Friday, December 31, 2010

On The Seventh Day Of Christmas . . . The Feast Of St. Sylvester

Today is New Year's Eve, the seventh day of the twelve days of Christmas.



Today is celebrated the Feast of St. Sylvester. Surprisingly little is known about this Saint. What is known is that he was the son of a Roman soldier and that he became Pope at a critical period in history. In the 150 years preceeding Sylvester's Papacy, Christians had been brutally persecuted by Rome's Emporers from Nero to Diocletian. Indeed, the Diocletianic Persecution, from 303 A.D. to 311 A.D., was Rome's largest, and bloodiest official persecution of Christianity. But then Constantine became the Emporer of Rome in 306 A.D. Constantine publicly converted to Christianity in 312 A.D. and ended the Christian persecutions by the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. The next year, Sylvester was elected Pope. For the next 21 years, he oversaw the Papacy while Constantine, who would outlive St. Sylvester by two years, spread Christianity throughout the Roman world.

It was during Sylvester's pontificate were built many of the great Churches, including the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, St. Peter's Basilica, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. Saint Sylvester did not himself attend the First Council of Nicaea in 325, but he was represented by two legates and he approved the council's decision.

One of the traditions associated with St. Sylvester, at least in Germany, is St. Sylvester's punch:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
750 ml bottle of dry white wine
750 ml bottle of dry red wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup dark Jamaican rum

Preparation:

1.Bring water and sugar to a boil in a large pot, while stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved.
2.Add the wines and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the rum and lemon juice.
3.Ladle the punch into cups and serve warm.

AND TO ALL, A HAPPY NEW YEAR


The 12 Days Of Christmas

The first eight days of Christmastide are known as the Octave

The 1st Day - Celebrating The Birth Of Christ
The 2nd Day - Feast of St. Stephen, The First Martyr of the Church
The 3rd Day - Feast of St. John the Evangelist & The Blessing Of The Wine
The 4th Day - Feast of the Holy Innocents
The 5th Day - Feast of St. Thomas a' Becket
The 6th Day - Feast of the Holy Family*
The 7th Day - Feast of St. Sylvester
The 8th Day – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Feast of the Circumsision - no longer celebrated) (& The Feast Of Fools - no longer celebrated)
The 9th Day – Feast of the Holy Name (1st Sunday of the New Year, unless that day falls on the 1st, 6th or 7th of January, in which case it falls on the 2nd of January)
10th Day of Christmas - Open
11th Day of Christmas – Open
12th Night
Epiphany

13 January – Baptism of Jesus

14 January - Feast Of The Asses - no longer celebrated

Read More...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On The Sixth Day Of Christmas . . . The Feast Of The Holy Family*

Today is the sixth day of the twelve days of Christmas . . .


My research into what was celebrated on this day in Medieval times, from whence the custom of a 12 day celebration of Christmas originates, has come up short. In the modern era, the Feast of the Holy Family was placed on general calendar of the Roman Rite on October 26, 1921. It is, by custom, celebrated on this day in those years when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Otherwise, the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the first Sunday after Christmas.

The purpose of this celebration is to use the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus as the model for all Christian families.

Prayer To The Holy Family:

Domine Iesu Christe, qui Mariae et Ioseph subditus, domesticam vitam ineffabilibus virtutibus consecrasti: fac nos, utriusque auxilio, Familiae sanctae tuae exemplis instrui et consortium consequi sempiternum: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.

Should it be that the Feast of the Holy Family is not celebrated this day, I would honor St. Ecgwine of Worcester whose feast falls on this day. Ecgwine, the 7th century son of a Mercian King, founded the Benedictine monastery of Evesham, England; the site was chosen because of an apparition of the Virgin Mary to a local herdsman. It became one of the great Benedictine houses of the Middle Ages. In his honor, it seems only fitting that one toast repeatedly with the libation produced by his order, Benedictine liquor. Do note that every bottle of Bénédictine has the initials D.O.M. on the label - it actually stands for "Deo Optimo Maximo"; "For our best, greatest God".


The 12 Days Of Christmas

The first eight days of Christmastide are known as the Octave

The 1st Day - Celebrating The Birth Of Christ
The 2nd Day - Feast of St. Stephen, The First Martyr of the Church
The 3rd Day - Feast of St. John the Evangelist & The Blessing Of The Wine
The 4th Day - Feast of the Holy Innocents
The 5th Day - Feast of St. Thomas a' Becket
The 6th Day - Feast of the Holy Family*
The 7th Day - Feast of St. SylvesterThe 8th Day – Feast of the Circumsision (& The Feast Of Fools - no longer celebrated)
The 9th Day – Feast of the Holy Name (1st Sunday of the New Year, unless that day falls on the 1st, 6th or 7th of January, in which case it falls on the 2nd of January)
10th Day of Christmas - Open
11th Day of Christmas – Open
12th Night
Epiphany

13 January – Baptism of Jesus

14 January - Feast Of The Ass - no longer celebrated

Read More...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SSG R. Lee Ermy On Obama . . . Oooorah!

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Wednesday Links


From the Blogprof: Illinois is refusing to issue state tax refunds. They aren't even bothering to issue IOU's. Sounds like a 1983 action in the making to me.

At Maggie's Farm, a cost benefit number crunch convinces the author to stay in Texas and out of NYC.

If this isn't a Tea Party issue, it ought to be - from Tom Blumer: GAO is unable to complete an accounting of our government's finances for the 14th year running.

From Thomas Sowell: "There are ways the government can juggle money around to make everything look OK, but it is only a matter of time before that money runs out and the ultimate reality hits, that there is no free lunch." Amen.

JammieWearingFool "loves a good Democrat food fight over racial politics."

Hey - it turns out Gitmo never was a recruiting tool for jihadis. If that surprises you, then it is certain that you haven't made the slightest effort to educate yourself on jihadism since 9-11.

Gay Patriot takes note that it is de rigueur for the politically correct gay activist to use obscenities to slur conservatives. And in getting their message out, they are supported by a media that enjoys their little jokes.

With a hat-tip to Instapundit, here is something I didn't know. During the Falklands War, PM Margaret Thatcher was ready to nuke Agrentina. The Argentinians were armed with state of the art weaponry sold to them by France. Thatcher told French PM Mitterand that she would employ nukes against Argentina unless Mitterand gave her the codes to make the French missiles blind:

Mitterrand - who once described Mrs Thatcher as "the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe" - went on: "One cannot win against the insular syndrome of an unbridled Englishwoman. Provoke a nuclear war for a few islands inhabited by three sheep as hairy as they are freezing! But it's a good job I gave way. Otherwise, I assure you, the Lady's metallic finger would have hit the button."

