Saturday, February 18, 2012

Herbie and Jabby- Puppy Love

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

February 16, 2012

The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own. (In a statement, Target declined to identify what demographic information it collects or purchases.) All that information is meaningless, however, without someone to analyze and make sense of it. That’s where Andrew Pole and the dozens of other members of Target’s Guest Marketing Analytics department come in. 

Almost every major retailer, from grocery chains to investment banks to the U.S. Postal Service, has a “predictive analytics” department devoted to understanding not just consumers’ shopping habits but also their personal habits, so as to more efficiently market to them. “But Target has always been one of the smartest at this,” says Eric Siegel, a consultant and the chairman of a conference called Predictive Analytics World. “We’re living through a golden age of behavioral research. It’s amazing how much we can figure out about how people think now.” the rest

Soldiers don fake belly, breasts to better understand pregnant troops' exercise concerns

BySeth Robson
Stars and Stripes
February 16, 2012

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The Army is ordering its hardened combat veterans to wear fake breasts and empathy bellies so they can better understand how pregnant soldiers feel during physical training.

This week, 14 noncommissioned officers at Camp Zama took turns wearing the “pregnancy simulators” as they stretched, twisted and exercised during a three-day class that teaches them to serve as fitness instructors for pregnant soldiers and new mothers.

Army enlisted leaders all over the world are being ordered to take the Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training Exercise Leaders Course, or PPPT, according to U.S. Army Medical Activity Japan health promotion educator Jana York.

Developed by the Army in 2008, the course includes aerobics classes, pool sessions and classroom studies on the physiology of pregnant women. The NCOs learn special exercises for pregnant women, who shouldn’t push themselves too hard or participate in high-impact activities such as snowboarding, bungee jumping or horse riding, York said. the rest

Friday, February 17, 2012

Min Ji Kim sings "You Raise Me Up" for Korea's Got Talent.

Taxing medical progress to death

By Michelle Malkin
February 17, 2012

Two years ago this month, as public debate over Obamacare raged, former President Bill Clinton rushed to the hospital because of a heart condition. He immediately underwent a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries. It was a timely reminder about the dangers of stifling private-sector medical innovation. No one listened.

Stents don’t grow on trees. They were not created, developed, marketed or sold by government bureaucrats and lawmakers. One of the nation’s top stent manufacturers, Boston Scientific, warned at the time that Obamacare’s punitive medical device tax would lead to worker losses and research cuts. The 2.3 percent excise tax, the company said, “would be very damaging to Boston Scientific, and the medical device industry as a whole. In a nutshell, it would raise costs and lead to significant job losses. It does not address the quality of care but the political scorecard of savings.”

Two years later, Bill Clinton’s doing just peachy. But many medical device manufacturers are suffering, and many more are preparing for the worst as the White House gears up to collect on an estimated $20 billion from the lifesaving industry. In typical Obama-transparent fashion, the Internal Revenue Service quietly released a complex thicket of medical device tax implementation rules in a Friday document dump earlier this month. Barring congressional intervention, the medical device tax will go into full effect in 2013. the rest

Richard Dawkins Clashes With Giles Fraser On Radio 4 Over Atheist Poll

Dina Rickman

Richard Dawkins has been labelled an "embarrassment to atheism" after clashing with a priest in a debate on BBC Radio 4.

The author of the God Delusion could not recall the full title of Charles Darwin's 'The Origin Of Species' during a discussion with Giles Fraser, Former Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, over a poll conducted for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (UK) which found that self-identified Christians didn't go to Church, or read the bible.

Dawkins said an "astonishing number couldn't identify the first book in the New Testament." But his claim that this indicated self-identified Christians were "not really Christian at all" was challenged by Fraser, who said the poll asked "silly little questions" to "trip" people up. the rest

(Scroll down for audio)

Meet the ObamaCare Mandate Committee

Think the contraception decision was bad? Wait until bureaucrats start telling your insurer which cancer screenings to cover.
FEBRUARY 16, 2012

Offended by President Obama's decision to force health insurers to pay for contraception and surgical sterilization? It gets worse: In the future, thanks to ObamaCare, the government will issue such health edicts on a routine basis—and largely insulated from public view. This goes beyond contraception to cancer screenings, the use of common drugs like aspirin, and much more.

Under ObamaCare, a single committee—the United States Preventative Services Task Force—is empowered to evaluate preventive health services and decide which will be covered by health-insurance plans.

The task force already rates services with letter grades of "A" through "D" (or "I," if it has "insufficient evidence" to make a rating). But under ObamaCare, services rated "A" or "B"—such as colon cancer screening for adults aged 50-75—must be covered by health plans in full, without any co-pays. Many services that get "Cs" and "Ds"—such as screening for ovarian or testicular cancer—could get nixed from coverage entirely. the rest
The task force is also the only federal health agency to have the explicit legal authority to consider cost as one criterion in recommending whether patients should use a medical test or treatment.

Every Catholic Bishop Opposes Obama Mandate, Lutherans Too

by Steven Ertelt

Every one of the 181 Catholic bishops in the United States have now issued individual comments, statements or opinion columns condemning the new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place forcing religious employers to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs.

Thomas Peters, who runs the American Papist blog, has been compiling the statements from each bishop since Obama first put the mandate in place last month.

“From Portland, Maine to San Diego, California; From Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington,” Peters writes. “Every single Roman Catholic bishop in the United States has condemned in public the Obamacare HHS mandate — all 181 bishops who lead dioceses in the U.S. have spoken.”

