, Macy’s, MetLife, Chipotle and Hershey’s -- several questions about their sponsorship, including whether they believed their customers are aware of their support for the HRC and its agenda; why they supported the HRC;  and if they supported organizations that advocated for traditional marriage and families.

Only two corporations responded to repeated requests from CNSNews.com.

Giant Food, a Dutch-owned multi-national corporation, issued a statement from its Maryland office saying, “Giant Food of Landover, Md. supports hundreds of initiatives in the communities we serve. Our region consists of very diverse communities and we work hard to support the people and organizations in our region.”

A spokesperson with Food Lion said the company is “committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for associates and customers.”

“We want to ensure that all of our associates and customers are treated with acknowledgment and respect,” Christy Phillips-Brown told CNSNews.com. “We support a wide variety of events that reflect the diversity of our associates and customers.

 “We strongly believe that our long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion builds a more inclusive company and stronger communities,” Phillips-Brown said.

She said Food Lion “supports a wide range of initiatives and programs, including faith-based organizations,” but she could not name one of the faith-based groups.

Robert Knight, a senior writer with Coral Ridge Ministries, told CNSNews.com that corporate America has been taken in by the pro-homosexual agenda.

“Many corporations have bought into the false idea that people are born gay, can’t change, and that sexual inclination is the same as race,” said Knight, who has written extensively on social issues and testified before Congress against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. “But unlike race or ethnicity, sex has a moral component. The behavior is volitional – and tragic.”

Knight also said that homosexuality is hurting those who claim that their sexual orientation is a civil right.

“A new CDC survey shows that one in every five gay or bisexual males has the HIV virus, even after years of so-called ‘safe sex’ education,” Knight said. “If any other group’s behavior triggered that kind of stat, there would be a national outcry for discouraging it, not promoting it as a ‘civil right.’”

“The other side of this is that employees with traditional values are forced into re-education ‘diversity’ sessions and told that their sense of normalcy and morality is really just hate and bigotry,” Knight said. “This violates the freedoms of religion, speech and conscience.”

The list of sponsors for the HRC’s 2010 National Dinner is as follows:

Presenting sponsor: Paul Hastings.

Diamond sponsors: Accenture, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, UPS, and Wachovia.

Platinum sponsors: AARP, Brown-Forman, Cardinal Health, Constellation Energy, EMC2, Hyatt, Kaiser Permanente, Miller Coors, National Education Association, and Nielsen.

Gold Sponsors: Baker & McKenzie, Comcast, Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art & Design, DC Magazine, Hargrove, Hilton Worldwide, Hunton&Williams, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Marriott, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and Hershey’s.

Silver sponsors: Chipotle, Davis & Harman, DicksteinSharpio LLP, Food Lion, Giant, McDermott Will & Emery, McGuire Woods, Metro Weekly, Opal, PNC Bank, Pulte Homes, ROI Solutions, Washington Life Magazine, Washington Blade, and Witeck Combs Communications.

Bronze sponsors: Brettrospective, Choice Hotels International, Convio, Gleman Rosenberg & Freedman, George Mason Mortgage LLC, Medtronic, Miles & Stockbridge, P[Four], Planned Parenthood, Sidley Austin LLP, UFCW, Urbanpace, Verizon, and Wells Consulting.

Major Donor and VIP Reception Sponsor: PricewaterhouseCooper.

Silent Auction Sponsor: Macy’s Inc.

After-Party Sponsor: Google.

Wine Sponsor: Beaulieu Vineyard.

National Corporate Sponsors

National Platinum Sponsor: American Airlines/Rainbow, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citi, Microsoft, and Nationwide.

National Gold Sponsor: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Lexus, and Prudential.

National Silver Sponsor: BP, Beaulieu Vineyard, Chevron, Google, Harrah’s Entertainment, MGM Resorts, Nike, Shell, and Wells Fargo Advisors.

National Bronze Sponsor: Chase, Concierge Travel, Cox Enterprises, Dell, Goldman Sachs, MetLife, Olivia, Orbitz, PaulHastings, PWC, Replacements, LTD, Showtime, Starbucks, TD Ameritrade, TD Bank, Tylenol PM and Waste Management.

October 08, 2010
Adult Stem Cells–Best-Kept Secret, Treating Spinal Cord Injury

(Family Research Council)  On September 16, 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations held another hearing on stem cells. The committee, chaired by Sen. Harkin, had asked to hear about the science of stem cells, but what they got was mostly politics. The witnesses praising embryonic stem cells had few facts or results, relying on hype and empty promises.

Only a single lone witness was invited to testify on the promise of adult stem cells, but Dr. Jean Peduzzi Nelson’s testimony discussed real science and real results for patients. She showed five pictures of patients who had been treated successfully with adult stem cells, discussing their cases and the peer-reviewed scientific publications documenting the success of adult stem cells in each example. As she noted in her testimony:

“The progress of adult stem cells has gone so far beyond these particular patients to long term follow-up results of numerous patients in peer-reviewed published clinical trials.”

The first example Dr. Peduzzi Nelson gave was that of Silvio, who was quadriplegic after a spinal cord injury at the base of his neck, “AIS Grade A”. Grade A is considered the worst, indicating a “complete” spinal cord injury where no motor or sensory function is preserved in the lower body. Silvio was left with no movement of his legs and minimal movement of his fingers. At 2 years after injury, and after intensive rehabilitation failed to lead to an improvement,.he received his own nasal adult stem cells and partial scar removal.

Today Silvio can maintain a standing position and wave without help. With a walker and short braces, he can walk over 30 feet without anyone helping him. He can now move his fingers, which he could not do before.

Silvio’s improvement is astounding. Usually only 5% of AIS Grade A patients improve in grade if a treatment is given at 1 year or greater after spinal cord injury. But using adult stem cells for treatment, Silvio is not an isolated case. Dr. Peduzzi Nelson has worked with Dr. Carlos Lima of Portugal on these adult stem cell treatments, publishing the results. In their most recent published study, more than half of the AIS Grade A patients improved at least one grade after adult stem cell treatment. When the adult stem cells are combined with an effective rehab program, 12/13 AIS A patients improved in AIS grade and all of the patients regained some muscle movement in their legs.

The results with patients have been published in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair and in the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine.

October 08, 2010
As home-schooling moves to mainstream, stigma fades

(Today Show)  Evidence suggests that home-schooling in America is a growing trend. In a weeklong web-only series, TODAYshow.com reports on the challenges and creative opportunities presented by this approach to education.

Fifteen-year-old Tess Rodrigues is a typical teenager: She spends her free time at the mall, hangs out with friends and stays connected on Facebook.

But unlike most 10th-graders, Tess is home-schooled by her mother, and supplements her studies in marine biology, Spanish and world history with help from a weekly home-school co-op group.

“My mom and I laugh a lot and have fun,” Tess said. “And with the work, I get to go at my own pace, unlike a regular classroom. I can speed through lessons that are easy, and take time to go over things if I don’t get them.”

Her mother, Lisa Landis Rodrigues, started home-schooling her three children when they were in second, fourth and fifth grade.

“I’m not anti-school at all — I think teachers are awesome and I think most schools are great,”  said the Rhode Island mom. “But morally, I think they go way too fast. I wanted my 10-year-old to be a 10-year-old, not get caught up in how other kids dress and act, so I decided to home-school them.”

Though such students represent an estimated 3 percent of the population, evidence suggests that home-schooling is a growing trend in America. While most say faith is their primary motivation, others choose this path for a variety of reasons that include dissatisfaction with the local school system, caring for special-needs kids, safety concerns, flexibility to travel and the chance to spend more time with their children.

And, proponents say, the home-schoolers of yesteryear, stereotyped as socially awkward, religiously dogmatic and ill-prepared for the real world, aren’t representative of current home-schoolers who more closely mirror the mainstream.

“Whenever I meet new people or join a new group, I don’t usually tell them that I was home-schooled — it’s like a wild card in my back pocket,” said Brooks Nelson, a confident, outgoing 25-year-old from Iowa who was home-schooled for his entire pre-college education. “Once I get to know them and tell them, they are blown away, they are surprised that I’m articulate — a lot of people have a stereotype about home-schooled students because they haven’t interacted with us.”

Nelson graduated from Iowa State University and said that he had no trouble getting acclimated to college, taking leadership positions in many extracurricular activities. Today, he works in Washington, D.C., as a coordinator at the Business Civic Leadership Center.

“While home-schooling I learned to be independent, and having the flexibility allowed me to take advantage of a variety of opportunities,” he said. “And I traveled around the country and met all kinds of people — it was a springboard to my future.”

Like Nelson, many home-schooled students fare well in college, counselors say.

