Archive for July 27th, 2009

Run with Perseverance

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Run with Perseverance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1 (New International Version)

North Korea Publicly Executes Christian Woman for Distributing Bible

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Please continue to pray for Christians who are persecuted and oppressed.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea publicly executed a Christian woman last month for distributing the Bible, which is banned in the communist nation, South Korean activists said Friday.

Ri Hyon Ok, 33, was also accused of spying for South Korea and the United States and organizing dissidents. She was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon near the border with China on June 16, according to a report from an alliance of several dozen anti-North Korea groups.

Ri’s parents, husband and three children were sent to a political prison camp in the northeastern city of Hoeryong the following day, the report said, citing unidentified documents it says were obtained from North Korea. It showed a copy of Ri’s North Korean government-issued photo ID. It is virtually impossible to verify such reports about secretive North Korea, where the government tightly controls the lives of its citizens and does not allow dissent.

On Thursday, an annual report from a state-run South Korean think tank on human rights in the North said that public executions, though dropping in number in recent years, were still carried out for crimes ranging from murder to circulating foreign movies.

North Korea claims to guarantee freedom of religion for its 24 million people but in reality severely restricts religious observances. The cult of personality surrounding national founder Kim Il Sung and his son, current leader Kim Jong Il, is a virtual state religion.

The government has authorized four state churches, one Catholic, two Protestant and one Russian Orthodox, but they cater to foreigners and ordinary North Koreans cannot attend. However, defectors and activists say more than 30,000 North Koreans are believed to practice Christianity secretly.

The U.S. State Department reported last year that “genuine religious freedom does not exist” in North Korea.

“North Korea appears to have judged that Christian forces could pose a threat to its regime,” Do Hee-youn, a leading activist, told reporters, claiming public executions, arrest and detention of North Koreans are prevalent.

Original Link.

Health Officials Say 40 Percent of Americans Could Get Swine Flu This Year

Monday, July 27th, 2009

ATLANTA — In a disturbing new projection, health officials say up to 40 percent of Americans could get swine flu this year and next and several hundred thousand could die without a successful vaccine campaign and other measures.

The estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are roughly twice the number of those who catch flu in a normal season and add greater weight to hurried efforts to get a new vaccine ready for the fall flu season.

Swine flu has already hit the United States harder than any other nation, but it has struck something of a glancing blow that’s more surprising than devastating. The virus has killed about 300 Americans and experts believe it has sickened more than 1 million, comparable to a seasonal flu with the weird ability to keep spreading in the summer.

Health officials say flu cases may explode in the fall, when schools open and become germ factories, and the new estimates dramatize the need to have vaccines and other measures in place.

A world health official said the first vaccines are expected in September and October. The United States expects to begin testing on some volunteers in August, with 160 million doses ready in October.

The CDC came up with the new projections for the virus’ spread last month, but it was first disclosed in an interview this week with The Associated Press.

The estimates are based on a flu pandemic from 1957, which killed nearly 70,000 in the United States but was not as severe as the infamous Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19. The number of deaths and illnesses from the new swine flu virus would drop if the pandemic peters out or if efforts to slow its spread are successful, said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

“Hopefully, mitigation efforts will have a big impact on future cases,” he said. Besides pushing flu shots, health officials might urge measures such as avoiding crowded places, handwashing, cough covering and timely use of medicines like Tamiflu.

Because so many more people are expected to catch the new flu, the number of deaths over two years could range from 90,000 to several hundred thousand, the CDC calculated. Again, that is if a new vaccine and other efforts fail.

In a normal flu season, about 36,000 people die from flu and its complications, according to the American Medical Association. That too is an estimate, because death certificates don’t typically list flu as a cause of death. Instead, they attribute a fatality to pneumonia or other complications.

Original Link.

Well-Preserved Ancient Roman Shipwrecks Found in Mediterranean

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Here’s another cool archeological find.

