Friday, September 20, 2013

Even in terrible circumstances and calamities...

Even in terrible circumstances and calamities, in matters of life and death, if I sense that I am in the shadow of God, I find light, so much light that my vision improves dramatically. I know that holiness is near. ...Kathleen Norris image

Update: So. Baptist Leader Henry Blackaby has been found...

posted September 20, 2013 at 10:00pm

*Update: The Blackaby family would like everyone to know that Henry has been found and is safe. His health concerns are being addressed and we will keep everyone posted with the news. We wish to express to everyone our appreciation and gratitude for the prayers and concern over the last 29 hours. Henry has taught us that we can experience God in the good and the bad times. We thank God that we have experienced his grace, peace, and faithfulness in these times.  Here

Tweet from his son Mel:
We are rejoicing tonight. That have just found Dad. Checking him over physically. Traumatic 28 hrs. Thanks for prayers! Family of God!
— Mel Blackaby (@melblackaby) September 20, 2013

Praise and thanksgiving!

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 34:7
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Psalm 61:1-4
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

House votes to keep government open, defund ObamaCare

September 20, 2013

The House voted Friday to keep the government open through mid-December but only if Congress strips funding from ObamaCare.

The vote was 230 to 189, and largely expected.

Current funding for the government is set to expire at the end of the month, and lawmakers must approve the stopgap bill in order to keep Washington open.

The GOP measure would fund the government through Dec. 15, at current funding levels.  the rest

Scrolling around...September 20, 2013

Super Typhoon Usagi Heads for Philippines, Taiwan, S. China
The Philippines, Taiwan and southern China are preparing for the arrival of rapidly intensifying super typhoon Usagi.

Typhoon Usagi is the Pacific's strongest storm on record this year, with wind gusts measured of up to 240 kilometers per hour.

It is expected to strengthen further as it moves toward the northern Philippines and then Taiwan before weakening and hitting China's southern coast.

The Philippines evacuated some northern coastal villages and called in fishing boats ahead of the storm's expected arrival late Friday...

Urgent prayer need for Henry Blackaby
 The Blackaby family requests your prayers for Dr. Henry Blackaby in the midst of difficult circumstances at this moment. Henry has been missing since 4:00pm yesterday (Thursday) in the South Atlanta area. He was driving a black Lincoln sedan. Please pray for him to be found and if you are in the Atlanta area, please be on the lookout for Henry or his car along the roadside. Please check the BMI Home page for updates. Thank you for your partnership in prayer!

The Economist: The weakened West: The deal over Syria’s chemical weapons marks a low for those who cherish freedom 
Yet the deal looks good only because the mess Mr Obama had got himself into was so bad. Step back, and the outcome looks rotten.

Os Guinness: Liberals and Conservatives Are Getting Religious Freedom Wrong
...Americans employ the term "religious freedom," while Europeans prefer the roughly synonymous term "freedom of religion and belief." In the book, you suggest something deeper and broader with the term "soul freedom." What is "soul freedom"?...

The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989  ...Headlines about these numbers tend to focus on how we have now experienced a lost decade for the middle-class American family, with incomes back to their late 1990s level. But as the chart shows it's really worse than that.

In 1989, the median American household made $51,681 in current dollars (the 2012 number, again, was $51,017). That means that 24 years ago, a middle class American family was making more than the a middle class family was making one year ago.

This isn't a lost decade for economic gains for Americans. It is a lost generation.

Living as a Prophetic Minority
...Looking to the future, Moore proposed that orthodox Christians be diverse in outreach but not in message. The mission of the church is to enable people “to hear the voice of Jesus Christ.” Because of his death and resurrection, “Jesus welcomes the world to reconciliation through him.” While kindness in Scripture is not weakness, we are not to regard people who disagree with us as our enemies, rather they may be future Christians. “The power of the gospel is found in the freakishness of the gospel,” Moore said. “As the Moral Majority goes away, we have the power to be a prophetic minority.”

As a prophetic minority, do not need a gospel which essentially accepts the prevailing American values of self-fulfillment. “Your Best Life Now” has not been translated into Sudanese, Moore said. Offering instead an uncompromising message of Biblical faith and morals will make Christians a prophetic minority with a real reason for being, Moore suggested, but it will entail penalties because religious liberty, while good for the country, is rapidly disappearing. Natural marriage, to which even President Obama maintained a favorable position until one and a half years ago, is now regarded as an unacceptable standard by the new morality of inclusion. Christians, however, need to move from the fear-based model of the past. We should not be “trying to raise money from paranoid senior adults.” We should be trying to engage the culture as a “remnant in time, but with a transcendent connection.” In general, Moore staked out a hard, discernibly orthodox, but optimistic road into the future for the heirs of the Moral Majority, the new “prophetic minority.”