“We don’t typically see them having any problems beyond what traditional students face,” said Kedra Ishop, vice provost and director of admissions at University of Texas–Austin. “For them, the challenge is navigating the admissions process because their experiences are so individualized. The socialization factor isn’t as much of an issue — otherwise a campus of 50,000 students wouldn’t be for them.”

Ishop says that in the past seven years, she has seen a steady increase in the number of home-schooled applicants, though the percentage is still minuscule. And those are only the home-schoolers who identify themselves as such. Overall, it’s hard to tell exactly how many apply, she explains.

“Home-schoolers can identify themselves as home-schoolers when they apply, or they can be affiliated with one of the many schools and consortia that have programs they are a part of. If they select the latter, we can’t identify them as home-schooled.”

Numbers? Not so simple
The blur over numbers doesn’t stop at the college level — nationally, there are various estimates as to how many home-schoolers there are.

The latest national numbers on home-schooling, extrapolated by government surveys conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, are from 2006-2007 and estimate that 1.5 million students are home-schooled. Because it’s based on survey information, many say that the report vastly undercounts the number of home-schoolers. However, the same surveys were conducted in 2003 and 1999, and that data shows there’s been an increase of 74 percent in the past 10 years.

But why is an exact number so hard to pin down?

Two reasons, says Milton Gaither, author of “Homeschool: An American History” and a professor of education at Messiah College, a private Christian university in Pennsylvania.

One is home-schoolers’ desire to avoid government involvement — a sentiment echoed by several researchers and home-schoolers who spoke to TODAYshow.com.

Click here to read the entire article.

October 08, 2010
Christian meteorologist weathering a storm

(OneNewsNow)  A Virginia Beach TV weatherman has been fired -- and the reasons management gave him were all related to his after-hours ministry.

Jon Cash, a 21-year employee of WAVY-TV, appeared on the station`s highly rated morning show, but also traveled as an evangelist preaching at area churches large and small. Earlier this year, management came to him about his ministry -- and Cash agreed to some correction.
 
"[On] August 31 they came to me and apparently had somebody come in and heard me preach and say that I`m planning to eventually give up my television job when my contract was over and pursue full-time ministry because that`s the Lord`s calling," he recalls. "And I was abruptly fired."

Cash says WAVY general manager Doug Davis told him that going into full-time ministry was "bad for business."The meteorologist and attorneys with the American Center for Law & Justice have filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Cash states on his website that he never thought in his "wildest dreams" that he and his family would ever be part of such a complaint.
 
"I have never been a party to a lawsuit, believing that men and women of good will should resolve their differences directly," he shares. "I reluctantly begin this process -- not for me as an individual, but to vindicate our God-given right to worship as defined in the Constitution and federal law."
 
Cash admits to OneNewsNow that he is bewildered by the station`s decision. "Why would they get rid of an employee of 21 years who was bringing them some of the highest ratings in the country -- and of course, ratings means money -- and the only thing that kept coming back [about my firing], everything listed, related to my ministry as a Christian evangelist?"
 
Cash believes God is involved in a very large way in perhaps pushing him into full-time ministry well ahead of his personal plans -- and he says he intends to follow that calling.
 
According to the station`s website, Cash`s 1999 end-times thriller -- The Age of the Antichrist -- "garnered national recognition and praise." He penned a sequel, Thunder in Paradise, as well as a third book, Lost Church, which he says is designed to call the church to true faith and repentance.

October 08, 2010
God in America on PBS

(PBS)  For the first time on television, God in America, a presentation of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, will explore the historical role of religion in the public life of the United States. The six-hour series, which interweaves documentary footage, historical dramatization and interviews with religious historians, will air over three consecutive nights on PBS beginning Oct. 11, 2010.

Click here for more information.

October 08, 2010
New Research Shows Abortion Not Necessary for Pregnant Women with Cancer

(Christian Post)  New research on pregnant women diagnosed with breast cancer shows that such patients can benefit from cancer treatment without harming their babies.

The study, reviewed this past weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Breast Cancer Symposium, challenges traditional medical advice that expecting mothers should terminate their pregnancies in order to receive life-saving cancer treatment.

The study followed 54 women diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy from 1997 to 2009. The women received chemotherapy during and after pregnancy. After five years, pregnant breast cancer patients were found to have similar results to a control group of non-pregnant women who received the same cancer treatment.

In fact, the results show that those who received treatment during pregnancy had a slight one percent edge in the rate of survival over women who were not pregnant.

Pro Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler said he is not surprised by the results.

“I am very skeptical that there’s ever a reason for abortion,” he said, noting that most women who seek an abortion in the midst of a medical emergency are not considering all the options.

 “The problem is we have two things working against a life-embracing culture,” Scheidler added. First, he said, some doctors are afraid that something might go wrong. Second, some physicians and doctors are embracing abortion as a way to lighten their case load.

“When you dig a little deeper, you find that it (abortion) is really a quick fix,” he noted.

In regard to treating breast cancer, the author of the new study, Dr. Jennifer Litton of Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, said there is little risk to receiving cancer treatment while pregnant. In fact, Litton concluded that “standard breast cancer therapy should be implemented during pregnancy and optimal systemic treatment need not be delayed.”

Dismissing the premise that abortion is necessary when the mother’s life is in medical danger, Scheidler emphasized, “We need a broader prospective, a spiritual prospective.”

According to Scheidler, that prospective starts with a doctor who values a human life and considers the fetus as a client. It also requires that mothers consider self-sacrifice.

“At least consider the possibility of sacrifice,” he advised. “That used to be considered a noble thing. Now people consider you insane when you talk about sacrificing yourself. At least consider the option of sacrifice even if that sacrifice is [no] treatment for the duration of the pregnancy or yourself.”

According to the study, however, little sacrifice may be needed. Litton said those born during the study are now healthy 21-year-olds. Researchers have found that the rate of malformations or negative birth outcomes is no higher in those treated with chemotherapy than those who were not.

Scheidler said he is encouraged by the study’s findings and hopes more women will value their unborn children.

"I`m happy to hear about the study," he said.

October 08, 2010
Christianity a `Faded Memory` for Most Young Britons

(Christian Post)  Most young people in Britain consider Christianity irrelevant to their lives but they are not as hostile towards religion as their parents’ generation, researchers in the Church of England have found.

The researchers surveyed 300 young people from Generation Y – those born after 1982 – who had attended a Christian youth or community project. The five-year study looked at their faith in relation to Christianity and the impact of Christian youth and community work on their faith development.

It found that young people were more likely to put their faith in friends, their family or themselves than in God.

Sylvia Collins-Mayo, a sociologist of religion and one of the researchers behind the study, said: “For the majority, religion and spirituality was irrelevant for day-to-day living; our young people were not looking for answers to ultimate questions and showed little sign of ‘pick and mix’ spirituality.”

She said that young people only sought a religious perspective on “rare occasions” and that when they did, they often "made do" with a “very faded, inherited cultural memory of Christianity in the absence of anything else.”

This tended to be in times of difficulty, for example, after suffering a bereavement or illness in the family.

“In this respect they would sometimes pray in their bedrooms,” she said. “What is salutary for the Church is that generally young people seemed quite content with this situation, happy to get by with what little they knew about the Christian faith.”

The findings suggested that while Christian youth projects were an important source of support for young Christians, they had little impact on the faith of the non-churchgoers who took part in them.

Among the infrequent churchgoers, 28 percent said belonging to a Christian youth group had made them think more about the purpose of life. Thirty per cent said it had made them think more about God, 26 percent about Jesus, and 54 percent about what was right and wrong.

Infrequent churchgoers tended to be uncertain about the nature of God, with 23 percent saying they believed God was someone they could know personally, 22 percent saying they believed in some sort of higher power or life force but not a personal God, and 12 percent saying that they did not think there was any sort of God, higher power or life force. Forty-three per cent said they did not know what to think about God.

“The Christian youth and community projects were an important source of Christian faith support for the minority of young people who were already actively involved in Church," Collins-Mayo said. “For the majority, however, the Christian dimension of the projects had little impact on them beyond keeping the plausibility of Christian belief and practices alive.”

The results of the study have been published in a new book, The Faith of Generation Y. Collins-Mayo said that while Generation Y is largely unfamiliar with formal religion, it still takes a keen interest in ethical issues.

“The young people drew moral guidance from family as friends, but they also recognized the potential of religion, including Christianity, to provide them with guidelines for living,” she said.

The researchers say that the common assumption that teenagers are alienated from their parents and hostile towards religion is a hangover from the Sixties and Seventies and no longer applicable to today’s young people.

The book states: “Generation Y have less cultural hang ups about the Church than did their predecessors … The challenge to the Church is to provide them with the opportunities to explore and to learn about a narrative of belief of which they know little.”

