Monday, February 28, 2005
This article gives a good representation of what I found this morning. Towards the bottom it reads,
"Also shocking was the fact that 'The Passion of the Christ' had not been nominated for Best Picture, and that the controversial political documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11' hadn't been nominated in any category at all.
Michael Moore, director of the film, had been pushing Academy members to nominate 'Fahrenheit 9/11' for Best Picture instead of Best Documentary, which they would not do."
Every article I read this morning would not mention "The Passion" without also mentioning "Fahrenheit 9/11" in the same sentence. For the media, they saw the fact that both movies got snubbed as some sort of "draw." In essence they are saying, "See, our movie didn't get nominated earlier." By mentioning both films together the media lets Hollywood off the hook for ignoring "The Passion," which was clearly one of the best films in the last 20 years- but they can not escape the reality of their choice that easily. The common American is not fooled by the Hollywood and media elite.
However, the fact that "The Passion" did not get any official recognition by Hollywood does not really bother me. This movie will only impact those people who have an open mind and spirit to God's message of grace and forgiveness. How can we expect Hollywood to understand that?
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Saturday, January 29, 2005
The Interior Department said Friday that new DNA research shows the 9-inch mouse, which can launch itself a foot and a half into the air and switch direction in mid-flight, is probably identical to another variety of mouse common enough not to need protection.
This is clearly not a good day for animals or those who love them. Another article today is titled, Man Sentenced for Releasing Computer Worm. The report says,
Jeffrey Lee Parson, 19, of Hopkins, Minn., will serve his time at a low-security prison and must also perform 10 months of community service.
He could have gotten 10 years behind bars, but the judge took pity on him, saying his neglectful parents were to blame for the psychological troubles that led to his actions.
A worm's rights activist imprisoned for saving a worm? What is this world coming to?
Monday, January 24, 2005
Byers said it was vital Blair secured U.S. cooperation in tackling climate change. U.S. President George W. Bush has rejected the Kyoto accord, arguing that the carbon emission cuts it demands would damage the U.S. economy.
"What we have got to do then is get the Americans as part of the G-8 to engage in international concerted effort to tackle global warming," said Byers. "If they refuse to do that then other countries will be reluctant to take any steps."
I have yet to be convinced that this global warming hysteria approaches anything close to science, but it is ironic to me that those who do believe this stuff won't do anything until the United States gets involved. It is very difficult for us in the U.S. to not get a power complex when we read things like this. Apparently, if we were to jump off a building the rest of the world would rush to follow.
On a side note click here to check out a middle school supplemental curriculum titled "Have and Have-Not." This lesson brought to your local public school by www.rprogress.org.
Anyway, the last few nights here in the Southeast has been very, very cold with temperatures dipping down to 20 degrees. Those of you up North will certainly laugh at my complaining, but I have always lived in the South and I don't really like the cold weather. In the South we have a term for "global warming." We usually refer to as SUMMER.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Jonathan Dube, managing producer at MSNBC.com and publisher of CyberJournalist.net, modified the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics and urged fellow bloggers to adopt it. The principles: Be honest and fair. Minimize harm. Be accountable.
So, some producer at MSNBC wants bloggers to be honest, fair and accountable! How ironic is it that the liberal media is preaching that bloggers should be honest and fair? It is ridiculous and the height of hypocrisy. If you ask me, a bigger story from AP would be- "Liberal Media Influence Raises Ethical Questions."
Monday, January 17, 2005
Sunday, January 09, 2005
As it turned out, publishing ads was more complicated than it first seemed. Maloney pronounced Thursday on his site that Google's contextual ad service, AdSense, was "not ready for primetime." He complained that Google routinely sent ads that weren't meant for his conservative audience. One ad, for instance, asked readers: "How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?"--referring to the voters who re-elected President George W. Bush in 2004.
