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3.5 Million People Seek Kosher Foods in the U.S. and Not All of Them Are Jewish

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 - by Arlene Becker Zarmi

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Being kosher is an important part of the Jewish religion.

The rules of kashrut (pertaining to kosher, being fit or proper) appear in the Old Testament in both Leviticus and Numbers. Jewish people were told they should eat only animals that chew their cud and have hooves — like cows — and fish with scales and fins. Thus pigs and crustaceans, among other creatures which don’t fit into these categories, were forbidden to the Jewish people as food. Bugs were also forbidden (with the exception of two species of kosher locusts, designated by name).

There are many ramifications aside from these basic prohibitions, including the method of slaughter of any of the above-listed animals, and there are a number of organizations with individuals who go into food-processing plants, slaughterhouses, and meat-packing plants to ensure that all kosher tenets are met.

The largest of these kosher-certifying organizations in the world is the Orthodox Union.

Many products carry the OU symbol, thus certifying the products as being kosher.

According to Rabbi Dovid Jenkins, the rabbinical coordinator of the Orthodox Union, there are 3.5 million residents of this country who choose to purchase kosher products and many, he said, aren’t Jewish. The OU kosher supervisors travel all over the world to certify products that will be imported and sold in the U.S. Jenkins said that the OU has even gotten a request from Pakistan to certify their products. However, it was deemed too dangerous to send a kosher supervisor to that country.

Next: 12 Fascinating facts about a kosher diet

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The 5 Weirdest Crime Stories of the Week

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 - by Alex Shelby

5. Albino Toddler Kidnapped by Witches (Tanzania) 

On Saturday the 14th an 18-month-old albino toddler was kidnapped from a home in Northern Tanzania. According to the father, who was nearby during the attack, two bandits armed with machetes stormed the house, slashed the mother to death, and kidnapped their baby son. Their motive: to use the child’s body parts as part of a witchcraft ritual. Sound fishy? It’s not. Since the year 2000 at least 74 albinos have been murdered in East Africa because, due to the rarity of albinos, their severed limbs are believed to have spiritual powers. Their body parts sell for $600 and an entire albino corpse sells for $75,000. There’s a Tanzanian election in October of this year and political hopefuls often turn to sorcery to give their campaign an edge.

4. Woman Stabs Herself on Valentine’s Day (South Carolina)

On Saturday the 14th 29-year-old Heather Freeman likely realized how lonely she was on Valentine’s Day morning, and devised a plan to draw some attention to herself. She called police with a report of being attacked and sexually assaulted by a Hispanic male who fled the scene. She had stab wounds on her neck, face, and near her vagina to prove it. At the hospital she changed her story and reported the assailant to be her black friend named Phil. The investigating officers’ suspicions were eventually confirmed when Freeman later admitted to making the entire story up and stabbing herself. She’s been charged with filing a false police report.

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VIDEO: Whatever Happened to Reagan’s Hollywood?

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 - by Andrew Klavan

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Watch the Frustration as 3 High School Girls Take a 6th Grade Common Core Math Test

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Three high school students from Elyria, Ohio, took a 6th grade Common Core math test last week and recorded their efforts. They described their experience in a post on an anti-testing Facebook page. Two of the girls are seniors and the third is in 10th grade.

We are taking the practice Math PBA [performance based assessment] PARCC test for sixth grade. Brooke is in Calculus which is only available on the track of honors math classes meaning during freshman year she started in Geometry, although students can get on the track and double up on math classes for a year and get up to calculus. I [Megan] took a quarter of calculus but dropped it because I did not need it for college and am taking statistics. Melanie is in honors classes but is a sophomore, she had more of a fresher memory to middle school math since she’s younger. This test was hard for ALL three of us.

“I can’t do this,” the girl in the middle says at one point when the test asks students to explain why an answer is wrong.

The girl on the right says she could probably figure out the answers if she had her graphing calculator, but her friend reminds her that 6th graders aren’t allowed to use the more advanced calculators.

“How are 6th graders supposed to take this?” the girl in the middle exclaims. “I can’t even do this. I’m 12th grade. I’m six years ahead of them!”