The Faith of Generation Y is joint authored by Sylvia Collins-Mayo, West London priest Bob Mayo, and the director of the Midlands Centre for Youth Ministry, Sally Nash.

October 08, 2010
Bullying Is Hate; Truth Is Love

(Family Research Council)  In recent weeks there have been several suicides of teenagers who either said they were, or were believed to be, homosexuals. The intense media coverage of these events has led some people to lay the blame for these tragedies not on the actual bullies, but on Christian churches, conservative politicians, and public policies such as "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell" and Proposition 8. It`s shameful that some pro-homosexual activists would exploit the personal tragedies of these families to promote a political agenda. FRC unequivocally condemns the behavior of anyone who would physically or verbally abuse another person--especially a child--because of his/her sexuality or any other reason. This is a complete violation of Jesus`s commandment to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

While individual bullies may target "gay" kids (and should be punished), there`s no empirical evidence for the claim that society`s disapproval of homosexuality causes the mental health problems (including depression and suicide) that are found among homosexuals. These problems are prevalent even in the most "gay-friendly" places on earth--like the Netherlands.

Our friends at Exodus International promote freedom from homosexuality through the power of Christ. Their statement on bullying says it perfectly: "Every individual deserves equal protection, and every offender should receive equal punishment." However, let`s be clear. It`s not "bullying" to tell the truth in love--which is that homosexual conduct is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society at large. The most compassionate thing we can do for people struggling with this lifestyle is to debunk the lie that they`re born "gay" and can never change. Instead we should assure them that change is possible for those who seek it.

October 08, 2010
Anti-Christian `art` display challenged

(OneNewsNow)  According to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the Loveland Museum has received public funds through the state`s Office of Economic Development and International trade. The Catholic group is taking issue with the museum because it is currently hosting an exhibit -- "The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals" -- that features a piece by Stanford University professor Enrique Chagoya that depicts a despicable homosexual act being performed on Jesus.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue categorizes the offending piece as "anti-Christian hate speech," and adds in a press release: "We know there are no dollars to fund religious programs with public monies. We just want to know how anti-religious programs can be funded with public monies."

 
Jeff Field is also with the Catholic League. "Works like this cannot be publicly funded -- and they should not be publicly funded," he states. "They always seem to offend Christian sensibilities and it`s nobody else. And to have this being on display at the cost of public dollars [is] an outrage."
 
Field was asked what the reaction might be if Chagoya`s "artwork" depicted Mohammed rather than Jesus. "There have been examples in the past of anti-Mohammed artwork," he notes. "The Muslim community has been outraged -- and rightly so -- but there`s also been different actions taken against the artists.
 
"Christians thankfully don`t react in that way," Field continues, "but at the same time it is offensive. Somebody needs to be held accountable and something needs to be done about such things being publicly funded."
 
Field also told OneNewsNow the Catholic League has been asking people to contact Loveland officials and the governor`s office to voice their objections.

October 08, 2010
Health, safety risks alleged at Capitol Visitor Center

(Politico)  People who visit the Capitol Visitor Center may be exposed to a number of health and safety risks, including lice and body fluids on Capitol tour headsets and a lack of rapid medical attention during weekends, according to congressional testimony and interviews.

Visitor Center employees say that some of the headsets used for audio tours — worn by as many as 12,000 tourists a day — recently had to be replaced after guides reported seeing lice crawling on the foam pads. Other tour guides have reported seeing guests with ear sores wearing the headsets, which, in one case, resulted in blood being smeared on the equipment.

 “We have seen blood on the headphones,” said one Capitol tour guide, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the subject. “It’s really, really gross. We’ve brought this up to management countless times, and the same response is given: The headphones are cleaned to industry standards.”

Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol, disputed the claims.

“The CVC exceeds the industry standards for cleaning the assisted-listening devices. They are cleaned daily using an environmentally friendly disinfecting wipe that kills 99 percent of germs botanically,” she said in a statement. “There has been no lice outbreak at the CVC.”

The allegations are the latest controversy for the Capitol Visitor Center, a gleaming 580,000-square-foot underground facility that cost $621 million to build and was consistently over budget while missing numerous construction deadlines before it opened in late 2008.

In recent testimony, the union representative for the Capitol Visitor Center said there are a variety of sanitary issues — not to mention a few security lapses.

“Naturally, in any setting where thousands of people move through enclosed spaces each day, there is some potential for the spread of disease,” CVC employee union member and tour guide Megan Burger told a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee last week. “Bedbug infestations have been reported in New York theater seats, where there are perhaps five shows a day. In contrast, a CVC theater seat may have 20 different occupants in a single day.”

Guides say some of them were recently given a cleaning solution for wiping down the headsets, but the product clearly says not to allow the solution to come into contact with skin, nor plastic and foam, which the headphones are made of.

Burger did not directly comment on the allegations about lice on the foam earpieces, though tour guides told POLITICO that they had witnessed the lice situation.

The Office of the Attending Physician, which oversees health matters on the Hill, did not return requests for comment on the matter.

Guides say they have also frequently observed people moving about the Capitol “without authorized badges or escorts,” Burger said, a situation that guides are not authorized to stop or correct.

Read more:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43122.html#ixzz11nLnUUwC

October 07, 2010
Federal Judge Walker to Retire; Prop. 8 Proponents Hopeful

(Christian Post)  Afters 21 years as a federal judge, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has announced his intention to retire from the U.S. District Court of Northern California next February, giving new hope to those who continue to rally the state to restore the traditional definition of marriage.

Just two months earlier, Walker ruled against the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved marriage amendment, calling proponents of the one-man-one-woman marriage definition “irrational.” He later denied requests for a permanent stay of his decision to allow same-sex couples to wed pending the appeals process.

Now, traditional marriage proponents say Walker’s departure may bode well for the Prop. 8 appeal currently making its way through the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“This is a significant development in the Prop. 8 case, which is likely to be eventually sent back down to the district court after the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court consider it,” said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute. Dacus said the appeal may be sent back based on the defendants’ ability to prove a rational basis for the California marriage amendment.

Liberty Counsel Chairman and Founder Mathew Staver similarly said the appeal has a 50/50 chance of returning to the district court due to a number of procedural reasons.

“The Ninth court can send it back for lack of standing,” Staver commented.

And according to PJI Chief Counsel Kevin Snider, legal standing is a key concern that may keep proponents from defending the constitutional amendment.

In a recent order, the trial court indicated that the only defendants that have standing to appeal are California’s governor and attorney general, who initially declined to defend the state against the lawsuit of two same-sex couples. The case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, was subsequently taken up by supporters of Prop. 8.

Walker has since denied intervention from Imperial County and ProtectMarriage.com, while allowing the city and county of San Francisco to intervene.

“That will be the first issue that the Ninth Circuit will take up in December,” Snider said in his legal group’s official blog.

Though, at this point, it is impossible to say for sure whether the proposition will be sent back, if it is, Dacus said it will likely be sent back to the district court after Walker has left. That, Dacus added, is a cause for hope.

“The judge’s resignation is a victory because there will be a different judge hearing the case,” he noted.

Like Dacus, Staver believes the amendment would be in better hands with anyone except Walker.

“Any trial court judge that hears this amendment will be fairer than Judge Walker,” said the Florida legal expert, who called Walker’s decisions to publicize the trial and expedite its ruling “unfair.”

Still, there is no telling what the outcome will be for the amendment.

“There is no assurance to [the new judge’s] beliefs,” Dacus said.

Notably, some have already questioned the background of District Judge James S. Ware of San Jose, who will succeed Walker in the post, which is determined by seniority.

Ware was scandalized for having lied about being the brother of Virgil Ware, a black boy who was gunned down in Alabama during the 1960s. Once the story was found to be untrue, Ware was reprimanded but allowed to retain his lifetime appointment as district judge.

Despite the incident, legal experts say the past will have no bearing on the appeal.

“I see no reason why Ware would have to recuse himself,” Dacus said.

Walker will relinquish his title of chief judge effective Dec. 31, a month before his retirement. The next Prop. 8 hearing is set to begin Dec. 6.

October 07, 2010
Health reform to worsen doctor shortage: group

(Reuters) - The U.S. healthcare reform law will worsen a shortage of physicians as millions of newly insured patients seek care, the Association of American Medical Colleges said on Thursday.

The group`s Center for Workforce Studies released new estimates that showed shortages would be 50 percent
worse in 2015 than forecast.

"While previous projections showed a baseline shortage of 39,600 doctors in 2015, current estimates bring that number closer to 63,000, with a worsening of shortages through 2025," the group said in a statement.

"The United States already was struggling with a critical physician shortage and the problem will only be exacerbated as 32 million Americans acquire health care coverage, and an additional 36 million people enter Medicare."

