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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

How The Cross Taunts ISIS, an article by Robert Barron

In the wake of the executions [of twenty one Coptic Christians], ISIS released a gruesome video entitled "A Message in Blood to the Nation of the Cross." I suppose that for the ISIS murderers the reference to "the Nation of the Cross" had little sense beyond a generic designation for Christianity...

In the time of Jesus, the cross was a brutal and very effective sign of Roman power. Imperial authorities effectively said, "If you cross us (pun intended), we will affix you to a dreadful instrument of torture and leave you to writhe in agonizing, literally excruciating (ex cruce, from the cross) pain until you die. Then we will make sure that your body hangs on that gibbet until it is eaten away by scavenging animals."

The cross was, basically, state-sponsored terrorism, and it did indeed terrify people...the cross [Christ died upon] meant the victory of the world, and the annihilation of Jesus and what he stood for.

And this is why it is surpassing strange that one of the earliest Apostles and missionaries of the Christian religion could write, "I preach one thing, Christ and him crucified!" How could Paul -- the passage is taken from his first letter to the Corinthians -- possibly present the dreadful cross as the centerpiece of his proclamation? He could do so only because he knew that God had raised the crucified Jesus from the dead, proving thereby that God's love and forgiveness are greater than anything in the world. This is why his exaltation of the cross is a sort of taunt to Rome and all of its brutal descendants down through the ages: "You think that scares us? God has conquered that!" And this is why, to this day, Christians boldly hold up an image of the humiliated, tortured Jesus to the world. What they are saying is, "We are not afraid."

Robert Barron, founder of the global ministry, Word on Fire, and the Rector/President of Mundelein Seminary, in his article "How the Cross Taunts ISIS," Feb. 27, 2015

Woodcarving by sculptor A. Vonn Hartung, image found at this website

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Funny How Fiction Is So Often Believed As Fact

Think The DaVinci Code. The Bridges of Madison County. The Celestine Prophecy (which, years ago, I first bought into, hook line and sinker, till I realized it was just. a. novel).

Much of the impetus to smear the Vatican regarding World War II came, appropriately enough, from a work of fiction—a stage play called The Deputy, written after the War by a little-known German Protestant playwright named Rolf Hochhuth.

The play appeared in 1963, and it painted a portrait of a pope too timid to speak out publicly against the Nazis. Ironically, even Hochhuth admitted that Pius XII was materially very active in support of the Jews. Historian Robert Graham explains: "Playwright Rolf Hochhuth criticized the Pontiff for his (alleged) silence, but even he admitted that, on the level of action, Pius XII generously aided the Jews to the best of his ability. Today, after a quarter-century of the arbitrary and one-sided presentation offered the public, the word ‘silence’ has taken on a much wider connotation. It stands also for ‘indifference,’ ‘apathy,’ ‘inaction,’ and, implicitly, for anti-Semitism."

Hochhuth’s fictional image of a silent (though active) pope has been transformed by the anti-Catholic rumor mill into the image of a silent and inactive pope—and by some even into an actively pro-Nazi monster. If there were any truth to the charge that Pius XII was silent, the silence would not have been out of moral cowardice in the face of the Nazis, but because the Pope was waging a subversive, clandestine war against them in an attempt to save Jews.

"The need to refrain from provocative public statements at such delicate moments was fully recognized in Jewish circles. It was in fact the basic rule of all those agencies in wartime Europe who keenly felt the duty to do all that was possible for the victims of Nazi atrocities and in particular for the Jews in proximate danger of deportation to ‘an unknown destination.’ "[9] The negative consequences of speaking out strongly were only too well known.

Imagine Oskar Shindler, Raoul Wallenberg, Irena Sendler, and all the people who helped shield Jews during that time, speaking out, denouncing the Nazis, "not remaining silent"? Imagine how long they would have lasted, to continue shielding the Jews?

And before anyone thinks that the Nazis would never have taken out a Pope who "didn't remain silent" against them, think again. It's kind of a, you know, history, with Catholics.

Jimmy Akin is one smart, level-headed cookie and not only knows his Catholic history but explains it in a non-"priestspeak," non-talking-down manner. This is a long but well-documented article.

If you are interested, go watch any of his videos on that website. He answers many of the challenges and valid questions that even good Catholics have. (He's the one with the red beard.)

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Educating at PowerLine and NRO

All job growth in U.S. since 2007 has gone to foreign-born workers. Go watch the video on that link, worth the time:
Senator Jeff Sessions talks about the American job crisis and how indiscriminate immigration is costing America’s tech workers jobs. He cites the case of Southern California Edison, which laid off its IT staff and replaced them with imported visa holders from India–whom the Americans on the way out the door were required to train.

Another great article about Eric Holder, Political Animal-in-Sheep's-Clothing

Two Weeks In Pictures.

The Brute-Force Left: The Left lost the argument, but is determined to win the fight. By Kevin D. Williamson:

...bureaucracies do not have the collective cognitive firepower to replace markets, or even to intelligently guide them. From the Soviet five-year plans to Obamacare, all central-planning exercises begin in hubris and end in chaos.