The article later goes on to say,
Google declined to comment on Maloney's specific situation, but the company said that AdSense allows publishers to manage ads placed on blogs. "Computer science plus a bit of human tuning creates the best results," said AdSense Product Manager Brian Axe. "If [the publishers] find an ad that they don't like on their site, they can enter in the URL for that site, and then that ad will not show up." But, said Axe, publishers can't exclude more than 200 ads from their sites.
I admit that I am not a huge expert in this field, but it seems to be that there could be a reasonable fix. Rather then allow bloggers to choose which adds to EXCLUDE, maybe it would be better to allow them to choose the types of products and services that would appear on their website. This suggestion, however, does come with a problem. It may not give Google the flexibility they need to post advertising.
On further thought there may be an even better idea. Bloggers who wish to use AdSense can fill out a profile of sorts. This could act as a advertising filter, regulating the kind of ads that appear on a specific blog. It could include interests, political persuasion, religion, blog theme and other demographic details. As Google's AdSense then queries a specific blog, it could use the profile to fine tune the type of ads that appear.
If you ask me the folks over at Blog Ads have the right idea. They allow advertisers to pick specific blogs to promote their service or product and also allow bloggers to choose the type of ads that appear on their website. Both parties have control, but in cases of dispute, the blogger get's the right to deny specific advertisements. I highly recommend that you review the Blog Ads model....
No, I do not get a penny for saying that. At least not yet.
San Francisco-based Six Apart, the host of a widely used blogging service called TypePad, is buying Portland, Ore.-based Danga Interactive Inc., which operates LiveJournal, a youthful blogging community. The financial terms of the cash-and-stock deal were not disclosed.
Saturday, January 08, 2005
In a policy statement released on Thursday, the White House said a big decline in the market for commercial launches had weakened the U.S. space-transportation industry. Major changes were needed in the government's role to ensure America's access to space and protect vital security and economic interests.
"The U.S. government must capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit of the U.S. private sector, which offers...opportunities to open new commercial markets, including public space travel," it said.
The new policy comes only months after the world's first privately funded manned spacecraft soared into space while the space shuttle program remains grounded after the Columbia disaster in 2003.
In the new policy, Bush directed the secretaries of Commerce and Transportation to "encourage, facilitate and promote" commercial space transportation including human space flight.
If you ask me, this is eerily similar to what I posted here. While that is somewhat beside the point, it is nice to have a President in the White House who understands the limitless potential of private space flight. This is the key to our future in space.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Thursday, January 06, 2005
What?!? Don’t you see the silent drama, the simple yet bold layout of the astronaut and the “Blog flag,” or how about the hidden meaning of the picture? Yes, this picture signifies that Hewitt’s book will reach a level of success that books written by other humans can only dream about.
So you see my submission will obviously make it to the top ten. If the merits of my “master piece” are not enough, maybe Hewitt and his awesome staff (and I mean really AWESOME) would consider that I bought “Blog” for my dad this Christmas. Of course he was not actually able to open it on Christmas day, because the book was not available at the time.
I would ask you loyal readers (yes, both of you) to leave a comment or e-mail me requesting to be included on the “Petition to Include Aaron’s Master Piece in the Top Ten.”
Thank you for your support.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Senator John F. Kerry is reemerging on the public stage this week with a 13-day fact-finding trip through the Middle East, which supporters say shows that the Massachusetts Democrat is determined to maintain a high profile after his losing presidential campaign.
"He intends to play a prominent role in foreign and domestic policy, and this is clear evidence of this," said Philip W. Johnston, chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. "The fact that his first major public outing following the election relates to Iraq and foreign policy tells us that he intends to be a strong spokesperson on those issues."
The report above also said that "Kerry is the only elected official on his trip." How long will the people of Massachusetts put up with John Kerry? He is a Senator for the greatest most powerful nation in the world, and he is determined to maintain a high profile by continuing to not show up for work?!? Instead he is gallivanting across the Middle East on some sort of public relations campaign. Not for the United States mind you, but for himself. You would think that after he missed almost all of last year due to his presidential aspirations, he would feel inclined to get back to his duties in the Senate.