A.S. Haley: As Long as There Are Lawyers Who Will Take its Money

September 19, 2013

It is sad, but true: a person with money to spend can always find a lawyer willing to take his money -- and ECUSA is no exception. ECUSA lost its cases in Fort Worth, Quincy and South Carolina, and now is paying attorneys to ask the courts in Fort Worth and South Carolina to "reconsider" their decisions. (There is no judgment entered yet in the Quincy case, and until there is, there will not be anything to ask the court there to reconsider.)

ECUSA obtained an extension of time until October 18 within which to file a "petition for rehearing" with the Texas Supreme Court in the Fort Worth case. (The Diocese of Northwest Texas did likewise, in the Masterson case.) Their papers are not on file yet, so we cannot discern the reasons they will give to the Court for reversing its decisions.

But in South Carolina, the motion to Federal Senior District Judge C. Weston Houck, asking him reconsider his earlier dismissal of Bishop vonRosenberg's trademark infringement suit, and filed on the latter's behalf by ECUSA's attorneys, is available for your reading enjoyment. Essentially the motion challenges two technical aspects of Judge Houck's earlier ruling, and suggests that had he followed the proper precedents, he would have retained jurisdiction of the suit, rather than dismiss it.

The reasons given for reconsideration might sound plausible on their face to a layperson, but they are nonsense to one experienced in litigation. In the first place, most judges would rather undergo a root canal treatment than admit that they got anything wrong, and change a decision once made. But in the second place, in this case Judge Houck got it right the first time.   the rest

Trying the Quincy Case (I): ECUSA's Expert under Fire
Now that the Quincy decision has been published, I shall use the next few weeks to publish selected excerpts from the testimony at the trial. In light of the efforts by ECUSA to advance -- in all of its litigated cases thus far -- a particular theory of its polity as "three-tiered" (from General Convention to the Dioceses to the individual parishes), with the claim that the structure is "hierarchical", I want to begin with the close examination of that claim made at the Quincy trial, which resulted in Judge Ortbal's careful and measured findings that I analyzed here....

Harvest moon

 Raymond took this picture of last night's harvest moon over downtown Syracuse:  Sean Kirst from the Post-Standard posted it on his blog here.   posted Sept, 20, 2013

The real Navy Yard scandal

by Charles Krauthammer
September 19, 2013

Delusions, paranoid ideation, auditory (and somatic) hallucinations: the classic symptoms of schizophrenia.

So here is this panic-stricken soul, psychotic and in terrible distress. And what does modern policing do for him? The cops tell him to “stay away from the individuals that are following him.” Then they leave.

But the three “individuals” were imaginary, for God’s sake. This is how a civilized society deals with a man in such a state of terror?

Had this happened 35 years ago in Boston, Alexis would have been brought to me as the psychiatrist on duty at the emergency room of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Were he as agitated and distressed as in the police report, I probably would have administered an immediate dose of Haldol, the most powerful fast-acting antipsychotic of the time.

This would generally have relieved the hallucinations and delusions, a blessing not only in itself, but also for the lucidity brought on that would have allowed him to give us important diagnostic details — psychiatric history, family history, social history, medical history, etc. If I had thought he could be sufficiently cared for by family or friends to receive regular oral medication, therapy and follow-up, I would have discharged him. Otherwise, I’d have admitted him. And if he refused, I’d have ordered a 14-day involuntary commitment.

Sounds cruel? On the contrary. For many people living on park benches, commitment means a warm bed, shelter and three hot meals a day. For Alexis, it would have meant the beginning of a treatment regimen designed to bring him back to himself before discharging him to a world heretofore madly radioactive.

