In recent weeks, Chinese and western media have been all atwitter over the shocking levels of air pollution in Beijing and a number of other Chinese cities. But it really shouldn’t be all that shocking. After all, in 2007, the World Bank and China’s own State Environmental Protection Administration (now the Ministry of Environmental Protection) found that that as many as 750,000 people die prematurely in China annually from respiratory disease related to air pollution. And more recently, Greenpeace Beijing reported that in 2011 in four major cities, more than 8,000 people died prematurely as a result of just one pollutant, PM 2.5. Anyone who spends any time in Beijing knows that the city has not yet found a way to tackle the myriad sources of air pollution from construction to cars to coal.
As frightening as the country’s smog-filled skies might be, the country’s water pollution is easily as alarming. According to one 2012 report, “up to 40 percent of China’s rivers were seriously polluted” and “20 percent were so polluted their water quality was rated too toxic even to come into contact with.” Part of the explanation may rest in the “estimated 10,000 petrochemical plants along the Yangtze and 4000 along the Yellow Rivers.” (And the Yellow and Yangtze are not even the most polluted of China’s seven major rivers.)
English-speaking jihadis seen in Mali, as a Canadian is reported to have co-ordinated Algeria attack
Canada is today investigating an allegation by the Algerian Prime Minister that one of its citizens co-ordinated the terror raid at the Saharan gas plant in which dozens of hostages were killed.
Westerners, including a man with blond hair and blue eyes, are believed to have been among the Islamist militants who launched last week’s attack on the Tigantourine complex near Algeria’s border with Libya.
A French jihadist, previously unknown to authorities, and two Canadians are suspected to have been involved in the hostage-taking, and reports also claim that a man with a Western accent was among the extremists who lured terrified gas workers from their rooms during the hostage crisis.
The planet Jupiter and Earth’s moon will star is a dazzling spectacle in the night sky tonight, weather permitting. But even if bad weather spoils your view, you can see celestial show live online in a free webcast.
Jupiter and the moon will appear just a finger-width apart tonight (Jan. 21) for stargazers across North America. In South America, some observers may even see Jupiter slip behind the moon in an amazing occultation. The extreme close encounter between the planet and moon is a must-see, even if clouds block your view.
The online skywatching website Slooh Space Camera will provide free telescope views of Jupiter’s encounter with the moon during a 30-minute webcast that begins at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT). You can watch the webcast of Jupiter and the moon on SPACE.com here tonight.
Slooh president Patrick Paolucci, astronomer Bob Berman of Astronomy Magazine and astro-imager Matt Francis of the Prescott Observatory will present the live views of Jupiter and the moon.
“By good fortune, the Great Red Spot will be traveling across the middle of Jupiter’s disk during Slooh’s live broadcast,” Slooh officials said. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a colossal storm at least twice the size of Earth that has been observed on Jupiter since the 1600s.
Jupiter and the moon will appear at their closest at different times depending on your viewing location, according to Sky & Telescope magazine. In Eastern North America, it will occur at 11:30 p.m. EST while further inland it occurs at 10 p.m. CST. Moving westward, the peak viewing time will be at 8:30 p.m. MST for stargazers in the Mountain Time Zone, while West Coast observers should look up at 7 p.m. PST.
There is even a chance for stargazers to see Jupiter in daylight, magazine officials said.
“You’ll also get an opportunity to attempt an unusual feat: spotting Jupiter in the late afternoon, before the sun sets,” says Tony Flanders, associate editor at Sky & Telescope magazine and host of SkyWeek on PBS. “First locate the moon medium-high in the east; then look a few moon-widths left or lower left of the moon for Jupiter. It should be easy to spot with binoculars if the air is clear.”
More seasoned amateur astronomers with good telescopes may want to search for Jupiter’s moon Europa with their telescopes. The icy moon will cross in front of Jupiter as seen from Earth tonight between 8:13 p.m. to 10:37 p.m. EST (5:13 to 7:37 p.m. PST/ 0113 and 0337 GMT). Europa’s shadow on the moon will cross Jupiter a bit later, from 10:22 p.m. to 12:46 a.m. EST (7:22 to 9:46 p.m. PST/0322 to 0546 GMT), magazine officials said.
There is one more bright object to check out during tonight’s cosmic display: the bright star Aldebaran. The star will shin to the lower left of Jupiter throughout the evening. The star clusters Hyades and Pleiades also promise to dazzle, according to Sky & Telescope.
While Jupiter and the moon will appear extremely close to each other in the night sky, tonight’s event won’t be the last for the two objects. On March 17, Jupiter and the moon will have another change to appear to have a celestial encounter.
Editor’s note: If you snap an amazing photo of Jupiter and the moon, or any other night sky view, that you’d like to share for a possible story or image gallery, send photos, comments and your name and location to managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The add-on fee trend among the nation’s airlines continues as Southwest Airlines announced Monday a new $40 fee to let passengers board early.
Southwest, the nation’s most popular domestic carrier, already charges $10 for its Early Bird Check-In service, which improves a passenger’s position in the boarding queue.
But the new $40 fee guarantees that passengers get to be among the first 15 in line, letting them stow away carry-on bags in the overhead bin and pick seats with more legroom.
The new boarding option can be purchased at the gate, up to 45 minutes before boarding, and only when space is available, according to Southwest officials.
The fee was tested at the San Diego International Airport last month.
The fee is one of dozens that airlines began to add to regular fares in the past five years—so many that such fees now represent 10% to 30% of all revenue for most of the nation’s largest airlines.
In 2012, the world’s biggest airlines collected a combined $36.1 billion in revenue for food, drinks, wireless Internet service, roomier seats and checked bags, among other charges, according to an industry analysis.
NOTE: Whole article posted!
More: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King would be spinning in his grave if he knew how he was being exploited by the bigots, Jew-haters, racists, demagogues he fought so hard against. If only those who so egregiously use him would heed his words and wisdom.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was an opponent of the jihad against Israel. While there are some disputed quotations circulating in this connection, here are some key and authenticated MLK quotes. Take them to heart today:
(a bunch of fake quotes)
Well, as it so happens, I own the website where Pamela (& her sidekick Poison Shorty) claims these quotes are “authenticated.” In 1999, back in the dawn of Teh Interwebz, “Letter to an Anti Zionist Friend” was circulating on Usenet and in SPAM emails. One of the very first debunkings done by CAMERA (before they turned into a propaganda spam machine) was proving that this “Letter” was never published in the Saturday Review, and never written by MLK.
Anyone clicking from Pam’s site, or Jihadwatch, or anywhere, will find this message:
It has been brought to our attention that this page is being linked by some questionable sites. Therefore we have removed all quotes and reminiscences that we have not been able to personally verify.
Jewish-History.com has attempted to track down the source of this Internet hoax and find out who could have composed this bogus letter, without success. There is no evidence that Dr. King uttered these words at a speech given at Harvard, and whether or not he may have said something like this to someone in a private conversation is impossible to verify.
The hoax appears to have originated with either Marc Schneier or Michael Salberg in spite of vehement denials from CAMERA and the ADL. Somebody obviously thought it would be cool to make up a bogus MLK quote in support of a cause that he may or may not have endorsed.
We warn everyone to be wary of “quotes” from famous people that they may encounter on the Internet.
Unfortunately, the communication from CAMERA, which we received in 1999, also contained a number of unverified, bogus quotes attempting desperately to link MLK to the cause of Israel. Look, we know that he had a bunch of Jewish friends, but he had his own battles. He did not have the time or the energy to embrace someone else’s agenda. We have removed those quotes from our website and apologize to anyone who may have been misled by them.
I am deeply sorry that I did not check my referer logs earlier, or correct the letter that I received 14 years ago from CAMERA which debunked the “Letter” but then included a bunch of other fake quotes.
UPDATE: Pamela is no longer linking to Jewish-history.com, but has replaced Authenticated MLK Quotes with three links to three different sites (all of which rely on the same sources which I removed from Jewish-history.com as unreliable). Musta done a bunch of frantic drunk Googling.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger interviewed him recently, and the points he makes are an excellent reminder that the abortions happen in the real world— they’re not just some theoretical thing that whores and lazy sluts do for fun.
It may seem odd that he would have switched sides in the debate halfway through his 20 year career, but when asked why he changed his mind, Parker explains that it was seeing his patients face impossible situations. He says,
I saw the dilemmas that women found themselves in. And I could no longer weigh the life of a pre-viable or lethally flawed fetus equally with the life of the woman sitting before me.
Amen to that, but it’s worth remembering that Parker isn’t just talking to anti-abortion activists and lawmakers here, he’s also addressing those on the pro-choice side of things who have, in the course of debates over laws restricting access, opted to concede later-term abortions as a way of securing other kinds of access. He makes a valid point:
[C]onversations that feel like progress actually end up with restrictions in place on women in desperate circumstances. They don’t reduce unintended pregnancies, they don’t create more access to medically accurate sex education and modern forms of contraception — but they do result in restrictions and rules that push women to desperate measures.
While it’s obviously a messy process, and it would certainly be ideal if pro-choicers didn’t have to cede anything, it’s true that these decisions do have dire consequences for the people most in need. Of course, none of this would even be an issue if we all were able to look at the realities of abortion and allow access to the real people who need it to address real problems instead of writing incredibly restrictive laws that deal with a mythical land where everything is black and white. But until that changes, at least we have people like Dr. Parker who are willing to not only speak out for what they believe in but also take on great personal risk in order to give their patients the care they need.
Yep, we are all going to Hell.
Oh, come on, you guys. How many times are we going to chase this dumb rabbit around the track? In Medieval Europe they literally banned certain intervals because only the devil could have birthed such suggestive dissonance. Depression-era jazz clubs were incessantly raided by police, because only dope fiends and scarlet women would taint their ears with such indecent caterwauling. Yesterday’s devil’s music is today’s hold music.
Are we also worried that beatniks are hiding jazz cigarettes in fun-size candy bar wrappers? When your son leaves the condo, does he re-buckle his knickerbockers below the knee? Have you checked your dumbwaiter for libertines!?!? I thought we’d outgrown this kind of reactionary silliness by now. But ‘kay. Better keep your kids away from those dastardly hippy-hoppers with their snoopy-poop sag-pants.
Here’s a quote the study itself:
The results showed that early fans of different types of rock (eg, rock, heavy metal, gothic, punk), African American music (rhythm and blues, hip-hop), and electronic dance music (trance, techno/hardhouse) showed elevated minor delinquency concurrently and longitudinally. Preferring conventional pop (chart pop) or highbrow music (classic music, jazz), in contrast, was not related to or was negatively related to minor delinquency.
Look. I understand that this study doesn’t have a conscious agenda, per se; it’s simply pointing out that musical preferences might be a correlative indicator of delinquent behavior, not a cause. The “non-mainstream” behavior influences the “non-mainstream” musical choices, not the other way around. But the methodology betrays a pretty clear bias against almost every genre of non-mainstream music (it may as well have been authored by my great-grandpa’s ear horn), as well as a myopic disregard for factors like socioeconomic status or education or instability at home, which could provide much more cogent insight into teenage delinquency. Clearly I can’t fault them for not doing a study they didn’t set out to do—I get it—but I can discuss the way we discuss studies like this, and the cultural ethos behind that discussion. We cool? Okay.
Pop music is made by people with no problems for people with no problems. Teenagers who listen ONLY to pop music are invested in conformity (also, are there really teens who like pop but don’t listen to ANY “African American music”? What strange Dutchman drew these lines?). Teenagers who listen only to jazz and classical are band nerds. Everyone else is just everyone else. Rates of delinquency are higher among people who aren’t either camped outside the Tacoma Dome to see Justin Bieber or praying their clarinet choir makes it to regionals? You don’t say. Maybe that’s because that group encompasses pretty much all people. And guess what—I just did a study in my head and found that 100% of juvenile delinquents are, in fact, people.
Do you know what other group of people strayed from the mainstream? Anyone who did anything worthwhile ever.
No, the study doesn’t say that hip-hop causes violence, but it enables stupid people who want to say that hip-hop causes violence. It feeds into insulting, rickety misconceptions like the idea that there’s no artistry in electronic music or that rappers rap because they lack actual talent (it’s just talking, isn’t it?). Misconceptions like those dismiss the artistic efforts of all musicians everywhere who are trying to enrich the world by creating something new. Something meaningful.
This article offers a few new details, and a Scribd document at the end shows the original statement of probable cause. The warning about graphic details refers to that document.
A statement of probable cause filed in connection with the murder of five people Saturday in the South Valley says the 15-year-old suspect initially told people at his church that his family had been killed in a car crash and were laying dead inside the home.
Bernalillo County deputies say instead that Nehemiah Griego had shot and killed his father, mother and three young siblings inside their home with weapons he found in his parent’s closet.
They say it appear the younger Griego killed his family, then drove to Calvary Church.
After hearing his stories, church officials didn’t believe him and instead called police.
Griego said he had been having homicidal and suicidal thoughts, and so around midnight on Saturday, he got a .22 caliber rifle from his parents closet and shot his mother in the head, killing her.
His nine year old brother was sleeping next to her. His brother became upset when he woke up, so Griego shot him in the head, killing him.
He said his sisters were crying and he shot both of them in the head, killing them.
Griego said he then got an AR-15 rifle from his parent’s closet and waited in a bathroom until his father arrived home at about 5 a.m. He then shot his father multiple times, killing him.
A comprhensive report regarding the use of the Bible in Public Schools in Texas. It’s refreshing that it is written by a profession from SMU—a Christian University. Showing that there are sane Christians.
Reading,Writing &Religion II
Texas Public School Bible Courses in 2011 – 12
By Mark A. Chancey
Professor of Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University
The state of Texas now has a specific law on
teaching about the Bible in public schools. In 2007
the Legislature passed House Bill 1287 , which
inserted into the Texas Education Code a provision
allowing districts to offer ‘elective courses on the
Bible’s Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament.’ The
law also includes a directive mandating that ‘each
school district that offers kindergarten through
grade 12’ include in its required curriculum
attention to ‘religious literature, including the
Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and New
Testament, and its impact on history and literature.’
That requirement could be met in any required
course, including social studies and English classes.
Texas is not alone in having a Bible course law;
Georgia (2006), Tennessee (2008), Oklahoma (2010),
and Arizona (2012) have likewise all passed similar
bills. In addition to these laws, which encourage
on-campus Bible courses, some states (such as South
Carolina) have statutes explicitly allowing students
to receive academic credit for Bible courses taken off
Long before this recent legislative activity, the U. S.
Supreme Court addressed the question of whether
students could learn about the Bible in public
schools. Nearly 50 years ago, the court commented
in Abington Township School District v. Schempp that
It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy
of study for its literary and historic qualities.
Nothing we have said here indicates that
such study of the Bible or of religion, when
presented objectively as part of a secular
program of education, may not be effected
consistently with the First Amendment.
A slide citing Hebrews 8:5 from the ‘How
We Got the Bible in English’ PowerPoint used
in Dalhart ISD implies that most branches of
American Judaism (Reform, Conservative, and
Reconstructionist) are only an imperfect copy,
shadow, or pattern of true heavenly religion. By
its logic, most contemporary American Jews are
equivalent to what Hebrews describes as obsolete
ancient Jewish priests.
Other courses depict Judaism or particular Jewish
sects in the time of Jesus as legalistic, hypocritical
or spiritually empty. They sometimes seem to rely
entirely on negative portrayals of Jewish leaders
(especially priests and Pharisees) in the New
Testament without considering the extent to
which those passages reflect Christianity’s growing
pains as it struggled to define its relationship to
Judaism. A chart from Amarillo ISD states that
the Pharisees ‘tended to reduce their faith to rule
keeping’ and the Sadducees ‘believed the Scriptures
were quaint myths, so they ignored most of God’s
laws.’ Longview ISD speaks appreciatively of the
monotheism and ‘moral and ceremonial purity’ of
the Pharisees but then categorically denounces them:
‘Jesus exposed their hypocrisy & self-righteousness.’
The Permian High School course in Ector County
ISD paints with a broad brush that goes beyond the
sects; a PowerPoint show on ‘The New Testament
World’ sums up ‘Life in 1st Century Palestine’ with
this description: ‘Religious – very important but
lacking spiritual fervor; they were waiting for the
—the above from page 45
Even the most discredited claims occasionally
appear. Eastland ISD’s materials, for example,
include a tract (The Missing Day) claiming ‘the
space program is now proving what has been called
‘myth’ in the Bible to be truth.’ According to it,
‘astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, MD’
discovered ‘a day missing in space in elapsed time’
that corroborates biblical stories of the sun standing
still (Joshua 10:8) and moving backwards (2 Kings
This anecdote is a textbook example of
an urban legend, and its history and development
have been well documented in scholarly literature.
The exact function of this tract in class discussion is
unclear, but in light of the theological orientation
of the course as a whole, its claims were likely
presented to students in a positive light.
Pseudoscience most often appears in discussions
of Genesis. Creation science, which attempts to
show that the Bible’s account of a six-day creation
can be reconciled with modern science, figures
prominently in the Permian High class in Ector
County ISD. The learning objective for coverage of
Genesis 1-2 is the following: ‘Students will identify
and explain the various theories of creation.’ A test
later asks students to ‘identify and explain the four
major theories of creation discussed in class.’ A
worksheet asks students to identify those theories by
—the above from page 52
Belton ISD’s course is one of the most heavyhanded in this regard. It makes available to its students an American Tract Society pamphlet titled
‘One Nation Under God’ that begins: ‘The United States was founded on the principles of liberty in the Holy Bible and the reverence of the Founding
—the above from page 54
Among the recommendations:
• They recognize that the Bible is a religious text
and not a science textbook.
-the above from page 58