Monday, February 17, 2014

Mon Feb 17th Todays News

How long will racist opposition to helping Aboriginal families continue? Indefinitely if Greens MP David Shoebridge has his way. The stolen generation is a dangerous myth which has, in recent years, prevented help from going to those who need it most. The mortality statistics alone are telling. The problem is not culture or race, the problem is disadvantage and racists are obstructing the standard of care that would be automatic for a child of any other heritage. Marijuana is a dangerous drug. It has no positives from moderate use as alcohol does for adults. The tragedy of the Luke Batty murder is clearly related to marijuana use. It is important the drug is not legalised for public consumption. More on both issues from Miranda Devine are linked and posted.

Today is the birthday of Horace-Bénédict de Saussure. He worked in the Swiss Alps and created the basis of geology that underpinned Darwin's theory of Evolution. He also created an insulated glass box which captured sunlight, that underpinned todays AGW hysteria. Banjo Patterson was born on this day.  He was one of Australia's greatest lyric poets. Young people might ask if he was greater than Michael Hutchence. He is. AB Devilliers celebrates a birthday today, illustrating great people can also be losers. Giordano Bruno was the inspiration for 2GB. Molière is inspiration for anyone that breathes or loves. Both passed on this day. For me, the day is significant for the 1963 birth of my brother.
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns John Samuel Ball, Phath CarolineLina MaMichelle DoLouis Pham  and Christopher Jattan. Born on the same day, across the years, along with
Matches
Despatches
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Intervention was needed

Miranda Devine – Sunday, February 16, 2014 (11:49pm)

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge is a disgrace. His spurious claim that welfare authorities are creating a new Stolen Generation has the potential to set back the cause of protecting Aboriginal children from an epidemic of sexual assault and abuse.
Last week, Shoebridge organised a protest with a group of Aboriginal women from Gunnedah complaining about grandchildren who have been removed, and brandishing placards: “Sorry means you don’t do it again”.
But anyone who knows the history of child protection in this country remembers the wilful reluctance of authorities to remove Aboriginal children from homes where they were neglected or physically and sexually abused. Once the Stolen Generation panic began, they were terrified of being accused of stealing children. So they condemned them to hell on earth. Indigenous children were left to endure situations no white child had to. Social workers were determined to keep “families” together — even if they were dysfunctional and substance-abusing homes.
The situation only began to change in NSW in recent years, under the Labor minister Linda Burney, who is Aboriginal.
Today, 6000 Aboriginal children are in out-of-home care. Tragically, through a generational cycle of welfare dependency, and the ready availability of drugs, alcohol and porn, there are indigenous communities so dysfunctional that every social norm has been trashed. In Bourke, the rate of child sexual assault is 10 times the NSW average.
While details of the case in Gunnedah that Shoebridge has recklessly inserted himself into cannot be divulged publicly, the eastern suburbs barrister should have known there were good reasons to remove not one, but four children from one mother, and not to place them with the grandmother.
But he never asked Community Services Minister Pru Goward for a briefing.
Instead, he staged a protest for the media, which, apart from the ABC and SBS, gave him short shrift.
Considering it costs as much as $950,000 per child to provide intensive foster care, it’s hardly something the government takes lightly. It is not done, as Shoebridge’s protesters suggest, because mum doesn’t have enough food in her cupboard.
As Goward put it, before we can stop removing Aboriginal children, “We also need to see rates of domestic violence, alcohol abuse and child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities come down too, so we can be sure that Aboriginal children are safe.”
Instead the Left wants to perpetuate their misery.
Marijuana is not benign
WHAT can usefully be said about the devastating death of 11-year-old Luke Batty at the hands of his deranged father at cricket training last week?
Luke’s mother Rosie said it all, and her grace and forgiveness were humbling.
She said people would judge her, but no one does, except as a loving mother who tried to allow her boy limited contact with a troubled father.
But it is well worth noting that Greg Anderson had a marijuana habit, which
has been proven to cause psychosis in susceptible people.
You can’t blame marijuana for this tragedy, but at the same time, it is not a benign drug.
It stands to reason that the less it is available, the fewer psychoses it will induce
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THE ABBOTT EFFECT

Tim Blair – Sunday, February 16, 2014 (6:56pm)