That’s what a compassionate society does. It would no more abandon this man to fend for himself than it would a man suffering a stroke. And as a side effect, that compassion might even extend to potential victims of his psychosis — in the event, remote but real, that he might someday burst into some place of work and kill 12 innocent people
the rest-Excellent! image

(Raymond practices in the area of psychiatric legal matters and is a guardian for several veterans.  He describes it this way: " This area of the law is quite literally insane. Our rights-oriented approach toward mentally ill people allows them to wander around, harm themselves and others, and destroy both families and strangers around them. This was just one example of that [Navy Yard] but there are a thousand smaller examples that I have seen. I hope the Liberals who have such a rights notion of mentally ill people will take notice that this is the root of the cause, and not AR-15s, shotguns, or any other weapons. Mentally ill people shoot large numbers of people with guns; sane people do not."  -PD)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

TEC asks SC court to reconsider ruling

Episcopal Church in South Carolina
posted September 19, 2013

The Bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has asked the U.S. District Court to reconsider the recent decision to dismiss a federal lawsuit against Mark Lawrence.

Attorneys for the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg filed a Motion for Reconsideration on September 16 in U.S. District Court in Charleston, along with a Memorandum of Law and other documents supporting the motion. It asks Judge C. Weston Houck to give further consideration to specific facts and legal principles and apply them in reconsidering his August 23 ruling to abstain from and dismiss the case.

The federal lawsuit, vonRosenberg v. Lawrence, was filed in March, seeking to keep Bishop Lawrence from representing himself as the bishop of the diocese and asking the court to find that only Bishop vonRosenberg, as The Episcopal Church’s recognized bishop, should control the name and marks of the diocese.

 A separate case in South Carolina Circuit Court is currently proceeding with written discovery. That lawsuit was originally filed in January by former church leaders and some 34 parishes in eastern South Carolina who say they have “disassociated” from The Episcopal Church. It seeks control of the name, seal and properties of the diocese under state law that governs nonprofit corporations. The group continues to call itself “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” and recognizes Mark Lawrence as its bishop. the rest

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Preparing for GAFCON 2

By Andrew Symes
September 17th, 2013

More than 100 clergy and laity from the UK will be attending GAFCON 2 in Nairobi at the end of October, and a preparatory meeting was held on Monday 16th September at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise in south London.

Paul Perkin, Vicar of St Marks and on the council of FCA UK, led the meeting, which began with praise and prayer. Paul then opened Matthew 9:35-38 and began by reminding us that “Lord, send out labourers into the harvest field” is a dangerous prayer! This short passage of Scripture shows us the helplessness of the crowd – like unguided sheep – but also the compassion of Jesus who meets the needs of people. We see the abundance of the harvest, but the scarcity of labourers. And then, recognition of the task leads to prayer, which results in action. GAFCON 2 is not a rearguard movement of traditionalists, but a renewal movement for the sake of the Great Commission.

After prayer in groups we watched a short video of GAFCON 2008 in Jerusalem. We were reminded of the remarkable unity among orthodox and evangelical Anglicans from diverse cultures across the world in response to the unilateral redefinition of Anglican faith and order perpetrated by the Episcopal Church of USA. It was unanimously recognized that what was needed was not just protest, but the re-articulation of biblical worldview and vision for mission. Henry Orombi’s reading of the Jerusalem Statement, resulting in a standing ovation, may have been a significant moment in church history.

Back in the present: Eliud Wabakala, Chair of GAFCON Primates Council, had sent a message which was read by Bishop John Ellison. Archbishop Eliud is greatly looking forward to welcoming delegates to fellowship in Nairobi as guests of the Cathedral in Nairobi. The theme of the conference will be the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, reflecting the missionary impulse at the heart of biblical Anglicanism. “We want to address specific problems but also look beyond them, to ask God to bring revival”, he said. The vision is for GAFCON to become a “movement of transformation for the Anglican Communion”; to give firm and stable leadership for the future. The Archbishop ended with acknowledging the difficulty of remaining faithful to the Gospel in UK and Ireland. To the delegates who share the GAFCON vision he said “We honour your faithfulness. We stand with you as you stand with us.”  the rest

Scrolling around...September 18, 2013

Albert Mohler: Can Evangelical Chaplains Serve God and Country?—The Crisis Arrives
Can chaplains committed to historic biblical Christianity serve in the United States military? That question, though inconceivable to our nation’s founders, is now front and center. And the answer to that question will answer another, even more important question: Can religious liberty survive under America’s new moral order?

The repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, coupled with the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, set the stage for this crisis. The full normalization of same-sex relationships within the U.S. military is part of the unprecedented moral revolution that is now reshaping American culture at virtually every level.

The crisis in the chaplaincy arrived with these developments. The presenting issue is clear: Can a chaplain committed to historic biblical Christianity remain in military service? Does the normalization of homosexuality require that all members of the military, including chaplains, join the moral revolution, even if doing so requires them to abandon their biblical convictions?