ROME — Archaeologists have found five well-preserved Roman shipwrecks deep under the sea off a small Mediterranean island, with their cargo of vases, pots and other objects largely intact, officials said Friday.

The ships are submerged about 330 to 490 feet off Ventotene, a tiny island that is part of an archipelago off Italy’s west coast between Rome and Naples.

The ships, which date from between the 1st century B.C. and the 4th century, carried amphorae — vases used for holding wine, olive oil and other products — as well as kitchen tools and metal and glass objects that have yet to be identified, Italy’s Culture Ministry said. The spot was highly trafficked, and hit by frequent storms and dangerous sea currents.

The discovery is part of a new drive by archaeological officials to scan deeper levels of the sea and prevent looting of submerged treasures.

Discoveries of shipwrecks are not unusual in the Mediterranean, but these ships are far better preserved than most, which are often found scattered in fragments, said Annalisa Zarattini, the head of the ministry’s office for underwater archaeology. Because the ships sank at a deeper lever than most known wrecks, they were not exposed to destructive underwater currents, she said.

The ships also sank without capsizing, allowing researchers to observe their cargo largely as it had been loaded, Zarattini said.

“It is like an underwater museum,” Zarattini said. The finding also sheds light on the trade routes of ancient Rome, marking the area as a major commercial crossroads, she said.

Treasure hunters usually dive down to about 30 meters (about 100 feet) underwater, but new and fast-spreading technology will make it increasingly easier for them to dive deep, Zarattini said. “It’s important to arrive first,” she added.

The ships were found during explorations concluded earlier this month by the ministry and the AURORA Trust, a U.S. group that gathers maritime researchers and provides equipment to explore the sea.

The researchers used sonar technology to provide imagery of the seabed and then employed remotely operated vehicles, the Culture Ministry and the AURORA Trust said.

The oldest of the ships has a cargo of wine amphorae from southern Italy, some stacked in their original position, AURORA said. Another one was carrying moratoria, large bowls used to grind grains. Another was loaded with African amphorae carrying garum, a fish sauce that was a delicacy in ancient Rome.

The largest wreck measures more than 20 meters (65 feet).

A handful of objects were taken out to be studied and will be put on display in Ventotene.

Original Link.

Comments on Obamacare

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Jeff Mazzella of the Center for Individual Freedom has this to say about Obamacare, and in my opinion, they are right on target.

“[T]he Energy and Commerce Committee will try again … to start marking up the health care bill. They’re going up to the White House … to be lobbied by Obama, which means [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel is going to be there with a loaded gun. … This is not a time to start thinking victory. This is a time to keep mounting up even more heat.”

The words above were spoken by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh when he issued a stern warning that despite what the mainstream liberal media may want you to believe, ObamaCare “is not dead.”

As Rush said:

“They’re going to be working with the White House to make another run at health care. It is not dead. We need to be on our toes. They’re going to regroup. They are going to pretend to be addressing the public’s concerns. They’ll up the lies, they will up the rhetoric.”

Indeed, lies and rhetoric are all the American people have gotten from President Obama during his push for government-run, rationed health care.

You undoubtedly have heard Obama’s oft-repeated statement:

“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Well, based on the language of what is currently moving at lightning speed through Congress, nothing could be further from the truth.

If ObamaCare passes, you can kiss your private health insurance goodbye… maybe your doctor, too… and you can certainly say adios to the best health care system the world has ever known.

As a matter of fact, Obama’s ultimate goal is to force all Americans into a single-payer government-run health care system… a huge bureaucracy that will decide which doctor you can see, when you can see him and which treatment that doctor is allowed to render onto you.

Syndicated Columnist George Will, writing in the Washington Post, exposed Obama’s monumental lie.

“Why does the president, who says that were America ‘starting from scratch’ he would favor a ‘single-payer’ – government-run – system, insist that health-care reform include a government insurance plan that competes with private insurers? The simplest answer is that such a plan will lead to a single-payer system.”

