Newslinks 12/12/10

December 12, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

2 More Christians Killed in Baghdad
Iraq’s Christian minority took another hit Sunday evening when gunmen shot and killed an elderly Christian couple in their home.

Prop. 8 Appeal Goes Before Federal Court

Pakistan Minister Condemns Reward for Killing Christian Woman

Colson: Prison Rate Up Due to Moral Breakdown

WCC Head, Pope Benedict Discuss Church Unity

Somali Teenage Girl Shot to Death for Embracing Christ

Veterinarian’s Oath Is Revised to Stress the Importance of Animal Welfare
– Apparently feeling pressure from animal rights advocates within its ranks, the American Veterinary Medical Association has revised the oath taken by graduates of U.S. veterinary schools. “From today forward, every graduate entering our profession will swear an oath not only to protect animal health but also welfare; to not only relieve animal suffering but to prevent it,” said the incoming chair of AVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee.

Threats, Protests Surround Pakistani Christian Woman Convicted of ‘Blaspheming’ Mohammed
– Thousands of Islamists gathered in the Pakistani capital on Sunday, warning the government not to touch the country’s blasphemy laws or to pardon a Christian woman on death row for allegedly blaspheming Mohammed. The case of Asia Bibi has triggered considerable debate in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan, where the federal government has been unwilling or unable to confront hard-line elements such as the fundamentalist cleric who has offered a reward to anyone who murders her.

As Nobel Ceremony Looms, Calls Grow for China to Free Peace Prize Winner
– Ahead of this week’s Nobel peace prize award ceremony, supporters of this year’s winner, imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, held demonstrations in Hong Kong and elsewhere on Sunday calling for his release. Beijing is urging countries to boycott Friday’s ceremony and refusing to allow Chinese citizens associated with Liu to travel to Oslo.

Ban on Homosexuals in Military Should Not Be Overturned in Wartime, Say Three of Five Service Chiefs
Washington (
– Given the U.S. involvement in the Afghanistan war, this is not the right time to repeal the law that bans homosexuals from serving in the military, Army, Air Force, and Marine chiefs told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday. At the same time, heads of the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, while expressing concerns about possible backlash, joined the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs in telling the Senate panel that Congress should move to repeal the law.

Pence, DeMint Push for Permanent Extension of Bush Tax Rates
– Both conservative lawmakers said raising taxes on any American during a recession is bad economic policy.

YouTube Removes, Then Puts Age Restrictrition on Video of Ants Swarming Over Jesus
– YouTube first removed and then reposted with age restrictions a differently edited version of the same video featuring ants crawling over the image Jesus that was removed last week from an exhibition at the federally funded National Portrait Gallery, a museum of the Smithsonian.

Michele Bachmann: Jesus Had a Right to Life from the Moment of Conception
– In response to a question from, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) said that Jesus Christ had a right to life from the moment of conception and that all human beings deserve legal protection from the moment of conception.

Prop. 8 Debate Heard in Appeals Court
Proponents on Monday argued before a panel of federal judges that heterosexual marriage is an age-old institution that is vital to society.

Pro-Christian Message Shadows Atheist Ads in Texas

Study Measures Effect of Family Acceptance on Gay Teens

Group Threatens Suit Over Graduation at Georgia Megachurch

Attorneys Wrestle for Halt on Embryonic Stem Cell Funding

Iraqi Christian Survivor in France: I Don’t Want to Go Back

Number of Black Farmers Getting Payments in USDA Discrimination Settlement Tough to Determine, Attorneys Say
– The number of African-American farmers claiming a portion of a $1.25-billion government settlement for alleged discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is almost impossible to determine at this point, said attorneys representing the second batch of complainants in the Pigford II case. “We’ve already paid out compensation to 16,000, and now we’re giving out $1.15 billion to an additional 94,000 claimants — there is obvious fraud here that can’t be accounted for,” Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) told

Medicare Director Who Said Health-Care Systems ‘Must’ Redistribute Wealth Says He’s Happy With Obamacare
– “I don’t think I’ve seen a law with more help in it, more sense of responsibility than the Affordable Care Act–not in my time,” Dr. Donald Berwick told in response to a question about whether Obamcare does enough to redistribute wealth. Berwick was recess-appointed as director of the Medicare system by President Obama without a Senate confirmation vote.

Upton’s Web Site Does Not Mention His Efforts Against Incandescent Light Bulb
– Typing the words “light bulb,” “lighting efficiency,” and “incandescent” into the search box of Rep. Fred Upton’s official Web site produces no results. That’s undoubtedly the way the Michigan Republican wants it. His support for an amendment leading to the phase-out of the incandescent light bulb is one of the reasons Upton faces conservative opposition in his bid to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and now he’s quoted as saying he’d be willing to undo that law — if he gets the committee chairmanship.