And when the chaos comes, the natural thing to do — the imperative thing — is: find someone to blame. The planners and schemers are intellectually incapable of dealing seriously with the fact that the project that they have set for themselves — substituting their own judgment for that of the billions of better-informed parties in the market and coming up with superior outcomes — is an impossible one. But once you’ve accepted real limits on what planning can do — on what government can do — then you have at some level essentially surrendered to conservatism.

And that means that somebody, somewhere, must be a racist.
“А у вас негров линчуют” is a bitter Soviet-era punch line meaning, roughly, “But in your country they lynch Negroes.” There were a million Cold War variations on the joke: The Soviet farm minister meets his U.S. counterpart, who inquires about whether the heroic Soviet farmers are meeting their five-year plans. Asked about each crop in turn, the Soviet minister is forced to sheepishly admit that they are woefully behind on every goal, and then demands: “But what about the blacks in the South?” A U.S. car salesman asks a Soviet counterpart how many months the typical Soviet citizen must work to purchase an entry-level car, and the Ruskie answers: “In your country, you lynch Negroes.”

When Matt Yglesias says he wants to “lay down a marker and say once again that Obamacare implementation is going to be a huge political success,” and that doesn’t happen, what happens next? Another chorus of “The Tea Party Is Racist!” from Ezra Klein, or from whomever.
The [Woodrow] Wilsonian vision of domestic governance through expertise and fiat quickly devolved into a reality of goon squads, political persecution, crushing of dissent with formal and informal political violence, politicization of law enforcement, etc. The Occupy bomb-throwers and the imbecile hooligans committing arson to prove that “black lives matter” are not quite the American Protective League, but they’re of a piece with it. In the Wilson years, we had politicized police; in the Obama years, we have a weaponized IRS . . . and Justice Department, and police unions, and jailers’ unions. The Wilson-era progressives tried to use the Sedition Act to shut down critics of the great progressive. In our time, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Harry Reid want to throw people in prison for unpopular political activism of which they disapprove. The grand plans of 2009 are coming unraveled, as grand plans do, and so the Left grows ever more naked in its coercion. On the official side of the spectrum, you have Senate Democrats voting to repeal the First Amendment so that they can suppress political criticism...
The Left’s last big idea was Communism. When Lenin turned out to be the god who failed, the Left undertook wide exploration for another grand unifying idea: environmentalism, multiculturalism, economic inequality, atheism, feminism, etc. What it ended up with was an enemies’ list.

That and a taste for brute force.

The enthusiasm for coercion and the substitution of enemies for ideas — Christians, white men, Israel, “the 1 percent,” the Koch brothers, take your pick — together form the basis for understanding the Left’s current convulsions. The call to imprison people with unapproved ideas about global warming, the Senate Democrats’ vote to repeal the First Amendment, the Ferguson-inspired riots, the picayune political correctness and thought-policing that annoys Jonathan Chait, the IRS’s persecution of conservative political groups, Barack Obama’s White House enemies’ list, the casual violence against conservatives on college campuses and the Left’s instinctive defense of that violence — these are not separate phenomena but part of a single phenomenon.

Yes, Virginia, you read that right: The Democrats voted "to repeal the Heart of the First Amendment", yes, Free Speech. This was in September, before some of these were voted out of office, but "Every Senate Democrat–every one, a 54-vote majority–voted for First Amendment repeal." Go see the list of names at that link. And don't forget.
Note that under the amendment, Congress could both “regulate” and “set reasonable limits on” raising and spending money on elections. The power to “regulate” is not qualified by any other term of the amendment except Section 3, which means that a Democratic Congress would have the power to regulate campaign spending by prohibiting all spending on behalf of Republican candidates, or in opposition to Democratic candidates. Ridiculous! you might say–that would obviously be unconstitutional. Not any more it wouldn’t be; not if the Democrats get their way. The First Amendment would be repealed as it relates to politics.
Powerline goes on to quote the above-mentioned Kevin Williamson at NRO:
Harry Reid’s war on the First Amendment [is] hardly [an] isolated episode...The same Texas prosecutor behind the indictments of Governor Perry and Mr. Hall was also behind the indictments of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Tom DeLay, both of which ultimately were laughed out of court. The point of these indictments is not to obtain convictions; the prosecutor did not even present a case against Senator Hutchison when the matter came to trial. And the point of the Ohio Inquisition was never to achieve a legal victory against the Susan B. Anthony List: The point was to bully the group, and the billboard company, into remaining silent and forgoing criticism of Democratic candidates. In that, the censors were successful: SBA List won in court, but those billboards never went up.

Likewise, the point of indicting Governor Perry and Mr. Hall is not to send either man to jail, but to harass them, to bully them, to bankrupt them if possible, and to keep them from functioning as effective critics of entrenched Democratic political interests.

The only thing stopping federal authorities from suffocating free speech — not only by independent groups such as the SBA List, but by individuals, trade groups, National Review, and the New York Times — is the First Amendment.

And Harry Reid wants to gut it. Figure out why that is and you’ll know everything you need to know about the Democratic party, which with each passing day functions less and less like a political party and more like a crime syndicate.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scott Walker: Having a Chance?