“This is a simply incredible, unified, universal Catholic witness on this critical issue of religious freedom,” peters adds. “I am no longer able to find a single Roman Catholic bishop who has NOT spoken out against the mandate publicly. It is also my presumption that this conclusion applies to all Eastern Rite and Sui Iuris bishops in the U.S. It’s a complimentary sign of Catholic solidarity that so many Catholics across the country proudly helped me add their bishop’s name to this list.” the rest

Vicar of Baghdad: ‘We Have Been Left and We Have Nothing!’

Thursday, February 16, 2012
By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (ANS) -- Following the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, the Christian minority faces continued sectarian violence, political mayhem, unemployment, lack of security, failing health care and the inability to buy food.

According to the popular cleric, Canon Andrew White, the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ who serves St. George’s Church in Baghdad, conditions have grown worse for the Christian community since the American departure. Among the exclamations of the Christians in Iraq is the statement: “We Have Been Left and We Have Nothing!”

Canon White told ANS in a recent update: “None of us thought there would be any change here after the US troops left. They had not been seen on the streets for two years. We were totally wrong: from the day that the US military left we were in total chaos and disarray.

“Violence increased, religious sectarianism increased again in force. We could not even enter the Green Zone, as any badges issued by the US were no longer valid; the new badges were simply not being issued. Total mayhem politically began with the prime minister issuing a warrant for the arrest of the Vice President Tariq Al Hashami. He was accused of terrorism, and sadly there was a lot of evidence to suggest this was true.” the rest
“What I most feared would happen, is happening. I said all along that it wouldn’t make any difference to us if the Americans leave. I was really wrong,” said White.

Anglican bishops condemn Boko Haram

By Nwanosike Onu, Awka
posted February 17, 2012

Anglican bishops yesterday rose from a meeting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, condemning the activities of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

They said Nigeria’s break up would have consequences on every citizen whether Christian or Muslim.

The over 170 Anglican bishops were in Awka for a standing committee meeting.

The Primate, Rev Nicholas Okoh, addressed the bishops yesterday at the Cathedral Church of Saint Faith, saying the issue of Boko Haram was a foregone conclusion.

He advised northern and southern indigenes not to relocate as, according to him, “we are all one”. the rest

Thursday, February 16, 2012

FBI Purges Hundreds of Terrorism Documents in Islamophobia Probe

By Spencer Ackerman
February 15, 2012

An internal FBI investigation into its counterterrorism training has purged hundreds of bureau documents of instructional material about Muslims, some of which characterized them as prone to violence or terrorism.

The bureau disclosed initial findings from its months-long review during a meeting at FBI headquarters on Wednesday with several Arab and Muslim advocacy groups, attended by Director Robert Mueller. So far, the inquiry has uncovered and purged over 700 pages of documentation from approximately 300 presentations given to agents since 9/11 — some of which were similar to briefings published by Danger Room last year describing “mainstream” Muslims as “violent.” And more disclosures may be forthcoming, as the FBI continues its inquiry and responds to Freedom of Information Act requests for the documents themselves.

FBI spokesman Christopher Allen confirms to Danger Room that the bureau found some of the documents to be objectionable because they were inaccurate or over-broad, others because they were offensive. Allen explains that the documents represent “less than 1 percent” of over 160,000 documents reviewed by the inquiry, which was prompted by a Danger Room investigation in September. The FBI purged documents according to four criteria: “factual errors”; “poor taste”; employment of “stereotypes” about Arabs or Muslims; or presenting information that “lacked precision.” the rest

More Than a Touch of Malice

Paul A. Rahe
posted February 16, 2012

On the face of it, President Obama would appear to be shooting himself in the foot. Why would he risk losing the Catholic vote? One could, of course, argue that his aim was to excite the feminists and give them a reason to turn out in November. As a rationale, however, even this seems a bit lame. The benefit that the President proposes to provide is insubstantial. The administration’s claim to the contrary notwithstanding, the pill and other birth control devices are not free. But the expense involved is not great. Among those who are employed and have healthcare insurance, no one is hard put to come up with the paltry sum required.

This suggests that there can be only one reason why Sebelius, Pelosi, and Obama decided to proceed. They wanted to show the bishops and the Catholic laity who is boss. They wanted to make those who think contraception wrong and abortion a species of murder complicit in both. They wanted to rub the noses of their opponents in it. They wanted to marginalize them. Humiliation was, in fact, their only aim, and malice, their motive.

Last week, when, in response to the fierce resistance he had deliberately stirred up, the President offered the bishops what he called “an accommodation,” what he proffered was nothing more than a fig leaf. His maneuver was, in fact, a gesture of contempt, and I believe that it was Barack Obama’s final offer. From his perspective and from that of Sebelius and Pelosi, the genuine Catholics still within the Democratic coalition are no more than what Vladimir Lenin called “useful idiots,” and, now that the progressive project is near completion, they are expendable – for there is no longer any need to curry their favor. the rest 

Mark my words. If Barack Obama wins in November, he will force the Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, and the bishops, priests, and nuns who fostered the steady growth of the administrative entitlements state, thinking that they were pursuing “the common good,” will reap what they have sown.

Now Planned Parenthood bullies Catholic food bank for saying no to them

by Susan Michelle
Wed Feb 15, 2012

February 15, 2012 ( - One thing we learned from the Komen/Planned Parenthood fiasco is that it may be easier to say no to the mob than Planned Parenthood. We saw it again recently in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This one didn’t make much news, but created a local social network bully fest.

