Apr 19

WARS N RUMORS OF WAR: Analyst warns US and Russia “Gearing up for War” over Ukraine

A political analyst has warned of rising tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine, saying the two countries seem to be gearing up for a war, Press TV reports. In an interview on Saturday, William Jones said Washington and Moscow are preparing for war by increasing troops on the borders of Ukraine as well as maintaining military presence in the country’s neighboring states. “We are preparing for war. The increase of [US] troops on the eastern border [of Ukraine with Russia], more troops, more planes to the Baltic States, to Romania, [and] to all of the countries bordering Russia at the same time that the Russians are maintaining their own defense capability [show that], we are really in something of a prewar situation,” he added.

“I think that you are looking at a situation which can very easily lead to war and that is a war between nuclear powers,” he added. The analyst noted that Washington is trying to impose more sanctions on Russia as part of an attempt “to find a scapegoat” for the turmoil in Ukraine. Tensions between the US and Russia heightened after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16. Meanwhile, pro-Russia rallies have been a common scene across eastern Ukrainian cities over the past weeks with protesters demanding local referendums on either independence or integration into Russia. Press TV

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Apr 19

Miraculous Holy Fire lit in Jerusalem, to be delivered worldwide

Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City April 19, 2014 (Reuters / Amir Cohen)
Thousands of Christians have gathered in Jerusalem to light torches and candles from a holy flame that ‘miraculously’ emerged from the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the eve of Orthodox Easter. The Holy Fire ignites, apparently of its own accord, from the tomb of Jesus Christ at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It has been descending on the church for more than 1,500 years and it is believed that the year in which it doesn’t light will be the last year in the history of man. The fire descends on Jerusalem during a prayer by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine, who then passes the flame to pilgrims. The pilgrims light 33 candles –that have all been tied together – from the fire to symbolize every year of Christ’s life.  As the fire doesn’t burn during the first moments after its appearance, pilgrims wash their faces and heads in it, apparently suffering no injury. A delegation from the St. Andrews foundation will be taking the Holy Fire from Jerusalem to Moscow and dozens of Russian cities – from Sevastopol to Yakutsk, in addition to other Orthodox churches abroad, including Rome and Tallinn.

Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, April 19, 2014 (Reuters / Finbarr O'Reilly)A special flight to bring the flame to Moscow will leave from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, arriving in the Russian capital at 10:30 pm local time.  This year marks the eleventh consecutive Easter that The Holy Fire, which symbolizes the miraculous light of the Resurrection, is being brought to Russia from Israel.  This year it will be taken for the first time to Crimea, the former Ukrainian region that became part of Russia in March. The flame, described by Orthodox Christians as an annual miracle, was lit on Holy Saturday – the day preceding Orthodox Easter – after Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem delivered his prayer.  In the morning the room had been carefully checked for any possible sources of fire. After this, the room was sealed in the presence of Israeli police.  The patriarch then passed the fire over to believers. Although the Holy Fire has been a major Eastern Orthodox ritual for so long, Western Catholic and Protestant churches do not recognize the practice. More

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Apr 19

55% of Spain accepts Homosexuality as “Morally Acceptable”, Tops 40 Countries in Poll

DAYS OF LOT –  Great news for Spain’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community: the nation tops a list of 40 countries most accepting of homosexuality, according to aPew Research Center’s Global Views on Morality poll. Fifty-five percent of Spanish participants surveyed in the poll described homosexuality as “morally acceptable,” while 38 percent deemed it “not a moral issue.” Just six percent felt that homosexuality was “morally unacceptable.” The results were less optimistic in nations like Ghana and Russia, where 98 percent and 72 percent of participants deemed homosexuality “morally unacceptable,” respectively. In the United States, 35 percent felt that homosexuality was “not a moral issue,” while 37 percent described it as “morally unacceptable.” Twenty-three percent of Americans felt it was “morally acceptable,” according to the poll. The Global Views on Morality survey also examined national views on issues like extramarital affairs, abortion and alcohol consumption. You can read more about the survey here. More

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Apr 19

Far More Asteroids Have Hit The Earth Than We Thought, Astronauts Say

ASTEROIDBad news, earthlings. A former NASA scientist says it’s mere happenstance that an Armageddon-style asteroid hasn’t hit a densely populated area in the last few years. On Tuesday, the B612 Foundation, which is devoted to preventing the next deep impact, will present data from a nuclear-weapons test warning satellite showing that far more asteroids have hit earth in the past few years than previously thought, the organization announced on its website. The data, collected from a nuclear missile detection system that picks up large blasts on earth, shows that since 2001, asteroids have caused 26 explosions on the scale of an atomic bomb. “This data shows that asteroid impacts are NOT rare, but actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought,” Ed Lu, one of the astronauts working on the project, said in a statement. “The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.” The silver lining?