The girls complain that with the online test they can’t go back and check their work like they’re able to do with a paper test.

“I feel like I’m going to cry because I don’t know this and I feel so stupid,” says the girl in the middle.

Later in the video she admits, “I can’t do fractions. I couldn’t even do fractions in 6th grade.”

By the time they get to question 11 of 12 on the first section, the girls give up, completely flummoxed by the test, despite their team effort. When they try to view their scores, they are again frustrated when they discover that they must register for an account to see how they did on the practice test.

“Well, I’m not going to make an account for something I don’t support,” one girl complains (which raises some questions about the motives of this exercise).

Students in schools across Ohio are the first in the nation to take the Common Core tests, administered by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing consortium. All Ohio students in grade 3-8 are scheduled to take the tests this week — 100,000 children are scheduled to take the online version.

Ohio has become ground zero for anti-testing protests in recent weeks. A teacher in the same district (Elyria) recently made news when she publicly resigned — to gasps of disbelief – citing the “testing culture” and the “drill ‘em and kill ‘em” atmosphere in schools. There is an active testing “opt-out” movement in the state — driven in part by teachers — with parents across the state saying their children will not take the tests. Many districts have been forced to adopt procedures for allowing students to opt out and some have held meetings with parents to explain potential consequences for students who miss the state-mandated tests.

Sarah Fowler, a member of the Ohio State Board of Education, who has been a vocal critic of Common Core, wrote on her Facebook page that state Superintendent Ross confirmed to the board that there is no law permitting or prohibiting a parent from refusing testing in Ohio.

“Long-standing American tradition protects parent’s right to choose based upon their family’s unique needs and concerns,” Fowler wrote. She explained that Ohio students entering 9th grade have three options for graduation, only one of which involves the PARCC tests:

Students entering 9th grade this school year have three graduation options. 1. PARCC End of Course Exams, 2. Remediation-free score on SAT/ACT assessments, 3. Work/Skills assessment and Industry Credential. It was confirmed with ODE legal counsel that students who choose pathway 2 or 3 may change their mind and take the PARCC exams missed or refused this year in the future.

The Ohio House recently passed H.B. 7 in response to complaints about the new tests from parents and teachers. The law “declares an emergency” and would provide a safe harbor for students for the 2014-2015 school year in regard to testing. Schools would be prohibited from utilizing:

at any time during a student’s academic career, a student’s score on any elementary-level state assessment or high school end-of-course examination that is administered in the 2014-2015 year school as a factor in any decision to (1) retain the student, (2) promote the student to a higher grade level, or (3) grant course credit.

The bill would also allow students to take end-of-course exams at a later time in the student’s academic career if they do not take it on the scheduled administration date. The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate, where it must face Sen. Peggy Lehner, the powerful head of the Senate Education Committee, who is a staunch defender of the Common Core standards and who has called efforts to repeal the federally influenced standards “a circus.” Governor Kasich has not indicated whether he would support a testing “safe harbor” for the current school year.

You can take the PARCC Common Core practice test here.

I’ve pasted some screenshots of the 6th grade math questions the high school girls struggled with below, along with answers from the PARCC Alignment Document. Do you think they are inappropriate for a 6th grader? Should high school students be able to solve these problems?

 

Question 7:

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Field Test Note: I asked my husband and my son — both ‘math people’ — to try the golf ball problem. My husband, who has a background in engineering and computer programming and now works as a senior systems analyst, struggled with it because he wasn’t comfortable with the assumptions being made about year 4 sales. Students are supposed to assume that the rate of sales will increase at the average rate of the first three years, but that is not explained anywhere in the problem.
My son, who was homeschooled and minored in computer science in college (he’s now an IT manager), whipped out an answer in short order. He reminded me that he had learned to do problems just like this during the years we used Singapore Math in our homeschool program.

