Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sun Mar 30th Todays News

It isn't something I'm paid for or get credit for, but I start or promote memes. Sometimes years pass, and I get to see them come back to me. I started one with a court recorder recording ridiculous statements by barristers. Or when a dying Clare Oliver publicly begged that her fight against sun beds be remembered. Or a sculpture of David illustrating the dangers of fast food. Or a childhood backyard baseball match influencing an Astronauts' words. I didn't invent chess vs death, but I made it a Christmas funny. I enjoy it when I see people posting them, or an incarnation of them. So I get how they feel when some eco facist gleefully points to some factoid about Coal, Solar, Nuclear, Fracking, GM food, socialism etc etc. But I post obvious jokes or things that benefit people. eco fascists post terrible, murderous memes that hurt people. Sometimes, a mate somewhere is well remunerated for the meme, but it upsets me that people fall for it. 

In politics they call it spin. Recognise that it isn't balanced if someone spins only one way. This last week marked a hundred days without boat people arriving in Australia or drowning en route. Business is improving. An old institution of knighthoods has been re-established. Jobs are being created. The ALP complained about ninety of their members being ejected from parliament by the speaker, without being able to point to any one instance of where a member should not have been ejected. It was a week that Andrew Bolt described as bad for the Federal Government. And yet in over six years, the ALP never had a week that good. I get Mr Bolt wants to be balanced. But I feel he needs to pick his battles better. The worst thing that could be said about knighthoods is that they are meaningless. But the reality is they profoundly support institutions that keep society together, pointing the way up for school children who often have to endure years of confusing leftist memes from teachers. 

For twenty two years I have been responsibly addressing an issue, and I cannot carry on. I am petitioning the NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to remedy my distress. I leave it up to him if he chooses to address the issue. Regardless of your opinion of conservative government, the issue is pressing. Please sign my petition at http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/nsw-premier-barry-o-farrell-remedy-the-persecution-of-dd-ball?
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns to those born on this day, across the years. Assyrians celebrating 6764 years of history.
Matches
Despatches
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Global warning on our frailties

Miranda Devine – Sunday, March 30, 2014 (6:19am)

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WHY are we fascinated by missing flight MH370?
It’s more than curiosity, though the desire to solve mysteries is born of self protection.
It’s not just empathy; more people have died in less noted tragedies around the globe, from war to mudslides, since the Malaysian Airlines flight vanished en route to Beijing on March 8.
No, it is fear that drives our obsession with MH370 – the primeval fear that humanity is puny and powerless in a vast unknown universe, a fact which life in 21st century cities does so much to disguise.
Fear is where hubris and reality collide.
Don’t we have the planet surrounded by satellites? Didn’t Edward Snowden tell us that every phone call and electronic communication is monitored 24/7? Doesn’t Google Earth show everything? Haven’t we shrunk the world?
Guess not.
Suddenly we see that, despite our technological prowess, we are not all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful deities who can control and explain everything that happens on Earth – especially not the climate.
After more than three weeks, the cooperative brilliance of 25 nations, including the US and China, has not managed even to pinpoint the path of the plane, where it came down, or positively identify debris in the Indian Ocean. It has been an extraordinary demonstration of our limitations, despite the miracles of the iphone in our hands.
We may never know why MH370 veered off its course and flew for hours before most likely running out of fuel and crashing into the ocean.
So, you have to ask: if we are finding it so hard to find a missing jumbo jet, how can we possibly think we can stop climate change?
Computer models have proven no more useful for forecasting global temperatures than a flight tracker app is for finding MH370.
For the past 15-17 years, temperatures have not budged, despite rising carbon dioxide emissions. This so-called warming hiatus, or pause, makes a mockery of climate models which predicted drastic global warming due to the atmosphere’s supposed allergy to greenhouse gases.
The entire climate alarm industry was built around those unreliable models. The dire warnings issued by the United Nation’s IPCC rely on their temperature forecasts.
But, year after year, the actual temperatures defy the predictions, and climate scientists have not been able to explain why.
So maybe the atmosphere is not as sensitive to CO2 as we were led to believe. Maybe our contribution to climate change is not as significant as we imagined.
The obvious conclusion is that our quest to stop climate change is an arrogant delusion.  The planet will warm or cool at will, regardless of any heroic sacrifices we make.
As the eminent American physicist Fred Singer wrote last week:  “All the evidence suggests that Nature rules the climate – not Man.”
The dawning realization of our powerlessness is driving a new more realistic imperative to adapt to climate change rather than trying to stop it.
The latest IPCC report on the impacts of climate change is due out tomorrow (Monday) and leaked stories paint the sort of apocalyptic scenarios that have been scaring a generation of children witless since The Day After Tomorrow showed tsunamis drowning everyone on the east coast of America.
But there are signs that the church of climate alarm is under siege.
First came news last week that a lead author on that IPCC report’s chapter on economics has demanded his name be taken off it because he says it was rewritten to exaggerate the impact of climate change.
‘The message in the first draft was that through adaptation and clever development these were manageable risks,” British climate economist, Dr Richard Tol, told reporters.
“This has completely disappeared from the draft now, which is all about the impacts of climate change and the four horsemen of the apocalypse.”
When even IPCC grandees are breaking ranks you know the game is up.
Another good sign is that the IPCC report will contain a “new emphasis” on adaptation rather than preventing global warming, and is more cautious than before about the overall costs, according to the Wall Street Journal.
As reality sinks in, it’s only a matter of time before the climate charlatans who have misled us for two decades are brought to account.
WA MP Dr Dennis Jensen kicked off the process of discovery last week with a bold call in Parliament for a formal audit of the climate data processes of the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO.
He claims they have been picking and choosing data to suit an alarmist agenda. He has a PhD in Materials Science and Physics, and has worked for the CSIRO and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation as a research scientist, so is uniquely placed among politicians to question the information which has driven absurd and wasteful government policy on climate change.
Imagine what we might have achieved if, instead of engaging in a futile bid to change the climate, all those great minds had been focused on curing cancer or bringing potable water to the poorest corners of the planet, or stamping out child sexual abuse.
If last night’s Earth Hour and all those meetings in Copenhagen and Kyoto had been for something useful and important, what might we have achieved?
One thing the mystery of MH370 should teach us is humility.
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Labor tactics nothing new

