Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Mid-Week Post

Talks between North and South Korea have failed:

Military talks between the rival Koreas have collapsed, a unification ministry official in Seoul said on Wednesday, dealing a setback to efforts to restart international aid-for-disarmament talks.

Tensions have eased on the divided peninsula since the start of the year, with both sides calling for dialogue, raising hopes the neighbors could rebuild relations shattered over the past two years by a series of deadly attacks and failed nuclear talks....

 The South's Defense Ministry said in a statement that the North's representatives had "unilaterally walked out of the meeting room."...

Seoul said the offer for senior-level military talks still stood, but on the condition the North "takes responsible steps regarding" last year's attacks, a ministry official said.

The talks also became bogged down over the procedural issue of what rank any senior talks would take, with the South demanding either a ministerial or four-star general confab while North insisted on vice-ministerial dialogue.

What a shock! Did not see that coming! Oh wait! Maybe I have. It's been done before.

Let Japan and South Korea nuclearise. Cut China out of the picture. I wager North Korea will be a little more co-operative then.

Somewhat related: the Catholic Church in South Korea helps bolster the staggering birth rate and boost the cute quotient:

In an effort to promote a culture of life, the South Korean Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCK) has announced it will provide shelters and financial support for single mothers and free delivery for unmarried pregnant women in Catholic-run hospitals.

The initiative, called “New Life Project,” was inaugurated by the CBCK on February 7 at a Mass presided over by Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju, president of the CBCK Committee for Bioethics. 

“The Catholic Church teaches that human life begins from fertilization,” said Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju. “Abortions and destruction of human embryos are grave crimes that destroy life.”

“We all should be the protectors of life by respecting and loving life and being proclaimers of the Gospel of life.”
The project seeks to encourage unwed pregnant women to have their babies through free delivery at hospitals, then accommodates the women following the birth of their child at 15 church and pro-life group shelters.  It is funded by the continued financial support of the dioceses.  In addition, the plan will also set up sex education for youth in Catholic schools and Sunday schools on preventing “unwanted pregnancy.”...

Although South Korea’s Mother and Child Health Law only permits abortion when the mother’s health is in serious danger, or in cases of rape, incest or severe genetic disorder, abortion is rampant throughout the country. In the past the government has promoted population control by abortion, and it continues to turn a blind eye to the illegal abortion trade.

South Korea now has one of the highest abortion rates worldwide and the second-lowest birthrate. Official data from the Ministry of Health last year indicates that doctors perform 350,000 abortions per year, while they deliver on average of just 450,000 babies, meaning 43.7 percent of pregnancies end in abortion.

And people say the Church doesn't care.

People question the existence of Jesus:

This sort of questioning is only taken seriously by a small cadre of zealots who trot this sort of argumentation out in order to pursue their anti-Christian agenda.  Nobody talks this way about any other historical figure, much less a historical figure with the massive impact of Jesus.  For instance, nobody says of Hannibal that he never existed, or that the campaign he waged against Rome was a myth.  When people do attempt such massive conspiracy theories, they inevitably turn out to be either kooks or satirists.

It's one thing if you don't care for Christians or Christianity; it's quite another to deny that its founder existed. It's a conspiracy theory so absurd, a child could punch a hole in it. And lie as one might to oneself, it certainly won't add credence the complete disbelief one has in Jesus.

What other historical person will be denied next? Tecumseh? Beethoven?

As someone once said:

The Historical Jesus can be explained this way....
Massive religious followings don't appear *SUDDENLY* around and about men who didn't exist. THe Romans recorded the existence of Christians since day one. Proof of Historical Jesus established.

A more thorough explanation can be found here. And let me just add: shazam!

The charge is that there's no historical support for Jesus outside the Bible, and that Christians are believing in a complete fable. How valid is this charge?

As it turns out, it's one of the weakest arguments an atheist can bring to the table - one that can even be counterproductive, by making Christianity actually stronger appearing than it was before it was brought up. Once the historical record is examined, Christianity becomes even more trustworthy, not less so.

Jerks ahoy!


"Why should people feel empathetic toward the people of Israel when many supporters of Israel lack empathy for others?"
While I'm sure this was asked more in frustration than anything, we all need to try and keep some perspective. The people of Israel hold a wide range of views, and a great many of them do not support the current Israel. Withholding empathy for such a group can lead to racist views.
As racist and illogical as most supporters of Israel are, these failings are only too human and such people should be both pitied and corrected. Hate the position, not those that hold it.

And here:

She was six WEEKS pregnant. Or she was 2 weeks LATE. Then she took meds without reading the bottle.

Yes the pharmacist made a mistake but so did she. WHO takes something without reading the bottle first? Does she regularly drink bleach thinking its apple juice too?

Mistakes happen, people. She has to take some responsibility for this, as well. And add to that the fact she was still in her FIRST trimester...

The last comment is especially callous given there was a baby involved. Yes, people should read their prescriptions carefully. People should also do their jobs correctly and feel bad when someone is poisoned.

Drill, baby, drill:

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world''s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent an oil price spike, American diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks said.

The cables, published in the Guardian newspaper, ask Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom''s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300 billion barrels, nearly 40 per cent.

According to the cables, Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, met the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and told the American diplomat that firm''s 12.5 million barrel-a-day capacity needed to keep a lid on prices could not be reached.

Husseini said that at that point Aramco would not be able to stop the rise of global oil prices because the Saudi energy industry had overstated its recoverable reserves to spur foreign investment. He argued that Aramco had badly underestimated the time needed to bring new oil on tap.

"According to al-Husseini, the crux of the issue is twofold. First, it is possible that Saudi reserves are not as bountiful as sometimes described, and the timeline for their production not as unrestrained as Aramco and energy optimists would like to portray," one cable said.

According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12 million barrels a day in 10 years but before then possibly as early as 2012 global oil production would have hit its highest point.

Seven months later, the US embassy in Riyadh went further in two more cables. "Our mission now questions how much the Saudis can now substantively influence the crude markets over the long term. Clearly they can drive prices up, but we question whether they any longer have the power to drive prices down for a prolonged period."

See! Sarah Palin IS right (obligatory Sarah Palin mention for the day).

I commented on this briefly in my last post. I'm glad to see someone agrees:

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is demonstrating outrageous gall by seeking to have the Church of Nativity noted as a World Heritage Site under its purview. The PA's ruling party is Fatah and its active terrorist units, the al-Aqsa Brigades, desecrated the Church of the Nativity in 2002. The terrorists used both the church and clergy as shields against the Israel Defence Forces who had finally pursued the terrorists after the suicide bombing at the Park Hotel that obliterated 30 people and maimed 140 others who were enjoying their Passover meals. Eiman Abu Eita, a Fatah representative who was a local al-Aqsa Brigades commander at the time, admitted the PA directed local terrorists to use the church as a sanctuary. 

The Fatah terrorists left the church in an awful state with filth everywhere, damage, religious items stolen and Bibles were even used for toilet paper. Since the PA took over following the ill-advised 1993 Oslo accords, the Christian population of Bethlehem has dropped from over 60% to less than 20%. 

The PA now wish to use the church as their political tool. There is a word for this sort of cheek in that part of the world: chutzpah.

A. Men.

We should not think for ONE minute that Fatah or the Muslim Brotherhood or any extremist terrorist group cares one whit about human life or the oppressed. We should stop giving them opportunities to carry out their maniacal plans.

And now, a baby elephant.

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