Archive for March 11th, 2009

James Not Doing Well – Continue to Pray for Him

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Our friend James, who is suffering from cancer, is not doing well. We need to continue to lift him up in prayer. Ask that God’s will be done.

Cross Within Star of David – Christian Pendant from the Jerusalem Gift Shop

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Weekly I highlight items being offered by the Jerusalem Gift Shop. Today it’s the Cross within the Star of David.

Cross within the Star of David

Take a moment to see all of the other interesting items they stock.




Christian Gifts from Israel – The Jerusalem Gift Shop

Muslim Woman Wearing Head Scarf Asked to Leave Bank Line

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I hate to have anyone singled out, in public, for any reason, least of all, based on religious garb.
On that same token, I can understand where the bank is coming from. Muslim woman who cover themselves from head to toe are difficult to identify and there have been cases when Muslim men, who were wanted by the law, dressed up as Muslim women, in order to escape. This has happened in the U.K. several times, so I can understand why the bank wanted to woman to be helped in a manner that would properly identify her. We must remember that they didn’t refuse to help her; that they did try to accommodate her and satisfy both her religious sensibilities and their bank security. Of course the terrorist front group, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) jumps right in on it, and you can bet they will try to inflame the situation as much as possible.

A Muslim woman was forced to do her banking in the back room of the institution because the head scarf she was wearing violated the company’s “no hats, hoods or sunglasses” policy, The Washington Post reported.

The 54-year-old Maryland woman was standing in line a few weeks ago waiting to deposit a check when an employee asked her to go to the back room, citing the new policy. The incident happened again last weekend at the California, Md. branch, but this time, Kenza Shelley refused.

“I want to be served like everyone else,” Shelley told the employees. “There was so many people there, and I was embarrassed.”

The new policy started in December and was implemented to prevent armed robberies and identity theft, Tom Lyons, senior vice president for security at Navy Federal, told the Post.

“We want to be able to clearly identify who you are and make sure the transaction is safe,” Lyons said. “This is a policy that applies to everybody in the branch. She wasn’t singled out. … We tried to accommodate her and help her with her transaction and move on.”

But, some say the policy is not acceptable and must be modified for religious reason.

“This may be the tip of the iceberg,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told the Post. “There’s got to be a way to work it out so that this security concern does not lead to violations of constitutional rights.”

Original Link.

Protecting Churches, Staff From Violence

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

This past Sunday, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Maryville, Illinois, was shot to death during the early service. Witnesses say the gunman walked toward Pastor Fred Winters, exchanged words with him, and then fired a 45-caliber semi-automatic pistol until it jammed. The gunman was tackled by two church members as he pulled a knife. The gunman was injured, along with both parishioners.

Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network, says churches must have a plan in place before tragedy strikes.

“Whenever you talk about security and emergency planning with pastors, they just get that overwhelmed feeling that it’s just going to be a real complicated and laborious and expensive program, and it’s really not,” he points out. “We suggest they start off with a risk assessment, and once they complete a risk assessment, build their plans from there.”

Original Link.

“The Culture of Entitlement” by Ken Blackwell

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Our lives are filled with measures of achievement. From cleaning our rooms as children and taking a driver’s test as teenagers to annual job reviews through the course of a career, there are benchmarks of achievement that follow us through the entirety of our lives. As we grow, these benchmarks become more numerous and the stakes become higher.

Curiously, these benchmarks are being consistently eroded in primary and secondary education, a stage of life when they should be most emphasized. Standard benchmarks in educational achievement are increasingly falling by the wayside and the results are troubling.

George Leef with the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy wrote of this problem at the college level, noting that more college students today expect high grades for simply showing-up in class or completing reading assignments. The New York Times explored the issue as well, quoting college educators bemoaning the fact that too many students are equating effort with quality of work.

The origins of this sense of entitlement to good grades are not difficult to trace. Students preparing for college now often find themselves in classrooms where self esteem is valued more than results. This mindset is perpetuated at the collegiate level as institutions increasingly forsake legitimate measures of scholarly merit in favor of unclear and shifting policies designed to permit social engineering, both in terms of admission to college and assessments of performance within it.

Wherever standards are destroyed and merit is redefined, a sense of entitlement necessarily follows. This is true in any aspect of society. In the field of education, it manifests itself in the demand by students for high grades when they are not earned. Aaron Brower, vice provost for teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, summed up the need for empirical measures, telling the New York Times, “Unless teachers are very intentional with our goals, we play into the system in place.”

Read the complete article here.

Uninsured Not Jamming Emergency Rooms

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

This one surprised me, but it also gives us a glimpse of what life will be like after the Emperor (Obama I) nationalizes health care.

WASHINGTON – Hospital emergency rooms are overcrowded because uninsured patients have nowhere else to turn.