Piers Akerman – Sunday, March 30, 2014 (6:38am)

OPPOSITION leader Bill Shorten’s attempt to portray himself as a man for the future has been crippled by his endorsement of Labor’s reversion to the use of discredited disruptive parliamentary tactics.
The former AWU boss who entered federal parliament just seven years ago is blindly following a bad script which dismally failed Labor under former leaders Kim Beazley, Mark Latham and Kevin Rudd.
It calls for Labor to be as unruly as possible during parliamentary sittings in the sure knowledge that most in the press gallery will have little or no institutional memory of previous use of the strategy and will be distracted by the theatrical shouting and posturing.
Even those with very poor powers of recall should recollect former Independent Rob Oakeshott’s ludicrous September, 2010, claim that to a new parliamentary era and a new way to conduct parliament after he took 17 days to make what he called a “juicy sexy decision” with fellow turncoat Tony Windsor to support Julia Gillard’s minority government.
No doubt Oakeshott was minded to hope for greater decency after watching Labor’s attempts to distract the Howard government from its mission of restoring the nation’s fortunes and rebuilding lost confidence, as well as bringing unchecked illegal immigration under control.
Like every other recent Labor Opposition leader, Shorten expresses dismay at the state of the parliament but permits his team to run amok.
In February, 2002, Simon Crean talked up the prospect of “getting order back in the place” but at least he was smiling as he did so, having previously admitted to being “part of the problem”.
He was however, he said, “prepared to turn over a new leaf” but nothing changed.
Four years later, then Health Minister and Leader of the House Tony Abbott said “ Labor’s parliamentary rancour is the result partly of 10 years in opposition and partly continued inability to accept the legitimacy of the Howard Government”.
He was moved to comment after then Opposition health spokesman Julia Gillard had been ejected from parliament for using the unparliamentary term “snivelling grub”, an expression Abbott had himself used.
“The difference between her behaviour and mine was that she defied the chair and I did not,” he said.
It was Gillard, too, who showed her contempt for proprietaries with the appointment of Peter Slipper to the Speaker’s chair in November, 2011, to secure an extra vote for her dysfunctional government.
When his lurid and explicit text messages about female genitalia were revealed a year later, Gillard, the archetypical feminist, defended her appointee from then Opposition leader Abbott’s calls for removal saying she would not be lectured by “this man” about sexism and misogyny.
Labor voted down the motion to remove the sexist Speaker 69-70 and not a single member of the handbag hit squad of Emily’s Listers crossed the floor to condemn Slipper’s behaviour and nor did any of the Mummy Bloggers who Gillard entertained at Kirribili House take to the antisocial media with their outrage.
That they saved for Abbott who was making a stand against sexist behaviour.
Taking its lead from the shrill former Labor prime minister and her contrived outrage, Shorten and his team have been in noisy defiance mode ever since the Abbott government came to office and Speaker Bronwyn Bishop took the chair.
The extraordinary manner in which many Labor MPs have flouted her authority reached a crescendo Thursday when Tony Burke, the manager of Opposition business in the House, rose to confront Bishop with an unspontaneous motion of no confidence.
While such a motion had not been moved since 1949, it was not that different the confrontation between the Labor Opposition and Speaker David Hawker in October, 2006, when Anthony Albanese complained that it was undemocratic to “apply one set of rules to Labor and another to the Government”.
In the two years since his appointment, Hawker had issued 500 warnings against Labor MPs and only 52 to Liberal MPs.
Albanese, who accounted for 46 of the warnings, said: “Anyone who watches Parliament knows that both sides robustly debate but only one side is penalised.”
Abbott responded: “any fair-minded observer would conclude that the Labor Party creates 90 per cent of the disruption.”
That was then it could have been now.
Labor is still playing the same card. It is confused and contradictory.
Burke, summing up Labor’s lost week, whined on Friday: “We didn’t ask Tony Abbott to define himself by knighthoods and damehoods (sic).”
Whether four Australians get to call themselves knights or dames is of almost no consequence to an English-speaking people with laws and parliamentary procedures firmly grounded in centuries of significant British history.
It may be a distressing for a few who will always be anguished when individuals are rewarded for singular achievement but not for the many who laud accomplishment but are really more interested in issues which will directly affect their lives.
Putting the title distraction aside, the Coalition did go to the election promising to bring the Budget back under control, stop illegal boat arrivals, repeal the mining and carbon taxes, and overhaul the anti-free speech provisions in the anti-discrimination laws.
It won a clear mandate to carry out its program – all the Labor Party is doing is thwarting the will of the people with its ridiculous time-wasting tactics.
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On The Bolt Report today