Russ Smith, a sometime Wall Street Journal contributor, makes somewhat of a case for Scott Walker:
I think the reason why [left-leaning, Hillary-loving The Daily Beast's] Tomasky—soon to be followed by less blatantly biased journalists—is bashing Walker as if he’s a joke candidate like Donald Trump, Al Sharpton or Herman Cain, is because if the Governor prevails in the primaries he has a real shot of winning...
Yet Walker’s biggest attribute, which is barely acknowledged by the media in a campaign environment that’s income inequality non-stop, is that he’s a middle-class pol who hasn’t enriched himself by exorbitant speaking fees or board directorships. Think of multimillionaire Hillary Clinton (and the high-rolling Wall Street/Hollywood donors in her corner) trying to explain how she’s one of the “regular folks” who, borrowing from her husband, “feels their pain.” Walker isn’t charismatic (nor is Hillary), but that might not matter in this post-Obama cycle. Walker’s a union-buster, which is a popular stance in most of the country—and it’s not as if any Republican will attract union voters anyway. Walker, like all the GOP candidates, is anti-Obamacare, which also won’t hurt him.
I do believe the left-leaning media bashes those Republican hopefuls who might resonate the best with us common folk, in hopes of duping us into thinking that candidate couldn't possibly win, all while practically nominating the one actually most likely to fail against the Democrat favorite, so they can tear him/her to shreds once nominated.

The latter happened with Romney. The press couldn't wait to go to town on his wealthy-businessman-rapes-the-worker-thinks-women-belong-in-binders, media-fabricated persona. And Romney, for all his business savvy and capability, wasn't prepared for it. He wasn't able to fend it off.

It happened with McCain. Old-white-guy-war-hero-out-of-touch-with-people-of-color. Bam. The liberal media spoke of him relentlessly as the only Republican who could win, then once he was the candidate, they demolished him too.

The media was scared to death (still is) of Sarah Palin, hence they sent teams of lawyers to Alaska to dig up any dirt they could fabricate and thus hounded her out of the Governor's office. McCain did her a great disservice by throwing her into the ring with only a weekend's prep on foreign affairs, national affairs, anything. No United-States-Governor-then-Presidential-candidate since Reagan has been savvy enough out of the gate on international affairs. Had Palin been briefed over months, instead of three days, the media would have hated her even more than they did and do still, because she wouldn't have made the mistakes she made. (INTERESTING NOTE: when Biden, Obama or Hillary says it, they "misspeak" or "exaggerate"; when Palin said it, it was the media that "exaggerated" her words and those exaggerations went viral on Saturday Night Live AND on every liberal "news" outlet times 100)

Initial news stories in the last few months all seem to have declared Jeb Bush the GOP's only great hope. Do I sense a pattern here? Or do I? Are the media crowning Bush to sway our choice, only to soundly thrash him into the ground once he's nominated too?

And the million-dollar question: are you gonna let them?

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Connecticut Allows Obamacare Members Opt-Outs of Paying For Others' Abortions

I wonder if this applies to anyone in Connecticut who signs up for ObamaCare? It looks like you have to ask specifically for the plan(s?) that don't include abortion coverage. I'd be interested to know, if anyone looks to sign up for one, if the premiums/out-of-pocket/deductible costs are different (the premiums should be lower) when compared to abortion-covering plans...
Nov. 2014, BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Connecticut pro-life family voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against federal and state officials Wednesday after the addition of Obamacare plan options that, for the first time in Connecticut, will not require participants to pay for others’ elective abortions. Despite the Connecticut change, many American families are still being forced to pay hidden abortion surcharges.
Federal law forbids taxpayer subsidies for elective abortions; however, the Affordable Care Act requires every exchange plan that includes abortion to collect a separate fee that is used exclusively to pay for abortions. The ACA further forbids disclosure of the abortion surcharge to customers.

The Connecticut state health exchange only offered plans that include abortion coverage, and thus every plan on the exchange required the hidden abortion surcharge. While plans not requiring the abortion surcharge will now be available in Connecticut, many families in Connecticut and elsewhere are unaware that a portion of their premium is being used to pay solely for abortions.

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Sunday, February 08, 2015

Even Andrea Mitchell Thinks Obama Went Too Far

"You don't use the word Crusades, number one, in any context right now," Mitchell said on NBC's Meet the Press today. "It's just it's too fraught. And the week after a pilot is burned alive, in a video shown, you don't lean over backwards to be philosophical about the sins of the fathers. You have to deal with the issue that's in front of you or don't deal with it at all...He's the president, and you can't really go back to 1095."

"Deborah E. Lipstadt, a professor of modern Jewish history at Emory University, said the president’s remarks seemed to be an attempt to avoid alienating Muslims by blaming their religion for groups like ISIS.

"She said the remarks at the prayer breakfast will rightly bolster critics who insist that Mr. Obama should simply say that the United States is at war with Islam.

'He has bent over backwards to try to separate this from Islam,' Ms. Lipstadt said. 'Sometimes people try to keep an open mind. And when you have too open a mind, your brains can fall out.'"

