Archive for April 6th, 2009

The Triumphant Entry – A Bible Story Mural

Monday, April 6th, 2009

“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Zechariah 9:9 (New International Version)

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
John 12:12-19 (New International Version)

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ”

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
Luke 19:28-41 (New International Version)

This post is brought to you by Doug Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals

“What irony that many of these same people would be calling for the crucifixion of Christ just a few days later – an insight into the fickle, fallen nature of humanity.”
-Doug Westbrook, Artist of “Palm Sunday – A Bible Story Mural”

See Mr. Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals here.
Bible Story Murals
If your church is looking for a unique way to bring the Word of God to it’s children and young people, take a look at Doug Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals. Each wall sized mural is based on the hand painted originals Mr. Westbrook created at Central Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and represents a different well known Bible story.
They are available on durable vinyl wallpaper for easy installation.

“Embraciing our Future by Ignoring Our Past” by Star Parker

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office, the economic forecasting arm of the Congress, now reports that the Social Security trust fund is almost in the red. They project that the fund’s surplus next year will be a scant $3 billion.

For perspective, CBO just 12 months ago projected that this same surplus would be $86 billion — almost 30 times larger. Plus, the CBO estimated then that the fund would not be in the red for another ten years. Now it looks like it may be next year.

Beyond discovering that Social Security is in even worse shape than anyone thought, might there be a learning opportunity here?

As President Obama takes our government into the automobile business, the mortgage and banking businesses, the health care business, the energy business, and the environmental planning business, he is working on a basic premise.

This premise, of course, is that we’ll be better off if we turn more of our lives and resources over to government bureaucrats to manage. Not only has this been tried many times. Every time it’s been tried, it’s been a complete failure.

But despite the consistent failures of government management, Barack Obama has America believing it will be different this time. He has turned up with an old, flea-bitten, worm infested mutt and everybody’s excited that they are getting a new puppy. Yes, the man can sell.

The magic is so powerful that, as we set off to re-invent America, few are paying attention to the broken, bankrupt dinosaurs on our hands that are the products of our previous forays in exactly the same direction.

The first, of course, was Social Security. When Roosevelt signed it into law in 1935, he said it would address the problem that “the civilization of the past hundred years, with its startling industrial changes, has tended more and more to make life insecure.”

His great idea for making our lives secure was to tax everyone working and use those funds to pay stipends out to those who are retired.

The social engineering made sense to many in 1935, when the country had 40 people working for everyone retired.

Read the rest of the article here.

“In Obama’s World, Accountability Is Only for the Private Sector” by Carol Platt Liebau

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Just last week, in exchange for government assistance to General Motors, President Obama demanded – and received – the resignation of GM Chairman Rick Wagoner. Now, his Treasury Secretary is claiming the prerogative to oust bank executives. The idea? That receipt of taxpayer bailout money should be conditioned on a show of “accountability” on someone’s part.

The problem, of course, is that in President Obama’s world, accountability is only for the private sector. Governmental (or quasi-governmental) entities and those who work for them (and therefore, by extension, directly for the taxpayers) seem exempt from the standards imposed on those in private enterprise.

Look at Obama’s own budget. According to Michael Boskin, a Stanford economics professor who chaired the Council of Economic Advisors under President George H.W. Bush, just the additional government spending Obama seeks will add $6.5 trillion to the deficit, compared to a baseline budget containing none of his new programs. That comes out to a tax bill of $163,000 over the next ten years for every family paying income taxes. So even as President Obama forces the removal of GM’s chairman for effectively bankrupting his company, he’s proposing to bankrupt the country on an unprecedented scale.

But the hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. The President vociferously denounced the $165 million in bonuses distributed by AIG, a recipient of government bailout money. So far, however, he’s been suspiciously silent about the news that quasi-governmental mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are slated to hand out $210 million in bonuses this year. This, notwithstanding their combined loss of over $100 billion last year, and Fannie’s request for $15 billion of taxpayer bailout money.

