With the referendum on southern independence only a few weeks away, time is running out to prevent a return to large-scale violence in Sudan and improve the deteriorating situation in Darfur.
Thankfully, the United States holds the Presidency of the U.N. Security Council during December. This is a critical opportunity for President Obama and Ambassador Susan Rice to rally world leaders to prevent violence in Sudan, but there is a big problem:
China helped finance the genocide in Darfur through its oil purchases and supplied the genocidaires with weapons. Beijing has repeatedly used its influence to shield members of the regime in Khartoum from international pressure. Just last month China tried to bury a U.N. Report that says Chinese bullets were used in Darfur.
Tell Ambassador Rice to hold China accountable and demand that it join international efforts to promote peace in Sudan.
The U.N. Security Council was established to “ensure global peace and stability,” but China has not used its seat to help bring peace to Sudan. When given a choice to protect the leaders of the Sudanese regime or the people of Darfur, the Chinese have consistently sided with their business partners in Khartoum.
Ask Ambassador Rice to hold China accountable for its role in Darfur.
President Obama and Ambassador Rice have taken important and direct steps to prioritize Sudan on the global stage. But getting things done at the U.N. without China’s cooperation is nearly impossible. However, China does respond to pressure. China allowed the crisis in Darfur to be referred to the International Criminal Court, leading to arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and others. And China recently abstained on the reauthorization of the Darfur arms embargo. It’s not easy, but our activism can make a difference.
Send your message to Ambassador Rice: The U.S. must demand that China use its seat on the Security Council to promote peace in Sudan.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
List compiled by Justin Soutar
December 1, 2010
There were many victories for the pro-life movement and traditional values in this year's election. Following is a complete state-by-state list of all pro-life governors, senators and representatives newly elected or re-elected in 2010. (NOTE: Only individuals who could be positively identified as pro-life are listed here. Elected individuals whose position on abortion is unknown or unclear have been omitted from the list.)
Triple stars denote the newly elected pro-life individuals; no stars, re-elected pro-life incumbents. All individuals belong to the Republican Party unless otherwise identified as Democrats. (Double stars indicate a pro-life Democrat.)
Governor -- *** Robert Bentley ***
Senator -- Richard Shelby
*** Martha Roby ***
*** Mo Brooks ***
Governor -- Jan Brewer
Senator -- John McCain
*** Paul Gosar ***
*** David Schweikert ***
Senator -- *** John Boozman ***
*** Rick Crawford ***
*** Tim Griffin ***
*** Steve Womack ***
Mike Ross (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
*** Jeff Denham ***
*** Cory Gardner ***
*** Scott Tipton ***
Governor -- *** Rick Scott ***
Senator -- *** Marco Rubio ***
*** David Rivera ***
*** Mario Diaz-Balart ***
*** Dennis Ross ***
*** Sandy Adams ***
*** Daniel Webster ***
*** Richard Nugent ***
*** Steve Southerland ***
Governor -- *** Nathan Deal ***
Senator -- Johnny Isakson
*** Austin Scott ***
*** Rob Woodall ***
Governor -- Butch Otter
Senator -- Mike Crapo
*** Raul Labrador ***
*** Adam Kinzinger ***
*** Joe Walsh ***
*** Randy Hultgren ***
*** Bobby Schilling ***
Dan Lipinski (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Jerry Costello (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Senator -- *** Dan Coats ***
*** Todd Young ***
*** Larry Bucshon ***
*** Todd Rokita ***
*** Marlin Stutzman ***
Joe Donnelly (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Senator -- Chuck Grassley
Governor -- *** Sam Brownback ***
Senator -- *** Jerry Moran ***
*** Mike Pompeo ***
*** Tim Huelskamp ***
Senator -- *** Rand Paul ***
Senator -- David Vitter
*** Jeff Landry ***
*** Andy Harris ***
Governor -- *** Rick Snyder ***
*** Tim Walberg ***
*** Justin Amash ***
*** Bill Huizenga ***
*** Dan Benishek ***
*** Chip Cravaack ***
Collin Peterson (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
*** Steven Palazzo ***
*** Alan Nunnelee ***
Senator -- *** Roy Blunt ***
*** Billy Long ***
*** Vicky Hartzler ***
Jo Ann Emerson
Representative -- Denny Rehberg
Governor -- Dave Heineman
*** Joe Heck ***
Senator -- *** Kelly Ayotte ***
*** Frank Guinta ***
Governor -- *** Susana Martinez ***
*** Steve Pearce ***
*** Chris Gibson ***
*** Nan Hayworth ***
*** Richard Hanna ***
*** Michael Grimm ***
*** Tom Reed ***
Senator -- Richard Burr
*** Renee Ellmers ***
Mike McIntyre (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Heath Shuler (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Senator -- *** John Hoeven ***
Representative – *** Rick Berg ***
Governor -- *** John Kasich ***
Senator -- *** Rob Portman ***
*** Bill Johnson ***
*** Jim Renacci ***
*** Bob Gibbs ***
*** Steve Stivers ***
*** Steve Chabot ***
Governor -- *** Mary Fallin ***
Senator -- Tom Coburn
*** James Lankford ***
Dan Boren (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Governor -- *** Tom Corbett ***
Senator -- *** Pat Toomey ***
*** Mike Kelly ***
*** Mike Fitzpatrick ***
*** Lou Barletta ***
*** Tom Marino ***
Tim Holden (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Mark Critz (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Jim Langevin (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Governor -- *** Nikki Haley ***
Senator -- Jim DeMint
*** Tim Scott ***
*** Mick Mulvaney ***
*** Jeff Duncan ***
Governor -- *** Dennis Daugaard ***
Senator -- John Thune
*** Kristi Noem ***
Governor -- *** Bill Haslam ***
*** Chuck Fleischmann ***
*** Scott DesJarlais ***
*** Diane Black ***
*** Stephen Fincher ***
Governor -- Rick Perry
*** Bill Flores ***
*** Quico Canseco ***
*** Blake Farenthold ***
Senator -- *** Mike Lee ***
*** Robert Hurt ***
*** Scott Rigell ***
*** Morgan Griffith ***
*** Jaime Herrera ***
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
*** David McKinley ***
Nick Rahall (**Pro-Life Democrat**)
Governor -- *** Scott Walker ***
Senator -- *** Ron Johnson ***
*** Reid Ribble ***
*** Sean Duffy ***
Governor -- *** Matt Mead ***
Representative -- Cynthia Lummis
Copyright © 2010 by Justin Soutar. All rights reserved. For reprint permissions, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
*** Marco Rubio (Florida) ***
*** Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) ***
*** Rand Paul (Kentucky) ***
*** Rob Portman (Ohio) ***
*** Dan Coats (Indiana) ***
*** Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) ***
*** Roy Blunt (Missouri) ***
*** Jerry Moran (Kansas) ***
*** John Boozman (Arkansas) ***
*** John Hoeven (North Dakota) ***
*** Mike Lee (Utah) ***
Here is a list of pro-life senators who were re-elected.
