Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tue May 13th Todays News

It is a joke that religious people see things and may be inspired by adversity, or nothing. But on this day in 1373, an unknown woman had a vision which defines, and illustrates, what we know today of what religious thought was then. She is called Julian of Norwich because her writings were found in an anchoress's cell which was built onto the wall of the church of St Julian in Norwich. From her visions she wrote "Revelations of Divine Love." She wrote in English, and so it is the earliest text we have written in English. She said she was unlettered, which may mean she was not literate in Latin. Some say she was a universalist, believing that all will be saved, but she did not write that, she merely wrote she hoped for that. And so arguments arise over diminutions that say more about the readers than the writer. I focus on this today because it is the National Budget being brought before parliament and, for a long time, people have inferred and argued over what has not been said, but which they assume. The truth is, although spinners aren't admitting it, that previous ALP government was shockingly bad and has left the economy in need of exceptional government. From a position of substantial surplus to substantial debt, defenders of the previous corrupt government claim the economy is not that badly off, and there are many governments worse off. That misleading truth obscures the fact that cuts need to be made for Australia to stand still. We had lots of cash, now we owe it. And we have nothing to show for it. And our children are slated to suffer for it. 

The ALP are very keen that the poorest suffer while they are in opposition. They have a policy of opposing the ending of a Carbon Dioxide tax even though when they were last in government they ran a policy claiming they had ended it. The government needs to cut spending, but the ridiculous tax aimed at limiting plant food does not even do that. All it does is make business more difficult, meaning fewer jobs and a weaker economy. It is difficult to see a single policy pursued by the ALP which provides for the poor, or struggling workers. The ALP aimed for unemployment to be higher than it now is. They see things happening that others do not. My bet is they will never author a text as acutely important or beneficial as "Revelations of Divine Love."

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 For twenty two years I have been responsibly addressing an issue, and I cannot carry on. I am petitioning the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott 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 https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/tony-abbott-remedy-the-persecution-of-dd-ball
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns Steve Wolf and Emily Wong. Born on the same day, across the years. The same day which in 1888 saw Princess Isabel of the Empire of Brazil formally abolishing slavery. Also the same day three children had their first Our Lady of Fatima visions. A lot to live up to. You can do it.
Matches
Despatches
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MUNGO BINGO

Tim Blair – Tuesday, May 13, 2014 (2:16am)

Some pre-war history from Mungo MacCallum, writing for the unbiased ABC: 
Allowing politicians whose ambition and arrogance greatly outweigh their abilities and character to acquire their own private armies is seldom a good idea.
To take just one obvious example: when Adolf Hitler gave his mate Heinrich Himmler control of the SS in 1929, the organisation was a single battalion of 290. Within a year Himmler had raised its ranks to 3,000 and by the time Hitler gained supreme power in 1933 the SS numbered 52,000. And so it went. 
Where is Mungo headed with all of this old-timey Nazi talk? You’ll never guess: 
Scott Morrison has already done great damage to Australia’s reputation and to our foreign policy. And something warns me that we ain’t seen nothing yet. 
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WORLD’S OLDEST HUMANS FACE DIGNITY LOSS

Tim Blair – Tuesday, May 13, 2014 (2:13am)

New Zealand rejects climate refugee claims. Morgan Godfery is upset: 
No refugees please, we’re New Zealanders. That’s the message from New Zealand’s court of appeal. In a decision released last week the court endorsed earlier rulings that Ioana Teitiota – a Kiribati national – is not a climate change refugee. Teitiota, his wife and their children will be deported to Kiribati, where the court believes they can “resume their prior subsistence life with dignity”.
Even if the Teitiota’s can reclaim some dignity, climate change will take it from them. The IPCC projects that the Pacific ocean will swallow most Kiribati by the end of this century. 
Ioana Teitiota is 37. By the end of the century, when Teitiota’s dignity will be stolen by climate change, he’ll be 123. His youngest child will be 85 or so. At that point, climate change might be the least of their problems.
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SHOOTER IDENTIFIED

Tim Blair – Tuesday, May 13, 2014 (2:10am)

