News Items

JERUSALEM, Israel -- The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on the legality of listing Israel as the country of birth on U.S. passports of Israeli-born Jews holding dual citizenship.

Monday’s hearing involved a petition by 12-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky’s parents, who sued the State Department in 2003 for refusing to list Israel as the country of their Jerusalem-born son’s birth.

Menachem’s American-born parents, who immigrated to Israel after their first two sons were born, believe their first Israeli-born child should be recognized as such on his U.S. passport.

The same year he was born, former President George W. Bush signed legislation requiring the State Department to list Israel as the...

Voters likely will hear a familiar refrain Tuesday night as the election returns stream in: "Too close to call." 

From Alaska to Iowa to Florida and virtually everywhere in between, a surprising number of congressional and gubernatorial candidates are locked in tight races on Election Day. 

The battle for the Senate boils down to roughly 10 toss-up or battleground races, though a few others could yet surprise when the ballots are in. And at the state level, nearly a dozen governors are at risk of losing their seats - a volatile landscape not seen in decades. 

Turnout is key for both parties, especially Democrats as they battle historical midterm headwinds that typically punish whichever party holds the White House. Polling consistently has...

For years, one of the big arguments against solar energy is that it’s too expensive for consumers, and can’t compete price-wise with conventional electricity produced by burning fossil fuel in utility plants.

But that may be changing. Two new studies indicate that solar is getting affordable more quickly than expected, and that it’s on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices for most of the United States in just two years.

One study, by Deutsche Bank energy analyst Vishal Shaw, isn’t yet available on the financial institution’s website, but its findings have been reported in...

No matter which party winds up controlling the House and Senate after next Tuesday's elections, we will hear the usual calls for bipartisan cooperation.

Many Democratic candidates are running in hyper-drive trying to distance themselves from President Barack Obama.

One area in which they could find some common ground with Republicans is to oppose the increasingly dangerous penchant of the White House and State Department to attack Israel, a country that is already under greater siege because of failed U.S. behavior in the...

Politics and sports have something in common: generally, there is no such thing as a tie. 

In politics, there are winners and losers at the polls. In Congress, lawmakers pass bills or defeat them. 

There’s no middle ground in Congress. Except for one arcane area -- over which party “controls” the United States Senate. 

Political analysts see a close election on the horizon. This raises the possibility of a tie. A 50-50 Senate. There have been ties in the Senate before, one as recently as 13 years ago. But unlike professional sports, there isn’t a standard procedure to work out a Senate tie. 

To break a tie in baseball, the teams just keeps playing. Inning after inning. The NHL had ties until it introduced a shootout in 2005. Ties are...

Houston's mayor has finally withdrawn her subpoenas which demanded pastors surrender their private communications.

Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian, had targeted five pastors as part of a lawsuit over a pro-gay ordinance. The religious leaders said the subpoenas violated their First Amendment rights.

Parker says her demands were not meant to infringe on anyone's religious freedoms.

"It was never our intention to interfere with any members of the clergy and their congregants in terms of sermons, in terms of preaching what they believe is the word of the God that they serve," Parker said.

But the targeted pastors still don't believe Parker has had a change of heart.

"If the mayor thought the subpoenas were wrong, she would...

The mayor of Houston announced Wednesday that the city will withdraw subpoenas of sermons from five pastors who publicly opposed an ordinance banning discrimination against gay and transgender residents, The Houston Chronicle reports.

"I didn't do this to satisfy them," Mayor Annise Parker said in reference to critics of the subpoenas. "I did it because it was not serving Houston."

Houston's City Council passed in May the equal rights ordinance, which consolidates city bans on discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion and other categories and increases protections for gay and transgender residents.

The controversy has touched a nerve among religious conservatives around the country, many of them already anxious about the rapid spread of gay rights...

In just a little more than a week, all of the ballots will be cast and counted in the 2014 midterm elections. While most prognosticators believe the Republicans will have little trouble keeping control of the House of Representatives, a number of polls show the battle for control of the U.S. Senate is still very closely contested.

Here is a preview of the struggle for Congress during President Barack Obama's final two years in office:

U.S. House of Representatives

Republicans control the House 233-199 with three vacancies -- one Republican in Virginia and two Democrat in North Carolina and New Jersey.  All 435 seats are at stake in 2014....