Last year John Kerry "reported for duty." Maybe this year he should consider reporting for work.
Monday, January 03, 2005
1. privately funded, commercial oriented space technology
2. government funded, strategic space technology.
Both of these will be instrumental to the long term health and success of America’s space aspirations.
An example of a private funded space program is the recent success of SpaceShipOne. This craft took two suborbital space flights within a two week period to win the $10M X Prize. You can read this press release for more information. Most amazing about this achievement was that it only cost $25M, which is peanuts compared to what NASA would have spent. Secondly, the team came up with creative and technologically brilliant way to send the equivalent of three people into suborbital space flight and bring the pilot back safely. Thirdly, their success and the success of others will make the reality of affordable, commercial space flight possible. It will be these groups that will continue to drive technological advances for the future. By the way, you can click here to recreate SpaceShipOne's winning X Prize mission.
I also recognize that America’s government funded space program is necessary. It will be this program that will maintain the heavy lift capabilities necessary for future moon and even Mars landings. Also, in these modern times we need to have a dominating presence and access to the space above the earth. For example, as of today only Russia can get people into the International Space station- America can not. If this trend were to continue (although that is not likely, the Space Shuttle will be launching in May or June of this year) it would mean the long term vulnerability of American interests around the world.
NASA has a giant leap ahead of America’s privately funded space programs, however I expect that to change in the next 20 years or so. Eventually, as commercial success continues, private funded space flight will be America’s primary access to space. These groups will drive technology and innovation while maintaining a cost effective, profit driven program. New space innovation will then be used by NASA for more national, strategic purposes.
I would sure be interested to know anyone else’s thoughts on this subject. Do you agree with my analysis? Leave me a comment one way or the other!
"Though blog readership jumped, the percentage of online Americans who write blogs grew only slightly - to 7 percent in November, up from 5 percent early in the year. Blog creators tend to be male, affluent, well-educated and young; 70 percent of them have high-speed connections at home, and 82 percent have been online at least six years.
Despite the attention to blogging, a large number of Americans remain clueless - only 38 percent of Internet users know what a blog is: online agglomerations of ideas, information and links, usually presented with the most recent postings on top, and often offering a mechanism for visitors to post comments."
So for those of you like me who constantly check and re-check blog visitor stats, the outlook looks good.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
"From its infancy to today, our nation's space program has provided people of all political persuasions a common rallying point. There were no Democrats or Republicans in August 1969 when Neil Armstrong took his bold leap for mankind. There was, instead, a nation of proud Americans. There were no Democrats or Republicans on the days when the two space shuttles and their crews were tragically lost. There were only Americans in mourning.
When the space shuttle Discovery leaves the bounds of this Earth behind sometime next year, the hearts of everyone in the land will be made a bit lighter. We will all of us travel with that brave crew"
I totally agree! The launch of the next Discovery is an important step to continue space exploration and lift the spirit of America. However, while I hope to believe these thoughts of political unity are true, I am a bit cynical. I work in an office with many liberals. From my discussion with these people and others, I have gathered that the space program is just another obstacle blocking their dreams of socialistic euphoria. In my opinion their attitude on this subject is just another example of how little vision liberals have.
It is a well known fact that John F Kennedy had a real vision for space exploration. However, since his death other liberal politicians have taken an opposing view of the U.S. space program. Take for example Walter Mondale in 1972. I have been watching the HBO series "From The Earth to the Moon," and was surprised to find out that this man tried to shut it down. CBS News on January 30, 2004 posted a "Weekly Standard" column by Joseph Rodota. In it he said,
But my collection has an unusual centerpiece: a signed letter from Walter Mondale, the former vice president who unsuccessfully challenged Ronald Reagan for the presidency in 1984.