Question 8:

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Question 9:

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Question 10:

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Question 11:

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Question 12:

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NASA Targets Europa in the Search for Extraterrestial Life

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

“So, where are they?” is the genesis of the famous Fermi Paradox, which is the contradiction between high estimates of intelligent life in the universe and the fact that — so far — there is no physical evidence that aliens have paid us a visit, nor is there any sign of intelligence that we can detect. Physicist Enrico Fermi asked that question nearly 60 years ago and since then, what has become known as the Fermi-Hart Paradox has been a useful starting point for scientific studies about the possibility of alien life in the universe.

The problem is, the universe is 14 billion years old and even if there were just a few intelligent spacefaring civilizations, the entire universe could have been colonized in a few tens of millions of years. There are no good scientific answers largely because we simply don’t have much information.

That doesn’t prevent scientists from speculating. Perhaps life itself is abundant in the universe but intelligent life capable of creating industrialized civilizations that can build rockets to the stars are incredibly rare. Carl Sagan posited the notion that most intelligent civilizations might blow themselves up or poison themselves before they reach maturity and are able to plan interstellar trips.

Certainly, many intelligent civilizations are wiped out by comets and asteroids. Others fry from a nearby gamma ray burst or a black hole mosies into the neighborhood and eats everything in sight.

All of this gives a special impetus to the search for alien life. What is it? Would we be able to recognize it if we saw it? Is it sitting right in front of us but we’re unable to detect it?

That last question is one that NASA may next try to answer in the next decade. In the agency’s budget request for FY 2016, $30 million has been allocated for a mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Europa is a prime candidate to harbor life because all signs point to a huge ocean of water below the surface ice. All across the moon’s surface are cracks and crevices where that water has broken the surface. There may be volcanoes on the floor of Europa’s oceans that spew hot gasses, heating the water, melting the icy crust covering the ocean, and pushing liquid water on to the surface.

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It doesn’t exist long as a liquid due to the extreme cold and non existent atmosphere. But on the ocean’s floor, if volcanoes are responsible for the heat, life could have taken hold. Earth has similar volcanic vents on the floor of our oceans that teem with life. It’s a sexy, tantalizing question and scientists are anxious to go there and see for ourselves.

“From an astrobiology perspective, Europa really brings together the three keystones for habitability,” Kevin Hand, the deputy chief scientist of solar system exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tells Popular Science. “And that is of liquid water, access to the elements needed to build life, and potentially the energy needed to power life.”

NASA has been contemplating a trip to Europa for a couple of years, and Congress recently gave the project $100 million for 2015. While the White House proposal only allots $30 million, the fact that it’s coming from the president is important. NASA is an executive branch agency, in need of White House support, and the administration’s new budget “supports the formulation and development of a Europa Mission.” That means NASA engineers can finally put their planning into action.

“They want us to move into the next phase of the mission,” says Robert Pappalardo, the Europa Clipper pre-project scientist at JPL. “So we’re moving to Phase A, where you become a real mission, not just a concept.”

Europa is a bit of an anomaly within our solar system. The moon’s outer layer consists of an icy sheet, somewhere between 1 mile and 18 miles thick (the scientific community is divided on its depth). Due to the ice’s smooth surface and lack of impact craters, researchers believe that this layer is relatively young and active, meaning something—such as an icy, volcanic flow underneath—is constantly renewing the ice and erasing past imperfections.

This has led many experts to support the theory that there’s an ocean underneath the icy crust. The idea was further solidified in 1995 during NASA’s Galileo mission, in which a probe entered orbit around Jupiter. As it passed by the moons, the Galileo spacecraft found that Jupiter’s magnetic field was disrupted in the area around Europa. The disruption indicates that an electrically conductive fluid beneath the moon’s surface is inducing a special kind of magnetic field around the satellite. And given Europa’s icy outer shell, that substance is most likely water.

There are a few ideas on how to penetrate the 1-18 mile ice crust and get to the ocean. Perhaps something as simple as a heated wire unspooled from a lander with a camera and some basic sensors. But since Europa’s oceans might be 100 miles deep — or more — it doesn’t seem practical at this point.

Another idea involves some kind of drilling machine capable of both smashing through the ice and then maneuvering in the ocean. How the machine maintains contact with the lander would be a problem no one has figured out how to overcome.

