Archive for March 26th, 2007

Psalm 119 – Kaph

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Psalm 119:81-88 (New International Version)

כ Kaph

81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word.

82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, “When will you comfort me?”

83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget your decrees.

84 How long must your servant wait?
When will you punish my persecutors?

85 The arrogant dig pitfalls for me,
contrary to your law.

86 All your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for men persecute me without cause.

87 They almost wiped me from the earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.

88 Preserve my life according to your love,
and I will obey the statutes of your mouth.

“Distress and Perplexity” by Jack Kinsella

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, was released in May and took in more than $46 million, making it one of the top-grossing documentaries.

The companion book by Al Gore quickly became a bestseller, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times’ list.

Gore depicted a future in which temperatures soar, ice sheets melt, seas rise, hurricanes batter the coasts and people die en masse. “Unless we act boldly,” he wrote, “our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes.”

The film’ success, together with the adulation, if not outright worship he received at the hands of the Beautiful People in Hollywood, have some speculating that Al Gore may throw his hat into the 2008 presidential ring.

Al Gore is scheduled to make an appearance before Representative John Dingell’s (D-Mi) Energy and Commerce Committee this week.

After that, its over to the Senate where Gore will address Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-Ca) Environment and Public Works Committee.

But Gore won’t get the rock star treatment over his film “An Inconvenient Truth” that he got from Hollywood at the Oscars. It seems that the Congress has actually looked at the science, instead of all the pretty charts and graphs.

They’ve consulted with genuine scientists, climatologists and astronomers, and evidently, now they’d like to know what is really going on.

Even James Hansen, an environmental scientist, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (and a top adviser to Gore), is beginning to question some of Gore’s scientific conclusions, admitting the former VP’s work may have a few ‘technical flaws’.

Gore’s global warming argument won over many converts in the scientific community in the wake of the 2004-2005 hurricane seasons, which he predicted was just the beginning of what Gore maintained was a permanent cycle of increasing hurricane activity.

Until last season, when the Atlantic hurricane season produced only half as many storms as forecasters predicted, none of which made landfall in the United States.

This past January, while America was enjoying what seemed to be one of the warmest winters on record, Gore’s stock was riding high; everywhere you turned, Somebody Famous was quoting Al Gore and noting darkly,

“The cherry blossoms are blooming in Washington. People are jogging in Central Park in shorts and T-shirts. Surely this is PROOF of global warming.”

The House scheduled emergency hearings to discuss global warming. (They had to be subsequently canceled due to an ice storm)

The whole country suddenly plunged into a deep freeze that saw snowstorms in Malibu, California, hard freezes in Florida, and caused an estimated $1 billion in damage to the nation’s citrus crops.

Last week, a group of activists, intending to highlight the global warming threat by walking to the North Pole, had to cancel their journey due to the cold.

The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment.

“Ann said losing toes and going forward at all costs was never part of the journey,” said Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition.

In Northhampton, Mass last Friday, a group of global warming activists planned to walk across the state to draw attention to global warming. They made it eight miles through snow so deep that one demonstrator said she felt like she was ‘breaking a trail’ before they called a halt to the walk until the weather cleared.

And now, even the New York Times is beginning to question Gore’s conclusions, (an event roughly analogous to the Pope publishing a paper questioning the existence of God.)

Noted the NY Times; “a report last June by the National Academies seemed to contradict Mr. Gore’s portrayal of recent temperatures as the highest in the past millennium. Instead, the report said, current highs appeared unrivaled since only 1600, the tail end of a temperature rise known as the medieval warm period.”

The Times’ continued: “Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.”

“Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog.”

“Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

I am eagerly awaiting answers from Gore to some of the questions that are expected to be put to him by House investigators on both panels.

I found a few sample questions on the Drudge Report that I would really love to hear Gore tackle in public.

For example, Gore has linked global warming to human activity and overpopulation. He is expected to be asked what, in his opinion, would be a sustainable global population?

Since it would, by definition, have to be less than the current global population, I’m more than curious about Gore’s plans to reduce the surplus population to sustainable levels.

