Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Lent, the forty day period of fasting which ends at Easter. Christians remember Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the desert prior to his baptism and public ministry.
The purpose of the Lenten fasting and self denial (which need not be in relation to food) is to remind us of our reliance on God, and to take some less important or distracting things out of our lives, in order to make more room for prayer, service, study, and other things which really matter.
Hundreds of churches around the world are keeping this Lent as 40 Days for Life, a focused pro-life effort that consists of three key areas of participation:
•40 days of prayer and fasting
•40 days of peaceful vigil
•40 days of community outreach
So on that subject I note with sorrow that in New York city in 2008, there were 82,475 induced abortions. This figure is only for surgical procedures, and does not include use of the ‘morning after’ pill, or any of the unknown number of non-recorded abortions.
The total number of deaths in all age groups from all other causes was 55,391.
82,475 abortions. 55,391 deaths from all other causes.
A black baby is three times more likely to be aborted than a white baby.
Every culture has its moral black spots. we look back at the Nazis with horror. Not just at the comparatively few who were actively involved in the wholesale murder of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and other ‘undesireables,’ but at the vastly greater number who knew what was happening and did nothing.
Western society’s argument in relation to abortion is that an unborn child is not really human. The Nazis thought the same about Jews and Gypsies.
Future generations will look back at us with the same bewildered horror.
As soon as I saw the previews for new Australian film ‘A Heartbeat Away’ I knew, and said, that it would bomb.
For the last several years, Australia has turned out movies which are preachy, boring, shallow, badly acted, have poor production values, or some ghastly combination of these faults.
Just who did script writers and producers think would want to see ‘A Heartbeat Away?’
This is a film about an irritating know all teenager taking over a brass band while the local community struggles against the machinations of an ‘Oh my God, please not again’ cardboard cutout of an evil property developer.
People who are interested in brass bands and band music are people of my generation or older. Did the film makers really think we would pay to go and see a movie that makes us look like a bunch of sheep – lacking commitment, whining, unable to organise ourselves?
Or were they aiming for the smart-ass teenager market? But smart-ass teenagers are not interested in brass bands.
If the film’s makers thought about this at all, the only group of people they could possibly have had in mind as likely viewers were people who go to the movies without having checked what is screening, and think to themselves ‘Well, there’s nothing else on, let’s see that.’
And once again, our money was used to make this. Thanks.
This is an old tractor that used to be used for harvesting oysters from one of the oyster leases on Min oil beach. I have been wanting to get a picture of it for a while, but it is usually mostly submerged. Very low tides today, so a perfect opportunity, even though it was raining. Taken with my Sigma DP1s (Foveon sensor). Some fairly mild colour and contrast post processing.
My wife Kathy and dog Hannibal walking along Min Oil beach towards Redbanks on a cloudy day.
A few days after the savage murder of the Fogel family, in which a baby had her throat cut and was nearly decapitated, and four others were stabbed to death as they slept, relatives were sitting in mourning in a nearby town.
Just as IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz arrived in Neve Tzuf to offer his condolences, a Palestinian cab raced towards the community’s entrance. In it, soldiers and paramedics discovered a Palestinian woman in her 20s in advanced stages of labor and facing a life-threatening situation: The umbilical cord was wrapped around the young baby girl’s neck, endangering both her and her mother.
The quick action of settler paramedics and IDF troops deployed in the area saved the mother’s and baby’s life, prompting great excitement and emotions at the site where residents are still mourning the brutal death of five local family members. …
Meanwhile, ambulance driver Orly Shlomo raced to the scene. “We joined the military paramedic and helped him cut off the umbilical cord…without the medical treatment, the fetus and woman faced genuine life danger,” she told Ynet.
“It was touching, but I couldn’t help but think that a few meters from there, people were sitting Shiva for another baby, who was murdered,” she said. “I was touched to see the face of the new baby, but I also thought about the face of the murdered baby.”
Gadi Amitun, who heads the Magen David Adom team at Neve Tzuf, said this was not the first time settlers assist Palestinians in distress.
“They know we have a skilled medical team here, and in any case of accident or injury they arrive and we help them,” he said.