Al Gore brings destructive cold whenever he talks about global warming. On the other hand, we have Australia’s Prime Minister
Tony Abbott arrived in the NSW outback town of Bourke today to talk drought — but instead brought more rain with him than the district has seen for two years.
As a thunderstorm pelted down on the shearing shed of 40,000-hectare Jandra station, the Prime Minister promised local farmers his government wanted to do more help them cope with the current drought …
Jandra station owner Phillip Ridge welcomed Mr Abbott as a rainmaker.
“If I had known what he would bring, I’d have asked him here months ago,” Mr Ridge said, as giant rain puddles, a sea of red mud and rows of bogged cars collected outside. 
Hail the rainbringer!
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CARPETBAG COLLISION

Tim Blair – Sunday, February 16, 2014 (6:51pm)

A rare moment of disagreement with Peter Phelps and agreement with the ABC’s Mark Colvin. At issue is the magnificence of the carpetbag steak.
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Abbott asks sceptic to review useless green energy target. Will he ask the tough question?

Andrew Bolt February 17 2014 (2:34pm)

Global warming - general

The Abbott Government today announced a review into the renewable energy target, which requires electricity companies to get 20 per cent of our power from renewable sources by 2020.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt today said the cost to consumers of the scheme - which forces us to use expensive wind and solar power to save the planet from overheating - was “minor”. We’ll see. Let’s add also the price of subsidising this green power.
The good news? The review will be led by rationalist Dick Warburton, the distinguished businessman and former Reserve Bank board member.
Warburton was one of the few business leaders with the guts three years ago to warn that Labor’s carbon tax was a folly:
“It seems quite wrong to be going ahead with this when the rest of the world are actually pulling out of carbon taxes and (emissions trading schemes),” Mr Warburton told ABC Radio.
“As long as there is going to be a tax of this nature on manufacturing, which is not comparable to any other countries in which manufacturing is carried out, that has to be a disadvantage.
“It is a disadvantage that gradually would lead to probable loss of jobs and plant closures.”
Five years ago, when global warming hysteria had cowed almost every doubter into silence, Warburton warned:

I believe there’s been an appalling lack of debate on the two key issues in this whole area. One issue is being the cause, what is the cause of the climate change? There’s no doubt there is climate change. To say that there’s not you’d be living in fool’s paradise.
On the cause there’s huge debate about whether carbon dioxide is the main cause.... [T]he science is not settled...
But here is the bad news. In announcing the review, neither Hunt nor Industry Minister Ian McFarlane suggested it would answer the most basic question of all.
How much difference does the Renewable Energy Target actually make to the world’s temperature? Is it 0.0001 degrees or much less? Is the gain really worth the pain?
It is astonishing - a fraud against taxpayers - that even modelling of the effects of the RET done for the Climate Change Authority failed to answer that question. It is as if the warmist bureaucrats and politicians do not want you to know the RET is actually useless. All symbol, no action.
All the other questions - whether this is the best way to achieve our emissions target, are we overshooting that target anyway - are just fiddling until this most fundamental question is answered first.
Does the Renewable Energy Target make a blind bit of difference to our climate, and, if not, why on earth do we have it?
UPDATE
Reader Jack puts it more colloquially:
Free country. If you want your renewable energy you can have it. But why should I pay for your fantasy?
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ABC obsessed with boat policies only now they work

Andrew Bolt February 17 2014 (8:08am)

