Archive for November 21st, 2006

Sing to the Lord with Praise and Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD :
“He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Ezra 3:11 (New International Version)

Remember, as we draw closer to Thanksgiving, that we must not get so caught up in the holiday activities, that we forget to give thanks to the Lord for all that He has done for us this previous year.
Go to the Lord, just as the Israelites did in Ezra’s time, with a shout of praise and your heart filled with Thanksgiving!
Sing your praises to the Lord and glorify Him in every way!

Human Shields Pose Dilemma for Israel

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

As much as I hate to say this, human shields become legitimate targets if they are attempting to protect terrorist. If the terrorist were the least bit concerned for their women and children, they wouldn’t put them in harm’s way. That is Western thinking.
A Muslim woman is property. She is not worth consideration when compared to a man. That is Muslim thinking. Are y’all getting the picture here yet?

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – The Israeli army is facing the “difficult dilemma” of having to defend its own citizens while ensuring the safety of Palestinians civilians, an Israeli army officer said on Monday. Rockets continued to fall on southern Israel as she spoke.

Hundreds of Palestinian civilians gathered at the homes of two terrorists over the weekend, forming a human shield to prevent an Israeli attack on the men.

Israel follows a policy of telephoning the occupants of targeted houses in the Gaza Strip to warn them of impending air strikes so civilians will have time to get out. These are houses where weapons may be stored or where terror plots may be hatched.

Mohammed Baroud, a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, and another Hamas militant were warned on Saturday night that they had 30 minutes to leave their homes before an air strike.

But instead of leaving, they men called for crowds of civilians to stand outside as human shields to protect them. Hundreds of supporters, including women and armed men, gathered at the homes, shouting, “Death to Israel, Death to America.”

Israel was forced to call off its air strike.

Wait a minute. I thought the world said that Israel were evil killers who didn’t care who they hurt or killed. Yet they spared the lives of all these innocent women and children.
Hummm…this is confusing. I know I’ve heard about numerous times when slimy pali terrorist have specifically targeted civilian targets in Israel, such as malls, coffee shops, hospitals and such.
Could it be that the evil killers, who don’t care about who they hurt and kill, are the slimy pali terrorist, not the Israelis?

Original Link.

UN Envoy Shrugs Off Rocket Attacks on Israel

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

We would expect no less from a U.N. Envoy.

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights got a firsthand look at life in an Israeli city under siege on Tuesday when Palestinians launched Kassam rockets at the city of Sderot while Louise Arbour was visiting there.

But an Israeli official said Arbour’s reaction to the attack was “extremely disturbing.”

U.N. spokesman in Jerusalem Christopher Gunnes said Arbour had just arrived in Sderot, which has been under daily rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip, when two Kassam rockets hit the city.

A rocket — one of five launched at Israel Tuesday morning — hit a frozen chicken packing plant, critically injuring one man.

Arbour visited the site of the attack and expressed shock, said Gunnes. But Arbour’s position is that “Kassam rockets are illegal because they are too inaccurate to distinguish between combatants and civilians,” Gunnes said by telephone.

According to Gunnes, Arbour’s view is that since the beginning of July, nearly 400 Palestinians have been killed and only four Israelis — so “the Israeli army [is acting] with almost total impunity.”

The Israeli government had no official response to Arbour’s comments, but one Israeli official told Cybercast News Service that Arbour’s reaction while standing in a place that was being targeted by Palestinian rockets was “extremely disturbing.”

She “wholeheartedly” expressed her sympathy about the death of Palestinians in an unintentional Israeli attack but did not even find it in her heart to express the same for Israeli civilians who are being targeted by Palestinians, said the official, who asked not to be named.

Arbour’s spokesman Jose Diaz said that Israel has the responsibility to protect its citizens but must do so “within the human rights and humanitarian law.”

The Israeli official said that Arbour’s comments sounded as if she were encouraging the rocket fire to continue — as long as Palestinian militants could manage to hit military targets. “It’s very unbalanced,” the official said.

Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court Justice and prosecutor for war crimes trials in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, is on a five-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

She also visited Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, where a home was hit by errant Israeli artillery fire.

The newly formed Human Rights Council met last week and condemned Israel for the third time since it was newly revamped five months ago. Israel has long complained of unfair treatment at the hands of U.N. bodies.

The U.N. General Assembly on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel and calling for an international investigation into the incident in Beit Hanoun several weeks ago when Israeli artillery shells — aiming at rocket launching sites — instead hit a residential area. The unintended attack on civilians killed 18 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Israel blamed the mishap on a technical failure.