The paramedic noted that on the day of the Fogel massacre, settlers saw fireworks and celebrations in nearby Palestinian communities, but added that the local medical team is committed to assisting anyone in need.
Meanwhile, yesterday, on the Sabbath, more than fifty mortars were fired from Gaza into Southern Israel.
Hayim Yellin, head of the Eshkol region where the mortars exploded, said they were the same type as those intercepted last week on a cargo ship loaded with weapons Israel said were sent by Iran to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he will file a complaint at the U.N. after Saturday’s unusually large barrage of rockets. In a statement, Lieberman said the Palestinians “primary goal is destroying Israel.”
Muammar Ghadafi (or however we’re supposed to spell his name this week) is not a nice guy.
He doesn’t seem to me to be quite at the Saddam Hussein level of gassing the Kurds and running over Shi’ites in tanks, but nonetheless, not a nice guy.
Barack Obama thinks Ghadafi’s level of not niceness is now sufficient to justify the use of US forces to bring about a regime change:
“This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought,” Obama said from Brazil, where he is starting a five-day visit to Latin America. “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.”
Obama said that embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s continued assault on his own people left the U.S. and its international partners with no other choice.
But how is using force to bring about regime change in Libya OK, when using force to bring about regime change in Iraq was not OK, was about oil, meant that George Bush was Satan, or acting for the bushitlerchimphalliburton global industrial machine?
Hussein (Saddam, not Obama) had treated his own people worse for longer, had a history of violence against neigbouring countries and of use of weapons of mass destruction.
Interesting that a substantial number of comments on the HuffPo coverage of this story ask the same question: Why good in Libya if bad in Iraq?
Some of them are even quite amusing, like this one on claims the war is about oil in both cases ‘Actually, we never get the oil, just the shaft.’
Who exactly are the people we are supporting, protecting and probably putting into power in Libya?
WikiLeaks cables, independent analysts and reporters have all identified supporters of Islamist causes among the opposition to Col Gaddafi’s regime, particularly in the towns of Benghazi and Dernah.
An al-Qaeda leader of Libyan origin, Abu Yahya al-Libi, released a statement backing the insurrection a week ago, while Yusuf Qaradawi, the Qatar-based, Muslim Brotherhood-linked theologian issued a fatwa authorising Col Gaddafi’s military entourage to assassinate him. …
The military chief (of the rebels) is Abdul Fattah Younis al-Obeidi, a former leader of Col Gaddafi’s special forces who was his public security, or interior, minister until he went over to the rebels.
He has described Col Gaddafi as “not completely sane”, and worked with the SAS during the now curtailed thaw in British-Libyan relations. But it is still ironic that the West is taking sides in a battle between the leader of a much hated regime and his former effective deputy.
More on the perils of large scale Western intervention at Israel National News:
… imposition of a no-fly zone is a full-scale assault. It’s a war. People will be killed, some of whom will be innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. And even if mistakes never come about, Libyan President Moammar Qadhafi will make certain that pictures and movies of staged massacres become major hits on Youtube, al Jazeera, and the rest of the international media. He will play to turn public opinion against the U.S. who voted for it. After all, movie production of seeming massacres presented as authentic news is an Arab specialty.
The Arab League wants the U.S. and NATO to launch a war on Qaddafi, to help the Libyan rebels defeat the dictator, while, all the while, making it look as if the Libyan people, on their own, were able to overthrow their ruthless tyrant.
Why should the Euro-American forces lead the way? Where is the formidable Egyptian military? Where is the best American-trained, American-equipped Middle Eastern war machine? If the Egyptians can’t handle such a “simple humanitarian act,” what was the purpose of building their military up to that sky-scraping level? Why do the Arabs always look to the West to take care of their own dirty laundry? And why is the West willing to go ahead and comply? …
The U.S. and Europe should stay out of Libya. If the Arab League wants a no-fly zone over Qadhafi’s head, let them have our permission; let them go ahead and move on it — not the other way around. In its aftermath, no Arab propaganda will be able to blame the West for its imperialistic, satanic tendencies.
He is right. No matter what the outcome, no matter how good the West’s intentions, no matter how free of commerical imperatives, no matter how driven by humanitarian concern, 1500 years of history tell us we will come out looking like the villains.