Medicare is the federal health insurance plan for people over the age of 65, and census projections show that group growing as the giant baby boomer generation born from 1946 to 1964 hits retirement age.

The U.S. healthcare reform plan signed into law by President Barack Obama in March is designed to provide insurance to 32 million Americans who now lack it.

The AAMC projected a shortage of 33,100 physicians in specialties such as cardiology, oncology and emergency medicine in 2015.

It calls for Congress to increase funding to train new doctors. "The number of medical school students continues to increase, adding 7,000 graduates every year over the next decade," the AAMC said.

It said at least 15 percent more were needed.

Other groups, such as the nonprofit Rand Corporation and the Institute of Medicine, have also projected various physician shortages.

October 01, 2010
Pastors defy prohibition on politicking

(USA Today)  Nearly 100 pastors across the USA stood up at their pulpits last Sunday and did what federal law says they can`t — tell their congregations how to vote.

The campaign was sponsored for the third straight year by the conservative Christian group Alliance Defense Fund as a challenge to the restrictions on pulpit politicking. The group hopes to provoke a legal battle that would overturn the law`s prohibition on candidate endorsements from tax-exempt non-profits and churches.

"Our goal always has been to empower pastors to speak freely from the pulpit without government censorship or control," said the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based group`s senior legal counsel, Erik Stanley.

IRS spokesman Dan Boone declined to comment, and the IRS has issued no response. On Tuesday, Americans United For Separation of Church and State, a non-profit that has been monitoring the activities of the Alliance Defense Fund, filed a complaint with the IRS against Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla.

"When churches become cogs in any candidate`s political machine, they ought to lose their tax exemption," the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said in a statement. "I urge the IRS to investigate this matter and apply the law."

Among last Sunday`s participants:

• In Yukon, Okla., outside Oklahoma City, pastor Dan Fisher of the 1,500-member Trinity Baptist Church told his congregants he liked RepublicanMary Fallin for governor and Scott Pruitt for attorney general, among other endorsements he made.

Fisher said the Bible is clear on the Second Amendment issue, with numerous stories of God`s people defending themselves with weapons.

• In Minnesota, Gus Booth, pastor of the 195-member Warroad Community Church in Warroad, endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer and several other candidates.

"We as Bible-believing Christians should elect the most Bible-believing candidates," he said, adding that he plans to send an audio CD of his sermon to the IRS.

• In Nashville, pastor David Shelley of Smith Springs Baptist Church told about 30 people in the pews Sunday about the abortion views of state and federal candidates and said, "We need to end legalized abortion to stop the slaughter."

Church member Lyndell Cowan said after the service that she wouldn`t vote for politicians just because her pastor recommended them, but the sermon was helpful.

"You get so little information, you go into the voting booth and you don`t know who these candidates are," she said.

The IRS has yet to penalize the churches participating in previous years, Stanley said. Only one church has ever been penalized for running afoul of the law — a New York congregation that took out a full-page ad in 1992 to rail against then-candidate Bill Clinton, Stanley said. It lost its tax-exempt letter from the IRS for a year, he said.

The tax code provides tax-exempt status to churches and other charitable groups unless they participate in political campaigns or make statements on behalf of candidates.

Some churches and non-profits legally start political action groups, but contributions to those organizations are not tax deductible, said Ira Lupu, a professor at George Washington University Law School.

"The whole idea is that taxpayers shouldn`t be subsidizing political activities," he said.

David Masci, a senior researcher with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, said clergy endorse candidates with some regularity across the country in violation of the rules.

"It doesn`t seem to be something the IRS devotes a lot of resources to," he said. But, he said, many mainstream churches recoil from the idea of erasing the line between church and state.

"It puts congregations in an awkward position," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention`s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "It`s not a wise thing for churches to endorse candidates. We think candidates should endorse us."

"We think the mixing of the sacred nature of the church with the exceedingly worldly nature of politics is ... unseemly," he said.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides a "Faithful Citizenship" document on its website intended to help Catholics evaluate candidates based on Church teachings, without offering endorsements.

October 01, 2010
CDC: Two More U.S. Women Have Died From Using RU 486 Abortion Drug

(LifeSiteNews)  The Centers for Disease Control has reported that two more women in the United States than previously thought have died from using the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug. The news comes just days after the 10-year anniversary of the FDA`s approval of the abortion drug.

The new information comes from a CDC report issued September 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The two women died after developing a Clostridium sordellii infection after using the abortion drug. Two separate studies -- conducted by the University of Michigan and a Brown University researcher -- showed that off-label use of the drug caused the infections in the women who took it and the infections led to septic shock that claimed their lives.

The two new cases include the 2008 death of a 29-year-old Hispanic woman and the 2009 death of a 21-year-old Caucasian woman.

The early deaths of women from the RU 486 abortion drug included four California women who all died within a week of using the abortion drug they received from Planned Parenthood abortion businesses. Planned Parenthood had been telling women to use the abortion drug vaginally, even though the FDA indicated oral use is safer. The abortion business ultimately changed its policy to conform to the FDA protocol.

The women`s deaths brings the total number of deaths in the United States from the abortion drug to eight.

On an international level, one woman died in Canada, two have died in England, one died from using the abortion pill in Sweden, and the maker of the abortion drug in Europe confirms there are dozens more women who have died form using the abortion drug whose deaths have largely gone unreported.

Monte Patterson, whose daughter Holly Patterson died after using the abortion drug she received from a San Francisco-area Planned Parenthood, said he is disappointed by the news.

He said the deaths of nine women from the abortion pill "can`t be ignored" and called on the FDA to review the safety of the mifepristone pill.

"The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health. They need to reevaluate the risk, safety and efficacy of the drug they approved 10 years ago," he said.

Patterson believes the FDA also needs to step up its process for learning about and conveying to the public information about women who have died from or been injured by the RU 486 drug.

"Reporting of death and serious side effects from medical abortion drugs is voluntary for doctors. These newly reported deaths could represent just a small fraction of women injured by the drug. The FDA estimates only about 10% of problems with drugs are reported," he told LifeNews.com.

Patterson also says Planned Parenthood`s change of protocol doesn`t necessarily make the abortion drug safer for women -- and pointed out that one woman died from using the abortion drug orally instead of vaginally.

"There is no proof or evidence in scientific literature of the safety of this new regimen," he says. "Since 2001, there have been eight reported deaths with the use of vaginal misoprostol. However, an 18 year old woman died using the buccal misoprostol administration of the drug."

Although Planned Parenthood changed its protocol on the administration of the abortion drug, it still uses the drug in a smaller dosage than the FDA recommends in order to safe money, which upsets the California father.

"The National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood do not use the approved FDA regimen. The FDA does not comment or recommend any other regimen except the one which they have approved," Patterson said.

When women get the abortion drug RU 486, they take two pills. One, mifepristone, essentially deprives the growing unborn child of food and water and the second, misoprostol, causes contractions allowing women to give birth to the dead baby.
In animal and cell culture studies, the University of Michigan researchers found that misoprostol, when given directly in the reproductive tract, suppresses key immune responses and can allow a normally non-threatening bacterium, Clostridium sordellii, to cause deadly infection.

According to post-mortem reports on the women who died from the abortion drug, this vaginal use allowed the bacteria to cause the fatal infections.

Dr. Randy O`Bannon, the director of research for National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com previously that earlier studies showed the mifepristone drug also caused problems.

"Authors of this study claim that vaginally administered misoprostol may suppress the body`s immune response, making infection more likely. Earlier studies have suggested that RU 486, or mifepristone, the first drug used in the chemical abortion process, may itself have immunosuppressive qualities," he explained.

O`Bannon said he`s not convinced the University of Michigan study is the final chapter in the story of the women`s abortion drug deaths.

"As long as both of these drugs are being used as abortifacients, it will be important to try and nail down how one or both of these drugs contributed to eight known infection deaths among women to took the two drug regimen," he said.

October 01, 2010
Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Bill to Reduce Marijuana Penalties in California

(SACRAMENTO) - From California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, on September 30, 2010.

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am signing Senate Bill 1449.

This bill changes the crime of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor punishable only by a $100 fine to an infraction punishable by a $100 fine. Under existing law, jail time cannot be imposed, probation cannot be ordered, nor can the base fine exceed $100 for someone convicted of this crime.

I am opposed to decriminalizing the possession and recreational use of marijuana and oppose Proposition 19, which is on the November ballot.

Unfortunately, Proposition 19 is a deeply flawed measure that, if passed, will adversely impact California’s businesses without bringing in the tax revenues to the state promised by its proponents.

Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19, however, I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name. The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney.

In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket.

