City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons (Source foxnews.com) The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court. ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.” “Political and social commentary is not a crime,” Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.” The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June. Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said pastors around the nation should rally around the Houston ministers. “The state is breaching the wall of separation between church and state,” Perkins told me. This is the moment I wrote about in my book, “God Less America.”
Vatican alters draft report translation about gays (Source AP) The Vatican is watering down a ground-breaking overture to gays — but only if they speak English. After a draft report by bishops debating family issues came under criticism from many conservative English-speaking bishops, the Vatican released a new English translation on Thursday. A section initially entitled “Welcoming homosexuals” is now “Providing for homosexual persons,” and the tone of the text is significantly colder. The initial English version — released Monday along with the original — accurately reflected the Italian version in both letter and spirit, and contained a remarkable tone of acceptance to gays. The other translations were similarly faithful to the Italian and didn’t deviate in tone. Conservatives were outraged, and the English was changed. The first English version asked if the church was capable of “welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities.” The new version asks if the church is “capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing … them … a place of fellowship in our communities.” The first version said homosexual unions can often constitute a “precious support in the life of the partners.” The new one says gay unions often constitute “valuable support in the life of these persons.”
I’m a Hazmat-Trained Hospital Worker: Here’s What No One Is Telling You About Ebola (Source huffingtonpost.com) Ebola is brilliant. It is a superior virus that has evolved and fine-tuned its mechanism of transmission to be near-perfect. That’s why we’re all so terrified. We know we can’t destroy it. All we can do is try to divert it, outrun it. I’ve worked in health care for a few years now. One of the first things I took advantage of was training to become FEMA-certified for hazmat ops in a hospital setting. My rationale for this was that, in my home state of Maine, natural disasters are almost a given. We’re also, though you may not know it, a state that has many major ports that receive hazardous liquids from ships and transport them inland. In the back of my mind, of course, I was aware that any hospital in the world could potentially find itself at the epicenter of a scene from The Hot Zone. That was several years ago. Today I’m thinking, by God, I might actually have to use this training. Mostly, though, I’m aware of just that — that I did receive training. Lots of it. Because you can’t just expect any nurse or any doctor or any health care worker or layperson to understand the deconning procedures by way of some kind of pamphlet or 10-minute training video. Not only is it mentally rigorous, but it’s physically exhausting. PPE, or, personal protective equipment, is sort of a catch-all phrase for the suits, booties, gloves, hoods and in many cases respirators worn by individuals who are entering a hot zone. These suits are incredibly difficult to move in. You are wearing several layers of gloves, which limits your dexterity to basically nil, the hoods limit the scope of your vision — especially your peripheral vision, which all but disappears. The suits are hot – almost unbearably so. The respirator gives you clean air, but not cool air. These suits are for protection, not comfort. Before you even suit up, your vitals need to be taken. You can’t perform in the suit for more than about a half hour at a time — if you make it that long. Heat stroke is almost a given at that point. You have to be fully hydrated and calm before you even step into the suit. By the time you come out of it, and your vitals are taken again, you’re likely to be feeling the impact — you may not have taken more than a few steps in the suit, but you’ll feel like you’ve run a marathon on a 90-degree day. Getting the suit on is easy enough, but it requires team work. Your gloves, all layers of them, are taped to your suit. This provides an extra layer of protection and also limits your movement. There is a very specific way to tape all the way around so that there are no gaps or “tenting” of the tape. If you don’t do this properly, there ends up being more than enough open pockets for contamination to seep in.