And from Sister Toldjah, modern-day feminism in a nutshell:


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On The Fifth Day Of Christmas . . . The Feast Of St. Thomas a Becket

Today is the fifth day of the twelve days of Christmas.



The Feast of St. Thomas a Becket is celebrated this day. One of the overarching issues of the Medieval world was where the authority of the Papacy ended and the authority of kings began. It was an issue that would consume St. Thomas.

Thomas a Becket was born into 12th century England. As Chancellor to King Henry II, he came to be a close confidant of the King. He even accompanied the King to war, reportedly acquitting himself well in battle. But then, in 1161, when Henry appointed Becket to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, Becket became a defender of Papal authority. At particular issue was the Papacy's claim of right to try felonious monks and other lawless clergy in Church courts. Henry wanted to end this custom and subject criminal clergy to Royal courts. Becket was intransigent, even going so far as to excommunicate other English bishops who supported Henry on the issue. Henry, in a rage, famously asked “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?”

Four of Henry's knights took it upon themselves to do just that. Travelling to Canterbury on this date in 1170, with their weapons in hand, they confronted Becket and demanded he lift the excommunications. When Becket refused, it was soon clear beyond doubt that he would be killed. Moments after Becket “commended himself and the cause of the Church to God, St. Mary, and the blessed martyr St. Denis,” his assassins put him to the sword, spilling his brains on the Cathedral floor.

Much of the medieval world erupted in horror at Becket's murder. Pilgrimages to the site followed soon thereafter with numerous miracles occurring that were attributed to Becket. The Church canonized Becket in 1173. King Henry presented himself at the tomb of Becket to make public penance, allowing himself to be scourged by the local clerics.

Canterbury became the third greatest site of pilgrimage in all of Europe.


The first great work of literature composed in English, Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," is set against the backdrop of travelers on a pilgrimage to Becket's shrine.

St. Thomas is, today, the patron saint of priests.


The 12 Days Of Christmas

The first eight days of Christmastide are known as the Octave

The 1st Day - Celebrating The Birth Of Christ
The 2nd Day - Feast of St. Stephen, The First Martyr of the Church
The 3rd Day - Feast of St. John the Evangelist & The Blessing Of The Wine
The 4th Day - Feast of the Holy Innocents
The 5th Day - Feast of St. Thomas a' Becket
The 6th Day - Feast of the Holy Family
The 7th Day - Feast of St. Sylvester
The 8th Day – Feast of the Circumsision (& The Feast Of Fools - no longer celebrated)
The 9th Day – Feast of the Holy Name (1st Sunday of the New Year, unless that day falls on the 1st, 6th or 7th of January, in which case it falls on the 2nd of January)
10th Day of Christmas - Open
11th Day of Christmas – Open
12th Night
Epiphany

13 January – Baptism of Jesus

14 January - Feast Of The Ass - no longer celebrated

Read More...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Solar Magnetism vs. Carbon Dioxode

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It would seem that the difference between the two views of weather forcing - solar magnetism vs. carbon dioxide - is that the former allows one to accurately forecast weather into the future, while the latter only allows one to claim that they knew what the weather would be after the fact - and, of course, that it was caused by plant food.

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Climate Change Astrology

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Tuesday Links


We now resemble the socialist bureaucracy of the EU, with major policy decisions being made by unelected bureaucrats - and indeed, policy decisions that contravene the will of our elected representatives. Apparently, the Republicans plan to fight this with the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (thanks for that one, Newt), which will allow them an opportunity to force a vote on approval of the most outrageous recent acts. I would argue, though, that democracy demands that there should be congressional review and approval of all regulations before they become binding.

Related - This from Thomas Sowell: "The Constitution of the United States begins with the words "We the people." But neither the Constitution nor "we the people" will mean anything if politicians and judges can continue to do end runs around both."

From Powerline: Like NPR, PBS is a media adjunct of the Democratic Party.

Larry Bell at Forbes ponders: "as 2010 draws to a close, do you remember hearing any good news from the mainstream media about climate? Like maybe a headline proclaiming "Record Low 2009 and 2010 Cyclonic Activity Reported: Global Warming Theorists Perplexed"? Or "NASA Studies Report Oceans Entering New Cooling Phase: Alarmists Fear Climate Science Budgets in Peril"?


The major accomplishment of the 111th Congress - increasing our national debt by nearly 60%, in excess of $5 trillion, in 4 years. That is, as Q&O points out, "more debt added than any other Congress in the history of our country and more than all of the first 100 combined."

While the EPA goes to war with Texas over its power grab to regulate plant food, and while the same EPA continues its war on our energy infrastructure, the "former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, says Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline by 2012."

Fareed Zakaria is shilling for a VAT tax in America. Its clear that he is approaching this from a statist viewpoint, but I happen to agree that we should adopt a VAT or sales tax, with the caveat that it would replace the insane tax system we have now that punishes wealth creation and savings.

Mark Helprin on "America's Dangerous Rush to Shrink Its Military Power." This has long been a wet dream of the far left - and they are pushing it hard. If they succeed, you can rest assured that we will eventually pay the price for it in blood and gold.

From Counting Cats, looking at the left's stranglehold on education in the West and its ramifications: "Only by attacking the enemy at the source of their power (by breaking the iron grip they have over schools and universities) can the cultural and political power of the left really be broken. Unless that happens, no amount of economic or social failure will really undermine the doctrines of “leftism”. In short - civilization will fall, and a new Dark Age will start. A Dark Age on a global (not just European) scale."

It is eminently clear that Barack Hussein Obama's views of Islam have been colored by what he experienced when he was living in Indonesia. But with the influx of Islamic radicals, Indonesia as a model of religious tolerance is a thing of the past.

In NYC, the best laid plans of mice and men go awry when the Mayor seems more intent on pointing fingers then lifting one to solve the problems brought on by 4 ft of global warming.

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On The Fourth Day Of Chrismas . . . The Feast Of The Holy Innocents

Today is the fourth day of the twelve days of Christmas.



On the fouth day is celebrated the Feast of the Holy Innocents. This feast honors those children slaughtered on the order of King Herod, as told in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. The Magi had passed through Jerusalem and let it be known they were going to visit the newborn King. Herod, hearing of this, called his advisors together, one of whom informed Herod of a prophecy that a child would be born in Bethlehem who would become “a ruler who is to shepherd the people of Israel.” When later the Magi later refused to tell Herod where they had found Jesus, Herod ordered the slaughter of all children under two years of age living in Bethlehem. It is estimated that, in the small town of Bethlehem, that this would have meant slaughtering about 25 children. And it is their martyrdom that the Feast of the Holy Innocents honors.

The Coventry Carol, performed below by Alison Moyet, tells the story.