Jim DeMint (South Carolina)
Johnny Isakson (Georgia)
Richard Shelby (Alabama)
Richard Burr (North Carolina)
Chuck Grassley (Iowa)
David Vitter (Louisiana)
Tom Coburn (Oklahoma)
John Thune (South Dakota)
Mike Crapo (Idaho)
Following is a list of newly elected pro-life governors.
*** John Kasich (Ohio) ***
*** Sam Brownback (Kansas) ***
*** Tom Corbett (Pennsylvania) ***
*** Rick Snyder (Michigan) ***
*** Scott Walker (Wisconsin) ***
*** Rick Scott (Florida) ***
*** Nikki Haley (South Carolina) ***
*** Nathan Deal (Georgia) ***
*** Robert Bentley (Alabama) ***
*** Bill Haslam (Tennessee) ***
*** Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota) ***
*** Mary Fallin (Oklahoma) ***
*** Matt Mead (Wyoming) ***
*** Susana Martinez (New Mexico) ***
Dave Heineman (Nebraska)
Rick Perry (Texas)
Jan Brewer (Arizona)
Butch Otter (Idaho)
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
You need to read my book, America's Back-Door Enemy: Unmasking the Unknown Terrorists, to understand why this is happening. There is a small group of people in the United States and Israel who have been completely passed over in the War on Terrorism. I found out who they are and what they are doing. Like Muslim terrorists, they are religious fanatics. However, they are more sophisticated, more powerful, better financed and more deadly than their Islamic counterparts. These unknown terrorists and their sponsors operate with impunity. They have no conscience and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. And they are viciously attempting to destroy all hope for peace in the Middle East.
Well-researched and written in a clear, concise style, America's Back-Door Enemy lifts the lid on these heretofore anonymous enemies of the United States, Israel and the peoples of the Middle East.
Friday, October 15, 2010
On September 26, 2010, at the age of 89, Father Dubay passed on to his eternal reward. In my opinion, he was one of the greatest theologians this country has ever produced. He had the rare gift of being able to explain deep theological and spiritual matters in very clear and simple terms that the layman could understand. Not only that, but he was an amazingly prolific writer and speaker who wrote more than a dozen books on the spiritual life and recorded hundreds of television programs during his twenty-five years on EWTN. Most importantly, however, I have recently come to realize that Father Dubay was a holy man. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote: "If a man be good and holy, let him pray for us; if he be learned too, then let him teach us." Father Dubay was a great teacher because he believed and lived what he taught.
May he rest in peace.
One improvement in line with goal 3 is that you can now access my Twitter page directly from this page--just click the "Follow Me On Twitter" button beneath my profile. Also, from now on every post will have a "share" button at the bottom to facilitate sharing of the posts among the various social networking websites. I'll be linking more to Twitter from my blog and vice versa. Also, I plan to get into YouTube in the near future and post videos on the blog that catch my interest (and which has to do with both goals 2 and 3).
In addition, I have an announcement to make here of a major change in blog protocol. Starting today and for the next thirty days, I will lift all restrictions on who can comment on my blog posts. Up until now I have only allowed registered users to post comments. From today until November 14, 2010, I will allow comments from anyone on the Internet, including anonymous users. This is just an experiment to see how many comments I get drifting in from the vast ocean of the World Wide Web. Depending on the results of this "open-mic" experiment, I may decide to continue allowing comments from anyone after November 14, or I may revert to the more restrictive system. Either way, I will continue to monitor all comments and will delete anything inappropriate or offensive.
Also, by the end of this year I'll be switching to a new template. This will give Justin's Corner a whole new look that will express the theme of the blog better.
So stay tuned!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
NOAH'S ARK - THIS IS EXTRAORDINARY!!!
Working Replica of Noah's Ark opened In SCHAGEN, Netherlands .