Is such an abject idiot it is probably not even worth engaging in conversation with her.
Seriously. Violence never solved anything? What solved the problem of Nazi Germany? Butterfly cakes and Darjeeling tea?
When you are faced with evil, it is simply cowardly not to stand against it, even if standing against it sometimes means using your fists.
If someone was attacking my family, for example, I wouldn’t hesitate to do whatever it took to protect them. And if someone was attacking your family and you stood by and tried to negotiate while they were being beaten or worse, I would think you a miserable excuse for a human being.
So when I saw this video of an incident at Chifley College’s Dunheved Campus in western Sydney, gol darn if I wasn’t cheering at the end:
That is one bully who will hesitate to bully again.
When this was posted on Facebook and Youtube (and then removed), the vast majority of commenters supported and even celebrated the right of the boy who was attacked to defend himself. I think he showed admirable patience and restraint.
Police and bullying experts are concerned by the video’s publication on Facebook and the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the older boy’s retaliation against his attacker.
“We don’t believe that violence is ever the answer,” Mr Dalgleish says. “We believe there are other ways that children can manage this.”
What a jerk.
Both the boys were suspended by school authorities.
The boy who was attacked had a right to defend himself. No one else was. No teacher was in sight.
That other young people agreed so strongly gives me hope that despite the best efforts of counsellors and social workers, a large part of this generation is refusing to be moulded into a bunch of lily livered nancies.
I don’t usually post on the same topics as Andrew Bolt or Tim Blair, on the basis that anyone who reads Qohel is likely also to be a regular visitor to their sites.
However, the ‘serve you right’ attitude of some caring leftists towards the Japanese is just too remarkably horrible to pass without comment:
A key identifying characteristic of the diversity crowd is how vindictively angry they get when someone, or some group, thinks differently from them.
In this case, having different taste in food is enough to cause a sense of smug moral superiority which justifies rejoicing in a disaster in which thousands, including children, have drowned or been crushed alive, and many thousands more lost their homes and livelihoods.
It never seems to occur to them to ask how they would feel if their children were killed and their homes and communities destroyed, and Hindus were to post messages rejoicing because karma had caught up with the cow eaters at last.
Not just vile, but stupid.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to speak at Adelaide University tomorrow on ‘Governing for Reform: Values in Practice.’
Short talk, then.
Late notice, but a good opportunity. Copied from menzieshouse.com.au:
We have just received word that Julia Gillard will be speaking at Adelaide University tomorrow evening!
We are sorry for the late notice, but this is a great opportunity for us to send a clear message that Australians oppose this destructive and unnecessary tax, and some of our friends have quickly put together a rally to show her what Australians really think!
Axe The Carbon Tax has arranged a last minute protest, and have asked us to pass on the following message:
Julia Gillard will be speaking at Adelaide University tomorrow evening (7pm, Wednesday, 16 March 2011).
Sickeningly, she is addressing the Don Dunstan Foundation on the topic “Governing for Reform: Values in Practice”. One wonders what values she was demonstrating when she broke her promise and announced a carbon tax!
RALLY AGAINST THE CARBON TAX
6.00 – 7.30pm
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Adelaide University, North Terrace (outside Bonython Hall)
Please note the following:
This is a peaceful and silent rally. There will be a large police and security presence, not to mention another, completely separate rally on the issue of same-sex marriage. Those attending the rally against the carbon tax are expected to refrain from argument with those attending the Gillard function, the other rally, passers-by, etc.
Rally attendees are to obey any and all instructions given by security or police.
Sensible carbon tax-related posters are welcome. However, we have been advised that any poster affixed to a stick or pole will be confiscated and could see us removed. Sticks, poles and the like are considered potential weapons. Do not bring them.
Above all else, remember that our rally is intended to demonstrate to Julia Gillard, the media (who will likely be present) and anyone passing by, that we are grassroots members of the community, peacefully presenting a legitimate grievance by our silent presence.
I hope to see you tomorrow night at 6pm. Together, we can defeat the carbon tax.