Right?

Wrong, says a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Hospital emergency rooms are, indeed, jammed. But it’s not for the reason proponents of nationalized health care suggest.

The study, “Uninsured Adults Presenting to U.S. Emergency Departments: Assumptions vs. Data,” found most emergency rooms are packed because more patients of all kinds – insured and uninsured alike – are choosing to visit them. Further, the study found, emergency room patients are being kept there longer than necessary when they should often be checked in or treated in a doctor’s office.

“This is a larger problem, and the emergency room is the canary in the coal mine,” explained Carla Keirns, a contributor to the study.

In conducting the first study of its kind, researchers discovered other scholarly papers on the uninsured found that most simply assumed the uninsured are the principal cause of emergency room overcrowding.

In fact, Devon Hetrick, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, blamed those carrying government insurance for much of the overcrowding of emergency rooms.

“It’s not the uninsured who burden America’s emergency rooms so much as it is people who are carrying government insurance policies,” he said. “The low reimbursement rates offered doctors by government programs means very few will accept taxpayer-funded insurance any more, leaving those on government plans to visit ERs for care instead of primary-care physicians.”

Original Link.

“The Risible Claim of ‘Responsibility'” by Mona Charen

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Happening to scroll through old news the other day, I came across this declaration from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “While President Bush continues to trumpet his so-called ‘economic achievements,’ the Bush Administration confirmed today that the budget deficit for 2006 will be one of the largest in our nation’s history. President Bush’s failed economic policies have resulted in budgets that are drastically out of balance and skyrocketing debt. Budget deficits translate into higher interest rates, which means that mortgages cost more, credit-card debt grows, and student loans cost more. … Democrats know how to restore fiscal discipline with tough policies of pay-as-you-go budgeting, no new deficit spending…”

Cough cough. Daniel Casse at the Commentary Magazine blog offers additional golden oldies. He remembers the New York Times’ Paul Krugman writing in 2003, “As a drunk is to alcohol, the Bush administration is to budget deficits,” as well as Thomas Friedman lamenting just a few months ago that “Under George W. Bush, America has foisted onto future generations a huge financial burden to finance our current tax cuts, wars and now bailouts.”

Bush and the Republicans committed their share of fiscal sins (more on that in a moment) but what is maddening about Obama and the Democrats is their gall. Not only do they toss aside any concern about deficits without so much as a blush while taking our national debt into truly frightening territory, they also do so in the name of “responsibility.” You can call a donkey a thoroughbred but that doesn’t make it so. The Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress are increasing federal spending on nearly everything under the sun (except national defense) and claiming (utterly disingenuously) that tax hikes on the top 2 percent of earners will pay for it all. The rest of the nation can gorge itself while taking credit for prudence and responsibility.

Dishonesty and self-congratulation going hand in hand! It’s dishonest because, as the Wall Street Journal has pointed out, there just isn’t enough cash, even at the top of the income pyramid, to pay for all this: “A tax policy that confiscated 100 percent of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue. That’s less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010.” So the money isn’t even there. But more galling is the idea that increasing the degree of dependence Americans have on their government is a step toward responsibility. Admittedly, a deep recession is not the time for cutbacks on welfare, food stamps, or other forms of relief. But can’t we at least be honest about it? We are increasing dependence, not responsibility.

Read the rest of the article here.

Saudi Woman, 75, Sentenced to 40 Lashings

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

More loving peace and tolerance from the self-proclaimed religion of peace and tolerance, aka Islam…NOT!!!

The sentencing of a 75-year-old widow to 40 lashes and four months in prison for mingling with two young men who were reportedly bringing her bread has sparked new criticism of Saudi Arabia’s ultraconservative religious police and judiciary.

Khamisa Sawadi, who is Syrian but was married to a Saudi, was convicted and sentenced last week for meeting with men who were not her immediate relatives. The two men, including one who was Sawadi’s late husband’s nephew, were also found guilty and sentenced to prison terms and lashes.

The woman’s lawyer, Abdel Rahman al-Lahem, told The Associated Press on Monday that he plans to appeal the verdict, which also demands that Sawadi be deported after serving her prison term. He declined to provide more details and said his client, who is not serving her sentence yet, was not speaking with the media.

Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islam prohibits men and women who are not immediate relatives from mingling and women from driving. The playing of music, dancing and many movies also are a concern for hard-liners who believe they violate religious and moral values.

A special police unit called the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice enforces these laws, patrolling public places to make sure women are covered and not wearing make up, sexes don’t mix, shops close five times a day for Muslim prayers and men go to the mosque to worship.

But criticism of the religious police and judiciary has been growing in Saudi, where many say they exploit their broad mandate to interfere in people’s lives.