Andrew Bolt March 30 2014 (8:33am)

On the show: Who are these people telling you what you can’t say and can’t hear? And some tape of Malcolm Turnbull mocking Tony Abbott.
Guests Anthony Dillon, who identifies as “part Aboriginal”, Judith Sloan and former NSW Treasurer Michael Costa.
In NewsWatch, the great Gerard Henderson.
Plus Your Say, and a tale of two party-parties.
On Network 10 at 10am and 4pm.

The videos of the shows appear here.
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Turning on Dame Quentin

Andrew Bolt March 30 2014 (5:40am)

Yes, let’s not’s skip lightly over the fact that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s own mother-in-law was only too happy to become the first of Tony Abbott’s new Dames, despite Labor and the media’s scoffing at the awards.
Peter Hatcher seems cross:
Australians had the very firm impression that Quentin Bryce was a republican… “In our imagining, I suggest a nation,” she said in the Boyer Lectures “where, perhaps, my friends, one day, one young boy or girl may grow up to be our nation’s first head of state.”
So republicans felt betrayed when Abbott announced that she had agreed to become the first Australian dame of the 21st century.
Did Bryce sell out her belief for the trinket of a title? ... Some of her close friends think so; they’re disappointed in her.
One long-time Bryce friend, the scholar and feminist Dale Spender, didn’t directly criticise the outgoing governor-general but she did say that “I do think it’s a bit peculiar to revive these things after ... so long."…
One of her themes was the Australianisation of the vice-regal office, using subtle incrementalism, making small but significant changes.
For instance, she broke a precedent stretching back to British settlement in 1788 by ending the practice of writing letters to the monarch detailing Australian political and official affairs…
This makes it even more perplexing and disappointing that she would accept Abbott’s offer.
Is it not enough to have served in the most distinguished way in the most distinguished office in the land? Does she really need to revive the accusation of bunyip aristocracy, the confected tryhard respectability of the bumpkin desperado?
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First they claimed it couldn’t work. Now they complain when it does

Andrew Bolt March 30 2014 (5:07am)

First much of the media claimed “stop the boats” was a stupid slogan and the Abbott Government would fail. Now that the Government has done just that over the past 100 days, some of the reporting yesterday was plain spiteful.
Julian Burnside wasn’t happy, either:

THE Abbott Government is misleading the public as it hails 100 days passing without an asylum seeker boat arriving on Australian shores, a high-profile human rights lawyer says.
“We know that a number of boats have been intercepted and the people on board have been placed into orange life rafts and sent back,...If the message they’re getting across is that asylum seekers aren’t trying to get to Australia any more, the answer to that is yes, they’re misleading the public.’’
In fact, the Prime Minister yesterday made no such claim as Burnside implies:
I’m not going to comment on operations on the water, just say that we have implemented every aspect of the policies that we put to the people at the election and obviously one of the policies that we did take to the election was turning boats around where it’s safe to do so. In the second hundred days we have now had no successful ventures to Australia and I would say the principal contributor to that result in particular has been our maritime operations.
Nor did the Immigration Minister:
We now go into the third phase where we move into the post monsoon period and the risks are just as great and our response will be as follows: we will maintain the intensity of all of our operations in all areas of Operation Sovereign Borders, both with our offshore processing, with what we’re doing at sea and through our disruption and partnership operations all the way up through the region, all the way back to source, we’ll maintain the intensity. Anyone who seeks to come here or run a venture in the next hundred days will find the same set of policies that stopped all those coming over the last hundred days.

UPDATE
Is the Sydney Morning Herald trying to set up Tony Abbott for a “mission accomplished” moment by verballing him?

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Here is what Abbott actually said:
QUESTION:
Are you prepared to say “mission accomplished”?
PRIME MINISTER:
No, because as Scott said, the monsoon is coming to an end and traditionally, people smuggling operations have picked up at the end of the monsoon.... So, it is too early to declare that the job is done...
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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What you can’t discuss, you can’t fix

Andrew Bolt March 30 2014 (4:56am)

Free speech

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Rugby union star Clyde Rathbone says free speech is the best cure to racism:
George Orwell once wrote: ‘’If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’’ With the government poised to amend the nation’s racial discrimination laws, Orwell’s words seem especially relevant.
Racism is born out of ignorance, but to properly educate people, we must know what they really believe.
In response to the proposed amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act, shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said: ‘’What the attorney-general said today gives the green light to racist hate speech in Australia.’’
If that’s true, we must rally in defence of equality and freedom whenever these ideals are challenged by a narrow-minded minority. Racial discrimination is conquered by the very freedom we stand to lose if we let governments dictate which speech is truly free. A culture cannot evolve simply by criminalising the expression of bad ideas.
Threading the needle between free speech and discrimination requires a steady hand. At a time when the ‘’offended’’ appear to hold all the cards, I’m ready to step on rare common ground with the government…
Having grown up through South Africa’s emancipation from apartheid, it’s clear that race issues are relative, and from this perspective, I’ve paid little attention to the recurrent racism in Australian sport. This has been a mistake on my part.
Some of the most racist people I’ve encountered in Australia are smarmy suits, the type who can’t wait to deliver yet another Acknowledgement of Country, often at the opening of some monolithic shopping complex or other absurdity. This subtle, condescending tokenism of high society concerns me more than the obvious bigotry we usually read about.
People are different, and pointing to these differences doesn’t make one racist, it makes one observant. Differences we’re too afraid to acknowledge can never be celebrated. And cultures we’re too afraid to criticise continue to cause much harm.
Relaxing the laws that bound our speech will invariably lead to offence, which in turn will lead to debate. Open conversation, rather than legal intervention, is our best hope for a lasting solution to racial discrimination. 
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The rights of man delivered words by JFK
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=== Posts from last year ===

General Eisenhower Warned Us.

It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect:
"Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened".

Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet.. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This is in memory of the, six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests Who were 'murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated' while many in the world looked the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center 'NEVER HAPPENED' because it offends someone ..

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It might not be, it doesn't really matter. Except a man was crucified, died, buried and he came back from the dead in accordance with scripture. We know how the image was probably made .. by accident .. soaped clean garments reacting with dead flesh. The wounds .. part of an insult, peculiar to Jesus
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Beautiful beach in Portugal.
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There's a Feeling I get when I look to the West…

This is a single exposure from 800 I took in trying to make a time lapse. I am time lapse disabled however. I always get it wrong. LOL. In the case of this failure, I set up my cxamera to take in a decent exposure, but of coarse as the light fades, the images go darker and darker and… black.

At least I got one good shot out of the 800.

