Despite the government's increased creation of money, new federal regulations that stifle companies and cause additional costs, and proposed new taxes, some businesses are pushing ahead with business-as-usual, leading to an uptick in the economy — at least in the short term. The shipping of materials used in industrial production by rail in the United States grew last month to the highest level since October 2008, with Union Pacific enjoying its strongest weekly volume so far this year. UP Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Robert Knight said he continues to see “solid demand” across most business segments, with shipments of industrial products increasing by eight percent annually.   Norfolk Southern’s CFO, James Squires is also positive, maintaining an outlook “which is still upbeat," with expected growth of three percent annually through September. And CSX noted that its industrial shipping volumes are growing at about five percent a year as well. CSX’s CFO said he isn’t concerned about “any kind of overarching sort of dire circumstances around the corner,” as his customers and suppliers are both showing a “general level of optimism.” He added, “Sure, things have moderated, but there is no one in that near state of panic that we saw certainly in late ’08 and ’09.”
Concerned that their group’s name may sound too “regional” for effective outreach throughout the U.S., officials of the 166-year-old Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) have announced a task force assigned to study the possibility of changing the name of the 16.16-million member evangelical Christian denomination, the nation’s largest. “Starting a church in New York, or Boston, or Minneapolis, or Cheyenne, Wyoming, it’s really a barrier to a lot of folks in even considering that church or that ministry,” SBC President Bryan Wright told Christianity Today. “When they hear Southern Baptist, it’s a regional perception there. The reason this task force has been set up to study a possible name change is [firstly] to consider a name that is not so geographically limiting, and secondly to help us be better prepared for reaching North America for Christ in the 21st century.” It is not the first time the SBC has looked into changing its distinctive label. “Motions to study a name change have been presented to the convention on numerous occasions,” reported the SBC’s own Baptist Press News, “for example, 1965, 1974, 1983, 1989, 1990, and 1998.” Additionally, a proposed “straw poll” to consider a name change was defeated at the SBC’s annual meeting in 1999, and an effort in 2004 to put a study in motion was also shot down.
Nearly all the pundits and attorneys are calling Jaycee Lee Dugard’s federal lawsuit a “long shot.”  Ms. Dugard, who was abducted with a “stun gun” on her way to school at age 11, then raped and tortured in a shed for 18 years by a federally paroled sex offender with the help of his also-released inmate wife, sued the federal government September 22, citing “gross neglect.” Even though the Dugard family received a $20-million settlement in 2009 through the California’s Victims’ Compensation Fund, Jaycee Dugard wants to send a message to federal officials and parole agents who “failed on numerous occasions to properly monitor” Phillip Garrido, her captor, a criminal with a history of drug abuse and violence dating back to 1976, when he abducted a woman from the Tahoe area and took her across state lines to Reno, Nevada, and raped her. Any proceeds from the lawsuit, says Dugard, will go to her private charity, the JAYC Foundation, which assists families recovering from abduction and other trauma. She has quite enough money now, after all. It’s her childhood she can’t recover — and the welfare of two children conceived in rape, whom she still nurtures.
Activists protesting Utah's opposition to same-sex "marriage" (and other statutes dealing with moral issues) have found an effective way to garner public attention: stripping down to their underwear and running through the streets of Salt Lake City. Nate Porter, who planned the so-called Undie Run, said the goal of the event was to organize those frustrated by what he dubbed "uptight" laws in Utah. He continued, "My goal is to change Utah. To make this state lighten up once and for all. I’m trying to draw people in that are jaded by [the state's] politics.” According to the Undie Run website, residents of Utah are boring and uptight, and it is the job of the protesters to change that. The site states, We want each group of friends to come with there [sic] own specific demands written all over your body/undies/signs. Be creative. Get your friends to come with matching undies and help protest for your particular issues. Help us get the message out that Utah needs to lighten up. The Beauty of this event is that it's for you [to] decide. If you check the comments below you will see many voicing there [sic] opinions in many areas that Utah needs to simply lighten up on.
