First it was airports. Then it was bus and train stations. Now, under the Transportation Security Administration’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program, even the highways aren’t safe from the TSA’s prying eyes and probing fingers. “Tennessee is now the first state ever to work with the TSA to deploy a simultaneous counterterrorism operation statewide,” according to Nashville’s WTVF-TV. That operation, which involved the TSA along with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDSHS) and state and local police, was deployed at “five weigh stations and two bus stations across the state,” the station reports. It was a two-pronged approach, the report adds. Government agents were “recruiting truck drivers … into the First Observer Highway Security Program to say something if they see something.” At the same time, “the Tennessee Highway Patrol checked trucks with drug and bomb sniffing dogs during random inspections.” One might expect the searches to make recruiting more difficult; but at least one truck driver, Rudy Gonzales, seemed willing to assist the TSA just the same. He told WTVF reporter Adam Ghassemi: “Not only truck drivers, but cars, everybody should be aware of what’s going on, on the road.”
At a news conference in Washington yesterday, a group of U.S. solar panel makers accused China of dumping Chinese-made solar panels on the U.S. market and asked the government for protection by raising tariffs on the offenders.  Executives from SolarWorld, which makes its panels in Oregon, were at the conference along with both Oregon Senators. Said SolarWorld President Gordon Brinser, his company “can compete with anyone in the world [but] illegal subsidies in China [are allowing] the Chinese solar industry to come in and gut and own the U.S. solar industry.” Because the alleged dumping has caused prices to decline, it has put several panel makers into financial difficulty, and was a proximate cause of the disintegration of Solyndra. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) claimed that because of the dumping of panels at below-market prices, “the American solar industry has been collapsing.” Part of the reason is that the Chinese government has been extending low-interest loans to Chinese panel makers, which Wyden called “cheating,” thus allowing them to offer panels for sale below the production costs of U.S. makers. The group wants the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission to impose a duty on all panels imported from China sufficient to bring the price back up to where the U.S. makers can be competitive, and profitable, again.
A classic example of the blind faith in scientific speculation required by Scientism is on display in a discussion of the role of comets in the origin of life. Speculation about a possible connection between comets and the origin of life has been around for decades. The discovery of a cloud of debris near a star 60 light years away has been the latest occasion for such speculations. Headlines have described the discovery in quite sensational terms; for example, FoxNews.com brazenly declared, “Strong Evidence Life Spread by Comets, Astronomers Say.” However, the finding, though intriguing, is far less dramatic. The discovery of a band of dust around Eta Corvi hundreds of trillions of miles from Earth has led astronomers to speculate how that band was formed. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope was responsible for spotting the band, and the facts were more modestly described by the American space agency: Now Spitzer has spotted a band of dust around a nearby bright star in the northern sky called Eta Corvi that strongly matches the contents of an obliterated giant comet. This dust is located close enough to Eta Corvi that Earth-like worlds could exist, suggesting a collision took place between a planet and one or more comets. The Eta Corvi system is approximately one billion years old, which researchers think is about the right age for such a hailstorm.  
A historic and highly controversial prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has Middle East observers predicting a fresh wave of violence and attacks against the Jewish nation. On October 18, Israel freed 477 Palestinians it had captured over the past 30 years in the ongoing conflict over land claimed by Israel since the famed 1967 Six-Day War. Its reported prize in return for the prisoners — along with the promised release of several hundred more over the next year — was one lone Israeli soldier, 25-year-old Gilad Shalit (pictured at left), who had been held by Hamas since his capture more than five years ago. Shalit, reportedly the only Israeli soldier released by Hamas in some 26 years, said that he always believed he would be freed one day, adding that he was happy for the Palestinians to be released “if they don’t return to fight us. I very much hope that this deal will advance peace.” Such a hope appears to be futile. As the hundreds of terrorists and others were freed, many expressed their eagerness to be cycled back into the terrorist attacks for which their parent organization is well known. “As long as there is going to be occupation over all of Palestine, martyrs will be there to resist and to fight, and I will be among the first of the strugglers,” Wafa al-Bis, one of the freed prisoners, told the UK’s Daily Telegraph. The 27-year-old young woman was captured in 2005 as she was on her way to an Israeli hospital to detonate 22 pounds of explosives hidden on her body. “This is an honorable thing and I would be a suicide bomber three times over if I could,” she proclaimed.
For Zubaida Bibi, a Christian woman working in a garment factory in the Korangi Industrial Area of Karachi, Pakistan, the workday on October 12 at Crescent Enterprises probably began like most. Her job as a custodian helped make it possible for her to care for her children. But before her shift was over, a Muslim worker at the factory attempted to rape her, and then slit her throat, leaving four orphans without a mother to care for them. And the case of Zubaida Bibi is far from unique: In Pakistan, the phenomena of Islamic men raping Christian women is becoming more common. An October 18 story for PakistanChristianPost.com relates some of the details of the tragic death of Zubaida Bibi: On October 12, 2011, during duty hours, Zubaida Bibi entered to clean factory bathrooms when one Muslim employee named Mohammad Asif followed her and locked door behind him. When Mohammad Asif attempted to sexually assault Zubaida Bibi, she cried for help on which Mohammad Asif took out a dagger and slit the throat of Zubaida Bibi. The factory management called police help and Mohammad Asif was arrested on crime scene where throat cut dead body of Zubaida Bibi was lying on floor.
