Archive for June 16th, 2008

“The Cost of Extreme Weather” by Todd Strandberg

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Weather, by its very nature, is subject to change day by day, hour by hour. Some years we have floods and other years we experience drought. The extreme variance that we’ve seen in the first half of 2008 is far beyond anything that could be called the normal fluctuation of weather patterns.

A couple of weeks ago, I reported that we were on course to beat the record for the largest number of tornadoes in a single season, which currently stands at 1,817 set in 2004. The pace of tornadic storms has not let up. Since my last report, we have added 220 tornadoes to the total.

The past week has been very active for the Omaha area. On the 8th of June, the most destructive tornado in the past 32 years struck just down the road from me in the Millard section. Two tornadoes actually traveled through southern Omaha, and they struck at a very unusual hour of 2:30 AM on Sunday morning.

Three days later, twisters returned to the area. The tornado sirens went off fives time here in western Omaha. Here is a link to a couple pictures I took of the first storm. On siren #4, I decided to head for the basement as a low level of circulation headed over my house. I took these two photos of one cell before heading for shelter: Pic 1, Pic 2.

No twister touched down in the city, but they did strike all around the metro area. One deadly twister struck 40 miles to the north at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch. Four young campers lost their lives in that storm. During that same night of deadly weather, the central part of Kansas was hit hard by tornadoes. Much of the small town of Chapman was destroyed, and there was extensive damage on the Kansas State University campus.

This year is also becoming noted for record floods. The year 2008 is looking like a repeat of the Great Flood of 1993. Many of the records set during that mammoth flood are being broken this time around. There have been major flooding events in Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa.

A large portion of the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was submerged under record floods. High water has shut down all barge traffic on the Mississippi River from southern Minnesota to central Missouri. I remeber the 1993 flood being called the 500-year flood. Fifteen years later, this one is also being called the 500-year flood. It looks like we’re 485 years early.

The flooding is having a huge impact on grain prices. The corn belt has been hit hard, with millions of acres under water. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said American corn production will be 11.735 billion bushels this year, compared with 12.125 billion bushels forecast on May 9 and 13.074 billion bushels last year. As a result of the bad news, the price of corn has advanced to a record $7 a bushel.

Low stockpiles and poor weather are “an explosive mix,” said John Reeve, associate director for agricultural commodities at UBS AG in Singapore. “Corn is central to the agricultural complex, so a sustained period of higher corn will see higher wheat, coarse grain and meat prices.”

We could be seeing just the beginning of food inflation. The 2007 drought in the U.S. and Australia put a heavy strain on global grain stocks. This year’s crop was seen as a chance to recover from a deficit. Now that 2008 is already doomed to fall short, we could see more of the kind of the food riots that swept Haiti, Egypt, and Cameroon.

Unless the Lord Jesus comes quickly, I can only see the increasing rate of birth pangs doing greater harm to our food production industry. As the world’s climate becomes more unstable, we will see the advent of the Bible’s prediction that a loaf of bread would equal a day’s wage.

“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Rev. 6:5-6).

— Todd

Original Link.

Drug Discounts — for Planned Parenthood?

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Pro-life advocates are denouncing an amendment to the 2008 War Supplemental bill that would give a bonus to Planned Parenthood. The amendment, added by the Senate Appropriations Committee, would permit Planned Parenthood and university health clinics to receive drugs at discount prices.

Marie Hahnenburg is with the American Life League. “It is outrageous that this funding bill, [which] is for our troops, could actually give money to Planned Parenthood, an organization that is the largest abortion chain in the country,” she exclaims.

The bill, if approved, would stack additional money on top of the current federal subsidies. “Planned Parenthood’s own records, [in its] annual report last year, showed that they received $336.7-million from government money alone,” Hahnenburg points out. “Why does this organization need anymore of our tax dollars?” she asks. “It makes no sense. They’re out to kill our babies and sexualize our young people. This organization must be stopped. They should not be receiving any of our dollars.”

Original Link.

“BACK TO THE FUTURE” by Fern Sidman

Monday, June 16th, 2008

A Review of “2020 Vision” by Roy S. Neuberger

An apocalyptic tale of faith and redemption


2020 Vision
Author: Roy S. Neuberger
Feldheim Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-59826-213-1
328 pages

“In the End of Days, after the Children of Israel have returned to their land, the children of Ishmael and the children of Esau will unite to attack Jerusalem. They will form a world coalition against the tiny nation of Israel. But something will go wrong with their plan. The religious beliefs of the children of Ishmael and the children of Esau will clash, and the two nations will collide and destroy each other. That is what is referred to as the War of Gog and Magog. Following this cataclysmic conflict, the Final Redemption of the Jewish people will occur with the coming of Messiah, the son of King David.” Rabbi Meir Leib ben Yechiel Michel (1808-1879), also know as The Malbim on Sefer Yechezkel (32:17)

With this prescient insight in mind does prolific author and Lawrence, LI resident Roy (Yisroel) Neuberger begin weaving a tale predicated on the hallmarks of Jewish tradition; faith and trust in Hashem and the yearning for the Final Redemption. His recently released futuristic novel entitled, “2020 Vision” represents an authentic testament to the strength and resolve of the human spirit in the face of horrific adversities and tribulations. Yet, the resounding theme of faith and trust in Hashem and adherence to tenets of Torah against all odds have been an oft repeated mantra in Mr. Neuberger’s previous writings as it permeates the pages of “From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (2000); his personal memoirs and recollections of his journey back to Orthodox Judaism and “Worldstorm: Finding Meaning & Direction Amidst Today’s World Crisis” (2003); a history book that applies Torah reasoning to our current global situation.