Publishers of the Times World Atlas are under fire for exaggerating ice loss in Greenland and are "urgently reviewing" their newest map of that country. HarperCollins claims the latest edition of its atlas, published September 15, depicts the world "at its most fragile," but scientists say it shows a dream world. One expert told Reuters the atlas suggests Greenland's massive ice sheets are shrinking at a rate that "could easily be 20 times too fast and might well be 50 times too fast." HarperCollins admitted it erased 15 percent of Greenland's ice cover from its previous 2007 atlas, an amount Elizabeth Morris of Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute said "would lead to a sea level rise of 1 metre," according to Varsity. She and six colleagues wrote a letter to the publisher calling the mistake "implausible" and "stupid." Glaciologist Poul Christofferson also signed the letter and told Reuters that "a sizable portion of the area mapped as ice-free in the Atlas is clearly still ice-covered."
Tim Hawkins is a very funny guy. He sings a great song, “The Government Can,” with body movements that tell the story in a truly hilarious way. I watched it the other day on a website with an incredibly simple but potent message: that 545 people in Washington are responsible for all of America’s woes. Charley Reese, the writer, explained in an essay posted at LewRockwell.com: One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices — 545 human beings out of 235 million — are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. He explains further: Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?
After days of media hype, NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) fell into the Pacific Ocean without — it would seem — having harmed so much as the proverbial fly. The satellite had orbited Earth for 20 years without receiving much public attention. Launched by the space shuttle Discovery in 1991, UARS had quietly gone about its work until its inevitable, inexorable descent hurtled the six-ton satellite into the public spotlight at the very hour of its death. UARS’ function was to study the ozone layer of Earth’s atmosphere. The satellite’s mission was only supposed to last for three years, but — with a longevity strikingly similar to that of NASA’s Mars landers — UARS continued to function over a decade after the conclusion of its scheduled mission. When the Bush administration reduced funding for the Earth Science Enterprise, the UARS was officially decommissioned, and the satellite was dropped from its higher orbit in December 2005. It was this final burn that led to the UARS’ fall from space nearly six years later. According to press reports, the satellite harmlessly dropped into the Pacific Ocean. FoxNews noted:
Some of America’s most diligent Leftists have planned a series of events along the West Coast, targeting banks and the homes of bankers in much the same way that SEIU protested outside the home of Bank of America executive Greg Baer — intimidating Baer’s 13-year old son who was trapped in the house alone. The “Days of Rage” will be taking place at a host of spots in greater Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. The groups have circulated a flier that reads “Make Banks Pay” indicates that from Monday September 26 to Thursday September 29, the demonstrators will be doing the following:
While America's President shrinks from facing the demographic catastrophe lurking a decade or two down the road for Social Security, Medicare, and public pensions, there is evidence in Germany that such a debacle might be avoided — and a glimmer of hope in France. Last year French President Nicolas Sarkozy raised the retirement age in his country from 60 to 62 — for which he endured weeks of demonstrations and a lessening of his popularity.  Now his Prime Minister, François Fillon, has suggested that France should place its retirement policy in line with that of Germany, which has voted to increase the retirement age to 67. (That is a year higher than the full Social Security retirement age for Americans born from 1943-1954.) Fillon touched on that subject during a September 22 speech to business leaders in Paris, stressing that in areas of fiscal impact such as retirement age, France needed to dovetail its policies with Germany, the largest economy in the European Union.
Italian authorities vowed a few days ago to send home more than a thousand Africans who invaded the isle of Lampedusa after leaving Tunisia and Libya to seek fortune in Europe. The latest pronouncement from Italy, London's Telegraph reported, came after the detained illegal aliens set fire to the facility in which they were housed. But the latest crisis on Lampedusa is merely one more ugly episode in the avoidable fate that befell the island when the tsunami of refugees landed after the collapse of Tunisia’s government early this year. The island is just 113 miles from Tunisia, and is indeed closer to Africa than to its mother, Italy. Throughout this year, Italian officials sat paralyzed, wondering what to do about the great African migration while the teeming horde of Tunisians, Libyans, and others swept over Lampedusa like a biblical plague.  
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