Archive for December 21st, 2009

Who Still Believes in Man-Made Global Warming?

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I fear that those who still believe in man-made global warming are in the minority these days. After ClimateGate and the winter we’ve had so far (see here, here and http://www.weather.com/newscenter/stormwatch/), I think you believers need to reevaluate your thinking.

Around 2,000 passengers were trapped in the Channel Tunnel overnight as four Eurostar trains broke down amid freezing temperatures that have brought travel chaos to Britain.

It is thought trains – all headed to London from Paris – failed as they left the cold air in northern France and entered the warmer air inside the tunnel.

Some passengers were stuck for 11 hours and two of the trains had no heating or lighting.

Original Link.

College Equates Crosses, Menorahs to Swastika; Bans Them From Ceramics Class

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Unbelievable.

A Dallas-area college has banned religious projects from its ceramics classes.

“Joe Mitchell, our client, liked to make crosses and menorahs and other types of religious items,” [Hiram Sasser of Liberty Legal Institute] explains, “and he was banned from doing that by college officials because they did not like the religious content of those crosses and menorahs.”

“[College officials] compared the making of crosses and menorahs to something offensive like a swastika — and they said we can’t have swastikas and we can’t have these crosses or menorahs either,” says Sasser. “And so this is blatant religious discrimination.”

Original Link.

First Jesus-Era House Unearthed in Nazareth

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I just love Holy Land archeology. Every year we learn more and more about the history of this ancient land.

NAZARETH, Israel — Israeli archaeologists say they have uncovered remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus.

They say the find sheds a new light on what Nazareth might have been like in Jesus’ time — probably a small hamlet with about 50 houses populated by poor Jews.

Archaeologist Yardena Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities Authority says remains of a wall, a hideout and a cistern were found after builders dug up an old convent courtyard in the northern Israeli city.

Alexandre told reporters on Monday that archeologists also found clay and chalk vessels used by Galilean Jews of the time — an indication the home belonged to a “simple Jewish family.”

She says it’s likely Jesus and his childhood friends would have known the house.

Original Link.

“Is This For Real?” by Jeff Schreiber

Monday, December 21st, 2009

It’s 11:15 p.m. on a Sunday night. I’m in a king-size hotel room bed in Athens, GA with a snoozing wife and a three-year-old who is still singing “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake” despite the long, fun-filled day she had. It’s late. And, yet, on one side of my sister-in-law’s fancy MacBook Pro is a live stream from the floor of the United States Senate.

It’s 11:15 p.m. on a Sunday night. And Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is speaking, right now, on the floor about the Senate’s health care reform bill, which will be voted on in a little less than two hours from now. He’s talking about how private insurance companies will be forced to spend 85 cents out of every dollar on patient health care costs. Where, may I ask, does our federal government have the authority to mandate the capital structure of private companies? Where?

Why else would the lights even be on in the Capitol building unless our government is up to no good? This is legislation which will not even come into effect until 2014, two years after the next presidential election, and yet the Democrats feel it so essential to work through the night as the last weekend before Christmas comes to a close?

Most of America is fast asleep. Most of the people whom these senators represent, even if they wanted to pay attention, are sawing logs (probably not literally, though I’m sure there are a strange few) and catching winks in advance of a working Monday tomorrow. These people have no business whatsoever working right now. It might be different if they were burning the midnight oil in an attempt to save the nation with legislation that would have an immediate impact, but they are not — instead, they’re planning the destruction of our economy and health care system through legislation which will not take effect (other than the spending aspect of it) for another four years. If this is a great bill, if it is so necessary, and if the 60 percent or so of Americans who vigorously oppose it just don’t have their facts straight, then they should be debating it during the day, when most of America is awake and attentive.

Original Link.

Health Care Bill Passes Critical Senate Test

Monday, December 21st, 2009

The Dems are one step closer to pushing the health care “reform” down our throats. At least, at this moment anyone, the so-called “government, single payer” option is not in the Senate bill. The Senate version and House version must be “harmonized” or brought into agreement before their can be a final Senate vote.
It will be interesting to see what the final legislation contains.

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats won a crucial test vote on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, putting them on track for passage before Christmas of the historic legislation to remake the nation’s medical system and cover 30 million uninsured.

All 58 Democrats and the Senate’s two independents held together early Monday against unanimous Republican opposition, providing the exact 60-40 margin needed to shut down a threatened GOP filibuster.

The vote came shortly after 1 a.m. with the nation’s capital blanketed in snow, the unusual timing made necessary in order to get to a final vote by Christmas Eve presuming Republicans stretch out the debate as much as the rules allow. Despite the late hour and a harshly partisan atmosphere, Democrats’ spirits were high.

“Today we are closer than we’ve ever been to making Sen. Ted Kennedy’s dream of universal health insurance coverage a reality,” Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said ahead of the vote, alluding to the late Massachusetts senator who died of brain cancer in August.

“Vote your hopes, not your fears. Seize the moment,” Harkin urged colleagues.

The outcome was preordained after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrangled his fractious caucus into line over the course of the past several months, culminating in a frenzy of last-minute deals and concessions to win over the final holdouts, independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and conservative Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Obama’s oft-stated goal of a bipartisan health bill was not met, despite the president’s extensive courtship of moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the only Republican to support the bill in committee. Obama called Snowe to the White House for lengthy in-person meetings both before he left for climate talks in Copenhagen and after his return on Saturday. In the end Snowe said she was “extremely disappointed” in what she called a rushed process that left scant time for her to review, much less amend, the bill.

Even so, the vote represented a major victory for Democrats and Obama, who’s now clearly in reach of passing legislation extending health coverage to nearly all Americans, a goal that’s eluded a succession of past presidents. The legislation would make health insurance mandatory for the first time for nearly everyone, provide subsidies to help lower-income people buy it, and induce employers to provide it with tax breaks for small businesses and penalties for larger ones.

Two more procedural votes await the Senate, each requiring 60 votes, the first of these set for Tuesday morning. Final passage of the bill requires a simple majority, and that vote could come as late as 7 p.m. on Thursday, Christmas Eve, or the day before if Republicans agree.

Although Democrats are expected to prevail in the votes over the next several days, the final outcome remains unpredictable, because the Senate measure must be harmonized with the health care bill passed by the House in November before final legislation can be sent to Obama’s desk.

There are significant differences between the two measures, including stricter abortion language in the House bill, a new government-run insurance plan in the House bill that’s missing from the Senate version, and a tax on high-value insurance plans embraced by the Senate but strongly opposed by many House Democrats.

Republicans are determined to give Democrats no help, eager to deny Obama a political victory and speculating openly that the health care issue will hurt Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections.

“There will be a day of accounting,” warned John Cornyn, R-Texas, accusing Democrats of pushing a health overhaul opposed by the public. “Perhaps the first day of accounting will be Election Day 2010.”

At their core the bills passed by the House and pending in the Senate are similar. Each costs around $1 trillion over 10 years and is paid for by a combination of tax and fee increases and cuts in projected Medicare spending. Each sets up new insurance marketplaces called exchanges where uninsured or self-employed people and small businesses can compare prices and plans designed to meet some basic requirements. Unpopular insurance practices such as denying people coverage based on pre-existing conditions would be banned, and young adults could retain coverage longer under their parents’ insurance plans — through age 25 in the Senate bill and through age 26 in the House version.

Original Link.

Israel Close to Deciding on Prisoner Swap

Monday, December 21st, 2009

This goes to show how much the Israelis love life. They are willing to 1,000 Pali terrorist in order to secure the freedom of one of their soldiers. This in itself should show just how different Israel’s culture of life is from the culture of death offered by the Islamic Palis.

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top ministers on Monday debated whether to approve an emotionally charged deal to trade 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held by Gaza militants for more than three years.

Netanyahu and six ministers had met three times on Sunday, and again on Monday morning. Army Radio reported that an afternoon gathering was planned. With the group divided over the proposed deal, Netanyahu could well bring the final decision to a vote in his full Cabinet.

At a protest tent outside the prime minister’s official residence, dozens of demonstrators carried cardboard cutouts of the captured soldier, 23-year-old Sgt. Gilad Schalit, and urged Cabinet ministers to wrap up an agreement.

A deal, if approved, could dramatically improve the standing of the Gaza Strip’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers among Palestinians and herald an easing of the blockaded territory’s crippling isolation. The chief loser could be Hamas’ bitter rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is backed by the West but whose popularity has suffered at home.

Bringing Schalit home could boost Netanyahu domestically given the Israeli public’s deep concern for the young man’s fate. However, it could also hurt the prime minister’s standing among Israelis who feel releasing prisoners convicted of violence would only invite more bloodshed.

The swap, if approved, would be subject to a 48-hour period for opponents to file legal challenges.

Original Link.