As noted by the Judicial Council in its support of this measure, the appointment of counsel and the availability of a jury trial should be reserved for defendants who are facing loss of life, liberty, or property greater than $100.

For these reasons, I am signing this bill.

Sincerely, Arnold Schwarzenegger

October 01, 2010
Obama Again Omits ‘Creator’ When Speaking of ‘Inalienable Rights’ Cited in Declaration of Independence

(CNSNews)  Just seven days after he sparked controversy by omitting the word “Creator” when he closely paraphrased the passage from the Declaration of Independence that says all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” President Barack Obama again omitted the Creator when speaking about the “inalienable rights” that “everybody is endowed with.”

This time the president was speaking at a Sept. 22 fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and his reference to “inalienable rights” was not as close a paraphrasing of the Declaration as it had been the week before.

“And what was sustaining us was that sense that, that North Star, that sense that, you know what, if we stay true to our values, if we believe that all people are created equal and everybody is endowed with certain inalienable rights and we’re going to make those words live, and we’re going to give everybody opportunity, everybody a ladder into the middle class, every child able to go as far as their dreams will take them--if we stay true to that, then we’re going to be able to maintain the energy and the focus, the fight, the gumption to get stuff done,” Obama said at the DCCC/DSCC event, according to the transcript posted by the White House.

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Annual Awards Gala on Sept. 15, Obama had left out the word “Creator” when otherwise virtually quoting from the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” Obama said at that event, “that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what makes us unique.”

Obama’s omission of the Creator from this Sept. 15 reference to the Declaration was noted and discussed on national talk radio and television programs. Rush Limbaugh played an audio clip of the relevant passage from Obama’s remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s dinner on his Sept. 20 program.

“Now, there`s something very, very crucial and very important missing in that, and that is ‘endowed by our Creator,” said Limbaugh. “Now, Obama was using a teleprompter here. It`s interesting. On Wednesday, he leaves the Creator as the source of our rights out of his quote of the Declaration of Independence. Yesterday heads over to church, eight o`clock in the morning, takes the hoof express, so the media can chronicle every step of the way. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain--by whom? Government? Who endows this equality? Who endows us with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? This is not an insignificant thing, and the reason it`s not insignificant is because all of these questions about who is Obama, who really shaped him, where are his values sourced to, who educated and informed this man? This is not a miscue. It`s things like this that lead people to question his faith.”

On other occasions, Obama has correctly cited the famous passage from the Declaration without removing the Creator. For example, as Limbaugh also pointed out on his Sept. 20 program, Obama did quote the Declaration accurately in his book The Audacity of Hope.

Obama also quoted it correctly in the speech he delivered from the White House balcony this past July 4. “Two hundred and thirty-four years later,” Obama said then, “the words are just as bold, just as revolutionary, as they were when they were first pronounced: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.`"

On Fox News on Sept. 20, Bret Baier reported that the White House said the president had made a mistake when he omitted the Creator from his citation of the Declaration of Independence at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute dinner. The “White House,” Baier reported, “said that President Obama went off script and adlibbed when he made that mistake.”

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute dinner, however, was not the first time President Obama has omitted mention of the Creator when speaking of the “inalienable rights” cited in the Declaration of Independence. He has also published official presidential proclamations that take this approach.

On Sept. 17, 2009, for example, Obama issued a “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” proclamation that mentioned man`s “certain unalienable rights” but not the Creator who endows man with them.

This proclamation was issued in both Spanish and English—with neither versions mentioning the Creator.

In English, Obama proclaimed: “Signed in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, this founding document reflects our core values and enshrines the truths set forth in the Declaration of Independence, that we are each endowed with certain unalienable rights. As the beneficiaries of these rights, all Americans have a solemn obligation to participate in our democracy so that it remains vibrant, strong, and responsive to the needs of our citizens.”

In Spanish, Obama proclaimed: “Este documento de la fundación, suscrito en Filadelfia el 17 de septiembre, 1787, refleja nuestros valores básicos y ratifica los hechos presentados por la Declaración de Independencia: que a cada uno de nosotros se nos ha conferido derechos inalienables. Como beneficiarios de dichos derechos, todos los estadounidenses tienen la obligación solemne de participar en nuestra democracia, para que siga siendo dinámica y sólida, y responda a las necesidades de nuestros ciudadanos.

On Feb. 2, 2009, Obama issued a presidential proclamation for “National African American History Month” that mentioned “certain unalienable rights” Obama said "we all are endowed with" but did not mention the Creator, who, according to the Declaration of Independence, is the grantor of those rights.

“The ideals of the Founders became more real and more true for every citizen as African Americans pressed us to realize our full potential as a Nation and to uphold those ideals for all who enter into our borders and embrace the notion that we are all endowed with certain unalienable rights,” Obama proclaimed.

October 01, 2010
The Light Bulb Switchover: In the Dark

(Renew America)  So, are you ready to comply with the federal government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs? Me neither.

Starting in January 2012, a little over a year from now, the phase-out begins. Simple, inexpensive lighting will become a time-capsule item. Compact-fluorescent lights, or CFLs—the bulbs that look like a twisted ice-cream cone (and won’t fit in many light fixtures where space is tight) -- will become the new norm.

Anyone who has priced CFLs knows they’re not cheap. Supposedly they’re worth the extra money because they’ll last longer. That’s cold comfort, though, given the dull, unnatural glow that these bulbs throw off.

Worse, CFLs are full of mercury. If one breaks—and who hasn’t dropped a light bulb now and then? -- you have an elaborate clean-up process ahead of you. It’s on the EPA’s website, and it involves evacuating the area of all people and pets, and using duct tape and damp paper towels to get everything up. (Go to www.epa.gov for complete details.) And no vacuuming, or you may disperse the mercury – which, after all, is a toxic substance.

So why are we making the switch? It was mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The theory, of course, is that we’ll consume less energy.  It’s all part of the green agenda. The same agenda that the president insists will produce scads of high-paying, earth-friendly “green jobs.” Tell that to the 200 workers in Winchester, Va., who are losing their jobs as General Electric closes its incandescent-bulb factory there. Or to the Americans who work in other plants that have been shuttered.

Yes, some jobs will be created, thanks to the ban. Unfortunately, those jobs won’t be here in the U.S.—they’ll be in China, where CFLs can be made cheaper.

Half of all the compact florescent bulbs sold in the U.S. come from just one Chinese manufacturer. “This is not an anomaly,” notes Heritage energy expert David Kreutzer. “Solar panel production is moving to China, as is windmill production.”

Perhaps what President Obama means by “green jobs” is that we’ll be moving lots of American greenbacks overseas to create jobs elsewhere.

But at least we’ll be saving energy, right? Not according to a recent study sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. It found that energy use under newer “efficient” lighting will actually go up rather than down.

This whole affair is a prime example of bad “unintended consequences” resulting from well-intentioned plans—plans imposed by devotees of big-government solutions for nearly every problem.

Some lawmakers are trying to reverse this part of the 2007 law. Texas Republican Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess, along with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), have introduced legislation to repeal the ban on incandescent bulbs. Having “Washington-mandated layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession is one of many examples of what happens when politicians and activists think they know better than consumers and workers,” Barton said.

The question is: Will their fellow policymakers finally see the light?

October 01, 2010
God`s great patience with Christopher Hitchens

(Renew America)  "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked," says the Almighty in Ezekiel, "but that the wicked turn from his way and live."

Christopher Hitchens, the infamous British atheist (or anti-theist, as he says) who is widely known for his 2007 book "God is Not Great," made it known in advance that he would not be "participating" in the pray-for-Hitchens-day recently held by various concerned Christians.

Hitchens` health condition caused by esophageal cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes and lungs was among the reasons to have set aside a day to pray on his behalf.

Hitchens recently told the AP that the people praying for him fall into one of three groups. The first are those who delight in his suffering and might wish to hasten his death. The second are those who want Hitchens to have a conversion experience. And the third group consists of those who are asking God to heal him.

Hitchens naturally isn`t crazy about the first group. "To hell with you who pray for me to go to hell," is his message for that group.

"Thanks but no thanks," is his retort to those "who want me to convert and recognize a divinity or deity."

Regarding the third group, Hitchens says, "It`s fine by me, I think of it as a nice gesture. And it may well make them feel better, which is a good thing in itself." It`s a nice gesture, sort of like saying, "God bless you," after someone sneezes.

As Hitchens experiences a heightened awareness of his weakness and the loss of all he has — himself — Christians will continue to pray. But the three separate groups, as Hitchens sees them, might just be a little simplistic.

It seems to me that Christians who set out to pray for Hitchens might find themselves in all three groups — starting in the first. They might need to ask God to help direct their thoughts from wanting Hitchens to be punished to praying for Hitchens` salvation and healing.