Scientists are working to deflect any future space rocks from our planet. Lu, along with fellow ex-astronauts Tom Jones and Bill Anders, has been attempting to develop a better asteroid early-warning system, the Sentinel Infrared Space Telescope, which they hope will become “the principal means by which nearly all asteroid discoveries will be made.” In an interview with Wired, Lu explained that the telescope will work by scanning the sky in infrared, which will allow it to calculate the trajectory and velocity of asteroids. NASA has made efforts to track asteroids, but they haven’t been as aggressive as the B612 scientists would like. In 1998, NASA established the Near-Earth Object Program Office to detect potentially hazardous comets and asteroids. In March, the agency announced a contest for scientists to develop asteroid-detecting algorithms, a year after a meteorite explosion in Russia made international headlines. Huffington Post

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Apr 19

Michigan Mayor Denies Atheist Request to Erect ‘Reason Station’ Near City Hall ‘Prayer Station’

WARREN, Mich. – A mayor in Michigan has denied the request of an atheist activist to erect a ‘reason station’ near an existing ‘prayer station’ at city hall. Warren resident and member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) Douglas Marshall recently submitted a request to the Downtown Development Authority to use the atrium at city hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to run a “reason station,” where he would promote free thought. However, according to reports, Marshall requested the same times that the “prayer station” is utilized to offer prayers for residents. Mayor Jim Fouts denied the request, stating that Marshall’s display was meant to purposefully interfere with the “prayer station” and could lead to disruption. He remarked that FFRF seeks to remove God from public life and he would not allow Marshall, whom he called a “designated hitter” for the organization, to succeed in the group’s efforts in his city.
praying“To my way of thinking, your group is strictly an anti-religion group intending to deprive all organized religions of their constitutional freedoms or at least discourage the practice of religion,” Fouts wrote. “The City of Warren cannot allow this.” “I believe it is this group’s intention to disrupt those who participate in the prayer station, which would also be a violation of the freedom of religion amendment,” he continued. “For these reasons, I cannot approve of your request.” Marshall told the Detroit News that he has complained about the presence of the “prayer station” in the past. “I have complained to the mayor that I thought it was a violation of the Constitution for the city to allow public property to be used by a church to proselytize their religion,” he said. More

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Apr 19

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Apr 19

U.S. Military Not Backing Down After Group Urges Withdrawal from National Day of Prayer Event


The U.S. military has no plans to back out of a National Day of Prayer event after being urged by a prominent activist group to withdraw, reports state. Mikey Weinstein, the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, recently sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, asking that the Department of Defense distance itself from next month’s observance in Washington. Weinstein said that military participation in the event would suggest the government endorsement of Christianity. “The planned participation by uniformed U.S. military personnel in this private fundamentalist Christian religious event, run by a non-federal entity, is an unequivocally clear violation of [a] plethora of DoD regulations and instructions,” the letter stated. “The U.S. military absolutely cannot endorse these searingly sectarian events by its public participation in them.” The event, which will be held at the Cannon House Office building on May 1st, is organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, led by Shirley Dobson.
Military prayer pdWeinstein said that he takes no issue with the National Day of Prayer itself, but believes that the Task Force is using the event to push Christianity on the people. “The National Day of Prayer Task Force is to the National Day of Prayer as what a National Football League al-Qaida chapter would be to the National Football League,” he stated, according to the Army Times. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) had requested military participation in the event, which will include a color guard, a military band, a vocalist and a chaplain. Other scheduled speakers will include Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham, James and Shirley Dobson of Focus on the Family and Vonette Bright, the co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. Weinstein says that he has received over two dozen complaints from Pentagon workers who object to military participation the prayer gathering. He also expressed disappointment in his correspondence that the only Jewish representation at the event will be a messianic leader, since Weinstein himself is a Jew. More

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Apr 19

You Won’t Believe The Method That Common Core Is Using To Teach Our Kids Subtraction