One thing is sure; the mission to Europa won’t be cheap. In a time of severe budget restraints, it might not be wise or practicable for NASA to designate a mission to Europa as a priority. The moon and Mars beckon us and those missions will also be very expensive, taking most of the agency’s budget over the next decade.

But who knows? At the very least, NASA will study the parameters of a mission to Europa and perhaps they can come up with a solution that isn’t as expensive as it seems.

At least they’re going to get the opportunity to try.

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10 Songs From the Early ’70s To Improve Your Snow-Covered Week

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Allston

“American Pie” was written as a paean to the sudden demise of Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens in 1959.  At that time, McLean was a boy, delivering newspapers, hence the line, “February made me shiver/with every paper I’d deliver”. Otherwise, he’s been remarkably cryptic about the exact meaning of the lyrics, but has said he will finally reveal their true meaning when the original manuscript for the song goes on auction next month.

1. Don Mclean – “American Pie”:

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Raw Footage of Chelsea Fans Shouting Racist Chant in Paris

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Carlos Perez

Sometimes soccer (aka football) can be as divisive as it is unifying

Such was the case when Chelsea fans, in Paris for the Champions League match of their team again Paris Saint-Germain, refused to allow a black man to board the metro with them. Chelsea fans can be seen blocking the man’s way and even pushing him from the metro car before they start chanting “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.”

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho was embarrassed by the incident, saying ”I felt ashamed when I found out but these supporters do not represent the club.”  The team likewise released a statement saying they were appalled by the incident, and reached out to the man to apologize.

The Champions League match between the two elite teams ended in a 1-1 draw.

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Major League Baseball to Institute Rules Changes to Speed up Game

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

In baseball’s glory days of the 1950′s and 60′s, the average time of a major league baseball game was less than two hours. I remember one classic pitcher’s duel between two Hall of Fame pitchers — Ferguson Jenkins of the Cubs and Bob Gibson of the Cardinals — that lasted one hour and 20 minutes. Gibby won that one 1-0. He pitched a two-hitter, Jenkins a three-hitter.

Today, games last on average over three hours. Some analysts believe that this is a primary factor in the decline in popularity of the sport on TV, although overexposure of the game is almost certainly a close second.

With no one on base, a pitcher has 12 seconds to deliver the ball from the time he receives it from the catcher according to Rule 8.04. Umpires rarely enforce it, which means that when there are baserunners, the game slows to the approximate speed of a sloth coming down a tree for it’s midday meal.

And the effect is cumulative. A few extra seconds given to each batter (usually more than 30 for each team) adds up over the course of a game.

Recognizing that over the last few seasons, even some 9 inning games are approaching 4 hours in length, Major League Baseball and the player’s union have come up with a few rules changes that they hope will speed up the game.

● Managers must make instant replay challenges from the dugout, rather than the field. This should eliminate the on-field delays that occurred in 2014 while managers chatted with umpires while waiting for coaches or video coordinators to recommend whether a play should be challenged.

● Hitters must keep one foot in the batter’s box between pitches, unless an established exception occurs. It’s not clear how many exceptions will exist, but during a trial run in the 2014 Arizona Fall League, those conditions included foul balls, foul tips, time being granted by the umpire, and wild pitches.

● Play will resume promptly once television broadcasts return from commercial breaks.

● Timed pitching changes.

Penalties for all violations will start in May and will include minimal fines, not balls, strikes. The idea is to change players’ habits, not penalize them. As with replay, rules will be adjusted as needed during the course of the season.

“Players are willing to consider certain things relating to improving the game,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said. “Players are always interested in doing that. But they are always sensitive to making adjustments that will adversely affect the game. They love it, respect it too much to try and reinvent the wheel in such a way that will damage the game.”

With a number of pace-of-play measures in effect — including a pitch clock, which MLB won’t implement for 2015 — games at the test location for the 2014 Arizona Fall League (Salt River Fields at Talking Stick) were 10 minutes shorter, on average, than AFL games the previous year.