Meanwhile, Hamas threatened on Tuesday to continue to launch rockets at Sderot until all its residents have fled.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida, said there was no limit to the firing of rockets, as Hamas would prove this in the coming days. Abu Obeida advised the residents of Sderot to leave even though the Israeli government is trying to convince them that it can stop the daily attacks from Gaza. “But we say we will continue to launch rockets,” radio reports quoted Abu Obeida as saying.

Israeli special forces and armored vehicles pushed deep into Gaza City overnight in an operation that was intended to arrest a Hamas militant, the Israeli army said.

A top Hamas local commander was shot and killed when exchanges of fire erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen.

A Palestinian woman also was killed during the fighting.

Original Link.

Houston Bible Ban to be Reviewed by Court

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

I know y’all are tired of this, but do me a favor and read my article “What Does the U.S. Constitution Actually Say About Religion?” and then try to realize just how stipid it is for people to try to say that having a Bible plaque on public property is an “establishment” of religion.

A court opinion that participants said could have left any public facility or building in danger of being declared unconstitutional if a prayer meeting was held there will be re-heard by the federal appeals court that released the first opinion.

A federal court order said the dispute over a Bible in a monument on public property in Houston will be heard by the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the earlier opinion, from a panel on the court, was being vacated.

“We are very pleased that several of the justices saw the inequities in the decisions by Judge Lake as well as the Fifth Circuit panel and initiated further hearing of this case by the full court,” said a statement from the Houston Area Pastor Council. “The fact that every judge who has and will be involved in this case swears their oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution with their hand on a Bible illustrates the fallacy of declaring the Bible in the Mosher Monument unconstitutional.”

The dispute is over a Bible in the monument, which is designed like a podium.

An atheist challenged the existence of the monument, and on an appeal from the Judge Sim Lake’s district court decision the Bible was unconstitutional, the 5th Circuit panel carried it even further.

That ruling said the monument became an unconstitutional “establishment” after a 2003 rally was held by Christians to defend the display. The court noted that rally involved both prayers and clergy.

“The anti-religious content of Judge Lake’s decision, particularly its attack on public religious expression by elected officials and clergy, must not stand,” the pastors said.

Dave Welch, executive director for the Houston Area Pastors Conference, which has been working to defend the Bible, told WND the court earlier pulled a “Roe vs. Wade.”

He was referring to the 1973 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court discovered the right to an abortion in the U.S. Constitution. In this case, he said, the court divided the existence of the monument into three trimesters, and found that in the current trimester, it was unconstitutional.

“On one hand, this is not unique,” Welch told WND. “We’ve seen this happening all over the country.”

He said the monument had been on the county grounds for several decades without offense. It had been installed in honor of William Mosher, the founder of Star of Hope Mission.

The monument, however, had been damaged, and in 1996, it was repaired with donated funding. Then came one atheist and suddenly the religious rights of an entire community had to be compromised, he said.

Polling has shown that about 86 percent of the people in Houston want to keep the Bible monument at the public location, he said.

“The ramifications of this tortured decision are breath-taking and without any historic or legitimate Constitutional rationale,” the pastors’ organization said of the earlier conclusion. “For the court to state that if a private citizen exercises his or her First Amendment rights of religious expression and assembly on public property, that any monument, building or fixed item of any kind that contains religious references becomes ‘establishment of religion’ is simply irrational.”

The pastors conference said under that now-failed reasoning, any monument, building or even feature of nature would be an illegal “establishment of religion” if a church ceremony is held there.

The case now will be heard “en banc,” or by the full 5th Circuit Court, instead of just by a panel, the court order said. The same order also struck down the previous decision by the court’s panel, leaving it open for the Bible to be replaced in the monument pending the next court decision, Welch told WND.

Welch said under such decisions as the court’s earlier ruling, America is well on its way to a persecuted Christian church.

“We have history, law and the founding fathers who adopted the Constitution collectively affirming the truth expressed by revered Justice Joseph Story in 1840 that, ‘We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity,'” a statement from the pastor’s group had said.

The court’s earlier finding could mean the Washington Monument’s reference to God would have to be eliminated, and the Supreme Court’s Ten Commandments might need to be taken down, officials said.

Welch said there are experts on constitutional law from organizations such as Liberty Legal Institute and the Alliance Defense Fund who have been and plan to continue assisting the county in its fight over the representation of the Bible.

Because the atheist’s lawsuit was against the county over the monument on county land, the pastors and their advisors have been directing their assistance to County Attorney Michael Stafford, who has been leading the arguments in the case.