The letter is dated February 14, 1972, and is addressed by Mondale, at the time a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, to a man who lived not far from the Capitol, in the posh suburb of Chevy Chase, Maryland. I found the letter on the bargain table at a political memorabilia show shortly after the '84 election, which Mondale lost overwhelmingly. I bought it for almost nothing -- there's a weak market for autographs from the also-rans -- but it caught my eye because of the opening paragraph:
"Thank you very much for your message supporting my position against the space shuttle. I hope that our efforts to reject this project here in the Senate will be successful."
Opposed to the space shuttle? How strange.
Mondale went on:
"President Nixon's decision to proceed with the development of the space shuttle is another example of perverse priorities and colossal waste in government spending. There is expert evidence that we can achieve the same scientific and utilitarian goals in space at only a fraction of the billions to be spent on the shuttle. And there are certainly more sensible ways to create new jobs than by an enormous federal boondoggle."
Of course Mondale's "boondoggle" turned out to be the nation's pride, undiminished by the losses of the Challenger and the Columbia.
Mondale's letter serves as a reminder that big ideas matter in American politics. Space exploration is a big idea. John F. Kennedy understood this, as did Ronald Reagan. And so too, does George W. Bush.
From my perspective many liberals have unfortunately chosen this pessimistic, visionless voice of Walter Mondale over the passion and inspiration of John F. Kennedy. It is a shame that even national scientific and space policy could be discarded by liberals and their Democratic Party.
Friday, December 31, 2004
"Martha Stewart, who built a billion-dollar media empire based on her holiday and home decorating tips, was unable to lead her team to victory in a prison decoration contest, a magazine reported.
Stewart and a team of fellow inmates at a federal prison camp in Alderson, W.Va., crafted paper cranes to be hung from the ceiling, People magazine reported in an article posted on its Web site Wednesday. They lost out to a competing team that built a nativity scene showing "pictures of snow-covered hills and sleds and clouds on the wall," the magazine quoted an inmate as saying.
Each team was given $25 worth of glitter, ribbons, construction paper and glue to build a display based on the theme "Peace on Earth," the magazine said."
"University of California, Davis, scientists venturing into the controversial field of earthquake prediction say they successfully forecast Sunday's monstrous temblor in Indonesia.
Twelve days before the magnitude 9 earthquake struck, spawning deadly tsunamis across the Indian Ocean, geologist Donald Turcotte unveiled at a science meeting a world map identifying locations where he and his colleagues anticipate large quakes will occur this decade.
Among the places highlighted with a bright orange dot was the northern tip of Indonesia."
Thursday, December 30, 2004
The deadly Asian earthquake may have permanently accelerated the Earth's rotation, shortening days by a fraction of a second and caused the planet to wobble on its axis, U.S. scientists said Tuesday.
Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, theorized that a shift of mass toward the Earth's center during the quake Sunday caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds, or millionths of a second, faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis.
When one huge tectonic plate beneath the Indian Ocean was forced below the edge of another "it had the effect of making the Earth more compact and spinning faster," Gross said.
"NASA has finished building a redesigned space shuttle fuel tank that was reconfigured to eliminate the debris problem that doomed the shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts, agency officials said on Tuesday.
Project managers called the step a major advance in returning the U.S. space program to manned flight after the shuttles were grounded when Columbia broke apart over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003.
The first reconfigured tank is to be shipped by Friday from a NASA facility near New Orleans to the Kennedy Space Center (news - web sites) in Florida as the space agency prepares for shuttle Discovery's launch in May or early June."
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
"President Bush gave suborbital space companies an early Christmas gift on Thursday by signing a bill that helps open the way for commercial tourism on the final frontier.
The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act, or H.R. 5382, puts a clear legislative stamp on regulations already being formulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. More significantly, the law would eventually let paying passengers fly on suborbital launch vehicles at their own risk."
I will be posting more on private space flight later, but this bill is a huge and important step. While this bill opens the door for substantial government regulation, it does calm the fears of potential and necessary private investors. Space flight comes with obvious risks and private citizens needed some protection against lawsuits.
For anyone who is interested in private space flight click here to learn about the recent flight of Space Ship One.
