If the decline in the Portuguese money supply for September is annualized, it will shrink by more than 20 percent, presaging more economic difficulties for a country already reeling from austerity measures imposed by the European Union. Measures of money supply are watched carefully by economists as a portent for economic behavior over the coming six to 12 months. With an economy already suffering from 12-percent unemployment, a debt-to-GDP ratio approaching an astonishing 360 percent, and the yield on the country’s 10-year treasury debt exceeding 12 percent, it won’t take much to send the Prime Minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, scurrying to the European Central Bank (ECB), hat in hand, for more help. In fact Portugal's economy may already have gone over the edge. Simon Ward, economist with Henderson Global Investors, said that the mix of fiscal austerity demanded from the ECB in exchange for a bailout of $115 billion earlier this year and monetary tightening by the ECB has forced Portugal to enter a “Grecian vortex.”
A top court in Brazil has weighed in on homosexual marriage, ruling that two women can legally tie the knot. According to the Associated Press, Brazil’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice (STJ) is the nation’s highest court to side for same-sex marriage. In May Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that homosexual civil unions could be recognized, despite the constitution’s restriction that such unions were restricted to a man and a woman. The high court stopped short of ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. But in June “a state court judge ruled that two men could legally change their civil union into a full marriage,” reported the AP, and since then “several couples have petitioned to have their civil unions recognized as full marriages. Some of those have been approved at lower courts, others blocked.”  
I don’t know which I’m more tired of hearing: Barack Obama gloating that one of the richest men in America supports his tax-the-rich efforts, or Warren Buffett whining that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.  Let me state for the record that both men are playing fast and loose with the truth, and they both know it. It is true that Buffett pays a relatively low rate in taxes on most of his income. That’s because it’s not his salary that matters, but what he receives in dividends from his investments. Such dividends are currently taxed at 15 percent a year. If he pays his secretary a decent wage, which I’m sure he does, her tax rate is surely much higher. But what Warren doesn’t include in his calculations are the taxes that have already been paid on those dividends before he receives them. You see, corporations must pay Uncle Sam 35 percent of all the profits they make before they can send any of those profits to the owners of the company — that is, the shareholders.
As Americans become more frightened by the disastrous direction our government is taking, and more frustrated that elected representatives are not listening to them, the demand is growing for drastic action. In recent months the action most heard in state houses across the nation is a rising call for a new Constitutional Convention (Con Con). Supporters somehow think a Con Con is the solution to saving our Republic. They want to amend the Constitution to force a balance budget. They want to shore up ambiguous language to make the meaning clear. They want to assure there is no doubt what America is and should be. For most pushing such an agenda, their intentions are honest.  
Two employees at the notorious Philadelphia “House of Horrors” clinic operated by late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell have pleaded guilty to murder in the deaths of a baby born at the clinic and a woman who had come for an abortion. As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, 34-year-old Adrienne Moton admitted that she killed a baby who had been born alive at the abortion facility, while Sherry West, 52, pleaded guilty to administering a lethal dose of painkillers and anesthesia to a 41-year-old woman who had come for an abortion. The guilty pleas leave seven additional individuals to be tried in a case that has stunned even abortion supporters because of the evidence of the murders of both live-born babies and adults at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society. “Gosnell, 70, could face the death penalty if convicted,” reported the Boston Herald. “He is accused of cutting the spinal cords of seven babies born alive at his clinic.” He also faces a third-degree murder charge in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, the immigrant woman who died as a result of the drugs he directed West to administer.
Despite the Obama administration’s best efforts to place stricter gun controls on American citizens, support for the Second Amendment is currently at a record high. A recent Gallup poll shows a mere 26 percent of the respondents believe the federal government should ban handguns. Seventy-three percent of those polled are opposed to a government ban on handguns. Another Gallup poll reveals that the percentage of American gun owners has increased as well. The Second Amendment poll shows a marked increase from the first time the question was asked in 1959, when 60 percent of the respondents favored banning handguns. Those figures changed dramatically by 1975, however, when the majority of Americans began to show opposition for such a measure. This most current poll shows that support for gun-control measures is at a historic low. Gallup’s website reports: For the first time, Gallup finds greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, 53% to 43%. In the initial asking of this question in 1996, the numbers were nearly reversed, with 57% for and 42% against an assault rifle ban. Congress passed such a ban in 1994, but the law expired when Congress did not act to renew it in 2004. Around the time the law expired, Americans were about evenly divided in their views.