“The First Amendment was adopted to restrain government’s interference with religion and through a series of revisionist court decisions over the past sixty years we have lost much of that restraint. We are mandated by our calling and by our God to proclaim truth and defend the freedoms bought by the blood of our savior and hundreds of thousands of patriots to this day,” the pastors said.

Original Link.

Syria Wants Golan in Return for Helping US

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

And of course we can expect the U.S. to pressure Israel into giving up more Holy Land that rightfully belongs to them.
I sure wish our government would stop doing this type of thing. I live on the Gulf Coast. I get tired of the “Wrath of God” getting me while the people making these decisons get off scott free.

SYRIA is to demand American help in securing the return of the Golan Heights from Israel as the price of co-operation over Iraq. With the White House under pressure to talk to its adversary, President Bashar al-Assad has resolved that his assistance will not be cheap.

Assad has been considering how to respond to an American overture following reports that the Iraq Study Group will recommend that the United States engage Syria and Iran in talks on Iraq, a position backed by Tony Blair last week.

The Syrian president wants America and Britain to use their influence with Israel to raise the return of the Golan Heights, seized by the Israelis in the 1967 war. “It will be the top demand,” said Ayman Abdel Nour, a leading reformer in the ruling Ba’ath party.

Assad has ruled out co-operating with the Americans in return for the promise of unspecified benefits. “The Syrian leadership is fed up with the Americans and does not trust their word when it comes to future aid for Syria,” Abdel Nour said.

“Syria will not do anything unless it has secured guarantees from Washington and London that every action Damascus takes to help them will be reciprocated. It will be a step by step scenario: these actions for those actions,” he added. Assad also insists that any help must be dependent on a timetable for US troop withdrawals, a move resisted by President George W Bush.

Original Link.

Syria and Iraq Restore Diplomatic Relations

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

The players in the End Times continue to ally themselves just exactly as the Bible said they would. How can anyone not believe that we are in the Last Season, if not the Last Days?

Diplomatic relations between Syria and Iraq, which were severed 24 years ago, were restored Tuesday, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

“The latest talks between the Syrian and Iraqi side have been crowned by declaring a new era with the participation of the Syrian brothers in working on the security and stability with Iraq and restoring full diplomatic relations,” al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem arrived in Iraq on Sunday in the first such visit by a senior Syrian official since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. He was expected to return home later Tuesday.

Syria broke diplomatic ties with Iraq in 1982, accusing it of inciting riots in Syria by the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Damascus also sided with Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Original Link.

Breaking: Prominent Anti-Syrian Politician Pierre Gemayel Assassinated in Lebanon

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

The takeover of Lebanon by Syria and Iran continues with the death of a Christian leader.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Prominent anti-Syrian Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday, his party’s radio station reported.

His fatal shooting will certainly heighten the political tension in Lebanon, where the leading Muslim Shiite party Hezbollah has threatened to topple the government if he does not get a bigger say in Cabinet decision making.

Gemayel was rushed to a nearby hospital seriously wounded, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and Voice of Lebanon, the Phalange Party mouthpiece reported.

The party later announced that he was dead.

Gemayel, the minister of industry and son of former President Amin Gemayel, is a member of the Phalange party and supporter of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, which is locked in a power struggle with pro-Syrian factions led by Hezbollah.

Original Link.

Study: Consent Laws Reduce Teen Sex

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

This doesn’t really surprise me. I’m just disappointed that more states didn’t put consent laws on their books.

(AgapePress) – According to a new study, abortion notification and consent laws actually reduce risky sexual behavior among teenagers.

The finding is the result of data collected from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and examined by Jonathan Klick, Florida State University College of Law professor, and Thomas Stratmann, economics professor at George Mason University. The men used gonorrhea rates as an indicator of risky sexual activity and compared them to parental notification laws that were in place at the time.

By doing so, they discovered that teen gonorrhea rates decreased by an average of 20 percent among Hispanic girls and by an average of 12 percent among white girls in states where consent laws were practiced.

“Incentives matter,” Klick said. “They matter even in activities as primal as sex, and they matter even among teenagers, who are conventionally thought to be short-sighted. If the expected costs of risky sex are raised, teens will substitute less risky activities such as protected sex or abstinence.”

Where these consent laws are in place, it is hard for teen girls to avoid telling their parents about an unexpected pregnancy. Therefore, the laws function as an incentive for girls to engage in less risky sex activities since they do not want to face their parents with news of a pregnancy or plans for an abortion. As a result, there was a decrease in gonorrhea among girls younger than 20.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 44 states have adopted parental notification or consent laws, but in nine of those states, the laws have been either blocked by the courts or are not yet being enforced.