Boat people policy, Media

It is June 22, 2012. About 60 boat people a day are arriving illegally, and dozens more have just drowned at sea, lured to their deaths by Labor’s weak laws.
Here are the questions asked by the ABC of Jason Clare, the Labor Minister presiding over this disaster:
SABRA LANE: Mr Clare, good morning and welcome to AM. What is the latest? What can you tell us about the rescue operation for these people?
SABRA LANE: You’ve got two navy vessels there now. You’ve got a number of merchant ships there as well. You’re expecting more boats to join the location this morning?
SABRA LANE: And the weather prospects there, is that good for these people who are in the water?
SABRA LANE: You’ve just given a chronology of when Australia first learnt that this boat was in distress, it appears it called Australian authorities 10pm Tuesday night, but that there was no location and Australia told Indonesia that there was a boat in distress. It appears that Wednesday morning very early, 1.30 in the morning, that you were alerted to its location. What happened then?
SABRA LANE: A surveillance aircraft saw it on Wednesday afternoon and it appeared to be not in distress at that point. But you’ve said that you received more calls yesterday morning which alerted you to the fact that this boat was in trouble. What were the nature of those calls?
SABRA LANE: There are reports that Indonesian authorities say that they were first alerted to this on Sunday and that they were quite confused, saying that they received a number of telegrams from Australia and that they believed that there were two boats out there in distress.
SABRA LANE: Minister, the Australian Christian lobby says it’s time for both major political parties to put aside their differences on this issue, to stop playing politics and to sit down and devise a bipartisan solution.
SABRA LANE: Minister, thanks for joining us this morning.
Note the ABC’s almost complete lack of interest in Labor’s responsibility for luring yet more people to their deaths. Note the ABC’s failure to ask a single question about the inhumanity of Labor’s laws, given these consequences. Note the absence of any sign of hostility to the Minister presiding over these catastrophic policies.
It is June 10, 2013. Nearly 90 boat people are now landing every day, and dozens more have just drowned. lured to their deaths by Labor’s weak laws. ABC PM raises the issue of the day:
ASHLEY HALL: The Customs and Border Protection Service has intercepted another suspected asylum seeker boat carrying 30 people off Christmas Island. It follows the decision to call off the search for survivors of another boat that sunk off the island at the weekend.
Customs also decided not to try to recover bodies from that boat, to allow it to respond to others that may need help. One expert on the law of the sea says there is no obligation under international law to recover the dead from the water.
Notice the ABC’s complete lack of anger at Labor’s catastrophic laws. Note the complete lack of anger at the ghastly consequences - a death toll now above 1000.
It is February 16, 2014. No boat has arrived for more than eight weeks. No one has drowned. The new Abbott Government’s policies to stop the boats, stop the drownings and gradually empty the detention centres are clearly working.
Here are the questions the ABC’s Insiders asks of Scott Morrison, the Minister presiding over this success:
BARRIE CASSIDY: How many Australian naval ships entered Indonesian territorial waters in December and January?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Do you know the answer to the question?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Why can’t you tell us now?

BARRIE CASSIDY: But why would that piece of information be in any way, why would it compromise the Government’s position?

BARRIE CASSIDY: How much of that report then will be released?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Will it explain how it happened and why it happened?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And it will explain how it happened?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Will the unclassified section of that report explain to the Australian people how this happened, why it happened and why it won’t happen again?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And then we can back that judgment.  The Indonesian Navy report argued the incursions may have been intentional, said in this era, navigation equipment is very sophisticated.

BARRIE CASSIDY: What’s false about that?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And what satisfied you of that?

BARRIE CASSIDY: There is a suspicion clearly in Indonesia that it was intentional. How will you disabuse them of that notion?

BARRIE CASSIDY: And do you think based on what you already know they will be satisfied with what you have to say, that without question, it was not intentional?

BARRIE CASSIDY: The Indonesian Navy report that I referred to had a photograph of burn wounds on a hand and it said, and this is the quote, “Resulting from being forced to hold onto the ship’s engine by the Australian Navy.” Does it concern you that an official Indonesian Navy report would make such an assertion?

BARRIE CASSIDY:  Can you though dismiss just as lightly a report from the Indonesian Navy as you can a report from an asylum seeker?

BARRIE CASSIDY: How again will you disabuse the Indonesian Navy of their notion?
BARRIE CASSIDY: And you’ve established the facts, of course, without speaking to the person who made the allegations?
BARRIE CASSIDY: But you describe it as a normal process, wouldn’t a normal process, as part of that wouldn’t you talk to the person making the allegations?

BARRIE CASSIDY: What are the factors at work there? Clearly it’s the monsoon season, that’s one factor. How much credit would you give to the previous Government over its PNG (Papua New Guinea) solution?

BARRIE CASSIDY: But the PNG solution wasn’t in place this time last year.

BARRIE CASSIDY: The Indonesian Foreign Minister has, talking about the turn-back strategy, quote, “It threatens the negotiation of a code of conduct designed to repair the relationship.” Clearly he’s offended by the policy.
BARRIE CASSIDY: You are being true to yourself and true to your policy, as you say, but nevertheless it does seem to be offending the Indonesians, to the point where they’re now going to raise this issue with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

BARRIE CASSIDY: What do you think John Kerry would do about it anyway, even if he does regard it as a global issue?
BARRIE CASSIDY: And the other issue that they seem to displease them is the lifeboats issue and they say that that’s more severe than towing back boats; “We strongly protest.”
BARRIE CASSIDY: So you will go on utilising these lifeboats?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Well we’ve seen a video of those lifeboats.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Three days ago an Indian student took his own life at a detention centre in Melbourne. He was in that centre because he overstayed his visa. Could that have been avoided?