"A MASSIVE earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale struck the largely uninhabited area around Macquarie Island in Antarctica, French seismological officials said.
The quake hit at 1:58am Friday AEDT, the Earth Sciences Observatory in Strasbourg said in a statement."
I have to say that if I lived near a major fault line (aka California) I would be more than a little bit nervous.
BTW... if you are interested I found this Seismic Monitor. It shows all the seismic activity going on in the world today (real time). It all gives a good indication of where the earthquake hotspots are located.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
"Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan showed up Monday at his Covington County courtroom in Andalusia wearing the robe at the start of a week of jury trials of cases that were being appealed from lower courts - mostly cases like driving under the influence and possession of marijuana."
The Southern Poverty Law Center (the same outfit that successfully brought suit against Roy Moore) is looking to sue Judge McKathan. WSFA TV reports,
"Of course, the embroidered robe is not as big and as conspicuous as the two-and-a-half ton granite monument. However, Richard Cohen with the Southern Poverty Law Center was shaking his head as he saw the robe for the first time in our story. He thinks what the judge is doing is against the law because he says it appears he's doing it for religious reasons. "I think it's outrageous. Much more outrageous than I realized. He made a display of his private religious beliefs in his courthouse. He's not wearing it on his jacket that he wears out in public. He's not embroidering it on clothes that he wears in other places where he appears as a private citizen. He emblazoned it on his robe that he wears as a public official.""
Richard Cohen and his ilk are now waiting for someone to step forward and sue Judge McKathan so they can get involved.
NPR's Debbie Elliott has a report at NPR.org. In the report Judge McKathan said among other things that, "the Ten Commandments are the link between law and truth."
Judge McKathan understands a basic human problem. Any law or regulation we think up on our own is arbitrary and at the mercy of our ever changing society and culture. Take for example the abortion issue. At what point does a "fetus" become a human baby? Is it the 1st trimester, 3rd trimester or birth? At what point does abortion become murder? When Scott Peterson murdered his wife he also killed their unborn baby, and was held accountable for the murder of that unborn person. Was the end result of his action any different then that of a doctor performing an abortion? When is a baby a baby and when is the baby legally protected? Any law concocted by man to answer this final question is arbitrary because the answer can (and does) change from one society to the next.
Law can not stand on its own, but must have an unshakable foundations. What I have defined as an arbitrary law is a law not founded on eternal morals and truth. Mankind by himself is fickle, unstable, unreliable, mortal, evil and altogether unfit to rule himself successfully. We can not in ourselves find the answer because we are the problem. No just and righteous law will ever come from mankind-- it must come from another source.
In America, we live in a society that is based on Judeo-Christian values that have existed since our beginning over two hundred years ago. This great country exists today because many of our founding fathers did not rely on themselves for solutions but on God. Read my earlier post on the First Prayer of the Continental Congress of 1774. Part of this first prayer says,
"Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation."
As representatives in the First Continental Congress, these men recognized their own limitation as humans. They knew that the answers they were seeking would not come from themselves, but from God. If the founding fathers recognized and called on God for wisdom and direction, why is it wrong for Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan to publicly recognize the same source of eternal wisdom and truth?
Monday, December 27, 2004
"And yet this year I'm disinclined to join in the general bemoaning. Flipping the dial on my car radio, I noticed more stations than ever were playing nonstop 24-hour ''holiday music'' for the month before C-day -- not just ''Winter Wonderland'' and ''Jingle Bell Rock,'' but Bing and Frank doing ''Go Tell It On The Mountain'' and Andy Williams singing ''O Holy Night.'' And not just the old guys, but all the current fellows, especially the country singers: Garth Brooks' new album -- "The Magic Of Christmas" -- includes ''Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!'' but also ''Baby Jesus Is Born'' and ''O Little Town Of Bethlehem.''"