California Dreamin' y'all...
 — with Mike Oria atBirds Landing, Ca.
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True Story of Miss India 2009 - an inspiring story for everyone..!!

---(Miss India 2009 - Pooja Chopra) ---
--- Neera Chopra is her mother. This is her story.---

...Neera Chopra lived through abuse, poverty and some tough choices to make her once-unwanted girl child, Pooja Chopra,

--- Neera Chopras story:---

"I don’t know where to begin... they were terrible times. My husband was well-placed, but the marriage had begun to sink almost as soon as it began. Like most women do, I tried to work against all the odds .
My in-laws insisted everything would be alright if I had a son. My first child was a daughter, and that didn’t do me any good... but I couldn’t walk out. I had lost my father, my brother was in a not-so-senior position in Bata. I didn’t want to be a burden on my family and continued to live in my marital home in Kolkata.

I looked after my mother-inlaw, who was suffering from cancer, and while bathing her, I would tell myself she would bless me and put things right.

I don’t know how I tolerated it all. The least a man can do, if he must philander, is to not flaunt his women in his wife’s face. Then began the manhandling. I still wanted my marriage to survive. I was a pure vegetarian and learnt to cook non-vegetarian delicacies thinking it would please him.

Then, I was pregnant again. When Pooja was eight months in my womb, my husband brought a girl to the house and announced he would marry her. I thought of killing myself. I hung on the slight hope that if the baby was a boy, my marriage could be saved.

When Pooja was born a girl, for three days, nobody came to the hospital. There was a squadron leader’s wife on the opposite bed, who was kind enough to give me baby clothes for Pooja to wear. When she was 20 days old, I had to make a choice. I left the house with my girls ‘ Pooja and Shubra, who was seven then. I haven’t seen my husband since. I promised myself, even if we had just one roti, we would share it, but together.

I began life in Mumbai with the support of my mother, brother, who was by then married. It wasn’t the ideal situation, especially when he had children - space, money, everything was short. I began work at the Taj Colaba and got my own place. How did I manage? Truth be told, I would put a chatai on the floor, leave two glasses of milk and some food, and bolt the door from outside before going to work. I would leave the key with the neighbours and tell the kids to shout out to them when it was time to leave for school.

Their tiny hands would do homework on their own, feed themselves on days that I worked late. My elder daughter Shubhra would make Pooja do her corrections... This is how they grew up. At a birthday party, Pooja would not eat her piece of cake, but pack it and bring it home to share with her sister. When Shubhra started working, she would skip lunch and pack a chicken sandwich that she would slip in her sister’s lunchbox the next day.

I used to pray, ‘God, punish me for my karma, but not my innocent little kids. Please let me provide them the basics.’ I used to struggle for shoes, socks, uniforms. I was living in Bangur Nagar, Goregaon. Pooja would walk four bus stops down to the St Thomas
Academy . Then, too little to cross the road, she would ask a passerby to help her. I had to save the bus money to be able to put some milk in their bodies.

Life began to change when I got a job for Rs 6,000 at the then Goa Penta. Mr Chhabra, the owner, and his wife, were kind enough to provide a loan for me. I sent my daughters to my sister’s house in Pune, with my mother as support. I spent four years working in Goa while I saved to buy a small one-bedroom house in Pune (where the family still lives). I would work 16-18 hours a day, not even taking weekly offs to accumulate leave and visit my daughters three or four times a year.

Once I bought my house and found a job in Pune, life began to settle. I worked in Hotel Blue Diamond for a year and then finally joined Mainland China ‘ which changed my life. The consideration of the team and management brought me the stability to bring them up, despite late hours and the travelling a hotelier must do.

Shubhra got a job in Hotel Blue Diamond, being the youngest employee there while still in college, and managed to finish her Masters in commerce and her BBM. Today, she is married to a sweet Catholic boy who is in the Merchant Navy and has a sweet daughter.

I continue to finish my day job and come home and take tuitions, as I have done for all these years. I also do all my household chores myself.

Through the years, Shubhra has been my anchor and Pooja, the rock. Pooja’s tiny hands have wiped away my tears when I broke down. She has stood up for me, when I couldn’t speak for myself. Academically brilliant, she participated in all extra-curricular activities. When she needed high heels to model in, she did odd shows and bought them for herself.

When I saw Pooja give her speech on TV, I knew it came from her heart. I could see the twinkle in her eye. And I thought to myself as she won ‘My God, this is my little girl.’ God was trying to tell me something.