This 15th century carol has an interesting back story. In Medieval Europe, few people were literate and most copies of the bible where in Latin, so the local clergy used alternative methods to teach the bible. One was through the use of the “poor man's bible” - stained glass windows which contained images from biblical stories, sort of a millennium old precursor to the modern comic books. One of the most famous “poor man's bible” is the 14th century window in Canterbury Cathedral shown here on the right.

A second method of teaching the bible was through Mystery plays that told biblical stories in the vernacular and, often, included song. These plays were performed by the clergy outside of the Church until the 12th century, when the conduct of the plays were turned over to town guilds. It is from one of these plays performed in 15th century Coventry, England that the Coventry Carol comes down to us.

The traditional way to celebrate today is to turn over rule of the house to the youngest child. It is the youngest who decides the day's foods, drinks, music, entertainments, etc. Also traditional is a red desert, especially a pudding or ice cream with a red sauce, such as raspberry.



The 12 Days Of Christmas

The first eight days of Christmastide are known as the Octave

The 1st Day - Celebrating The Birth Of Christ
The 2nd Day - Feast of St. Stephen, The First Martyr of the Church
The 3rd Day - Feast of St. John the Evangelist & The Blessing Of The Wine
The 4th Day - Feast of the Holy Innocents
The 5th Day - Feast of St. Thomas a' Becket
The 6th Day - Feast of the Holy Family
The 7th Day - Feast of St. Sylvester
The 8th Day – Feast of the Circumsision (& The Feast Of Fools - no longer celebrated)
The 9th Day – Feast of the Holy Name (1st Sunday of the New Year, unless that day falls on the 1st, 6th or 7th of January, in which case it falls on the 2nd of January)
10th Day of Christmas - Open
11th Day of Christmas – Open
12th Night
Epiphany

13 January – Baptism of Jesus

14 January - Feast Of The Ass - no longer celebrated

Read More...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Links


The NYT covers the blowout at the Deepwater Horizon. Obama's commission tasked to report on the blowout is now scheduled to issue its final report in mid-January.

Elizabeth Scalia lists the eight stories that shaped 2010.

At World Affairs, identifies a troubling, systemic and humorous lack of judgment in the Muslim World. Mossad trained rats and sharks indeed. These people are nuts.

Will Obama stand up for Iraqi Christians? I doubt it.

André Glucksmann explains our debt to the ancient Athenians in The Original Birth of Freedom

Per Sen. Coburn at No Sheeples, fiscal Armageddon cometh.

The top ten reasons businesses are fleeing California.

And on a related note, the 2010 Census shows that people are fleeing high tax / strong union states. They are settling in locales with little or no income tax and right to work laws that weaken unions.

If you have not read it already, do see Tom Blumer's great analysis of the Pelosi-Obama-Reid economy and the destruction it hath wrought. What amazes me is how these people sell themselves as protectors of the working man and minorities when the reality is that they are anything but. When will a Republican with some fire in the belly go on a crusade to point that out. Perhaps Marco Rubio might be best positioned to do that.

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On The Third Day Of Christmas . . . The Feast of St. John & The Blessing Of The Wine

Today is the third day of the twelve days of Christmas.


Today is celebrated the Feast of St. John The Evangelist. And in relation thereto, today is the day to bring your bottle(s) of wine to the Church to have them blessed by a priest.

John was a fisherman before he and his brother James were called by Christ to become his apostles. John was the only apostle to stay with Jesus during the crucifixion. Afterwards, he joined with St. Peter to spread Christianity throughout Israel. John was later exiled to the island of Patmos where he received visions that he recounted in what is now the final chapter of the Bible, The Apocalypse.

John alone of the apostles did not die a martyr's death – though apparently there were several attempts made on his life. The most famous was an attempt to poison him that failed when John blessed his wine, drawing out the poison before John consumed the wine. It is in remembrance of that event that, on the Feast of St. John, people may bring wine to the Church that it be blessed and then consumed in his honor.

John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.

Today's Feast was historically a special day of celebration for priests. Do have a happy Feast of St. John The Evangelist and may your wine be blessed.


The 12 Days Of Christmas

The first eight days of Christmastide are known as the Octave

The 1st Day - Celebrating The Birth Of Christ
The 2nd Day - Feast of St. Stephen, The First Martyr of the Church
The 3rd Day - Feast of St. John the Evangelist & The Blessing Of The Wine
The 4th Day - Feast of the Holy Innocents
The 5th Day - Feast of St. Thomas a' Becket
The 6th Day - Feast of the Holy Family
The 7th Day - Feast of St. Sylvester
The 8th Day – Feast of the Circumsision (& The Feast Of Fools - no longer celebrated)
The 9th Day – Feast of the Holy Name (1st Sunday of the New Year, unless that day falls on the 1st, 6th or 7th of January, in which case it falls on the 2nd of January)
10th Day of Christmas - Open
11th Day of Christmas – Open
12th Night
Epiphany

13 January – Baptism of Jesus

14 January - Feast Of The Ass - no longer celebrated

Read More...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Interesting Links

While solar energy in the developed world is still not cost effective, solar energy is making a real difference in areas of the world far from a power grid.

The war on plant food continues apace as global warming facists seek to continue their scam. Record snow and cold are blanketing the world, sea ice is growing in Antarctica (home to over 90% of the world's sea ice), and all the computer models used by the UN IPCC to forecast massive global warming were proven worthless when they failed to forecast the cooling that took place over the past decade. Yet Jim Hansen at NASA is trying to tell us that the past decade really has been the hottest on record, and that 2010 really has been the hottest year on record. How he gets there is by playing fast and loose with the "raw data," the math and the "smoothing." Who are you going to believe, Jim Hansen or your lying frozen thermometer.

And after years of assuring us that, with global warming, winters would become ever more mild, the greenies have had a sudden epiphany. Judah Cohen tells us today that global warming causes global cooling. Fancy that. To quote from Dr. Richard North: "In the end, there are going to be two groups of people in this world: the greenies and the people who shoot greenies. It's kill or be killed, and the greenies will be the death of us all if this madness continues." Where did I put the keys to my gun rack . . . ?

States and localities that have suffered from decades of Democratic misrule will soon have to pay the piper for their Faustian bargains with public sector unions. As George Will points out, that payment should not come from the rest of America.

Via Larwyn's Linx, our nation suffers from historical illiteracy. A nation that does know its history cannot defend it, and thus it is prey to the machinations of those who want to radically change it.


Britain's Muslim problem is apparently getting worse. Leaked cables reveal that a third of Britain's Muslim population supports killing in the name of Allah. The British solution - now adopted by the Obama administration - of pretending that the problem is not within Islam itself is not working - and indeed, it is making matters harder for those Muslims who want to reform their religion. As the text of a symposium of M. Zhudi Jasser, Tawfiq Hamid, Robert Spencer and Timothy Furnish makes clear, the problem is daunting.

