Saturday, October 10, 2009
(A Papa Giorgio Event) When Science Meets Faith (Series): Radioactive Decay & Helium Leaks as Evidence for Recent Creative Acts in History
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“Among these crosscurrents, my thesis is simple: The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline–or continued ascendancy–is in our hands.”
Friday, October 09, 2009
To Be Critical Of Obama Is Equal to Being Critical Towards Taliban -- Moral Equevelnce of Barbara Boxer
Oh, and the Taliban too, which must be news to Mark Halperin, Ruth Marcus, Richard Cohen, and Ezra Klein this morning. George Bush got a lot of heat when he used the “you’re with us or against us” for the war on terror, but he specifically meant nations that had to decide whether to help us fight terrorist networks or choose to hide them or hinder justice. Politico reports that the DNC now posits that anyone ridiculing Obama is a terrorist sympathizer:
“The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists - the Taliban and Hamas this morning - in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize,” DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse told POLITICO. “Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize - an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride - unless of course you are the Republican Party.
“The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It’s no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore - it’s an embarrassing label to claim,” Woodhouse said.
Even in a political environment where the two major parties send out ridiculous ding-dong reactions to events, this takes the cake. Woodhouse argues (almost assuredly uncomprehendingly) for a fuehrerprinzip where the head of state must never be questioned or criticized, lest one become a traitor to the fatherhomeland. Will Woodhouse also start labeling late-night comedians like Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien terrorist sympathizers for their (very) occasional ridicule of His Reverence? Does Janet Napolitano plan to open a file on Saturday Night Live for last week’s prescient dig?
Clearly, the DNC needs a smarter class of public-relations flacks. Given this evidence, it should not be difficult at all to find them. (image courtesy HA reader Mehokie)
(Times OnLine) In a clear swipe at his predecessor, George W. Bush, the committee praised the “change in the international climate” that the President had brought, along with his cherished goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future,” it added.
International reaction ranged from delight to disbelief. The former winners Kofi Annan and Desmond Tutu voiced praise, the latter lauding the Nobel Committee’s “surprising but imaginative choice”.
But Lech Walesa, the dissident turned Polish President, who won the Peace Prize in 1983, spoke for many, declaring: “So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far.”
Mr Obama’s domestic critics leapt on the award as evidence of foreigners fawning over an untested “celebrity” leader. Rush Limbaugh, the US right-wing commentator, said: “This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama."
Speaking later, Mr Obama said that he was “surprised and deeply humbled” by the unexpected decision and announced that he would donate the £880,000 prize, due to be awarded in December, to charity.
“Let me be clear. I do not view it as recognition of my own accomplishments but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations," he said.
The Nobel Peace Prize is a notoriously difficult award to predict, but yesterday's decision was clearly a political choice, with three of the past six peace awards going to Bush adversaries.
In 2002 the prize went to Jimmy Carter as an explicit rejection of the Bush presidency in the build-up to the Iraq war. In 2005 Mohamed ElBaradei, the UN atomic agency chief who had clashed with Washington over the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, was honoured. In 2007 Al Gore received the prize for his warnings on climate change, denounced by President Bush as a liberal myth....
The UK Daily Telegraph reported overnight that Dalia Mogahed, an Obama Administration appointee to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, defended Sharia Law on British Television. Appearing on Muslimah Dilemma, Mogahed, said Sharia is "misunderstood."
From the Telegraph:
President Barack Obama's adviser on Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed, has provoked controversy by appearing on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist group to talk about Sharia Law.The Telegraph quotes her from the show:
"I think the reason so many women support Sharia is because they have a very different understanding of sharia than the common perception in Western media... The portrayal of Sharia has been oversimplified in many cases."She went on to attack Western sexual tolerance, and "promiscuity." She commented that what Muslims most dislike about the U.S. is the "breakdown of traditional values."
"The majority of women around the world associate gender justice, or justice for women, with sharia compliance."
The Telegraph also reported that earlier "Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party" and host of the show had criticized the West's "lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism".
Council member Mogahed made no objection to the comments.
WASHINGTON — A Supreme Court argument on Wednesday about the fate of a cross in a remote part of the Mojave National Preserve in southeastern California largely avoided the most interesting question in the case: whether the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion is violated by the display of a cross as a war memorial.
The cross in the desert was erected in the 1930s by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to honor fallen service members. Ten years ago, Frank Buono, a retired employee of the National Park Service, objected to the cross, saying it violated the establishment clause.
In the intervening decade, Congress and the courts have engaged in a legal tug of war. Congress passed measures forbidding removal of the cross, designating it as a national memorial and, finally, ordering the land under the cross to be transferred to private hands. Federal courts in California have insisted that the cross may not be displayed.
At Wednesday’s argument, only Justice Antonin Scalia appeared inclined to reach the establishment clause question.
Other justices were interested in the narrower issue of whether the land transfer would be proper.