It`s a natural response for humans to want vengeance on their enemies, especially when an enemy of a religion has worked overtime to vilify and defame that which is most sacred to its members. Though Hitchens has criticized many religions, his vile attacks against the God of the Bible are second to no others. If he had crossed the line in blaspheming Mohammed he most likely would be missing a head about now.

The feelings of wishing harm to one`s enemies, of course, aren`t limited to Muslims — the feelings are universal. With regard to the wicked and his enemies, King David, in the Psalms, asks God to "break their teeth, O God," and to "consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth."

In the New Testament, James and John ask Jesus to empower them to "command fire to come down from heaven" to consume certain perceived enemies of Christ.

Jesus, of course, didn`t grant their suggestion. Neither did He support Peter when he cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest after the mob had come to take Christ away. Jesus told Peter to put away his sword and He touched and healed the man`s ear. Though Christ had the power to part his enemies with a whisper and walk through them, as He had done prior, He chose a different way.

Christians who pray for Hitchens likewise must choose, against natural impulses, a different way — the way of Christ. Jesus commands His followers in Matthew to: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

Perhaps the greatest evidence in all the world to prove to Hitchens that God lives and loves ought to be the fact that Christians pray for him. For that is no insignificant matter in context of whom Hitchens has made himself to be. No real Christian can only pray for Hitchens` physical healing. If gaining the whole world is nothing compared to the loss of one`s soul, how can a Christian constrain his prayers to short-term healing? The love of Christ compels those having surrendered their hatred of God`s enemy to pray for the man`s eternal soul.

Grace from Christ empowers believers with compassion and the awareness that for some the wounds of this world lead to atheism. Past pain and hurt is sometimes turned into anger at God. And anger at God is sometimes turned into a religion against God. The secular war against God may well be a cathartic and consensus building outlet but it is fleeting at best and ultimately futile.

Because of the greatness of God`s mercy and patience, Christopher Hitchens lives another day. And like the rest of us, so long as he has another moment he has another opportunity to receive the love and forgiveness of Christ.

By Monte Kuligowski

October 01, 2010
Democrats to stuff 20 bills into post-election lame-duck session

(The Hill)  Democrats are considering cramming as many as 20 pieces of legislation into the lame-duck session they plan to hold after the Nov. 2 election.

The array of bills competing for floor time shows the sense of urgency among Democratic lawmakers to act before the start of the 112th Congress, when Republicans are expected to control more seats in the Senate and House.

But, given the slow pace of the Senate, it also all but guarantees that Democrats will be hard-pressed to pass even a small part of their lame-duck agenda.

The highest-profile item for November and December is the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, passed under President George W. Bush, which expire at year’s end.

Democrats have promised they will not allow tax rates to rise for families making less than $250,000 a year.

Democratic leaders have also prioritized the defense authorization bill, which includes a repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military.

Democrats and gay-rights activists fear repeal could prove impossible if Republicans control the House or additional Senate seats.

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the chamber’s second-ranking Democrat, has promised to push for a vote on the DREAM Act, which would give the children of illegal immigrants a chance to earn legal residence.

That bill would have much less chance of passing if Republicans controlled the House.

Democratic leaders also view an extension of unemployment insurance benefits and a freeze in scheduled cuts to doctors’ Medicare reimbursements as must-pass legislation.

Lawmakers could spend much of the lame-duck session haggling over these two expensive proposals, which sucked up weeks of time in the Senate earlier this year.

Thousands of laid-off workers will begin to lose unemployment benefits after Nov. 30, and doctors are scheduled to see a 23 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements on Dec. 1.

Conservative Blue Dog Democrats in the House may demand the cost of the so-called doc fix to be offset with spending cuts.

The limited amount of time in a lame-duck session has only heightened competition among Democrats pushing different pet priorities.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) wants the Senate to consider a package of tax-relief extensions he has been working on all year.

“The fully paid-for bill Sen. Baucus introduced this month cuts taxes for families paying college tuition and state and local sales taxes, for teachers who purchase supplies for their classroom and for many employers, which frees up cash and creates jobs,” said a Finance Committee aide. “These tax cuts will create jobs and provide the support our economy needs, and they should be passed this year.”

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is intent on passing a renewable electricity standard.

 Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, says his cybersecurity bill should also come up for a vote, while Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has called for ratification of the New START arms-control treaty with Russia.

 Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) says he intends to hold Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to a promise to schedule a vote on legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from taking action to curb carbon gas emissions for two years.

Rockefeller, chairman of the Commerce Committee, has also pushed for the Senate to complete mine-safety legislation.

 “Sen. Rockefeller feels very strongly that both his mine and workplace safety bill and EPA suspension bill need to be brought before the full Senate,” said an aide to Rockefeller. “He will continue to work to see the passage of both as quickly as possible and is committed to moving them forward. He continues to evaluate acceptable vehicles to do so.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference, told reporters Friday that leaders would also bring up a bill to address Chinese currency manipulation.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, hopes Congress will pass food-safety legislation Reid tried to bring to the floor last week. Democratic leaders pulled the bill even though they could have had enough votes to stop a Republican filibuster.

Durbin, who has made food safety a high priority, later told reporters that it could have taken nearly a week to jump through the procedural hoops necessary to pass the bill.

House leaders have some of their own priorities.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters last week that she hopes to take up child nutrition legislation, a favorite item of liberals that may set less generous levels of assistance if passed by a GOP-controlled House. (The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent in August.)

 Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the Education and Labor Committee and one of Pelosi’s lieutenants, wants Congress to act on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization.

 Bills that have been painstakingly negotiated may have to be overhauled if Republicans control the House next year or pick up half a dozen Senate seats.

 Deals that were made to satisfy retiring senators will become moot, and an incoming class of as many as 19 freshman senators could raise fresh objections.

 All pending bills die at the end of a Congress and must be reintroduced at the start of a new two-year term.

This means lawmakers will have to repeat the laborious process of holding committee hearings, markups and rounds of private negotiations before legislation is brought to the floor again in 2011 or 2012.

 If Congress returns to Washington the week after the election and works right up until Christmas, it would have six weeks to pass legislation — assuming a week off for Thanksgiving, as is tradition.

October 01, 2010
Canadian Laws Restricting Prostitution ‘Unconstitutional’: Ontario Court

(LifeSiteNews)  A Superior Court judge ruled on Tuesday that prostitutes should be allowed to freely communicate with customers on the street, conduct their business in their homes or brothels, and hire accountants, drivers and bodyguards, without fear of criminal prosecution.

In her decision Justice Susan Himel stated that Criminal Code laws against keeping a common bawdy house, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating for the purpose of prostitution violated women’s Charter rights to freedom of expression and security of the person.

The case challenging the prostitution laws was brought forward by three Toronto "sex-trade workers" who hired lawyer Alan Young to represent them.

Young argued that the Criminal Code prohibitions prevented prostitutes from having sex with their customers in the safety of their homes or brothels, and prevented them from hiring accountants, drivers and bodyguards who could be charged with living on the avails of prostitution.

Justice Himel suspended her ruling, which is binding only in Ontario, for 30 days to allow the provincial and federal governments to consider the implications of the decision.

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is reported to have said the federal government is “very concerned” and is considering an appeal.

One of the prostitutes told reporters outside the courthouse that Justice Himel`s decision means sex-trade workers will no longer have to “worry about being raped, robbed or murdered.”

Young said the decision could allow municipalities in Ontario to follow the lead of other countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand, and some states in the U.S. and Australia, that have legalized or regulated prostitution.

However, reports from these jurisdictions have consistently indicated that the legalization of prostitution has not achieved the expected results.

In 2005, the mayor of Amsterdam admitted that the Dutch experiment to curb abuse by legalizing prostitution in 2000 had failed miserably.

"Almost five years after the lifting of the brothel ban, we have to acknowledge that the aims of the law have not been reached", said Mayor Job Cohen in an NCR report. "Lately we`ve received more and more signals that abuse still continues."

Police in Amsterdam`s infamous red light district were quoted by Dutch media as saying, "We are in the midst of modern slavery." Police said they were hampered in confronting the horrors that are characteristic of the sex trade because prostitution was legal.

In 2005 it was reported that Germany was reconsidering its position on legalized prostitution, made legal there in 2003, after reports that legalization had not really had any benefit for prostitutes, nor had it improved the situation for Germany at large.

“When it was set up there was much talk of securing proper contracts, proper health insurance, but a lot of this hasn`t materialized because of big holes in the legislation,” said Berlin’s Hydra prostitute advice center spokesman Marion Detlefs.

“Opponents say Europeans need only look to Sweden to see the future of legalization,” wrote Isabelle de Pommereau in a 2005 Christian Science Monitor article. “The country - which legalized prostitution 30 years ago - recriminalized it in 1998, after complaints that legalization had solved few of the problems it set out to address.”