During recent political rallies, President Obama ambitiously claimed that he has delivered 60 percent of his 2008 campaign promises, but the watchdog organization Politfact.com reveals that the President’s assertion is far from accurate. Speaking at two fundraisers earlier this week, Obama recounted a list of "accomplishments" which he has resolved during his first term in the White House, as he rattled off a catalog of completed initiatives, including financial regulation, healthcare reform, and pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq. Those achievements comprise 60 percent of what he strove to achieve, Obama averred, adding, "I’m pretty confident we can get the next 40 percent done in the next five years." Obama acknowledged that "the economy is still hurting," while he emphasized how crucial it is that Republicans support his $447-billion jobs plan, which currently lingers in congressional limbo. During the first of two fundraisers on Tuesday, the President conceded that the 2012 election will be more challenging than in 2008, as he offered this thought to a group of donors: "This election will not be as sexy as the first one." He added, "Back then, I was — it was still fresh and new, and I didn’t have any gray hair and everybody loved the ‘Hope’ posters and all that. But this time it’s — We’ve got to grind it out a little bit. We’ve got to grind it out."
Democrats in the Senate Super Committee released its list of proposals to reduce the deficit, and it unsurprisingly includes over one trillion dollars in new taxes. ABC reports, “Democrats have proposed a framework for the Super Committee that multiple aides confirm is around $3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade through a cocktail of cuts to entitlements, including Medicare, and as much as $1.3 trillion in new tax revenues.” The Super Committee is faced with the task of finding a minimum of $1.3 trillion in savings before November 23, when a round of automatic spending cuts will take effect.  
Millions no doubt have read or heard the Hans Christian Andersen tale of how some alleged weavers of long ago convinced their emperor that the new clothes they were selling him were made of such fine and rare material that only the stupid and incompetent could fail to see the exquisite threads. The emperor, not wishing to be exposed as either stupid or incompetent, bought the story and the invisible “clothes.” He wore nothing else as he went though the streets in a grand parade, hearing nothing but praise from his subjects on the excellence of his royal attire. Until one simple, unschooled child broke the spell by crying out the simple, unadorned truth: The emperor was wearing no clothes at all. We are left to imagine what might have followed. Was the politically incorrect brat beheaded for that unseemly outbreak of candor? Placed in a dungeon? Enrolled in one of the emperor’s schools to be reeducated, with a mind more attuned to the political “realities”? And what of the conniving “weavers”? Were they suitably punished for deceiving the emperor and his subjects with false “intelligence” on the nature of the fabric that went into the making of the magnificent new clothes? Or did they receive the emperor’s Medal of Freedom and go off to write books and appear as experts at symposiums on royal apparel?
An after-school Christian kids' club is suing the school district of Owassa, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, for preventing the club’s organizers from promoting events at one of the district’s schools. According to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the conservative legal advocacy group that is representing the club, the district took away the Kids for Christ club’s right to distribute fliers, make announcements, put up posters, and other activities at Northeast Elementary School, arguing that the club, which meets outside of class time, is religious. Meanwhile, the district continues to allow such groups as the Boy Scouts and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), along with businesses such as a local burrito restaurant, to promote their activities. “A Christian organization should not be targeted for discrimination when it is simply seeking to publicize its voluntary meetings just like other community groups do,” said ADF attorney Matt Sharp. “The district would have people believe that the Constitution requires a religious organization to be singled out in this manner when, in reality, the Constitution strictly prohibits this type of discrimination. The courts have repeatedly upheld this.” The federal lawsuit is challenging the district’s policy on approved campus communications, which states: “No literature will be distributed that contains primarily religious, objectionable, or political overtones which may be beneficial to any particular group or business at the expense of others.”
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