Planned Parenthood called Paul’s Pantry, part of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the biggest food pantry in Wisconsin, and asked them to come and pick up donations, which may have been noble, but wasn’t something the Catholic organization felt comfortable doing — sending a truck over and perhaps giving the abortion provider a photo opportunity. The American Life League reports what the worker at the pantry said:
All I told the young lady from Planned Parenthood was that I couldn’t send a truck to pick up, and gave her a list of other food pantries that might want to pick up, I gave her no reason at all and she didn’t ask why. Soon after, I started receiving the hate e-mail and phone calls. I politely explained to callers that although we are non-denominational in regards to those we serve, we are a Catholic organization who shares a board of directors with our sister organization, St. Vincent de Paul. We adhere to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and to the Rule of St. Vincent de Paul. I also explained our Gift Acceptance Policy and how acceptance of the donation would compromise our core values and possibly damage the reputation of Paul’s Pantry.
As with Komen, choice wasn’t okay with Planned Parenthood, and within a short amount of time, verbal abuse rolled in. the rest
It’s a curious thing why it’s okay for Planned Parenthood to be as politically affiliated as it wants and turn its quest to kill as many babies as possible for profit into political alliances, but when pro-life organizations say no to them they go full-on thug with the media and calls and name calling. The point here isn’t whether Paul’s Pantry took or didn’t take the food; the point is it’s their own choice what they want to do. Planned Parenthood, contrary to its apparent self opinion, does not get to make decisions for the other organizations in the nation just because it doesn’t like what they do. Until we as a people unite and speak up as they do they will continue to walk all over anyone who disagrees with them.

Tampa parents rip school for letting controversial Muslim group speak to students

By Perry Chiaramonte
February 15, 2012

Parents in Tampa are the latest to protest school officials inviting a controversial Muslim civil liberties advocacy group to speak to students.

Dozens of people showed up at a Hillsborough County school board meeting Tuesday night to complain that a member of Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, spoke to history students at Steinbrenner High School last fall. They cited the group's past connection to a terror financing case involving the terrorist group Hamas. The group, which purports to promote diversity and tolerance of the religion, has met a similar reception in Texas and Georgia in recent years.

“We do not have a problem with Islamic groups speaking with students, but we do have an issue with a group that has ties to terrorism speaking,” Randall McDaniels, head of the Jacksonville Chapter of ACT for America, one of the groups actively seeking to stop CAIR members from speaking to students in public schools, told
the rest

High school student refuses to sing Islamic song

Australian study: Aspirin could beat cancer spread

Tue, Feb 14, 2012

Doctors have long suspected that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin may help inhibit the spread of cancer but they have been unable to pinpoint exactly how this is done.

By studying cells in lymphatic vessels, the researchers found that a particular gene changed its expression in cancers which spread, but not when the cancer did not spread.

The results published in Cancer Cell journal reveal that the gene is a link between a tumour's growth and the cellular pathway which can cause inflammation and dilation of vessels throughout the body.

Once these lymphatic vessels widen, the capacity for them to act as "supply lines" to tumours and become more effective conduits for the cancer to spread is increased.

But aspirin acts to shut down the dilation of the vessels. the rest image

Possible New Injunction May Allow NY Churches to Remain in School Buildings

By Eryn Sun , Christian Post Reporter
February 15, 2012

Good news may be near for dozens of New York City churches currently out of a building to meet and worship in on Sundays following an "optimistic" hearing on Tuesday.

Through the continued efforts of the Alliance Defense Fund, a new injunction may be granted by U.S. District Court Chief Justice Loretta A. Preska delaying the eviction of churches from city schools. A ban on churches using public school buildings for worship service in the weekends went into effect last Sunday.

ADF attorneys were back in court on Tuesday on behalf of the Bronx Household of Faith, hoping to seek a preliminary and/or permanent injunction against the New York City Department of Education's regulations banning "religious worship services" in school facilities. the rest

Priests for Life Group Sues U.S Over Contraception Mandate

February 16, 2012
Thom Weidlich

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration was sued by a Christian organization called Priests for Life, which says the government mandate that insurance providers cover birth control violates the organization’s religious and free-speech rights.

Priests for Life, in a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, also objected to the requirement that employers provide coverage for sterilization and related education, and to the penalties for not complying. They said the mandate violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. The group wants the court to prohibit enforcement of the rules under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010.

The mandate “violates the freedom of all people of faith, and even those of no faith, who have a conscientious objection to contraception, sterilization or abortion,” the Staten Island, New York-based group said in its complaint. the rest

Flaming Truth: Recalling Francis Schaeffer's Challenge

With laser-like precision, Schaeffer hit on the fundamental issue of our day.
Chuck Colson and Timothy George

Historic Christianity, biblical Christianity, believes that Christianity is not just doctrinal truth, but flaming truth—true to what is there, true to the great final environment, the infinite-personal God." Thus said the great prophet of the 20th century, Francis Schaeffer, whose 100th birthday we celebrate this year.

Central casting in Hollywood could not have produced a better character for the prophet's role: his trademark knickers, often straggling hair, goatee, and intense scowl. His voice may have been shrill at times, but his words were piercing. Those words spoke of what he called "true truth," and warned the church against succumbing to relativism, which—even back in the 1970s—had conquered academia and infiltrated broader society.

Schaeffer, with laser-like precision, hit upon the most fundamental issue of our day: The denial of "true truth" was not some passing academic fad. In both its post-Kantian and postmodernist garb, this denial detaches language from reality and leads to the kind of moral and spiritual relativism that is the current coin of contemporary discourse, especially in Europe and North America. the rest  image

UK: Is nothing sacred? Now Church pensions threatened

The Church of England has warned members of its pension scheme that it may have to sacrifice its final salary pension scheme.
Thu, 16 Feb 2012
By Charlotte Beugge

Members of the Church of England pension scheme have been warned that they may lose their right to a retirement income based on final salary, it has emerged.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the final salary scheme could be replaced. It says that a document submitted to the church's general synod last week said it was considering moving to a hybrid scheme where both the employer and employee share the risk.