Last month, the Saudi king dismissed the chief of the religious police and a cleric who condoned killing of TV network owners that broadcast “immoral content” — as part of a shake-up signaling an effort to weaken the kingdom’s hard-line Sunni Muslim establishment.

In Sawadi’s case, the elderly woman met the two 24-year-old men last April after she asked them to bring her five loaves of bread, the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported.

The men — identified by Al-Watan as the nephew, Fahd al-Anzi, and his friend and business partner Hadiyan bin Zein — went to Sawadi’s home in the city of al-Chamil, located north of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. After delivering the bread, the two men were arrested by a one of the religious police, Al-Watan reported.

The court said it based its March 3 ruling on “citizen information” and testimony from al-Anzi’s father, who accused Sawadi of corruption.

“Because she said she doesn’t have a husband and because she is not a Saudi, conviction of the defendants of illegal mingling has been confirmed,” the court verdict read.

Sawadi had told the court that she considered al-Anzi is her son, because she breast-fed him when he was a baby. But the court denied her claim, saying she didn’t provide evidence. In Islamic tradition, breast-feeding establishes a degree of maternal relation, even if a woman nurses a child who is not biologically hers.

Sawadi commonly asked her neighbors for help after her husband died, said Saudi journalist Bandar al-Ammar, who reported the story for Al-Watan. In a recent article, he wrote that he felt the need to report the case “so everybody knows to what degree we have reached.”

Others have also spoken out against the case against Sawadi, accusing the religious police of going too far.

“How can a verdict be issued based on suspicion?” Saudi doctor and columnist Laila Ahmed al-Ahdab wrote in Al-Watan on Monday. “A group of people are misusing religion to serve their own interests.”

Original Link.

“The 10 Biggest Amateur Mistakes By the Obama Administration So Far” by John Hawkins

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

During the 2008 presidential campaign, people speculated whether someone like Barack Obama, who has never really run anything or had any major achievements other than winning political office, could handle a three AM crisis call. Well, as it turns out, Obama has been such a bumbling incompetent that he probably couldn’t handle a trip through a Wendy’s drive-in window without a teleprompter telling him what to order and whether he wants a Coke or a Mountain Dew. Even though Obama has been in office less than two months, he has already made more boneheaded errors than most Presidents do in an entire term.

10) After doing the “We’ve got to have this stimulus package passed right this second or the economy is going to explode” routine so convincingly that not one single soul in Congress actually had time to read the entire bill before it was signed, Barack Obama then promptly went on a three day vacation to celebrate before he signed it. If the bill was so important that no one could even have time to read it before it was passed, then why wasn’t it important enough for Obama to skip dinner at Table Fifty-Two in Chicago to immediately make it a law?

9) In a juvenile stunt, reminiscent of something a third grader might come up with, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handed Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov a button that was supposed to say “reset.” However, incredibly, the word on the button translated to “overcharge,” not “reset.” Apparently, despite the enormous deficit the government is going to run up this year, Team Obama forgot to budget enough money to hire someone who speaks Russian for the State Department. If only America could just press a button and reset the entire Obama presidency so far and start over.

8) When Barack Obama was trying to sell America his stimulus bill that will put the country more than a trillion dollars in debt, he alerted America that, “Caterpillar’s chief executive…told him the company will rehire some laid-off workers if the stimulus bill passes.” But, when he was asked about Obama’s statement, Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens said, “I think realistically no. The truth is we’re going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.”

7) A large part of Barack Obama’s appeal was the idea of racial reconciliation. The implicit deal was that by putting our first black President in office, America would prove once and for all that it wasn’t racist, and we could put all this silly squabbling about race in the rear view mirror once and for all. However, not only has it failed to work out that way, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder issued an an insulting challenge on the topic to the American people,

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”

Maybe someone should ask the poor guy who did an innocent cartoon for the New York Post that made fun of the stimulus bill and the rampaging monkey that was in the news why people might be afraid to get dragged into a debate about race.

6) Typically, Presidents don’t pick fights with pundits and talk radio hosts for obvious reasons. It draws more attention to their criticisms, elevates their status, and comes across as thin skinned and a little creepy, much like Richard Nixon’s “Enemies list.”

But, the Obama Administration hasn’t figured this out — yet. They’ve launched attacks at Rick Santelli, Jim Cramer, and most prominently, Rush Limbaugh. Ratcheting up the creepiness factor a couple of notches in Limbaugh’s case, the President of the United States, members of the mainstream media, and liberal interest groups are all coordinating an attack on a private individual for daring to criticize Barack Obama. That sounds more like something that would happen in the old Soviet Union than in the United States.