Andrew Marlton’s draughtsmanship sure has improved since he joined the Guardian. No, wait – these are drawings byillegal immigrant children, gathered by Australian Human Rights Commission medical consultants Sarah Mares and Karen Zwi: 
Along with three other colleagues, we interviewed 230 families. While we talked, we provided paper and pens and invited children to draw pictures that would tell us something about their lives. 
Apparently their lives involve being murdered by the Prime Minister:

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According to the Guardian: “This drawing by a child includes a smiling Tony Abbott holding a gun.” No. It clearly shows Abbott firing a gun at a seven-year-old, while dead or dying children bleed on the ground. Why would any parent bring a child to a country ruled by such a murderous tyrant? Best they be resettled somewhere safer, like Iran.
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EERIE DISCONNECT

Tim Blair – Tuesday, May 13, 2014 (1:01am)

Former Fairfax functionary Margo Kingston approaches her next nervous breakdown:

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When she’s coming up with lines like “riot police smash”, you know Margo is close to the edge. And check out this spectacular Margo haiku:

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TOM HAFEY

Tim Blair – Monday, May 12, 2014 (11:49pm)

Richmond AFL great Tom Hafey has died at 82. Here’s an excellent interview from 2011.
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Can unions be trusted to help run giant super funds?

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (11:55am)

The power unions have over super funds is not healthy:

The Australian Privacy Commissioner is investigating superannuation giant Cbus over another leak of personal details to the construction union.
Privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim began an investigation this year into claims Cbus employee co-ordinator Steve Gaske leaked information about more than 300 employees of a company subject to a construction union industrial campaign.
Mr Gaske is honourary president of the Queensland branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. Cbus files reveal an internal inquiry by the fund found Mr Gaske inappropriately sent personal details of the workers to a third party “without consent” and underwent “remedial training” as a result.
On Monday, Fairfax Media reported that NSW CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker allegedly conspired with a Cbus employee to get personal details of 400 workers, including their addresses and financial details, to help an industrial campaign…
News of a second privacy breach involving the CFMEU will further pressure the Cbus board, which includes Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney, CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan, NSW CFMEU president Rita Mallia and is chaired by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks. There is no suggestion the Cbus board knew of the leaking of the members’ details.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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Great research. ABC finds ABC staffer’s mum to bag the Liberals

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (9:58am)

The ABC looks for someone to bag the Abbott Government’s Budget. It finds an ABC reporter’s mum.

(Thanks to reader whatthe? and via Michael Smith. Plus thanks to many other readers.)
UPDATE
Son Mark is happy, though.
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Warmist defects

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (8:57am)

James Delingpole says one the world’s most eminent warmist scientists has become a sceptic:
Lennart Bengtsson - a Swedish climatologist, meteorologist, former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and winner, in 2006, of the 51st IMO Prize of the World Meteorological Organization for his pioneering work in numerical weather prediction - is by some margin the most distinguished scientist to change sides.
For most of his career, he has been a prominent member of the warmist establishment, subscribing to all its articles of faith - up to and including the belief that Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick was a scientifically plausible assessment of the relationship between CO2 emissions and global mean temperature.
But this week, he [agreed] to join the advisory council of Britain’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the think tank created by the arch-sceptical former Chancellor Lord Lawson.
Though Bengtsson is trying to play down the significance of his shift - “I have always been a sceptic and I think that is what most scientists really are” he recently told Germany’s Spiegel Online, denying that he had ever been an “alarmist” - his move to the GWPF is a calculated snub to the climate alarmist establishment… 

“I have used most of my career to develop models for predicting the weather. I have learned the importance of forecasting validation, i.e. the verification of predictions with respect to what has really happened. So I am a friend of climate forecasts. But the review of model results is important in order to ensure their credibility. It is frustrating that climate science is not able to validate their simulations correctly. The warming of the Earth has been much weaker since the end of the 20th century compared to what climate models show.”
Bengtsson went on to reject another pillar of the warmist faith - the existence of a “consensus.”