With final salary or other defined benefit pensions, the risk is entirely on the employer to provide the promised retirement income. With defined contribution or money purchase schemes, the employee is at risk of their own fund not growing by enough to produce a reasonable retirement income. the rest

Grace Church Offers ‘Ashes to Go’

Feb 15, 2012

Grace Episcopal Church of Freeport is excited to offer a 21st-century twist on the ancient holy day of Ash Wednesday.

On Feb.22, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., people of all faiths are invited to stop on the sidewalk, or drive up at curbside, for a traditional blessing of ashes without even entering the church. Grace is known fondly as “the church with the red doors” at 10 S. Cherry Ave., and the sidewalk corner at Stephenson and Cherry will be the place to visit.

Copying a similar practice pioneered by Episcopal churches in urban districts of Chicago, Grace is calling the new ministry “Ashes to Go.” According to Father Eldred George, rector at Grace, “Ashes to Go is a relatively new concept for us, but considering that most of Jesus’ ministry was done in open places where he met the people, maybe we’re returning to our very roots.” the rest

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The biblical story abounds...

File:Moses Pluchart.jpg
The biblical story abounds with instances of people being torn loose from their moorings, from a settled existence, and discovering that God is present in the situation...It is interesting to note the witness of these pilgrims is that these crises are times of judgement. In fact, the word crisis in the Greek means precisely that. In other words, transition times are times in which God calls our old ways of living and looking at things into question, calls us to move beyond them. These pilgrim foremothers and fathers of ours also tell us that these very same times can be times of blessing. Those who do press on, who are willing to leave the old behind, experience God's healing, redeeming, resurrecting power. ...John and Adrienne Carr image

Why modern life left polygamy at the altar

by Karen Nikos
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

UC DAVIS (US) — Compared to monogamous societies, polygamous cultures see more rape, kidnapping, murder, child abuse, and other crimes, a new study suggests.

When men take multiple wives, the competition for fewer available women results in greater levels of strife, the researchers hypothesize.

The findings may explain the global rise of monogamy as the dominant marriage institution in recent centuries, replacing polygamy, which was once practiced by 85 percent of the world’s societies, says Peter Richerson, environmental science professor at University of California, Davis..

“We wanted to understand both why monogamous societies have been economically more successful in the last few centuries and why monogamy has spread to many formerly polygamous societies in the course of modernization,” adds Richerson. the rest

Oscars 2012: Mother Dolores Hart, Former Elvis Co-Star, To Walk Red Carpet In Religious Garments


Nearly 50 years after leaving Tinseltown to become a cloistered Benedictine nun, Mother Dolores Hart, who co-starred with Elvis Presley in 11 movies, is returning to Hollywood to appear at the Academy Awards next Sunday. And she'll be wearing her religious habit.

Mother Dolores, 73, is the focus of "God Is the Bigger Elvis", an HBO documentary nominated in the best documentary short category.

The film documents Hart's unusual journey from starring in dozens of Hollywood films to becoming Prioress of the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., where she acts as spiritual counselor to 38 cloistered nuns, Sojourners reports.

"It will be so nice to be back at the Oscars. It's such a fun night," Hart told USA Today. "The last time I was there was in 1959, when I was a presenter. This will be different." the rest image

Archaeologists strike gold in quest to find Queen of Sheba's wealth

A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba derived her fabled treasures
Dalya Alberge
Saturday 11 February 2012

A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba of biblical legend derived her fabled treasures.

Almost 3,000 years ago, the ruler of Sheba, which spanned modern-day Ethiopia and Yemen, arrived in Jerusalem with vast quantities of gold to give to King Solomon. Now an enormous ancient goldmine, together with the ruins of a temple and the site of a battlefield, have been discovered in her former territory.

Louise Schofield, an archaeologist and former British Museum curator, who headed the excavation on the high Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia, said: "One of the things I've always loved about archaeology is the way it can tie up with legends and myths. The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba's mines is extraordinary." the rest image

Faith, No Faith, and 2.1 Babies

By Philip Jenkins
February 15, 2012

What has faith got to do with fertility? To see the answer, we can usefully look at Europe, where fertility rates began to collapse from the late 1960s onwards, as part of the much discussed demographic transition. Rates reached lows unprecedented in human history: 1.39 currently in Italy, 1.41 in Germany, 1.47 in Spain, and even lower numbers in Eastern Europe (1.28 in Ukraine, 1.26 in the Czech Republic). Falling fertility has coincided so closely with massive secularization that we must at least ask whether the two phenomena are related, even if not in a neat one to one relationship.

But linkages are highly probable. Fertility is likely to fall when women move into the workplace and become independent social and political actors, who are reluctant to heed the church's strictures on their moral conduct, particularly in matters like divorce, contraception and abortion. Also, the reason why people have fewer children in the first place is often because they no longer feel subject to the demands of religion and family pushing them to reproduce as their ultimate goal in life. Society becomes atomistic and individualist rather than organic and traditional.

A society in which people regard relationships as intended chiefly for companionship and mutual satisfaction is also more open to unconventional sexual arrangements, and to innovations such as gay marriage. Finding themselves in constant disagreement with church stances on politics -- seeing the churches apparently on the wrong side in all the incessant culture wars -- people become disaffected from organized religion.

