Saturday, December 25, 2010

Iraqis defy threats to pack massacre church on Christmas

From AFP:
BAGHDAD — Hundreds of Christians packed Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation church for Christmas on Saturday, defying threats of attacks less than two months after militants massacred worshippers and priests there.
Security was extremely tight, with forces armed with pistols and assault rifles guarding the area and a 10-foot high (three-metre) concrete wall topped with gleaming razor wire surrounding the church.
All cars entering the area were searched, and worshippers were patted down twice before being allowed into the church.
The mood was sombre after an October 31 attack claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq in which gunmen stormed the church, leaving two priests, 44 worshippers and seven security personnel dead.... More
Meanwhile attacks in the Philippines and Nigeria:
 A series of Christmas Eve church attacks and explosions left at least 38 people dead in two Nigerian cities, and at least six wounded in the Philippines. More

Christmas attacks kill at least 38 in Nigeria

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see- Merry Christmas to you all

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

- "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" v. 2-3

Merry Christmas to you all

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Eve Ghost Story

My attempt at "flash fiction". Meaning exactly 100 hundred words long. Which is perfect for my (look! a squirrel!) attention span. Inspired  by I Saw Lightning Fall. You can go here for the good stories..

The Cat

He awoke with a start. There in the window, silhouetted by the moon, was the cat. It was watching him.
He felt..something....regret?...guilt? Welling up, a swirling cloud of feelings spread about him, crying out to be named. He struggled against them, for they asked him to change. He would not.

He muttered an obscenity and threw the clock  at the beast, missing by inches. The cat did not move- only continued its wordless interrogation.

The sudden chill in the room seemed to come from within him. He could not move.
The cat leaped to the bed and whispered, "Let's go."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

UK terror plot aimed British landmarks, shopping

It appears the focus on more than one front of the terror war has shifted to smaller targets. The purpose of course is to induce widespread panic.

A large-scale terror attack was aimed at British landmarks and public spaces, security officials said Tuesday as more details emerged and police searched the homes of 12 British suspects being held for questioning.
The men — whose ages range from 17 to 28 — were arrested Monday in the largest counterterrorism raid in nearly two years. At least five were of Bangladeshi origin.

Read more

U.S. buffets and salad bars 'threatened with poison attacks’

There is probably a joke here as well if it weren't so deadly serious. Interesting thing here is that if credible, and it appears to be so, it would seem to signal a change in tactics. From large scale attacks to more local, small scale, "upsetting the apple cart" kind of attacks to disrupt the economy.

Al Qaeda terrorists are plotting to put deadly poison in the salad bars and buffets of hotels and restaurants, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
They would hide either ricin or cyanide in the food at a number of locations during one weekend to cause panic.
Those who ate the poisoned meals would fall ill and die within days. It takes only tiny quantities of either ricin or cyanide to kill.

Read more:

Sewage backup causes United Nations evacuation

Reuters had fun with this one. That's the actual headline above. That in itself is good enough for a number of jokes but I'll let Reuters do it instead:

(Reuters) - A sewage backup caused a big stink at the United Nations on Tuesday, forcing diplomats and their staff to evacuate the Security Council and General Assembly.
Spokesman Farhan Haq said the evacuation was a precautionary measure after a strange smell was noticed in parts of the U.N. secretariat building. He said the odor was due to sewage backup possibly caused by high tides in the nearby East River.
"There were gases released from the sewage but they're not harmful," Haq said. Firefighters and hazardous materials experts had been called to the scene. U.N. management officials were working to deal with the sewage problem, he said. More

Your phones don't keep secrets

Your Apps are Watching You

An examination of 101 popular smartphone "apps"—games and other software applications for iPhone and Android phones—showed that 56 transmitted the phone's unique device ID to other companies without users' awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone's location in some way. Five sent age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.
The findings reveal the intrusive effort by online-tracking companies to gather personal data about people in order to flesh out detailed dossiers on them.... More

“I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party,”

Wow. How weird is that?

Totenberg’s bashfulness came as she explained how the failure of Congress to pass an annual budget has left federal workers in limbo:
Well, these agencies, including the Defense Department, don't know how much money they've got and for what. And I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice and people actually were really worried about this.

Read more: hat NewsBusters

Sunday, December 19, 2010

North Korea raises alert for artillery units along its west coast

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council met in emergency session on Sunday to try to cool tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but the five big powers were split on whether to publicly blame North Korea for the crisis.
Pyongyang raised an alert for artillery units along its west coast in what appeared to be its latest move in a growing crisis between the two Koreas, Yonhap news agency said, quoting a South Korean government source. The report was issued ahead of a planned live-fire drill by South Korea.... More here

Saturday, December 18, 2010

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid

whoops. Its one of my favorite movies, I couldn't resist...
From Awkward Family Photos

UPDATE: South Korea Holds Off On Exercise In Light of Threats

One gets the feeling here that U.S. envoy has found that the situation is as dire as China and Russia have been warning. That far from empty threats, North Korea fully intends to retaliate should the ROK go forward with its military exercise. Halting an exercise because of  "an adverse weather forecast", i.e. "cloudy with a chance of rain" is obviously not a real reason. Something else is going on. I just wonder what the payoff is/was.