Today, I’ve no regrets. I believe every cloud has a silver lining. As a mother, I’ve done nothing great."

Pantaloons Femina Miss India Pooja Chopra’s mother promised, ‘One day, this girl will make me proud’.

Pooja speaks on fulfilling that promise... "When I was 20 days old, my mother was asked to make a choice. It was either me, a girl child, or her husband. She chose me. As she walked out she turned around and told her husband, ‘One day, this girl will make me proud’. That day has come. Her husband went on to marry a woman who gave him two sons. Today, as I stand here a Miss India, I don’t even know if my father knows that it is me, his daughter, who has set out to conquer the world, a crown on my head.

"Our lives have not been easy, least so for my mother. Financially, emotionally, she struggled to stay afloat, to keep her job and yet allow us to be the best that we could be. I was given only one condition when I started modelling ‘ my grades wouldn’t drop.

"All the girls in the pageant worked hard, but my edge was my mother’s sacrifice, her karma. Today, when people call to congratulate me, it’s not me they pay tribute to, but to her life and her struggle. She’s the true Woman of Substance. She is my light, my mentor, my driving force."

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Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the SEAL Team Six member who died last night during a training accident. A grateful nation will never forget the sacrifices he and his fellow Team members made for all of us.

- Sarah Palin
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My sole concern regarding gay marriage, as a practicing Christian, is that the churches will be forced to act against collective conscience. None of the counter examples illustrate that. One way to nullify the issue is to remove state regulation of marriage. It isn't necessary. Christians don't feel ecstasy that Ceaser approves their conduct. As things stand, civil union seems the best compromise. So which is it? Are people campaigning for states to run churches?

I have run as a legislator twice and been hit by lobbyists over this issue. Many of the lobbyists seem to be gay, but they don't seem to care about gay rights at all, this seems to be about entangling church and state.

Civil unions are possible for almost all peoples around the world. The word 'Marriage' has religious overtones and is regulated by them. State regulation of marriage dates back to 1758 in England. Before then, it was solely a religious issue. The state issue of cohabiting and legal protections for inheritance are are separate issues to marriage. The issue of gays is, imho, a mistake by Christians defending their faith against those who don't share it. A Christian has no religious right to judge gays.

As for collective conscience, the collective faithful are allowed to protect their cultural assets. This doesn't mean people can't be wrong headed and is not well defined in a legal sense, but very well understood in social terms. - ed
David Bowles One doesn't get a license for a civil union, one gets a marriage license. From a non-Christian perspective, marriage is a social contract, one made between two people and their community. I do not like the idea of ceding the word to religions, whatever etymology is cited, just like I would rather they didn't corner the market on "morality."
I've been encouraged by Scott M. Roberts to not simply post clever Internet memes about same-sex marriage, but to actually write my perspective. So here goes nothing. In our society, we have many religious groups that adhere to norms that run contrary to popular behavior. Certain groups avoid particular foods. Others shun blood transfusions. Some people avoid work on particular days, and still others shun dancing or particular clothes, even advanced technology. We permit them, as a society, to set those norms for themselves. We don't interfere (unless the norms hurt the defenseless or violate their Constitutional rights).

The proscription of homosexual relationships is just such a norm, a religious stance like eating kosher.

Of course, what complicates the matter is the fact that multiple religions share the same norm, so that Muslims and Christians alike, for example, tend to frown on the LGBT members of their communities. Nonetheless, the proscription is strictly religious. Just as I would speak out against the use of sharia to guide legal decisions, I am firmly against the use of Christianity's rejection of a gay lifestyle as springboard for restrictions on that lifestyle in the broader, secular society to which we all belong.

My Christian and Muslim friends, I respect you. I understand your religion appears to say that Muslims and Christians cannot be gay. I realize that those of you who interpret your scriptures literally will allow yourselves to be guided by those principles. However, I will not be silent when you mistakenly believe that our country should ape the strictures of your faith. You are free to frown on gays and not allow them to marry in your places of worship. But our society will decide as a whole whether in Constitutional terms, social terms, legal terms, same-sex marriage must or must not be permitted.

I suspect that you will soon understand how extreme Orthodox Jews, the Amish, conservative Mustlims and other groups feel, because it seems very likely that within the next five years or so, same-sex marriage will be legal at a national level. But that's okay, guys. It doesn't interfere with your ability to practice your religion and believe that homosexuality is wrong or abominable or whatever. Just relax.