BARRIE CASSIDY: Is there a better way to deal with a student who overstays his visa?

BARRIE CASSIDY: So you’re saying there are factors at work here that go beyond the sort of conditions and stresses that come with being in a detention centre?

BARRIE CASSIDY: OK. Now on Friday at a Senate hearing there were 16 denominations, churches, who talked about the Government’s position on the migration act. You want to change it to give you more discretionary powers. Now they said, they say that would allow you to play God.

BARRIE CASSIDY: A former minister though, Chris Evans, said that it gave him too much power, the workload was too great and the churches are saying the taskforce, that if the minister gets it wrong there could be dire consequences for the individual.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Now just finally a report in The Australian yesterday, the Government is considering spending $3 billion to buy giant unmanned drones to patrol the borders that would be used, at least in part, to track asylum seekers and illegal fishermen. Is that under consideration?

BARRIE CASSIDY: If you were to invest that sort of money though in unmanned drones that would suggest you’d think this problem is going to be around for a long time yet?
On ABC AM and Radio National Breakfast this morning there is more extensive questioning of the Abbott Government’s successful policies - how they are offending Indonesia, how there are reported escapes from the Manus Island detention centre, how it’s mean to have people in detention there, how we need to resettle them, how PNG won’t accept any boat people as permanent residents, how we are sending unaccompanied children to Nauru.
It is impossible not to see a bias here. The ABC seemed indifferent about Labor policies which brought in more than 50,000 illegal immigrants, lured more than 1100 to their deaths, filled detention centres to overcrowding and cost Australians perhaps $10 billion. It seemed very unwilling to hold Labor responsible for the terrible consequences of its policies.
Yet the ABC seems obsessed with - and hostile to - the Coalition’s successful policies, which have stopped the boats and the drownings. It seems to take offence on Indonesia’s behalf and gives massive coverage to any grievance or claim of cruelty. 
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How to destroy a hypocrite in two minutes

Andrew Bolt February 17 2014 (8:03am)

Wow. And all done in just two minutes:
Karl Rove demolished former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland on Fox News Sunday this morning in the course of responding to Strickland’s critique of Governor Christie and Bridgegate. Rove precisely demonstrated Strickland to be a critically flawed messenger of the Democratic Party talking points on Christie. Though it’s rare to find a Democrat shamed into silence — they have so much margin for error provided by their media enablers — I would be surprised if Strickland undertakes this particular mission again.
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No, Gillard did not get tough on crooked unions

Andrew Bolt February 17 2014 (7:32am)

Henry Ergas doesn’t believe Julia Gillard’s latest claims of having been tough on union corruption:
Gillard’s contention is simply this: that she bears no responsibility for the industrial lawlessness which flourished under Labor.
As regards the building industry laws, she merely implemented changes retired judge Murray Wilcox had recommended. Far from doing “virtually nothing to police (the unions’) internal governance”, as I had written, she not only retained the relevant provisions of Work Choices in the Fair Work Act, but strengthened them in 2012. And rather than trample on freedom of association, her legislation provides “more effective remedies in relation to breaches (of that freedom) than ever before”.
Each of these assertions is incorrect, misses the point or both. I accept that the Wilcox review recommended that the Howard government’s building industry laws be modified. But even the review concluded that significant lawlessness remained and that strong powers were required to prevent it persisting.
Faced with that finding, a government which genuinely believed that (as Gillard had said) the industry needed “hard-edged compliance (with) no tolerance at all for lawlessness” would have monitored those changes to ensure they did not, in Wilcox’s words, “impede investigations of significant contraventions”.
Instead, as the lawlessness spread, Gillard made further changes, not recommended by Wilcox, preventing the regulator pursuing matters once the parties to a dispute had reached an agreement, regardless of the tactics by which that agreement had been secured.
The consequences were entirely predictable: the thuggery escalated dramatically, as extracting an agreement, even by extreme means, now provided far-reaching protection from the law.
With Labor then standing by as the building union was found guilty of 30 counts of contempt in the Grocon dispute alone, Gillard’s protestations of innocence can hardly be taken seriously. Gillard’s claims with respect to policing unions’ governance are no more convincing.
Yes, the Fair Work Act kept the relevant provisions of Work Choices; but Gillard’s appointments to the Fair Work Commission, and the way the commission was then managed, guaranteed they would never be effectively enforced, as the Health Services Union scandal shows. 
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University is the last refuge of the Marxist