It’s no secret that if the league were really interested in speeding up the game, they would do something about speeding up play when men are on base. Here, the need for speed is offset by genuine and time honored strategies that are an integral part of the game. There is talk of limiting the number of times a pitcher could throw to first (or any other base) to keep the runner close. This is a silly idea because after the allotted throws, a runner would be able to take a lead halfway to second base. Deep six that horrible idea.

What about preventing a batter from stepping out of the batter’s box with men on base? This would affect one of the great “inside baseball” mind games played between pitcher and batter. Pitcher goes into his stretch and holds the ball…and holds it…and holds it…trying to mess up the batter’s concentration. To combat that, the batter will call time and step out of the batter’s box. It may slow the game but it’s beautiful to watch the wheels turn in each man’s mind.

There are other rules changes that could be made that would speed up the game:

* limit the number of pitching changes, or mandate that each pitcher has to face more than one batter.

* MLB could reduce the number of permissible mound visits by managers/coaches

* limit the frequency of pitcher-catcher conferences.

* MLB could start a timer between plate appearances and penalize any player who postpones the next pitch.

The pitcher is the main culprit in slowing down the game and these changes, along with a few others, would have the cumulative effect of speeding up the game. Again, a few seconds less between pitches and between outs would take a healthy slice of time off the clock and bring the length of a baseball game back to a reasonable time period.

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Why American Sniper Is a Much Better Love Story Than Fifty Shades of Grey

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Lisa De Pasquale

For the last several weeks the mainstream media has been promoting the movie Fifty Shades of Grey as if their life depended on it. For NBC Universal, perhaps it does. As Roger Sterling on Mad Men said, “Hollywood isn’t happy unless things are extreme.”

After the Today show on NBC spent weeks building up the movie with exclusive clips, interviews and insight on its presumptive popularity, it’s no surprise that millions of women flocked to theaters over the three-day weekend.

However, I’m worried that men may think that Christian Grey is what women want.

A male friend emailed me:

The majority of women have spoken as to what they want out of a man. I’m not interested in competing with the character in 50 Shades because I actually have a conscience. Do the majority of women who are fans have a conscience?  At this point I’m not convinced they do.

The worst lesson men could take from the movie’s temporary and forced success is to think it represents the real desires of women.

All of the attention the media is giving to Fifty Shades of Grey reminds me of the fervor for Sex and the City. For years women have been told by the media that it is cosmopolitan to consume sex-obsessed entertainment and pursue casual, and physically and emotionally dangerous sex.

Now that Fifty Shades of Grey has surpassed The Passion of the Christ’s opening weekend the media is drooling. Have women finally embraced the message Hollywood and the mainstream media have been feeding them?

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Image illustrations reimagined by Lisa De Pasquale and Brett R. Smith.

Ultimately, I’m not worried about what women take away from Fifty Shades of Grey because it’s fantasy. Also, the media seem to leave out of their reporting on casual sex as entertainment and “mommy porn” that the endings [SPOILER] usually portray a traditional relationship. The women of Sex and the City ended up with significant others and all but one married. Would Fifty Shades of Grey be as popular if the female character lived the rest of her days as a sex slave? Women might imagine life with a billionaire in a helicopter, but not life in a dungeon as a kept woman.

There is one movie in theaters that tells an amazing love story. Speaking of Fifty, this movie recently became one of only 50 movies in history to surpass over $300 million in domestic ticket sales. This feat was done without the mainstream media begging the public to see it. That love story is American Sniper.

Though you wouldn’t know it by the coverage, American Sniper had far less blood-thirst than Fifty Shades of Grey and a much more realistic depiction of a romantic relationship that women and men should want to emulate.  Though a majority of the movie is devoted to Chris Kyle’s four tours in Iraq, the story of Chris and Taya’s relationship is significant.

Chris ultimately decided to retire and focus on strengthening their marriage and raising their children. While Fifty Shades of Grey is about a transactional relationship, American Sniper is one of a love greater than oneself. It shows love for another person, love for country, and love for family.

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In a recent interview with People, Taya Kyle said,

I miss him so much. I loved being in his arms. I loved holding his hand. But what I miss most about Chris is the feeling when he was in the room. He just changed the feeling whenever he walked in. I missed him even when he was just gone from the room.