Ebola Escalation Could Trigger Major Food Crisis (Source AP) The global famine warning system is predicting a major food crisis if the Ebola outbreak continues to grow exponentially over the coming months, and the United Nations still hasn’t reached over 750,000 people in need of food in West Africa as prices spiral and farms are abandoned. On the eve of World Food Day on Thursday, U.N agencies and non-governmental organizations are scrambling to scale up efforts to avert widespread hunger. “Indications are that things will get worse before they improve. How much worse depends on us all.” WFP has said it needs to reach 1.3 million people in need in hardest-hit Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. So far, the U.N. agency has provided food to 534,000 people, and it expects to reach between 600,000 and 700,000 this month, Bettina Luescher, WFP’s chief spokesperson in North America, told AP. “And we are working hard to reach and scale up to 1.3 million eventually.” WFP is providing food to patients in Ebola treatment centers, survivors of the virus who have been discharged, and communities which have been quarantined or have seen widespread transmission, including the families of those affected. It is also helping with logistics and is managing the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service between the three affected countries and nearby Dakar, Senegal and Accra, Ghana to help humanitarian workers rapidly deploy to the field. “We are assessing how families are coping as the virus keeps spreading,” Luescher said. “We expect to have a better understanding of the impact of the Ebola outbreak on food availability and farming activities by the end of October.”
“Pardon Us For Our Country’s Existence in the Middle of Your Military Bases” – Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s Speech at the UN (Source globalresearch.ca) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at the United Nations, delivered a scathing denunciation of Western imperialism, imperialism that can only be accurately described as global theft. Lavrov, on behalf of the Russian Federation implicitly warned that US/NATO is risking global war in embarking on its campaign to seize and dominate huge territories, while inexorably and ruthlessly determined to conquer and subjugate Russia, having learned nothing from the historic reality that Napolean’s effort to dominate Russia led to the collapse of Napoleonic France, and Hitler’s attempt to subjugate Russia led to the obliteration of his Third Reich. Perhaps this third attempt to conquer and subjugate Russia may lead not only to war encompassing huge territories of the globe, but, dialectically, may be the catalyst leading to the ultimate decline of capitalism, an economic system which thrives almost entirely on imperialism, and is undergoing a possibly terminal crisis, as described by the French economist, Thomas Piketty in his best-selling work “Capital in the 21 Century.” In desperation, dysfunctional Western capitalism is lashing out recklessly and irrationally, unwilling and unable to preclude the disastrous consequences of its myopic policies. And one possible consequence of current US/NATO policies is thermonuclear war.
EU leaders to confront Putin over gas threats (Source Yahoo) Vladimir Putin meets his Ukrainian counterpart and EU leaders here on Friday fresh from warning he could pull the plug on crucial Russian gas supplies to Western Europe this winter. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he hoped the breakfast meeting with the Russian leader would help shore up a patchy ceasefire between his government forces and pro-Moscow rebels in the east of Ukraine. “Peace and stability in Ukraine, it is the only thing we expect,” Poroshenko told reporters after talks with Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor went to have a late night meeting with Putin, who upped the stakes in his confrontation with the West by warning that the flow of Russian gas to EU countries could face “major transit difficulties” this winter. The diplomatic shuttling over Ukraine is taking place on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit that has been completely overshadowed by the crisis, which has deepened in recent days. Putin has this week accused US President Barack Obama of outright hostility towards Russia and insisted he would not be blackmailed by the West. The Russian president has also played his gas trump card, effectively reminding Europe that it gets about a third of its supplies from Russia. Putin insisted he did not want to see a repeat of 2006 and 2009 when interruptions of supplies to Ukraine disrupted onward deliveries to Europe which gets about a third of its gas from Russia. The ASEM summit brings together more than 50 member states who share one of the world’s largest trading relationships at a time of growing uncertainty over the economic outlook. Those problems showed themselves Thursday as the financial markets sold off sharply once again on fears over Europe’s stalled recovery and a
Slowdown in China, which for so long has been the driver of global growth.