I have to say that I also noticed my local Atlanta radio stations were playing religious Christmas songs. Also, I noticed many people saying "Merry Christmas" with a lot more enthusiasm and spirit this year. The move by secularists to ban God from public places has only resulted in Christians being more fervent then ever. Steyn ends his article by saying,
"But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins? For the answer to that, look no further than last month's election results. Forty years of ACLU efforts to eliminate God from the public square have led to a resurgent, evangelical and politicized Christianity in America. By ''politicized,'' I don't mean that anyone who feels his kid should be allowed to sing ''Silent Night'' if he wants to is perforce a Republican, but only that year in, year out, it becomes harder for such folks to support a secular Democratic Party closely allied with the anti-Christmas militants. American liberals need to rethink their priorities: What's more important? Winning a victory over the New Jersey kindergarten teacher's holiday concert, or winning back Congress and the White House?"
Funniest news stories of 2004
Friday, December 24, 2004
Thursday, December 23, 2004
"The United States needs the United Nations and the United Nations needs the United States and we need to find a way of working together. The current criticisms and the attacks have not been helpful for the relationship, regardless of which quarter it comes from, and we need to find a way of putting those kinds of acrimonious discussions behind us and move on"
Wow, I wonder why Kofi Annan is in such a hurry to put this behind him. I don't trust that man any more then I trust the United Nations. While I don't believe he will walk away from the oil-for-food scandal unscathed, many in the world community will be more than willing to turn a blind eye. Regardless, his assessment on the relationship between the U.S. and the U.N. is incorrect. The United States DOES NOT need the United Nations. We need an organization made up of nations who will take a stand against corruption and have similar morals and values.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Saturday, December 18, 2004
An estimated 57 percent of the U.S. population chats on wireless phones not much greater than the percentage of wireless phone users in much poorer Jamaica, where 54 percent of the people have mobile phones, according to the International Telecommunications Union.
By comparison, in Hong Kong there are 105.75 mobile subscribers for every 100 inhabitants. In Taiwan, there are 110.
The report later does on to say,
"Why? The reasons range from credit checks to network quality to coverage areas.
Wireless networks elsewhere are simply better than those in the United States, said Albert Lin, an analyst at American Technology Research."
That is all well a good, but I have my own opinion on this interesting wireless disparity. Why do only 57% of Americans use wireless phones? Click here to look at a world population map from worlstats.org. Look at the populations of Asia and Europe compared to the U.S. Clearly, Europe and Asia have a higher population density then America. In a place like Japan, a company can build a large network that can cover hundreds of miles of highly dense population. Other than major city areas, American companies can not afford to build such vast networks and stay profitable.
I helped a good friend of mine move from Atlanta, Georgia to Los Angeles, California. We packed up his car and drove across the country. As we traveled through West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona we passed vast expanses of wide open space. It was an amazing car trip.
Click this link to view coverage maps for several major U.S. wireless companies. Each of these maps show that the major wireless companies struggle to cover areas in the mid-west, but a decent amount of the U.S. population is spread out over these areas. Look at how few mid-west States have access to Sprints PCS Network Coverage.
The cost of the infrastructure and maintenance of these digital networks is high. Clearly, companies in Asia or Europe can build larger, higher quality networks that can reach more people then any company in the U.S could hope to.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
"...this kind of nonsense is becoming commonplace in our idiotic government school system. Drugs are banned and a child can be expelled for having an aspirin. The school, however, doesn't hesitate to force kids to take drugs to make them more docile and manageable. And those drugs have been shown sometimes to provoke students to kill themselves or their classmates."
His piece on World Net Daily shows the folly of zero tolerance and is a great read.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
"'What I have seen ... is the total decimation of a number of big trees in the park ... Impalas don't push trees or uproot them and eat their roots, elephants do and you can see it all over the park,' Mabunda said.
Less than 5,000 elephants roamed south of the Zambezi River at the turn of the century, now, Kruger alone has 12,000. Experts say if left unchecked that population could explode over the next decade.
