Friday, March 20, 2009

CHPP Daily Brief - March 20, 2009

In This Issue
• The Daily Brief
• The Middle East in Focus
• The First 100 Days
• Good News Corner

Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
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The Daily Brief - Friday, March 20, 2009

"I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it that men should fear before Him." (Ecclesiastes 3:14)

The Daily Brief

1. U.S. Budget Deficit Forecast to Hit $1.8 Trillion This Year - Fox News

President Obama's budget would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade, according to the latest congressional estimates, significantly worse than predicted by the White House just last month. The Congressional Budget Office figures, released Friday, predict Obama's budget will produce $9.3 trillion worth of red ink over 2010-2019. That's $2.3 trillion worse than the White House predicted in its budget. Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under Obama's policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable. By the end of the decade, the deficit would exceed 5 percent of gross domestic product, a dangerously high level.

- Lord, please give wisdom to those who will be making financial decisions for this country. Bring clarity and purpose to those who will be making the choices about what programs are necessary and which are burdens that do not need to be added.

- "Let Him weigh me with accurate scales, And let God know my integrity." (Job 31:6)

2. 'Smart Grid' may be vulnerable to hackers - CNN

Is it really so smart to forge ahead with the high technology, digitally based electricity distribution and transmission system known as the "Smart Grid"? Tests have shown that a hacker can break into the system, and cybersecurity experts said a massive blackout could result. Until the United States eliminates the Smart Grid's vulnerabilities, some experts said, deployment should proceed slowly. "I think we are putting the cart before the horse here to get this stuff rolled out very fast," said Ed Skoudis, a co-founder of InGuardians, a network security research and consulting firm. The Smart Grid will use automated meters, two-way communications and advanced sensors to improve electricity efficiency and reliability. The nation's utilities have embraced the concept and are installing millions of automated meters on homes across the country, the first phase in Smart Grid's deployment. President Obama has championed Smart Grid, and the recent stimulus bill allocated $4.5 billion for the high-tech program.

- As technology continues to grow, we pray for guidance so that any measures taken will be done in a way that preserves safety and does not give free reign to any who seek to wreck destruction.

- "Yet when we are among mature believers we do speak words of wisdom; a wisdom not belonging, however, to the present age nor to the leaders of the present age who are soon to pass away." (1 Corinthians 2:6)

3. Hill panel testimony to accuse ACORN of mob tactics - Washington Times

A lawyer for a whistleblower on the activist group ACORN is prepared to tell a House panel Thursday that the group provided liberal causes with protest-for- hire services and coerced donations from the targets of demonstrations through a mob-style "protection" racket. ACORN called it the "muscle for the money" program, according to prepared testimony Pittsburgh lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh plans to deliver at a hearing of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and civil liberties.

- We thank You for bringing to light any groups which may be working to manipulate our country. Protect those who may be targeted by ruthless men intent on their own gains.

- "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit." (Matthew 12:33)

4. FBI planting spies in U.S. mosques, Muslim groups say - CNN

Ten U.S. Muslim organizations threatened this week to cease working with the FBI, citing "McCarthy-era tactics" by the agency, including efforts to covertly infiltrate California mosques. The groups claim the FBI has sent undercover agents posing as worshippers into mosques, pressured Muslims to become informants, labeled civil rights advocates as criminals and spread misinformation.

- Please grant protection for those who are ferreting out those who are planning evil in our midst. We thank You for the workers who are putting their own lives in danger to keep us safe.

- "Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart." (Psalm 26:2)

5. Vermont on Fast Track to Allowing Gay Marriage - Fox News

A state Senate committee unanimously approved a gay marriage bill on Friday, moving Vermont one step closer to allowing same-sex couples to legally wed. "It provides ... gay and lesbian couples the same rights that I have as a married heterosexual," said Sen. John Campbell, vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chief sponsor of the bill. The committee's vote ended an intense week highlighted by a public hearing Wednesday night in which more than 500 people swarmed the Statehouse to speak for and against allowing same- sex marriages.

- Lord, we ask for forgiveness for those who are undermining Your institutions. We pray that there will be an uprising to preserve marriage in order to give a safe haven for our children.