“I have great respect for the scientific work that goes into the IPCC reports. But I see no need for the endeavour of the IPCC to achieve a consensus. I think it is essential that there are areas of society where a consensus cannot be enforced. Especially in an area like the climate system, which is incompletely understood, a consensus is meaningless.”

(Thanks to reader Penny.) 
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Gosnell movie to be made

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (8:55am)

Readers of this blog have answered an appeal and helped ensure an important movie gets made:

THE CONTROVERSIAL movie about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has reached its funding target on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo - smashing a series of records on the way to its $2.1m goal.

Gosnell is now by a huge margin, the most successful film project ever to be on Indiegogo, even beating projects from Hollywood celebrities such as James Franco.

It is also by far the most successful non-celebrity crowdfunded film on ANY crowdfunding platform.

Gosnell has so far raised $2.1m from over 23,000 contributors. The project closes to contributors at midnight Monday May 12th.
You have still got a few hours to add even $1 to ensure you’re part of it. 
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Boko Haram says its agenda is Islam. Will the Left finally say so, too?

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (8:14am)

It just got harder for the Left to avoid mentioning Boko Haram’s Islamist agenda:
A new video issued by Boko Haram claims to show some of the nearly 300 schoolgirls missing in Nigeria, who the Islamist group’s leader says have converted to Islam.
Abubakar Shekau reportedly said the girls would not be released until his fighters being held in prison are freed…
In the video, the militant chief speaks for 17 minutes before showing what he says are about 130 of the girls, wearing full-length hijabs, reciting the first chapter of the Koran and praying in an undisclosed rural location…
Holding a pad of paper in his hand, Shekau tells the camera: “These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with their affair we have indeed ‘liberated’ them. We have indeed ‘liberated’ them.
“Do you know ‘we have liberated them’? These girls have become Muslims. They are Muslims.” 
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McCrann: why Abbott is not breaking a tax promise

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (7:43am)

These are some of the things Tony Abbott said before the election:
2012: What you’ll get under us are tax cuts without new taxes.
August, 2013: The only party which is going to increase taxes after the election is the Labor Party.
But Terry McCrann says those are not promises Tony Abbott will break in today’s Budget - something I’d like to believe, even if it means saying I was wrong:

In his always punchy The Bolt Report on the Ten Network on Sunday, Bolt showed two clips to “prove” Abbott had broken his promise “not to raise taxes”.
The first was from March 2012. Setting aside what Abbott actually said, which proved no such thing, something said in the everyday rough and tumble of political debate 18 months before an election simply does not qualify as an “election promise” in any rational universe…
Bolt’s second clip was from the 2013 election campaign. It had Abbott saying: “The only party that will raise taxes after the election is the Labor Party.”
That simply does not equate with Julia Gillard’s “There will be no carbon tax.....” It is common political rhetoric of the sort we’ve had since time immemorial; the assertion of the nasties the other side will deliver. It is not a promise of what his side will or will not do…
Abbott had to specifically rule out any tax increases under his government, for his assertion, his political rhetoric, to be converted into a promise…
We are apparently getting two tax increases today — a temporary increase in the top marginal personal tax rate, and perhaps the very top end of the second top rate; and a return to indexing the fuel excise.
They are not new taxes, they are increases in existing taxes. Abbott has not broken the alleged promise not to have new taxes…
And he committed to getting the Budget back to balance by cutting spending — with the objective to be able as a consequence, to long term deliver lower taxes.
None of this amounts to what would have been an absurd promise to not raise any tax, ever, even marginally, and far less temporarily. 
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ABC smears another conservative: Now Scott Morrison is another Heinrich Himmler

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (7:22am)