Rep. Michele Bachmann: De-Fund Planned Parenthood
– “Well, I think one thing that we can do, quite simply, is to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said when asked by what practical steps she believed the in-coming House majority could take to protect unborn babies.
“It wouldn’t mean that Planned Parenthood would go out of existence, because they do have their own independent funding, but what it would mean is that the taxpayer would no longer be funding that,” said Bachmann.

Obama’s Claims About Auto Jobs Conflict with Some Government Data
– President Barack Obama and administration officials recently have boasted that their policies have revived the U.S. auto industry, but some of the supposed job growth is suspect, based on a government report last summer that said dealership losings put “tens of thousands” of workers’s jobs in immediate jeopardy.

U.N. Human Rights Chief to Skip Nobel Ceremony; Accused of Caving In to China
– When the Nobel Committee awards its peace prize to an imprisoned Chinese dissident on Friday in Oslo, the U.N.’s top human rights official will not be there. Instead, Navi Pillay plans to deliver an address in Geneva at an annual event marking Human Rights Day.

Iran Will Lead Developing Nation Bloc at U.N. Nuclear Agency
– Iran was handed another U.N. leadership position on Monday, when its ambassador in Vienna was appointed chairman of the group of developing nations interacting with U.N. agencies including the nuclear watchdog. As CNSNews has reported, Iran holds a number of leadership posts on various U.N. bodies, despite efforts by the U.S. and its allies to isolate it over its suspect nuclear activities.

Obama Administration Flip-Flops on Offshore Oil Drilling Expansion
– The Obama administration has reversed itself on offshore oil drilling, rescinding an expansion of the areas that are open to offshore oil and gas development. The administration cited the Deepwater oil spill in its rationale for the change of course. Salazar said in a statement that the government needed more time to draft more regulations.

U.S. Postal Service Accrued Record Loss of $8.5 Billion in Fiscal 2010, GAO Says
– The U.S. Postal Service accrued a record loss of $8.5 billion in fiscal year 2010, up $4.7 billion from 2009, highlighting financial pressures that are not expected to improve in 2011 or in the “foreseeable future,” according to the Government Accountability Office. The loss was mainly driven by a congressionally mandated retiree health benefits payment and a drop in mail volume.

NYC Taxi Drivers Urged to Use Racial Profiling in Passenger Pickups
– Following an attack on a New York taxi driver, the head of the city’s taxi-drivers’ union is urging cabbies to “profile your passengers; it’s very important.”

Reality Show on Sex Industry and Jesus Christ to Premiere
A former sex trafficked teen, prostitute, call girl and stripper is starring in a new reality show about helping prostitutes on the street and bringing them to Jesus Christ.

Evangelical, Catholic Leaders Call for Approval of New START

Christians Must Not Forget Jailed Pakistani Woman, Says Ministry

Wachovia Bank Allows Christmas Trees in Branch Offices

Pro-Life Protesters Greet Late-Term Abortionist at New Clinic

Iran High Court Urged to Reverse Death Sentence for Christian

Meese: Southern Poverty Law Center ‘Despicable’ for Naming Conservative Organizations ‘Hate Groups’
– Former Attorney General Edwin Meese says it is “despicable” for the Southern Poverty Law Center to classify the Family Research Council and a dozen other top conservative organizations as “hate groups” similar to the Ku Klux Klan. “I know the groups very well, I’ve worked with them over the years, and I think it actually undermines the credibility of the Southern Poverty Law Center to make such a statement,” Meese said.

USDA Denies Discrimination against Black Farmers But Pays Out $1.25 Billion Anyway
– The U.S. Department of Agriculture denied allegations that it discriminated against African-American farmers as detailed in a class-action lawsuit the farmers brought against the department, but the USDA has nonetheless agreed to pay those farmers $1.25 billion as part of a settlement agreement. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said the denial of discrimination seems exceptional, given the amount of taxpayer money that will be paid through the settlement.

Despite Conservatives’ Objections, Rep. Upton Will Chair Next Energy and Commerce Committee
– Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been criticized by some Republicans for authoring a measure that will do away with the incandescent light bulb. On Tuesday, he said he looks forward to working with House Republican leaders “as we repeal Obamacare, fight rampant job-killing regulations, cut spending, and help put folks back to work.”