Wrapping Christmas gifts - it's an art form.

And lastly, from American Digest with some prodding from The Anchoress, there is this from Loreena McKinnett.



The lyrics are from a poem written by St. John of the Cross in the late 1500's.

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A Picture Is Worth A 1,000 Blog Posts



From the Elder of Ziyon via Seraphic Secret, who comments that "we must push back against the media savvy Jew-haters with powerful graphics that tell our story in one simple glance. All too often, our side relies on lengthy, well reasoned articles that few people have the time or inclination to read or absorb." As a person very guilty of the latter (well, for all except the "well reasoned" part), there is little I can say but "Amen."

The goals of the Palestinians - and Islamists in general - seem far more in line with those who stand for authoritarianism and repression. As the poster makes clear, it is something we should well ponder as we craft Middle East policy and engage in pushing the canard of a "two state solution."

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On The Second Day Of Christmas . . . . The Feast of St. Stephen


Today is the second day of the twelve days of Chrismas, that end with the celebration of the Epiphany on the 6th of January. It is also Boxing Day in the UK.

This second day of Christmas is given over to the celebration of the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church. Stephen was one of several people appointed as Deacons of the Church by Peter and the apostles. Stephen was an effective proselytizer who drew the ire of the Sanhedrin, before whom Stephen was tried for for blasphemy against Moses and God (See Acts 6 and 7). Boldly declaring not merely his belief in Christ, but citing to a vision that he had of Christ at the right hand of God, the Sanhedrin voted, in 34 A.D., to execute him by stoning. St. Stephen's execution was itself notable in that Paul of Taursus took part in the stoning.

St. Stephen is the patron of stone masons, those with headaches, and horses. “The reason for this last is unknown, but this patronage is very ancient, and in rural cultures and olden times, horses are/were blessed, adorned, and taken out sleighing, and foods for horses were blessed to be fed to them in times of sickness.” The Feast of St. Stephen was historically offered in honor of all Deacons of the Church.

The famous Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslaus, tells how the 10th century Wenceslaus, Duke of Bohemia, on one cold and snowy St. Stephen's Day a millenium ago, took it upon himself to bring alms to a poor man and his family.



St. Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe, wrote a particularly poignant sermon in honor of the Feast of St. Stephen in about the year 500 A.D.:

Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King. Today we celebrate the triumphant suffering of His soldier. Yesterday our King, clothed in His robe of flesh, left His place in the Virgin's womb and graciously visited the world. Today His soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven.

Our King, despite His exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake; yet He did not come empty-handed. He gave of His bounty, yet without any loss to Himself. In a marvelous way He changed into wealth the poverty of His faithful followers while remaining in full possession of His own inexhaustible riches. And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the King, it later shone forth in His soldier. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob; his love for his neighbor made him pray for those who were stoning him. Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend; love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment.

Love, indeed, is the source of all good things; it is an impregnable defense, and the way that leads to heaven. He who walks in love can neither go astray nor be afraid: love guides him, protects him, and brings him to his journey's end.

My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it, and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.

May you have a happy Feast of St. Stephen.

Today is also known as Boxing Day in Britain. It originated in medieval times when the priests would empty the alms boxes in all churches on the day after Christmas and distribute the gifts to the poor of the parish. Moreover, the workers, apprentices, and servants stored their savings and donations through out the year in their own personal boxes made of earthen ware. Then, on the day after Christmas, the box was broken and the money counted,


The 12 Days Of Christmas

The first eight days of Christmastide are known as the Octave

The 1st Day - Celebrating The Birth Of Christ
The 2nd Day - Feast of St. Stephen, The First Martyr of the Church
The 3rd Day - Feast of St. John the Evangelist & The Blessing Of The Wine
The 4th Day - Feast of the Holy Innocents
The 5th Day - Feast of St. Thomas a' Becket
The 6th Day - Feast of the Holy Family
The 7th Day - Feast of St. Sylvester
The 8th Day – Feast of the Circumsision (& The Feast Of Fools - no longer celebrated)
The 9th Day – Feast of the Holy Name (1st Sunday of the New Year, unless that day falls on the 1st, 6th or 7th of January, in which case it falls on the 2nd of January)
10th Day of Christmas - Open
11th Day of Christmas – Open
12th Night
Epiphany

13 January – Baptism of Jesus

14 January - Feast Of The Ass - no longer celebrated

Read More...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thugocracy In Action

There is no free lunch. If you want increased services, then there are inevitably increased costs, with the only question being whether the costs are passed on to the recipient or absorbed by the provider. Thus, is there anyone who can possibly think that Obamacare, with its many new mandates, would not increase health insurance costs?

Some of the new mandates coming into force in the next month include:

Lifetime dollar caps on coverage are abolished, and plans must allow parents to keep their children on the policy up to age 26. Many plans will also have to guarantee coverage for children regardless of a medical condition, and provide preventive care with no cost-sharing for the patient.

And with it come the new costs:

Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators.” And The Wall Street Journal was not alone. The Los Angeles Times and Dallas Morning News also reported rate hikes in their states, some as high as 16%. And this comes on top of news that Obamacare is forcing health care companies to stop offering coverage for kids and forcing colleges to stop offering coverage for students.

All that is basic economics. But now that the bill is starting to come due, the Obama administration is engaging in a blatant and outrageous abuse of power to stifle the speech of any health insurers who would blame premium increases on the Obamacare mandates, threatening any who do it with, in essence, with the death of their business. This from the AP:

President Barack Obama's top health official on Thursday warned the insurance industry that the administration won't tolerate blaming premium hikes on the new health overhaul law.

"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.

"Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They'd lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide.

These new health insurance markets will be the primary vehicle for the purchase of health insurance in our brave new Obamacare world. Thus, exclusion from the government market will be a death sentence for many insurance companies.

It is difficult to think of an act more violative of First Amendment rights in our nation's history. For Sebelius to condition access to the government market based on whether the insurer speaks negatively about Obamacare is something we would expect to see in a dictatorship. And indeed, as the WSJ opines:

Zero tolerance for expressing an opinion, or offering an explanation to policyholders? They're more subtle than this in Caracas.

And as Micheal Barone opines, this is more thuggery from the Obama administration:

"Congress shall make no law," reads the First Amendment, "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."

Sebelius' approach is different: "zero tolerance" for dissent.

The threat to use government regulation to destroy or harm someone's business because they disagree with government officials is thuggery. Like the Obama administration's transfer of money from Chrysler bondholders to its political allies in the United Auto Workers, it is a form of gangster government.