Not Just California: Droughts Extend Across Americas (Source nbcnews.com) Say “drought” and Americans are likely to think California, but the Golden State is hardly alone when looking across the Western Hemisphere: A dry spell has killed cattle and wiped out crops in Central America, parts of Colombia have seen rioting over scarce water, and southern Brazil is facing its worst dry spell in 50 years. In the U.S., the few who have taken notice of this wider water scarcity include a former director of the U.S. Geological Survey. Now editor-in-chief of the journal Science, Marcia McNutt last month penned an editorial highlighting what she called “a drought of crisis proportions” across the Americas. Worst hit has been Central America, where drought has created food shortages for 2.5 million people, most of them “subsistence farmers and families in highly food-insecure areas,” says Miguel Barreto, regional program manager for the U.N.’s World Food Program. Droughts, and along with them plant diseases, are happening more frequently, says Lorena Aguilar, regional technical manager for the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, funded by USAID. “The previous two years saw drought and this is the third,” she says, adding that this year was also the driest for most of Central America in 30 years of recordkeeping. One of those diseases is known as coffee rust, which has reduced harvests as well as supplemental income for many subsistence farmers, Barreto says, “creating a critical situation in the poorest populations.” The U.S. recently pledged $10 million in aid, but the WFP said it needs $65 million to help drought victims and to replenish aid given out earlier due to the coffee rust. Drought reaches farther south as well: Panama: The head of the Panama Canal warned that the biggest ships might not be let through in early 2015 if rainfall doesn’t restore water levels at the lakes that feed the canal’s locks. Colombia: Some northern areas where rain hasn’t fallen in two years have seen riots over water.
Venezuela: Water rationing became mandatory in some areas. Bolivia: Thousands of forest fires were attributed to the worst drought in 30 years. Brazil: A third of southern Brazil’s 21 million people face water shortages. Parts of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, have been rationing water since February.
TO GROW CHEAP MARIJUANA, ITALY CALLS IN THE ARMY (Source Reuters) Italy legalized marijuana for medical use last year, but the high cost of buying legal pot in a pharmacy meant few people signed up. Now, the government has found a solution: get the army to grow it. Starting next year, a high-security lab in a military compound in Florence will grow cannabis for Italy’s health care system in an experiment the government says could bring safe, legal and affordable marijuana to suffering patients.
The new army supply should allow the government to lower the price for consumers, who now have to pay up to 10 times as much at a pharmacy for marijuana officially imported from Holland as they might for a bag on the street from a local drug dealer. Regional health authorities are expected to offer it to qualified patients cheaply or for free, helping to put mafia-linked drug dealers out of business. But whether large numbers sign up will depend on cultural factors in a Catholic country with an historic stigma against drugs.
OBAMA SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER 13295 – DETENTION OF AMERICANS WITH “RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES” (Source Natural Society) America headed for widespread, involuntary incarceration due to Ebola biowarfare? July of this year, President Obama signed into law an amendment to the Executive Order 13295, which redefines who can be quarantined and why. This does not bode well for a nation that could potentially face an Ebola pandemic. It smacks of pre-meditated bio-warfare and martial law on a nation’s own citizens. This means that any police officer or ‘health official’ can, without question, and on suspicion alone, quarantine someone simply for showing any sign of ‘respiratory illness.’ Americans need to pay some serious attention to what is happening to their civil rights. Furthermore, under the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, public health authorities and governors would be given expanded police powers to seize control of communications devices, public and private property, as well as a host of other Orwellian measures in the event of a public health emergency. There is only one infected person in Dallas for now, but 80 more are under surveillance by the CDC. What do you suppose our criminal government has planned for the other thousands of cities in the U.S.? The issue does not revolve around taking measures to prevent an outbreak in the nation; if done with the true, sincere intention of protection, then without infringing on civil rights, that would be OK.
Massive ‘ocean’ discovered towards Earth’s core (Source newscientist.com) A reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth’s surface. The finding could help explain where Earth’s seas came from. The water is hidden inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that lies 700 kilometres underground in the mantle, the layer of hot rock between Earth’s surface and its core. The huge size of the reservoir throws new light on the origin of Earth’s water. Some geologists think water arrived in comets as they struck the planet, but the new discovery supports an alternative idea that the oceans gradually oozed out of the interior of the early Earth. “It’s good evidence the Earth’s water came from within,” says Steven Jacobsenof Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The hidden water could also act as a buffer for the oceans on the surface, explaining why they have stayed the same size for millions of years.