DeMint: GOP Will Filibuster DREAM Act Until Taxes and Government Funding Settled
– Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said on Tuesday that Republicans would filibuster a bill designed to grant legal status to illegal immigrants who either attend college or serve in the military. DeMint said that he and his colleagues are united in their opposition to the bill, known as the DREAM Act, and any other proposals that may be brought to the floor before taxes and government funding are agreed upon.

Fiscal Conservatives Say ‘No Deal’ to Obama-GOP Tax Compromise
– A conservative public policy group says the bipartisan tax deal that President Obama has defended and liberals have denounced is “bad policy, bad politics, and a bad deal for the American people.”

Obama Defends Compromise to Skeptical Democrats, As Some See ‘Second Stimulus’
Washington (
– President Barack Obama on Tuesday scolded his fellow Democrats for criticizing his compromise on taxes, and he accused Republicans of holding middle-class tax cuts hostage. Some conservatives, however, say President Obama has managed to get Republicans to agree to a second stimulus package, to the tune of $900 billion.

China Declares Christian ‘House Churches’ a ‘Cult,’ Advocacy Group Reports
– China reportedly has launched a new crackdown on “house churches,” Protestant congregations that do not belong to the country’s state-sanctioned, “patriotic” church organization. “A long ‘blacklist’ of church leaders and influential believers reportedly has been drawn up,” said the China Aid Association (CAA), a U.S.-based group that advocates for Chinese Christians.

Retiring GOP Senator on Prospect of Financial Meltdown: ‘I Think We Are on the Edge of It Right Now’
– Retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) told in a videotaped interview on Monday that he believes America is teetering on the edge of a financial meltdown and the policymakers in Washington must immediately work on policies to avert it.

IEDs Being Used Against Stable Governments Worldwide, Says Top U.S. Military Official
– The homemade bombs known as improvised explosive devices are a threat to the world, not just to Afghanistan and Iraq where they are widely used against troops fighting terrorists, said Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the U.S. Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). “We track about three- to four-hundred incidents a month occurring outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, where people are using Improvised Explosive Devices against law enforcement or against military security forces,” he said.

Iran’s Gulf Neighbors Stress ‘Peaceful’ Settlement of Nuclear Issue After WikiLeaks Disclosures
– Iran’s Arab neighbors used a summit in Abu Dhabi this week to reiterate the need for a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear standoff, after recently leaked U.S. diplomatic cables revealed a deep distrust of Tehran among Gulf states. A communiqué released Tuesday by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council voiced “great concern” about the nuclear issue, but urged Iran to respond to international efforts to resolve the crisis “through peaceful means.”

Incoming Chair of House Foreign Affairs Committee Wants to Isolate Enemies, Make U.N. Accountable
– The incoming Republican chairwoman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday identified U.S. funding of the United Nations as a target. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican ,also has her sights set on the administration’s budgets for the State Department and foreign aid. The comments are likely to chill those who support the Obama administration’s policy of diplomatic engagement.

Obama Signs Bill Settling Black Farmers’ Discrimination Claims Amid Calls for Congressional Probe
– President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a bill awarding more than a billion dollars to African American farmers to settle claims that the U.S. Agriculture Department discriminated against them. “Here in America, we believe that all of us are equal and that each of us deserves the chance to pursue our own version of happiness,” Obama said at the bill-signing. “I think all of us understand that we haven’t always lived up to those ideals.” Critics say the deal  has morphed into reparations.

Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Arizona Immigration Law, This One Signed by Former Gov. Janet Napolitano
– Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer came to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear arguments on an Arizona immigration law signed in 2007 by then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. Both governors signed laws that the Obama administration opposes. Gov. Brewer told that the “moccasin” is on the other foot now that Napolitano is President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary.

Obama Economic Advisor Says Keeping Taxes Low Spurs Economic Growth, Leads to More Tax Revenue
Washington (
– In an unusual argument from a Democratic administration, the director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, Larry Summers, contended Wednesday that a deal with Congressional leaders to keep taxes low for another two years will not only jumpstart the economy but increase government revenue in the long run. Summers said failure to pass the legislation – criticized by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress – could significantly increase the likelihood of a double-dip recession.

GOP Senator DeMint Opposes Current Tax Compromise
– Republican Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) opposes the tax rate/unemployment benefits deal negotiated between Republican lawmakers and the White House “as currently structured,” because it includes huge new deficit spending and death tax hikes on small businesses that would kill hundreds of thousands of jobs,” spokesman Wesley Denton told

Inhofe: Playing Up China’s Green Energy Status Is ‘Pretext for Imposing Statist Vision on American Economy’
– A report released by Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee details how little China relies on green energy, and it says the notion that China has an exemplary clean-energy record is being pushed as a pretext for more top-down control over the U.S. economy. “The lament that America is losing the ‘clean energy race’ to China is a mere pretext for imposing that statist vision on the American economy,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said.