Moreover, the fact of having fewer children is itself a powerful secularizing force. the rest-Excellent!

Joel Rosenberg Warns of Biblical War Unfolding Between Iran and Israel

'Last Jihad' Series Author, Evangelical Christian Declares 'Writing Is on the Wall'
By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
February 14, 2012

Joel C. Rosenberg, an Evangelical Christian and New York Times best-selling author who has extensive experience in Middle East affairs, warned at a conference attended by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich that Iran and Israel will soon be thrown into a war.

"War is coming," Rosenberg said at the First Baptist Jacksonville Pastors' Conference on Jan. 29, Florida Baptist Witness reported. "You and I are living in an extraordinary moment in one of the most dangerous moments in the history of our country; one of the most dangerous moments in the history of Israel and the Middle East; and one of the most dangerous moments in the history of the church."

According to the biography on his website, Rosenberg has worked as a communications advisor with a number of U.S. and Israeli leaders, including Steve Forbes, Rush Limbaugh, Natan Sharansky, and Benjamin Netanyahu. the rest

HHS and Soft Totalitarianism

Feb 15, 2012
George Weigel

The Obama administration’s recently-announced HHS regulations, which would require Catholic institutions to subsidize health insurance coverage that provides sterilization, abortifacient drugs, and contraceptives, should be located within the context of the administration’s three-year long effort to define religious freedom down.

As the administration has demonstrated in its international human rights policy, it regards religious freedom as a kind of privacy right: the right to freedom of worship, which the administration seems to regard as analogous to any other optional, recreational activity. No serious student of religious freedom, however, takes the redefinition of religious freedom as freedom-to-worship seriously. For if that redefinition were true, there would be “religious freedom” in Saudi Arabia, so long as the “worship” in question were conducted behind closed doors. And that is manifestly absurd.

The HHS regulations announced on January 20 are one domestic expression of defining-religious-freedom-down. The administration does not propose to, say, restore the 1970 ICEL translations of the prayer-texts of the Mass; that, even HHS might concede, is a violation of religious freedom. But the administration did not think it a violation of religious freedom for its Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to try and overturn the longstanding legal understanding which held that religious institutions have a secure First Amendment right to choose their ministers by their own criteria—until it was told that it had gone way over the line in January’s Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision (a judicial smackdown in which the administration’s own Court nominees joined).

Now, with the HHS “contraceptive mandate” (which, as noted above, is also a sterilization and abortifacent “mandate”), the administration claims that it is not violating the First Amendment by requiring Catholic institutions to provide “services” that the Catholic Church believes are objectively evil. That bizarre claim may well be another constitutional bridge too far. But the very fact that the administration issued these regulations, and that the White House press secretary blithely dismissed any First Amendment concerns when asked whether there were religious freedom issues involved here, tell us something very important, and very disturbing, about the cast of mind in the Executive Branch. the rest

Israeli library uploads Newton's theological texts

File:Sir Isaac Newton by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg
Feb 15, 2012

JERUSALEM (AP) -- He's considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time. But Sir Isaac Newton was also an influential theologian who applied a scientific approach to the study of scripture, Hebrew and Jewish mysticism.

Now Israel's national library, an unlikely owner of a vast trove of Newton's writings, has digitized his theological collection - some 7,500 pages in Newton's own handwriting - and put it online. Among the yellowed texts are Newton's famous prediction of the apocalypse in 2060.

Newton revolutionized physics, mathematics and astronomy in the 17th and 18th century, laying the foundations for most of classical mechanics - with the principal of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion bearing his name.

However, the curator of Israel's national library's humanities collection said Newton was also a devout Christian who dealt far more in theology than he did in physics and believed that scripture provided a "code" to the natural world. the rest image

For the digital collection: click here.

Falls Church, by the numbers

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The years-long property battle between Virginia’s Episcopal Diocese and congregations that departed from it looks to be about settled. As anyone who has been following can attest, the Episcopal Church and the congregations that have departed from it have been engaged in some epic legal battles. I wrote about one angle in this fight a few months ago for the Wall Street Journal Houses of Worship column. That piece began:
When the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, N.Y., left the Episcopal Church over disagreements about what the Bible says about sexuality, the congregation offered to pay for the building in which it worshiped. In return the Episcopal Church sued to seize the building, then sold it for a fraction of the price to someone who turned it into a mosque.

While I was researching that piece, which was about how some congregations that are permitted to buy their buildings (even if they already payed for them once already) must promise to disaffiliate from the Anglican Church, I heard other stories about what happens to the buildings that are taken by the Episcopal Church and its dioceses, always in the name of the Episcopal members in the area. Many are sold or shuttered, unable to keep up with basic maintenance expenses. One was leased to a dog kennel, I was told. Keep that in mind.

The Washington Post reported on the local version of this legal battle. Here in Northern Virginia, some of the congregations had been around since before the Episcopal Church even existed. They thought they might have a better claim to the property than some of the hundreds of other congregations in the country that divided or left the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church has spent upwards of $22 million in these legal battles in recent years and this Virginia fight was also expensive. But the Episcopal Church prevailed and gets to keep the properties of local congregations that are now affiliated with mainstream Anglican churches in Africa.

The story is headlined “After prolonged legal battle, Virginia Episcopalians prepare to reclaim property.” Here’s how it begins: the rest

CAPA Assembly celebrates growth

All African church organization to focus on social concerns
February 14, 2012
By George Conger

The Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi has been elected chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) at the organization’s 11th assembly in Bujumbura.