Original Link.

“Will the West Stumble?” by Victor Davis Hanson

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

By any benchmark of economic prosperity, military power, and political stability, Western civilization — in the United States, Europe, and the former British Commonwealth — has never been stronger. Globalization has become a euphemism for Westernization, an apparent unstoppable juggernaut.

So how could the lingua franca of English, uniform international travel, or worldwide commerce ever falter — given that American-style material bounty is spreading among billions the world over?

But the global sale of PlayStation 3 or a world in Levis is only the glitzy veneer of civilization. That shared taste almost unnoticeably hinges on a powerful and liberal United States that keeps the peace and remains the spiritual and intellectual fountainhead of an entire global system — one ultimately dependent on American core ideas like freedom and tolerance. What pressures China to liberalize, protects the creativity of Japan, assures Europeans they can be postmodernists in safety, and guarantees that the world commerce is protected from both old and new piracy is a confident and strong United States.

In contrast, grant a jihadist his 7th-century dream world, and within months even he wouldn’t have a cell phone signal to call in an IED explosion.

So just as the central nervous system controls an animal’s most powerful muscles, so too capital, politics, and armed forces are all governed by subtle, unseen public opinion, or the people’s will to define and defend their civilization. For America soldiers to fight jihadists in Afghanistan or Iraq, Americans back home must grasp whom they are fighting and why. And that’s the core problem when we consider the recent news and the West’s response to it.

Intelligence sources announce that Iran is seeking to replace al Qaeda as the foremost anti-Western global terrorist organization. Not to be outdone, al Qaeda is said to be desperately seeking a nuclear device. This is precisely at the time President Ahmadinejad announces the next step of uranium enrichment and more promises to end Israel.

International inspectors report that traces of plutonium are found in Iranian nuclear waste sites. The results of a terrorist with a plutonium-laced suicide belt in the New York Stock Exchange, the Mall of America, the Louvre, the Vatican, or the Harvard Library are like a water spill into a computer hard drive — the tiny drop unseen to the naked eye as it shuts down a way of life.

In the Middle East, Israeli intelligence warns that Gaza is to be the next Lebanon. The terrorists of Hamas worry that Hezbollah’s Katyushas have upstaged their lesser Kassems. The very idea of Israel has suddenly been turned upside down. The last sanctuary of the world’s Jewry that offered immunity from another Holocaust is now to be a one-bomb state that might ensure it. This is not Western paranoia, but Middle Eastern braggadocio. In that way, the Iranians trump Hitler — by not just writing about their plans, but by their president promising both to destroy Israel and to ignore international efforts that might not let him have the means to do so. Could anything be clearer?

A new generation of terrorist killers wishes to erase the stain of past Arab failures of 1947, 1956 1967, and 1973. Perhaps, it at last senses that the students of the 1960s in the West have come of age and into power. Might one day soon they shrug that things would be less of a hassle for all concerned without the “mistake” of Israel — regrettable perhaps, but life goes on?

———-

The rationalist would find a common Thucydidean denominator in all this madness, one of lost honor and rampant envy. There is wealth aplenty pouring into Iran and Iraq through oil that is sold at a high price in a world market whose sanctity is ultimately protected by the United States. So the poverty there of radical Islam is not material, but one of the soul.

There is a sick ingenuity of a sort that can disguise terrorists as state policemen in Baghdad to kidnap and torture the innocent, and outwit Humvees with land mines. The improvised explosive device, with help from Iran, gets ever more complex. And there is a great deal of mental energy, time, and money that went into making rockets and suicide belts or even the graphics on a bin Laden infomercial.

How odd that Iranians cannot design a car or computer, but can with the proper instruction manual spend millions of hours putting together Western-designed centrifuges, like the stamped lettered-parts of a build-it-your-self intricate model toy.

So again, the problem with the radicals in the Middle East is not the lack of capital or mental energy. Rather under the influence of Islamism and autocracy a deep-seeded cultural malady distorts human effort and creativity solely for destructive purposes. In all of these places, radical leaders such as a Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, or Sadr — the same thug has a thousand faces that come and go as we saw with Zarqawi, Saddam, and Arafat — are, like the Sultan and Grand Vizier of old, as fascinated with the West as they despise it.

They obviously want Western technology — whether the Internet or the plastic munition — but never the decadence of freedom, democracy, and tolerance that creates the very appurtenances they crave. It is like sacking European Constantinople and then moving into it as your new Window-on-the-West capital, with the requisite minarets plopped on Hagia Sophia.