The President showed his complete ignorance of real history:

"Two hundred years of Crusades? How about 14 centuries of jihad?...Responding to the conquest of Christianity’s birthplace and jihad’s westward thrust, the Crusades were an effort not at imperial conquest but at reclamation... try reading a book or two on the subject. Meanwhile, here’s a starter course in the vast tragedy jihad has posed for every civilization it’s touched for the past 14 centuries — while the Crusades mythologized by Islam’s apologists were a two-century blip whose only practical legacies are a few ruined castles... the southeastern Balkans gained their freedom only on the eve of the First World War, after suffering atrocities worse than those perpetrated today by the Islamic State terrorists (do visit the tower made of Christian skulls the next time you’re in the Serbian city of Nis).

"And the Inquisition? Much of it was inexcusable. But all the centuries of the notorious 'Spanish Inquisition' put to death fewer human beings than jihadis killed last year. And the Inquisition elsewhere never remotely approximated the appetite for blood of the Islamic State’s cadres. The Church’s past has blemishes aplenty, such as the merciless suppression of the Albigensians and Hussites, but Christianity has made some progress since the Middle Ages.

"Our president, of course, doesn’t want to hear it."

"There is no high horse. Christians are not climbing on it. And no one has claimed religious violence is unique. The whole line of thought is not so much a straw man as the logical equivalent of an entire thatched roof of those stuffed puppets.

"[Obama] also called up slavery as being done, by some, in the name of Christ, as if the practice owed something very particular to Christian belief, ignoring that the ignominy of slave-trading has been practiced since ancient days by peoples of varying faiths, to the everlasting shame of them all.

"The Americans, to their equally everlasting credit, fought a civil war and ended slavery, and it was the greatest of presidents, and the country’s greatest true moralist, who conducted that war.
"In his impulse to absolve Islam, [Obama] offers a rebuke to Christianity. He enfolds the most extreme acts of ISIS and other branches of radical Islam into a story of Christian hypocrisy. He goes back a thousand years to indict, at least partially, Christianity, and ignores yesterday in order to maintain that all of Islam is peaceful.

"There have been many sins committed by many faiths, and there are tragedies even now underway. But it is a very displaced analysis that seeks to offer corrections to Christianity during a period of Islamic turmoil, and seeks out forgotten sins to ignore those so very close to mind."

When is Obama going to stop pretending he's a Christian?

And all this, while the United States flails in every single area of foreign policy. Even Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, not known for being a conservative/right-side pundit, thinks "an overall national security strategy doesn't really seem to exist in the Obama administration right now."

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Why Do People Hold Brian Williams To A Higher Standard Than Hillary Clinton?

This just strikes me dumbfounded, and has since the incident first came to light.

I'm not the first to write about this question, The American Spectator is among several who already have.

But read it for yourselves, from the Washington Post (as liberal-leaning as they come) fact-checkers, in 2008:

"[Hillary] Clinton's tale of landing at Tuzla airport "under sniper fire" and then running for cover is simply not credible. Photographs and video of the arrival ceremony, combined with contemporaneous news reports, tell a very different story. Four Pinocchios."
That's as many as they give. The worst lie possible. And she has made up stuff that "sounds good" before, too.

So why is "An apology ...not enough" in Williams' case, who's now taking an undetermined leave of absence (I'm sure fully paid too)? Because he's a journalist?

Why is "Brian Williams' lost credibility" more grievous than Hillary's? The San Francisco Chronicle, also known and called out by at least one reader as a left-supporting newspaper, says Williams "must be fired" and that "He also took something that is precious to those in his profession: public trust."

Isn't an elected politician, a potential President, one whose profession even more so depends on public trust?

That writer summed it up rather well:

"Some scientists in the field of memory research have suggested that such distortions of memory are possible, especially in a traumatic event. In the Williams case, such a scenario would be more plausible if not for the fact that he told the forced-landing story so repeatedly over the years.

"Besides, this was no small detail. The difference between experiencing an emergency landing after being hit with heavy fire and landing on the scene an hour later is something that seemingly would be seared into the memory of even someone who was not trained in the profession of documenting events with precision."

Like, oh, maybe, a former First Lady turned politician?

Why, then, does Hillary still deserve our public trust? She lost her credibility long ago.

The answer lies in all those very mainstream media outlets who are either 1) enamored of Hillary as the anointed one and/or 2) in fear over the Hillary/Billary Clinton backlash they'd face over skewering her as they are skewering Williams now.

Want proof? In all the inital first few days of articles about Williams, I've seen only two slight mentions of Hillary's "sniper-fire" falsity. Just two. In passing. Quickly hush-hushed under the rug. Never to see the light of day again.

The New York Times gave Hillary a substantial pass, essentially burying it in paragraph 15 and using the words "exaggerate" and "misspoken" referencing her incident.

Did you even read that far into the NYT piece that day?

Will anyone likely to vote Democrat remember her "Four Pinocchios"?

Worse, will they even think it important in the least that a possible President of the United States should be held to a higher standard than a TV news anchor, whose only job is to report the news, instead of being the news?

For both Brian Williams and Hillary Clinton, it's business as usual: "I just have to look good, I don't have to be clear."

Don Henley - Dirty Laundry Live by rvdgu2006

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An Aside On Climate Change: Scientific Facts To Ponder

I really do love good science and good engineering:

Google Engineers Admit Renewable Energy Will Never Slow Climate Change

August 2014: Swiss glaciers receding unearths 4,000 year old forests grew underneath in prior times: "Dr. Christian Schlüchter’s ... report might have been more conveniently dismissed by the entrenched global warming establishment were it not for his distinguished reputation as a giant in the field of geology and paleoclimatology who has authored/coauthored more than 250 papers and is a professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland."

