Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘California’

US West Faces ‘Worst Drought in 500 Years’.


California’s three-year drought could end up being the area’s worst in 500 years, forcing even tougher restrictions on residents who have been cutting back on showers and farming already.

On Friday, the State Water Project, which is the main distribution system of municipal water in California, announced it would not be allocating any water from its reservoirs to local agencies this spring. It is the first time it has taken such action in its 54-year history.

Drinking water for 25 million people and irrigation for 1 million acres of farmland will be affected, Fox News reports. 

“We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years,” B. Lynn Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, told The New York Times.

Gov. Jerry Brown already had called on Californians to cut back on water use by 20 percent.

The State Water Project typically makes an announcement of water allocation on February 1, enabling farmers to plan what and how much they will plant based on how much water they will be able to use for irrigation. With the announcement that no allocation will be made, some farmers have opted to plant nothing, The New York Times reports. 

Others are planning to drill more wells to tap aquifers, which aren’t regulated by the state. But previous years’ use of those aquifers already have lowered their levels, and the ongoing drought has not given them time to return to normal range.

With fears that California could be in a 500-year drought, officials want water supplies to be preserved in case they are needed over the next several years.

“These actions will protect us all in the long run,” State Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said in a news conference.

The crisis is pitting farmers, city dwellers and environmentalists against each other, but officials are appealing to residents to put aside long-held divisions.

A snow survey Thursday in the Sierra Nevada showed a snowpack of only 12 percent of normal, Fox reported. Reservoirs are lower than in 1977, one of the state’s previous worst drought years.

With forecasts still calling for no rain, 17 rural communities that provide water to 40,000 people could run out of within 60 to 120 days, The New York Times reports.

“Every day this drought goes on we are going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing,” the governor said.

“I have experienced a really long career in this area, and my worry meter has never been this high,” Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, told The New York Times. “We are talking historical drought conditions, no supplies of water in many parts of the state. My industry’s job is to try to make sure that these kind of things never happen. And they are happening.”

Besides drinking supplies and farm irrigation, the lack of water is threatening the endangered salmon and other fish species. And air pollution in Los Angeles, which had been declining over the past 10 years, is on the rise without rain to clean the air. Bans have been put on fireplace wood burning to combat the problem.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Judicial Watch Sues for Obama Trip Costs.


Image: Judicial Watch Sues for Obama Trip Costs

By Todd Beamon

Judicial Watch has sued the Secret Service and the U.S. Defense Department to obtain information on the amount of taxpayer funds spent on trips by President Barack Obama and his family over the past two years.

The conservative watchdog group said Thursday it had filed the lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in U.S. District Court in Washington.

The litigation seeks information on how much the government spent on trips last year by President Obama to Africa, California, Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, and to Hawaii in 2012; and by first lady Michelle Obama to Ireland last June and to London in 2012 for the Olympics.

“The Obama administration is in cover-up mode on the costs of the Obamas’ travel,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The Secret Service has, in contemptuous violation of law, simply stopped answering our Freedom of Information inquiries.

“It seems that our ‘king’ does not want taxpayers to know how much he’s spending on his unnecessary travel,” he said.

Last week, Judicial Watch said that information obtained through a FOIA request revealed that taxpayers spent a total of $295,437.04 on separate trips for President Obama, Mrs. Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden during the three-day President’s Day holiday last February.

That request was filed last June, the group said.

Related Stories:

© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

More Methodists Pushing Rebellious Gay and Lesbian Envelope.


 

Frank Schaefer
Frank Schaefer serves communion to his supporters at the end of his two-day church trial. Photo by Kathy L. (Kathy L. Gilbert/United Methodist News Service)

Almost daily, evidence mounts of defiant United Methodist clergy breaking church law on behalf of gays and lesbians as the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination struggles with what may be its most vexing rebellion in decades.

Consider:

  • A retired seminary president, the Rev. William McElvaney, said Sunday (Jan. 19) that he is willing to officiate at same-sex weddings. The 85-year-old former president of St. Paul School of Theology made the announcement at Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas. He called church trials “the Methodist version of inquisition in the 20th and 21st centuries.”
  • After the Jan. 14 federal ruling striking down a gay marriage ban in Oklahoma, a group of Methodists favoring same-sex marriage took out ads in the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman praising the ruling and inviting people to Methodist churches.
  • Every week, another Methodist minister “comes out” and acknowledges performing a same-sex wedding on the website of the New York-based Methodists in New Directions. So far, 14 clergy have made such disclosures; none has faced a church complaint, said Dorothee Benz, MIND spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Frank Schaefer, the former Pennsylvania pastor stripped of his clergy credentials after presiding at a same-sex ceremony, continues to receive emotional and financial support. A collection organized by Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., raised more than $30,000 for Schaefer.