While “2020 Vision” is a novel and thus symbolic of a departure from his non-fiction books, this action packed, thrill-a-minute tale retains a keen eye on the very real and often grim geo-political realities of our times. There is no question that this book can be termed a hybrid of sorts, combining compelling fiction with true to life, refreshingly honest biographical flashbacks that allow the reader a unique opportunity to get an intimate look into the psyche of the protagonist and author of this novel. While enjoying this fast paced page turner, readers should be cautioned to fasten their proverbial seatbelts because this is going to be the mother of all bumpy rides.

The trajectory of this apocalyptic sojourn begins on Sunday, July 5th in the year 2020. It is a leisurely summer day and Yisroel and his wife Leah are enjoying the simple pleasures of life at their Long Island home; a bike ride, sipping cool lemonade, watching the fireworks and taking some time to reflect on the many blessings in their lives. This was to be the last day on this earth that the Neubergers would experience a semblance of normalcy. Quite suddenly and totally out of nowhere the world is caught in the deadly grip of a global nuclear attack; planned and coordinated by a diabolical Muslim terrorist sleeper cell in the USA. The world outside their window “turned white” and their “house shook violently” while the sounds of sonic booms punctuated the air. As the author ruefully observes, “the events of July 5, 2020 made 9/11 look like child’s play.”

After listening to a report on an emergency radio indicating that an electromagnetic bomb detonated high above the earth’s surface had destroyed communications for thousands of miles, the Neubergers decide to head off to New Jersey to locate their children and search for an escape route to Eretz Yisroel where they could be reunited with their other children and bask in the safety of the place on this earth where the Shechina (G-d’s presence) dwells. The roads were immersed in snarling gridlock and supplies of gas were scarce, so the Neubergers employed some ingenuity and utilized their only viable means of transportation; their trusty bicycles to get them to where they needed to be.

Turning to each other for comfort and solace during this arduous, if not impossible trek, Yisroel queries his wife. “Leah, how will we survive?” Leah’s rejoinder is clear. “We will survive, G-d will save us.You will see.” It is this unshakable faith and trust in Hashem that serves as the catalyst and driving force for their journey through the metaphorical dense darkness of night to the blissful eternal light at the end of the tunnel. On their road to reunification with their children, the Neubergers confront a seemingly endless litany of harrowing and life threatening scenarios; amongst them being almost crushed to death by commercial airliners, a close call after an attempted attack by a band of deranged hooligans, and an encounter with an unscrupulous miscreant who is the only person that can transport them by boat from Brooklyn to Staten Island.

Throughout it all, Yisroel and Leah never entertain the notion of relinquishing their faith and determination to survive. Having packed his tallis, tefillin, siddur and chumash, Yisroel prays three times a day; beseeching Hashem for mercy while he and Leah offer succor to each other with timely Divrei Torah, having plumbed the depths of our holy sources for words of encouragement in times of travail. What follows is nothing sort of miraculous. Feeling the Hand of Hashem every step of the way, Yisroel and Leah meet up with their children from Lakeville (Lakewood to us laymen) on the Garden State Parkway along with a formidable chevra of frum Jews who have joined them. Traveling together as a group, they negotiate a strategic plan for survival and decide to head north towards New England, where they hope to catch a sea worthy vessel to take them to Europe and then to their final destination; Eretz Yisroel.

Beset by a multitude of serious dangers, challenges and difficulties they meet extraordinary people, sent by Hashem to assist them on the path to redemption. With the help of relatives Uncle Phil and Aunt Bessie, who play a critical role in the story, they manage to expedite their journey in some small measure, while other characters such as righteous gentiles also posit themselves as facilitators; offering much needed practical guidance and assistance in this heart stopping drama.

The reader cannot help but marvel at the sheer eloquence and graphic depiction of the events leading up to the coming of Moshiach and the final end of days that Mr. Neuberger describes in words that sound a clarion call to teshuvah and tug at your heartstrings. This chilling account of the dawn of the Messianic era is not for the faint hearted and those who suffer from ideological myopia. No one can deny that each one of us has deeply pondered what events would look like when Moshiach comes, yet Mr. Neuberger takes this to a whole new level. He offers us a unique perspective on our daily relationship to Hashem and gives new definition to our collective role in our final destiny.



Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

UN Chief: Saudi to Boost Oil Production

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Too little, too late.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia plans to increase its oil production by 200,000 barrels a day next month, the kingdom’s oil minister told U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Sunday, according to Ban’s spokesman.

The U.N. secretary-general met with Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi in the port city of Jiddah during a one-day trip to the world’s largest oil producer.

Farhan Haq, a spokesman who is traveling with Ban, said in an e-mail that the U.N. chief said al-Naimi told him Saudi Arabia would increase oil production by 200,000 barrels a day from June to July. In May, the kingdom increased its production by 300,000.

By July, production should be at 9.7 million barrels a day, Haq said.

Ban also said Saudi Arabia understands that the current price of oil, which topped $139 per barrel earlier this month, is not normal, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

“The king believes that the current oil prices are abnormally high, and he is ready to restore prices to their appropriate levels,” SPA quoted Ban as telling reporters in Jiddah. The report carried by SPA was in Arabic, and it did not say what language Ban spoke in.

Saudi Arabia is concerned that sustained high oil prices will eventually slacken the world’s appetite for oil, affecting the kingdom in the long run.

The kingdom has called for a meeting of oil producing and consuming countries on June 22 in Jiddah to discuss ways of dealing with soaring energy prices.

Original Link.