Andrew Bolt February 17 2014 (7:24am)

Culture wars, Political things

MARXISTS murdered millions and wrecked every country they’ve led. Yet 25 years after the Berlin Wall’s fall, they still cling to power in Australia’s universities. 

Amazing. Yes, our universities are the last refuge of the Marxist — of people such as Victoria University politics lecturer Max Lane, recently on the executive council of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.
Lane is now with the Socialist Alternative, which urges “the smashing of the capitalist state apparatus”, including the “dismantling” of “parliaments, courts, the armed forces and police”.
Its followers “reject Australian patriotism” and “oppose all immigration controls”, and Lane last week dutifully sent a letter to the Jakarta Post to warn its Indonesian readers our immigration minister is actually a pirate who kills innocent people.
(Read full article here.
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The lesson of beautiful New Zealand

Andrew Bolt February 17 2014 (7:19am)

image
I COULD live here, I thought last month, as I drove through one of the world’s most beautiful countries. One day, I had a beach of seals to my left and snowy mountains to my right. Another, a ferry took me through a deep sound as glorious as any in Norway. 

But I can’t live in lovely New Zealand, for much the same reason an astonishing 650,000 New Zealanders live here instead, leaving just 4.4 million back home.
See, a country that can’t give its young a future has no future itself. And having also just inspected the dead canary called Tasmania, I’m desperate we learn that lesson.
Sure, New Zealand isn’t a basket case. It’s growing, and its unemployment rate is only a bit over ours. It’s bigger problem is that it is small and remote, and without two pieces of luck that saved us — coal and iron ore.
But the point remains. New Zealand, with wages and houses smaller than ours, is Australia if we don’t change our culture.
(Read full article here.)   
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Shorten falls so far that Labor will listen for a splash

Andrew Bolt February 17 2014 (5:55am)

Politics - polls

The public has picked Bill Shorten for a union hack:
The Abbott government has regained the lead in the latest Fairfax-Nielsen opinion poll for the first time in two months, helped by a sharp drop in support for Bill Shorten’s performance and a Labor primary vote lurching back into the low 30s…
Labor’s share of the primary vote has also fallen by 4 points to be just 33 per cent… On a two-party-preferred basis, the Coalition now leads the ALP by four percentage points - 52 per cent to 48
After several weeks in which the Coalition government has successfully linked industrial relations reform, union power, and corruption allegations in the building industry in national debate, Mr Shorten’s personal approval has slumped by an unusually decisive 11 points…