Delegates from the Anglican Communion’s 12 African provinces met in the Burundian capital from 4-8 February 2012 to elect new leaders, review on-going projects, and coordinate African wide programmes for the church.

In his presidential address to the meeting, the outgoing chairman, Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean stated that CAPA seeks to be a “facilitator and a powerful instrument that our provinces and dioceses may use to enhance the quality of their ministry. We all need each other.” the rest

2011 Census data reveals bleak demographic future for Canada

by Peter Baklinski
Mon Feb 13, 2012

( – While data released last week from the 2011 Canadian census shows a “small increase” in the country’s overall fertility rate, demographers from Statistics Canada are warning that without a “substantial increase in fertility,” Canada’s population growth in 20 years will be “close to zero.”

“According to all scenarios used in Statistics Canada’s most recent population projections, natural increase is expected to continue to decline in the future decades, due to a projected increase in the number of deaths,” the demographers pointed out. Natural increase, defined as the difference between the number of births and deaths during a given period, is how a population is replenished in the absence of migration.

“That’s bureaucratic speak for ‘BE ALARMED, BE VERY ALARMED,’” wrote Licia Corbella in a column that appeared Thursday in Calgary Herald, adding that “our population growth is speeding towards a brick wall.” the rest

The Disquieting Treatment of Christians by the Palestinians

by Michael Curtis
February 15, 2012

Centuries of persecution before Israeli "occupation."

In the voluminous commentaries on the Middle East today very little attention has been given to the sad fate of Christians in the Arab and Muslim countries. Even less attention has been paid to the contrast between the treatment of Christians in Israel and their treatment in Arab countries. In Israel Christians have religious freedom and their numbers have increased. In Arab countries the religious freedom of Christians is restricted and their number has been reduced because of harassment, fear, and persecution. It is well to remember the words of Martin Luther King: "In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends."

Christians have been a presence in the Middle East for two millennia. Hundreds of churches and monasteries were built after Constantine legalized Christianity in 313. Yet after the Islamic conquest in 638 Christians have been subjected to Arab and Muslim rule for centuries. Their status in the Ottoman Empire was that of dhimmis, non-Muslims who were protected but who were second-class citizens. In this millet system based on religious affiliation, Christians were tolerated but they were also in a state of perpetual humiliation, even of subjugation.
the rest
More drastically, Christians have suffered direct harassment. They have been intimidated and maltreated; money has been extorted, land and property confiscated, and Christian women have been abused, raped, abducted and been subjected to forced marriages. Attempts have been made to impose the Islamic women's dress code on them.

Shocking Video: Planned Parenthood Targets Kids With Sex

Shocking Video: Planned Parenthood Targets Kids With Sex
by Steven Ertelt

A new video expose and report from a pro-life group shows how the Planned Parenthood abortion business exposes children to sexual material in order to seed a generation of sex addicts who will become future customers for the abortion giant.

The new American Life League report exposes Planned Parenthood’s sex programs using graphic imagery from Planned Parenthood’s own websites, materials, and events.

As Planned Parenthood kicks off National Condom Week tomorrow, it will also be actively engaged in selling underage sex to children, as young as those in grade school, with graphic videos and books, ALL says. The new disturbing video it compiled shows Planned Parenthood’s sexualization materials that are presented to school-age children across the country.  the rest/video-not for kids!!!

Whistleblower Says Planned Parenthood Defrauded Government

Government Produces Obscene Gay Sex Manual: California
...But the taxpayer money flushed away here is peanuts compared to what gays cost the public by spreading AIDS — a cost that will only go up as Big Government tightens its stranglehold on the healthcare sector, socializing expenses while doing everything in its power to promote homosexual debauchery....

Chuck Colson on Religious Freedom and Possible Necessity of Civil Disobedience

Feb 7, 2012

Chuck Colson speaks on the urgency of protecting our religious freedom and freedom of conscience. He addresses the present crisis stemming from the Department of Health and Human Services and Obama administration mandate to the Catholic church to include mandatory services in their health insurance, which go against Catholic teaching and conscience. He refers to the Manhattan Declaration as a platform for firm resistance and urges all to sign it and send links to others.

Barbara Boxer: Right to Insurance Trumps Religious Freedom

Wherefore Art Thou ACLU?

Spain: UNESCO official calls for national registry of doctors who object to abortion

by Jeanne Smits
Mon Feb 13, 2012

( - Experts working for the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics at the University of Barcelona, Spain, are calling for a national registry of doctors who will not perform abortions, in order to “improve” women’s access to “pregnancy termination.”

Speaking to the press, the Chair’s director, Maria Casado, also expressed opposition to restrictions to abortion in Spanish law proposed by the new government headed by Mariano Rajoy, and called for a more stringent definition of conscientious objection for doctors.

The statements were made during a university seminar on “Abortion and conscientious objection” held by the UNESCO Chair in Barcelona last week, attended by university members, lawyers and doctors specialized in “contraception and sexuality.”

Spanish pro-life doctors have vigorously opposed plans to establish regional registries of conscientious objectors, let alone a national and public registry as called for during the Barcelona seminar. Doctors and the pro-life movement in Spain fear that such a measure would lead to black-listing and could ultimately provoke ideological persecution.
 the rest

Virginia House vote states life starts at conception

Delegates set up high-stakes battle with Senate
By David Sherfinski
The Washington Times
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

RICHMOND — The Virginia House of Delegates approved legislation Tuesday that would define life as beginning at conception, setting up a potential clash in the state Senate and another high-stakes battle over a measure that has been beaten back elsewhere in the country in recent years.