Still others asked whether Mr. Buono had suffered an injury concrete and direct enough to give him standing to sue. Mr. Buono, who is a Roman Catholic, has said he objects to the display of any permanent religious symbol on government land.
Most of the argument in the case, Salazar v. Buono, No. 08-472, concerned the tangled history of Mr. Buono’s lawsuit. A federal judge in California in 2002 ordered the government to stop displaying the cross, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed that decision in 2004. The government chose not to appeal it to the Supreme Court.
The case before the court arose from a second round of litigation concerning whether the law transferring the land under the cross violated the original order. Much of the argument concerned which issues were still before the court.
The question of the meaning of a cross in the context of a war memorial did give rise to one heated exchange, between Justice Scalia and Peter J. Eliasberg, a lawyer for Mr. Buono with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California.
Mr. Eliasberg said many Jewish war veterans would not wish to be honored by “the predominant symbol of Christianity,” one that “signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind for our sins.”
Justice Scalia disagreed, saying, “The cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of the dead.”
“What would you have them erect?” Justice Scalia asked. “Some conglomerate of a cross, a Star of David and, you know, a Muslim half moon and star?”
Mr. Eliasberg said he had visited Jewish cemeteries. “There is never a cross on the tombstone of a Jew,” he said, to laughter in the courtroom.
Justice Scalia grew visibly angry. “I don’t think you can leap from that to the conclusion that the only war dead that that cross honors are the Christian war dead,” he said. “I think that’s an outrageous conclusion.”
There was a second testy exchange, this one between Mr. Eliasberg and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Mr. Eliasberg said the veterans’ organization was unlikely ever to tear down the cross if the transfer called for by Congress went through, citing a plaque that Congress ordered to accompany the cross.
The chief justice asked for the text of the plaque.
“ ‘This cross’ — in big letters — ‘erected in honor of the dead of foreign wars,’ ” Mr. Eliasberg responded.
A couple of minutes later, Chief Justice Roberts returned to the subject and corrected Mr. Eliasberg. The actual text on the plaque, the chief justice said, was more elaborate: “The cross, erected in memory of the dead of all wars, erected 1934 by members of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Death Valley Post 2884.”
“That’s a big difference,” the chief justice said, explaining that the longer version made clear that the cross was not a government memorial.
Mr. Eliasberg apologized and said he had answered in the context of the question of whether the veterans’ group would “feel constrained to keep the cross up” in light of a plaque referring to a cross.
“The context of my question,” Chief Justice Roberts shot back, “was, ‘What does the plaque say?’ ”Mr. Eliasberg apologized some more, saying he had not meant to mislead the court.
The global Muslim population stands at 1.57 billion, meaning that nearly 1 in 4 people in the world practice Islam, according to a report Wednesday billed as the most comprehensive of its kind.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report provides a precise number for a population whose size has long has been subject to guesswork, with estimates ranging anywhere from 1 billion to 1.8 billion.
The project, three years in the making, also presents a portrait of the Muslim world that might surprise some. For instance, Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon, China has more Muslims than Syria, Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined, and Ethiopia has nearly as many Muslims as Afghanistan.
"This whole idea that Muslims are Arabs and Arabs are Muslims is really just obliterated by this report," said Amaney Jamal, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University who reviewed an advance copy.
Pew officials call the report the most thorough on the size and distribution of adherents of the world's second largest religion behind Christianity, which has an estimated 2.1 billion to 2.2 billion followers.
White House science czar John Holdren has predicted 1 billion people will die in "carbon-dioxide induced famines" in a coming new ice age by 2020.
As WND previously reported, Holdren predicted in a 1971 textbook co-authored with Malthusian population alarmist Paul Ehrlich that global over-population was heading the Earth to a new ice age unless the government mandated urgent measures to control population, including the possibility of involuntary birth control measures such as forced sterilization.
Holdren's prediction that 1 billion people would die from a global cooling "eco-disaster" was announced in Ehrlich's 1986 book "The Machinery of Nature."
Holdren based his prediction on a theory that human emissions of carbon dioxide would produce a climate catastrophe in which global warming would cause global cooling with a consequent reduction in agricultural production resulting in widespread disaster.
On pages 273-274 of "The Machinery of Nature," Ehrlich explained Holdren's theory by arguing "some localities will probably become colder as the warmer atmosphere drives the climactic engine faster, causing streams of frigid air to move more rapidly away from the poles." (Emphasis in original text.)...
Thursday, October 08, 2009
UNBELIEVABLE! These Democrats Are Nuts!! They Are Positioning Themselves To Say Taliban Not An Enemy! (Must Read Links)
- New White House spin: Taliban not really an enemy, has role in Afghanistan’s future
- Video: Candidate Obama knocks Musharraf for … signing peace treaties with the Taliban
By David Derbyshire
It ushered in the 1960s sexual revolution and gave women control over their own fertility.