Retiring Sen. Voinovich On Deficit And Tax Issues: ‘Blow Up The Place’
– When asked about the White House deficit commission’s report, retiring GOP Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) offered his own recommendation on taxes and spending. “Well, I think we have to blow up the place. There’s a big debate going on right now and most people want to work an agreement, they’re going to extend it [the Bush tax cuts], some deal will be made,” said Voinovich.

Conyers, ACLU Claim Obama Furthering Bush Legacy of Executive Branch Power Grab, Military Expansion
– House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), echoing others who testified on Thursday, said both the Bush and Obama administrations represent an “imperial presidency.” Obama, Conyers said, has broken his promises to shut down Guantanamo, end military operations abroad, and has continued to expand the power of the executive branch. Conyers said the Obama administration continues to use executive privilege as strategy for national security at the cost of Americans’ civil rights.

Gallup Poll: Obama’s Approval Hits All-Time Low With Liberals
– For the week of November 29 to December 5, Obama’s approval rating was 70 percent among liberals, says Gallup. Although that was far higher than Obama’s overall approval rating of 46 percent, it was still the lowest of his presidency among liberals.

Clinton Promises ‘Review’ of Procedures After TSA Pat-down of Indian Envoy Causes Stir
– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the administration would be “reviewing the policies” after an airport pat-down of India’s ambassador to the U.S. – who was wearing a traditional sari — brought a rebuke from New Delhi. India’s external affairs minister called for an apology, telling reporters at parliament in New Delhi Thursday that the incident was “unacceptable to India.”

Homeland Security Secretary: ‘Homegrown Terrorist Activity’ Connected With Al-Qaeda ‘Increasing’
– “My assessment is that the threat environment now is increasingly active and that it is not restricted to plots that are hatched overseas and then flown into the United States but that it also now includes an increasing amount of hometown or homegrown terrorist activity, particularly by individuals who have become radicalized and associated with Al Qaeda or Islamist terrorism beliefs and techniques and tactics,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

USDA Employees Guilty of Discrimination Should Be Disciplined, Plaintiffs’ Attorney Says
– “I think anybody who violates the rules and regulations of the Department of Agriculture and the laws should be subject to some form of discipline,” David J. Frantz, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told

GOP-Obama-Tax-Deal Bill Is Posted Online; Cloture Vote Could Come Within 48 Hours
– A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) says that compromise tax legislation worked out between President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders will be posted online on Thursday evening, and a cloture vote on the bill could be taken in the Senate as early as Saturday — 48 hours after the bill’s posting. In their Pledge to America, released prior to the 2010 mid-term election, House Republicans promised to post bills online at least three days prior to a vote.

Boehner: Timing of Tax Vote Up to Pelosi, But She Should Post Final Bill for Three Days
– House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), the next Speaker of the House, says it is up to current Speaker Nancy Pelosi to decide when the House will vote on legislation dealing with the Bush-era tax rates. Boehner said Pelosi should give members of Congress and the American people three days to read the final bill.

Defense Bill Includes Authorization for Abortions by Military Personnel
– The Defense Department funding bill that failed to pass the Senate on Thursday not only includes a provision repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it also would end a decades-long ban on military personnel performing abortions in military-run hospitals and facilities.

Hamas Leader Urges Resumption of Terror As Obama’s Peace Initiative Founders
– As the Obama administration’s Mideast peace initiative crumbles, Hamas is calling on all Palestinian factions, including its Fatah rival, to resume an armed campaign aimed at seizing control over all of what it terms “historic Palestine.” The call to arms came amid uncertainty over the future of the “direct talks” launched with great fanfare by the Obama administration in early September.

Rep. Mike Pence: ‘Of Course’ Jesus Had Right To Life From Moment of Conception
– At the lighting ceremony for the Capitol Christmas Tree on Tuesday, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said that Jesus Christ had the right to life from the moment of conception.

Iraqi Christians Remember Church Siege Victims, 40 Days Later
Iraqi Christians gathered in Our Lady of Salvation church Friday morning to remember the dozens of worshippers who died there 40 days ago. The morning mass followed an evening of prayers.

Republicans Block Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal from Floor Vote

DREAM Act Moves to Senate amid Some Opposition

Christians Submit Revised Manhattan Declaration App to Apple

Robert Park: Kim Jong-il’s Regime Is Disturbed by Me

Evangelical Politics Are Too Partisan, Say Authors

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