The ongoing crisis over gays is embarrassing to the denomination, says a Southern California bishop who offered Schaefer a job working in her conference.

“The defrocking of Frank Schaefer brought great shame to our denomination and much pain to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” said Bishop Minerva G. Carcano of the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“It saddens me and many others that we continue to use trials as a way of addressing this. It does not look good at all,” she said.

She sees the growing movement challenging church policy as a turning point.

“People are stepping up and expressing what they feel in ways I have not seen before,” she said. “It is a moment of real possibility for change in the church.”

Carcano’s comments follow the Jan. 17 news that a second United Methodist pastor faces a church trial for officiating at the wedding of his son to another man. The Rev. Thomas Ogletree, 80, retired pastor and former Yale Divinity School dean, faces a March 19 trial in Stamford, Conn.

United Methodist law since 1972 has defined marriage as between a man and a woman. It bans clergy from performing and churches from hosting same-sex ceremonies.

Carcano said Schaefer met with her and her Cabinet on Jan. 12 to discuss his potential hire in California, but no decision has been made.

The Rev. Bill Bouknight, associate director of the Confessing Movement, an evangelical group, said church trials are necessary to hold clergy accountable.

“The developments sadden us because they are clearly contrary to Scripture and to doctrines of the United Methodist Church,” said Bouknight, a retired pastor who lives in Columbia, S.C.

Bishop Melvin Talbert, the only bishop known to have presided at a same-sex marriage, said the number of people challenging what he considers unjust church law encourages him.

“Biblical obedience means we decide to do the right thing no matter what,” he said.

Several other clergy are likely to face church trials soon.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

States Buck Public Opinion, Offer Driver’s Licenses to Illegals.


Nevada has become the latest state to allow illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license — even as public opinion polls show that the great majority of Americans oppose such measures.
A national poll conducted in October by Rasmussen Reports found that 68 percent of likely U.S. voters think illegal immigrants should not be allowed to obtain state driver’s licenses. Just 22 percent favor licenses for illegals in their state.
Critics say the laws encourage illegal immigration by legitimizing the status of those who come to the United States illegally.

“It is a kind of amnesty. It doesn’t given them any legal status, but by giving them a government-issued ID, it helps them imbed in society,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.,  said in an interview with Newsmax.

“This is a way of protecting illegals from coming to the attention of immigration authorities,” Krikorian said. “It’s a way of documenting the undocumented.”
In Nevada, Democratic-led lawmakers approved a driver’s license law in 2013. It was signed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, the state’s first Hispanic governor, who considers it a public safety measure, and went into effect at the beginning of this month.

“Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s privilege card will increase the number of drivers on Nevada’s roads that are insured and aware of traffic rules and regulations,” Sandoval said in a statement after signing the bill.

When Nevada began issuing licenses on Jan. 2, long lines formed at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Las Vegas, waiting for the 8 a.m. opening of the office. The Associated Press reported that “thousands of Nevada immigrants” sought to obtain licenses on the first day.

Those applying for the driving privilege cards must show some proof of their identity as well as evidence of Nevada residency and insurance. New drivers must pass a driving test, and pay to retake the test if they fail.

The information provided for the licenses, however, may not be used against them for purposes of enforcing immigration laws, a key provision in a state like Nevada where about a fourth of all residents are Latino.

Other states that have approved similar laws include Utah, Washington, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, California, New Mexico, and Illinois, along with the District of Columbia.
Said California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, in signing his state’s law last year: “No longer are undocumented people in the shadows. They are alive and well and respected in the State of California.”

The climate of permissiveness licenses for illegals follows a crackdown period after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacksthat came in response to widespread fears of foreign-born terrorists entering the country.

“After 9-11, things were tightening up. Now those states that are mainly run by Democrats are backtracking,” said Krikorian, noting that Congress has given leeway through the REAL ID law to states to issue immigrant driver’s cards, but those cannot be used for federal identification purposes like boarding planes.
New Mexico, with the nation’s largest Hispanic population, is one state attempting to buck the trend. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is hoping to convince the Democratic-led state legislature to repeal the state’s current law, which offers licenses to illegals.She has tried before and failed, but vows to continue.
Polling shows that Martinez has support for her position, said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., a New Mexico firm that has polled for the Albuquerque Journal twice on the issue.