"The rule of law, or the rule of men (women)?" economist Tyler Cowen asks on his marginalrevolution.com blog. As he notes, "Nowhere is it stated that these rate hikes are against the law (even if you think they should be), nor can this 'misinformation' be against the law."

This act of Sebelius is criminal. It is also an act that, were it perpetrated by a conservative, would be front page news for months. Yet from our MSM, only calm silence.

This also points to a larger issue involving Obamacare and, indeed, rule by 'progressives.' The Heritage Foundation sums up the larger issues at their blog, the Foundry:

Secretary Sebelius’ Hugo Chavezesque threats against the health insurance industry demonstrate why the fight to repeal Obamacare is also the fight for the soul of our country. Obamacare and the progressive movement represent a fundamental threat to our founding principles. For the left, “progress” means fundamentally transforming America through bureaucratic dictates that will engineer a “better” society by assuring equal outcomes. Through Obamacare, progressives would redistribute wealth through a distant, patronizing welfare state that regulates more and more of the economy, politics and society. The question Americans face is: Are we a country ruled by law or by bureaucrat?

If anything passed during the Obama years still stands after 2012, then the answer to that question is the latter, and our nation will continue its long, slow deterioration because of it.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Politicizing Science At U.C. Berkley

If this isn't politicized science, then I don't know what is. Dr. James Enstrom, a research scientist at U.C. Berkley, has been fired after serving over 36 years with the university. His sin - taking positions at odds with the latest act of economic suicide by the state of California, the proposed ban on trucks in the state that do not meet new, strict environmental standards. The new standards are based on decades old research and, in large part, on a study by a person who faked his academic credentials. The nominal reason given by U.C. Berkley for firing Dr. Enstrom is because his "research is not aligned with the academic mission of the Department." See if you can spot in the story where his research has gone awry.

This from Fox News:

. . . Enstrom says his studies show no causal link between diesel soot and death in California – findings that once again set him far apart from the pack and put him in direct conflict with the California Air Resources Board, which says its new standards on diesel emissions will save 9,400 lives between 2011 and 2025 and will reduce health care costs by as much as $68 billion in the state.

The expected benefits of the new standards have been used to justify their estimated $5.5 billion price tag, which opponents say will cripple the California trucking industry at a time when the state can least afford it. The new standards, the critics warn, also could set the stage for national regulations.

Enstrom questions the science behind the new emissions standards, and he has raised concerns about the two key reports on which they were based – exposing the author of one study as having faked his credentials and the panel that issued the other study as having violated its term limits.

He says his views are what have gotten him fired, raising serious concerns not only about the diesel regulations but about academic freedom and scientific research as a whole.

"It's quite unfortunate that it's come to this, considering I've been in this school 36 and three-quarter years," Enstrom said. "… but the reason I'm so passionate about this is because the careers of thousands of California businessmen are on the line."

Enstrom says he is committed to exposing flaws in the science and procedures by which the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a series of regulations on diesel exhaust, the last phase of which will require trucks and buses that enter the state either to be retrofitted or replaced entirely to meet new emission standards.

"The Scientific Review Panel of Toxic Air Contaminates in 1998 declared diesel exhaust a toxic substance based on studying truckers and railroaders from back in the '50s, '60s and '70s, when emissions were much higher," Enstrom told FoxNews.com. "They never factored in, for example, that a very high percentage of truckers are also smokers when evaluating heath issues they may have had, yet they were using this research to declare that all diesel exhaust is a toxic substance." . . .

Enstrom also blew the whistle on a CARB staffer, Hien Tran, who authored a report that was central to the legislation – after faking his credentials.

"He said he had a Ph.D. from UC Davis. Turns out he had bought his Ph.D. online for $1,000," Enstrom said.

Tran was demoted, but his report was still used to "set the context for the health benefits of reducing diesel emissions" when the board voted on the trucking regulations, CARB spokesman Stanley Young told FoxNews.com.

What the board didn't take into consideration, Enstrom says, were the many studies, including his own, that contradict its conclusion that diesel soot has caused premature deaths in California.

So in February, he and other scientists presented the board with some of their findings, and in June he co-authored an op-ed for Forbes.com in which he voiced his concerns with the regulations.

Less than a month later he received a letter from UCLA saying his contract would not be renewed . . .

Next time you hear a greenie - or anyone on the left - complain about politicized science during the Bush years or in opposition to anything green, kick them. Kick them in the groin with extreme force. Then repeat as necessary until they have undergone an epiphany. Politicized science does not mean disagreeing with an outcome. It means attempting to silence opposing views.

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Seeing The American Forest

He couldn't see the forest through all the trees.

- Anonymous

One of most famous and insightful early observers of the American experiment was not himself an American, but a French Norman aristocrat, Alexis de Tocqueville. As an outside observer, he was able to identify much that was different and unique about America that many Americans could not themselves see. Perhaps we are seeing another Tocqueville today in the person of Thomas Straubhaar, a professor of economics at the University of Hamburg. He sees the liberal economic policies of Obama as misguided and complains in an insightful essay in Der Spiegal that America is becoming "too European." This from Prof. Straubhaar:

There's no question about it: The 20th century was America's era. The United States rose rapidly from virtually nothing to become the most politically powerful and economically strongest country in the world. But the financial crisis and subsequent recession have now raised doubts about its future. Are we currently witnessing the beginning of the end of the American era?

A firm belief in the individual's ability, ideas, courage, will and a reliance on one's own resources brought the US to the top. The American dream promised everyone the chance of upward mobility -- literally from rags to riches, from minimum wage to millionaire. The individual's pursuit of happiness was seen as the crucial foundation for the well-being of society, rather than the benevolent state which cares for its subjects -- and certainly not the welfare state, which provides a social safety net for its citizens.

In the American system, every man was responsible for himself -- in good times and bad. No one could count on government assistance, not even the wannabe millionaire who did not make it and ended up homeless.

For many US citizens, the financial crisis has turned the American dream into a nightmare. . . .

Both the behavior of the American government and the Federal Reserve makes one thing clear: They do not see the solution to the US's economic woes in a return to traditional American virtues. Obama is not calling for the unleashing of market forces, as Ronald Reagan once did during an equally critical period in the early 1980s. On the contrary: Obama, driven by his own convictions and advised by economists who believe in government intervention, has taken a path that leads far away from those things that catapulted America to the top of the world in the past century.

The Obama administration's current policies rely on more government rather than personal responsibility and self-determination. They are administering to the patient more, not less, of exactly those things that led to the crisis.

The highest commandment of the American worldview was always to maximize individual freedoms and minimize government influence. It was an approach that was highly successful. According to that rule, self-directed action would remain the rule and government intervention the unpopular exception. But that is no longer the case.