Same story, second verse: October 2013, Alaska/northwestern Canada: "Retreat of the Mendenhall Glacier reveals the remains of trees which grew more than 2,000 years ago: "The most recent stumps she’s dated emerging from the Mendenhall are between 1,400 and 1,200 years old. The oldest she’s tested are around 2,350 years old. She’s also dated some at around 1,870 to 2,000 years old.

"In Glacier Bay, Connor and other researchers have found evidence of ice advances occurring more than 5,000 years ago. They’ve also documented the glacial advance between 1724 and 1794 A.D. that pushed Huna Tlingit off their land, and written a paper incorporating those cultural and geographic histories. In that paper they cite Tlingit histories recorded by Richard and Nora Dauenhauer as saying that glacier was growing and advancing “faster than a running dog.”...Some of the ages of these trees suggest the Roman Warm Period may have occurred at the same time as an Alaskan Warm Period."

More on that same story, told in September 2013: "An ancient forest has thawed from under a melting glacier in Alaska and is now exposed to the world for the first time in more than 1,000 years. Stumps and logs have been popping out from under southern Alaska's Mendenhall Glacier — a 36.8-square-mile (95.3 square kilometers) river of ice flowing into a lake near Juneau — for nearly the past 50 years. However, just within the past year or so, researchers based at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau have noticed considerably more trees popping up, many in their original upright position and some still bearing roots and even a bit of bark, the Juneau Empire first reported last week...[scientists] tentatively identified the trees as either spruce or hemlock.."

"Western hemlock thrives in a mild, humid climate where frequent fog and precipitation occur during the growing season...Mean annual temperatures range from 0.3° to 11.3° C (32.5° to 52.3° F) on the coast...Observed mean July temperatures lie between 11.3° and 19.7° C (52.3° and 67.5° F) along the coast...Mean January temperatures reported for [the coast are] -10.9° to 8.5° C (12.4° to 47.3° F)...Recorded absolute maximum temperature for the coast is 40.6° C (105.0° F) [and] minimum temperatures tolerated by western hemlock are -38.9° C (-38.0° F) for the coast."

Could it be black spruce? "The climate for black spruce can be characterized as cold with a moisture regime varying from humid to dry subhumid. Mean annual temperatures range from 7° C (45° F) in the southern areas to -11° C (13° F) near tree line in central and western Canada. Average January temperatures range from -30° C (-22° F) in northwestern Canada and Alaska to -6° C (21° F) at the southeastern edge of its range. Average July temperatures range from 16° to 24° C (60° to 76° F) in the main part of the range of black spruce and from 10° to 27° C (50° to 80° F) in extreme locations. The extreme low temperatures range from -62° to -34° C (-79° to -30° F), the highs from 27° to 41° C (80° to 105° F)."

Or White spruce, also known as Canadian spruce? "[It] grows under highly variable conditions, including extreme climates and soils...In the north, the position of the tree line has been correlated to various factors, including the 10° C (50° F) isotherm for mean July temperature...At the northern limit of the species' range, climatic extremes are significant. For example, -54° C (-65° F) in January and 34° C (94° F) in July were recorded extremes in one study area. Mean daily temperatures of -29° C (-20° F) for January are recorded throughout the species' range in Alaska, Yukon, and Northwest Territories, while mean daily July temperatures range from about 21° C (70° F) in the extreme southeastern area of distribution to 13° C (55° F) throughout much of Alaska and Canada."

Equation: At one point in time, then, it had to have been between -79° F to 105° F for black spruce to grow there, between -38.0° F and 105.0° F for Western hemlock to grow there, or -65° F and 94° F for White spruce to grow there. And then, get covered up by glaciers so fast, they were preserved for the past 1,000 to 2,000+ years.

May 2013, Alberta, Canada: "Scientists revive ‘Little Ice Age’ plant frozen 400 years under glacier ice: "Scientists in Alberta said this week they’ve revived a plant that was trapped under glacier ice for some 400 years or more, discovered during an exploration of Canada’s Teardrop Glacier in 2007....The organism is an ancient moss in the category of bryophytes, non-vascular plants that grow on land and typically converge on rocks, soil or tree trunks. They noticed the plant sticking up from some melting ice and took a sample, thinking they’d just discovered something that has not lived on the planet in hundreds of years...Sure enough, they were right: the moss was frozen solid during the “Little Ice Age,” a period of tremendous upheaval in Europe between the 14th and 19th centuries. Back in the lab at the University of Alberta, biologist Catherine La Farge re-planted some of the moss and, to her surprise, watched as it grew."

Also covered by National Geographic.