“Both times, the polls that we did for the Journal showed approximately 70 percent of registered voters opposed granting licenses to undocumented workers,” Sanderoff told Newsmax.

“I think it’s a significant issue to the extent that the governor is once again latching onto it,” he said.

New Mexico differs from its heavily Hispanic neighbor Arizona, where its governor, Republican Jan Brewer, has taken an aggressive stance against illegals in her state. In New Mexico, most Hispanic residents are natives, tracing their lineage back to Spain, said Sanderoff.

“Most New Mexicans are Americans, born and raised here, more so than the average state,” he said, which likely explains why voters there oppose the law by a wide margin.

The trend could continue as Congress renews its debate on immigration reform this year and proponents continue to push for the measure in more states.

“The push for it is nationally coordinated,” Krikorian said. “There is a broader push by national groups to have more say in the issue. They see it in two ways. First, as a practical matter, it helps to imbed the illegal immigrants in the U.S., making it less likely they will leave. Also, it will be presented as evidence of nationwide momentum for immigration ‘reform.'”

Related stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Andrea Billups

Obamacare Delivers Staggering Knockout Blow To Middle Class.


“And here’s what you need to know. First, I will not sign a health care plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period” – Barack Obama, September 9, 2009

The hard, cold reality of Obamacare is that it adds $6,200,000,000,000.00 to our national deficit. One of the largest, most impactful laws ever to be passed in American history, and it is 100% based upon a lie.

The Week: ObamaCare has delivered another sucker punch to the middle class. This time it’s sticker shock. Now that most people can get past the tech problems of HealthCare.gov and actually see the real cost of insurance plans available, they are finding that Affordable Care is a big hit to the family budget. And when the family budget gets hit in the solar plexus, guess what happens to consumer spending and the economy?

obamacare-sticker-shock-obama

In California, policies for about 900,000 Californians are being canceled because of ObamaCare’s mandates, and about two-thirds of these do not qualify for subsidies, according to The Chicago Tribune. The result: These folks will be paying higher premiums.

In Alabama, premiums have doubled for some middle-class families, like that of Courtney Long, a stay-at-home mother of four. She told WHNT News, “It’s devastating. I started crying.”

“I mean, we have worked so hard to get out of credit card debt, get ahead on the car loan, transfer our mortgage to a 15- from a 30-year mortgage… and for what?”

In Tennessee, GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander issued an analysis of a White House report and found the following:

    • Today, a 27-year-old man in Memphis can buy a plan for as low as $41 a month. On the exchange, the lowest state average is $119 a month — a 190 percent increase.
    • Today, a 27-year-old woman in Nashville can also buy a plan for as low as $58 a month. On the exchange, the lowest-priced plan in Nashville is $114 a month — a 97 percent increase. Even with a tax subsidy, that plan is $104 a month, almost twice what she could pay today.
    • Today, women in Nashville can choose from 30 insurance plans that cost less than the administration says insurance plans on the exchange will cost, even with the new tax subsidy.
    • In Nashville, 105 insurance plans offered today will not be available in the exchange.

In Washington state, ObamaCare will increase the underlying cost of individually purchased health insurance by 34 to 80 percent on average, according to Forbes.

The list goes on and on and includes Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Georgia, and North Carolina. But premiums are just the beginning. The deductibles are outrageous, too.

A recent article in The New York Times tells the story of Doug and Ginger Chapman, ages 55 and 54, a middle-class couple “sitting on the health care cliff.” Their annual income of around $100,000 a year makes them ineligible for a subsidy in New Hampshire (if they earned under $94,000, it would cut their costs by half). They have to replace their family insurance which includes the two of them and their two sons. The premium cost alone, not including any deductible, is $1,000 a month, or 12 percent of their income.

The Times‘ analysis found the following:

The cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s. In some places, prices can quickly approach 20 percent of a person’s income. Experts consider health insurance unaffordable once it exceeds 10 percent of annual income. By that measure, a 50-year-old making $50,000 a year, or just above the qualifying limit for assistance, would find the cheapest available plan to be unaffordable in more than 170 counties around the country, ranging from Anchorage to Jackson, Miss. [The New York Times]

The other group that gets disproportionately hit is the young, according to Forbes. For a 40-year-old, the 2013 average deductible was $4,045, and the monthly cost increased 29 percent to $309. For a 64-year-old man, the monthly cost of a plan with a $3,494 deductible increased 64 percent to $806.