Senator James Inhofe, (R-Ok) is expected to question Gore on his science. Recent interplanetary observations indicate that Mars, Jupiter and Pluto are also showing signs of increasing surface temperatures. Earth is the only inhabited planet.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany note that the sun has seemed to be burning more brightly for the last 60 years, which may account for the increase of 1 degree.

The only thing all three planets have in common is they are all heated by the same sun.

So how does human activity account for that?

In his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” Gore warns of a 20-foot rise in sea levels. The UN’s IPCC panel, whose latest report sparked global outrage against the United States for refusing to sign the Kyoto Treaty, concluded “that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches – down from earlier estimates.”

(That’s a difference of eighteen feet, one inch. Does is being off by 90% fall within the range of scientific certainty? Enquiring minds want to know.)

Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, prepared a Congressional working paper on global warming in advance of Gore’s House testimony.

(You can read the entire Lewis report at this link: http://www.cei.org/pdf/5820.pdf)

Lewis’ paper concludes that Gore “vastly overstates carbon dioxide’s importance” in climate change, noting that the 1930s were warmer than current temperatures. (Remember the Depression-era Oklahoma “Dust Bowl”?)

According to Lewis’ research, “Nearly every significant statement that Vice President Gore makes regarding climate science and climate policy is either one-sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative or wrong.”

“Gore calls global warming a ‘moral issue,’ but for him, it is a moralizing issue — a license to castigate political adversaries and blame America first for everything from hurricanes to floods to wildfires to tick-borne disease,” Lewis said.”

“Somehow, he sees nothing immoral in the attempt to make fossil energy scarcer and more costly in a world where 1.6 billion people have never flipped a light switch and billions more are too poor to own an automobile,” he said.”

Pretty scathing stuff, given it was published by the New York Times!

Gore intends to bring to Congress some 300,000 electronic ‘signatures’ on a petition demanding Congress “do something” about global warming.

Gore said the signatures demonstrate “that hundreds of thousands of people share my sense of urgency” on climate change.

(According to my calculations, 300,000 works out to a fraction of one percent of the US population of 360,000,000. In contrast, according to a 1981 Roper Poll, 2.9 million Americans –1.4% — of the US population believe they’ve been abducted by aliens)

According to Gore, members of Congress have “failed to act, because they have not yet faced a sufficient expression of political will on the part of the American people demanding they confront our climate crisis head on.” (Translation: Not enough people have been “scared green” yet.)

In the 1970’s “Newsweek” published an article under the title, “The Cooling World” in which it pointed to “ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change” and pointed to “a drop of half a degree [Fahrenheit] in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968.”

The article claimed that “[t]he evidence in support of these predictions [of global cooling] has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.”

Not to be outdone, TIME Magazine issued its own report on the coming Ice Age in it’s June, 1974 issue:

“However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.”

“Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data.”

In His outline of the signs of the times that would signal His imminent return, Jesus told His followers:

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth DISTRESS of nations, with PERPLEXITY; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)

I set off two words in all-caps because those words are very specific in their meaning.

“Perplexity” according to one dictionary, means: “to puzzle or confuse somebody, especially causing doubt.” Another defines it as “to make confusedly intricate; complicate.”

A third defined it by posting a picture of Al Gore. (Ok, I made that one up)

“Distress” is defined as “to cause strain, anxiety or suffering”, or, “great danger or difficulty, with a need for immediate assistance.”

It is significant to note that even the most vocal Congressional critic, Senator James Inhofe, does not deny the current warming trend. He just doesn’t believe it is being caused by human activity.

Inhofe (and others) have been paying attention instead to recent solar activity — signs in the sun — that indicate the sun is warming up — hence the warming patterns detected in Mars, Jupiter, etc.

During the Tribulation Period, the Bible says that the world will definitely see some catastrophic climactic shifts.

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat. . .” (Revelation 16:8-9)

“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” (Revelation 16:18-19)

But Jesus is addressing the signs of His Return, not the Tribulation judgments.

He warned of ‘signs’ that would perplex and distress NATIONS, with men’s hearts failing them for FEAR at the PERCEPTION of what is COMING on the earth (future, not present) from some celestial threat (“powers of heaven shall be shaken”), a perception not yet realized.