Obviously, most of you will not be able to attend this rally, as it is in the evening and at rather late notice, however, thought we should still pass the message on. Please contact rally organiser Damian if you have any further questions, or visit AxeTheCarbonTax.org.
We hope to see you, if not at this rally, then at the main Adelaide anti-carbon-tax rally on the 23rd.
Together, we WILL win this battle! While our opponents are flushed with millions of dollars in union funds, and Julia Gillard has already laid plans to use a staggering 30 million dollars in taxpayer funds to produce propaganda, we have truth and the Australian people on our side and WE SHALL PREVAIL!
A roundup of Islamist violence from the last few days from The Religion of Peace:
March 12th 2011 (Kandahar, Afghanistan) – Four civilians are cut to shreds by a roadside bomb.
March 12th 2011 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Seven Iraqi soldiers on their way to work are brutally machine-gunned in their car at point-blank range.
March 12th 2011 (Itamar, Israel) – The Fogel family including a baby and two young children are stabbed to death in their sleep at home.
March 12th 2011 (Hairdin, Pakistan) – A married couple and their four young children are turned into debris by an Islamist mortar attack on their home.
March 11th 2011 (Karachi, Pakistan) – A seminary teacher is assassinated by sectarian rivals.
March 10th 2011 (Peshawar, Pakistan) – Mujahideen fire on a car containing a peace committee contingent, killing the driver.
It is hard to imagine anything more revolting than sneaking into a house at night and stabbing a baby to death. Though vile, brutal and cowardly, acts like the murder of the Fogel family are not uncommon, as the above list shows.
Especially concerning was the celebration of this family’s murder by Palestinians, and the distorted coverage, or non coverage, of these events in the mainstream media.
Binyamin Netanyahu is right to note that the incitement of violence and hatred against Jews is part of the daily life of Palestinian arabs, and something approved of by Israel’s ‘peace partners’ Hamas and the PA, despite their claims to the contrary.
As Israel on Sunday was mourning the slaughter of the five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction named a town square after Dalal al-Mughrabi, the leader of the 1978 bus hijacking in which 37 Israelis were killed and 71 were wounded.
“We stand here in praise of our martyrs and in loyalty to all of the martyrs of the national movement,” Fatah member and Abbas adviser Sabri Seidam said at the unveiling of a plaque showing Mughrabi cradling a rifle against a backdrop map of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The square was festooned with Palestinian flags.
Pamela Geller has more on the Fogel murder, including photos of the family, a video, commentary on the press coverage, photos of Palestinians handing out sweets on the street in celebration, the glorification of past family murderers by the PA, and quotes from the Koran and hadith showing how this murderous hatred and violence is justified.
For their communities, for those who are lost, for the dead and dying, for courage in the days ahead:
Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The devastation caused by one of the most powerful earthquakes in the last century is horrifying:
The death toll is expected to exceed 10,000. Many more are still missing.
The Japanese are a brave and resourceful people. They will rebuild.
They have been our trading partners, friends and allies for the last fifty years. We owe them whatever help we can give.
That might begin with honesty in reporting.
Ten thousand dead, massive devastation, and the ABC TV news led off last night with a story suggesting a nuclear explosion. There was no ‘nuclear explosion.’
The two plants at Fukushima shut down automatically and successfully following the earthquake. The dramatic looking explosion was was caused by steam expansion.
Drastic measures were taken to keep the reactors cool following the quake, and the tsunami which flooded the backup diesel generators. Minimal radioactivity (not much above normal background levels) has been released. The Fukushima reactors have three levels of containment, the third of which is designed and tested to contain even a core meltdown.
To be instigating a panic about this, or demanding urgent answers and updates, as Foreign Minister Rudd has been doing, is to show an appalling disregard and disprespect for the people of Japan.
A bit like like coming across a major car accident in which several people have been killed, others seriously injured, and then demanding that one of the victims do something about the stain you got on your pants getting out of your Rover.
If any lesson at all can be taken from the experience of the Fukushima reactors, it is that nuclear power is extraordinarily safe.
These are older reactors. Safety and containment has improved dramatically since they were built. They survived a massive earthquake, following which their backup power generators were flooded by a tsunami. Yet their containment procedures worked, and virtually no radiation was leaked.