But happily, if you look at the results of the White House campaign, it has backfired in every instance. Rush Limbaugh is on pace to make more revenue by the end of March than he made all last year, there are Santelli inspired “Tea Parties” popping up all across the country, and every criticism of Obama that Jim Cramer utters is now linked by the Drudge Report.

5) The first task a new President engages in is bringing a staff on board. After choosing Joe Biden, who has behaved like he was kicked in the head by a horse as a child, things have really gone down hill from there. Bill Richardson quit as Commerce Secretary after coming under investigation. Republican Senator Judd Gregg accepted, then declined Obama’s offer to be his Commerce Secretary over irreconcilable differences. Tom Daschle quit after having tax problems. So did Nancy Killefer. Ron Kirk also has tax problems, but he’s trying to hang in there like Hilda Solis and another cabinet member who gets his own special entry — and keep in mind, Obama has a considerable number of positions left to fill. Hey Barry, the word of the day is “vetting.” You should look into it.

Read the rest of the article here.

One in Seven in U.K. Believe Women Should be Hit for Wearing Sexy Clothing in Public

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I am willing to bet that this belief resides almost exclusively within the Muslim population.

One in seven people believe it is acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend if she is dressed in “sexy or revealing clothes in public”, according to the findings of a survey released today.

A similar number believed that it was all right for a man to slap his wife or girlfriend if she is “nagging or constantly moaning at him”.

The findings of the poll, conducted for the Home Office, also disclosed about a quarter of people believe that wearing sexy or revealing clothing should lead to a woman being held partly responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted.

Although a majority of 1,065 people over 18 questioned last month believe that it is never acceptable to hit or slap a woman, the poll found that those aged 25-39 were more likely to consider that there were circumstances in which it was acceptable to hit or slap a woman.

Men and women over 65 and those in the lower social class groups D and E are more likely to believe that woman should be held partly responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted, Ipsos Mori telephone poll found.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said: “Violence against women and girls is unacceptable in any form no matter what the circumstances are.”

Ms Smith said that more needed to be done to challenge attitudes that condoned violence against women and girls.

She was speaking as she launched a police lead review of whether new laws are needed to tackle serial domestic violence abuses and whether there is a link between the early sexualisation of young girls and violent abuse.

Original Link.

“Subsidizing Bad Decisions” by Thomas Sowell

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Now that the federal government has decided to bail out homeowners in trouble, with mortgage loans up to $729,000, that raises some questions that ought to be asked, but are seldom being asked.

Since the average American never took out a mortgage loan as big as seven hundred grand– for the very good reason that he could not afford it– why should he be forced as a taxpayer to subsidize someone else who apparently couldn’t afford it either, but who got in over his head anyway?

Why should taxpayers who live in apartments, perhaps because they did not feel that they could afford to buy a house, be forced to subsidize other people who could not afford to buy a house, but who went ahead and bought one anyway?

We hear a lot of talk in some quarters about how any one of us could be in the same financial trouble that many homeowners are in if we lost our job or had some other misfortune. The pat phrase is that we are all just a few paydays away from being in the same predicament.

Another way of saying the same thing is that some people live high enough on the hog that any of the common misfortunes of life can ruin them.

Who hasn’t been out of work at some time or other, or had an illness or accident that created unexpected expenses? The old and trite notion of “saving for a rainy day” is old and trite precisely because this has been a common experience for a very long time.

What is new is the current notion of indulging people who refused to save for a rainy day or to live within their means. In politics, it is called “compassion”– which comes in both the standard liberal version and “compassionate conservatism.”

The one person toward whom there is no compassion is the taxpayer.

The current political stampede to stop mortgage foreclosures proceeds as if foreclosures are just something that strikes people like a bolt of lightning from the blue– and as if the people facing foreclosures are the only people that matter.

What if the foreclosures are not stopped?

Will millions of homes just sit empty? Or will new people move into those homes, now selling for lower prices– prices perhaps more within the means of the new occupants?

Read the rest of the article here.

Detroit Church Face-Lift Angers Atheists

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

It’s amazing the twisting of words the atheists will do in order to attack religion.

According to an ADF press release, the contract between [Detroit] and local property owners said the city would reimburse half of the exterior improvements, up to $180,000. Dozens of properties entered into agreements to do just that, including three churches.

“[B]efore the churches could be [reimbursed], even though they had already spent the money, American Atheists sued to enjoin the payment saying that it violated the so-called separation of church and state,” [Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney Dale Schowengerdt] adds.

Schowengerdt is representing St. John’s Episcopal Church in the case of American Atheists v. City of Detroit Downtown Development Agency. He contends the reimbursement contracted to the church was for non-religious purposes, does not establish religion, and therefore does not violate the Constitution.

Original Link.
See our article “What Does the U.S. Constitution Actually Say About Religion?” here.