Newslinks 07/18/09

July 18, 2009 at 6:30 am | Posted in Newslinks | 2 Comments

Saturday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

  Paula White Returns to Lead Ailing Megachurch
Charismatic preacher Paula White is stepping in as senior pastor of the Florida megachurch that she and her now ex-husband founded nearly two decades ago.

Majority of Episcopalians Favor Scrapping Ban on Gay Ordination

 Conservatives Wary of Abortion Coverage in Health Care Reform

 G8 Climate Change Progress ‘Painfully Slow,’ Say Christian Agencies

 Church’s Anti-Islam Sign Sparks Protest

 Iran Interrupts Christian Satellite Channel

 House Democrats Will Seek Massive $540 Billion Tax Increase; Announcement Came Late Friday Afternoon
– Despite a still-lagging U.S. economy and rising unemployment rate, House Democrats announced late Friday that they will seek a massive increase in federal income taxes to help pay for the national health-care reform proposal that President Obama is urging Congress to enact this summer. House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) revealed late Friday afternoon that House Democrats will seek to increase income taxes by $540 billion.

CIA Program at Center of Congressional Controversy ‘Never Went Fully Operational,’ Says U.S. Intelligence Official
– A CIA program that CIA Director Leon Panetta discussed with congressional intelligence committees on June 24 was an “on-again, off-again” project that “never went fully operational,” a U.S. intelligence official told The official also said that when the secret program was brought to Panetta’s attention by a “CIA component,” he was urged to brief Congress — something Panetta did immediately.

Difficult to Track Jobs Created or Saved, Stimulus Money Spent, GAO Reports
– Determining how many jobs federal stimulus money will create or save, and even tracking how the money is being spent, will be difficult under current conditions, according to an assessment from the Government Accountability Office.

Pelosi Will Read Full Text of Health Care Bill Before House Vote, Spokesman Says
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will read the entirety of the final text of the health care reform bill before the House votes on it and will provide the public “ample time” to review the legislation, says Pelosi’s spokesman. However, the speaker’s office declined to specify what is meant by “ample time.”

Obama Touts Ghana’s Democracy, But His State Department Reports Human Rights Abuses There
– President Barack Obama’s two-day visit to Ghana was preceded by glowing remarks about its democratic government and leaders who follow “the rule of law.” However, Obama did not mention reports of ongoing human rights abuses in that sub-Saharan African country.

Freed Iranians Return Home to A Heroes’ Welcome As Iran Shakes A Fist at U.S.
– Iran says the United Nations should look into what it called the “abduction” of its “diplomats” by U.S. troops in northern Iraq in 2007. The five men held by U.S. forces on suspicion of aiding deadly anti-coalition violence returned home to a heroes’ welcome on Sunday.

China Blames Violence in Its Muslim Western Region on Outsiders
– Amid reported quiet in its far-west Xinjiang region, Chinese state media on Monday charged that pro-Uighur protests at Chinese diplomatic missions in the West indicated that outsiders had planned the recent violence in the Muslim-majority area.

Zogby Poll: Most Americans Want Strengths and Weaknesses of Darwinism Taught In Schools
– A Zogby poll commissioned by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute says more than three-quarters of Americans would like teachers to have the freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution, with an even higher number reported among Democrats.

At G8 Summit, Obama Backs Broad Commitments That Are Short on Specifics
– The Group of Eight summit closed on Friday with President Barack Obama and other leaders backing sweeping commitments to developing nations but leaving many details blank. The tradition of G8 leaders issuing broad declarations on global issues such as poverty, debt, and AIDS precedes Obama. However, this year, the president made one such declaration personal, saying that he pushed for a $20-billion commitment to fighting hunger in Africa because his Kenyan relatives lived in poor villages.

Republican Senator Predicts Union Card-Check Bill Will Fail
– The arrival of Democrat Al Franken in the U.S. Senate will not change the fate of the Employee Free Choice Act, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) predicted.

 7 Iraqi Churches Bombed Within 48 Hours
A church in Mosul became the seventh Iraqi church bombed over the course of just 48 hours.