US envoy visiting North Korea has warned that the situation on the peninsula is a "tinderbox". more from BBC

From Business Week...China said it’s “deeply concerned” about the “extremely precarious” situation on the peninsula, Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun.
Igor Morgulov, a director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Asian department, expressed “extreme concern” over North Korea’s readiness to use military force in a phone call yesterday with North Korean Ambassador Kim Yong-Jae.... More

Update: Cuba said? (who said? who cares?) Michael Moore's documentary, Sicko "-blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba"

Or not- According to HuffPo  (mr Moore that is writing at HuffPo) that wasn't the case at all. Instead, he proudly refers to the accolades received by the Communist regime quoted by an AP writer:

June 16, 2007 Saturday 1:41 AM GMT [that's 7 months before the false cable]
HEADLINE: Cuban health minister says Moore's 'Sicko' shows 'human values' of communist system
BYLINE: By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer

OK- I guess thats better? Ah well. We'll leave Mr Moore to his paranoid rantings of the insurance company being out to get him and move on. Guess Wikileaks isn't all that after all. 

Ah, sweet irony.
From the Guardian:

Cuba banned Michael Moore's 2007 documentarySicko, because it painted such a "mythically" favourable picture of Cuba's healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a "popular backlash", according to US diplomats in Havana.
  1. Sicko
  2. Production year: 2007
  3. Country: USA
  4. Cert (UK): 12A
  5. Runtime: 113 mins
  6. Directors: Michael Moore
  7. More on this film
The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.
But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so "disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room".... more

Friday, December 17, 2010

N. Korea-" it is not about war or peace ... but when the war will break out,"

North says to hit South harder if firing drill proceeds
* Seoul says firing drill on disputed island to go ahead
* China urges U.S. cooperation over North Korea

An unnamed senior North Korean military official told the Korean Central News Agency that if the south carried out more drills 'despite our military's prior warnings, second and third unpredictable self-defensive strikes will be made'.
A notice sent to the South Korean military today added that the retaliation would be made 'to safeguard our republic's sacred territorial waters' and that the 'intensity and scope of the strike will be more serious than the November 23 shelling'.

Read more

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Democrat: A Latin word for “lousy at math.”

Boston Globe Op-Ed:

You can have your own politics, my liberal friends, you aren't entitled to your own facts. 

and it just gets better..

Yesterday morning I endured watching a fertilizer-filled conversation on Fox 25 with Rep. Stephen Lynch, who hit every Pelosi talking point: The bill is full of “tax cuts,” in particular “tax breaks for the top 2 percent” of income earners. “We’re borrowing $855 billion from the Chinese . . . to finance these tax cuts [for the rich]” Lynch claimed, and he rejected the idea that the original Bush tax cuts had any stimulative effect....

...Democrats keep claiming will “cut taxes for the rich” doesn't cut taxes at all. It keeps rates the same. ...
...not letting them rise isn't a “cut” anywhere outside Washington. I’ve never seen an advertisement that said “C’mon down for big savings at the ‘We were going to raise prices but decided not to!’ sale!”...

...And as for those evil Bush tax cuts “costing us” billions, federal revenues increased 14.5 percent in 2005 and 11.8 percent in 2006, the fastest rise since 1981.... More here

Progressives v. Conservatives on Christianity

This is a nice piece over at Eye of Polyphemus:

There is a growing divide between how progressives and conservatives view Christian influence on policymaking decisions. Or even decisions not specifically directed at policy. The New Hampshire Democratic party, for instance, believes a Republican state representative's call for prayer to heal America is a Bible Belt call for imposing a theocracy. Paranoia and intolerance is a danergous combination, but New Hampshire Democrats appear to have indulged. More here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Infallibility of the Pope