Mr Shorten, who favours the more focused use of existing law enforcement authorities to address union corruption, strongly opposed the royal commission [into union corruption], prompting Mr Abbott to accuse him of ‘’running a protection racket for a protection racket’’....
As the incumbent prime minister, Mr Abbott enjoys a 10 point lead over the Opposition Leader as preferred prime minister, 49 per cent to 39 per cent…
The number of people approving of [Shorten’s] performance fell from 51 per cent in the Fairfax-Nielsen poll of November 21-23, to be just 40 per cent now ...
Shorten is in deep strife. He is being seen for the public for exactly what he’s been so far - a creature of unions which many voters now suspect of abusing power. He is a former union boss known to have helped depose the last two Labor prime ministers. He himself became Labor leader only because the union-influenced party machine convinced enough Labor MPs to back him over Anthony Albanese, the choice of 60 per cent of Labor’s members. In government, Shorten changed the law to favour union power. As leader, he now opposes a royal commission to examine the excesses of union power, including corruption.
This will only get worse. The royal commission into union corruption will look hard at Shorten’s old union.  Shorten was not in charge at the time the AWU scandal involving Julia Gillard took place, but did he do enough later to expose the truth? Did he block attempts to bring the guilty to account? (Shorten denies the allegation. Gillard insists she did nothing wrong.) Then there are serious questions about links between Labor and unions that could have encouraged Labor governments to go soft on union lawlessness, not least by scrapping the Australian Building and Construction Commission two years ago. Police meanwhile are expected to announce whether they will charge anyone as a result of their own inquiries into the AWU scandal.
Shorten could shake off this tag of union hack if he’d shown policy courage and imagination. Instead, he’s shown a cheap populism and defended stale policies. He’s still defending the carbon tax, for heaven’s sake. He’s attacking every spending cut, including ones Labor in government itself proposed, when even the drinkers in the John Curtin Hotel know in their hearts the belt needs tightening. This rank opportunism marries only too well with Shorten’s inability to communicate sincerity, and an apparently patronising verbal tic that has this husband of a former governor-general’s daughter pronounced “with” as “wiv” as though he came from Sunshine High rather than Xavier College.
The Government is now convinced it has Shorten’s measure. He’s got rattier at the despatch box in Parliament, and was even desperate enough last week to hint Tony Abbott wasn’t sincere in his obvious commitment to Aboriginal advancement.
That said, the Government also has challenges. It has made tough decisions on corporate handouts and has an even tougher budget to come. The economy is very sluggish. The Senate is a log-jam now, and the new Senate in July will be tricky to deal with. The ABC is on the attack.
But Abbott, after a slow start, seems to have found his voice and his message, and will increasingly seem Prime Ministerial. Commentators have forgotten how much John Howard improved as a leader over his first term, and I suspect Abbott, always a quick study, will do no less.  
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Danger: The Exploding Chocolate Shot. Deliciousness high risk area!
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MADU Odiokwu Pastorvin
YOUR EXPECTATION FOR THIS WEEK SHALL NOT BE CUT OFF!
No matter where you are in life, no matter what’s happening around you, start looking for more of God’s favor. Don’t settle where you are. Don’t settle for just barely getting by. Believe that God is good, and He wants to do more in and through you. Remember, what you seek, you will find. So seek Him first, and He will pour out His supernatural favor upon you.
Heavenly Father, I come to You today, giving You all that I am. I trust that You have a plan for my good. I trust that You are opening doors that no one can shut. Thank You for filling me with You today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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PLEASE MEDITATE ON THIS!
The most important decision a person can make is where you will spend eternity. Will you go to Heaven and spend eternity with God? OR will you go to Hell and spend eternity separated from God?
When you ask the average person that question they will usually say Heaven. You ask them why they believe that and you will get many answers? I am good person, or I go to Church, or I give to charity, or I have been baptised, or many others. If you ask God who will go to Heaven, He tells us through His Word (The Bible) that only those who are born again will go to Heaven when they die. Only those who's sins are forgiven will get to go to Heaven. The Bible is also very clear that the only payment that is acceptable to God is that blood of his son Jesus-Christ. Your good works are not good enough. Your righteousness is as filthy rags according to the scriptures. 
The good news is that God loves you so much that He wrapped His love in flesh and blood and paid a price that you could not pay. In Christ there is forgiveness of sin, a home in Heaven, and communion with the Father. My prayer for you is that you see your need for a savior and turn to Him. Through prayer ask for forgiveness of your sin and receive Him as your Lord and Saviour.God bless you.
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Pastor Rick Warren
"The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing!" Rom. 13:12
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JOIN ME ONLINE NOW! This week I discuss how to deal with how you feel. Join us athttp://t.co/oD7mO.zzz6p
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I'm speaking now on how to deal with how you feel. JOIN ME LIVE ONLINE NOW http://t.co/oD7mOzzz6p
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February 17Family Day in various regions of Canada (2014);Independence Day in Kosovo (2008); Washington's Birthday/Presidents' Day in the United States (2014)
Geraldine Farrar as Madame Butterfly
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Events[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

Holidays and observances[edit]