Christian Groups Hail $20 Billion Commitment to Fight World Hunger

 Survey: More Americans Adopting Pro-Life Perspective

 United Methodists Hit Times Square with 3-Month Ad Campaign

 Christian Retailers, Publishers Convene for 60th Convention

 Son of ‘Godfather of Gospel’ to Lead Late Father’s Church

 Clinton Says State Dept. Human Trafficking Report Will Pass Judgment on U.S. As If America Were Just Another Foreign Country
– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the State Department will pass judgment on the United States, in the same way it judges foreign countries, when the department issues its next annual report on victims of global human trafficking. She said she believes this will increase U.S. “credibility.”

Sotomayor: ‘I Have Friends Who Hunt’
– Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, asked Tuesday about her attitude toward the Second Amendment and its application to the states, said she understands “how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans.” She said she has followed – and will follow – Supreme Court precedent “when it speaks directly on an issue.”

White House Dodges Question of Whether Obama Supports House Democrats’ Plan for $540-Billion Income Tax Hike
White House (
– President Barack Obama has insisted that comprehensive health care reform legislation be passed this year, but the administration’s chief spokesman would not say on Monday whether Obama supports a House Democratic proposal to increase income taxes by $540 billion to pay for the “deficit-neutral” health reform plan the president wants. While Robert Gibbs declined to say whether the president backs the $540-billion tax plan, he did say that Obama thinks the top-earners in America “have had a pretty good run of it.”

Tax Increase on ‘Rich’ People Planned by House Dems Would Strike More Than a Million U.S. Small Businesses
– More than a million small business owners and about two-thirds of the profits earned by American small businesses would be subject to a health care surtax that the House Weighs and Means Committee is set to unveil on Tuesday, a tax watchdog says. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said late Friday that Democrats are considering adding a surtax to supplement funding for the public option insurance plan proposed in the House version of the health care reform bill.

Climate-Change Bill Gives Advantage to Chinese Manufacturers, Says Government Report
– The American Clean Energy and Security Act–the so-called “cap-and-trade” climate-change bill–that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month would give certain Chinese manufacturers an advantage over their U.S. competitors and put U.S. jobs at risk, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

American Red Cross Wants Public Schools to Teach Geneva Conventions
– Because the United States plays an important role in foreign affairs, international humanitarian law should be taught in public schools to ensure that Americans “continue to understand and observe the limits of armed conflict,” the American Red Cross said. The organization has launched an online petition drive, urging schools to teach students about the Geneva Conventions – a form of “peace education.”

GOP Says Stimulus is ‘Dismal Failure,’ Only 1 Percent of Infrastructure Money Has Been Spent
Washington (
– Several Republican members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee criticized the $787-billion economic stimulus package passed earlier this year, saying it has failed to create jobs and failed, in particular, to build new transportation infrastructure. Led by Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the congressmen on Friday took turns lambasting the slow disbursement of funds in front of a backdrop that included a giant road work sign covered in red tape.

Sotomayor ‘Clearly Rejected’ Impartiality, Kyl Says
– Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said that Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s record indicates that she has rejected the idea of an objective legal standard by which all should be judged, instead substituting her own feelings and biases. Kyl said that such a judge would endanger the judicial system’s “legitimacy.”

Mikulski Refuses to Add Language to Health Care Bill to Ban Funding of Abortion
– During the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing last week, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) refused Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) request that she add language to the health care reform bill that would ban the funding of abortion. The amendment in question requires insurers to contract with health providers that provide abortion.

India Challenges Non-Aligned Countries to Condemn Terrorism ‘Unequivocally’
– Ahead of a summit of developing nations this week, the Indian government has issued a challenge – condemn terrorism without reservation, and stop trying to justify it. India in 1996 first presented at the U.N. a draft convention on terrorism, but 13 years later, it remains under discussion, mostly because of disagreement over how terrorism should be defined.

Gas Pipeline Designed to Break Russian Stranglehold Edges Ahead
– A strategic battle over natural gas supplies to Europe reached a new stage Monday with the signing of an agreement for a U.S.-backed pipeline to take Caspian gas across Turkey to Western markets and so reduce reliance on Russia. But Moscow has made it clear it does not intend to give up its large share of the suppliers’ market without a fight.