Al Gore is bringing to Congress some 300,000 electronic ‘signatures’ from those so distressed by his “Inconvenient Truth” that has so perplexed the world’s scientific community that they are demanding that ‘something must be done’ to prevent the predicted sea level rises that will flood the world’s coastlines and put most of Florida underwater. (the sea and the waves roaring).

If it seems is as if Al Gore, the global scientific community and the US Congress are following a preordained script, it is because that is exactly what is happening.

Jesus explained the purpose for Bible prophecy for the last days, saying, “And now I have to you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” (John 14:29)

Because, Jesus said, “When these things BEGIN to come to pass” we are to, “look up, and lift up our heads,” because our redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:29)

There is no evidence that global warming is either a permanent trend nor is there evidence to support Gore’s contention that fifty years from now, Arizona will be beachfront property.

Thirty years ago, the same evidence predicted we were about to enter a new ice age.

At best, there is evidence that there has been a brief period of unusual sun spot activity, accompanied by a slight warming of the solar system, similar to the warming period responsible for the Dust Bowl phenomenon in the 1930’s.

I am not saying that the planet isn’t warming. Neither I am I a trained scientist qualified to say that the IPCC is categorically wrong. (Other trained scientists are, however.)

What I am saying that they say the best evidence so far proves only that the last decade or so has been warmer than the preceding two decades.

But the ENTIRE world is perplexed and distressed to the degree that there is a global concensus that ‘something must be done’ despite the fact nobody knows either what is wrong or how to fix it.

“So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:31-32)

Al Gore wasn’t the first to predict the warning signs of impending climactic catastrophe. Jesus Christ was.

But the signs don’t indicate catastrophic global warming that demand immediate human intervention.

They indicate that the King is coming! And He is coming soon.

“Behold, I have told you before.” (Matthew 24:25)

Original Link.

“A Sucker’s Bet” by Todd Strandberg

Monday, March 26th, 2007

I’m very keen to read ever-negative email sent to Rapture Ready. Reading all the letters that disagree with the site helps me better understand why people have trouble with the end-time message. I use this information to help me refine the advice we offer to the public.

At the heart of many emails is content I identify as the “Sucker’s Bet.” These people view us “Doomsday Christians” as wasting our lives by endlessly waiting for a Lord who is never coming. They base their view on the idea that Jesus hasn’t come in 2000 years, so this complete lack of activity should prove that He is not coming at all.

Some of these people bet they will have the satisfaction of watching me squander my life on a meaningless quest. But I’m not sure where they see the payoff. If I outlive them, there is no payoff. The only wager I see is their hope that Jesus doesn’t come back and bring their carefree existence to a premature end.

What is a “Sucker’s Bet”? A “Sucker’s Bet” is a gamble that someone makes based on a false view of the odds. Someone believes he has a higher likelihood of winning than he actually does. I can think of two popular games of chance that perfectly illustrate this.

If you have ever been to a carnival, you may have seen the “milk bottle toss.” The game may have other names, but it usually involves trying to use three or four beanbags to knock down six small metal bottles that are stacked in a pyramid. What makes this a sucker’s bet is the fact that the three bottles on the bottom of the pyramid are much heavier than the ones on top. While the three lighter-weight bottles on the top row can be easily knocked over, toppling those on the bottom requires a direct hit.

Another “Sucker’s Bet” is the claw vending machine you might see at a mall or at the entrance of a supermarket. The game features prizes–usually plush toys such as teddy bears–heaped inside a clear case. The player puts coins into the machine, activating a joystick that controls the claw for a short time. The catch is that the player can move the claw back, forth and sideways–but not up or down.

As popular as the machines are, they are commonly considered to be rigged. In many cases, the claw lacks the mechanical strength to extract a prize. Inside these one-hooked-bandits is a control box that controls the grip strength and “pay-out” odds. A survey by a British group found that a typical machine is set to offer only a reasonable chance every fourth try. Having played one of these games before, I’ve noticed my chances were comparable with what they would be if I were blindfolded.

I believe people who scoff at prophecy are making a “Sucker’s Bet” because they fail to realize that prophecy is in an advanced state of fulfillment. Everything the Bible refers to as a major sign of Jesus’ return began with the end-time avalanche in 1948 when Israel became a nation. The rise of China as a world power, global terrorism, integrated financial markets, and the diplomatic struggle over who should control Jerusalem are just a few more indications that the odds favor the Lord’s soon return.