The answer, at least from the advocates of the moral revolution, is that evangelical Christian chaplains must go—and Southern Baptist chaplains must go first...

Boy Scouts or an alternative? Churches continue to deliberate  A 6,000-member Southern Baptist church in North Carolina has announced plans to end its 60-year sponsorship of a Boy Scout troop in light of the Scouts' vote in May to admit open homosexuals to membership.

Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., instead will sponsor a troop of the newly formed Trail Life USA, which requires adult leaders to sign a statement of faith and requires both boys and leaders to live by a code of conduct that defines "any sexual activity outside the context of the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman" as "sinful" and "inconsistent with the values and principles of the program." Trail Life USA will accept boys who are experiencing same-sex attraction or gender confusion. It will not, however, receive into membership boys that are openly homosexual or transgendered...

As denominations decline, numbers of unpaid ministers rise  The 50 members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Hitchcock, Texas, are looking forward to December, when Mark Marmon will be ordained their priest.

One reason for the excitement? They won’t have to pay him.

A 57-year-old fly fishing guide, Marmon, whose wife is a lawyer, says he doesn’t want or need a church salary. He belongs to a growing breed of mainline Protestant ministers who serve congregations in exchange for little or no compensation...

Florida abortionist calls unborn baby a frog is only a baby when it is born and separate from it’s “host”  ...Florida Abortionist Randall Whitney said this to pro-lifers. The unborn baby, “Would not have been a full baby…It is not a being..It is not a baby. The baby is when its born, it is separate from its host…I grew up in the church…It’s not a human being…it’s a frog.”...

Census on Obama’s 1st Term: Real Median Income Down $2,627; People in Poverty Up 6,667,000; Record 46,496,000 Now Poor
During the four years that marked President Barack Obama’s first term in office, the real median income of American households dropped by $2,627 and the number of people in poverty increased by approximately 6,667,000, according to data released today by the Census Bureau.

The record total of approximately 46,496,000 people in the United States who are now in poverty, according to the Census Bureau, is more than twice the population of Syria, which, according to the CIA, has 22,457,336 people.

 In 2008, the year Obama was elected, real median household income in the United States was $53,644 according to the Census Bureau. In 2012, the last full year of Obama’s first term, median household income was $51,017. Thus, real median household income dropped $2,627—or 4.89 percent—from 2008 to 2012...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No difficulties in your case can baffle him...

He does not need to transplant us into a different field, but right where we are, with just the circumstances that surround us, he makes his sun to shine and his dew to fall upon us, and transforms the very things that were before our greatest hindrances into the chiefest and most blessed means of our growth. No difficulties in your case can baffle him, no dwarfing of your growth in years that are past, no apparent dryness of your inward springs of life, no crookedness or deformity in any of your past development, can in the least mar the perfect work that he will accomplish, if you will only put yourselves absolutely into his hands and let him have his own way with you.
...Hannah Whitall Smith image

Scrolling around...September 17, 2013

Don't Segregate the Youth
...I spent 10 years serving in a church where the youth ministry was segregated from the congregation. The constant challenge before us was to somehow teach and give them a taste of what the church is meant to be, even though they weren't experiencing it themselves. Most of the youth didn't worship with the rest of the congregation, nor did they experience aspects of gathered church life beyond "Youth Sunday."

The next church I served in was vastly different. There I learned how to effectively model and shape a biblical view of the church for the youth. What was so different? To start, students were part of the church. Rather than a token "Youth Sunday," we regularly had students serving as ushers, greeters, choristers, music volunteers, and Scripture readers. Some of our older teens were teaching Sunday school, and when the church gathered for various functions, teens joined in the mix. This was an intergenerational church family where relationships spanned decades and all ages served side by side. Sure, we had youth Bible study groups and other activities specifically for students, but that never precluded their involvement in the gathered church.

Together as the diverse, multi-generational body of Christ, we worshiped God, sat under the preaching of his Word, prayed, shared communion, and enjoyed fellowship. As a result, students weren't left wondering about the church's purpose; they were experiencing it according to Acts 2:42-47. They learned the church exists chiefly to glorify God, not to please them. They experienced what it means for elders to "equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:12-13)...

File:Clostridium difficile 01.png Drug-resistant 'superbugs' deemed urgent threats, CDC says
Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, a diarrhea-causing superbug and a class of fast-growing killer bacteria dubbed a "nightmare" were classified as urgent public-health threats in the United States on Monday.