Lawmakers tackled several contentious social issues on Tuesday, in addition to passing perhaps the most high-profile bill thus far this session. Delegate Robert G. Marshall’s “personhood” measure easily cleared the House on a 66-32 vote.

Mr. Marshall, Prince William Republican, said opponents have long searched for a “bogeyman in the closet on this legislation.” the rest

Obama's epic screw-up on contraceptive mandate

February 15, 2012

WASHINGTON— Before Barack Obama can defeat his opponents he must first be rescued from his friends.

Some of them are now suggesting that his contraceptive mandate on religious institutions was a skilled political stratagem. “I've found by observing this president closely for years,” argues Andrew Sullivan, “that what often seem like short-term tactical blunders turn out in the long run to be strategically shrewd. And if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it.” Religious conservatives are now identified, he says, with “opposition to contraception.” Republicans have achieved “fusion with the Vatican.” Obama is evidently playing the very deep game.

Consider the implications of this praise. It means that Obama assaulted the core beliefs of some of his fellow citizens in order to lure them into politically self-destructive behavior. The president is willing to trifle with the constitutional rights of religious people in order to get a rise out of them.

But I don't think Sullivan's indictment is accurate. These events have all the hallmarks of an epic White House screw-up. The policy resulted from an internal debate in which the vice president and the chief of staff took the other side. Liberal true believers won out. The announcement was fumbled. The White House was shocked by the breadth and intensity of opposition.  the rest

Obama's Dupes: The President's Pro-Life Catholic Suckers

Oliver Stone’s son converts to Islam in Iran

14 February 2012

TEHRAN -- Sean Stone, the son of U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, has converted to Islam in Iran.

He went to the office of Shia cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Nasseri Dowlatabadi in the city of Isfahan on Tuesday and recited shahada, the Persian service of the Fars News Agency reported...

...In September 2011, he visited some officials at Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Tehran to do the groundwork for a documentary.

Stone said he had become a Shia Muslim and had chosen the name Ali. the rest

Chinese blocked visit by U.S. religious freedom envoy, advocates say

By William Wan and Michelle Boorstein
February 14, 2012

Chinese officials denied a visa to a top State Department envoy and refused to meet with her to discuss issues of religious freedom days before this week’s high-profile visit to Washington by China’s vice president, according to rights advocates and others.

Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, was scheduled to travel to China on Feb. 8, according to several rights advocates who were invited to brief her ahead of the visit. But as the date drew near, Chinese leaders refused to grant her meetings with government officials.

They then cited her lack of scheduled meetings as a reason for denying her visa application, according to the advocates and a congressional aide, who were briefed on the situation.

The disclosure comes one day into the diplomatically sensitive visit by Xi Jinping — China’s presumptive next president — during a week that the Obama administration hopes will help ease tense U.S.-China relations. the rest

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pew: One in Eight Voter Registrations Inaccurate; 51 Million Citizens Unregistered

Release Type: Pew Press Release
Washington, D.C.

Approximately 24 million active voter registrations in the United States—one of every eight—are no longer valid or have significant inaccuracies, according to the Pew Center on the States’ Election Initiatives. New research in the report Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient (PDF) underscores the need for registration systems that use the latest technology to better maintain voter records, save money, and streamline processes—an effort that eight states are spearheading with Pew’s support.

The ground-breaking examination of the nation’s voter rolls, commissioned by Pew and undertaken by RTI International, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute, also finds that:

• At least 51 million eligible citizens remain unregistered—more than 24 percent of the eligible population.

• Nearly 2 million deceased individuals are listed as active voters.

• Approximately 2.75 million people have active registrations in more than one state.

• About 12 million records have incorrect addresses, meaning either the voters moved, or errors in the information make it unlikely any mailings can reach them.

“Voter registration is the gateway to participating in our democracy, but these antiquated, paper-based systems are plagued with errors and inefficiencies,” said David Becker, director of Election Initiatives at the Pew Center on the States. “These problems waste taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence, and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of our elections.” the rest

Pew study: Two million dead Americans still on active voter rolls

Pew report: One in eight voting registrations inaccurate

Splitting Up Seen to Weaken All of the 5 Major Institutions of Society

By Father John Flynn, LC
FEB. 10, 2012

( Each year in the United States over a million children are the innocent parties to the divorce of their parents. While divorce also hurts the parents it is the children who particularly suffer, according to recent research.

The findings come in a study published in January by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, "The Effects of Divorce on Children," by Patrick F. Fagan and Aaron Churchill.

Drawing on a large amount of published research on the effects of divorce, their paper goes through a series of areas where divorce harms children. The first one regards parent-child relationships. As would be expected, divorce affects the ability of parents to relate to their children.

One study found that the stress caused by divorce damages the relationship between children and their mothers for as many as 40% of divorced mothers. This insufficiency is more marked by the time children are in high school and college. the rest
Another aspect covered in the study by Fagan and Churchill is the effect of divorce on religious practice among children. They found that following divorce, children are more likely to cease practicing their faith.

This lessening of religious practice means that children suffer from a lack of the beneficial effects of religion, in areas as diverse as marital stability, education, income, and physical and mental health.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Anglican Unscripted Episode 28

Feb 13, 2012

This week Kevin and George take on the year 1662 and the missing 2500 Anglican Clergy. Also, your hosts talk about CAPA and DEPO and how they are relevant or no longer relevant today. Peter Ould covers last weeks events in the Church of England. AS Haley and Kevin discuss Obamacare and the 13th Chime of the Clock. Oh... and how many AMiA parishes are moving to PEAR or ACNA?