This raises a crucial question: Is the US economy perhaps suffering less from an economic downturn and more from a serious structural problem? It seems plausible that the American economy has lost its belief in American principles. People no longer have confidence in the self-healing forces of the private sector, and the reliance on self-help and self-regulation to solve problems no longer exists.

The opposite strategy, one that seeks to treat the American patient with more government, is risky -- because it does not fit in with America's image of itself. . . .

But what is good for Europe and Germany does not automatically work for the US. The settlers of the New World rejected everything, which included throwing out anything with a semblance of state authority. They fled Europe to find freedom. The sole shared goal of the settlers was to obtain individual freedom and live independently, which included the freedom to say what they wanted, believe what they wanted and write what they wanted. The state was seen as a way to facilitate this goal. The state should not interfere in people's lives, aside from securing freedom, peace and security. Economic prosperity was seen as the responsibility of the individual.

If you take this belief away from Americans, you are destroying the binds which interlink America's heterogeneous society. Removing this belief could lead to conflicts between different sections of society, clashes which have long bubbled beneath the surface.

What could help would be a return to the American Way, the approach which made the US so historically powerful. The success of this model is illustrated by history. In 1820, twice as many people lived in the United Kingdom as the US, and its economic performance (measured by gross domestic product) was three times as strong and the average standard of living (measured by GDP per person) was a quarter higher. Today, there are about five times more people living in the US than the UK, America's economic performance is about seven times better than Britain's and the average American is about 50 percent better off than the average Briton.

What should be done? It would be more intelligent to repair the elevator which helped the US rise from the bottom of the heap to the top, instead of trying to transplant a European style of operating onto American soil. Either the US follows the American Way -- an approach characterized by a shared history, economic success and constant progress -- or the US will have to adjust itself to the "European" way, sparking economic and social tensions in the process.

If the US manages to revert to its former ways, there is potential for hope. If not, the American age will have really come to an end.


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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Extremists In Nevada?

The latest from Sharron Angle, highlighting Harry Reid's - and virtually the entire left wing MSM's - attempt to paint her as an extremist.



Given that Harry Reid and Crazy Nancy have overseen the most far reaching pull to the left in our nation's history, and all with predictably devastating consequences, I think America would be well served by a heavy dose of Angle's "extremism."

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Friday, August 27, 2010

California & The Public Sector Unions



Gov. Schwarzenegger writes today in the Wall St. Journal about the depths of the economic problems facing California and how the devil's pact between the left and public sector unions are destroying the state. The graphs above are mind numbing. All of the economic pain in California is being felt by the private sector while the public sector is propped up and threatens to bankrupt the state with its rapaciousness. If there was ever a poster child for the evils of public sector unions, California is it. This from Gov. Schwarzenegger:

. . . As former Speaker of the State Assembly and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown pointed out earlier this year in the San Francisco Chronicle, roughly 80 cents of every government dollar in California goes to employee compensation and benefits. Those costs have been rising fast. Spending on California's state employees over the past decade rose at nearly three times the rate our revenues grew, crowding out programs of great importance to our citizens. Neglected priorities include higher education, environmental protection, parks and recreation, and more.

Much bigger increases in employee costs are on the horizon. Thanks to huge unfunded pension and retirement health-care promises granted by past governments, and also to deceptive pension-fund accounting that understated liabilities and overstated future investment returns, California is now saddled with $550 billion of retirement debt.

The cost of servicing that debt has grown at a rate of more than 15% annually over the last decade. This year, retirement benefits—more than $6 billion—will exceed what the state is spending on higher education. Next year, retirement costs will rise another 15%. In fact, they are destined to grow so much faster than state revenues that they threaten to suck up the money for every other program in the state budget. (See the nearby chart.)

I've held a stricter line on government employment and salary increases than any governor in the modern era (overall year-to-year spending has increased just 1.4% on my watch). Nevertheless, employee costs will keep marching upwards because of pension promises, and they will never stop doing so until we get reform.

At the same time that government-employee costs have been climbing, the private-sector workers whose taxes pay for them have been hurting. Since 2007, one million private jobs have been lost in California. Median incomes of workers in the state's private sector have stagnated for more than a decade. To make matters worse, the retirement accounts of those workers in California have declined. The average 401(k) is down nationally nearly 20% since 2007. Meanwhile, the defined benefit retirement plans of government employees—for which private-sector workers are on the hook—have risen in value.

Few Californians in the private sector have $1 million in savings, but that's effectively the retirement account they guarantee to public employees who opt to retire at age 55 and are entitled to a monthly, inflation-protected check of $3,000 for the rest of their lives.

In 2003, just before I became governor, the state assembly even passed a law permitting government employees to purchase additional taxpayer-guaranteed, high-yielding retirement annuities at a discount—adding even more retirement debt. It's as if Sacramento legislators don't want a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of the employees, by the employees, and for the employees.

For years I've asked state legislators to stop adding to retirement debt. They have refused. Now the Democratic leadership of the assembly proposes to raise the tax and debt burdens on private employees in order to cover rising public-employee compensation.

But what will they do next year when those compensation costs grow 15% more? And the year after that when they've risen again? And 10 years from now, when retirement costs have reached nearly $30 billion per year? That's where government-employee retirement costs are headed even with the pension reforms I'm demanding. Imagine where they're headed without reform. . . .

I am under no illusion about the difficulty of my task. Government-employee unions are the most powerful political forces in our state and largely control Democratic legislators. But for the future of our state, no task is more important.


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The Left's Next Weapon of Economic Destruction

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Watcher's Council Business

Each week, the members of the Watcher's Council nominate one of their own posts and a second from outside the Council for consideration by other council members in a contest for best post. The Watcher publishes the results each Friday morning.

There is an opening on the Council. If you are interested in joining, or if you would simply like to nominate one of your posts for consideration in the Non-Council category, you can find out how at the Watcher's site.

Before announcing this weeks nominations, I need to note last week's winners. The winner in the Council category was The Razor for his post, The Rage Beneath The Surface. In the Non-Council category, the winner was Pascal Bruckner at City Journal for his article, Europe’s Guilty Conscience. You can find the full results of the voting here.

As always, this week's nominations present an eclectic mix of thought-provoking reading.

Do enjoy them all:

Council Nominations

The Colossus of Rhodey – Same situation, less tolerance

Right Truth - The Expendables Works

Wolf Howling - Victory In Iraq

VA Right – Republican Best Case Scenario: 53 Seats in US Senate

The Razor – Tolerating Intolerance

Snapped Shot – Celebrating Ramadan in Kashmir

The Glittering Eye – Putting Humpty Together

Rhymes With Right – The Tension Of Two Visions Of America

Bookworm Room – Cruisin’

Joshuapundit - Islamophobia?


