Tens of thousands of Americans have committed to support the Christian crafts store Hobby Lobby on Jan. 5 after courts have refused to issue a ruling stopping the HHS mandate, reports lifenews.com. Hobby Lobby will incur $1.3 million in fines each day from the Obama administration for not following the mandate, which forces companies to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions for their employees. To support the company, one supporter has launched a new effort, which has quickly gone viral, to patronize the business. Organizer Joe Grabowski told LifeNews, “Inspired by the ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’ promoted this past August by Governor Mike Huckabee, a similar grassroots initiative has cropped up in the past few days at www.StandWithHobbyLobby.com. The Facebook-driven campaign has already collected more than 18,000 people who have pledged to shop at the store on Saturday. On Saturday, January 5th, all Americans who value freedom of religion and oppose the HHS Mandate’s unfair impositions upon religious individuals and corporate entities are called upon to show their support for Hobby Lobby by shopping either at their local retail Hobby Lobby store or online.” Following a decision by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denying Hobby Lobby’s request for an exemption from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate, the Christian retail company said it will defy the mandate. As LifeNews reported, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has refused to act favorably on an emergency appeal Hobby Lobby stores filed to stop enforcement of the HHS mandate against it.
- A pro-family group in Illinois is suggesting President Obama has his theology mixed up and doesn’t understand the intentions of homosexual activists in that state. In a move unusual for a sitting president, Barack Obama has weighed in on a state legislative matter, endorsing a homosexual marriage bill in Illinois soon scheduled for introduction. “Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told Reuters regarding the chief executive’s official endorsement, announced over the Christmas break. Laurie Higgins, spokesperson for the Illinois Family Institute, told OneNewsNow that in the president’s opinion, equal treatment obviously involves radically redefining marriage. “To say that in order to treat people with respect and dignity, society has to eliminate sexual complementarity from the definition of marriage actually contravenes the teachings of Jesus, whom Obama publicly claims to serve,” she pointed out. Higgins suggests the only way to do that is to completely ignore or eliminate Biblical prohibitions against homosexual conduct. The Institute spokesperson adds that all people are permitted to marry—they simply must marry someone of the opposite gender. “Those who choose to make their same-sex attraction at the center of their identity are choosing not to participate in this institution,” she says, adding, “Really they’re actually asking to be treated special.” Because in asking to change marriage, Higgins continues, they are asking to redefine the institution “by eliminating its central defining feature, which pertains to gender and sexual complementarity.”
- Starting next fall, reports idahopress.com, Idaho students could have the option of taking math, history, and other online classes provided by Khan Academy, the online content nonprofit that provides courses free to anyone, anytime and anywhere. Education officials with Northwest Nazarene University and the J. A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation say they are arranging to have Khan Academy classes tested in about two dozen public schools next fall. The Khan Academy was founded in 2008 by Salman Khan, a former hedge fund analyst who sought to provide classes free and specifically in the areas of math, finance, history, and art via thousands of video tutorials and a variety of languages. The Albertson Foundation has agreed to provide funding for the program. Northwest Nazarene University, based in Nampa, has agreed to track student improvement for students taking Khan Academy math courses. An analysis in teapartyeconomist.com called the news “a huge breakthrough for liberty. It means that a state has tentatively accepted the idea that online education that is provided by a legally independent third party who is not in any way under control of the state’s educational establishment may be as good as classroom education. This means that the state has officially admitted publicly that a tuition-free digital education may be equal academically to a campus-based education that costs on average $11,000 a year in the United States. This means that a teacher with no certification by an education department in any college may be equal to a certified teacher.”
- John Boehner’s first order of business in his second term as speaker is no more one-on-one meetings with President Obama, reports foxnews.com. An aide to the speaker, who won re-election to the leadership post Thursday afternoon, confirmed to Fox News that Boehner is done with closed-door talks with the president. Boehner and Obama over the past two years have made two unsuccessful attempts at striking a “grand bargain” deficit-reduction deal. The last set of talks, in the context of crafting a bill to avert the fiscal crisis, ended with Boehner exiting the negotiations and pushing a failed “Plan B” and then being forced to bring a Senate-passed bill to the floor. Though the bill passed the House, Republicans largely opposed it. Going forward, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said, “He is recommitting himself and the House to what we’ve done, which is working through regular order and letting the House work its will.” The confirmation of the new approach came as Boehner was chosen again as speaker despite misgivings by some conservatives about his handling of the fiscal crisis negotiations. Boehner, whose election marked the start of the 113th Congress, now will lead a chamber that looks a lot like it did two years ago, with Republicans holding a comfortable majority—but with divisions showing within the GOP caucus. On the Senate side, majority Democrats start the session with two additional seats. In reclaiming the gavel, Boehner called on Congress to act urgently on the nation’s debt crisis. “The American dream is in peril,” Boehner said, referring to the $16.4 trillion debt. “It’s wrong to pass this debt on to our kids and our grandkids.” The new Congress faces a lengthy to-do list, in large part because the last session was so unproductive. Lawmakers, in striking the fiscal crisis deal, put off until 2013 a debate over entitlement and tax reform. Immigration, gun control, and other domestic policy issues are also expected to surface early in the term.
- Commentator and talk show host Rush Limbaugh is saying that the fiscal cliff deal leaves the asset wealthy untouched, reports conservativebyte.com. Said Limbaugh, “There are two kinds of wealth in this country. . . . Income wealth versus asset wealth. Asset wealth is that group of people who are already rich, already wealthy, and do not need income to stay wealthy. They are not seeing any tax increase to speak of. Five percent increase in capital gains, but that is it. In fact, several of the asset wealthy got carve-outs in this fiscal cliff deal. The asset wealthy, Democrat donors, Democrat bundlers, Hollywood types, hedge fund types, Wall Street types, the very people that Obama is ginning up hatred for, are the very people exempted. And in their place are the income rich that people are being encouraged to resent, encouraged to hate. Obama is encouraging people to feel good when these rich people get stuck with higher taxes, except the real truly rich people in this country aren’t being stuck with higher taxes, the asset wealthy.”
- About a quarter of businesses surveyed by consulting firm Mercer don’t offer health coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week, according to bighealthreport.com. Half of them plan to make changes so fewer employees work that many hours. The health care law will particularly affect companies with 40 to 45 workers that plan to expand and hire. Many are holding off so they don’t cross the 50-employee threshold, says Christine Ippolito, principal at Compass Workforce Solutions, a human resource consulting firm in Melville, N.Y. Ernie Canadeo, president of EGC Group, a Melville-based advertising and marketing agency with 45 employees, planned to add 10 next year but now says he may add fewer so he’s not subject to the mandate. Others already over the 50-employee threshold plan to add more part-time workers or cut the hours of full-timers, says Rob Wilson, head of Employco, a human resource outsourcing firm. Many, he says, will hire more temporary workers, whom they won’t have to cover. Bighealthreport.com also reports that Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann introduced a bill on the first day the new Congress was in session to repeal the Affordable Care Act sometimes known as Obamacare. In a tweet to constituents, Bachman said, “At noon today, I introduced the first bill of the 113th Congress to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.” Similar bills have been introduced in the past—at least 33 times. All of them have failed in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
- No matter what gun control laws are passed by the federal government, they can be enforced in a given area only if its county sheriff allows them to be, reports godfatherpolitics.com. Most people, including politicians, fail to realize that the ultimate legal authorities in the land are the county sheriffs. This was established from the time of the Founding Fathers and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1997 case of Printz v. United States. Initially, the case was Mack v. United States, but by the time it reached the Supreme Court it was renamed. But congoo.com reports that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino claims Vice President Joe Biden “guaranteed” President Barack Obama will pass gun control legislation by the end of January. Mayor Menino is a reportedly a staunch gun control advocate.
- The Environmental Protection Agency is being sued for conducting poisonous and dangerous experiments on Americans, reports bighealthreport.com. Most of the subjects are poor and they include the elderly, children, and sick people. The EPA exposes these test subjects to high levels of what the agency classifies as dangerous matter that can cause instant death. They also claim that there is no law preventing the EPA from continuing its “research.” That astounding assertion will be tested soon, when a federal district court in Alexandria decides whether it has jurisdiction to hear claims made by the American Tradition Institute that EPA researchers are exposing unwary and genetically susceptible senior citizens to air pollutants the agency says can cause a variety of serious cardiac and respiratory problems, including sudden death. Although the lawsuit addresses only ongoing, purportedly illegal experimentation being carried out at an EPA laboratory on the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, EPA researchers and grantees have carried out dozens of similarly shocking experiments over the past 10 years at UNC and other schools, including Rutgers University, the University of Michigan, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, and University of Washington. During that time at those university laboratories, EPA-employed or -funded researchers have intentionally exposed a variety of people to concentrated levels of different air pollutants, including particulate matter (soot and dust), diesel exhaust, ozone, and chlorine gas—the latter substance more recognized as a World War I-era chemical weapon than as an outdoor air pollutant.