According to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 2 million people in the United States develop serious bacterial infections that are resistant to one or more types of antibiotics each year, and at least 23,000 die from the infections.

"For organism after organism, we're seeing this steady increase in resistance rates," Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a telephone interview. "We don't have new drugs about to come out of the pipeline. If and when we get new drugs, unless we do a better job of protecting them, we'll lose those, also."... image

India Gender Crisis: Mortality Rate for Girls 75% Higher Than Boys  ...Women in India are confronted with a compounding crisis. By most estimates, there are tens of millions of women missing in India due to the devaluing of female life beginning in the womb.

Sex-selective abortion and female infanticide have led to lopsided sex ratios. In parts of India, for example, 126 boys are born for every 100 girls. This in turn leads to a shortage of marriageable women, which then leads to trafficking in persons, bride-selling, and prostitution....

Jerry Brown Vetoes Sales of Human Eggs in California
California Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, vetoed a measure that would have enabled a potentially lucrative market for women to sell their eggs for medical research.

“Not everything in life is for sale, nor should it be,” said Brown in his Aug. 13 statement on the veto of bill A.B. 926. “This bill would legalize the payment of money in exchange for a woman submitting to invasive procedures to stimulate, extract and harvest her eggs for scientific research. The questions raised here are not simple; they touch matters that are both personal and philosophical.”

Brown zeroed in on an increasingly complex aspect of egg sellers' understanding of the implications...

5 ways Obamacare could mess with your privacy
Obamacare’s start date, October 1st,  is rapidly approaching. As the impending Tuesday draws nearer and nearer, new headlines are drawing attention to unsettling aspects of the system. Troubling enough was the NSA surveillance scandal this summer. Now, add sensitive medical information to the mix.  Concerned citizens are raising privacy questions, from sex life to social security numbers, under the new system.  How could your own privacy be affected by Obamacare?...

Taking Baby-Killing to a New Low
...And to think: The same people who pushed so hard for the legalization of abortion so that a woman wouldn’t have to get a back-alley abortion with a wire coat hanger are the same ones who not only ignore the pervasive health code violations in scores of clinics nationwide, but also are taking things one step further by backing a bill whereby non-physicians can suck a baby out of its mother’s womb...

Study Shows One Abortion Ups Premature Birth Risk for Women by 36 Percent   ...With premature births leading to an assortment of physical and mental health problems for unborn children, the researcher says women should be told of the risk before having an abortion.

Dr. Prakesh Shah, a professor at the Department of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto is the main author of the new study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

He found that women who have just one abortion in either the first or second trimester of pregnancy, when abortions are most routinely performed, have a 35 percent increased risk of having a low-birth-weight baby in the next pregnancy and a 36 percent increased risk of having a baby born prematurely.

The risk substantially increases for the millions of women who have had more than one abortion and become pregnant.

In those cases, women having multiple abortions have a 93 percent increased risk of subsequently having a premature baby and a 72 percent increased risk of having an underweight baby....

Maaloula's cathedral and churches empty of Christians as Syria's latest front-line fight takes its toll
On Sunday thousands of Christians should have filled its streets for the festival of the Holy Cross. But instead the streets of Maaloula are filled with soldiers and tanks, spent bullet casings and the noise of Syria's latest front-line fight.

Maaloula is a special place. It has been a safe haven for Christians for 2,000 years - until now. It was a place of refuge so secure in its rugged mountain isolation that a dialect of the language of Christ, Aramaic, is still spoken here. But not today.

Its Christian community of 2,000 has fled. In the tight alleyways and streets that wind up the Maaloula's mountainside their language has been replaced by the Arabic of two bitter enemies: rebels from three Islamist groups and the soldiers of President Bashar al-Assad...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Come, Lord Jesus, and abide in my heart...

Come, Lord Jesus, and abide in my heart. How grateful I am to realize that the answer to my prayer does not depend on me at all. As I quietly abide in You and let Your life flow into me, what freedom it is to know that the Father does not see my threadbare patience or insufficient trust, rather only Your patience, Lord, and Your confidence that the Father has everything in hand. In Your faith I thank You right now for a more glorious answer to my prayer than I can imagine. Amen. ...Catherine Marshall image

Pass It On...

Commercial in Thailand for a phone service.

Scrolling around...September 16, 2013

'Biblical' Floods Leave Thousands Homeless
Some of the worst flooding in Colorado history has claimed the lives of at least six people, left hundreds unaccounted for and thousands homeless, causing the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team to deploy to the Rocky Mountains.