Sweden`s ban on prostitution has focused on legislation that criminalized the buying of sex rather than the selling of sex and has resulted in prostitution being nearly eradicated.

The principle behind this legislation is stated in the government`s literature on the law: "In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem ... gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them."

Jonas Trolle, an inspector with the Stockholm police unit dedicated to combating prostitution said, "The goal is to criminalize the demand side of the equation, the johns, rather than putting emotionally and physically imperiled women behind bars."

The results of this strategy are impressive. "We have significantly less prostitution than our neighboring countries, even if we take into account the fact that some of it happens underground," said Trolle. "We only have between 105 and 130 women - both on the Internet and on the street - active (in prostitution) in Stockholm today. In Oslo, it`s 5,000."

According to a study by the Scottish government in 2003 on the consequences of prostitution policies in several countries, those that had legalized and/or regulated prostitution had a dramatic increase in all facets of the sex industry, saw an increase in the involvement of organized crime in the sex industry, and found a dismaying increase in child prostitution, trafficking of women and girls and violence against women.

October 01, 2010
Facebook Finally Starts Removing Pages of Largest Pedophile Group

(CitizenLink)  Facebook finally started to remove pages posted created by a nefarious pedophile group after FOX News reported Tuesday, “EXCLUSIVE: Pedophiles Find a Home for Social Networking – on Facebook.”

More than a dozen group pages related to The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) were found by FOX News, despite Facebook’s policies on posting content related to child exploitation.

NAMBLA seeks to legalize “sexual relations between adult male and underaged boys” and resolves to “end the oppression of men and boys who have freely chosen mutually consenting relationships.”

According to FOX, another Facebook page, repeatedly referred to on a NAMBLA blog, remains active today with 588 members.

Jeff Johnston, social policy analyst for CitizenLink, applauded FOX News for breaking the news, as well as Facebook for removing the harmful pages.

“This is a stark reminder for parents that it’s so important to be involved in their children’s lives, monitoring what they’re watching and reading,” Johnston said. “We should be especially careful about sites where children can interact with people they don’t even know, where strangers could connect with them.”

October 01, 2010
Obama: `Christian by choice`

(AP)  Obama, in a rare discussion about his religious beliefs, described himself on Tuesday as a "Christian by choice" who arrived at his faith in adulthood because "the precepts of Jesus Christ" helped him envision the kind of life he wanted to lead.

Obama talked about his beliefs when he was asked, "Why are you a Christian." The question was posed by a woman at a backyard conversation here, part of a series of meetings Obama is holding to talk informally with Americans.

Some conservatives and political opponents have questioned Obama`s Christian faith. In fact, a Pew Research Center poll in August found that 18 percent of people wrongly believe Obama is Muslim - up from 11 percent who said so in March 2009. Just 34 percent said they thought Obama is Christian.

"I`m a Christian by choice," Obama told his audience here. "My family didn`t - frankly, they weren`t folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn`t raise me in the church.

"So I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead - being my brothers` and sisters` keeper, treating others as they would treat me," he continued.

"And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we`re sinful and we`re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God," Obama said. "But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace."

Obama said he seeks to do that through daily prayer and public service. "That`s what I strive to do. That`s what I pray to do every day," he said. "I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith." 

Obama is the son of a Muslim father from Kenya. His mother was from Kansas. As a boy, he lived for several years in predominantly Muslim Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather. Some think his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, sounds Muslim.

Obama turned his extended reply to the question about his faith into a subtle call for religious tolerance.

"One thing I want to emphasize, having spoken about something that obviously relates to me very personally, as president of the United States I`m also somebody who deeply believes that part of the bedrock strength of this country is that it embraces people of many faiths and no faith," he said. "That this is a country that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and that their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own."

"That`s part of what makes this country what it is," Obama said.

Obama was a longtime member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. But during the 2008 presidential campaign he resigned from the church and cut ties with its pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, after videotapes surfaced of sermons in which Wright shouted "God damn America" and accused the government of creating AIDS.

Wright had helped Obama embrace Christianity, officiated at his wedding and baptized Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha.

Obama and his family have worshipped at several churches in Washington, and aides say the president enjoys attending services at the chapel at the Camp David presidential retreat. But he has yet to join a congregation in the nation`s capital.

Obama`s questioner said she had three "hot topic" questions for him. Her other questions were about abortion and whether he`d take home some of her husband`s chili peppers.

Obama said abortion should be "safe, legal and rare" and that such a decision should be made by the woman involved, not the government. And, he said, he`d take some of the peppers to go.

"I like spicy food to go with your spicy questions," Obama said.

October 01, 2010
Distrust in media hits record high

(Politicol)  Fifty-seven percent of Americans do not trust the news media to accurately and fairly report the news, a new high according to a Gallup poll out Wednesday.

The percentage of Americans who distrust the media has been steadily climbing since the mid 1990s, when distrusts in the news media rated hovered around 45 percent

Now, only 43 percent have a “fair amount” or a “great deal” of trust in the media, the lowest point since Gallup began rating.

Perhaps one of the leading factors for American distrust in the media is the high percentage who believe that reporting tilts too far in one ideological direction or the other.

Forty-eight percent believe the media is too liberal while only 15 percent of find that it tilts too conservative. Just 33 percent believe coverage is “just about right.”

Democrats have significantly more trust in the media, as 59 percent indicated that they trust the news to be reported fairly while just 32 percent of Republicans said the same.

The survey of 1,019 adults was conducted Sept. 13-16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

October 01, 2010
13 States File Joint Brief Opposing Same-Sex Marriage

(Christian Post)  Thirteen state attorney generals have filed a joint amicus brief to a federal appeals court in California expressing opposition to same-sex marriage.

In their 39-page brief, the legal advisers argued that states, not federal courts, should decide whether to recognize gay marriage. They point out that 45 states restrict the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman and a federal court overruling this exceeds its judicial authority under the U.S. Constitution.

“[T]he Supreme Court has never countenanced the use of federal judicial power to recast the basic parameters of marriage,” stated the brief filed to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. “That structure is designed to allow individual states to experiment with novel social or economic arrangements, without the attendant disruption of forcing the entire nation to do so.

 “If public affirmation of anyone and everyone’s personal love and commitment is the single purpose of marriage, a limitless number of rights claims could be set up that evacuate the term marriage of any meaning,” it added.

Last month, federal judge Vaughn Walker struck down the voter-approved ballot measure that defined marriage in the state of California as the union of one man and one woman. Walker, in his ruling, said Proposition 8 puts an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental right to marry and “creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.”

He said “moral disapproval” alone cannot justify banning gay marriage.

The ruling was quickly appealed.

Opponents of same-sex marriage fear that if a federal judge can overrule the opinion of California residents then the same thing can happen in other states.

“What’s at stake in this case is bigger than California and bigger even than marriage,” commented ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum in a statement Monday. “These briefs demonstrate the wide-ranging concerns about marriage, voter rights, judicial activism, religious liberty, and other issues and how they will be affected nationwide if this lawsuit is allowed to prevail.

“A diverse number of Americans understand that this lawsuit seeks to impose – through a San Francisco court – an agenda that America has repeatedly rejected,” he added.

In addition to the brief from the 13 attorney generals, the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals received another 24 friend-of-the-court briefs on Friday opposing same-sex marriage. The groups represented in these briefs include the American Civil Rights Union, Catholics for the Common Good, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Family Research Council, and family policy councils from 29 states.

The 13 states represented in the attorney generals’ brief, meanwhile, include Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

Oral arguments for the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger  are scheduled to begin the first week of December.

October 01, 2010
IRS Complaint Filed Against Okla. Church Over Pulpit Politics

(Christian Post)  A liberal church-state separation group filed an IRS complaint Tuesday against an Oklahoma church whose pastor voiced support for a gubernatorial candidate from the pulpit.

 

Pastor Paul Blair of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla., was participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday when he spoke about a political candidate during his sermon. The Oklahoma pastor had joined about 100 of his colleagues nationwide in the annual event meant to defy an IRS rule that says churches cannot be involved in any political campaign or risk losing their tax-exempt status.

After hearing about Blair’s sermon, Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, urged the IRS to investigate the pastor and his church and to apply the IRS law.

“When churches become cogs in any candidate’s political machine, they ought to lose their tax exemption,” said Lynn.

But the Alliance Defense Fund, the Christian legal group behind Pulpit Freedom Sunday, pointed out that AU is doing the very opposite of what it claims to do.

“AU claims to stand for the separation of church and state, yet by complaining to the IRS, AU is asking for government monitoring and surveillance of churches by the state,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley to The Christian Post. “That’s not separation of church and state no matter how you look at it.”