Culling may be, as one official put it, the most 'practical' solution but it is not all that cut-and-dried.
Apart from the logistics involved, the issue is -- to put it mildly -- a thorny one and has already raised the ire of animal rights activists, who say the intelligence and sensitivity of elephants raises ethical questions about culling."
The story goes on to say that some elephants have even trampled to death their human neighbors. The article ends with this great incite,
"Still, the elephant has another side that has won the hearts of humans and made any discussion around its culling so heated.
As if to prove that, a young elephant put on an impromptu show in a nearby pool, splashing and swishing ostentatiously through his muddy playground, and trumpeting proudly.
No one was left untouched by the display -- a poignant reminder of the more 'human' side of the creature who has caused so much trouble; a reminder, also, that any decision around this animal cannot be taken lightly."
This massive elephant overpopluation problem is the result of animal activists ending the practice of "culling" in 1994. This is the practice of shooting entire families from helicopters. Animal rights groups said that the practice was traumatic on these large mammals who are sensitive, intelligent and highly codependent.
You would think that these "human" like mammals who are both intelligent and sensitive would be more considerate of the environment.
Monday, December 13, 2004
"Britons follow more than 170 different faiths or belief systems, according to newly-published official figures which suggest that spirituality is thriving.
The huge range of belief, much of it exotic or New Age, has been revealed by the raw statistics collated during the 2001 census, the first national count of religious affiliation."
The article goes on to say,
"A number of students, encouraged by a tongue-in-cheek internet campaign, also registered themselves as Jedi Knights, after the fictional characters in the Star Wars films."
The two major themes of Chanukah are light and dedication. Even though I am not Jewish, these themes play an important part of my life? This great story takes place 167 years before the birth of Jesus. The events after the rededication of the temple (a little over 100 years of Jewish self rule and then 63 years of Roman rule), set the stage for the birth of a special baby in Bethlehem—hence the celebration of Christmas.
Today I wanted to spend a few minutes writing about the concept of dedication. My favorite part of the Chanukah story is when the Jews rededicate the temple back to God, because it serves as important lesson for us today. Before you continue reading, answer this question. In what state is my “temple” in today?
In Luke 11: 39, 40. Jesus spoke to the Pharisees saying, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?” Jesus made it clear in this passage and throughout his ministry that he was not interested in the outside appearance of people but their spiritual health inside.
In 2 Corinthians 6:16 Rabbi Shaul (the apostle Paul) said that our bodies are God’s temple. “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’"
As in the days of the Maccabee’s we have to carefully guard ourselves from the corrupt world around us. As temples of the living God we need to make sure that we don’t slowly allow ourselves to compromise our faith in Jesus and what God has shown us to be true.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
This is a great time for year to dedicate ourselves to the Lord, who alone is able to render us clean, acceptable in His site and set apart or holy. It is not so much a time to take issue with the world for physical persecution, but rather a time to cease from pursuing the world’s vain cares and distractions which draw us away from God.
Have a happy and safe Chanukah!
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
"That's right! Lobsters! If you put a bunch of lobsters in a bucket; if they just piled onto each other they could get out and when by chance one gets close another will grab him and pull him back in. This is the way people are. They are lobsters trying to keep me in the bucket when I am trying madly to get out of it because they don't want anyone around them to get out. It's easier to believe it can't be done when no one around you is doing it."
This analogy is very intriguing. After reading it, I found myself wondering why would a lobster (human as described above or real) deny another lobster the chance of life, opportunity and freedom? As I was thinking through the philosophical implications of this question, the answer suddenly came to mind! It is the same reason why lobsters never share... lobsters are "shellfish."
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
1. Dissolution of the Palestinian Authority.
2. A firm end to Palestinian terrorism by expelling terrorists, collecting weapons and dismantling terror-hotbed refugee camps.
3. The international community will recognize the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as the sole representative of the Palestinians and provide it economic assistance to enable absorption of a limited number of refugees.
4. Israel will become sovereign over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and the Arabs living there will be Jordanian citizens living as residents of Israel.