But the Pill may also have changed women's taste in men, according to a study.
Scientists say the hormones in the oral contraceptive suppress a woman's interest in masculine men and make boyish men more attractive. Although the change occurs for just a few days each month, it may have been highly influential since use of the Pill began more than 40 years ago.
Classic men: In the Fifties, more masculine men like Burt Lancaster and Kurt Douglas were considered attractive
Tough guys: In the Sixties rebels like Sean Connery and Steve McQueen made women weak at the knees
If the theory is right, it could partly explain the shifting in tastes from macho 1950s and 1960s stars such as Kirk Douglas and Sean Connery to the more wimpy, androgynous stars of today, such as Johnny Depp and Russell Brand.
Dr Alexandra Alvergne, of the University of Sheffield, says the Pill could also be altering the way women pick their mates and could have long-term implications for society.
'There are many obvious benefits of the Pill for women, but there is also the possibility that the Pill has psychological side-effects that we are only just discovering,' she said. 'We need further studies to find out what these are.'
The links between the Pill and sexual preferences are highlighted in a paper in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
Scientists have long known that a woman's taste in men changes over her menstrual cycle.
During the few days each month when women are fertile - around the time of ovulation - they tend to prefer masculine features and men who are more assertive.
On these fertile days, women are also more attracted to men who are 'genetically dissimilar', Dr Alvergne said. Picking a partner whose genetic make-up is unlike their own increases the chances of having a healthy child.
Big hair: Long locks like John Travolta and Ryan O'Neal's hit the spot in the Seventies
Softer look: Pin-ups like Rob Lowe and Michael J. Fox were popular in the Eighties
On days when women are not fertile, their tastes swing towards more feminine, boyish faces and more caring personalities, researchers have shown.
However, if women are taking the Pill they no longer have fertile days.
That means they no longer experience the hormonal changes that make them more attracted to masculine men and those with dissimilar genetic make-up.
Although the effect is subtle, Dr Alvergne said it could alter women's view of male attractiveness. 'It is a possibility - but there is no evidence of this yet,' she said. 'We need a lot more research in this area.' In her paper, Dr Alvergne reviewed seven studies showing how the Pill can change women's behaviour.
She also found evidence from three studies that the Pill can affect the way women are looked at by men.
Past studies have shown that men find women more attractive around the time of ovulation, possibly because women have evolved instinctive ways, by their natural scent or their behaviour, of alerting men that they are fertile. One study showed that lap dancers get bigger tips at the time of the month when they are most fertile.
Dr Alvergne said the use of the Pill could influence a woman's ability to attract a mate by reducing her attractiveness to men.
Girly locks: Heart throbs of the Nineties had flowing hair
Tweeny pin-ups: 2009 favourites look cheeky and boyish like Zac Efron
Her co-author at Sheffield, Dr Virpi Lumma, said: 'The ultimate outstanding evolutionary question concerns whether the use of oral contraceptives when making mating decisions can have long-term consequences on the ability of couples to reproduce.' An increasing number of studies suggest that the Pill is likely to have an impact on human mating decisions and subsequent reproduction.
'If this is the case, Pill use will have implications for both current and future generations, and we hope that our review will stimulate further research on this question,' said Dr Lumma.
The changing fashions for film stars appear to show a shift from masculine men in the 1950s - before the advent of the Pill - to more baby-faced stars today.
Many of the biggest box office draws are boyish in appearance, rather than classically rugged. The top Hollywood earners of last year include Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Hugh Jackman. Other boyish film stars include Jude Law.
The rise of such stars could also be explained by cynical attempts to market films and merchandise at an ever younger age group.
PARIS (AP) - France's culture minister is struggling to keep his job amid an uproar about a 2005 book in which he details Bangkok's brothels and the pleasure and freedom of paying "boys" for sex.
Frederic Mitterrand's candid tale came back to haunt him after he jumped to the defense of filmmaker Roman Polanski, currently in a Swiss prison on U.S. charges relating to his sexual liaison with a 13-year-old girl when he was 43 ...
... (Breitbart h/t -- Read More)...
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court on the Mojave Desert War Memorial (Salazar v. Buono), Kelly Shackelford, Chief Counsel of Liberty Legal Institute, which represents more than four million veterans in the case, released the following statement:
“This memorial was put up 75 years ago by World War I veterans to honor those who had given their lives for their country. Right now, this memorial is covered in a plywood box. That is a disgrace. Our veterans deserve better. We hope and believe today is the beginning of the end of these attacks on our veterans memorials.”
Liberty Legal Institute represents the Sandozes and over four million veterans though the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW), The American Legion, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and American Ex-Prisoners of War, and launched www.DontTearMeDown.com just before Memorial Day in order to bring attention to the case.
Liberty Legal Institute is a legal organization committed to the defense of religious freedoms and First Amendment rights and practices before the U.S. Supreme Court.