The ABC is not merely biased but a disgraceful peddler of character assassination of conservatives. It’s already portrayed Chris Kenny as a “dog-f..ker” and me as a racist, and only grudgingly apologised.
Now it gives a platform to Mungo MacCallum to liken Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to Heinrich Himmler and a military-led border operation to the SS:
Operation Sovereign Borders is out of control and running amok.... Morrison ... is definitely a minister on the make; he has revelled in speculation that he could one day take the top job himself. Which should make the thoughtful very nervous. Allowing politicians whose ambition and arrogance greatly outweigh their abilities and character to acquire their own private armies is seldom a good idea.
To take just one obvious example: when Adolf Hitler gave his mate Heinrich Himmler control of the SS in 1929, the organisation was a single battalion of 290. Within a year Himmler had raised its ranks to 3,000 and by the time Hitler gained supreme power in 1933 the SS numbered 52,000. And so it went.
Why are taxpayers dollars being used to publish this vicious calumny? Mark Scott should apologise for the ABC’s latest savaging of a conservative and order The Drum editor Chip Rolley to take it down.
Can Scott also explain why the ABC reserves its slops bucket for conservatives?
The ABC is out of control. 
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Blewitt, Gillard and the house

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (7:18am)

Ralph Blewitt’s evidence yesterday included a nugget of information that suggests questions for Julia Gillard later:
AMONG the hundreds of documents placed before Ralph Blewitt, the first witness at the national royal commission into union corruption yesterday, was one recovered from 1993.
[It was an] advertisement for a Fitzroy, Melbourne, terrace house that was to be auctioned ...

The commission heard that while Blewitt [became] its owner, he ...did not see it before it was bought nor go to the auction. He did not live in it…
He claims the house was purchased for his boss in the AWU, Bruce Wilson, who was accompanied to the auction by his then girlfriend and solicitor, Julia Gillard. Blewitt’s function was to be the fall guy who lent his name to the transaction and provided the cash for the deposit and the balance of the mortgage, which was organised by Slater & Gordon, Gillard’s employer.
Blewitt said he did as he was told. He pulled the necessary cash out of the account of the AWU Workplace Reform Association Inc, the secret slush fund registered in Western Australia on Gillard’s legal advice ...
Expenses reimbursement records placing Blewitt at a “Slater & Gordon dinner” at the Patee Thai restaurant in Fitzroy on February 3, 1993, for which he claimed $80 from the AWU, were accompanied by other records indicating he returned to Perth the next morning.
This evidence could become more important because of his earlier claims that a February 4 power-of-attorney document was falsely witnessed by the Melbourne-based Gillard.
Gillard has elsewhere insisted she witnessed legal documents correctly. 
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Never mind the facts, feel that passionate sinking feeling for Kiribati

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (6:41am)

Global warming - propaganda

A brilliant example of how many on the Left deal in dreams and feelings, not reality and evidence - particularly when discussing global warming:
Message from the Court of Appeal! Morgan Godfery, The Guardian, yesterday: 
NO refugees please, we’re New Zealanders. That’s the message from New Zealand’s Court of Appeal.
Message from Immigration. New Zealand Refugee Quota 2013-14 to 2015-16:

REFUGEE Quota Programme remains at 750 annually.
Kiribati is sinking! Godfery, The Guardian, yesterday:

BEFORE Kiribati sinks beneath the sea, ocean creep will make the islands uninhabitable … Tarawa, the main atoll, is a tiny sandstrip some six square miles in size. There is, quite literally, no escaping the misery climate change will cause.
Kiribati is growing. Naomi Biribo, Colin D. Woodroffe, Sustainability Science, July last year:

REEF islands (around Tarawa in Kiribati) have substantially increased in size, gaining about 450 hectares, driven largely by reclamations on urban South Tarawa.
Science is telling us to revolt! Godfery, The Guardian, yesterday:

SCIENCE, as Naomi Klein argues, “is telling us to revolt”. Ordinary people need to put pressure on their governments to deal with climate change displacement …
Science is telling us to adapt. Biribo, Woodroffe, Sustainability Science, July last year:
WIDESPREAD erosion ... is primarily due to human activities … Appropriate adaptation measures … are required, including prohibiting beach mining ... near settlements.
More facts about Kiribati and Pacific islands not drowning but growing here.
But how dare we question a man with such qualifications?
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The difference between arguing for a side and a principle

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (6:32am)