It has been said, that the number of people who hate the Catholic Church for what it is can be counted on one hand while thousands hate it for what they THINK it is. (the quote may not be exact but close enough)
I have never hated the Catholic Church but have always seen it as a faithful, orthodox voice, which I have turned to many times over the years to "test the spirits" if you will of the many competing voices in the world. Being Protestant, I have had some trouble with many things Catholics believed but I knew, all in all we were always on the same page. Ironically, at most every major step in my discipleship, almost every point of growth, the Catholic Church has been responsible in some small or greater way. So why am I not a Catholic, you ask? Well, I do consider myself a "closet Catholic" but as I mentioned, there were things that I could not hold to, could not accept.
But I like to learn about things and recently I have been listening to a radio program called Relevant Radio. A  national Catholic program with a local affiliate. It has been a real blessing to me and I would recommend it to anyone regardless of their faith (or lack of it) I have learned a great deal about the Catholic faith and have learned that much of what I thought I knew was just not true. One of these, is the teaching of the infallibility of the Pope. Over at Catholic Culture, they talk about this issue, in regards to the book, Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times
...As any educated Catholic should know, the doctrine of papal infallibility does not mean that the reigning Pope will be right when he predicts tomorrow’s weather, or when he voices his opinion on a current political controversy. The charism of papal infallibility is not a sort of magic that protects the Pope from error whenever he opens his mouth. Pope Benedict makes a special point of saying that his own personal opinions, as he puts them forward in Light of the World, should not be regarded as official Church teaching.
The Pope does not speak with infallible authority when he speaks in his own voice. He only enjoys that authority when he speaks for the Church. Pope Benedict explains this authority—which is enjoyed to some degree by any priest—early in the book:
The important thing is that I do not present my ideas, but rather try to think and to live the Church’s faith, to act in obedience to His mandate. 
There will be times when Christ’s mandate is not altogether clear, even to those who honestly wish to know it. Then, when there is confusion or uncertainty among the faithful, the Pope must respond to Christ’s exhortation to St. Peter, and “confirm the brethren.” When he responds to that imperative, the Pope is not voicing his own opinions; he is not creating his own doctrinal rules. Rather, he is prayerfully discerning what the Church teaches, what the Church has always taught, what has been believed semper et ubique by the faithful....
Constancy and authority are good things. One I think missing in most Protestant denominations, including my own.

new PSAs depicting bone loss, dementia and anal cancer related to HIV

The gist of the PSA is to (the answer to all problems) wear a condom. Interesting to note the gay rights groups more concerned with how they look than safety. Of course, its homosexual activity and promiscuity that is at the heart of the matter. Wonder when we'll see a PSA on that. Right
From NBC NY:
The Health Department's new PSAs are intense and graphic, depicting bone loss, dementia and anal cancer related to HIV.
Calling the ads sensationalistic and stigmatizing, at least two gay rights organizations want them removed, but another gay rights group, Gay Men of African Descent, praises the PSA's candor. More

incest laws are "obsolete"

From the Telegraph:
The upper house of the Swiss parliament has drafted a law decriminalising sex between consenting family members which must now be considered by the government. More

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Thinkin'

My son son showed me a video  of a back story for a video game called Homefront. The premise is that over the coming years a resurgent North Korea, under the leadership of "dear leader's son" "reunifies" the Korean peninsula, annexes much of Southeast Asia, and them marches across the Pacific to eventually take over the U.S. Clever video if not a particularly realistic scenario but it got me to's a "scary ghost story" for Christmas:

Sometime in the future...
North Korea decides to "reunify" Korea threatening and then using (if necessary) nuclear weapons against Japan.

China decides to "reunify" China by attacking Taiwan. Its new technology cripples the Pacific fleet.

At the same time Iran launches attacks on Israel with the aid of Hezbollah and Hamas (with possible/probable nuclear and conventional missiles and overthrows the Iraq government.

Mexico (becomes) a failed state and rebels supported by Venezuela overthrow the government. Venezuela launches medium range missiles into U.S.

A resurgent Russia (aiding Iran) also seeks reunification of former territory such as the Ukraine, Belarus etc and threatens Germany and other European powers with dire consequences if they interfere.

The U.K. is racked with internal strife and unable to assist, as the Muslim population rises up.

Whew! the paranoia thing is really going huh?
This is why I don't play video games.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Russia delivered 1,800 shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009


Russia delivered at least 1,800 shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009, U.N. arms control data show, despite vigorous U.S. efforts to stop President Hugo Chavez's stridently anti-American government from acquiring the weapons.

The United States feared that the missiles could be funneled to Marxist guerrillas fighting Colombia's pro-American government or Mexican drug cartels, concerns expressed in U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and first reported in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

... the American commander for military forces in Latin America, Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, publicly expressed concern this year that Venezuela was purchasing as many as 2,400 of the missiles, also called the IGLA-S.
Matt Schroeder, a missile expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said the missiles are among the most sophisticated in the world and can down aircraft from 19,000 feet.

Built by monks, nurtured by pilgrims from India /Pre-Islamic-Christian-monastery- In the UAE

From the Daily Mail:

A 1,400-year-old monastery in the United Arab Emirates that is the only pre-Islamic Christian site in the region has opened to the public.
The site at Sir Bani Yas island in Abu Dhabi dates back to around 600AD. It was built by a community of 30 to 40 monks and is understood to have been established by pilgrims travelling from India.
The remains, which also include a church, chapel and tower, were unearthed in 1992 during an archaeological study. Excavations will continue as visitors come to the site with the first being allowed access on Saturday.