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“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” - 1 John 3:11
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
February 16: Morning
"I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content." - Philippians 4:11
These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. "Ill weeds grow apace." Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener's care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, "I have learned ... to be content;" as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave--a poor prisoner shut up in Nero's dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul's infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented without learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.
Evening
"Thy good Spirit." - Nehemiah 9:20
Common, too common is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit. This is folly and ingratitude. He deserves well at our hands, for he is good, supremely good. As God, he is good essentially. He shares in the threefold ascription of Holy, holy, holy, which ascends to the Triune Jehovah. Unmixed purity and truth, and grace is he. He is good benevolently, tenderly bearing with our waywardness, striving with our rebellious wills; quickening us from our death in sin, and then training us for the skies as a loving nurse fosters her child. How generous, forgiving, and tender is this patient Spirit of God. He is good operatively. All his works are good in the most eminent degree: he suggests good thoughts, prompts good actions, reveals good truths, applies good promises, assists in good attainments, and leads to good results. There is no spiritual good in all the world of which he is not the author and sustainer, and heaven itself will owe the perfect character of its redeemed inhabitants to his work. He is good officially; whether as Comforter, Instructor, Guide, Sanctifier, Quickener, or Intercessor, he fulfils his office well, and each work is fraught with the highest good to the church of God. They who yield to his influences become good, they who obey his impulses do good, they who live under his power receive good. Let us then act towards so good a person according to the dictates of gratitude. Let us revere his person, and adore him as God over all, blessed forever; let us own his power, and our need of him by waiting upon him in all our holy enterprises; let us hourly seek his aid, and never grieve him; and let us speak to his praise whenever occasion occurs. The church will never prosper until more reverently it believes in the Holy Ghost. He is so good and kind, that it is sad indeed that he should be grieved by slights and negligences.
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Lot 
[Lŏt] - concealed or myrrh.
The son of Haran, Abraham's brother, who accompanied Abraham from Mesopotamia to Canaan (Gen. 11:27, 31; 12:4; 13:1).
The Man with a Worldly Mind
We deem it necessary to spend a little time with this character because we believe Lot to be a representative man. Perhaps there is no Bible figure who represents so many men of today as Lot of Sodom. Where you can find one Abraham, one Daniel or one Joshua you will find a thousand Lots.
Lot started out well. But he acquired riches and with his wealth came trouble. He and his uncle, Abraham, came out of Egypt with great possessions. Then came the strife among the herdsmen of both men. Lot could not pick a quarrel with his uncle, so he separated from him and made the greatest mistake of his life in doing so. If determined to have the well-watered plain, Lot should have asked Abraham to choose for him. But no, when he lifted up his eyes and saw the fruitful land, his decision was made.
The moments of solemn, decisive choice reveal the character of the two men involved. Lot's choice was a bad and selfish one, ending in disaster. Abraham's choice was lofty, unworldly, superior to all petty consideration. Although, as elder of the two, he had the undisputable right to precedence in the choice, Abraham behaved like the high-minded, noble-hearted gentleman he was and so left the choice to Lot. The meanness of Lot is seen in that he took the best. The crisis of that moment was decided by the tenor of Lot's life. In spite of his general righteousness, Lot must have had a vein of great selfishness within.
In one of his unique speeches - The Subject of Salaries - Benjamin Franklin said, "There are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are Ambition and Avarice: the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting man to action; but when united in view of the same object they have in many minds the most violent effects." It was thus that Lot became "a bad lot." In his choice ambition and avarice became one. Points to ponder are:
I. His wealth (Gen. 13:5). Lot had a house - Abraham was content with a tent (Gen. 18:1; 19:3). Lot was no pilgrim (Heb. 11:13).
II. His choice (Gen. 13:10, 11). Lot was guided by selfishness, and pitching his tent toward Sodom was soon living in it (Gen. 14:12).
III. His righteous soul (2 Pet. 2:8). Lot did many things that were inconsistent with his true character and that were dishonoring to God. He sat down with the ungodly. Yet he showed some good qualities. He entertained the angels - believed their message - endeavored to restrain the wicked Sodomites. His good, however, was mixed with evil.
IV. His loss (Gen. 19:17-28). Lot narrowly escaped judgment. He lost everything, his wife was turned into a pillar of salt, he lost his wealth, he sacrificed his influence, for the people of Sodom despised him, his relatives mocked him, his two daughters shamed him. Lot offered no prayer for Sodom and manifested no desire for the salvation of its people. His only concern was for his own safety, and angels delivered him.
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Today's reading: Leviticus 19-20, Matthew 27:51-66 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Leviticus 19-20

Various Laws
The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.
3 "'Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
4 "'Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.

Today's New Testament reading: Matthew 27:51-66

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus' resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"


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