Taya went on to say of Chris, “He was a man with a huge heart and charisma and kindness.”

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The Best Disaster Movie You’ve Never Seen

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by Pierre Comtois

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You’re reading a post for Preparedness Week, a weeklong series of blogs about disaster and emergency preparation inspired by the launch of Freedom Academy’s newest e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. You can download the e-book exclusively at the PJ Store here.

Who hasn’t fantasized about being the last man on Earth? The notion of having the whole world as your personal playground with unlimited resources and all the time you need to do whatever you want is a pretty enticing one.

At first glance anyway.

But then, as your imagination continued to explore the scenario, loneliness would enter the picture and then wild animals and pets gone feral, and physical injury that you might not be qualified to handle.

So your imaginings become broadened to include finding the last woman on Earth (beautiful naturally) and training yourself to handle weapons against both the beasts and other humans who’ve allowed their base instincts to overcome their civilized veneer.

From there, it’s a short step to fending off packs of other people eager to kill you and steal your supplies (not to mention that last beautiful woman).

Books such as M. P. Shiel’s classic Purple Cloud, movies like The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, and television episodes like the Twilight Zone‘s “Time Enough at Last” have all explored the theme of last survivors following some disaster that wipes out the human race, but few have dealt with a realistic approach to the theme: what would it be like to really live and survive in a post-disaster world?

That question is raised by terrorism expert and former Army Lt. Colonel James Jay Carafano in his new e-book Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror.

In his book, Carafano provides a to-do list of items that any ordinary person can accomplish in preparation for not-too-unlikely end-times-type scenarios from cyber warfare and EMP events to terrorist-caused bio-warfare and natural disaster.

In his introduction, Carafano gets to the heart of the matter, making an argument that a logical approach based on traditional American self-reliance could go a long way in ensuring a person’s survival in a post-holocaust world, and that the shattered society can avoid the bloodletting that’s often depicted in Hollywood-style end of days epics:

The most useful steps for protecting everyday Americans against the very worst life has to has offer are about cultivating the kinds of commonsense skills, knowledge, and attributes that make for more productive, resilient and self-confident citizens…. They strengthen our faith in God, caring in our community, and love of family. They reduce stress, build confidence and inspire creativity. Every right-thinking American ought to be doing them anyway.

The author goes on to note how decades of Hollywood disaster films haven’t helped, conditioning people to think there will be no hope for the average person and that the only ones that will have a chance of surviving are the Rambo types who dispense with accepted moral conventions:

Hollywood’s message is there is no middle ground–no place for sensible, rational precautions or actions.

In general, the author’s estimation of how popular entertainment addresses post-disaster scenarios is pretty accurate —  just take a look at any episode of TV’s The Walking Dead for instance. But there’s at least one exception I’d suggest: Panic in Year Zero!, a low-budget film released in 1962 that follows an average American family as they try to stay alive in the wake of a nuclear bomb falling on Los Angeles.

If Carafano’s advice on how to prepare for such a disaster is on the money, then Panic in Year Zero!, if not a perfect film, comes the closest to a realistic depiction of how an ordinary family can survive by “cultivating commonsense skills, knowledge, and attributes” that in turn allow its members to become “productive, resilient and self-confident.”

The movie, scripted by John Morton and Jay Simms, was directed by Ray Milland, who also doubled as the head of the family. In the cast, too, were Jean Hagen as his wife, and Frankie Avalon and Mary Mitchel as his teenage children.

Throughout the course of the film, as the family makes its way to a vacation cabin in the hills, the Milland character retains a cool head and his actions in protecting his family are always relentlessly logical, from his decision to head for the hills to gathering just the right kinds of supplies at stores along their route — which they reach just ahead of the fleeing multitudes — to instructing his son how and when to use a gun when encountering strangers.

And though the film’s focus is on the little things that the family does in order to survive (such as having each family member hide their food in different places without the others knowing where in order to prevent it all being taken should any one of them be forced to tell), there are dramatic exceptions such as when the family encounters a group of hoodlums intent on taking advantage of the breakdown of order. In an initial encounter, Milland and Avalon scare them off with guns but later, they discover them squatting in a farmhouse where they’ve killed the owner and are holding the daughter for their own pleasure.