Remember how the media Left was near-unanimous in cheering Labor’s worst mistakes - scrapping tough border laws, introducing a carbon tax, calling a vindictive media inquiry, unleashing over-the-top spending during the financial crisis, rolling out an uncosted mega-billion national broadband network, promising huge new spending of borrowed billions on education and more. Remember how the media Left was for years not just totally incurious about the AWU slush fund scandal but at times determined to excuse Julia Gillard’s involvement?
See how this cheering led Labor to electoral disaster and the country to massive debts? See how the squalid truth is now leaking out?
Now note the absence of such group think among conservative commentators under a conservative government:
Given the past six years of tortured federal leadership and the attempt to shunt blame on to an imagined media vendetta, it is instructive to look at the criticism being meted out to the Abbott government. Staunch News Corp critics of Mr Rudd and Julia Gillard — such as Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and Chris Kenny — have been earliest and strongest in their condemnation of Tony Abbott’s broken election promises. This shows the dispassionate consistency we need to see in a national debate, as do cogent arguments from News Corp writers such as Terry McCrann and Greg Sheridan arguing virtually the opposite point of view. For the past six years, on the liberal-Left side of the media and political divide, we have seen a blancmange of groupthink and a delusional denial of obvious failings, presumably in an attempt to buttress a government whose ideals were cherished. This absence of scepticism and debate does not bolster government but weakens it; doesn’t repair weaknesses but exacerbates them; and doesn’t prevent the eventual reckoning but rather allows it to gather momentum. 
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Greens back Liberals’ plan to raise a tax

Andrew Bolt May 13 2014 (6:12am)

The only sure thing in the Abbott Government’s Budget to get through the Senate so far is a tax rise - thanks to the Greens:
The fuel tax increase was ­cemented last night when the Greens agreed to support the budget plan to index the excise to inflation, sparing the government from needing votes from Labor and minor parties.
The Greens just expose themselves as tax addicts:
Greens leader Christine Milne rejected the government’s claims of a “budget crisis” and said there should be permanent action on tax, such as a lift in the tax rate for the wealthy, rather than an ­"ideological hit on the poor” by withdrawing benefits. “We’ve got a carbon price — let’s keep it. We’ve got a mining tax — let’s keep it,” Senator Milne said. The Greens will vote for the increase in the petrol excise but want the revenue to go to public transport rather than roads, she said.
The Government claims it’s keeping its fundamental promise on taxes, but its calculations rely on scrapping the carbon tax - which is still there and can’t possibly get through the Senate until new Senators take over in July:
Mr ­Abbott promised “tax cuts without new taxes” when in opposition. Putting a contentious new claim at the heart of the budget, the government will rely on Treasury analysis to promise a $5.7bn cut in the “overall tax burden” next year to offset the new revenue measures.
The tax reduction contrasts with a $107.3bn Treasury estimate for the cost of Labor tax increases over the past six years, including the carbon tax.
UPDATE
The Australian puts it well:
Today’s budget must deliver a plausible fiscal plan. If promises are broken, they will deserve attention but not a Twitter-led frenzy. The real test will be whether the national interest is served — costs curtailed, structural reforms delivered and a blueprint to maximise growth revealed.
UPDATE
Nick Cater says the worth of a Budget – or a government - isn’t measured by promises kept or broken:
ON the eve of the 1983 election, Bob Hawke ... told a willing crowd at his campaign launch ...  he would maintain controls on mortgage interest rates, continue assistance for the footwear, clothing and textile industries, fund a separate ABC rural network, construct the National Museum, introduce a national Bill of Rights and fixed four-year terms and wipe out (yes, wipe out) the tax evasion and avoidance industry.
Which goes to prove that a tally of promises kept and those supposedly broken is a hopeless measure of a government’s worth.
There was barely a hint in Hawke’s campaign speech of the reforms by which he came to be judged as one of Australia’s most successful prime ministers. The Hawke government’s fiscal conservatism did not emerge until his first budget…

Moments like this call for the advice from older and wiser heads, and former Howard government minister David Kemp’s Alfred Deakin lecture last week on the nature of good government was particularly well timed.
Kemp took issue with the current political orthodoxy that “good government is simply doing after the election what the party promised before … almost regardless of what it has a mandate to do.” 
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CARBON DIOXDIE LEVELS - AN ALL TIME HIGH ??
It’s being reported in the media around the world that “Carbon dioxide levels have reached an all-time high.”