5. The exchange of Jewish and Arab populations begun in 1948 will be completed, and the international community will assist with rehabilitation of refugees in their new countries.
6. Israel and Jordan-Palestine will declare the conflict ended and will work together as neighbors.
Now, whether Palestinians will like this plan remains to be seen, but it does resolve many issues. Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza would even be able to remain there as Jordanian citizens.
I believe this plan would offer the Palestinians the greatest amount of economic prosperity. With Gaza and West Bank territories in Israel's control, the Palestinian population would greatly benefit from new freedom, commerce, opportunity and prosperity. Those who wish to relocate to Jordan would have the benefit of rehabilitation efforts provided by the international community.
Jordan while being more directly responsible for a difficult situation, also has something to gain. Their credibility in the Middle East and the world would immediately increase as they take an active step in resolving this long standing conflict.
Israel in turn would be able to wipe out the remaining terrorist elements in the area.
The only loser here would have been Yasser Arafat, but he is thankfully no longer in the picture. It is no wonder that this plan surfaced after his death. If there has ever been such a thing as a road map to peace, this is the best example I have seen so far.
"More than 100 members of Congress will try to block some United States funding of the United Nations unless U.S. officials are allowed to begin an open and complete investigation into a U.N. humanitarian program in pre-war Iraq -- sooner rather than later."
Here are some quotes from Congressional Representatives,
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.):
"(We) visited some of those palaces that were built with a lot of the oil-for-food money and let me tell you, it makes you sick to see what the money was bled off to."
"...I'd be surprised if anybody could survive at the top of an organization having this kind of scandal beneath him." Having said that, I hope that the calls for his ouster don't bring an end to a call for full investigation of the oil-for-food scandal and that's my fear, that we'll focus on Kofi Annan."
Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.):
When comparing U.N. officials to the corporate officers of Enron and Worldcom he said, "Not only did they have to resign, but Congress reacted and implemented laws to ensure good governance at the corporate level. The same standard, really, should apply to the United Nations, and nothing less."
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J):
"To me the question should not be whether Kofi Annan should remain in charge. To me, the larger question is whether he should be in jail." If this were to occur in any corporate scandal in the United States, you would be hearing cries from both sides of the aisle, at this point in time, for his immediate resignation and, also, for his arrest."
Yet, most Liberals still reflexively back the United Nations. An editorial at The New York Times made the following excuse,
"Mr. Annan, who drew the wrath of Republican Washington for opposing President Bush's war in Iraq, will have to face the judgment of United Nations members on how much responsibility he bears. But before the call for his scalp gains more political momentum, it is important to disentangle the mélange of charges swirling around. The United Nations bureaucracy does not bear the primary responsibility for letting Saddam Hussein amass a secret treasury estimated by official investigators at $10 billion to $21 billion."
This statement could not be more incorrect. If U.N. bureaucrats allowed this program to continue with the knowledge of where the money was being misused, then they do bear the primary responsibility because they controlled the flow of money. Not to mention, Mr. Annan's own son may have received money from this now infamous U.N. program.
This editorial ends by saying (emphasis mine),
"Kofi Annan's role will also have to be laid out fully. He has, unfortunately, issued inconsistent statements about the role of his son, Kojo Annan, in working abroad for a Swiss company that won a contract to monitor imports under the oil-for-food program. The whiff of nepotism has set the hounds baying, and may bring grief to Mr. Annan, but what all that has to do with Saddam Hussein's illicit billions remains murky. It seems wildly premature to call for Mr. Annan's resignation."
So the New York Times thinks it is "unfortunate" that Mr. Annan's statements conflicted with what his son said! Oh, if only Annan had not messed up! The only reason the NYT called Annan's actions "unfortunate" is because Liberals in this country can not help but support the United Nations. For them, it is "unfortunate" that they now have to find new and creative ways to defend Kofi Annan and the United Nations who administered the corrupt Oil-for-Food program.