With rains falling through the weekend and most areas suffering from a sudden surge caused by 15 inches of rain, mudslides have complicated an enormous disaster area from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs.

“It’s the worst that anyone has ever seen,” says Al New, Rapid Response Team manager of deployments and operations. “They’re calling it their 100-year flood.”...

For prayer: Police search for active shooter on grounds of Washington Navy Yard in Southeast D.C.   Police said that at least three, possibly four, people were shot. All are in critical condition, authorities said.

What we know: Colorado's floods, by the numbers
Wretched weather continued to hamper rescue efforts in Colorado on Sunday as officials released damage estimates illustrating the magnitude of the disaster.

By the numbers, here's some analysis of what we know about Colorado's floods, along with what we don't...

Too Bad ObamaCare Works as Intended
Year after year, Forbes magazine places Wegmans Food Markets high on its “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, usually in the top five in the country. The supermarkets are based in Rochester, New York, a region that has been hit hard by economic stagnation, with downsizing at several companies (like Xerox and Kodak) that were once the biggest employers in the region. Wegmans has been a refuge for many employees, drawn to its generous salaries, bonuses, and benefits package. Last year Forbes cited its low turnover rate (3.4 percent last year) as a factor in why the supermarkets are such popular places to work. Despite the critical role that the supermarket chain plays in the local economy, Wegmans became a less coveted place to work this summer when it was announced that some part-time workers’ health benefits would be cut thanks to ObamaCare, and earlier this week it was announced that Trader Joe’s would do the same....

Royal Baby Prince George Receives Painting from Down's Syndrome Artist Tazia Fawley
Prince William and Kate Middleton have accepted a painting from an artist with Down's syndrome for Prince George's nursery.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given the painting, worth £2,000, by Tazia Fawley, who lives in Somerset...

For Firefighters, Solar Panels Are A New Type Of Trouble
...Panels and wiring stay energized even when panel breakers are open, Reuters notes, so a panel poses a risk even when a circuit is ostensibly turned off. And if firefighters need to make holes in the roof, panels can impede fire crews in fighting a fire...

Audit Finds IRS Employees Don’t Follow Their Own Rules  ...“Neither we nor the IRS know with any degree of precision how well the IRS is complying with direct contact provisions,” the auditors wrote.

The Office of Appeals handled more than 72,000 cases during the audit period, which ran Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2012.

“When the sample results are projected to the population, we estimate that the deviations may have negatively affected 8,277 taxpayers,” auditors wrote.

Of a greater concern to the auditors was the possibility the IRS could be vulnerable to lawsuits from taxpayers who try to recover monetary damages from the agency if they believe its personnel are intentionally disregarding the rules.

During the same time, the Treasury Inspector General closed 13 direct contact complaints involving IRS personnel, but only two employees were disciplined or counseled by IRS management officials for their actions, according to the audit report...

Abortion Clinics Closing at Record Rate
...This year, 42 clinics that provided surgical abortions have shut their doors, and two that offered chemical abortions by drugs also have closed, according to Operation Rescue, which monitors closings and health and safety violations by clinics nationwide. That number far surpasses the 25 surgical clinics shutdown last year and the 30 in 2011, by Operation Rescue's count. While others estimate a smaller number of closings, the pattern is clear.

Some of the shutdowns have been of major clinics. For instance, Virginia's No. 1 abortion provider closed, The Washington Post reported in July. NOVA Women's Healthcare in Fairfax, Va., shut down after state and local governments enacted regulations the abortion provider appeared unable to meet. The northern Virginia clinic performed 3,066 abortions in 2012 and 3,567 in 2011...

Abortion Practitioners Played Catch With Bodies of Babies Killed in Abortion  ...Former workers in the abortion industry have told us stories about playing games of toss with aborted babies in the hallway. Your mind has to invert what is going on: to make it a game, a joke, something positive. It’s the only way to keep from going crazy — and some of them do...

Two Christians murdered in Egypt for refusing to pay Muslim poll tax  Two Coptic Christian government employees have been shot dead for refusing to pay Jizya, the Muslim poll tax on Christians.

According to a story by Mary Abdelmassih for the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), Emad Damian, 50, and his cousin Medhat Damian, 37, from the village of Sahel Selim in Assuit Province, were contacted two days before their murder by the leader of a Muslim gang.

He was identified by Watany Coptic Newspaper as Ashraf Ahmed Mohammed Khalajah, a registered criminal from the village...