Non – Council Submissions

Buckhorn Road – Hey, Union soldier! What have you done for me lately? – submitted by The Colossus of Rhodey

Counterterrorism Blog, James Gordon Meek – The Real Truth About Al Qaeda in Afghanistan submitted by Right Truth

Pajamas Media – A Patriotic Muslim’s Warning on Ground Zero Mosque submitted by Wolf Howling

Disrupt the Narrative – NRA Preps Members for Unpopular & Unwise Harry Reid Endorsement submitted by VA Right

The Phyllis Chesler Organization - Is Time A Muslim Magazine? submitted by The Razor

Cranach: The Blog of Veith – A classical musician on heavy-metal singers submitted by Snapped Shot

American Thinker – Iraq: the War That Broke Us—Not - submitted by The Glittering Eye

Gateway Pundit – Religious Freedom, Property Rights vs. Government Control – submitted by Rhymes With Right

Right Wing News – Why Right Wing News is sponsoring HomoCon submitted by Bookworm Room

Tammy Bruce – Patriots Demonstrate Against GZ Mosque; Little Daisy Whines – submitted by Joshuapundit

Adam’s Zionist Journey – The Guardian’s Jewish Defamers of Israel, and A Letter To My Teenage Nephew submitted by The Watcher

Legal Insurrection – Gazanitive Dissonance submitted by The Watcher

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Ken Mehlman Comes Out Of The Closet


Former RNC Chairman and Bush campaign manager, Ken Mehlman has come out of the closet. Apparently, he was one of the last to realize that he was gay. Daniel Blatt of Gay Patriot observes that Mellman is Republican, Jewish and good looking. His only question, "is he single?" Heh. Go get 'em, tiger.

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The Progress Of Islamic Conquest

. . . [T]he Arabs and the Turks . . . spread Islam by the sword during the greatest imperialistic expansion in our world's history. They spent centuries laying waste to mostly Christian lands and installing Islam and Arab/Turkish rule in its stead. The Arabs made conquest of the entire Middle East, all of North Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan, much of Spain and parts of Italy, with forays into France. The Turks did the same in Byzantium, Greece, and the Balkans, until finally beaten back at the gates of Vienna, Austria. And these colonizers never left of their own free will. Together the Arabs and the Turks are leagues beyond Britain in the breadth of their expansion and colonialism. Nor, with hindsight, can we say that their colonization was in any way benign.

Thoughts On Britain, Colonialism & Multiculturalism, 14 April 2010

For Islamic supremacists, the war to spread Islam by the sword has never ended. It began with the birth of Islam and has only been temporarily interrupted by stout defenses of Christians in France (Battle of Tours, 732 A.D.), Spain (The Reconquista, completed in 1492) and later Austria (Battle of Vienna, 1683). Since then, only European military supriority has put a stop to the wars, though the predations of Islamists continued for several centuries after the 1683 Battle of Vienna. Indeed, America's first and longest war was against the Barbary Pirates who, as Thomas Jefferson recorded after meeting with an envoy from the Barbary states, justified their actions on Koranic verses which provided that "that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave." That, by the way, is a doctrine still taught in Saudi funded schools and madrassas around the world, including in the U.S.

Islam is a religion that has yet to go through a period of reformation or enlightenment. In many cases, it retains all the militancy present in its 7th century founding. The only two things that have changed in the modern era are, one, the tactics used by Islamic supremacits to conduct the conquests and two, the death of Christianity in Europe and, along with it, the will to withstand the modern efforts at Islamic conquest. At Bookworm Room, there is an exceptional essay sent to her by e-mail that discusses, quite accurately, the effect of Islam in the countries that it is inhabiting and colonizing today:

As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

United States — Muslim 0..6%
Australia — Muslim 1.5%
Canada — Muslim 1.9%
China — Muslim 1.8%
Italy — Muslim 1.5%
Norway — Muslim 1.8%

At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. This is happening in:

Denmark — Muslim 2%
Germany — Muslim 3.7%
United Kingdom — Muslim 2.7%
Spain — Muslim 4%
Thailand — Muslim 4.6%

From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:

France — Muslim 8%
Philippines — 5%
Sweden — Muslim 5%
Switzerland — Muslim 4.3%
The Netherlands — Muslim 5.5%
Trinidad & Tobago — Muslim 5.8%

At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris , we are already seeing car-burnings. In Russia, grade-schools were attacked. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:

Guyana — Muslim 10%
India — Muslim 13.4%
Israel — Muslim 16%
Kenya — Muslim 10%
Russia — Muslim 15%

After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:

Ethiopia — Muslim 32.8%

At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:

Bosnia — Muslim 40%
Chad — Muslim 53.1%
Lebanon — Muslim 59.7%

From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:

Albania — Muslim 70%
Malaysia — Muslim 60.4%
Qatar — Muslim 77.5%
Sudan — Muslim 70%

After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, beheadings, stoning, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:

Bangladesh — Muslim 83%
Egypt — Muslim 90%
Gaza — Muslim 98.7%
Indonesia — Muslim 86.1%
Iran — Muslim 98%
Iraq — Muslim 97%
Jordan — Muslim 92%
Morocco — Muslim 98.7%
Pakistan — Muslim 97%
Palestine — Muslim 99%
Syria — Muslim 90%
Tajikistan — Muslim 90%
Turkey — Muslim 99.8%
United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%

Do read the whole post for it contains more than the essay I have quoted.

As I have said countless times, there is a war on today for the heart and soul of Islam. There are those who would reform their religion, and those who wish to keep it mired in the millenia old cement of the past, when Islam was at the height of its wars of conquest. Obama is coming down on the wrong side of this divide.

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Obama Prostrates America Before The UN Human Rights Council

Before getting to the meat of this story, you need to understand that the UN Human Rights Council is a travesty of grotesque proportions. Indeed, it is the poster child for why the US needs to stop participating in the UN and create an alternative of free countries.

Under Bush, the U.S. refused to participate in this utter joke. But the Obama administration decided to embrace the council.

The UN Human Rights Council has become nothing more than a propaganda tool of Middle East dictatorships who dominate the 47-member body. The near sole focus of its condemnation has been, for years, Israel. (Indeed, on that note, I would recommend you visit Soccer Dad and read his entries for the infamous Goldstone Report.)

When not condemning Israel, the UN Human Rights Council condemns the U.S.. Its other major work has been to work towards a blasphemy law that would make criticism of Islam a violation of human rights. Could there possibly be a more wrong-headed and dangerous policy? The members of the Council include or have included such stalwart protectors of human rights as Iran, Pakistan, Libya, Cuba, and China.