No More Evasion: Mr. Obama Chooses to 'Scare the Bear'

Roar, bear, roar!
February 13, 2012
By James G. Wiles

Evasion as a Democratic strategy dates from a famous academic paper published in 1989 by William Galston and Elaine Kamarck. The "politics of evasion" is captured in the expression: "don't scare the bear."

The bear is the American people -- who are not liberal, let alone Marxist.

Democrats, Galston and Kamarck wrote in 1989, ignored the bear at their peril. Don't scare the bear! Instead, they argued, Democrats should fly under a false flag -- rather than arouse the opposition of the American majority.

George McGovern in 1972 and Walter Mondale in 1984 showed their true colors. Both were crushed in historic landslides.

Bill Clinton and the generation of Democrats spawned by the Democratic Leadership Council heeded the advice. They rode the strategy of evasion to victory in 1992 and 1996. It's embodied in the so-called Third Way (also copied by the U.K.'s Tony Blair and his New Labourites) and in political strategist Dick Morris' famous tactic of "triangulation."

Barack Obama, greatly helped by the MSM black-out on his socialist past, engaged in a little evasion himself to win the presidency in 2008.

Hence Peter Beinart's prophetic warning in March 2010. Mr. Obama and the Pelosi-Reid Democrats, he wrote, were abandoning the "politics of evasion" to pass ObamaCare. "By pressing ahead on health care," Beinart said, "President Obama is ending a decades-long internal debate within his party -- and the Democratic Party will never be the same."

ObamaCare passed. And, six months later, Beinart was proved right. The bear roared -- with the rise of the Tea Party and the results of the November 2010 election. the rest image

Could the New Obamacare Mandate Reinvigorate the Tea Party?

Albert Mohler: “We Try to Respect Religious Beliefs” — Mr. Kristof Rewrites the Constitution

Monday, February 13, 2012

Columnist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times has emerged as one of the most influential journalists and public intellectuals of our times. He has been the voice of conscience on many issues of human rights and foreign affairs, and he has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his reports, books, and commentaries on world affairs.

A graduate of Harvard University and a Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Kristof sees the world from an elite point of reference, and his column in The New York Times is mandatory reading for anyone concerned with human rights and human dignity.

His keen sensitivity to human rights concerns is what makes his column published in the February 12, 2012 edition of the paper so perplexing — and so offensive. the rest
After asking his most pressing question, “After all, do we really want to make accommodations across the range of faith?,” he makes this amazing statement:

“The basic principle of American life is that we try to respect religious beliefs, and accommodate them where we can.”

That sentence caught the immediate attention of many. Could someone of Nicholas Kristof’s influence and stature really write and mean that?

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Julian Dobbs

February 2012

Grace and peace from Almighty God to all the CANA family.

April 7, 2012 marks CANA’s seventh birthday! As we look forward to completing our seventh year and beginning the eighth year of our vision and mission in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, our Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns has invited me to write this pastoral letter to you. We should be truly thankful for all that Almighty God has done in our common life and for the inspirational opportunities for gospel ministry before us in the coming year.

From humble beginnings our shared mission in CANA continues with over 275 clergy and over 90 churches across more than 30 states and Canadian provinces and a vital and growing chaplaincy program for both military and civilian service. In that same spirit of humility and Spirit-led consecration with which we began, we remain committed to a dynamic Christianity that demonstrates radical inclusion, profound transformation, and inspired service. New congregations are joining the CANA family, individuals are offering their lives for Holy Orders, and we are fully engaged in the provincial life of both the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the ACNA as we seek to replant biblical, missional Anglican Christianity across North America. the rest

1st head of US Anglican ordinariate installed

February 13, 2012

Father Jeffrey Steenson has been installed as the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The ordinariate was established on January 1 to assist Anglicans in the United States who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage.

Father Steenson--who will take part in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, but will not be ordained a bishop because he is married--preached in his installation homily:   
Listen to St. Anselm, the 37th Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps the greatest theologian ever to grace England’s green and pleasant land: “This power was committed specially to Peter, that we might therefore be invited to unity. Christ therefore appointed him the head of the Apostles, that the Church might have one principal Vicar of Christ, to whom the different members of the Church should have recourse, if ever they should have dissentions among them. But if there were many heads in the Church, the bond of unity would be broken” … the rest

Presenting The Vagina Monologues - in church

What: The Vagina Monologues, presented by clergy from the Anglican Diocese of Niagara
By Angela Scappatura, Standard Staff
posted Feb. 13, 2012

Reverend Pamela Guyatt calls it the Virgin Mary complex.

The idea that women should sensor their words and temper discussions about female sexual issues. Especially if they’re in a church.

So Guyatt, along with six other female clergy members from the Anglican Diocese of Niagara, plan to address the issue — four letter words and all — from the most holiest of places. The altar.

They’re staging a production of the Vagina Monologues at St. George’s Anglican Church on Feb. 14. All proceeds from the event will go to Bethlehem Housing and Support Services and the Sexual Assault Hotline.

“The language in the play, 90% of us women have said it or thought it,” she said, while sitting in a pew inside St. George’s. Three of the other priests performing sat nearby. “It’s about being what we are and being it in a church.”

The production features a series of monologues recited by different women. Each scene tells a story related to the vagina — some comical, others dealing with heavier issues. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

4 Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place;
they set up their own signs for signs. 

5 They were like those who swing axes
in a forest of trees.
6 And all its carved wood
they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
7 They set your sanctuary on fire;
they profaned the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it down to the ground. 

-Psalm 74:4-7