But take a look at the graph below – the black line shows carbon dioxide levels over the past 600 million years.

The facts are, that at 0.04% (400ppm) we are just above a 250-million-year low - and the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been much higher than today for most of the past 600 million years.
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Nestled behind a waterfall in western New York state is an eternal flame whose beauty is only surpassed by its mystery. Perhaps lit by Native Americans hundreds or thousands of years ago, it is fed by a new type of geologic process that hasn't been recorded before in nature, researchers said. http://bit.ly/17RQOk9
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Pain changes you. Like a gale force wind, it drives you backward or forward, depending on how you set your sail.
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Happy Mother's Day!

Seen here is JOHN WAYNE with his mother and younger brother, Robert.

Photo taken from John Wayne: The Legend and the Man. http://bit.ly/13ooiab
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A mother's relentless love and unwavering prayers has saved more lives and done more good on earth than any other human activity.
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“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”—a phrase so simple, yet so profound in its expression of a mother’s importance. Mothers have been entrusted with the responsibility of raising life’s most precious resource—our children.

I appreciate my mom and the example of love and grace she has been throughout the years. Thank you, Mom!

Todd and I also appreciate the honor of being the parents of five wonderful kids and two amazing little grandkids who have enriched our life together in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig are my life, and being joined now by Tripp Easton and Kyla Grace, I know that no matter what is going on in the world around me, they are the ones who keep me grounded. They are my daily reminders of what really matters.

Even as we celebrate Mother’s Day with family today, please stop to think of the many mothers who are separated from loved ones serving in the military and keeping us safe. I've been there, and especially today my heart goes out to those Blue Star moms who are missing their sons and daughters, while being so very proud. More than ever my heart extends to the precious Gold Star moms who are spending today holding on to memories of a child who paid the ultimate price. Whether it's been far away in specified combat zones, or attacks globally throughout the ongoing battle to defend our republic, or nearer home as the result of terrorist acts like Ft. Hood, the sacrifice of our military personnel and their families has not been in vain, and we will never forget.

Moms, whatever your plans today, know that you are appreciated year-round. One day is not enough to capture the essence of who you are, what you do, and the difference you make.

Driving in our truck this morning up towards Mt. McKinley, hauling kids and trailering snowmachines to launch on a trek to look for bear before the spring snow melts, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, and God bless you!

- Sarah Palin

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Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.
That is beautiful .. but I love a human woman .. I suspect I make her toe nails dig into the dirt, rage which gives her wings and reasons to argue more .. ed
She is also in my head .. and she told me I love lots of people. Everyone. And I probably do make them feel that way at times. But I am grateful for the love God has given me. - ed
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Mother's Day....if raised too alone: A Beautiful Poem for you
If 
your mother
was caustic,
toxic,
abusive,
vindictive,
twisted,
dangerous:

If she was irresistibly drawn
to making much too clear
that her unhappiness—
her pain,
her dysfunction,
her drama—
was more precious to her
than you could ever be,
so that as a child

you
had to live your life
frightfully and desperately
scrounging
for whatever
fundamentally unacceptable
version of love
you could squeeze from her,

then this Mother’s Day,

while others
(as you imagine; as we all imagine)
are basking in the warmth
of their exemplary mothers,
you close your eyes,
and say a prayer

for two mothers:

the one you never had,
and the one she never had.
And then say a loving prayer
for yourself,
for the child
raised too alone.

And then open your eyes—

and there is the world,
beautiful again.
you are still here,
and you are not done yet.