Bryophytes are "Surprisingly, Arctic liverworts are not so cold resistant. Among the nine species tested by Biebl (1968), seven were mostly dead at -16ºC (3.2º F), with only Lophozia hatcheri and Chandonanthus setiformis surviving well. The moss Aulacomnium turgidum also survived at -16ºC (3.2º F). All species survived -6ºC (21.2º F). But these were July responses in Greenland; a quite different picture might emerge in winter. On the other hand, all of them survived up to 42ºC (107.6º F) for half an hour, but twelve-hour exposures killed parts of most of them, the same seven, at 38ºC (100.4º F)...This supports the hypothesis that low temperature survival is coupled with high temperature survival." "[B]ryophytes can survive at sub-zero air temperatures by their own ability to alter the temperature. Lewis Smith (1988) found that in Antarctica the temperature at the surface of a Schistidium cushion (Figure 5) could vary from -9.2°C to 42.8°C (15.44° F to 109.2° F) on a single day in January..."

So arctic (as opposed to tropical) bryophytes seem to generally grow and thrive when temperatures are between 21.2º F and well below 100.4º F.

It's hard to find concrete statements about how cold it must be to form and sustain glaciers or ice sheets, as there are varying kinds of glaciers, but one source states that "Ice shelves are always stable under mean annual temperatures of −9° C (15.8° F), but never stable above −5° C (23° F)". If you can glean an understandable number from this paper, good luck to you.

October 2007, Garibaldi Provincial Park, about 40 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia: "Melting glaciers in Western Canada are revealing tree stumps up to 7,000 years old where the region's rivers of ice have retreated to a historic minimum, a geologist said today...The pristine condition of the wood, he said, can best be explained by the stumps having spent all of the last seven millennia under tens to hundreds of meters of ice. All stumps were still rooted to their original soil and location."

The simple point is that none of those trees or mosses would have grown there in the first place, had those areas never once been temperate enough to allow their growth. None of those trees or mosses would have grown there if the areas were always glacial masses. The cycle may be just that, a cycle the earth goes in, repeatedly, over thousands of years.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alfonzo Rachel on MLK, Black Entertainment, Al Sharpton, Abortion

The speaker tells the truth, if only some folks would listen:

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Several FYI's About Marijuana

New Update from The American Academy of Pediatrics at the end of this post...

"And although people ascribe many benefits to marijuana, including enhanced creativity and reduced pain and stress, it is well documented that its chief ingredient, cannabinol, activates dedicated cannabinol receptors in the brain and interferes profoundly with memory and with our ability to concentrate on several things at once. Wilson showed that the cognitive losses from multitasking are even greater than the cognitive losses from pot‑smoking."

- Neuroscience: The Observer, the UK's Guardian, January 18, 2015 article, "Why the modern world is bad for your brain," by Daniel J. Levitin, from his book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, published by Viking.

Also includes more bad news about so-called multi-tasking, and many people's addictions to their online "lives:"
"Each time we dispatch an email in one way or another, we feel a sense of accomplishment, and our brain gets a dollop of reward hormones telling us we accomplished something. Each time we check a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird, impersonal cyber way) and get another dollop of reward hormones. But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centres in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake: email-, Facebook- and Twitter-checking constitute a neural addiction."
Makes me glad I've never done Facebook, Twitter or email-on-iPhone.


"Given the data supporting the negative health and brain development effects of marijuana in children and adolescents, ages 0 through 21 years, the AAP is opposed to marijuana use in this population."

"The adverse effects of marijuana have been well documented, and studies have demonstrated the potential negative consequences of short- and long-term recreational use of marijuana in adolescents. These consequences include impaired shortterm memory and decreased concentration, attention span, and problem solving, which clearly interfere with learning. Alterations in motor control, coordination, judgment, reaction time, and tracking ability have also been documented; these may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries among adolescents (especially those associated with motor vehicles if adolescents drive while intoxicated by marijuana). Negative health effects on lung function associated with smoking marijuana have also been documented, and studies linking marijuana use with higher rates of psychosis in patients with a predisposition to schizophrenia have recently been published, raising concerns about longer-term psychiatric effects. New research has also demonstrated that the adolescent brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex areas controlling judgment and decision-making, is not fully developed until the mid-20s, raising questions about how any substance use may affect the developing brain. Research has shown that the younger an adolescent begins using drugs, including marijuana, the more likely it is that drug dependence or addiction will develop in adulthood. A recent analysis of 4 large epidemiologic trials found that marijuana use during adolescence is associated with reductions in the odds of high school completion and degree attainment and increases in the use of other illicit drugs and suicide attempts in a dose-dependent fashion that suggests that marijuana use is causative."

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

What We Will Remember Obama For

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Eric Holder’s Justice Department Decides Officer Was Justified in Shooting Michael Brown

No matter what you may think of this post, if you don't like any or all of it, then just don't listen to me. My voice doesn't matter. Not. one. whit.

But this guy's does:

And so does this guy's:

My heart still goes out to Brown's relatives and friends. The sad fact, though, is that the evidence reviewed by Eric Holder, the FBI and the Justice Department has shown that Brown would be alive today if he hadn't tried to kill that police officer with his own gun.

Sadly, Michael Brown chose not to be an innocent victim. Nor was he, according to black police officer David Clarke from Wisconsin, anything at all like "Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr....[Brown was] not [an] icon in the civil rights movement."