“Conservatives say that a government program will have the intended consequence of crowding private insurers out of the market, encouraging employers to stop providing coverage and luring employees from private insurance to the cheaper government option….

“The Lewin Group estimates that 70 percent of the 172 million persons privately covered might be drawn, or pushed, to the government plan…. The president characteristically denies that he is doing what he is doing – putting the nation on a path to an outcome he considers desirable – just as he denies any intention of running General Motors.”

Don’t let Obama slick-talk Congress and millions of Americans into giving up their freedom to make their own health care decisions.

A government-run system will bankrupt the nation while reducing the quality of care in America.

And Then… When They Thought You Weren’t Looking… They Tried To Pass A Single-Payer System.

Did you hear what was in the health care bill that House Democrats recently proposed… deceptively titled; America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (H.R. 3200)?

According to Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ), a leader in the fight against Obama’s government-run health care experiment:

“Passage of the Democrats’ Affordable Health Choice Act of 2009 will guarantee one thing – choice in health care will cease to exist. Don’t be fooled. If enacted, this legislation will restrict the health care options you have today. If there are any changes whatsoever made to your plan, the government will say no.”

In other words, the bill effectively makes private health insurance illegal!

On page 16 of the House bill, a provision entitled “Protecting The Choice to Keep Current Coverage” reads:

“Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.”

Investor’s Business Daily clarified for all of us just want that provision truly means:

“So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won’t be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.”

And here’s Congressman Shadegg again, summing up the provision:

“If you have coverage now and your insurer wants to change your plan in any way, for example, to give you a premium discount for not smoking or quitting smoking, too bad. If an insurer makes such a change, the policy can no longer be sold. If this bill becomes law, choices will go away. So much for the President’s claim, that if you like it, you can keep it.”

Sure, if you already have private insurance, you can keep it… as long as the company that employs you doesn’t fold… or cancels the health insurance it offers in favor of the government plan… or as long as your private plan doesn’t change… or as long as you don’t change jobs.

That’s just about everybody.

But wait a minute… we’re not done yet.

Leaving no stone unturned, the House legislation has a special surprise for the literal handful of people that may miraculously escape the above provisions.

A few paragraphs later, the House bill states:

“The Commissioner shall establish a grace period whereby, for plan years beginning after the end of the 5-year period beginning with Y1, an employment-based health plan in operation as of the day before the first day of Y1 must meet the same requirements as apply to a qualified health benefits plan under section 101, including the essential benefit package requirement under section 121.”

In plain English… if you somehow manage to keep your private plan – if any private plans even exist in five years – the government is going to start calling the shots… your private plan will essentially be “private” in name only.

In short, everyone will eventually be forced on to ObamaCare.

The President himself has all but admitted he hasn’t read or doesn’t know all of the details of what’s in the House bill.

Yet, he continues to look the American people in the eye and claim: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Perhaps he should read the legislation for himself, because nothing could be further from the truth.

Oh Canada…

If you want to get an idea of how ObamaCare will affect you, look no further than Canada.

Oh, the Canadian system is great – as long as you don’t get sick. The sicker you get, the worse treatment you receive.

And if your illness is life-threatening and requires immediate attention, you might as well start pricing cemetery lots.

Did you hear the Canadian woman on Mike Huckabee’s show talking about her excruciatingly painful back condition? She needed surgery, and she couldn’t even get an appointment with a surgeon. Estimated waiting period – 3 years.

One doctor told her that she was too young to qualify for the operation – that she hadn’t suffered enough.

When it got to the point where she was using a walker and wearing diapers, she scraped up enough money to travel to wicked, capitalistic America and got her back fixed skillfully and quickly.

And you’ve probably seen the television ad featuring the Canadian woman who had a malignant brain tumor and was told she couldn’t be treated for six months. In six months she would have been dead. She came to the United States and survived..