This speech to the UN Human Rights Council by the Executive Director of UN Watch sums up most of what is wrong with the Human Rights Council:



And now, Obama has chosen not to merely join the UN Human Rights Council, but to prostrate our nation before this scurrilous body and claim that the US is a human rights abuser:

The Obama administration has told the United Nations that America's human rights record is less than perfect while stressing that the U.S. political system has built-in safeguards that promote improvements.

In its first-ever report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on conditions in the United States, the State Department said some minorities are still victims of discrimination. Despite progress in reforming past unfair policies and practices, the report said "work remains to meet our goal of ensuring equality before the law for all."

You can find the 27 page report here. Most of the report reads like an Obama campaign speech. That said, it includes, for example:

We are not satisfied with a situation where the unemployment rate for African Americans is 15.8%, for Hispanics 12.4%, and for whites 8.8%, as it was in February 2010. We are not satisfied that a person with disabilities is only one fourth as likely to be employed as a person without disabilities. We are not satisfied when fewer than half of African-American and Hispanic families own homes while three quarters of white families do. We are not satisfied that whites are twice as likely as Native Americans to have a college degree. The United States continues to address such disparities by working to ensure that equal opportunity is not only guaranteed in law but experienced in fact by all Americans.

Obviously the only reason for the disparity can be rampant discrimination. And thus, the only answer can be punitive race based social engineering. As an aside, if you don't understand why we are in the economic meltdown that we are today, it is staring you in the face.

At any rate, what will happen now with this report is described by ImpeachObama:

The national report is but the first step of the international government’s review process. On November 5, the United States will be examined by a troika of UN bureaucrats from France, Japan, and Cameroon (an oppressive nation which is a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference). This trio will consider three items: Obama’s self-flagellating report, reports written about America by UN tribunals or international governing bodies, and testimony from NGOs with a pronounced anti-American bias. It will also consider “voluntary pledges and commitments made by the State,” such as suspending an Arizona state law.

Then the French, Japanese, and Cameroon diplomats will draw up a plan of action for the United States to implement.

Nations are re-examined every four years. The Human Rights Council looks for voluntary compliance. However, its website asserts, “The Human Rights Council will decide on the measures it would need to take in case of persistent non-cooperation by a State with the” World Body.

We are the freest and "least racist" country on the face of this earth. And now Obama is subjecting our nation to review by one of the most corrupt bodies on the world stage. Would Obama have done anything differently if his explicit goal was to hurt the standing of the U.S. and play into the hands of the world's worst human rights abusers?

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Scary Movie

The video below, from Rep. Whip Eric Cantor, documents our left-led decent into fiscal insanity, from day one of the Obama administration to today.



(H/T Dr. Sanity)

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Obama's Ridiculous Economic Meme

The biggest lie told over the past century is that the Democratic left are better stewards of the economy than Conservatives. It worked to in 2008. And Obama is trying to sell to America that the right "can't be trusted" to control our economy as "Bush got us into this mess." As proof thereof, he cites to deregulation and "Wall St. greed."

We are now stuck with a President who believes that the profit motive is immoral, that businesses should be soaked of their wealth for redistribution, and that the economy can be successfully micromanaged from Washington. And we are stuck with a far left Congress that is the most profligate of all time.

The truth is that our economy fell apart because of social engineering by Democrats. Over a roughly 15 year period, they ruined our credit rating scheme as part and parcel of a massive push for "affordable housing." Instead of pursuing this laudable goal by market-based programs, they did so by means of punitive, race based social engineering. At every turn, they used the race card to protect the scheme. And in the end, they created a bubble with Fannie and Freddie that got so big that when it burst, it took our economy into the tank.

So either Obama is lying about all of this, or the right is. How can you possibly know which is which? It's easy.

If the Democrats were actually right, then their solutions to our ailing economy would have worked. Instead, the opposite has occurred. They have used our economic crisis to engage in even more social engineering between healthcare, labor regulations, massive favortism to unions, and new financial regulations. And our economy is on life support. It in serious trouble. Real unemployment is well into double digits and shows no sign of easing. Yesterday's housing report on sales of new and existing homes was the worst in well over a decade. Every day, we are accruing debt at record levels. CNBC reported today that, according to at least one respected economist, we are now in a depression. Indeed, the word incompetent doesn't begin to describe this President and Congress.

This today from John Strossel discusses the current economic situation:

Why isn't the economy recovering? After previous recessions, unemployment didn't get stuck at close to 10 percent. If left alone, the economy can and does heal itself, as the mistakes of the previous inflationary boom are corrected.

The problem today is that the economy is not being left alone. Instead, it is haunted by uncertainty on a hundred fronts. When rules are unintelligible and unpredictable, when new workers are potential threats because of Labor Department regulations, businesses have little confidence to hire. President Obama's vaunted legislative record not only left entrepreneurs with the burden of bigger government, it also makes it impossible for them to accurately estimate the new burden.

In at least three big areas -- health insurance, financial regulation and taxes -- no one can know what will happen.

New intrusive rules for health insurance are yet to be written, and those rules will affect hiring, since most health insurance is provided by employers.

Thanks to the new 2,300 page Dodd-Frank finance regulatory act, The Wall Street Journal reports, there will be "no fewer than 243 new formal rule-makings by 11 different federal agencies." These as-yet unknown rules will govern lending to business and other key financial activity.

The George W. Bush tax cuts might be allowed to expire. But maybe not. Social Security and Medicare are dangerously shaky. Will Congress raise the payroll tax? A "distinguished" deficit commission is meeting. What will it do? Recommend a value-added tax?

Who knows? But few employers will commit to a big investment with those clouds hanging over our heads.

"As much as I might want to hire new salespeople, engineers and marketing staff in an effort to grow, I would be increasing my company's vulnerability to government," Michael Fleischer, president of Bogen Communications Inc., wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

Nothing more effectively freezes business in place than what economist and historian Robert Higgs calls "regime uncertainty."

"(A)ll of these unsettling possibilities and others of substantial significance must give pause to anyone considering a long-term investment, because any one of them has the potential to turn what seems to be a profitable investment into a big loser. In short, investors now face regime uncertainty to an extent that few have experienced in this country -- to find anything comparable, one must go back to the 1930s and 1940s, when the menacing clouds of the New Deal and World War II darkened the economic horizon."

Uncertainty created by Obama's legislative "successes" are comparable to the Depression and World War II? This does not bode well for job growth.

Higgs says: "Unless the government acts soon to resolve the looming uncertainties about the half-dozen greatest threats of policy harm to business, investors will remain for the most part on the sideline ... consuming wealth that might otherwise have been invested."

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