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Scientists say they may have discovered the first meteorite from Mercury. http://oak.ctx.ly/r/3fx5

The rock was found in Morocco last year and a new study suggests it came from Mercury, or a smaller Mercury-like body, and not an asteroid or Mars.
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.. & this was the Prime part about the Royal Easter Show, oh if only I could take you home. Happy Easter Everyone!
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4 her
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I want you to wear leathers and helmet if you take it anywhere .. and shoes .. ambulance people call bike riders 'organ donors' for a reason. Good lord, have fun too .. that looks great! - ed
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Japanese Maple Tree. The original colours of mother nature.
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The Garden of Morning Calm, Gapyeong, South Korea ?
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Eastern Yellow Robin just visiting our back yard on a beautiful Autumn afternoon in Springwood.— at Springwood Country Retreat.
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END THE TAX, STOP THE WARMING

Tim Blair – Saturday, March 30, 2013 (12:11pm)

Australia has a carbon tax and hot weather. The US has no carbon tax and ...

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March 30Laetare Sunday/Mothering Sunday (Western Christianity, 2014);Land Day (Palestinians)
William H. Seward
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“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” - 2 Corinthians 5:21
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered."
Hebrews 5:8
We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of his own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our Master's experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might. But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ's "being made perfect through suffering"--it is, that he can have complete sympathy with us. "He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, "I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; he sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong." Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in his steps. Find a sweet support in his sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing--to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does he honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honoured. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him."

Evening

"I called him, but he gave me no answer."
Song of Solomon 5:6
Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord, when he hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered his servants' voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, "Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through." Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to his own pleasure. If it pleases him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall he not do as he wills with his own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for denials: God's long-dated bills will be punctually honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our prayers--they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the King's archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every prayer is recorded. Tried believer, thy Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of sacred grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy groanings are numbered. By and by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord's time be better than thy time? By and by he will comfortably appear, to thy soul's joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition.
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Mordecai 
[Môr'decaī] - dedicated to mars, a little man or bitter bruising.
1. A Jew who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2Neh. 7:7).
2. A Benjamite, son or descendant of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish. He brought up Esther, his uncle's daughter, and adopted her as his own daughter after the death of her parents (Esther 2:5, 7).
The Man Who Was a Virtuous Patriot
What joy must have filled the heart of this foster-father of Esther, when he saw her elevated to the position of queen, and himself exalted to high office in the court. Exile and poverty were now past. Mordecai sat in the king's gate, and was aware of the plot on the king's life by two chamberlains. Mordecai reported the plot to the king, thus saving his life. According to Persian customs, a record of this act was carefully preserved in the royal archives (Esther 2:21-23; 6:1-3), and during a sleepless night of the king, was read. It resulted in Mordecai's consequent reward.
Mordecai may not appear as the most attractive of men. His message to Esther lacked courtesy and chivalry. Evidently he was insensible to the charms and graces of Esther which made her eligible as Vashti's successor. To the credit of Mordecai, however, it must be said that he refused to extend honor to one whom God had cursed (Exod. 17:14-16). Mordecai was of the tribe of Benjamin, and thus would not bow to Haman, who was an Amalekite and as such a direct descendant of the hereditary enemies of Israel.
Matthew Henry, quoting from the apocryphal chapters of Esther, says that Mordecai appeals to God in this manner:
Thou knowest, Lord that it was neither in contempt nor pride, nor for any desire for glory, that I did not bow down to proud Haman, for I could have been content with good will for the salvation of Israel to kiss the soles of his feet, but I did this that I might not prefer the glory of man above the glory of God, neither will I worship any but Thee.
We cannot but admire Mordecai standing erect while the crowd of servants lay flat on their faces. While we have no record of his faith in God, yet his action proves him to have been a godly Jew who would not bow to any but God. "So did not I because of the fear of God," has to be our motto whatever fellow servants may say or do.
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Today's reading: Judges 7-8, Luke 5:1-16 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Judges 7-8

Gideon Defeats the Midianites
1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, 'My own strength has saved me.' 3 Now announce to the army, 'Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.'" So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go...."

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 5:1-16

Jesus Calls His First Disciples
1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."
5 Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink....
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Today's Lent reading: Mark 15-16 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
Jesus Before Pilate
1 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.
2 "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate.
"You have said so," Jesus replied.
3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of."
5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed....


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