Such parasitism proves no lasting palliative, but only the goad for more envy and frustration. The stark truth is that the radical Middle East is religiously observant, but spiritually poor. Naturally wealthy, it is mostly materially impoverished — and as anti-Western in ideology as addicted in fact to Western attention and consumerism.

Out of all those ashes of failure and contradiction arose the Phoenix of Islamic fascism whose origins Western experts endlessly dissect. Who and what caused this foul apparition that has succeeded fascism, Nazism, and communism as the world’s next bane?

Is the hatred and venom a feral shoot of Islam, or an import from the West during the dark times of the 1930s? Or is it a bastard of Soviet statism that infected the Middle East after the war?

Did globalization bring the reality of failure to the Arab street though cell phones and satellite television — and with that realization a deadly response by dictators, who paid off terrorists to blame the West, not themselves, for the glaring disparities?

———-

In short, while the Islamists get bolder and crazier, we become more timid and all too rational, quibbling over this terrorist’s affinities and that militia’s particular grievances — in hopes of cutting some magical deal with an imaginary moderate imam or nonexistent reasonable militia chief or Middle East dictator.

Well beyond us now is any overarching Churchillian vision of our enemies. We lack the practical understanding of an FDR that all of these Islamists loathe us far more than they despise each other. Their infighting, after all, is like the transitory bickering of thieves over the division of loot that always pales before their shared hatred of the targeted bank owner.

So we are at a crossroads of all places in Iraq. The war there has metamorphosized from a successful effort to remove a mass-murdering dictator into the frontlines of the entire struggle between Islamic radicalism and Western liberality. If we withdraw before the elected government stabilizes, the consequences won’t just be the loss of the perceptions of power, but perhaps the loss of real power. What follows won’t be the impression that we are weak, but the fact that we are — as we convince ourselves we cannot win against such horrific enemies, and so should never again try.

That stumble will send a shudder throughout the so-called West that will be felt worldwide. It will insidiously show that the premodern world proved the master of the postmodern, as al Qaeda’s Alfred Rosenberg, the pudgy Dr. Zawahri, boasted all along — whose followers will not be happy with a successful defense when they think they can go back on an even more successful offense.

In the end, the Islamicists’ best way to blow up the world’s Starbucks or to turn off freewheeling American television is ultimately with a whimper, not a bang. They need not plant a hundred thousand bombs across the Westernized globe, but simply to cauterize its very spinal cord in the United States — the willingness of the American public, as in the past, to confront only the latest challenge to their freedom and all the ripples from it.

Original Link.

Spam Surge Linked to Russian Bot Herders

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

The recent surge in e-mail spam hawking penny stocks and (edited) enlargement pills is the handiwork of Russian hackers running a botnet powered by tens of thousands of hijacked computers.

Internet security researchers and law enforcement authorities have traced the operation to a well-organized hacking gang controlling a 70,000-strong peer-to-peer botnet seeded with the SpamThru Trojan.

According to Joe Stewart, senior security researcher at SecureWorks, in Atlanta, the gang functions with a level of sophistication rarely seen in the hacking underworld.

For starters, the Trojan comes with its own anti-virus scanner—a pirated copy of Kaspersky’s security software—that removes competing malware files from the hijacked machine. Once a Windows machine is infected, it becomes a peer in a peer-to-peer botnet controlled by a central server. If the control server is disabled by botnet hunters, the spammer simply has to control a single peer to retain control of all the bots and send instructions on the location of a new control server.

If people wouldn’t respond to these spams, eventually they would stop. If they never make money on them, they wouldn’t bother sending them. So please, don’t respond to them even to tell them to stop sending the spams. Just delete them.

The botnet stats tracker even logs the version of Windows the infected client is running, down to the service pack level. One chart commandeered by Stewart showed that Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) machines dominate the makeup of the botnet, a clear sign that the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system is falling prey to attacks.

No surprise about that. Remember, Linux Rules!!

Another sign of the complexity of the operation, Stewart found, was a database hacking component that signaled the ability of the spammers to target its pump-and-dump scams to victims most likely to be associated with stock trading.

Stewart said about 20 small investment and financial news sites have been breached for the express purpose of downloading user databases with e-mail addresses matched to names and other site registration data. On the bot herder’s control server, Stewart found a MySQL database dump of e-mail addresses associated with an online shop.

“They’re breaking into sites that are somewhat related to the stock market and stealing e-mail address from those databases. The thinking is, if they get an e-mail address for someone reading stock market and investment news, that’s a perfect target for these penny stock scams,” Stewart said in an interview with eWEEK.

Original Link.