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Lahori Gate, Red Fort, Delhi
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Events[edit]

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Holidays and observances[edit]

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“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” - Proverbs 31:10, 27-28
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"And will manifest myself to him."
John 14:21
The Lord Jesus gives special revelations of himself to his people. Even if Scripture did not declare this, there are many of the children of God who could testify the truth of it from their own experience. They have had manifestations of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in a peculiar manner, such as no mere reading or hearing could afford. In the biographies of eminent saints, you will find many instances recorded in which Jesus has been pleased, in a very special manner to speak to their souls, and to unfold the wonders of his person; yea, so have their souls been steeped in happiness that they have thought themselves to be in heaven, whereas they were not there, though they were well nigh on the threshold of it--for when Jesus manifests himself to his people, it is heaven on earth; it is paradise in embryo; it is bliss begun. Especial manifestations of Christ exercise a holy influence on the believer's heart. One effect will be humility. If a man says, "I have had such-and-such spiritual communications, I am a great man," he has never had any communion with Jesus at all; for "God hath respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off." He does not need to come near them to know them, and will never give them any visits of love. Another effect will be happiness; for in God's presence there are pleasures for evermore. Holiness will be sure to follow. A man who has no holiness has never had this manifestation. Some men profess a great deal; but we must not believe any one unless we see that his deeds answer to what he says. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked." He will not bestow his favours upon the wicked: for while he will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he respect an evil doer. Thus there will be three effects of nearness to Jesus--humility, happiness, and holiness. May God give them to thee, Christian!

Evening

"Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again."
Genesis 46:3-4
Jacob must have shuddered at the thought of leaving the land of his father's sojourning, and dwelling among heathen strangers. It was a new scene, and likely to be a trying one: who shall venture among couriers of a foreign monarch without anxiety? Yet the way was evidently appointed for him, and therefore he resolved to go. This is frequently the position of believers now--they are called to perils and temptations altogether untried: at such seasons let them imitate Jacob's example by offering sacrifices of prayer unto God, and seeking his direction; let them not take a step until they have waited upon the Lord for his blessing: then they will have Jacob's companion to be their friend and helper. How blessed to feel assured that the Lord is with us in all our ways, and condescends to go down into our humiliations and banishments with us! Even beyond the ocean our Father's love beams like the sun in its strength. We cannot hesitate to go where Jehovah promises his presence; even the valley of deathshade grows bright with the radiance of this assurance. Marching onwards with faith in their God, believers shall have Jacob's promise. They shall be brought up again, whether it be from the troubles of life or the chambers of death. Jacob's seed came out of Egypt in due time, and so shall all the faithful pass unscathed through the tribulation of life, and the terror of death. Let us exercise Jacob's confidence. "Fear not," is the Lord's command and his divine encouragement to those who at his bidding are launching upon new seas; the divine presence and preservation forbid so much as one unbelieving fear. Without our God we should fear to move; but when he bids us to, it would be dangerous to tarry. Reader, go forward, and fear not.
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Theophilus

[Thēŏph'ĭlŭs] - loved by god, lover of god, or friend of godA Christian of high rank for whose use Luke wrote his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). The term "most excellent," used also of Felix and Festus (Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:25 ), indicates that Theophilus was a Roman official to whom Luke paid due deference, even though he was on intimate terms with him. It has been suggested "Theophilus" was the name this Gentile nobleman chose at his conversion to Christianity. Evidently Luke had fully instructed him in the cardinal truths of the Gospel (Luke 1:3).
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Today's reading: 2 Kings 15-16, John 3:1-18 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Kings 15-16

Azariah King of Judah
In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother's name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 4 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

Today's New Testament reading: John 3:1-18

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him."
3 Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."
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LeeStrobel-Newsletter-Header-Final
The Power of Story

LeeheadshotMy first novel - a legal thriller - is now being released. Here's why I believe fiction can open new doors for the spiritually curious.

My buddy Mark Mittelberg recently interviewed me about my first novel, The Ambition, which is being released in a few days by Zondervan.
Q. Hey, Lee, you're known for non-fiction. Why venture into the untested waters of fiction?

A. When I was in the fifth grade our nation was at the height of the Civil Rights movement. My teacher, working in an all-white suburb of Chicago, knew she couldn't speak her mind about the need for equal rights. It would have been political dynamite. So she read the class a novel about the effects of slavery on an average family in the ancient world. It was a fictional account but its background setting was historically accurate, and it provided a compelling allegory that helped shape me - and, I'm sure, many others in my class - into an advocate for civil rights in America.