- "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires," (2 Timothy 4:3)

6. U.S. Navy vessels collide near Iran - CNN

A submerged U.S. submarine hit a Navy warship early Friday in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran, damaging both vessels and causing minor injuries, Navy officials said. Fifteen sailors were slightly hurt aboard the submarine USS Hartford and returned to duty, a Navy spokesman said. No injuries were reported aboard the amphibious ship USS New Orleans.

- Thank You Lord for protecting these sailors and we pray for their continued safety as they place themselves in danger patrolling these dangerous waters.

- "You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance." (Psalm 32:7)

The Middle East in Focus

This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:

LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. (Psalm 15)

1. Likud-Kadima coalition talks resumed - Ynet News

The secret talks between the Likud and Kadima parties have been resumed recently in a bid to form a joint coalition, sources in both parties confirmed Friday.

2. IDF confirms arrest of 10 Hamas men - Jerusalem Post

Defiant Hamas officials said on Thursday that the arrest by the IDF of 10 senior Hamas representatives in the West Bank would not make them change their demands for the release of St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit, who is being held captive in the Gaza Strip.

3. Netanyahu seeking Obama meeting in May U.S. trip - Ha'aretz

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is to make his first working visit to Washington May 3, pending an official invitation from President Barack Obama, sources close to the Likud leader told Haaretz Wednesday.

4. Israel: Talks ongoing for Israeli F-35 systems - Jerusalem Post

Citing budgetary constraints, a Pentagon official has ruled out the prospect of installing Israeli-made electronic warfare suites in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but the Ministry of Defense struck a more optimistic tone, telling The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that talks on installing further Israeli systems were still on.

The First 100 Days

DAY 60

"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases." (Proverbs 21:1)

1. Special Olympics Bowler Offers Obama Bowling Tips

Tim Maloney, a 38-year-old with Down Syndrome who has been bowling for 30 years, said the president needs to practice more if he wants to bring his recent score of 129 anywhere close to his average of 165.

2. White House Breaks Ground for 'Kitchen Garden'

Michelle Obama and a group of 26 elementary schoolchildren began work Friday on a vegetable garden that is on the White House grounds.

3. New York Democrats Indicted in Alleged $30 Million 'Pay-to-Play' Scheme

A Democratic consultant and state official were indicted Thursday for allegedly receiving $30 million in kickbacks, as New York's attorney general accused them of using the state's pension fund investments as a "piggy bank."

4. Obama Seeks to Prevent Wasteful Spending of Recovery Funds

President Obama announced guidelines Friday aimed at preventing waste and fraud and limiting the influence lobbyists will have in carrying out the $787 billion economic stimulus program.

5. RAW DATA: Special Olympics Official Statement to Obama's Joke

The following is an official statement from Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver: President Obama called last night and expressed his regret and he apologized. He said that he did not intend to humiliate Special Olympics athletes or people with intellectual disabilities. He was sincere and heartfelt, and said that he is a fan of our movement and is ready to work with our athletes to make the United States a more accepting and welcoming country for all people with special needs. "

6. Iranian Leaders Ignore Obama's Outstretched Hand

Iran's supreme leader snubs President Obama in response to a warm video issued by the White House seeking a "new beginning" with Iran.

Good News Corner

North Carolina Upholds Abstinence Message

At least 24 states and the District of Columbia are moving from abstinence instruction to a more condom- based approach, a massive shift away from the wait- until-marriage method promoted heavily by the Bush administration.

Many states adopted abstinence education and received federal funding when Congress designed the programs in 1996, Fox News reported.

Some states want to continue to uphold the healthiest standard --- abstinence until marriage. John Rustin, director of government relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, points out that out of 115 school districts in the state, just 10 teach something more than abstinence.

"We think that sends a pretty strong message that the vast majority of school districts are very pleased and content with abstinence-until-marriage education," Rustin told Fox News. "It is effective and provides a great deal of information to students about sexual activity."

North Carolina law mandates the teaching of abstinence until marriage. School boards are allowed to expand the program, after public meetings and parent approval. New legislation would undermine that process.

Rustin said teaching about condoms is similar to teaching kids how to be safe when they engage in other risky behaviors like smoking, drinking and taking drugs.

"North Carolina public schools have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to tobacco, alcohol and drug use. Our question is, why in the world would we take a different position when it comes to sex?" (Source: Focus on the Family; CitizenLink; 3/6/90)