Even before he was elected, President Obama bemoaned the inequity of the pay differences between CEOs and workers. Nevertheless, he apparently has no objection to the fact that several members of his administration have profited handsomely from firms at the center of the financial crisis. For example, he has yet to call on economic advisor Larry Summers to return any of the $2.7 million in speaking fees he earned last year from Bank of America, JP Morgan and others, even though it’s a safe bet that Summers made more for one speech than some workers make in a year. And Obama himself – the second largest recipient of AIG campaign largesse – has so far failed to return a penny that was given to him.

President Obama likewise has pressed for a $500,000 cap on salaries of those heading bailed-out companies, whether or not they were responsible for the company’s problems. Yet his campaign sought out as an advisor Franklin Raines – the CEO of Fannie Mae who resigned in the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, but nonetheless pocketed more than $50 million in bonuses. The Democrat-backed legislation designed to confiscate the infamous AIG bonuses leaves Raines and others like him untouched; the President has said nothing, despite his high-minded insistence that “[w]e’ve got to make certain that taxpayer funds are not subsidizing excessive compensation packages on Wall Street.” Well, only on Wall Street, it seems.

So why does the President seem willing to hold private enterprise – and business leaders – to higher standards than the government and those who work in it? Does it signal that the President sees business as inherently less entitled to respect than government, and profit-seeking businessmen as inherently less noble than the government workers who (supposedly) want only to “help”? Certainly such a world-view would be entirely consistent with his wife’s admonition to young people on the campaign trail last year: “Don’t go into corporate America” – and even understandable for a 47-year-old man who has neither met a payroll himself nor been closely associated with anyone who has.

As the final irony, it’s recently been reported that President Obama is refusing to allow banks to repay their TARP funds. In other words, he’s declined to allow them to exercise the “accountability” he has rhetorically embraced. How dismaying. Could it be, after all, that President Obama’s objective isn’t so much to demand responsibility from the private sector than it is to strengthen the government’s control over it?

Original Link.

“Violent Crime Joins the ‘Here We Go Again’ Club” by Todd Strandberg

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Three weeks ago, my partner Terry wrote the article, “Violence Trumpets Christ’s Return.” He focused on two key events: the teenage gunman who killed 15 people in Germany and the murder of Rev. Fred Winters during a church service. These were unusual events, and it was noteworthy that they occurred within days of each other.

Recent events have compelled me to address this issue again. In the past few days, there has been an explosion of violence across the land. I’ve never seen so many horrendous crime stories within such a short period of time.

March 21 – Four Oakland, CA, police officers and one suspect were shot and killed in two shooting incidents near a police substation. It was the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001.March 28 – Kirby Revelus, 23, stabbed his 17-year-old sister to death with a kitchen knife, and he also attacked his 9-year-old sister (she was taken to the hospital and survived). He finally decapitated their 5-year-old sister in front of a police officer when he broke down the door to their Milton, MA home.

March 29 – A gunman opened fire inside a nursing home in a small North Carolina town, killing eight people, including elderly patients in wheelchairs. A 45-year-old local man was arrested and faced eight counts of first-degree murder after the shooting at the retirement care home in Carthage, about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh.

March 29 – An engineer at Yahoo gunned down his family in an apparent murder-suicide that left six people dead. Devan Kalathat killed his two children and three other relatives at a family housewarming party Sunday before shooting himself.

April 1 – A Massachusetts woman who believes she was being stalked by a cult has been charged with using a pair of scissors to inflict 100 wounds on her 2-year-old daughter. Susan Johnson can be heard saying “Die! Die!” on a 911 call made by a security guard who helped to subdue the woman in a laundry room at a Gardner apartment building Wednesday night.

April 3 – Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Wong barricaded the back door of an immigration services center in New York State with a car and burst through the front door on a shooting rampage, killing 13 people and then himself.

April 4 – Three police officers in Oakland, CA, were shot and killed after a man pulled over for a routine traffic stop opened fire and then battled SWAT officers at a nearby building, police said.