ADF further contends that the IRS rule has in effect “muzzled” pastors from speaking freely in the pulpit and that “radical groups” like AU use the tax code law as a “political tool” to silence churches, particularly conservative ones. It believes that pastors – liberal and conservative – have a right to use the Bible’s teachings to speak on the positions of electoral candidates or current government officials.

Stanley noted that the IRS does not respond to the vast majority of AU’s complaints against churches, nearly all of which are conservative. But AU continues to report churches to the IRS in hopes of intimidating them to be silent on political issues.

“AU has been trying to bully churches for many years,” Stanley said. “No pastor should ever fear the IRS or AU when they stand in their pulpit to preach biblical truth to their congregation. And the tax code should not be used as a political tool to intimidate churches.”

ADF will file suit to protect Pastor Paul Blair and his church if the IRS does try to revoke its tax exempt status.

This year, about 100 pastors participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, up from 80 last year. This year’s event was the third spearheaded by Ariz.-based ADF.

October 01, 2010
Survey Measures Americans` Knowledge on Religion

(Christian Post)  Compared to atheists and agnostics, Protestants are less knowledgeable about the teachings, history and figures of major world religions, a new survey reveals.

Out of 32 religious knowledge questions asked by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, atheists and agnostics had on average 20.9 correct answers while Protestants as a whole answered 16 correctly.

Jews and Mormons also scored high with 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively.

When it came to Christianity, however, white evangelical Protestants were among those with the highest levels of knowledge. They scored 7.3 out of 12 on questions related to the Bible and Christianity. Mormons were the only ones to score higher, with 7.9.

Still, atheists and agnostics were not far behind with a score of 6.7.

The findings, released Tuesday, are based on a nationwide poll conducted from May 19 to June 6 among more than 3,400 Americans age 18 and older.

The Pew Forum employed the help of Boston University professor Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy, among others to design the survey and analyze the results.

Some of the questions asked included identifying: Mother Teresa`s religion, the dominant religion in Pakistan, the figure who inspired the Reformation, which religion teaches that salvation comes through faith alone, and whether public school teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.

"[W]e could have designed harder questions, or easier ones. As it happens, through a combination of good survey design and good luck, the results were an almost perfect bell curve in which the average score was exactly half of the 32 possible correct answers, and very few people got all questions right or all questions wrong," said Luis Lugo and Alan Cooperman, director and associate director of the research.

The researchers also noted that they have refused to give the public an "A" or "F" grade because they "have no objective way of determining how much the public should know about religion."

Nevertheless, the survey showed that faithful Americans know little even about their own religion.

More than half of Protestants (53 percent) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. Forty-five percent of Catholics do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. And 43 percent of Jews do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.

Overall, at least two-thirds of respondents are knowledgeable about Mother Teresa`s religion, Islam being the dominant religion in Pakistan, Moses leading the exodus from Egypt, and the Constitution stating that government shall neither establish nor interfere with religion.

Just a little more than a half know Joseph Smith was Mormon, Ramadan is the Islamic holy month, the Koran is the Islamic holy book and the Golden rule is not one of the Ten Commandments.

Forty-seven percent know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist and only 45 percent know the four Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Less than a third are knowledgeable about Jonathan Edwards participating in the First Great Awakening and "only Protestants" traditionally teaching that salvation comes through faith alone.

Most Americans, however, are able to correctly answer at least half of the survey`s questions about the Bible such as what is the first book of the Bible and where was Jesus born.

Measured on their knowledge of religion in public life, 89 percent know public school teachers cannot lead class in prayer but only 23 percent know that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.

Notably, the Pew Forum found that college graduates get nearly eight more questions right on average than do people with a high school education or less. Those who read Scripture at least once a week, talk about religion with friends and family, and have high levels of religious commitment also are likely to score higher.

Those with the lowest scores on the religious knowledge survey include Hispanic Catholics, black Protestants and Americans who describe their religion as "nothing in particular."

The survey was an attempt to provide a baseline measurement of how much Americans know about religion today.

Researchers note that they cannot conclude whether Americans in 2010 know more or less about religion than prior generations did because of the lack of historical data on levels of religious knowledge in the U.S. public.

October 01, 2010
Controversial STD drug tied to 16 more deaths

(WorldNetDaily)  The case report is terse about the 19-year-old woman who was given Gardasil, a vaccine intended to guard against a sexually transmitted disease, and reported, "Headache, nausea, dizziness, chilling, tiredness, shortness of breath, complained of chest pain, severe cramps."

She died of "acute cardiac arrhythmia." Said the report, "Attempts to resuscitate her resulted in a sternal fracture, but were unsuccessful and the patient died."

That`s just one of the 16 new reports that have arrived since the middle of last year that document deaths linked to Gardasil.

"To say Gardasil has a suspect safety record is a big understatement. These reports are troubling and show that the FDA and other public-health authorities may be asleep at the switch," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, the government watchdog organization that investigates and reports on government corruption.

"In the meantime, the public-relations push for Gardasil by Merck and politicians on Capitol Hill continues. No one should require this vaccine for young children," Fitton said.

Judicial Watch launched a comprehensive investigation of Gardasil`s safety record in 2008 after the drug`s manufacturer, Merck & Co., began a major effort to lobby in state legislatures to impose requirements that girls be given their product. Eventually the Centers for Disease Control suggested the maker back off its campaign.

It was in 2008 when Judicial Watch obtained documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration documenting "anaphylactic shock," "foaming at mouth," "grand mal convulsion," "coma" and "now paralyzed" descriptions of the complications from Gardasil. The drug is intended to address the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, believed by researchers to be an indicator for future cases of cervical cancer. The company wanted it to be mandatory for all schoolgirls.

At that time, the organization`s work uncovered reports of about one death a month, bringing the total death toll from the drug to at least 18 and as many as 20 at that time. The new report documents that there have been at least another 16 fatalities in the months since, along with 789 "serious" reports of reactions submitted to the FDA. Two hundred thirteen of the cases in the most recent reporting period resulted in a permanent disability and 25 resulted in Guillian Barre Syndrome.

According to Judicial Watch, the 19-year-old had "no medical history except occasionally cases [of] bronchitis."

She was given Gardasil and died within 53 days, following health problems that included the long list documented in the federal report.

In another case documented for the current time period from May 2009 to this month, a 13-year-old girl was vaccinated and 10 days later, developed fever.

According to federal reports she "did not recover and was admitted to the hospital. … She developed dyspnoea and went into a coma .. she expired [that day]."

Yet another documented case revealed a 10-year-old developed "progressive loss of strength in lower and upper extremities almost totally ... nerve conduction studies [showed Guillain Barre Syndrome]." The case was considered "immediately life-threatening," Judicial Watch said.

Merck officials did not respond to a WND request for comment.

Judicial Watch said federal documents reveal the mother of a 13-year-old who died 37 days after getting vaccinated reported, "I first declined getting her the vaccination but her doctor [assured] me that it was safe."

Her daughter soon reported no feeling in her foot and a tingling in her leg. A doctor`s appointment was scheduled for Oct. 23, 2009.

"My daughter never made it to Oct. 23, which is also her birthday," the mother wrote. "She passed on Oct. 17. I found her cold unresponsive in her room at 7 a.m."

WND has reported on the aggressive push by Merck to lobby state legislatures to make the vaccination mandatory for schoolgirls across the nation.

In 2007 alone, Merck`s lobbying campaign and contributions to the Women in Government organization for women state legislators resulted in proposals in at least 39 states to institutionalize such vaccinations. Most of the campaigns failed.

Officials with the http://www.abstinence.netAbstinence Clearinghouse had noted at the time in a position paper that groups including the Texas Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine have come out publicly against mandatory vaccination.

"The reasoning of these medical associations is clear. They are not opposed to medical progress, and certainly support all efforts to combat life-threatening diseases. The problem, as these organizations see it, lies in the fact that the drug only went through three and a half years of testing, leaving the medical community somewhat in the dark as to what serious adverse effects might result in the long term," the group said at the time.

"Along with the potential of serious adverse effects is the question of efficacy. There is evidence that after approximately four years, the vaccine`s potency significantly declines. The long-term value of the vaccine has yet to be determined; if it wears off within six years, will girls and women need to repeat the battery of injections they originally received?" the organization wondered.

 

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07-13-17
Real Impact Meeting

Real Impact upcoming meeting (scheduled for June 8) has been CANCELLED.

Join us for our next meeting on Thursday, July 13 at 7pm. Featured Speaker: Radio Personality Don Dix. Don can be heard daily on 590am The Answer on the Jen and Don Show. Don will be giving an update on California`s hottest and latest issues.

 

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