Man Builds Noah's Ark to the exact scale given in the Bible.
The massive central door in the side of Noah's Ark was opened and the first crowd of curious townsfolk beheld the wonder. This replica of the biblical Ark was built by Dutch Creationist Johan Huibers as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible.
The ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That's two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house.
Life-sized models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold.
A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine. Biblical scholars debate exactly what the wood used by Noah would have been.
Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and with occasional help from his son Roy. Construction began in May 2005. On the uncovered top deck .... not quite ready in time for the opening .... will come a petting zoo, with baby lambs and chickens, and goats, and one camel.
Visitors on the first day were stunned.
'It's beyond comprehension', said Mary Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape.
'I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big! ' There is enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film theater where kids can watch a video that tells the story of Noah and his ark. Huibers, a Christian man, said he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where church going has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years.
Now that I am old and gray....give me the time to tell this new generation (and their children too) about all of Your mighty miracles.
In the midst of so much negative news here is a positive story about a devout Christian man wanting to share the story of Noah with this and the next generation hoping he will bring their faith alive. Amazing isn't it?
Yes, it's wonderful to see someone like this undertaking such a project for the greater glory of God. The above story and pictures are making the rounds of the email sphere, and apparently generating a lot of interest. A friend dropped them into my email box, and I decided to share them with my readers who may not have seen the story yet.
By the way, I am a "Catholic Creationist," who also believes in the literal truth of Genesis chapters 1 through 11 in accordance with the Fathers of the Church and traditional Catholic theology. It is my fervent wish to help revive this rich theological doctrine of creation which, as former Cardinal Ratzinger has lamented, has been all but lost in our time. Its revival and rediscovery will enrich our Catholic faith, greatly advance ecumenism and lay the foundation for a correct modern science. It will also give great honor to God our Heavenly Father, the Creator and Origin of all things.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
After alighting at Edinburgh Airport on Thursday, September 16, the first day of his visit, the pope traveled via popemobile to Holyroodhouse Palace for his meeting with the Queen. This was followed by a lunch with Scottish bishops. More than 100,000 Scots--including many schoolchildren--lined the streets along his route, joyfully cheering the Holy Father.
That joyful atmosphere persisted into the evening, when Pope Benedict celebrated Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. A huge crowd of up to 100,000 people filled the venue to participate in this event. In his homily, the pontiff discussed the need for evangelization of culture and the vital importance of faith in society. The latter theme was addressed especially to the UK government and general public throughout his visit.
On Friday, Pope Benedict made history when he became the first pope to set foot in Westminster Hall. This large, handsome building erected in the 1300s has housed England's highest law court for some 700 years. It was here that Saint Thomas More was condemned to death in 1535 for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the Church in England. Inside this historic place, Pope Benedict delivered a masterful speech to the nation's political representatives, intelligentsia, diplomats and religious leaders. He challenged them to examine the basis of their society and noted that faith and reason, Church and state need each other and should work together for the good of civilization.
On Saturday, no fewer than 200,000 well-wishers turned out in the streets of London, waving to the Holy Father as he journeyed from one destination to another. That evening, some 100,000 individuals participated in a prayer vigil with Pope Benedict in Hyde Park in preparation for Cardinal Newman's beatification the following day. The BBC News reported that during his address to the assembled throng, the pontiff remarked that he was happy to see many young people in attendance. The resulting cheers temporarily interrupted his speech.
The major highlight of the pope's visit to England was the long-awaited beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, a famous nineteenth-century Oxford scholar and Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism. Blessed Newman's search for truth and his discovery of it in the Catholic Church points the way for modern Anglicans who desire to return to full communion with Rome. Indeed, many Anglicans are already taking advantage of Pope Benedict's apostolic constitution directed to them, which lays down a set of basic guidelines for their reunion with the Catholic Church. Blessed Newman's heavenly intercession will certainly be pivotal in advancing the cause of Christian unity in his native England.
At the Mass of Beatification on Sunday morning, September 19, the Gospel reading was proclaimed by Deacon Jack Sullivan, a native of the United States who was miraculously healed of a severe back problem through the intercession of Cardinal Newman. This was the type of physical cure which the Church had been awaiting for decades in order to beatify Newman.
A memorable papal departure ceremony took place around six that evening at Birmingham Airport. In his farewell address to the pontiff, UK Prime Minister David Cameron was exceptionally kind and gracious, referring to the visit as "an incredibly moving four days for our country." He stated that His Holiness had posed "searching questions...about our society and how we treat ourselves and each other," and declared: "You have really challenged the whole country to sit up and think."
Such candid words, spoken in a spirit of goodwill by the head of government of a radically secularist European country, are a source of hope. They indicate an openness to the Pope's message and a willingness to do some serious national self-examination. More broadly, they also suggest that the dictatorship of relativism across Western Europe may be less secure than is often thought.
A good deal of negative publicity and virile attacks on Pope Benedict XVI in the British press preceding his visit to the UK had raised fears among many observers, including myself, that the papal visit would be a disaster for the Pope and the Church. Yet it was a great success. As it turns out, the media had focused undue attention on shrill voices of bigotry and hatred aimed at our Holy Father and the Catholic Church, which were representative only of an isolated minority of the British population. Supporters of the Pope far outnumbered protestors on the streets throughout his stay in the UK, with signs reading "We Love Our German Shepherd" visible among the crowds.
British security and police forces really had their act together for the papal visit, ensuring the safety and mobility of our Holy Father throughout his tour. Enclosed in his bulletproof popemobile and surrounded by a fleet of armed security vehicles, the Pope was smoothly whisked from one place to another, with an occasional last-minute detour in his route or slight delay in his arrival at an event to throw off any possible conspirators. Moreover, the government consistently treated the Holy Father with respect during his visit, refraining from attacks on His Holiness or the Catholic Church.
Furthermore, the weather for the pope's visit was as if scripted for the event. London fog retreated and sunny skies prevailed the first two days. On Sunday morning, just before the beatification Mass for Cardinal Newman, a rainbow framed the papal platform. Thick clouds heralded the Pope's departure.
Divine Providence was obviously arranging the details of Pope Benedict XVI's historic state visit to the United Kingdom. The visit was a resounding success, not just because all the details went well, but because the Vicar of Christ achieved his most important goal: reaching the hearts of the people of England and Scotland with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even the British press and government have had to acknowledge that the Pope's visit was a "triumph." I would like to call it a miracle of God's grace. The seeds planted by the visible head of Christ's Church on earth will surely sprout under the influence of the Holy Spirit in the coming years, bringing a new springtime for Christianity to the historic island of Great Britain.
Copyright © 2010 by Justin Soutar. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without the written permission of the author.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
- In Delaware, Christine O'Donnell for the U.S. Senate. (Note that the Senate seat for which O'Donnell is competing was formerly occupied by current U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.)
- In New York, Carl Paladino for state governor.
These candidates join a slew of Republican Senate nominees, most of whom are now leading in the polls:
- Marco Rubio in Florida
- Sharron Angle in Nevada
- Rand Paul in Kentucky
- Ken Buck in Colorado
- Joe Miller in Alaska
I hate to spoil the upbeat attitude of our ElectionWatch coverage with a sour note, but integrity and respect for the truth demand that I do so briefly. Note that a few of the Republican nominees present serious objections for the conscientious voter. For example, I would definitely not vote for Linda McMahon in Connecticut because, although an outsider to Washington, D.C., she is pro-abortion and represents values I disagree with. A few other of the Republican nominees, although definite improvements over the Democratic incumbents they are challenging, do have some drawbacks. For example, Kelly Ayotte, who narrowly won the Republican Senate nomination in New Hampshire, is pro-life but favors allowing abortion in cases of rape or incest. By contrast, Ovide Lamontagne, who narrowly lost nomination, is pro-life "without exception." I would have preferred to see the latter win this Senate nomination. Nonetheless, despite these exceptions, the overall political trend we are witnessing in the United States is a positive one.
Many of the Republican candidates now running for U.S. House and Senate seats, including those named at the top of this post, are outsiders to Washington, D.C., which is quite refreshing. More importantly than that, however, is what they stand for and the quality of their character. Collectively derided as the "Tea Party" and dubbed "right-wing extremists" in the major media, this remarkable group of individuals actually represents the main stream of the American people--a people who are utterly disappointed with the broken promises of the corrupt Obama administration. These new candidates are pro-life, they stand for limited government, and they favor tax cuts to help reinvigorate the economy. Political outsiders, they represent a rising new generation of God-fearing, conscientious statesmen and women who are devoted to public service and determined to make things right in Washington. This historic movement is the Republican Revolution of 2010.
Praised be God, who exalts the humble.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Even more significant, however, would be a Republican takeover of the state's governorship. Strickland is running for a second term with lots of money, political experience and support among his age group; however, he has several strikes against him. He is pro-abortion and has failed to cut taxes during the worst economic recession in 40 years. Strickland faces a good challenge from pro-life Republican candidate John Kasich. Both gubernatorial candidates have picked women as their running mates for lieutenant governor: Strickland has chosen Yvette Brown, while Kasich has selected Mary Taylor, the current state auditor. I don't know anything about Brown, but Taylor appears to be pro-life and is also an advocate for homeschooling.
Another reason why Ohio will be an interesting state to watch on election night is that it serves as a barometer of the country as a whole. Unlike most states, Ohio's population is split pretty evenly between Republicans and Democrats, city and country folk. As Ohio goes, so goes the nation. A recent poll of registered voters in the Buckeye State showed the needle tipped way over to the Republican side there, with 75 percent of Republicans determined to vote compared to 56 percent of Democrats. It looks like a powerful storm is brewing for Democratic politicians in Washington. If Republicans take over Ohio, including the governorship, it will spell definite bad news for the Obama administration in 2012.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
"The very least a loyal son of his country can do is to cast his vote for good men." --Father F. X. Lasance, The Young Man's Guide, p. 446
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa. Her powerful witness of Christ's love for the poorest of the poor has touched the hearts of all people of good will throughout the world.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
August 11, 2010: Four Republican outsiders to Washington, D.C. have now been nominated to the U.S. Senate: Ken Buck in Colorado, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Marco Rubio in Florida and Sharron Angle in Nevada.
August 17, 2010: In a Reuters/Ipsos poll of likely Kentucky voters, Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul led his Democratic opponent Jack Conway 45 percent to 40 percent.
August 25, 2010: In Alaska, polls showed Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller holding a slight lead over incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. Miller has the support of Sarah Palin.
Also in Arizona, longtime Republican Senator John McCain has been nominated for a fifth term. He had lost the 2008 presidential election to Barack Obama.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
In one hour, I saw six meteors zip across the sky quick as a flash, all radiating from the direction of the constellation Perseus. Five of them left vapor trails in their wake that lingered for up to a second. Four of them were as bright or brighter than the planet Jupiter. In addition to these bright and fast meteors, I observed at least ten of the slower, dimmer kind track across the sky. It was like the sky was crawling with meteors. There were periods in which I couldn't go for more than a minute or two without seeing one. It was great fun!
Praise God for a thrilling celestial fireworks show.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
These eruptions are associated with sunspots, magnetically polarized regions of the sun's surface that are ironically cooler than the surrounding surface area, often having temperatures of only 10,000 degrees F. A coronal mass ejection sends a concentrated stream of electromagnetically charged particles into space that can travel for many millions of miles. When these particles collide with earth, they interact with the planet's magnetic field in the exosphere --the outermost layer of earth's atmosphere -- high above the north and south poles, generating beautiful displays of colored lights in the polar night skies known in the Northern Hemisphere as the aurora borealis, or northern lights. A large solar flare may even cause the northern lights to be seen at temperate mid-northern latitudes, although the display will be significantly dimmer and more subtle here.
Such bursts of solar energy are a regular feature of the sun, but every so often an unusually powerful burst will occur. NASA's Solar Dymanics Observatory, a spacecraft launched to study the sun, recorded four such bursts on August 1. These coronal mass ejections, traveling at speeds of over 1 million miles per hour, reached the earth three days later on the evening of August 4. The result was a spectacular aurora borealis display over earth's northern polar regions. The show extended as far south as the 45th parallel of latitude, and was seen by people in the northern United States.
Because coronal mass ejections occur at irregular intervals, astronomers cannot predict their occurrence. However, a large solar flare is an event typically observed by astronomers once
every one and a half years. Previous such events occurred in 2008, 2005 and 2003.
When you hear about a large solar flare in the news, check the night sky in the days following the event to see if you can see an auroral display. Be sure to observe from a location with a dark sky and an unobstructed northern horizon.
I myself have seen the aurora borealis on two separate occasions from my home in Ohio. The first was in October 2003, when I saw a green glow above the horizon and observed subtle red curtains of light waving high in the northern sky. My second sighting was of an even more subtle event in May 2005, when I merely noticed that the usual yellowish-white glow of distant city lights bore a greenish tinge. Although neither show was spectacular compared to the displays visible in polar regions, I was thrilled to be able to see them because of their rarity at midnorthern latitudes and because they were the first two times I ever witnessed the aurora borealis. I missed out on seeing the most recent extraordinary auroral event because I did not live far enough north to see it, but I will keep my eye open for future such events.
Copyright © 2010 by Justin Soutar. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without the written permission of the author.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Some might say that this is a sought-after coin series and I should get in on the ground floor. All the same, I can't bring myself to pay $100.00 for $15.00 worth of coins. It may also be true that the market value of these limited edition coins will skyrocket twenty or thirty years from now. Nonetheless, even if my collection were to go up ten times in value and I were to sell it for that much, I would not earn much more than the Danbury Mint originally charged me for it. Bottom line: This is a great deal for the Danbury Mint and a ripoff for customers. If I want a roll of these shiny new quarters, I can get it at face value from the bank.
By the way, I haven't even collected all fifty of the recent state quarter series yet, which is my favorite American coin series.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I cannot say enough about this outstanding encyclical. It is a priceless gift to the Church and humanity, and I have only given a poor summary of its rich contents here. I am planning to write more articles about it in the near future. In the meantime, if you like you can check out a piece I've already written about it entitled A New Vision of Globalization, which is in the list of published articles in my blog sidebar.
Monday, July 5, 2010
In 2006 I purchased an HP Pavilion a1510n desktop computer with a 200 gigabyte hard drive for my work, which was mostly writing and a little AutoCAD drafting. It turned out to be a very reliable machine that met my expectations, serving me well for four years. I expected it to last about that length of time before going "kaput" and forcing me to buy a new PC. Well, I'd noticed over the past several months or so that it was taking longer to boot up when I turned it on every day. I knew that this was happening because I was adding more and more programs and files to the hard drive, but somehow it never dawned on me to do anything about it. I figured that with the 200 gigabyte hard drive I still had plenty of storage space. So one day last month, I unplugged my computer to protect it from possible damage by a severe thunderstorm. When I plugged it back in, it wouldn't boot up properly, but kept trying to restart itself over and over. I took it to a repair shop, hoping the motherboard or some lesser component was the culprit and I'd be able to recover my files from the hard drive. It turned out that the computer's hard drive had gone bad and that none of my files were retrievable. I lost more than 700 pictures, but thankfully I had nearly all of my important files backed up on CDs. I asked the technician how much it would be to replace the old hard drive with a new one of 167 to 200 gigabyte capacity and he quoted me $300.00. He recommended buying a new computer. I called HP and asked how much they would charge to put in a new hard drive, and they quoted me $500.00. I priced comparable PCs and found the new HP Pavilion p6550z for only $450.00. Buying a new computer looked like the thing to do, especially considering that I paid $600.00 four years ago for a computer with only half the capabilities of the latest model. But before forking over the cash, I decided to call one other repair shop I knew of further away with an excellent reputation and ask the technician there his price for installing a new 200-gigabyte hard drive. He said he could put a new one in in three hours for $150.00, or for just ten more dollars he could put in a 500-gigabyte hard drive, with a three-year warranty either way. Sold! I took my PC to his shop and he installed a new hard drive with 500 gigabytes. I ended up having to wait five and a half hours, but figured it was worth it to get my PC working again. I didn't want anything fancy, just the basic capabilities I needed for my work. When I returned home and set up the computer, I was quite pleased with the result--I found it not only worked, it ran faster and better than it ever did before. Within a day or so I had all my programs reinstalled and was back in business. The thing runs like a champ now with the new 500 gigabyte hard drive. It feels like having a new computer, and all for the fraction of the cost of a new computer.
I learned one valuable lesson from the technician at the first repair shop. He hinted that putting lots of pictures on a hard drive is a recipe for a crash, even if the drive seems to have a lot of space. I did have an awful lot of pictures on there, so that must have been a precipitating factor in the crash. From now on I will store most of my pictures on CDs rather than on the computer's hard drive. Another lesson I learned is that getting your old computer fixed--especially if it's just one component that's bad--can be preferable to buying a new computer. I'm quite happy with my repaired PC and look forward to using it for many additional years.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I'm not sure why he is sometimes referred to as St. Justin Martyr. Perhaps it's to distinguish him from several other saints named Justin who lived around the same time, but were not martyred. In any case, he's one of my favorite saints and a patron of this blog.
Note: The word "apologist" comes from a Greek word apologia, meaning "speech." Justin wrote his speeches and delivered them in front of the emperor much as a defendant's attorney would at a modern trial.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Agape, or selfless altruism, presents a major challenge for the evolutionist. It is quite frankly a scandal to reductionist reasoning. It cannot be accounted for by the drive of individual selfish genes to perpetuate themselves. Quite the contrary: it may lead humans to make sacrifices that lead to great personal suffering, injury, or death, without any evidence of benefit. And yet, if we carefully examine that inner voice we sometimes call conscience, the motivation to practice this kind of love exists within all of us, despite our frequent efforts to ignore it.
--Dr. Francis Collins, The Language of God, p. 27.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
The results of these Senate primary elections are the latest in a string of disasters for the Obama administration since late 2009, including the election of Republican governors in New Jersey and Virginia, the election of a Republican senator in Massachusetts and the decisions of several incumbent Democratic senators not to seek re-election in 2010.
As Rand Paul said after his nomination, this is democracy at work. The American people are telling Washington in no uncertain terms that they've had it with abortion, big government, high taxes and a dragging economy. A Republican Revolution is underway!
I don't care if they call me a tea-party activist. I'm excited to see these developments! They are paving the way for the kind of changes our country needs.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
This past week I received a series of messages from the Catholic League about an interesting story that is developing concerning the Empire State Building and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Given all this, it is fitting that in the year marking the 100th anniversary of her birth, Mother Teresa should receive special public honors in countries all over the world, and particularly in countries that cherish the values of human life and dignity which she unstintingly upheld. Now here is how the story begins from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, May 12, 2010:
On August 26, the U.S. Postal Service is honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa. On February 2, I submitted an application to the Empire State Building Lighting Partners requesting that the tower lights feature blue and white, the colors of Mother Teresa's congregation, the Missionaries of Charity, on August 26. On May 5, the request was denied without explanation.
Mother Teresa received 124 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Freedom. She built hundreds of orphanages, hospitals, hospices, health clinics, homeless shelters, youth shelters and soup kitchens all over the world, and is revered in India for her work. She created the first hospice in Greenwich Village for AIDS patients. Not surprisingly, she was voted the most admired woman in the world three years in a row in the mid-1990s. But she is not good enough to be honored by the Empire State Building.
Last year the Empire State Building shone in red and yellow lights to honor the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Revolution. Yet under its founder, Mao Zedong, the Communists killed 77 million people. In other words, the greatest mass murderer in history merited the same tribute being denied to Mother Teresa.
We are launching a nationwide petition drive protesting this indefensible decision (TO SIGN THE PETITION, Click here). We are petitioning Anthony Malkin, the owner of the Empire State Building, to reverse this decision.
To protest this decision, contact: email@example.com
Daniel Hernandez, a PR specialist hired by the Empire State Building, has a nice job: he was hired to say he doesn't know anything. When asked by Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, an investigative journalist reporting for Fox News, about the decision to stiff Mother Teresa, he repeatedly said "there is no issue here." Oblivious to the obvious—why would a reporter call about a non-issue—he continued by saying he has been directed not to comment. The reporter then noted, as we did earlier, that it is ironic that the Empire State Building paid tribute to the 60th anniversary of the genocidal Chinese Communist regime last fall, but won't honor the saintly nun. Hernandez parroted, "I'm only telling you what I've been directed to say."
Imagine a spokesman for the Vatican responding to a reporter about an indefensible decision made by a cardinal, and all he offers is, "there is no issue here." Better yet, imagine him saying, "I'm only telling you what I've been directed to say," and expecting the reporters to simply walk away disappointed.
One wonders what world the elites who run the Empire State Building live in. Besides siding with the Communists and dissing Catholics, they are just plain stupid. If they think they can ride this out, they have no idea what they are dealing with.
To sign our petition, click here
Also, contact Melanie Maasch, the PR rep at the Empire State Building who hired Hernandez to say nothing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, as stated in a press release on May 14, the Catholic League announced "the start of a worldwide campaign protesting the decision by officials from the Empire State Building to deny Mother Teresa the honor of having her blue and white colors shine from the tower on August 26, the 100th anniversary of her birth." According to the press release, Bill Donohue has written letters to the Missionaries of Charity all over the world asking them to join in a protest-letter drive, "the first of many such campaigns that will run through the summer, if necessary." To sign the petition, click here. To register a protest, e-mail Melanie Maasch at the Empire State Building, email@example.com. To contact Anthony Malkin, write to him at Malkin Properties, One Grand Central Place 60, E. 42nd St., NY, NY 10165
It's hard to argue why Mother Teresa shouldn't receive this honor, which is why the lighting staff of the Empire State Building is not even attempting to defend their position. They have no good reason for refusing to do this, which is why God's Irish bulldog is going after them. Believe me, you don't want to mix it up with Bill Donohue!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
In 2001 the US went into Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban regime and chased Osama bin Laden out of his cherished hiding place. So far so good. But one problem is that the Taliban never really went away. Its ringleaders regrouped, recruited thousands of new followers from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, and returned to the heart of Afghanistan to wage an ongoing guerrilla war against US troops. Now the Taliban movement is a force of many thousand strong with a permanent base in Pakistan. Another problem is that Osama bin Laden has apparently been hiding out in Pakistan for years, aiding and abetting the Taliban with his prodigious financial resources and anti-American speechmaking capabilities. In fact, the Taliban has supplanted al-Qaeda as the world's most notorious terrorist entity. This is really not surprising, since the two organizations are closely related; both are rooted in Islamic extremist doctrine; both originated in Afghanistan and have received steady support from bin Laden; even their insignia are almost identical. Why is bin Laden still at large and continuing to fund and support terrorism after all this time?
You'll find some answers to these perplexing questions in America's Back-Door Enemy. I spent years writing this book. Probing beneath the headlines, I tried to gather all the information I could about terrorism and present it in a single, coherent, readable book so that the average person could gain a better understanding of terrorism and the War on Terrorism. In doing so, I discovered an enemy behind the enemy: Traitors to our country, right here in the United States; agents of a foreign power attempting to subvert and destroy our nation. Their wicked religious extremist movement helped bring international Islamic terrorism into existence, and it is essential for the United States to destroy their movement in order to destroy Islamic terrorism. I published this urgent information about a secret enemy for the good of my country, because I love my country. I hope it will do some good. If you're interested, you can find the book in the right-hand sidebar of this blog by scrolling down just a bit from the top.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I believe that the forces of life and the desires for communion are greater than the forces of death and hatred. At some moment in each of our lives there is an event that calls us to freedom and openness. At that point of epiphany we want to get out of the hole of depression and anger. We realize that we are imprisoned in ourselves or in our group, finding it difficult to relate to others....
To open up to others implies not only an awareness of our own fears, darkness, and brokenness, but also the presence of a light, a love, and an energy that will give the desire to move forwards to openness and not let ourselves be controlled by the darkness.
-- Jean Vanier
Monday, April 19, 2010
"Habemus Papam!" -- "We have a pope!"
A Happy 5th Anniversary, with prayers and best wishes for our beloved Holy Father, Benedict XVI.
Friday, April 16, 2010
As Father Corapi's amazing life and fruitful ministry have been, his autobiography will surely be a powerful testament to the fact that God's Name is Mercy, and that His infinite mercy is strikingly evident in every twist and turn of our lives. I will be watching for this book, and I can't wait to read it when it comes out--late this year or early next, according to predictions.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
When the sun is shining, temperatures are pleasant and everything green is starting to sprout and grow, it makes you want to get outside and do some gardening. Spring has come early this year, but even if the weather is a little premature, it still has the same effect on us. As a result of unusually mild conditions in this area last month, (followed by summerlike conditions in early April,) I started working in my garden unusually early, in March. It seems strange to be outside sweating under a cooking sun when the threat of frost and cold nights is still very real, and it's too early to plant summer vegetables. Climate change is doing some interesting things to our weather.
One of the predictions of climate change scientists is that global warming will not simply produce overall warmer weather for the planet, but more extreme weather. This prediction has been borne out in the last few years all over this country and the world: increased rainfall in some areas, decreased rainfall in others; colder and drier winters in some places, snowier winters in others; bigger hurricanes, hotter summers, etc. Some of these changes have not caused any apparent major negative effects in the regions where they are taking place; other have led to serious problems for millions of people, as for example the severe droughts in parts of Africa causing widespread famine there.
However, we should not become overly alarmed about these changes that are occurring. In his book The Weather Makers, one particular climate change expert--author Tim Flannery-- has mixed a wealth of interesting research and data on the subject of climate change with a number of major scientific, historical and logical errors. For example, Flannery presents incontrovertible evidence that our planet has been warming up over the past fifty years. But when it comes to the cause of this warming trend, Flannery places the blame squarely on increased human population and fossil-fuel activity and rules out all possible natural causes. In a related error, Flannery claims that the current warmup is without precedent in human history. Both of these flimsy myths can be deconstructed rather easily.
It is a well-accepted fact that the burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which trap the Sun's heat in Earth's atmosphere and contribute to global warming. However, to place the blame for the current warming entirely on this process is incorrect. Earth's temperature does fluctuate slightly over periods of decades and centuries; these slight variations are natural, and have nothing to do with human activity or the lack thereof on Earth. For instance, in Medieval Europe, an Ice Age was followed by the Medieval Warm Period, during which Greenland was warm enough for Leif Ericson to establish colonies and plant vineyards there. This fact of the historical record, known to legions of schoolchildren, is casually dismissed by Flannery as "bunk." (p. 44)
It is obvious that natural causes must have been responsible for the Medieval Warm Period; the human population and burning of fossil fuels then were a fraction of their values today, and far too insignificant to affect the Earth's climate. And if this is so, then natural causes may be primarily responsible for the warm period we are currently beginning to experience. Flannery downplays the importance of such cause and effect relationships as "an unhelpful way of thinking." (p. 162)
Flannery's book is useful for the scientific research it contains on global warming, changes in Earth's climate, and the effects of both on various ecosystems (notably the Great Barrier Reef) during the last five decades. But its author fundamentally errs in attributing the warming entirely to greenhouse gases produced by modern human civilization, and ignoring natural causes altogether. After all, the greatest and most powerful natural influence on Earth's weather and climate is beyond our planet: the Sun itself. There is a strong correlation between recent changes in solar activity, observed and documented by astronomers, and changes in Earth's climate documented during the same period.
We should do what we can to take care of our planet, including reducing our pollution of Earth's atmosphere with greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, but at the same time we should be aware that Earth is going through a natural warming cycle that must play itself out regardless.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
This evening I was watching a talk on DVD by Father Corapi from his classic series "Immortal Combat," in which Father mentioned the importance of always coming as a servant for others in humility. This jogged my memory about something I had intended to post during Holy Week but didn't get around to posting. It was a quote from an obscure abbot who was a friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux that I felt was an appropriate meditation for "the Week that changed the world." I am posting it now, because its timeless message is a good reminder for all Christians of the heart of their faith, regardless of the time of year.
What could be more just than that you should serve Him by whom you were created, without whom you cannot exist; and what could be more blessed or more sublime than to serve Him? To serve Him is to reign. "I will not serve," man says to his Creator. "Then I will serve you," his Creator says to man. "You sit down, I will minister, I will wash your feet. You rest; I will bear your weariness, your infirmities. Use Me as you like in all your needs, not only as your slave but also as your beast of burden and as your property. If you are tired or burdened I will carry both you and your burden, so that I may be the first to keep My own law."
"Bear one another's burdens," we read, "and so you will fulfill the law of Christ."
--Blessed Guerric of Igny
Monday, April 5, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
As John McCain aptly put it, "It's hard to reach across the aisle when you're sitting that far to the left."
On Tuesday, President Obama signed the health care legislation, his pride and joy, into law.
The American people hate it. Not a single Republican in Congress voted for it.
I thought this was the man who was supposed to bring the country together. So much for the false promises of a false Messiah.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
"There are fiscally responsible ways by which we can reform healthcare and
expand quality coverage that do not involve the forcing of unfunded and
unprecedented mandates onto individuals and states, and the unsustainable
growing of our national debt."
--Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
"This is your hour, and the power of darkness." (St. Luke 22:53)
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." (St. Luke 23:34)
Our elected representatives have betrayed us, but even worse, they have betrayed the innocent unborn child in the womb. They have told lies instead of the truth; they have condoned murder over respect for human life. They have chosen injustice over justice, and put personal gain ahead of the common good.
Worst of all is the betrayal of Jesus in this hour. Two thousand years ago, the Son of God was betrayed by Judas, one of His own disciples -- in exchange for a bag of money. Today He is betrayed by Nancy Pelosi, who also claims to be one of His own -- in exchange for very much the same thing.
We have done what we can to prevent this from happening. Now we must be at peace, because we have done the right thing and tried to get our national civil authorities to do the same.
"If I say to the wicked man, You shall surely die; and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man, yet he has not turned away from his evil nor from his wicked conduct, then he shall die for his sin, but you shall save your life." (Ezek. 3:18-19)
We must also accept God's Will in permitting this to happen, and trust in Him for the future, because He has a plan. Our elected representatives may not know what they are doing, but God knows what He is doing. He is allowing evil a temporary triumph, because in the end it must suffer a complete, humiliating and crushing defeat.
The timing of this event in the latter part of Lent is more than coincidental. Something much deeper than a political reality is at work here: a moral and spiritual reality. "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places." (Eph. 6:12)
We are in a war, a spiritual war that is escalating, a war in which we will ultimately be victorious--if we remain faithful. The final victory over evil will come at the end of the world, when Jesus returns in glory to inaugurate the Last Judgment of all mankind. As the Just Judge, He will assign eternal rewards to righteous individuals and sentence eternal punishments to evildoers.
"These will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matt. 25:46)
Those who do evil will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD will possess the land. (Ps. 37:9)
Truly the evil man shall not go unpunished, but those who are just shall escape. (Prov. 11:21)
The Bible is very clear about what will happen to unrepentant workers of iniquity. "He shall remember their iniquity and punish their sins." (Hosea 9:9)
"My foes will be terrified and disgraced; all will fall back in sudden shame." (Ps. 6:11)
For the evil man has no future, the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (Prov. 24:20)
"As the tongue of fire licks up stubble, as dry grass shrivels in the flame, Even so their root shall become rotten and their blossom scatter like dust." (Isa. 5:24)
"Just as weeds are collected and burned (up) with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth." (Matt. 13:40-42)
Just as Jesus triumphed over sin, death and the Devil by rising from the dead on Easter Sunday, the victorious apocalyptic Lamb (Rev. 5-7, 17:14) will definitively triumph over all the evil in the world on Judgment Day.
We await that Day in joyful hope.