Common Core SubtractionThe dumbing down of America is accelerating.  A massive federal takeover of education known as “Common Core” is attempting to impose nationwide academic standards on public schools throughout the entire country.  Thanks to the backing of billionaire Bill Gates, endless promotion by the U.S. Department of Education, and financial bribes to state governments by the Obama administration, 45 states and Washington, D.C. have already agreed to implement the full Common Core standards in their schools.  Unfortunately, these “standards” are doing to public education what Obamacare is doing to our health care system – absolutely ruining it.  Just look at how basic math instruction has changed.  Posted below is a comparison between the “old method” of subtraction and the “new method” of subtraction being taught in many of our schools.  When I first came across this on Facebook, I thought that it was a joke… I thought that there was no possible way that this could be real.  I really thought that this must have come from some sort of parody website. But it is actually true. Here is another example of this.
Common Core Math ProblemThe following is an incredibly bizarre Common Core math problem and the response by one very frustrated parent that has gone viral all over the Internet recently…  The frustration being experienced by that parent is quite understandable.  When I first looked at that math question, I could almost feel myself getting dumber while I read it. Is this kind of “math” really preparing our kids for the real world? I think not. But these are the kinds of questions that textbook writers come up with as they attempt to implement the standards of Common Core… The question appears to be aiming for several of the main Common Core math standards for second grade:

1) A requirement that students understand place value, for instance, that “100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens — called a ‘hundred.’”

2) That students be able to “add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value … and relate the strategy to a written method.” Also that they “understand that in adding or subtracting three-digit numbers, one adds or subtracts hundreds and hundreds, tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose or decompose tens or hundreds.”  More

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Apr 19

Obamacare: Covered Patients Say They Can’t Find A Doctor

A typical examination room at a clinic. Credit: Du.de / Wiki

While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.” Rotacare, a free clinic for the uninsured in Mountain View, is dealing with the problem firsthand. Mirella Nguyen works at the clinic said staffers dutifully helped uninsured clients sign up for Obamacare so they would no longer need the free clinic. But months later, the clinic’s former patients are coming back to the clinic begging for help. “They’re coming back to us now and saying I can’t find a doctor, “said Nguyen. Thinn Ong was thrilled to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchange.  She is paying $200 a month in premiums. But the single mother of two is asking, what for? “Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong. Nguyen said the newly insured patients checked the physicians’ lists they were provided and were told they weren’t accepting new patients or they did not participate in the plan.

And Nguyen says – while the free clinic isn’t technically supposed to be treating former patents they signed up for insurance, they can’t in good faith turn them away. Dr. Kevin Grumbach of UCSF called the phenomenon “medical homelessness,” where patients are caught adrift in a system woefully short of primary care doctors. “Insurance coverage is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to assure that people get access to care when they need it,” Grumbach said. Those who can’t find a doctor are supposed to lodge a complaint with state regulators, who have been denying the existence of a doctor shortage for months. Meanwhile, the sick and insured can’t get appointments. “What good is coverage if you can’t use it?” Nguyen said. Experts said the magnitude of the problem is growing, and will soon be felt by all Californians. But those on the front lines, like the free clinic, are feeling it first. More than 3 million Californians are newly insured. At the same time, a third of our primary care doctors are set to retire. CBS SF Bay

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Apr 19

Monster El Nino May Be Brewing, Experts Say


Ready for a ’90s El Niño flashback? Researchers are keeping a close eye on a giant pool of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean that some think could trigger another El Niño of epic proportions if it rises to the surface, sending weather patterns into a tizzy around the world. That could mean heavy rains in drought-stricken California, dry weather across the Midwest and East Coast, and parched landscapes in Australia and South Africa while it pours in South America. The phenomenon is linked to the periodic warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. ”Given the drought that California is in the middle of right now, that is really where the heightened interest is,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md.

“It turns out that the odds increase for California to be wet the stronger the event is.” For now, the monthly update on the oceanic conditions that drive El Niño and its sibling, La Nina, put out by the Climate Prediction Center is mum on the potential size of the event. “In our view, there is not a 100 percent chance there will be an El Niño,” Halpert said. The center’s latest outlook, issued on April 10, just gives better than even odds that one of any size will form.  Other experts are more bullish on the prospects for an El Niño, including Klaus Wolter at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. He independently tracks El Niño conditions using an index based on observations of six variables such as sea surface and air temperatures as well as winds and clouds in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The index has pointed toward El Niño formation since last December. The index, he said, reinforces what a battery of computer models say: that it looks increasingly likely that there could be a large-scale El Niño. In fact, the majority of a type of model based on conditions in the ocean and atmosphere “say that this looks bigger; this doesn’t look like just your small event that is not going to produce that much impact.” Another researcher bullish on the prospects of another El Niño is Wenju Cai, a climate scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia who is the lead author of a paper published this January in Nature Climate Change that predicted the frequency of extreme El Niño events will double this century. More

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