Eric Holder's Justice Department has "concluded its federal investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and it has reached substantially the same conclusions as the local grand jury that chose not to press charges against police officer Darren Wilson." Also covered by the New York Times here: "an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges." From the Times story:

"Mr. Wilson told investigators that Mr. Brown had tussled with him through the window of his police car and tried to grab his gun, an account supported by bruises and DNA evidence...While some witnesses were adamant that Mr. Brown had his hands up, some recanted their stories. Mr. Wilson testified that Mr. Brown had charged at him, and other witnesses backed up his account.

"'I’m backpedaling pretty good because I know if he reaches me, he’ll kill me,' Mr. Wilson told a state grand jury, in testimony that investigators said was consistent with what he told the F.B.I. 'And he had started to lean forward as he got that close, like he was going to just tackle me, just go right through me.'
"The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year, the law enforcement officials said."

The Federalist writer makes a good point, because it is the not-guilty's lives that are at stake, be they white cops, black cops, or anyone:
"’s clearly time to apologize—for every activist and journalist (but I repeat myself) who bought into the simplistic, self-serving “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative and broadcast it far and wide based on false testimony; who reflexively dismissed Wilson’s side of the story as preposterous and unbelievable; who doggedly upheld a wider narrative that slanders police officers across the country as murderous racists...Do it because if you want to hold others accountable for their action, you need to first make sure you are accountable for your own."
This wouldn't have happened to Michael Brown if he had done as the officer told him, if he'd not tried to grab the cop's gun, if he'd not charged at the officer.

It wouldn't have happened to Jerame Reid, either, if he'd done as the black officer Braheme Days told him, stayed in the car and just showed him his hands out the window as the driver of the car did throughout this incident:

“We got a gun in this glove compartment.” Shortly after that, Days appears to reach into the vehicle and retrieve something from the glove compartment. As Worley radios for backup, Days issues a series of expletive-laced threats and commands to Reid. “You reach for something you’re going to be fucking dead,” Days warns. Someone in the car replies, “I got no reason to reach for nothing.” A moment later, Days says again, “Hey Jerome, you reach for something you’re going to be fucking dead.” Then seconds later: “He’s reaching, he’s reaching.”
This link gives even more detail of the words spoken by Days and remarks, "The instant Days draws his weapon (0:58) he begins repeatedly shouting at Reid “show me your hands,” the repetition obviously indicating non-compliance. The driver of the suspect vehicle, Leroy Tuft, more prudently puts his empty hands and arms out the drivers side window. Tuft is immediately held at gunpoint by Officer Worley (whom, the trainer in me feels obliged to note, demonstrates excellent trigger finger discipline), while Days continues to verbally engage the persistently non-compliant Reid...A gun was recovered from the suspect car."

The New York Post summarized similarly: "Days screams over and over at the passenger, Jerame Reid, “Show me your hands!” and “If you reach for something, you’re going to be f—— dead!” The officer appears to reach into the car and remove the gun. But the brief standoff ends with Reid disregarding Days’ order to not move, stepping out and getting shot." They are also the only source so far to state the fact that Officer Days is black.

Yet the protests have begun already, and it's now a black officer who shot Reid who was getting out of the car when he'd been told not to move but to just "show me your hands!" The driver, Tuft, did just that, just as he was told, you can see it plain as day on all the videos, and he's alive and unshot today.

So what's Al Sharpton going to do with this one? What's the narrative of the protests going to be now? What's the catchphrase now? How many times does this happen before "Don’t you f*cking move!" gets listened to and obeyed, like the driver, but not the passenger, of this car in New Jersey did?

And before anyone concludes that I've never been in a serious confrontation with police so I can't possibly know how this feels, you're dead wrong about that. Waaaayyyy wrong. I've been there. And it does suck. But you shut your mouth, you "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" and do precisely as you're told. It is what it is, for white folk like me too.

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Dropping The 20-Week-Most-Abortions-Ban Bill?

I'm a bit torn on this. The stumbling block was the exemption of victims of rape or incest from this ban only if they previously had reported the incidents to authorities. Staunch conservatives wanted that reporting requirement; some Republican women and others didn't. The latter felt it placed undue burden or pressure on victimized women, especially if they feared retaliation from their attackers. The former possibly believed it opened the door to too many exemptions, I can only surmise.

I think erring on the side of empathy/sympathy for such victimized women should have been a foremost consideration, and so agree with delaying this bill to incorporate that exemption even if the rape/incest wasn't reported. To help protect women from any possible further harm is a no-brainer for me, and I think staunch conservatives should "get that." That they don't is a true sorrow.

Carly Fiorina makes a case that this delay was a mistake, but presents the argument that it may have made sense at this time and will likely come up again later, with the problem clause weeded out:

Recently a couple of Republican members brought concerns over the rape reporting provision to the attention of Ellmers, a co-sponsor of the bill and chair of the Republican women’s policy committee...The congresswoman from North Carolina has said that the language of the bill put lawmakers in danger of questioning a woman’s word, and that Republicans and Democrats need to show compassion for women in crisis situations.