If even a fraction of the middle class and upper middle income earners divert some of their discretionary dollars to pay for health care, it will have a significant impact on consumer spending. What will that mean for the economy? Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the nation’s GDP, although experts say that number is likely to decline.

The top 20 percent of income earners account for about 40 percent of all spending in the U.S. When you increase the costs of health care and the new taxes associated with ObamaCare, you can hear the wallets closing. source – The Week.

by NTEB News Desk.

Terri Schiavo’s Family Joins Fight for Teen on Life Support.


A foundation started on behalf of Terri Schiavo, whose case sparked a national right-to-die debate, says it’s been secretly helping the family of of a 13-year-old brain dead California girl fight to keep her on life support.

The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network said in a statement it’s been involved in the case of Jahi McMath in “relative silence,” as her family searched for a long-term care facility to care for her.

McMath’s family says it found a facility in New York; doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland assert there’s no hope for her recovery. She was declared brain dead after complications from a routine tonsillectomy Dec. 12.

“Together with our team of experts, Terri’s Network believes Jahi’s case is representative of a very deep problem within the U.S. healthcare system — particularly those issues surrounding the deaths of patients within the confines of hospital corporations, which have a vested financial interest in discontinuing life,” the foundation said.

Schiavo’s case sparked a national debate in the ’90s as doctors, lawyers and family members battled over whether to remove Schiavo’s feeding tube. She died in 2005, nearly two weeks after doctors removed the device.

In the foundation statement about McMath, Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s brother and executive director of the organization, noted: “Families and individuals must make themselves aware of what so-called ‘brain death’ is and what it is not. Every person needs to understand that medical accidents happen every day. Families and individuals must be more aware of the issue of accountability and patient rights.”

On Tuesday, a judge extended Jahi’s life support an hour before a federal court order keeping the hospital from unhooking her was set to expire. The deadline was extended to Jan. 7.

McMath family lawyer Christopher Dolan said Wednesday he’s fighting for a tracheostomy for Jahi.

“However, many surgeons and hospital administrators are on holiday making our goal difficult to reach,” he said in a statement posted on the foundations website.

“If Children’s Hospital Oakland would perform the procedure we could quickly move Jahi to a facility that provides innovative world-class treatments, of the type being given to Prime Minister Sharon in Israel.”

Dolan pleaded for a specialist to step forward “and give this mother the choice and this child a chance.”

Children’s Hospital Oakland declared last week it “does not believe that performing surgical procedures on the body of a deceased person is an appropriate medical practice,” ABC News reported.

Omari Sealey, Jahi’s uncle, said Wednesday the family still hopes to move her to another facility, CNN reported.

Related Story:

 

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cathy Burke

Obamacare Forces End of Year Rush on Medical Procedures.


As 2013 draws to a close many patients are scrambling to complete medical procedures at facilities they will be ineligible to use in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

According to The Wall Street Journal, concern over anticipated higher deductibles in 2014 is also contributing to the spike in last-minute demand.

Some prestigious medical centers and specialists are not available under insurance plans offered under Obamacare, and many doctors have chosen not to take part in the system, the Journal reported Sunday.

Some 40 percent of participating physicians at Blue Shield of California, for example, have dropped out because they do not want to accept the lower rates prescribed by the new plans. UCLA‘s Ronald Reagan teaching hospital and its affiliated facilities will also be dropped under some Blue Shield of California plans, the Journal reported.

Overall, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., 70 percent of plans under Obamacare will offer a comparatively narrower range of provider options than had been available.

The end of year “boomlet,” as the Journal called it, in doctor visits and procedures was noticeable around the country as scores of patients pushed up elective surgeries, preventive colonoscopies and various scans. Thomas Priselac, the chief executive of Cedars-Sinai Health System, reported “a big spike in December.”

Americans will be able to purchase plans that replicate existing coverage but often at significantly greater cost, the Journal also noted.

Some healthy people will face unwelcome surprises as they become aware of the limitations imposed by their new coverage.

“We have a lot of people who aren’t sick yet, don’t need any procedures and will have a rude awakening when they realize they don’t have access to the providers they want,” Joanne Conroy, chief health care officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges, told the Journal.

Related Stories

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,696 other followers