So please, Mr Rudd and media organisations, stop the grandstanding, and get on with the job of honest reporting and helping our friends in their time of need.
A selection from some patient and thoughtful replies by Mark Shea to an enquirer at his blog Catholic and Enjoying It!:
1. Do you believe women should be ordained into the Catholic priesthood?
The question is not whether they should be, but whether they can be. And the Church has already given its answer: She lacks the authority to do that in the sacrament of Holy Orders, just as she lacks the authority to consecrate chocolate eclairs and milk (which I would much prefer) in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
The faith is not the private property of the Pope which he is free to alter on a whim. Jesus and the apostles never ordained women, just as they never baptised in olive oil or wine (though they do use these elements in other sacraments). We can’t improve on what they handed down.
7. Is Catholicism a repressive religion?
No. Catholicism is the most joyfully liberating thing I have ever encountered. The repression lies in a culture that constantly tells you what you may and may not think, say, and do. My culture tries to squeeze me into a box everyday. Standing alone against all the parties, shibboleths, tribes and code words is one thing: the Catholic faith which, as Chesterton says, alone can save you from the degrading slavery of being a child of your age and which, by the way, is the only thing that can get rid of my sins.
If anything, what really terrifies most postmoderns about the Catholic Church is that her intellectual subtlety and freedom of thought is too terrifying for those who are only comfortable with slogans, catch phrases and simplistic labels.
8. Do you believe that the Church eventually accept homosexuality due to society’s acceptance of the act?
If by “the act” you mean homogenital sex, then no: the Church will never accept it because it is unnatural, contrary to nature, and cannot be reconciled with Scripture or tradition.
If by “homosexual” you mean the homosexual person who feels desires that are intrinsically disordered, then the answer is that the Church always has and always will accept such persons, just as she accepts persons like me, who likewise feel disordered desires in the area of another bodily appetite: eating.
The problem is not that homosexuals feel disordered desires. The problem is when the person with disordered desires demands that the Church and the world pretend those desires are not disordered.
Just found this quote, and thought it was worth sharing.
We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all before us, and with just as much apparent reason … On what principle is it that, when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?
Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Bob’s a model citizen and busy man trying to save the world from the hundreds of big bad carbon polluters required by law to report their environmental vandalism to the government.
Tim’s article shows just how much of our ordinary daily life depends on the productivity of the ‘carbon polluters,’ how much of our economy would be undermined by a carbon tax, and the sheer hypocrisy of those who campaign for carbon reduction while swanning around the world in business class chewing nuts and drinking pinot noir.
We have a bit of a mouse plague on Kangaroo Island at the moment.
I caught four last night – three with traditional traps, and one by hurling the cat in its general direction.
But after reading this story from the New York Times, I have been expecting an unwelcome knock on the door:
The trouble began, Theresa Smith said, shortly after she bought a hamster for her 9-year-old son. A few months later, the hamster, Princess Stephanie, was playing in its exercise ball on the floor of their apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, when an older son, who is 25, flew into a rage.
“He kicked it deliberately, the ball flew across the room, the hamster flew out of the ball, and it died,” Ms. Smith said. After he had calmed down, the older son felt terrible, she said.
“He was very remorseful,” Ms. Smith said. “He bought my son three more hamsters.”
This act of contrition, however, only angered Ms. Smith’s daughter Monique, Theresa Smith said. Monique picked up the biggest of the three hamsters, Sweetie, “took it out of the cage, and she slammed it on the floor,” Theresa Smith said. “It died on impact.”
This was on June 7, 2010. Tuesday night at 7, after a nine-month hunt for a suspect they described as evasive and uncooperative, law enforcement agents from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrested Monique Smith, 19, along Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick.
She was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals — a felony that carries a sentence of up to two years in prison — along with two misdemeanors, torturing animals and endangering the welfare of a child.
A nine month hunt. By ‘law enforcement agents.’ For someone who killed a rodent. Quickly and painlessly.
Clearly, gratuitous hamster killing is not something to be encouraged. But a nine month hunt ending a in a felony charge and possible two year jail sentence?
Monique and her brother have some issues, but so do the ‘law enforcement agents.’ And theirs are a lot more worrying.