 Vatican-Backed Newspaper Hails Latest ‘Harry Potter’ Film for ‘Values’
The Vatican’s semi-official newspaper offered a surprisingly positive review of the latest “Harry Potter” film, saying that the moral values presented are more likely to stick with moviegoers than any appeal that witchcraft may have.

Iraq Heightens Church Security after Bombings

 IBS-STL Changes Name to Biblica

 Christians Remain Tense Amid Honduras Coup Crisis

 ERLC Urges Conservatives to Oppose Sotomayor’s Confirmation

 Episcopal House Passes Resolution to Remove Ordination Limits

 Hoyer Says Small Businesses Don’t Make $280,000 A Year So They Won’t Be Hurt by Dems’ Planned $540-Billion Tax Hike
Washington (
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that job growth and economic recovery will not be harmed by a Democratic plan to increase income taxes by $540 billion to pay for health-care proposal because the tax hikes would not affect small businesses. Hoyer also said he could not think of any small business owners who make enough money to qualify for the higher taxes.

Democrats’ $540-Billion Tax Hike Will Force People into Government-Run Health Care, Congressman Says
– The Democrats’ proposed $540-billion tax hike to help pay for President Obama’s health care reform plan will boost costs for small businesses and thus force more people into the president’s proposed government-run health insurance program, says Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a physician.

Obama Health Care Plan Will Provide Taxpayer-Funded Abortion on Demand, Congressmen Say
– The health care plan proposed by President Obama and supported by Democrats in both the House and the Senate will require that abortion be included as a health benefit in both public and private insurance plans, leading to millions more abortions, a Republican lawmaker warned.

Democrats’ Health Care Plan Would Cost at Least $1 Trillion Over Ten Years, CBO Says
– The health care reform plan proposed by House Democrats on Tuesday will add more than $1 trillion to the national deficit over 10 years, according to an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday. The CBO report came the same day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House Democratic House leaders released their plan to establish a government-run health insurance plan to compete with the private sector.

Five Months After Signing $787-Billion Stimulus, Obama Predicts Unemployment Will Continue Increasing for Months
– Five months after he signed an emergency $787-billion “stimulus” law designed to spur the economy and create jobs through a massive burst of deficit spending, President Obama said on Tuesday that he expects unemployment to continue to rise in the United States for several more months.“With respect to the employment issue, obviously I don’t have a crystal ball,” Obama said.

Amid Islamic Anger, China Insists Violence in Xinjiang Is Not Related to Ethnicity or Religion
– China is seeking to play down ethnicity and religion as factors in the recent unrest in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, amid growing signs that Muslims, including hardliners, are rallying to the cause of their co-religionists in China. Chinese officials, diplomats and official media are promoting the message that recent violence in Urumqi is not an ethnic issue.

Russia, Ignoring Obama, Continues Its Defiant Conduct in the Caucasus
– Just days after President Obama said in Moscow that “Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this week paid a provocative visit to one of two regions within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders. The Kremlin views the region as “independent,” and the visit pointedly included a trip to a Russian army base.

HHS Secretary Announces Additional $350 Million for States to Combat Swine Flu, Which Is ‘No More Lethal Than Seasonal Flu’
– Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced that an additional $350 million is available to help states and territories prepare for the 2009 flu season – including swine flu, which Sebelius described as “no more lethal than the seasonal flu.” Sebelius said swine flu – also known as novel H1N1 virus – is spreading.


Health Care Bill Will Fund State Vaccine Teams to Conduct ‘Interventions’ in Private Homes
– There is a knock at the front door. Peeking through the window, a mother sees a man and a woman, both in uniform. They are agents of health-care reform. “Excuse me, ma’am,” says the man. “Our records show that your eleven-year-old daughter has not been immunized for genital warts.” The make-believe scenario may not be so far-fetched under the health-care reform bill approved this week by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee.

Tobacco Use, Not Promiscuity or Drug Abuse, Will Be Only Vice Legally Punishable by Higher Insurance Premiums Under Senate Health Care Bill
– Under the terms of the health-care reform bill approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the legal use of tobacco products is the only vice for which insurance companies will be able to charge their customers higher premiums. The summary of the bill published by the committee specifically states that premiums may be varied to account for tobacco use, but any other use of a person’s record of insurance claims, health status or medical history will be forbidden.