“Women lawmakers aren’t doing this because they’re wanting to gain new voters in the party. The concerns are the reporting requirements and the effect that has on women,” a spokesperson for Ellmers told RCP. “Their concerns are, we don’t like this provision because it harms women.”
Critics argue that Ellmers’ timing is suspect. They point out she voted for the same bill in 2013 and could have led this charge at an earlier time (her aides say the rape provision was added in later during a vote on the rule). Some take issue with her argument that younger voters don’t care about social issues, pointing to polls that show a big majority support making late-term abortions illegal.
[S]aid one Republican strategist...“Supporting the abortion of a 5-month-old baby is well outside the mainstream. Hillary Clinton, who once claimed that abortion should be ‘safe, legal and rare,’ would find herself on the fringes supporting late-term abortions.”
Aides say they want to bring the bill back up again once the language is changed, but it is unclear when that would take place.

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NATIONAL REVIEW Online's The Corner ~ Kathryn Jean Lopez links to Ap blog, 1/22/07

Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle: Banno On Boxer and the Illegal Abortion Deaths Urban Legend

San Diego Union Tribune: more Boxer Urban-Legend-Debunk coverage

Ellen Goodman retraction impetus: Aa blog initiates The Straight Dope coverage...and is listed in National Review Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru's book The Party of Death, p. 255, Chap. 3 Endnote #11,   4/2006

NY Daily News: "Atheist's Site Is All The Rave

"After Abortion, by Emily Peterson and Annie Banno, two women who had abortions in the 1970s, ...tries to avoid the political tug-of-war that tends to come with this turf. They concentrate instead on discussing the troubling personal effects of abortion on the mothers." ~ Eric Scheske, Godspy contributing editor, in NC Register's "Signs of Life in the Blogosphere", 2/2006

"Godbloggers could, in the best of worlds, become the new apologists...[including] laymen with day jobs: Emily Peterson and Annie Banno, for instance, at the blog After Abortion..."~ Jonathan V. Last, The Weekly Standard online editor, in First Things's "God on the Internet", 12/2005

Amy Welborn, at BeliefNet, links to AfterAbortion blog's Crime & Abortion Series

Catholic News Service: Silent counterprotest at the March For Choice

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"I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion...[many are] aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and [do] not doubt that it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace...You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child..."

Hope after Abortion
Ideas for Healing
Rachel's Vineyard Retreats
(non-Christians, even non-religious do attend; they also have interdenominational retreats designed expressly for people of any religion or no religion)
Abortion Recovery
"Entering Canaan" - a ministry of reverence for women and men who suffer following an abortion
Lumina - Hope & Healing After Abortion
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Books that help
(includes non-religious Post Abortion recovery books)
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  1. Abortion Rhetoric Backpedal
  2. Chicago Tribune: "Our hero: Hillary Clinton, the last truth bender"
  3. Rapper Timbaland's $800K and "Ho's" lyrics
  4. Criminal "fugitive", media-ignored Hsu
  5. $5K per Kid
  6. Criminal Berger
  7. "I remember landing under sniper fire...we just ran with our heads down."...
  8. ...and other false claims on her Foreign Policy "chops"

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Obama On Abortion: A Summary 1990-2009

1) Obama Is 2nd-Highest-Paid Politician by Fannie Mae, Taking $126,346 in only 4 years as Senator; Now Derides GOP/Bush for Allowing Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac To Do Business, When It Was Democrat Presidents Bill Clinton & Jimmy Carter Who Passed The Law Requiring Fannie & Freddie To Give Out Bad Subprime Loans To Those Who Couldn't Afford Them, Which Caused The Entire Financial Meltdown … 2) Jim Johnson (Obama VEEP vetter and former Fannie Mae executive who made millions there) Backpedal … 3) Obama's hiring, connection, support of ACORN, which supported that very law and whose staff have been involved in voter fraud … 4) Rezko's Favor A "Boneheaded" Mistake … 5) Jeremiah Wright Backpedal … 6) Fr. Michael Fleger Backpedal … 7) NAFTA Backpedal … 8) Campaign Financing Backpedal … 9) Mr. "Negotiates-With-Terrorist-States" … 10) Bittergate … 11) Hamas' Chief Political Adviser Hopes BO Will Win Election … 12) Banning Handguns Backpedal … 13) Who Exactly Are "The Rich" He's Going to Sock it to? … 14) Flag Pin Backpedal … 15) Once Open to School Vouchers That Work, Now Deadset Against … 16) Now OK with residual force in Iraq...up to 50,000 troops. … 17) First voted against a law protecting babies who survive an abortion procedure, then lied saying he didn't, then finally forced to admit that he did vote to deny such born babies protection. 18) … "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." ~ MO

Region-specific blogs of note: Washington, Midwest, California, Connecticut, Canada (adding as we get the time)


A 3-D Single Mom in the Making

ISBN # 1-58736-024-1

a novel by Deirdre Weaver

"A story for a special audience
who doesn't mind hearing and
healing from the truth."

author of But I Didn't Want a Divorce

Midwest Book Review:

"In her very highly recommended book, Loosely-Braided Fog: A 3-D Single Mom In The Making, Deirdre Weaver blends fact with fiction in a totally engaging read that takes us on an insightful, entertaining, informative, and compelling story of relationship decision making and mistakes; single-parenting moments; and "re-entry dating" which confront all women who find themselves being single parents in the world today. Although a novel, Loosely-Braided Fog is one of those much appreciated works that is more informative, accessible, and revealing than any non-fiction study or essay could ever hope to be about the perils, pitfalls, and rewards of single parenthood."

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