April 4 – Five children were found dead inside their Washington state home Saturday afternoon. The children, who range in age from 6-17, were apparently killed by their father in a murder-suicide, according to police.

In Matthew 24:8, we are told that the tribulation hour will be preceded by an exponential surge of activity. Jesus mentioned a great variety of signs — spiritual, natural, societal, and world political —then said these warning signs will be like “birth pangs.”

Several times in the past few years, I’ve compiled lists of birth pangs to show how they are increasing in frequency. When I was writing in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the spacing for major birth pangs could be several years a part. Now, the contractions are weeks and even days apart. Go to our “Timeline” page on mass murder to see how this type of violence is increasing. Most years only have one or two events listed.

The birth pangs have become so active, they are starting to overlap. Here I am writing about violent crime, and at the same time, global leaders are in Europe working on the global financial crisis. North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile is another birth pang simmering on the back burner.

The danger of having to say “Here we go again” is the onset of apathy. Even the most shocking news story can only hold people’s attention for so long. One good example is homicide bombers. When they first started in Israel in the early part of this decade, these attacks would cause news organization to go into “breaking news” mode. Today, they occur all over the Middle East and are reported as if they were as commonplace as a weather report.

I think the disparity between the frequency of birth pangs and the general sense of apathy is the granddaddy of end-time indicators. Jesus gave us a long list of signs of His return, but warned us that the lack of awareness would be the cherry on top. Because they are both at levels never before seen in modern times, I can only conclude that we are near the tail end of the Church Age.

“Just so, when you see the events I’ve described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door” (NLT Mat. 24:33).

— Todd

Original Link.

Congressman Reprimands Father of Teen Killed by Drunk-Driving Illegal Alien for Calling Criminal Aliens ‘Banditos’

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Bandito: an outlaw especially of Mexican extraction or origin.

Outlaw: a lawless person or a fugitive from the law.

God forbid that a man who lost his daughter to an illegal alien drunk driver, should actually express his anger toward the person who did it; a person who would not have been here to cause the accident if this country actually upheld it’s immigration laws.
On top of that, how is the use of the word “banditos” wrong? The man is a criminal and from Mexico. By Merriam-Webster’s definition, the term is accurate.

In emotional testimony before a House joint panel this week, a Virginia man recalled the death of his teenage daughter in 2007 – a death caused by an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk and who had been arrested twice before the crime, but was not deported.

“Two years ago this week, my 16-year-old daughter, Tessa, and her best friend Allison were killed as they were sitting at in intersection waiting for a red light to change,” Ray Tranchant said, as friends placed a photograph of Tessa Tranchant on an easel behind him.

Since his daughter’s death, Tranchant, a professor from VIrginia Beach, has become an advocate for the enforcement of immigration law.

On Thursday, as Tranchant applauded local law enforcement in Virginia for its increased efforts to work with federal immigration authorities since his daughter’s death, he referred to individuals listed on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s database of illegal aliens with criminal backgrounds as “banditos.”

That comment drew a rebuff from Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).

“Mr. Tranchant, can I share with you as the father of two daughters, I thank you for bringing your testimony here, but I suggest to you that if we refer to people as banditos, as you referred to them in your testimony, it does not help to solve the problem,” Gutierrez said.

Jeff Schreiber at American Right had this to say:

“I actually remember when this happened, as I know a guy who lives down in Virginia Beach. This story was the first, really, of a string of completely avoidable tragedies which actually received some attention from the mainstream press.

I feel for this father. I cannot even comprehend what he must be feeling, and I understand completely how the death of his beautiful daughter caused him to become an activist for the enforcement of immigration laws.

The drunk who killed 16-year-old Tessa Tranchant and her friend should never have been here in the first place, nonetheless after twice being arrested and never deported. I don’t care if an illegal alien is arrested for jaywalking — that person is breaking the law simply by being here and should be sent back to the country from which he or she came. Furthermore, the response from Congressman Gutierrez was absolutely disgusting, and I hope whoever is running against him in Illinois has it on tape and is prepared to run it on a loop. Oh . . . God forbid this father insult the man who killed his daughter.