Former Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi was killed by militia groups during a battle to take the loyalist stronghold city of Sirte, National Transitional Council (NTC) officials announced on Thursday. His bloody body was then reportedly dragged through the streets.  Conflicting accounts of what may have happened flooded the press in the early hours of October 20. Most reports suggested, however, that a convoy carrying a fleeing Gadhafi and his top aides was bombed by NATO war planes after revolutionary forces overran most of Sirte.  Citing a variety of rebel fighters and war correspondents, some accounts claimed the tyrant had been wounded but captured alive. Other narratives said Gadhafi died from injuries sustained during a battle. And a few reports even suggested he was alive and well, though several videos would appear to contradict the notion. Footage posted online showed revolutionary fighters shooting bullets into the air and celebrating as a man resembling Gadhafi lay lifeless and covered in blood. Chants of "Allah akbar" reportedly erupted among revolutionary fighters across Libya.
While high unemployment persists and the U.S. economy remains stubbornly flat, Washington, D.C. now hails as the nation’s wealthiest metropolitan area, according to new data from the Census Bureau. Dethroning Silicon Valley from its royal chair, the hometown of Congress and the White House is flourishing, as the median household income for Washington residents stood at $84,523 in 2010, when the nation’s average household income was $50,046. The data shows that San Jose, home of Apple and Cisco Systems, held an average income of $83,944 in 2010, falling from $84,483 in 2009, and now riding on the coattails of America’s political stronghold. Federal worker compensation last year averaged $126,369 (including healthcare and other benefits), a more than $3,500 increase from 2009, and as of June, the D.C. area had 170,467 federal employees. According to a Bloomberg analysis, the nearly $35,000 disparity in income largely attributes to a high concentration of lawyers and federal workers whose earnings far exceed $100,000 a year. The data illustrates how the political elite continues to thrive — while overall poverty in the area remains high — as the U.S. economy remains stagnant and unemployment maintains its 9 percent mark. "There’s a gap that’s isolating Washington from the reality of the rest of the country," asserted Kevin Zeese, director of Prosperity Agenda, an advocacy group in Baltimore. "They just get more and more out of touch."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), son of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, is moving to combat the ninth reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Enacted as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s "War on Poverty," ESEA was a springboard for the federal government’s unbounded authority and expanding reach in American education. The act was originally chartered through 1970, but the government has reauthorized ESEA every five years since its passing. NCLB has been tormented with problems and heavily condemned by educators and lawmakers, most visibly through controversial provisions such as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) — an academic measurement for schools and school districts based on standardized tests — and the requirement for all children to be proficient in math and reading by 2014. These provisions have led to serious unintended repercussions, one being the loss of transparency to parents and taxpayers about students’ real academic performance. Most consequential is the federal government’s amplified role in the education system, as the law has severely diminished local control and influence.
As unpatriotic and insane as it may sound, an economic depression may be the best thing that could happen to America in a long time. It will force Americans to get back to the basics of life, and rebuild their lives on a foundation of productive work and sensible spending. We should not forget that the Pilgrims came to these shores when there was nothing here but wilderness, and it was through their hard work and faith in their Creator that they started to build this great nation. Of this miraculous process, William Bradford wrote: “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by his hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea in some sort to our whole nation. Let the glorious name of Jehova have all the praise.” Lee Eisenberg wrote in now defunct Portfolio magazine (March 2009): “The bottom line here is that things that truly matter in life do not come with daunting price tags attached. Sure, we all need food, health care, and shelter from the storm. But other than that, we don’t need an especially big Number to buy that which we ‘can’t live without,’ things that are ‘bedrock important.’… To sell a house we love is no small lifestyle relapse. But if the tradeoff is freedom gained — the opportunity for creative expression, doing good for others, keeping loved ones connected — well, I call that comfort, even if it’s cold comfort, in this, the winter of our discontent.”
Over the course of the last few weeks, the Occupy Wall Street protests have increased in size and volume, and have been given generous attention by a sympathetic mainstream media. A number of media outlets have attempted to present the demonstrators as merely disgruntled Americans who are unhappy with the current plight of the American economy, despite evidence that the protests have been staged by Marxists, socialists, unions, and other left-wing organizations with intents greater than merely bringing light to the struggle of the average American. For those behind the demonstrations, though not necessarily the demonstrators, the goal is in fact to bring about global government. Prior to the start of the Occupy Wall Streets, which began on October 15, the UNPA Campaign — the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly — reports that a group of leftists “issued a manifesto that includes a strong call for global democracy and, in particular, democratic rule over the international financial system.” UNPA is a group that describes itself as “a global network of parliamentarians and non-governmental organizations advocating citizen’s representation at the United Nations.” It might be worth noting that the group receives much of its funds from the Ford Foundation, whose mission indicates that its finances will be used “to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.” As noted by former board member Henry Ford II at the time of his resignation from the board, however, those endeavors amount to nothing more than anti-capitalist leftism. In his resignation letter, Ford wrote, "In effect, the Foundation is a creature of capitalism, a statement that, I'm sure, would be shocking to many professional staff people in the field of philanthropy.
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