Twenty years ago, we had no idea that Christians came this far south and east in the Arabian Gulf.
'This shows that Christianity had penetrated far further than we thought before... We don't have many monasteries from this period.'
Christianity spread through the Gulf between the years 50 and 350, with the monastery's inhabitants probably being members of the Nestorian Church....

Read more here

Read more:

something in her eyes- tiny numbers and letters in the eyes of the Mona Lisa

Intrigue is usually focused on her enigmatic smile.
But the Mona Lisa was at the centre of a new mystery yesterday after art detectives took a fresh look at the masterpiece – and noticed something in her eyes.
Hidden in the dark paint of her pupils are tiny letters and numbers, placed there by the artist Leonardo da Vinci and revealed only now thanks to high-­magnification techniques.

Read more: here

Sunday, December 12, 2010

ObamaCare Cuts Drug Discounts to Children's Hospitals

Nancy Pelosi said that we wouldn't know what was in ObamaCare until it was passed.
It's been passed, and now we are finding out exactly what a nightmare it really is.
Case in point; for the past 18 years, Congress has ordered that specialized drugs, better known in the pharmaceutical industry as 'orphan drugs', to be sold to children's hospitals at a discount rate that ranged anywhere from 30%-50%.
That was before ObamaCare.
More here

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Four pics of many over at Beauty of Nature. Beautiful indeed.

Bird Photography
Bird Photography
Bird Photography
Bird Photography

Killing an Innocent Man?

Four people including a 200-pound former Marine,  killed by one man with a hatchet, an ice pick and one or two knives. but wait it gets even more fantastic:
...countless anomalies in the case. Cooper's blood showed up on a beige T-shirt apparently left by a murderer near the scene, but that blood turned out to have a preservative in it — the kind of preservative used by police when they keep blood in test tubes.
Then a forensic scientist found that a sample from the test tube of Cooper's blood held by police actually contained blood from more than one person. That leads Cooper's defense team and Fletcher to believe that someone removed blood and then filled the tube back to the top with someone else's blood.
The police also ignored other suspects. A woman and her sister told police that a housemate, a convicted murderer who had completed his sentence, had shown up with several other people late on the night of the murders, wearing blood-spattered overalls and driving a station wagon similar to the one stolen from the murdered family.
They said that the man was no longer wearing the beige T-shirt he had on earlier in the evening — the same kind as the one found near the scene. And his hatchet, which resembled the one found near the bodies, was missing from his tool area. The account was supported by a prison confession and by witnesses who said they saw a similar group in blood-spattered clothes in a nearby bar that night. The women gave the bloody overalls to the police for testing, but the police, by now focused on Cooper, threw the overalls in the trash.
This case is a travesty. It underscores the central pitfall of capital punishment: No system is fail-safe. How can we be about to execute a man when even some of America's leading judges believe he has been framed?
Lanny Davis, who was the White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, is representing Cooper pro bono. He laments: "The media and the bar have gone deaf and silent on Kevin Cooper. My simple theory: Heinous brutal murder of white family and black convict. Simple as that."
That's a disgrace that threatens not only the life of one man, but the honor of our judicial system. More

Clinton apparently now president again

From HotAir:

The depressing truth: Given the alternative, it really would be great news.

I can’t do justice to what you’re about to see. The spectacle of the president bugging out of his own press conference to go to a Christmas party is weird enough, but having Clinton back at the White House podium fielding questions on the hottest domestic issue of the day shoots past deja vu and lands firmly in “am I hallucinating?” territory. (The good news: It turned Twitter into an hour-long snark free-for-all, with Michael Goldfarb taking first prize.) I get that The One’s trying to leverage BJ’s popularity to pressure Democratic fencesitters on the tax deal. What I don’t get is why he’d leave him alone to address reporters, suggesting either ....more here

Friday, December 10, 2010

Swine Flu- Its Back

From the Independent

Doctors shocked by spread of swine flu – and its severity

H1N1 virus returns, already claiming lives of 10 British adults with early signs that illness has spread to other European countries

The swine flu virus that swept the world last year causing a global health emergency has returned to claim the lives of 10 adults in the UK in the past six weeks.
The 10 deaths were in younger adults under 65 and associated with H1N1 swine flu. Most had underlying conditions but "a small proportion" were healthy before being struck down by the virus, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). More



Iran's nuclear program is still in chaos despite its leaders' adamant claim that they have 

contained the computer worm that attacked their facilities, cybersecurity experts in the United 

States and Europe say.

The American and European experts say their security websites, which deal with the 

computer worm known as Stuxnet, continue to be swamped with traffic from Tehran and other 

places in the Islamic Republic, an indication that the worm continues to infect the computers 

at Iran's two nuclear sites.

Read more: