Feb 25, 2012

Israel: Death to Christianity

Few realize that of those nations that are modern "first-world" and relatively open, only Japan has shown to be less receptive to the gospel than Israel.  Current estimates show Israel's Christian population to be 2% or less of the total population.  Christians who witness publicly are routinely harassed and on occasion attacked by radical Orthodox Jews.  Jesus Christ is still not welcome in His home.  However, the day is coming...Zechariah 12:10.

A Jerusalem church was vandalized on Monday, Feb. 20, in an attack reflecting the sentiments of Jewish nationalists.

Vandals spray-painted the words “Death to Christianity” on the wall of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation church. The graffiti included profanity about Jesus and the words “Price Tag,” a slogan used by Jewish extremists to protest policies they perceive as anti-settlement. The vandals also slashed the tires of several cars parked in the church compound.

Police have launched an investigation into Monday’s attack, which is similar to a graffiti attack two weeks ago on the 11th-century Monastery of the Cross, also in west Jerusalem. “Officers are investigating a strong possibility of a nationalist motive, but no one has been apprehended yet,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ynet News. It is unlikely that Muslim vandals would have denigrated Jesus, who is considered a holy prophet in Islam.

When asked for comment on the attack by a local reporter, a VOM contact in the region said, “Jesus told us persecution would happen, and he told us to forgive when it does happen. So that’s what we think about the incident.”

“Price tag” attacks are carried out all over Israel by Jewish extremists. The term is used to suggest that vandalism is the “price” that must be paid by non-Jews for the evacuation and demolition of Jewish settlements. The extremists have targeted mosques, Palestinian homes and Israeli military installations in the West Bank.
Source: Ynetnews.com

Amateur cameraman captures stunning glowing cloud in the skies over Russia

Not so long ago, an enormous fiery cloud in the skies above Russia could only mean one thing: The beginning of something very very bad indeed.
At the height of the Cold War, a vision like this would set off screams of terror and mass panic, rather than the soft gasps of wonder and awe-struck conversation that can be heard in the YouTube clip of this spectacular phenomenon.

But it's not the end of the world, nor is it the beginning of a fine friendship with alien neighbours.

Duck and cover: Footage of the towering glowing cloud over an unidentified city in Russia has hit YouTube. It is a brilliantly back-lit version of lenticular cloud, often known as a UFO cloud... for obvious reasons
Duck and cover: Footage of the towering glowing cloud over an unidentified city in Russia has hit YouTube. It is a brilliantly back-lit version of lenticular cloud, often known as a UFO cloud... for obvious reasons

Footage of the glowing circular formation - which hit YouTube yesterday - is one of the most stunning examples of a 'lenticular cloud'.

For obvious reasons, these rare cloud formations are also known as 'UFO clouds' - because of their spooky resemblance to the space ships we are all expecting to imminently arrive in the skies above us.

Sci-fi films as far back as Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) - and more recently Independence Day (1996) - have depicted aliens camouflaging their craft in boiling cloud formations.
Natural beauty: Captured at just the right time, when the sun is striking the bottom of the cloud and the 'halo' above it is created by refracted light, the cloud takes on an eerie appearance
Natural beauty: Captured at just the right time, when the sun is striking the bottom of the cloud and the 'halo' above it is created by refracted light, the cloud takes on an eerie appearance

Ribbon of light: A close-up detail of the cloud shows the various shades of light shining through the formation. Lenticular clouds are formed when moist air rises and falls over a mountain or mountain range
Ribbon of light: A close-up detail of the cloud shows the various shades of light shining through the formation. Lenticular clouds are formed when moist air rises and falls over a mountain or mountain range

But this is little more than the wonder of nature creating an amazing sight.
The footage was taken in an unidentified city in Russia, and voices can be heard marveling at the awesome sight. You don't need to speak Russian to get the gist of the conversation.

What sets this footage apart from other examples of lenticular formations is the amazing glowing nature of the cloud.
Independence Day
French nuclear testing in the South Pacific
Neither of these (as far as we know):  Sci-Fi films like Independence Day (1996) like to show aliens disguising their spacecraft as boiling cloud formations, above left, while French nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean produced similar glowing clouds

Captured just at the right moment, when the sun is directly striking the bottom of the cloud - and light is refracted through the top of the cloud - it gives an amazing two-tone effect.

Lenticular clouds are usually formed by moist air rising over a mountain or range of mountains, forming standing waves of clouds as the air descends again.

The clouds are usually formed perpendicular to the direction of the airflow, and are usually avoided by aircraft pilots because of the turbulence associated with them.
UFO in the UK: This lenticular cloud caused a stir when it was spotted above Farsley in West Yorkshire last year
UFO in the UK: This lenticular cloud caused a stir when it was spotted above Farsley in West Yorkshire last year

Glider pilots, on the other hand, find lenticular clouds a welcome sight, because wave lift can produce high altitudes and long distances.
The clouds are formed by stable but moist air which has travelled across the Pennines, causing a standing wave to become established.
Lenticular clouds are said to be the single biggest explanation for UFO sightings across the world.

Bright colors (called Irisation) are sometimes seen along the edge of lenticular clouds.

These clouds have also been known to form in cases where a mountain does not exist, but rather as the result of shear winds created by a front.

Hovering 'UFO': The cloud spotted in Farsley in West Yorkshire, are most commonly sighted in the Himalayas, Andes and Rocky Mountains, but are very rare in the UK
Hovering 'UFO': The cloud spotted in Farsley in West Yorkshire, are most commonly sighted in the Himalayas, Andes and Rocky Mountains, but are very rare in the UK
Unrivalled beauty: Multiple lenticular clouds make for an awesome sight. Their appearance in an otherwise clear sky have been behind many reported UFO sightings
Unrivalled beauty: Multiple lenticular clouds make for an awesome sight. Their appearance in an otherwise clear sky have been behind many reported UFO sightings


Feb 24, 2012

Electronics Made From Human Blood Cells Suggest Cyborg Interfaces, Spark Nightmares

By Kit Eaton

If the notion of next-generation electronic components made from actual human blood cells chills you, you may not want to read on. But if you are interested in how future artificial limbs or eyes may be wired up to patients, then this new research will intrigue you.

Memristors are a type of electronic device that you may haven't heard about, since they were conceived theoretically a long time ago. But they're only now becoming plausible in manufacturing--the trick is to modify an electrical current depending on a "signal" in a similar way to a transistor does, only in the case of a memristor the way they behave depends on how they were last activated. They thus have a degree of "memory" that means they behave a little more like your own brain cells do, and this has hardware folk all excited about their potential computing power. A team of scientists in Gujarat has now succeeded in making memristors out of modified human blood cells.

The work involved a macroscopic experiment with a 10 ml. test tube of human blood at 37 Celsius (normally taken as average human body temperature) and two immersed electrodes hooked up to some controlling and measuring electronics. The test proved that the blood's resistance varied in reaction to the applied voltage polarity and size, and the effect was "retained" for at least five minutes--retests within this time frame were dependent on the previous experiment's settings. A second test, also positive, showed the memristor effect was present when blood was actually flowing through the experiment.

In other words, the scientists have shown they can produce a microscopic biological device that would behave in a similar way to a microscopic memristor made from the more usual semiconductor materials you'd associate with a silicon chip. Networks of these bio-memristors could be hooked together to make computing devices, and that's a next step for the research team.

Ultimately, the fact that a biological system could be used to interact with a hard semiconductor system could revolutionize biomechanics. That's because wiring devices like cochlear implants, nerve-triggered artificial limbs and artificial eyeballs into the body at the moment involves a terribly difficult integration of metal wiring--with all the associated risk of infection and rejection. Plus it's really a very promising first step toward making a cyborg. Countdown to military interest in this tech in 5...4...3...

Is Real ID A Step Toward The "Mark Of The Beast"?

By Mannix Porterfield Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — Is the Real ID a precursor to the end-time world dictator known in Bible prophecy as the Antichrist?

A Randolph County school teacher is convinced there is an eventual link, and wants West Virginia lawmakers to grant anyone with a religious conviction an exemption from the license that employs biometrics.

“If we as Christians comply with the Real ID act, we would be enrolled into a global system of identification that directly links our body through biometrics to our ability to buy or sell,” Philip Hudok told the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Tuesday.

Hudok spoke in support of SB550, authored by Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, who seeks to extend an exemption to the Real ID on religious grounds.

A few years ago, Barnes sought to block West Virginia from taking part in the Real ID, a spawn of the fear that spread across the nation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack.

His bill cleared the Senate but wasn’t taken up by the House of Delegates.

Hudok’s beliefs are couched in Revelation 13:16-17, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads;

“And that no man might buy or sell, save he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

Hudok emphasized he wasn’t saying that those enrolled in the global system are under the thumb of the ultimate Beast, but said the use of Real ID means biblical prophecy is “well under way.”

“And that’s the bottom line,” he said of the driver’s license.

“You can hardly do anything without a driver’s license.”

Instead of employing biometrics, Hudok suggested the Division of Motor Vehicles rely simply on a birth certificate to verify one’s identity.

Hudok, a member of a church known as Call to Decision, in the Nicholas County town of Nettie, told the panel he teaches at a school in Pickens.

“If end-time prophecy is not important to Christians, I’d like to know what is,” he told the Senate committee.

Hudok told Barnes he considers the matter a First Amendment issue.

“I think you need to make considerations for people who have religious convictions,” he said.

“You can’t compromise on a conviction.”

For that reason, Hudok said, if the new driver’s license becomes standard, he simply will drive without one.

“I don’t have any alternatives but to live according to my convictions,” he said.

“I’ve drawn a line. I can’t go there. My religion says that this is leading to some place where I cannot go.”

Afterward, Barnes said his latest bill is a follow to one he authored a few sessions ago.

“This doesn’t say we’re not going to participate like the original bill,” the senator said.

“But it does say it would grant a religious exemption to requirements of biometric data. That’s what these very well-meaning and respectful folks believe in, and believe in very sincerely. They don’t want their biometric data placed in a database that not only is right here in West Virginia, but is nationwide and international.”

Iran Court Convicts Christian Pastor To Death

By Lisa Daftari
A trial court in Iran has issued its final verdict, ordering a Christian pastor to be put to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, according to sources close to the pastor and his legal team.

Supporters fear Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two who was arrested over two years ago on charges of apostasy, may now be executed at any time without prior warning, as death sentences in Iran may be carried out immediately or dragged out for years.

It is unclear whether Nadarkhani can appeal the execution order.

“The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

“This one case is not just about one execution. We have been able to expose the system instead of just letting one man disappear, like so many other Christians have in the past.”

It is also feared that Nadarkhani will be executed in retaliation as Iran endures crippling sanctions and international pressure in response to its nuclear agenda and rogue rhetoric. The number of executions in Iran has increased significantly in the last month.

“This is defiance,” Sekulow said. “They want to say they will carry out what they say they will do.”

The order to execute Nadarkhani came only days after lawmakers in Congress supported a resolution sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Joseph Pitts denouncing the apostasy charge and calling for his immediate release.

“Iran has become more isolated because of their drive for nuclear weapons, and the fundamentalist government has stepped up persecution of religious minorities to deflect criticism,” Pitts, a Republican, told FoxNews.com. “The persecuted are their own citizens, whose only crime is practicing their faith.”

The ACLJ has been a major driving force in keeping Nadarkhani’s case in the international spotlight. Many other advocacy groups and human rights organizations also have mounted global campaigns and petitions against the Iranian government, and experts credit Nadarkhani’s international support for keeping him alive.

The ACLJ recently launched a Twitter campaign to publicize Nadarkhani’s case, asking participants to dedicate a daily tweet to “Tweet for Youcef,” stating the number of days he has been imprisoned (currently 863) and ending the tweet with “ViaOfficialACLJ,” sending readers back to the organization’s website where they could learn more about his case.

Tweets have reached 157 countries and over 400,000 people.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 89 members of Congress, along with the European Union, France, Great Britain, Mexico and Germany, have condemned Iran for arresting Nadarkhani and have called for his quick release.

Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 and was tried and found guilty of apostasy by a lower court in Gilan, a province in Rasht. He was then given verbal notification of an impending death-by-hanging sentence.

His lawyers appealed the decision under the premise that Nadarkhani was never a Muslim at the age of majority, and the case was sent to Iran’s Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court’s decision of execution, provided it could be proven that he had been a practicing Muslim from the age of adulthood, 15 in Islamic law, to age 19, which was when he converted.

The lower court then ruled that Nadarkhani had not practiced Islam during his adult life but still upheld the apostasy charge because he was born into a Muslim family.

The court then gave Nadarkhani the opportunity to recant, as the law requires a man to be given three chances to recant his beliefs and return to Islam.

His first option was to convert back to Islam. When he refused, he was asked to declare Muhammad a prophet, and still he declined.

Iran’s judiciary had delayed in issuing a final verdict, fearing the decision would have far-reaching political implications.

Sources say Nadarkhani has been advised by family members, lawyers and members of his church to remain silent throughout his ordeal, out of fear that authorities may use his statements against him, a strategy commonly employed by the regime.

How the Yakuza went nuclear

On March 11 2011, at 2:46pm, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan. The earthquake, followed by a colossal tsunami, devastated the nation, together killing over 10,000 people. The earthquake also triggered the start of a triple nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). Of the three reactors that melted down, one was nearly 40 years old and should have been decommissioned two decades ago. The cooling pipes, “the veins and arteries of the old nuclear reactors”, which circulated fluid to keep the core temperature down, ruptured.

Approximately 40 minutes after the shocks, the tsunami reached the power plant and knocked out the electrical systems. Japan’s Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa) had warned Tepco about safety violations and problems at the plant days before the earthquake; they’d been warned about the possibility of a tsunami hitting the plant for years.

The denials began almost immediately. “There has been no meltdown,” government spokesman Yukio Edano intoned in the days after March 11. “It was an unforeseeable disaster,” Tepco’s then president Masataka Shimizu chimed in. As we now know, the meltdown was already taking place. And the disaster was far from unforeseeable.

Tepco has long been a scandal-ridden company, caught time and time again covering up data on safety lapses at their power plants, or doctoring film footage which showed fissures in pipes. How was the company able to get away with such long-standing behaviour? According to an explosive book recently published in Japan, they owe it to what the author, Tomohiko Suzuki, calls “Japan’s nuclear mafia… A conglomeration of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, the shady nuclear industry, their lobbyists…” And at the centre of it all stands Japan’s actual mafia: the yakuza.

It might surprise the Western reader that gangsters are involved in Japan’s nuclear industry and even more that they would risk their lives in a nuclear crisis. But the yakuza roots in Japanese society are very deep. In fact, they were some of the first responders after the earthquake, providing food and supplies to the devastated area and patrolling the streets to make sure no looting occurred.

As the scale of the catastrophe at Fukushima became apparent, many workers fled the scene. To contain the nuclear meltdown, a handful of workers stayed behind, being exposed to large amounts of radiation: the so-called “Fukushima Fifty”. Among this heroic group, according to Suzuki, were several members of the yakuza.

The yakuza are not a secret society in Japan. The government tacitly recognises their existence, and they are classified, designated and regulated. Yakuza make their money from extortion, blackmail, construction, real estate, collection services, financial market manipulation, protection rackets, fraud and a labyrinth of front companies including labour dispatch services and private detective agencies. They do the work that no one else will do or find the workers for jobs no one wants.

“Almost all nuclear power plants that are built in Japan are built taking the risk that the workers may well be exposed to large amounts of radiation,” says Suzuki. “That they will get sick, they will die early, or they will die on the job. And the people bringing the workers to the plants and also doing the construction are often yakuza.” Suzuki says he’s met over 1,000 yakuza in his career as an investigative journalist and former editor of yakuza fanzines. For his book, The Yakuza and the Nuclear Industry, Suzuki went undercover at Fukushima to find first-hand evidence of the long-rumoured ties between the nuclear industry and the yakuza. First he documents how remarkably easy it was to become a nuclear worker at Fukushima after the meltdown. After signing up with a legitimate company providing labour, he entered the plant armed only with a wristwatch with a hidden camera. Working there over several months, he quickly found yakuza-supplied labour, and many former yakuza working on site themselves.

Suzuki discovered evidence of Tepco subcontractors paying yakuza front companies to obtain lucrative construction contracts; of money destined for construction work flying into yakuza accounts; and of politicians and media being paid to look the other way. More shocking, perhaps, were the conditions he says he found inside the plant.
His fellow workers, found Suzuki, were a motley crew of homeless, chronically unemployed Japanese men, former yakuza, debtors who owed money to the yakuza, and the mentally handicapped. Suzuki claims the regular employees at the plant were often given better radiation suits than the yakuza recruits. (Tepco has admitted that there was a shortage of equipment in the disaster’s early days.) The regular employees were allowed to pass through sophisticated radiation monitors while the temporary labourers were simply given hand rods to monitor their radiation exposure.

When Suzuki was working in the plant in August, he had to wear a full-body radiation protective suit and a gas mask that covered his entire face. The hot summer temperatures and the lack of breathability in the suits ensured that almost every day a worker would keel over with heat exhaustion and be carried out; they would invariably return to work the next day. Going to the bathroom was virtually impossible, so workers were simply told to “hold it”. According to Suzuki, the temperature monitors in the plant weren’t even working, and were ignored. Removing the mask during work was against the rules; no matter how thirsty workers became, they could not drink water. After an hour fixing pipes and doing other work, Suzuki says his body felt like it was enveloped in flames. Workers were not checked to see if they were coping, they were expected to report it to their supervisors. However, while Tepco officials on the ground told the workers not to risk injury, it seemed that anyone complaining of the working conditions or fatigue would be fired. Few took their allotted rest breaks.

Those who reported feeling unwell were treated by Tepco doctors, nearly always with what Suzuki says was essentially cold medicine.The risk of radiation exposure was 100 per cent. The masks, if their filters were cleaned regularly, which they were not, could only remove 60 per cent of the radioactive particles in the air. Anonymous workers claimed that the filters themselves were ill-fitting; if they accidentally bumped their masks, radiation could easily get in. The workers’ dosimeter badges, meanwhile, used to measure an individual’s exposure to radiation, could be easily manipulated to give false readings. According to Suzuki, tricks like pinning a badge on backwards, or putting it in your sock, were commonplace. Regular workers were given dosimeters which would sound an alarm when radiation exceeded safe levels, but it made such a racket that, says Suzuki, “people just turned them off or over and kept working.”

The initial work, directly after a series of hydrogen explosions in March, was extremely dangerous. Radiation was reaching levels so high that the Japanese government raised the safety exposure levels and even ordered scientists to stop monitoring radiation levels in some areas of the plants. Tepco sent out word to their contractors to gather as many people as possible and to offer substantial wages. Yakuza recruited from all over Japan; the initial workers were paid 50,000 yen (£407) per day, but one dispatch company offered 200,000 yen (£1,627) per day.

Even then, recruits were hard to find. Officials in Fukushima reportedly told local businesses, “Bring us the living dead. People no one will miss.” The labour crunch was eased somewhat when the Japanese government and Tepco raised the “safe” radiation exposure levels at the plant from pre-earthquake levels of 130-180cpm (radiation exposure per minute) to 100,000cpm.

The work would be further subcontracted to the point where labourers were being sent from sixth-tier firms. A representative from one company told Suzuki of an agreement made with a Tepco subcontractor right after the accident: “Normally, to even enter the grounds of a nuclear power plant a nuclear radiation personal data management pocketbook is required. We were told that wasn’t necessary. We didn’t even have time to give the workers physical examinations before they were sent to the plant.”

A former yakuza boss tells me that his group has “always” been involved in recruiting labourers for the nuclear industry. “It’s dirty, dangerous work,” he says, “and the only people who will do it are homeless, yakuza, or people so badly in debt that they see no other way to pay it off.” Suzuki found people who’d been threatened into working at Fukushima, but others who’d volunteered. Why? “Of course, if it was a matter of dying today or tomorrow they wouldn’t work there,” he explains. “It’s because it could take 10 years or more for someone to possibly die of radiation excess. It’s like Russian roulette. If you owe enough money to the yakuza, working at a nuclear plant is a safer bet. Wouldn’t you rather take a chance at dying 10 years later than being stabbed to death now?” (Suzuki’s own feeling was that the effects of low-level radiation are still unknown and that, as a drinker and smoker, he’s probably no more likely to get cancer than he was before.)

A recent report in Japan’s Mainichi newspaper alleged that workers from southern Japan were brought to the plant in July on false pretences and told to get to work. Many had to enter dangerous radioactive buildings. One man was reportedly tasked with carrying 20kg kilogram sheets of lead from the bottom floor of a damaged reactor up to the sixth floor, where his Geiger counters went into the danger zone. One worker said, “When I tried to quit, the people employing me mentioned the name of a local yakuza group. I got the hint. If Tepco didn’t know what was going on, I believe they should have.” Former Tepco executives, workers, police officials, as well as investigative journalist, Katsunobu Onda, author of TEPCO: The Dark Empire, all agree: Tepco have always known they were working with the yakuza; they just didn’t care. However, the articles Suzuki wrote before his book was published, and my own work, helped create enough public outcry to force Tepco into action. On July 19, four months after the meltdowns, they announced that they would be cutting ties with organised crime.

“They asked the companies that have been working with them for years to send them papers showing they’d cut organised crime ties,” Suzuki says. “They followed up by taking a survey.” Tepco has not answered my own questions on their anti-organised crime initiative as of this date; they’ve previously called Suzuki’s claims “groundless”.

The situation at Fukushima is still dire. Number-two reactor continues to heat up, and appears to be out of control. Rolling blackouts are a regular occurrence. Nuclear reactors are being shut down, one by one, all over Japan. Meanwhile, there is talk that Tepco will be nationalised and its top executives are under investigation for criminal negligence, in relation to the 3/11 disaster. As for the yakuza, the police are beginning to investigate their front companies more closely. “Yakuza may be a plague on society,” says Suzuki, “but they don’t ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and irradiate the planet out of sheer greed and incompetence.” Suzuki says he’s had little trouble from the yakuza about his book’s allegations. He suspects this is because he showed they were prepared to risk their lives at Fukushima – he almost made them look good.

The True Unemployment Rate: 36%

By John Hayward

How would you define “unemployment?”  Statistics on unemployment are bandied around in the media all the time.  Changes in these statistics are hailed as good or bad news for the President, with varying degrees of emphasis from the news networks, depending on which party the President belongs to.  But what do these statistics truly measure?

Would you define “unemployment” as measuring “people who want a job, but can’t get one?”  This is, broadly speaking, the definition embraced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The trick to making those numbers dance lies in measuring “people who want a job.”  The widely reported U-3 unemployment metric, currently standing at 8.3 percent, is very aggressive in shaving off people who have not made recent efforts to find work.  It is further distorted by massive “seasonal adjustments,” which made over a million people vanish into thin air last month.

This is why the official unemployment rate gets lower when the American workforce contracts.  Workforce contraction is a very bad thing.  People who simply cannot find work, and languish on unemployment insurance for years, are the last thing a prosperous country needs… but those people don’t count in the official unemployment rate.  For example, if everyone under the age of 25 abruptly stopped looking for work, it would be an economic disaster, but the official unemployment rate would go down, because the pool of people looking for work would get smaller. 

(That’s not quite as far-fetched an example as it might sound, incidentally.  Even the heavily-massaged U-3 unemployment rate currently sits at 23.2 percent for ages 16-19, and 13.3 percent for ages 20-24… and it’s about two percent higher for young men.  Policies that increase the cost of labor, such as minimum-wage increases and mandated benefits, have a particularly punishing effect on young entry-level workers, since their labor has less intrinsic value than experienced older employees.)

This is precisely what has been happening under Barack Obama.  The workforce is contracting with horrible speed, but it has the beneficial side effect of making the official unemployment rate go down a little, although 8.3 percent is still pathetic.  The Administration bounces happily before the cameras and announces its policies are “working,” and job creation is now “on the right track,” even as their best months post job creation only slightly in excess of population growth – and they’ve only had a few such months.  Pundits begin wondering if the old political rules that say re-election is impossible with unemployment over 6 or 7 percent might not apply to this President, if he can campaign on a slowly declining unemployment rate.

Another side effect of the way our unemployment statistics are prepared, and reported, comes when America's employment picture is compared to the figures from other nations.  Are the unemployment statistics reported from, say, Greece or Italy calculated in precisely the same manner as the American U-3 rate?  If not, then how can we make valid comparisons between them?

Since the concept of people who aren’t looking for work is so fluid, and some of those people have clearly been persuaded not to look for work because of job-destroying government policies, it might be more logical to measure unemployment using the standard incorrectly offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the U-3 rate: “total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force.”  That’s what the U-3 rate claims to measure, but it doesn’t, not by a long shot. 

What is the current percentage of working-age Americans, eligible to participate in the civilian labor force, but not currently working?  Answer: 36.3 percent.

That’s the worst labor participation rate in three decades, and it’s part of the worst employment picture we’ve seen since the Great Depression.  Labor force participation is the number we should really be looking at, even more than the unemployment figures cooked up on the monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Those figures have their uses as well, but it seems reasonable to measure the overall health of the economy by the number of people who simply are not participating in the labor force.

This would always be a much higher number than the BLS unemployment statistic, even when the economy was humming along at maximum power.  There are always going to be working-age people who drop out of the labor force, for reasons that have nothing to do with the nation’s overall economic health.  The labor force participation rate hasn’t exceeded 67 percent in the past decade, so we would be looking at a true “unemployment” number that bounces between roughly thirty and forty percent.  The difference between good and bad percentages is relatively small, which makes the true “unemployment” figure less sexy for news coverage, and therefore less useful to politicians… but it’s more logical to measure small changes in a large, accurate number than big changes in a small, largely fantastic number.

Writing at Red State, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight, and Government Spending, offers an eye-popping chart measuring the effect of President Obama’s “stimulus” policies on workforce participation:
Jordan writes in support of the Jobs Through Growth Act, a package of dramatic reforms that includes a flat tax with two low rates, reduced corporate taxes, regulatory relief, and increased domestic energy production.  Those are the sort of changes America needs to make, if we want to do more than fiddle with imaginary unemployment numbers, whose very definition is subject to “adjustment” on a massive scale.  Those who define “unemployment” as “the number of working-age Americans who aren’t working” should waste no time on small reforms.

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Mediocre Christianity

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should
obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments
of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being
alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of
righteousness to God. 
--Romans 6:12-13

It is disheartening to those who care, and surely a great grief to
the Spirit, to see how many Christians are content to settle for
less than the best. Personally I have for years carried a burden of
sorrow as I have moved among evangelical Christians who somewhere
in their past have managed to strike a base compromise with their
heart's holier longings and have settled down to a lukewarm,
mediocre kind of Christianity utterly unworthy of themselves and of
the Lord they claim to serve. And such are found everywhere....

Every man is as close to God as he wants to be; he is as holy and
as full of the Spirit as he wills to be....

Yet we must distinguish wanting from wishing. By "want" I mean
wholehearted desire. Certainly there are many who wish they were
holy or victorious or joyful but are not willing to meet God's
conditions to obtain.  That Incredible Christian, 64.

Marsquake! How signs of Martian earthquake could finally prove there is life on the Red Planet

By Julian Gavaghan
A massive earthquake on Mars has been detected – suggesting there may be active volcanoes and even reservoirs of water that could sustain life on the Red Planet.
Scientists tracked a series of boulder falls that resembled the deadly 2009 tremor near L'Aquila, in central Italy.
Life on Mars? A boulder trail - thought to have been triggered by an earthquake - could show that the Red Planet has active volcanoes and life-sustaining water reservoirs
Life on Mars? A boulder trail - thought to have been triggered by an earthquake - could show that the Red Planet has active volcanoes and life-sustaining water reservoirs
Mysterious: Scientists have wondered if Mars could sustain life for decades
Mysterious: Scientists have wondered if Mars could sustain life for decades
Using photographs taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the boulders – which measures up to 65ft in height — decreased over a radius of 62 miles along Mars' Cerberus Fossae faults.
This indicates an earthquake with an epicentre like those on Earth.
‘This is consistent with the hypothesis that boulders had been mobilized by ground-shaking, and that the severity of the ground-shaking decreased away from the epicenters of marsquakes,’ the study's lead author Gerald Roberts, of the University of London, told Space.com.
Researchers were able to rule out the possibility that the rocks were deposited by melted ice because of distinctive dirt patterns.

Based on the area covered by the displaced rocks, Dr Roberts estimate the quake's magnitude at 7 — about the same as the 2010 one in Haiti that killed up to 300,000 people.
The tremor – nicknamed a Marsquake - may have been powered by movements of magma related to the nearby Elysium Mons volcano, the researchers added.
Because Martian winds have not yet erased the boulder tracks, the researchers further concluded that the quake occurred relatively recently.
And they said it was possible that quakes are shaking the Martian surface today.
If active volcanos still exist on Mars, their heat could melt pockets of the planet's subterranean ice, perhaps forming reservoirs of liquid water hospitable to life as we know it.


Hacking group Anonymous could shut down the entire U.S. power grid, head of national security warns

If we are thinking rationally, we might infer that the group Anonymous is actually a government agency, perhaps part of DHS or the CIA.  Who else would have the resources to do what they have done?

Computer hackers could have the ability to take down the entire U.S. electrical grid within the next two years, the head of the National Security Agency has warned.
General Keith Alexander expects the 'hacktivist' group Anonymous to be able to bring about a limited national power outage through a cyber attack.
He has relayed his concerns over the growing threat during a White House meeting last week, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Warning: General Keith Alexander expects the 'hacktivist' group Anonymous to be able to bring about a limited national power outage through a cyber attack
Warning: General Keith Alexander expects the 'hacktivist' group Anonymous to be able to bring about a limited national power outage through a cyber attack
Although he has made no public statement regarding Anonymous in particular, cyber attacks represent an increasing security risk for the U.S. government.
General Alexander has previously warned of the ongoing determination of hacker groups to expose institutional corruption, and now believes Anonymous is moving in a more disruptive direction.
James Lewis, a cyber security specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who is currently researching the group, told the Journal: 'It's a real threat. You want to occupy Wall Street? How about turn Wall Street off? Even for a day.'

Anonymous has never indicated a widespread power outage as a goal, and a post on a blog linked to the organisation claims the U.S. government is trying to discredit them.
It reads: 'Anonymous attracted the attention of the National Security Agency.
'In private meetings at the White House, NSA director General Keith Alexander warned that in a year or two the group could attack the energy grid and shut off power for millions.
'Ridiculous! Why should Anonymous shut off power grid? Makes no sense! They just want to make you feel afraid.'
Threat: The U.S. government now believes Anonymous is moving in a more disruptive direction
Threat: The U.S. government now believes Anonymous is moving in a more disruptive direction
But last week Anonymous announced Operation Global Blackout, a plan to shut down the Internet on March 31.
Security experts, however, rate the group's chances of taking the web offline as minimal.
Anonymous' ability to take down the power grid is also thought to be slim.
Grid officials say they regularly face cyber attacks on their systems, and invest a lot of time making sure they are as secure as possible.
White House spokesman Caitlin Hayden said the government 'has made cybersecurity a top priority, and we are working tirelessly to protect ourselves from the threats we face, whether they come from other nations, cyber criminals, or from stateless activist hacker groups'.
Earlier this month, Anonymous claimed responsibility for an attack on the CIA’s website that disabled it for nine hours.
The group targeted the personal details of more than 46,000 people in attacks on government websites including cia.gov.
Anonymous hackers also intercepted a highly-sensitive telephone conversation between Scotland Yard officers and the FBI and posted it online.
As well as targeting the CIA, the hackers broke into several Alabama law-enforcement websites, stealing criminal records, addresses and social security numbers to raise awareness of ‘racist legislation’ affecting illegal immigrants.
The group warned it would destroy the data, saying: ‘Because of the possible cost of lives and money to regular citizens, we are deleting this data and are seeking to make it known you not only have shown zero regard for immigrants, but for the very citizens that live in the great state of Alabama.’
Hackers claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous have launched a spate of attacks on law enforcement websites in recent weeks, hitting such cities as Salt Lake City, Boston, Syracuse, N.Y. and Greece.
The collective of activists, pranksters and hackers have also targeted financial institutions such as Visa and MasterCard, as well as the Church of Scientology.

Spider Goats, Bullet-proof Skin, Meat from a Petri Dish and Transhumanism – Oh My!

Angeltech by my definition is human beings acquiring technological know-how and power that is so advanced it would appear to be (or actually be) supernatural.  Some of the things discussed in this article certainly fit the bill.

Barbara H. Peterson
Farm Wars
In what appears to be a case of the rich experimenting on their version of life for a transhumanist agenda, the UK Telegraph reports that by sometime in the fall of 2012, we will be happily munching on burgers made from meat grown in a lab. Yes, that’s right.
Pro.  Post said his team has successfully replicated the process with cow cells and calf serum, bringing the first artificial burger a step closer. He said: “In October we are going to provide a proof of concept showing out of stem cells we can make a product that looks, feels and hopefully tastes like meat.”
Why should we be concerned with this? After all, benefits would include slaughtering fewer animals. What could possibly be wrong with that?
Although it is possible to extract a limited number of stem cells from cows without killing them, Prof Post said the most efficient way of taking the process forward would still involve slaughter. He said: “Eventually my vision is that you have a limited herd of donor animals in the world that you keep in stock and that you get your cells from there.”
Each animal would be able to produce about a million times more meat through the lab-based technique than through the traditional method of butchery, he added.
This sounds reasonable if you want to trust your food to a lab. Oh, we already do? And just how is that working out so far? Our food supply has been adulterated by chemicals, genetic engineering, cloning, pesticides, and irradiation, courtesy of a so-called “science-based” process, which is anything but. When left to their own devices and funded by megalomaniacs, it seems that the guys in the little white lab coats like to cook up a whole host of concoctions that animals don’t even want to eat unless they are forced to. Maybe the animals are smarter than us, eh?
So, here is what they are cooking up this time:
To produce the meat, stem cells are placed in a broth containing vital nutrients and serum from a cow foetus which allow them to grow into muscle cells and multiply up to 30 times. The strips of meat begin contracting like real muscle cells, and are attached to velcro and stretched to boost this process and keep them supple.
At the moment the method produces meat with realistic fibres and a pinkish-yellow tinge, but Prof Post expects to produce more authentically coloured strips in the near future.
He forecast that, with the right funding and regulatory approval, his method could be scaled up to industrial proportions within as little as ten years. UK Telegraph
With the right funding? Well, it seems that you already have it, Professor.
The work is being financed by an anonymous and extremely wealthy benefactor who Prof. Post claims is a household name with a reputation for “turning everything into gold.” UK Telegraph
While vegans rejoice, another agenda just might be afoot. Ponder this:
Think artificial life, transhumanism, synthetic biology, genetic engineering and cloning. Now think Cargill.
Cargill just happens to be responsible for 70-75% of the hazardous waste hydrofluosilicic acid used in fluoridation programs. (Fluoride Action Network)
The U.S. government considers the basic chemical composition of hydrofluosilicic acid, a toxic waste, and fluoride to be the same when dumped in the water supply. (Farm Wars)
What do all of these things have in common? How about the obscenely rich making even more of an obscene profit off of feeding the masses with their experiments in engineering humanity the way they want to?  Experiment with synthesizing flesh and muscle for future transhumans, and sell your experiments to the public as food – a win/win situation. Get paid to throw away your waste products much like Cargill does with its hazardous waste from the manufacture of fertilizer, which gets purchased and put into our water supply to supposedly prevent tooth decay, while Big Pharma rakes in the profits from inevitable illnesses that follow.
Think this is far-fetched? The wanderings of a deranged and paranoid mind? Think again. This is not science fiction, it is happening now, one piece at a time. Take for instance the spider goat genetically modified to produce bullet-proof human skin. I can’t make this stuff up. This is the transhumanist agenda, and it appears they are happily on their way to developing who knows what to unleash upon humanity without even so much as a thought about the consequences.
We are being transformed as we speak. Each time we eat a genetically engineered organism (GMO), we are eating something that was designed to horizontally/laterally transfer DNA to other cells. We have scientists busily working on the Soul Catcher chip that purports to catch a person’s every lifetime thought and sensation.
This is the end of death,” said Dr. Chris Winter, of British Telecom’s artificial life team. He predicted that within three decades it would be possible to relive other people’s lives by playing back their experiences on a computer. “By combining this information with a record of the person’s genes, we could recreate a person physically, emotionally and spiritually. Cyberbrain
Now all they need is the body, and it seems that the guys in the little white lab coats are working on just that. How long before we begin to see artificial men walking among us with flesh grown in a Petri dish? And just how will we know them? Maybe when we come face to face with a not so benevolent personality wrapped in bullet proof skin who decides that the 38 special pointed at it is nothing more than a nuisance at best. And most of all, when will we natural humans be declared an endangered species?

China preparing for space warfare warns U.S. army general

February 23, 2012SPACE - Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, disclosed new details of China’s space weapons programs last week, including information regarding China’s anti-satellite missiles and cyber warfare capabilities. Burgess stated in little-noticed written testimony prepared for an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Beijing is developing missiles, electronic jammers, and lasers for use against satellites. Much of the space warfare activity is being carried out under the guise of China’s supposedly non-military space program, he said. “The space program, including ostensible civil projects, supports China’s growing ability to deny or degrade the space assets of potential adversaries and enhances China’s conventional military capabilities,” Burgess said. “China operates satellites for communications, navigation, earth resources, weather, and intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance, in addition to manned space and space exploration missions,” he said. “China’s successfully tested a direct ascent anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) missile and is developing jammers and directed-energy weapons for ASAT missions,” he said. “A prerequisite for ASAT attacks, China’s ability to track and identify satellites is enhanced by technologies from China’s manned and lunar programs as well as technologies and methods developed to detect and track space debris.” China’s January 2007 anti-satellite missile test involved a modified DF-21 missile that destroyed a Chinese weather satellite. The blast created a debris field in space of some 10,000 pieces of space junk that could damage both manned and unmanned spacecraft. For the U.S. military, the successful 2007 ASAT test represented a new strategic capability for China. Analysts estimate that with as many as two-dozen ASAT missiles, China could severely disrupt U.S. military operations through attacks on satellites. –Free Beacon

Feb 23, 2012

Failure and Success: One Test Today: Success

For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of
sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. 
--2 Corinthians 2:17

Much that passes for Christianity today is the brief bright effort
of the severed branch to bring forth its fruit in its season. But
the deep laws of life are against it. Preoccupation with
appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root
of the true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go unheeded.
Immediate 'results' are all that matter, quick proofs of present
success without a thought of next week or next year. Religious
pragmatism is running wild among the orthodox. Truth is whatever
works. If it gets results it is good. There is but one test for
the religious leader: success. Everything is forgiven him except

A tree can weather almost any storm if its root is sound, but when
the fig tree which our Lord cursed "dried up from the roots" it
immediately "withered away." A church that is soundly rooted cannot
be destroyed, but nothing can save a church whose root is dried up.
No stimulation, no advertising campaigns, no gifts of money and no
beautiful edifice can bring back life to the rootless tree.  The
Root of the Righteous, 4-5.

The Stupendous Reality of Being “in Christ Jesus”

Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ. If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:
  1. In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. 2 Timothy 1:9, “He gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
  2. In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.”
  3. In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans 8:38–39, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  4. In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins. Ephesians 1:7, “In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.”
  5. In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to you. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
  6. In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Galatians 3:26, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”
  7. In Christ Jesus you have been seated in the heavenly places even while he lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
  8. In Christ Jesus all the promises of God are Yes for you. 2 Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ.”
  9. In Christ Jesus you are being sanctified and made holy. 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus.
  10. In Christ Jesus everything you really needed will be supplied. Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
  11. In Christ Jesus the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  12. In Christ Jesus you have eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  13. And in Christ Jesus you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again
How do we get into Christ?
At the unconscious and decisive level it is God’s sovereign work: “From God are you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
But at the conscious level of our own action, it is through faith. Christ dwells in our hearts “through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). The life we live in union with his death and life “we live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). We are united in his death and resurrection “through faith” (Colossians 2:12).
This is a wonderful truth. Union with Christ is the ground of everlasting joy, and it is free.

Five Reasons I Believe Romans 11:26 Means a Future Conversion for Israel

Romans 11:26 says, “And in this way all Israel will be saved.” I take this to mean that someday the nation as a whole (not necessarily every individual; see 1 Kings 12:1; 2 Chronicles 12:1) will be converted to Christ and join the Christian church and be saved.
This was J. C. Ryle’s view published in 1867:
[The Jews] are kept separate that they may finally be saved, converted and restored to their own land. They are reserved and preserved, in order that God may show in them as on a platform, to angels and men, how greatly he hates sin, and yet how greatly he can forgive, and how greatly he can convert. Never will that be realized as it will in that day when “all Israel shall be saved.” (Are You Ready for the End of Time? [Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2001], 137–138)
One reason this matters is that Paul made this claim “lest you [Gentiles] be wise in our own sight” (Romans 11:25). Rightly understanding the historical process of how God saves Gentiles and Jews undercuts Jewish and Gentile pride.
So here are five of the reasons I commend this view to you. You can read other arguments for the same position in the commentaries of John Murray, John Stott, Douglas Moo, and Thomas Schreiner.

1. The term “Israel” in verses 25 and 26 most naturally refers to the same thing.

Verse 25: “Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel. . . .” That must refer to the nation as a whole from generation to generation. He continues, “. . . until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (26) And in this way all Israel will be saved.” I don't think the meaning of Israel changes between verses 25 and 26. The hardened Israel (the nation as a whole) will be the saved Israel (the nation as a whole).

2. The reference in verse 26 to banishing ungodliness from Jacob fits with the national view of “all Israel.”

Verse 26: “And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.’” This seems most naturally to be a picture of the second coming. Christ’s banishing ungodliness from Jacob refers most naturally to the removal of the hardening referred to in verse 25. “Jacob” is not a natural or typical reference to the elect remnant of Israel. The hardening lasts until the full number of the Gentiles comes in (the climax of world missions), and then Christ lifts the veil and removes the hardening — he banishes ungodliness from Jacob, from “all Israel.”

3. The parallel between the two halves of verse 28 point to all Israel as the nation as a whole.

Verse 28: “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake.” Now this half of the verse surely refers to the nation as a whole — they are enemies of God. So the second half of the verse surely refers to the nation as a whole as well: “But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.” The point of this verse is to show that even though Israel now is a covenant-breaking, unbelieving nation, it is going to change. The nation that are enemies now will be converted later because of election and love.

4. The parallels in verse 12 point in the same direction.

Verse 12: “Now if their [the Jewish nation’s] trespass means riches for the world [salvation for the Gentiles], and if their [the Jewish nation’s] failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion!” Here “their full inclusion” most naturally refers to the same nation as “their trespass” and “their failure.” So “their full inclusion” refers to the salvation of “all Israel” and is national.

5. The same thing is true about the parallels in verse 15.

“For if their [Jewish nation’s] rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their [Jewish nation’s] acceptance mean but life from the dead?” The nation now rejected will be accepted. So the “acceptance” of the Jewish nation most naturally refers to the salvation of “all Israel” — the salvation of the nation as a whole some day.


How is this going to happen? I don't know the details, but it seems to me that Paul does mean that in connection with the second coming of Christ there will be a great turning of Israel to Christ. Just how it works, I don't know. But I find certain prophecies very suggestive.
For example, Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” And Isaiah 66:8, “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children.” And Matthew 23:39, where Jesus says to the hardened nation: “I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
I don't want to speculate about details we are not given. I am not sure about the precise "when and how" of Israel's conversion. But that it is coming and that it will be given by Jesus Christ, the deliverer who banishes ungodliness and forgives sins — I feel sure.

We should pray for it — that the full number of the Gentiles comes in and that the hardening be lifted from Israel. We should work for it with missions to the nations and witness to Israel. We should put away all conceit and presumption over Jewish unbelievers but realize that God is aiming to save them through our salvation.

For now, then, let us give ourselves to prayer and to the great work of gathering the fullness of the Gentiles, if by any means we might make Israel jealous of her treasures in Christ so that they believe and be saved.

Feb 22, 2012

Why Did God Let Paul Become a Murderer?

by John Piper

We know that before Paul was born God had set him apart for his apostleship.
He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles. (Galatians 1:15–16).
And we know that Paul became a Christian-hating (Acts 9:1), Christ-persecuting (Acts 9:5), zealot (Philippians 3:6; Galatians 1:14) before  he was converted. Forever after he would call himself “the chief of sinners” because of these wicked days (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:9).
We also know that God broke into Paul’s life dramatically and decisively to bring him to faith (Acts 9:3–19). Which means that he could have planned the Damascus Road encounter before Paul imprisoned and murdered Christians. But he didn’t.
His purpose, therefore, was to allow Paul to become the “chief of sinners” and then save him, and make him the apostle who would write thirteen books of the New Testament.
Why? Why do it this way? Why choose him before birth to be an apostle? Then let him sink into wicked and violent opposition to Christ? And then save him dramatically and decisively on the Damascus road? Why.
Here are six reasons. The first two are explicit in the biblical text. The last four are clear inferences from the first two. God did it this way…

1. To put the perfect patience of Christ on display.
“I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience.” (1 Timothy 1:16)
2. To encourage those who think they are too sinful to have hope.
“I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16)
3. To show that God saves hardened haters of Christ, who have even murdered Christians.
4. To show that God permits his much-loved elect to sink into flagrant wickedness.
5. To show that God can make the chief of sinners the chief of missionaries.
6. To show a powerless, persecuted, marginalized church that they can triumph by the supernatural conversion of their most powerful foes.

4.0 magnitude Missouri, New Madrid region, earthquake rattles 9 states

February 21, 2012 EAST PRAIRIE, Mo. — Residents got an early morning jolt Tuesday after an earthquake rumbled at least nine states, causing minor damage and a big stir in the town of East Prairie, near the quake’s epicenter. “I live on a main highway and five miles from the reported epicenter,” Rhonda Brack, a manager at Tasters Restaurant in East Prairie, told msnbc.com. “It sounded like a semi-truck and it rattled my windows and it rattled my house.” She said the magnitude 4.0 earthquake has been the hot topic of conversation since the popular breakfast and coffee house opened up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.  “We’re no strangers to quakes, but this one was different,” Brack said. “We had one four years ago and that one rolled. This one was straight underneath us and lasted for 30 seconds or so. It reminded you of lightning.” U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist John Bellini said the rural farming community of East Prairie is known for its seismic activity. “It’s a normal event that occurs from time to time,” Bellini told msnbc.com. “It happens every two years or so. They have many that are small but no one can really feel them. Once in a while you will get one like this one that is wider and stronger.” Bellini said several people in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee also reported being awakened by the temblor that happened at 3:58 a.m. GMT. A few residents of North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana and Georgia also experienced some shaking. East Prairie City Administrator Lonnie Thurmond told The Associated Press he’s heard reports of cracks in sidewalks and walls, some broken windows, and minor household damage such as rattled shelves and things falling from cabinets. Adam Rhodes said he was awakened by the earth’s trembling and then carried on with this morning routine before heading into work at Creative School Zone in East Prairie. -MSNBC

US Prepares For Iranian Quaddzilla Attack On Statue Of Liberty (Probably)

Been warned enough yet?  Terrorist attacks are coming, thanks to prophets like the below mentioned former CIA director.  And what do you think will happen to this country when they happen?  I believe we will see a security roll-out that would make Joseph Stalin blush in his grave.  People get ready....

By Chris Geo
Is it possible Ahmadinejad may be gearing up to attack the Statue Of Liberty? Well according to former CIA director, R. James Woolsey:
 “We will have a very serious problem from terrorism if we insist on Iran shutting down its nuclear program, but we have to do that. And so we have to get ready to deal with assaults on government facilities, on famous symbols of the country like the Statue of Liberty, on Jewish synagogues, there are a number of things Hezbollah could go after … and they probably will,”
Reports are currently coming in, confirming that Iranian President Ahmadinejad “probably will” use his nuclear program to create a Godzilla like creature to attack the Statue of Liberty, US Citizens and the sweet old lady down the road.
This also explains the strange sounds people have reported hearing all over the world.
Quaddzilla, who the CIA has “probably” codenamed: Osama Bin Zilla, “probably will” attack this spring. US unmanned spy planes have confirmed Quaddzilla is “probably” terrorizing people on subway trains in Iran, “probably” confirming the rumors that the Iranian government is indeed slaughtering it’s own people.
The video is too disturbing for American media but “probably” contains images of people screaming bug eyed as he looked in on them. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton will be petitioning congress to fight the new threat.
“Al-Qaedazilla probably will attack on US soil with a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound and right now is “probably” plotting to take out our electronic infrastructure by  pulling “spitting high tension wires” down. Furthermore, if we allow Iran to be successful in this attack against the Statue Of Liberty, Quaddzilla will “probably” pick up a bus and throw it back down as he wades through the buildings towards the center of town. It’s very simple.” Hilary Clinton told ABC News. When asked if congress will support these actions, Clinton replied “Probably 100% of lawmakers say ‘he’s got to go” some even probably adding “go go Godzilla.”
President Obama had this to say:
“We probably must take seriously, this new threat upon our nation, upon our freedoms and upon it’s citizens, seriously. I believe it’s clear that history shows again and again how nature points up the folly of man. Therefore, Godzilla has got to go. We are sending out a message to the leaders of Iran. Go go Godzilla”
When asked how credible this threat is, President Obama replied “It’s highly probable”.

Feb 21, 2012

What has happened to Nasa's missing Moon rocks?

moon rock practice 13 Oct, 1969

The US space agency Nasa recently announced that many of the Moon rocks brought back to Earth from two Apollo space missions have gone missing. They were given as gifts to the nations of the world. So what happened to them?

Towards the end of the Apollo 17 mission on 13 December 1972, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt - the last men to have set foot on the Moon - picked up a rock.
Cernan announced: "We'd like to share a piece of this rock with so many of the countries throughout the world."
His wish was fulfilled.
President Richard Nixon ordered that the brick-sized rock be broken up into fragments and sent to 135 foreign heads of state and the 50 US states.
Each "goodwill Moon rock" was encased in a lucite ball and mounted on a wooden plaque with the recipient nations' flag attached.
Moon rock infographic
Moon rock collected during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 was also distributed to the same nations and US states.
There were 370 pieces gathered for this purpose from the two missions. Two hundred and seventy were given to nations of the world and 100 to the 50 US states.
But 184 of these are lost, stolen or unaccounted for - 160 around the world and 24 in the US.
The rocks were distributed to countries ranging from Afghanistan to Trinidad and Tobago.
Joseph Gutheinz Joseph Gutheinz's search for the missing Moon rocks began in 1998
"Gaddafi's government was given two Moon rocks - they're missing. Romania is missing its Apollo 17 goodwill Moon rock," says Joseph Gutheinz Jr, the Texas-based lawyer and former Nasa agent, who has become known as the "Moon rock hunter".
His obsession began in 1998 when - still at Nasa - he set up an undercover sting operation called Operation Lunar Eclipse.
He placed an advert entitled "Moon Rocks Wanted" in USA Today, to entice con-artists selling bogus Moon rocks to approach him.
"What I did not anticipate was that a person with the real thing, the Honduras goodwill Moon rock, would call me," he says.
The rock - which weighed 1.142g - was offered to Gutheinz for $5m (£3m).
He did not pay the money, but says the asking price was reasonable.
These valuable rocks are not being protected as well as they could be, he says, and both Nasa and the recipient nations have done a poor job of entering them into an inventory system.
He says the only authorised sale of lunar material that he is aware of was in 1993, when the Russian government sold material gathered from the Soviet Union's Luna 16 mission at Sotheby's auction house in New York.

From lunar landscape to Dublin dump

Dr Ian Elliott worked at the Dunsink Observatory in Dublin when it was destroyed by fire on 3 October 1977.
I heard about the fire on the morning news. I can tell you, that was a bit of a shock.
My main concern was with the disruption to the work of the observatory. It was only afterwards that we realised that the bit of Apollo 11 Moon rock could not be found.
It was gathered up with all of the other debris and dumped in the municipal dump which was conveniently just across the road.
It is probably the only municipal dump in the world that has got a bit of Moon rock.
If we'd had any perception of the rock's value, perhaps all of the debris would have been sifted by archaeologists and it might have been found.
I am amazed that anyone puts a value of $5m on it, though there are a lot of mad people with money around so they might just pay that.
It is a very big dump, I am afraid. It is worse than a needle in a haystack - you would never find it.
An anonymous private collector bought 0.2g of lunar dust for $442,500 (£280,000).
With potential prices in this range, it is no surprise there is a lucrative black market in moon rocks, both real and fake.
Mr Gutheinz says a woman in California allegedly tried to sell a Moon rock online, and that attempts to sell Spain's and Cyprus's moon rocks have been well documented.
"I once offered $10,000 for the recovery of Malta's stolen Apollo 17 goodwill Moon rock but it still hasn't been recovered," he says.
"I know for certain that this was an amateur thief as he only took the rocks, and not the self-authenticating plaque."
Some Moon rocks have gone astray at times of revolution or political transition. The US national archives show that a rock was presented to the late Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, but Gutheinz believes it was sold after his execution.
Then there is the mysterious tale of how - after a fire at an observatory in Dublin - Ireland's Apollo 11 Moon rock ended up lying in a rubbish dump, after apparently being thrown out with the rest of the debris.
"It's still there under a couple of tonnes of trash. That could definitely be worth over $5m (£3.1m). I'll tell you where it's at. It's in the Finglas landfill dump in Dublin," Gutheinz says.
Because of the scale of the task he has challenged his students at the University of Phoenix and Alvin Community College in Texas - where he teaches criminal justice - to help find the missing rocks.
So far, they have helped to track down 77, including those that were given to the governors of the US states of Colorado, Missouri and West Virginia.
Moon rock in a plaque The Honduras Moon rock was recovered in a sting operation
Dr Carle Pieters, a planetary geologist at Brown University, Rhode Island, says the knowledge gained from these tiny rocks is priceless.
"I am continually awed when I work with four-billion-year-old lunar samples. They are beautiful and don't have ugly weathering products often seen in Earth rocks.
"The lunar rocks retain a record of events in the early solar system that we cannot obtain elsewhere."
While Joseph Gutheinz has compared them to works of art, not everyone is so enthusiastic about them. London-based art writer and curator, Francesca Gavin, describes them as "ugly little things", although she is not opposed to the idea of seeing one in an art gallery.
"Moon rocks could be seen as artworks - relating in particular to the Chinese tradition of the Philosopher Stones as naturally occurring artworks reflecting the universe in microcosmic form," she says.
Gavin does not think the rocks are worth $5m (£3.1m), however, and questions the way they are mounted as goodwill gifts.
"The brown plaque, text and flag? It's pretty uneasy on the eyes."
Gutheinz concedes he will never be able to recover all of the missing Moon rocks - many are now in private collections - but says there are some he particularly wants back.
"Definitely the Malta Moon rock. I'd really like to see that back, and the Romanian rock. If I go to Europe, I will hunt that one down. I have a few ideas as to how I'll do that.
"And I love the story about the Ireland Moon rock - that pot of gold under a dump."