PETA Wants Obama to Stop Killing Flies, But Won’t Take a Stand on Abortion
– People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals does not take a stand on whether abortion kills unborn children, but it gave President Barack Obama a catch-and-release bug trap after the president squashed a fly on camera during a television interview in June. PETA gave the bug trap to Obama so he would have a choice when it comes to killing insects, a PETA spokesperson told

Nurses Back Democrats’ Proposed Government-Run Health Care Plan
White House (
– President Barack Obama on Wednesday added nurses to the list of lobby groups that support a national health care overhaul. While it appears that the White House and congressional Democratic leaders are having trouble selling the government-run “public option” plan to moderate Blue Dog Democrats, the nurses are a group the White House can point to as supporting the plan, in addition to pharmaceutical industry groups, the American Hospital Association and Wal-Mart.

Black Leaders Join Push for Democrats’ Health Care Reform, Saying African Americans Are Particularly in Need of It
– Several prominent African Americans say the nation’s “broken” health care system disproportionately affects blacks, and they are stressing the importance of passing the Democrats’ health care reform plan.

Obama’s Version of Cold War ‘Simply Untrue,’ Says Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese
– Edwin Meese III, former U.S. attorney general and adviser to President Ronald Reagan, disagrees with President Obama’s description of the way the Cold War ended. In his address at the New Economic School in Moscow earlier this month, Obama said the war had “reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years.” But Meese told, “I think it was the leadership of the United States, without any question, that brought an end to the Cold War…”

Sotomayor Sat on Board of Organization That Fought ‘Any Efforts’ to Oppose Abortion
– At her confirmation hearing this week, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor refused to give her personal views on abortion. However, Sotomayor spent more than a decade serving on the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, a group that opposes “any efforts” to “in any way restrict” abortion.

Bill Gives GM Incentives to Make Vehicles that Run on Natural Gas, Menendez Says
– A bill designed to promote the use of vehicles that run on natural gas contains incentives that may prod government-owned General Motors start making natural gas cars, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said. Under the NAT GAS Act, companies that begin turning out natural gas vehicles before the beginning of 2015 would be allowed to expense 100 percent of their cost.

Chavez to Join Next Blockade-Busting Trip to Gaza, Says British Activist
– Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, one of Israel’s fiercest international critics, will join a future convoy of leftists on a solidarity visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to the left-wing British lawmaker and convoy leader George Galloway. Galloway on Wednesday arrived in Gaza from Egypt, where he joined a group of American activists, including former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney and New York City Democratic Councilman Charles Barron.

As Clinton Cites Libya As An Example, Gaddafi Attacks U.S.
– Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Wednesday accused “one country” of controlling the U.N. Security Council, “therefore forming a danger to world peace.” His remarks aimed at the United States came on the same day Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cited Libya as an example of a regime that eventually altered its behavior in exchange for acceptance into the international community.

 Anti-Religion Group Sues to Block ‘In God We Trust’ Engraving
The nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to stop the engraving of “In God We Trust” and the Pledge of Allegiance at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington.

Episcopal Body Gives Final OK to Scrap Gay Ordination Ban

 Pro-Lifers Blast Attempt to ‘Smuggle’ Abortion Mandates into Health Reform Bill

 Adoption Advocates Criticize ‘Orphan’ Horror Film

 Calls for Int’l Support Persist as Pakistan Refugees Return to Swat Valley

 ‘Religious Right’ Critics Skeptical About Ralph Reed’s New Group

 U.S. Senate Committee Passes Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
The Senate health committee approved legislation Wednesday that would expand insurance coverage to nearly all Americans but also would empower federal officials to mandate coverage of abortion on demand in virtually all health plans, according to critics.

CCC Media Ministry Records Over 1M Decisions for Christ in 1 Month

 Exodus Boosts Efforts to Help Mainline Churches Address Homosexuality

 Survey: 1 in 3 Scientists Believe in God

 Andrew Palau Brings ‘Season of Service’ to Rwanda

 Church of England Urged to Mull Ties with New Anglican Body in America


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