At a Democratic rally Friday in Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton’s attempt to attack “trickle-down economics,” resulted in a spectacularly odd statement, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

Clinton defended raising the minimum wage saying “Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs, they always say that.”

She went on to state that businesses and corporations are not the job creators of America. “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” the former Secretary of State said.

Clinton’s comment will likely be used frequently to attack her as another big-government Democrat. She is seen...

A U.S. federal judge ruled Tuesday to uphold a Puerto Rico law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. 

District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez became the first Democrat appointed to the federal court to rule in favor of a traditional marriage law since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in the Windsor decision last year.

The judge maintained that the Windsor decision did not establish the right to same-sex marriage and essentially reinforced the concept...

JERUSALEM, Israel -- For some observers, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks tying the rise of ISIS with the lack of progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations follows a pattern he's adhered to all along.

The secretary of state made the remarks to Muslim guests at a State Department dinner celebrating the Eid al-Adha holiday. According to Kerry, Israel's refusal to accept the Palestinian Authority's demands fuels the Islamic State's efforts to recruit more people to its movement.

"As I went around and met with people in the course...

Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.

“Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”

According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible...

With mid-term elections roughly two weeks away, Democrats are choosing not to have President Barack Obama campaign for them.
The news comes as the president's job approval ratings are hitting a record low.

In fact, the Ebola crisis and other domestic and international issues are taking a toll on both the president and his party.
Americans believe Obama is leading the country in the wrong direction. A new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds his job approval rating at 40 percent - the lowest of his presidency.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans say they're worried about the economy.


The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They...

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with abortion rights advocates in Texas.

On Tuesday, justices blocked key parts of a new Texas law that caused most abortion facilities in the Lone Star State to close.

The high court's move suspends a lower court ruling that allowed the state to immediately demand improvements at abortion clinics statewide.

With three dissenting votes, the court also halted a provision that required doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

"We're relieved that the court stepped in to stop this, and we hope this dangerous law is ultimately overturned completely," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned...

More than a dozen states plan to cancel health care policies not in compliance with ObamaCare in the coming weeks, affecting thousands of people just before the midterm elections.

"It looks like several hundred thousand people across the country will receive notices in the coming days and weeks," said Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The policies are being canceled because states that initially granted a reprieve at the request of President Obama are no longer willing to do so.

In coming weeks, 13 states and the District of Columbia plan to cancel such policies, which generally fall out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act because they don’t offer the level of coverage the law requires.

Virginia will be hardest hit, with...

More than half of Americans label President Barack Obama's presidency a failure, according to a new poll by Investor's Business Daily and Tipp.

The survey found that 53 percent of adults see the Obama administration as a flop while 41 percent said it is a success and 6 percent said they weren't sure.

The president's standing among Independents is even worse with 58 percent giving his presidency a failing grade.

The poll also found that if the 2012 election were held today 43 percent said they would vote for Obama while 49 percent said they would now vote for former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

As the mid-term elections looms, 34...

A Missouri clergyman says the state's nondiscrimination bill actually discriminates against people of faith.

Bishop James Johnston says forcing believers to recognize same-sex relationships violates their religious freedoms, and essentially makes Christians criminals.

Johnston, a leader in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Catholic Diocese, issued a letter opposing the measure.

"Do the people of Springfield really want to make criminals out of persons who are merely trying to live their faith?" the Springfield News-Leader quoted the letter. "Does the government have a compelling interest in forcing every member of our society to participate in the celebration of same-sex relationships?"...

The Supreme Court on Monday turned away appeals from five states looking to prohibit gay marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in those states and likely others -- but also leaving the issue unresolved nationally. 

The justices rejected appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The court's order immediately ends delays on gay marriage in those states. 

Couples in six other states -- Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming -- also should be able to get married in short order. Those states would be bound by the same appellate rulings that were put on hold pending the Supreme Court's review. That would make same-sex marriage legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

With no...

Thirteen abortion clinics in Texas are closed Friday after a federal appeals court upheld the state's new abortion law.

The law requires abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other hospital-style surgical centers.

Abortion providers said the standards were unnecessary and cost too much, but the state argued they were necessary for improved patient safety.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican governor candidate, is defending the law in court.

"This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women," Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean said.

There are seven abortion clinics left in the state, and none are south or west of San Antonio.