Why is it that people like Gutierrez, not to mention Nancy Pelosi, can overtly advocate the abrogation of our laws? I don’t get it, I don’t like it, and I hope there are consequences for doing so.”

Well said, Mr. Schreiber. My sentiments exactly.

Original Link.

Bill to Give Obama Control of the Internet

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Emperor Obama is going after yet another aspect of our lives; the internet.

A pair of bills introduced in the U.S. Senate would grant the White House sweeping new powers to access private online data, regulate the cybersecurity industry and even shut down Internet traffic during a declared “cyber emergency.”

Senate bills No. 773 and 778, introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., are both part of what’s being called the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which would create a new Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor, reportable directly to the president and charged with defending the country from cyber attack.

A working draft of the legislation obtained by an Internet privacy group also spells out plans to grant the Secretary of Commerce access to all privately owned information networks deemed to be critical to the nation’s infrastructure “without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access.”

Privacy advocates and Internet experts have been quick to sound the alarm over the act’s broadly drawn government powers.

“The cybersecurity threat is real,” says Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, which obtained the draft of S.773, “but such a drastic federal intervention in private communications technology and networks could harm both security and privacy.”

“The whole thing smells bad to me,” writes Larry Seltzer in eWeek, an Internet and print news source on technology issues. “I don’t like the chances of the government improving this situation by taking it over generally, and I definitely don’t like the idea of politicizing this authority by putting it in the direct control of the president.”

According to a Senate document explaining the bill, the legislation “addresses our country’s unacceptable vulnerability to massive cyber crime, global cyber espionage and cyber attacks that could cripple our critical infrastructure.”

In a statement explaining the bill’s introduction, Sen. Rockefeller said, “We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs – from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records – the list goes on.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who is co-sponsoring the bill, added, “If we fail to take swift action, we, regrettably, risk a cyber-Katrina.”

Critics, however, have pointed to three actions Rockefeller and Snowe propose that may violate both privacy concerns and even constitutional bounds:

First, the White House, through the national cybersecurity advisor, shall have the authority to disconnect “critical infrastructure” networks from the Internet – including private citizens’ banks and health records, if Rockefeller’s examples are accurate – if they are found to be at risk of cyber attack. The working copy of the bill, however, does not define what constitutes a cybersecurity emergency, and apparently leaves the question to the discretion of the president.

Second, the bill establishes the Department of Commerce as “the clearinghouse of cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information,” including the monitoring of private information networks deemed a part of the “critical infrastructure.”

Third, the legislation proposes implementation of a professional licensing program for certifying who can serve as a cybersecurity professional.

And while the critics concede the need for increased security, they object to what is perceived as a dangerous and intrusive expansion of government power.

“There are some problems that we face which need the weight of government behind them,” writes Seltzer in eWeek. “This is not the same as creating a new federal bureaucracy setting rules over what computer security has to be and who can do it.”

“It’s an incredibly broad authority,” CDT senior counsel Greg Nojeim told the Mother Jones news website, troubled that existing privacy laws “could fall to this authority.”

Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Mother Jones the bill is “contrary to what the Constitution promises us.”

Original Link.

Powerful Earthquake in Italy Kills at Least 50

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Join me in praying for the victims of this horrible earthquake.

A powerful earthquake in mountainous central Italy knocked down whole blocks of buildings early Monday as residents slept, killing at least 50 people and trapping many more, officials said.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, arriving in L’Aquila hours after the quake, said the death toll was likely to rise as rescue crews clawed through the debris of fallen homes.

About 100,000 people were homeless, L’Aquila Mayor Massimo Cialente said. It was not clear if that estimate included surrounding towns. Some 10,000 to 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed, officials said.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi declared a state of emergency, freeing up federal funds to deal with the disaster, and canceled a visit to Russia so he could deal with the quake crisis.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Monday’s quake was magnitude 6.3, but Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics put it at 5.8.

Original Link.