That's the power of stories. We read in 2 Samuel 12 that when Nathan wanted to confront David about his infidelity and the slaying of Bathsheba's husband Uriah, he used an allegory. When Jesus wanted to teach lessons, he often used parables. Many times people are receptive to stories even though they'd be closed to straight-out information.
Q. The Ambition reminds me of a John Grisham novel. Why this genre?
A. They say to write about what you know. When I was legal editor at the Chicago Tribune, I covered a lot of trials involving the crime syndicate. I hung around the courthouse, with the judges, prosecutors, cops and defense attorneys. Later I became a spiritual seeker and then a teaching pastor at two megachurches. So all of those experiences are reflected in the book.

Visit Us on the Web: LeeStrobel.com - The Ambition - BibleGateway.com
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Questions from readers:
  • What's the evidence for Old Testament?
  • Why did God create such a vast universe?
  • Are there prophets among us today?

Q. What would you say is the evidence for the Old Testament? I'm really impressed with your research on the New Testament, but I'm very curious about the Old. - Kyle

A. That's a really important question, Kyle, and I think you'll be encouraged by the evidence. It sounds like you're already aware of the historicity of Jesus and the rich manuscript evidence confirming the reliability of the New Testament, which I discuss in The Case for Christ and The Case for the Real Jesus. So it's important to remind ourselves of who Jesus is and what he says about the Old Testament.

After all, Jesus is not only the Messiah (also called Christ, meaning "anointed one"), but he is also the God-man, second person of the Trinity (for example, see John 8:58and John 10:30). And he personally affirmed that some of the most miraculous stories of the Old Testament, such as Noah and the flood (Matt. 24:37-38) and Jonah and the whale (Luke 11:29-32), are historical events.

Read the rest of this answer!

Have a question? Send it to me at AskLee@Leestrobel.com. While the volume of emails precludes us from responding to each inquiry, we will choose questions with the broadest interest and offer responses in future newsletters.
Lee's Notes

• Are you on Twitter? Well, I'm finally tweeting - very actively! Please follow me at 
@Leestrobel. This is a great way to keep in contact and let you know about important and interesting developments. Thanks to Chad Cannon of Outreach Speakers for prodding me into action. Next: Facebook? In the meantime, join me on Twitter!

• Did you know that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is falling on a Sunday? What's your church going to do to appropriately mark this milestone? Well, I'd like to come to your church that evening via a live simulcast to clarify what Islam is all about and how we can effectively reach out to Muslims in our neighborhood and workplace.

Mark Mittelberg and I will commemorate this world-changing event, and then we'll be joined by experts on Islam to get beyond the hype and hysteria and discuss what Muslims really believe. This won't be political or incendiary; instead, everyone will walk away with a more accurate and balanced understanding of this major world religion and how we can build better bridges to our Muslim friends. After all, ten years after 9/11, most Americans remain ill-informed about Islam.
If you're a pastor, please visit www.incastevents.com to get more information, view a video explaining the concept behind the event and sign up to participate. If you're a member of a church, let your pastor know about this. We hope your church will join us on the evening of September 11!

Very cool trailer for my novel:
Ambition-small

A megachurch pastor. A cynical reporter. A corrupt judge. A gambling addict. A mob murder. They're all in my first novel, The Ambition and foreshadowed in this 60-second Hollywood-style trailer.

Lee's Links: Suggested articles from the web
Megachurch hires H'wood director
An Illinois church has hired director Dallas Jenkins and bought a sound stage to produce several faith-based films for theatrical and DVD release. Filming begins late 2011 or early 2012.
Conservative churches are thriving
Seminary president Al Mohler discusses the phenomenon that has liberals shaking their heads in disbelief: while mainline churches decline, theologically conservative churches continue to grow.
Learning from misleading article 
We can either spend our time critiquing a misleading article in The Nation about Christian adoption practices or learn from some of its critiques. Christianity Today wisely urges the latter.
Six thoughts about Jesus
Joe Carter, web editor of First Things, says these half-dozen thoughts he has about his Savior might be banal or obvious - but to the contrary, they're worth visiting.
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