Ironically, the Bible prophesies that one of the signs of the end-times is people making “Sucker’s Bets.” The more these people mock, the more they are pushing the prophetic clock closer to doomsday.

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with {their} mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? Forever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation'” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

When I respond to people, I reply to the real issue they are secretly addressing. People normally write me because they are bothered by events that confirm Bible prophecy. I point out to them that prophetic fulfillment is the real reason they’re mad at me, and I warn them by saying, “If my luck with the end-time signs doesn’t run out soon, yours will.”

— Todd

Original Link.

“Shariah in Minnesota?” By Katherine Kersten

Monday, March 26th, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS–The land of 10,000 lakes and that welcoming attitude we call “Minnesota Nice”–is becoming a window on America’s potential future. Here in Minneapolis, one of the nation’s most livable cities, hard-line Muslim activists are injecting an element that is anything but nice.

Troubling incidents began several years ago, when taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport–about three-quarters of whom are Muslim–started refusing to transport passengers carrying alcohol. One woman, returning from France with wine, was turned away by five cabs in succession. Refusals of service now number about 100 a month, and heated altercations have erupted.

In September 2006, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) proposed a two color top-light pilot project to indicate which drivers would accept passengers with alcohol. The proposal, later dropped, would apparently have marked the first time that a government agency in the U.S. officially recognized Shariah law, and distinguished individuals who follow it from those who don’t.

In November 2006, the six “flying imams” bumped the taxi drivers from the headlines. In Minneapolis for a conference, the imams were detained after engaging in what an airport police report called “suspicious” activity. Some prayed loudly in the gate area, spoke angrily about the U.S. and Saddam, switched seats and unnecessarily requested seat belt extenders with heavy buckles that could be used as weapons, according to witnesses. They were questioned and released later that day. The imams denounced the incident as racial and religious profiling. “If up to now, [Americans] don’t know about prayers, this is a real problem,” said Omar Shahin, one of the detained men and head of the North American Imams Federation. Twin Cities imams demanded a separate Muslim prayer room at the airport.

Earlier this month, the six imams filed suit in U.S. district court in Minneapolis against US Airways and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, claiming discrimination and defamation. Now some Muslim cashiers at Twin Cities Target stores have begun refusing to scan pork products, like bacon and pepperoni pizza, and insisting that other cashiers or the customers themselves do it.

What’s going on? It appears that both local circumstances and activists with a big-picture agenda play a role. Take the taxi drivers. Minnesota is home to tens of thousands of Somalis, most recent immigrants. Behind the scenes, moderate local Somali leaders are engaged in a power struggle with national Muslim organizations that seek to exploit this vulnerable population. Islam prohibits the consumption of alcohol but not its transportation, say Somalis who reject the taxi drivers’ stance. Yet in June 2006, the Muslim American Society’s (MAS) Minnesota chapter issued a “fatwa” forbidding drivers here from carrying alcohol to avoid “cooperating in sin.”

Hassan Mohamud, one of the fatwa signers, praised the two top-light proposal as a national model for accommodating Islam in areas ranging from housing to the workplace. But according to Omar Jamal of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, MAS is “trying to hijack and radicalize the Somali community for their Middle East agenda.”

Ahmed Samatar, a recognized expert on Somali society at Macalester College in St. Paul notes that “There is a general Islamic prohibition against drinking, but carrying alcohol for people in commercial enterprise has never been forbidden.” Similarly, Islam prohibits consuming pork, but not touching or scanning it, according to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the American Society for Muslim Advancement in New York. It is, or should be, “a nonissue.”

In Washington, the Democratic leadership is likely to seek passage of the End Racial Profiling Act, of which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called herself, in 2004, a “proud” cosponsor. Both MAS and CAIR are stumping for the bill, which would bar airport security personnel from disproportionately questioning Muslims or people of Middle Eastern descent. Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, the nation’s first Muslim Congressman, told me that the imams’ situation reflects a misunderstanding of Muslim prayer and will be sorted out in court, while the other matters stem from the normal process of immigrant adjustment.