By the way, after four decades, is the Canadian system chugging along like The Little Engine That Could?

Claude Castonguay – the former health minister and chief champion of public health insurance in Canada – recently chaired a committee that reviewed the system in Quebec.

Guess what! He reported that the system is in “crisis” – the same word Obama has used to characterize our health care system.

Here’s what Castonguay’s committee concluded. (And we’re not making this up):

“We thought we could resolve the system’s problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of money into it…. We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise choice.”

In other words, they’ve been down that same dark road Obama wants us to travel, and now they’re on their way back.

Maybe Obama could learn something from Castonguay’s report?

Coverage for Illegal Aliens Too…?

Did you know that Congressman Dean Heller proposed an amendment that would have prevented 12-20 million illegal aliens from receiving benefits under ObamaCare?

But liberals shot down the amendment.

Here’s how Columnist Michelle Malkin described the situation in a recent column:

“Big Nanny Democrats want to ration health care for everyone in America – except those who break our immigration laws. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee defeated an amendment that would have prevented illegal aliens from using the so-called ‘public health insurance option.’ Every Democrat on the panel voted against the measure.”

That’s right. Our so-called elected leaders in Congress, who claim to want to “bend the cost curve” on rising health care costs, want to give taxpayer funded health care to as many as 20 million illegal aliens.

Apparently Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was either naïve or lying when he said: “We’re not going to cover undocumented aliens, undocumented workers. That’s too politically explosive.”

You better believe it’s explosive.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that a whopping 80 percent of Americans oppose covering illegal aliens.

And here’s the kicker: When Obama and his radicals talk about the 46 million uninsured, the U.S. Census Bureau tells us that 15 percent to 22 percent of those 46 million are illegal aliens.

So, is that part of the plot… the Big Lie… just say you won’t include illegal aliens in the plan… and then, do it anyway and force American taxpayers to foot the bill?

Rationing Care and Government Bureaucracy Making Health Care Decisions for You and Your Family…

Last month, five governors actually used the word “rationing” in discussing proposed health care legislation making its way through Congress.

Obama was quick to clap his hand over their mouths. Don’t use that term. We don’t want the American people to think about having to cut back on procedures now available to them.

Then The New York Times – which apparently hadn’t gotten the word from the White House – published a lengthy article called “Why We Must Have Rationed Health Care.”

The truth is that ObamaCare is rationed care. Long waiting lines for government-approved treatments dictated by bureaucrats in Washington.

ObamaCare is not dead. It is time, however, for the American people to kill it once and for all.

Original Link.

Art Show Encourages People to Deface the Bible, Write Obscenities

Monday, July 27th, 2009

A publicly funded exhibition is encouraging people to deface the Bible in the name of art — and visitors have responded with abuse and obscenity.

The show includes a video of a woman ripping pages from the Bible and stuffing them into her bra, knickers and mouth.

The open Bible is a central part of ‘Made in God’s Image,’ an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. By the book is a container of pens and a notice saying: “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.”

The exhibit, Untitled 2009, was proposed by the Metropolitan Community Church, which said that the idea was to reclaim the Bible as a sacred text. But to the horror of many Christians, including the community church, visitors have daubed its pages with comments such as “This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all.” A contributor wrote on the first page of Genesis: “I am Bi, Female & Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this.”

The Church of Scotland expressed concern, the Roman Catholic Church called the exhibit infantile, and a Christian lawyers’ group said that the exhibition was symptomatic of a broken and lawless society.

The exhibition has been created by the artists Anthony Schrag and David Malone, in association with organizations representing gay Christians and Muslims. Mr Schrag, the gallery’s artist in residence, said that he did not believe in God, but that his research for the show had underlined his respect for people of faith.

The community church, which celebrates “racial, cultural, linguistic, sexual, gender and theological diversity,” had suggested the “interactive” Bible and pens and Mr Schrag, 34, said he had been intrigued.

Original Link.