The events here suggest a larger strategy: By piggy-backing on our civil rights laws, Islamist activists aim to equate airport security with racial bigotry and to move slowly toward a two-tier legal system. Intimidation is a crucial tool. The “flying imams” lawsuit ups the ante by indicating that passengers who alerted airport authorities will be included as defendants. Activists are also perfecting their skills at manipulating the media. After a “pray-in” at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., one credulous MSNBC anchor likened the flying imams to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

The comparison is misplaced: Omar Shahin, leader of the detained imams, has helped raise money for at least two charities later shut down for supporting terrorism. From 2000 to 2003, he headed the Islamic Center of Tucson, which terrorism expert Rita Katz described in the Washington Post as holding “basically the first cell of al Qaeda in the United States.” CAIR has long been controversial for alleged terrorist ties, while the Chicago Tribune has described MAS as the American arm of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, which “preaches that religion and politics cannot be separated and that governments eventually should be Islamic.”

So far, Minnesotans have said a resolute “no” to Muslim activists’ agenda; in an informal Star Tribune poll, 92% of respondents blamed the imams’ own behavior for their airport detention. And Target–after unsuccessful attempts to accommodate Muslim cashiers–is reassigning them to other jobs. Still, there is a sense that we’ve seen just the opening skirmishes. As MAC spokesman Patrick Hogan put it, “I think people are afraid there will be a chapter two.”

Original Link.

Islamic Moderates Threatened

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Here is the reason that we don’t hear more from anyone who might want to actually be an Islamic Moderate.

OTTAWA–Toronto police have launched a hate crime investigation into a phone call from a man who vowed to “slaughter” members of a local Muslim group unless they stop speaking publicly about Islam.

A message left Monday on the voice mail of the secretary general for the Muslim Canadian Congress warned that organization members must “cease from your campaign of smearing Islam” or “I will slaughter you.” (typical muslim message of peace, love and tolerance. -ed.)

The message mentioned congress founder Tarek Fatah and current president Farzana Hassan-Shahid by name. Both have openly criticized the politicization of Islam and alleged influence of Iran and Saudi Arabia in Canadian mosques.

It’s not the first time they’ve been threatened. Hassan-Shahid said since publishing her book Islam, Women and the Challenges of Today, she has been heckled and had her home vandalized.

“But swearing by God that ‘I will do this and slaughter all of you,’ that’s pretty chilling,” Hassan-Shahid said yesterday.

Canada’s Secretary of State for Multiculturalism said he was deeply disturbed by the threat and had notified Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day about the case.

“Threats of violence against individuals for their political or religious views have no place in this country,” Jason Kenney told reporters here yesterday.

“It’s totally unacceptable and I would hope the whole community – both the Muslim communities and the broader community – would stand in solidarity with those who are being threatened.”

Fatah is well-known for his opposition to Sharia law, having campaigned against a 2005 effort to introduce the religious arbitration courts into Ontario law. The Muslim congress has also lobbied for the right of women to lead prayers in mosques and against mandatory requirements to don the hijab.

Those who oppose his views accuse Fatah of monopolizing the media’s attention and fostering Islamophobia.

He said a threat last August persuaded him to resign as communications director for the Muslim Canadian Congress, but he still writes newspaper editorials, hosts a current affairs show and is writing a book.

Fatah says both he and Hassan-Shahid will continue to speak out but are frustrated with the lack of public debate and the inability to air their views without the threat of violence.

“It’s the youth I’m trying to reach out to with respect to providing a different perspective on Islam and women’s rights and progress in general and nobody seems very interested in even entertaining another viewpoint,” Hassan-Shahid said yesterday.

“It does surprise me a bit because Canada is a very open society and has always tolerated dissent. I feel that the subculture among traditional Muslims within Canada seems to be extremely insular, seems to not want to integrate at all.

Toronto police Sgt. Jim Hogan, former head of the Hate Crime Unit, said crimes motivated by hatred for religious or ethnic groups tend to fluctuate year by year and often relate to current events either in Canada or abroad. The unit tallied 15 reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes last year. That’s up from only one in 2000, but down from the spike in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.

I wonder why it’s not considered a “hate crime” when the islamic religious leaders preach hate, death and destruction against Westerners?

Original Link.