At first, Milland restrains his son’s impulse to rush in and deal with the thugs. Keeping his family safe and hidden is his overriding concern. But when his own daughter is raped by one the hoodlums, he changes his tune and seeks retribution.

The sequence is necessary in order to keep the Milland character from becoming too unemotional and to suggest that there can be real danger in a post-apocalyptic world.

As the movie progresses, Milland’s stern but clear-eyed precautions and Hagan’s brave and caring example keep the family together. Praying before their first meal in the cave where they’ve decided to hole up, they struggle to preserve a sense of order in their lives while expressing the belief that civilization will soon reassert itself and allow them to come out of hiding.

The movie ends with their faith justified as the family comes into contact with military outliers of a resurgent civilization.

An American International release made with a budget of only $225,000, Panic in Year Zero! surprises in its realistic take on one family’s struggle in a post-apocalyptic environment, an exception to the Hollywood rule that one suspects might earn a thumbs up from Carafano!

Learn more about the inspiration for Disaster Week by downloading Surviving the End on the PJ Store today, and make sure your family is prepared.

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3 Gorgeous Shots of Today’s Desert Sunrise in Scottsdale, Arizona

Friday, February 20th, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Sunshine

These sunrises are worth getting up early for. #adventuresinAZ #sunrise #desertlove

A photo posted by Katherine Robinson (@chattykatty1) on

Happy Friday!! Caught a picture of this gorgeous sunrise on my run this morning (minus the power lines). Motivation for the day: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13.

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Since December of 2013 PJ Lifestyle has been collecting sunrise and sunset photos from contributors, readers, and Instagram. Now we’re going to begin an effort to organize the ongoing collection. Revised goals:

1. Collect a sunrise from every state in the union. Completed July 25, 2014 but you can still send in your great photos to be featured.

2. Collect a sunset from as many countries around the world as possible.

3. After getting all 50 states’ sunrises then switch to collecting their sunsets and begin the global sunrises collection.

Updated April 2014: 4. The extraordinary submissions of Mark Baird have inspired a new collection of photographs devoted specifically to our nation’s capital. We’re going to try and organize fantastic sunrise and sunset photos from all the different monuments and scenic views.

Updated August 2014: 5. We’re going to now try and start combining sunrise and pet photos, leading with images and video taken by PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle featuring Maura the Siberian Husky on her morning runs. Any pet/sunrise/sunset photos will be especially appreciated.

Updated August 30, 2014: 6. With the introduction of Hyperlapse, hat tip to Vodkapundit, we begin a new chapter of sped-up video sunrises from around the world. Please send in links to yours or leave the URLs of your favorites in the comments.

Updated January 23, 2015: 7. Yesterday we launched PJ Lifestyle Sunshine 2.0. This feature will group together various sunrises collected here and ask for your feedback about your favorites.

The Completed United States Sunrise Collection

Alabama

Great Colors In the Alabama Sky At Sunrise in Cullman

Alaska

The Sun Rises Over a Town in the Alaskan Mountains

Arizona

A Very Cool Sunrise in Arizona This Morning…

An Encouraging Sunrise While Driving in Arizona

Arkansas

3 Invigorating Sunrise Shots From the Shores of the Arkansas River

‘My 10 year old took this in Arkansas just northeast of Memphis, TN overlooking a field.’

California

94 California Sunrises and Sunsets from 2014 (And the First 3 of 2015…)

2 Videos & 2 Photos: Today’s Sunrise In Inglewood Was the Best in Months

3 Inglewood Sunrise Photos From the Last Few Weeks

Sunrise Today Reflecting on Big Bear Lake

A Bright Sunrise Over San Francisco Bay

Another Superb Sunrise Over Silicon Valley

The Sun Rises Over the Fog In Silicon Valley

A Huge, Colorful Sunrise over San Francisco

A Good Morning Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

The Sunrise Illuminates The Path By the Beach In Cambria, California

The Last Socal Sunrise of 2013

3 California Sunrises – San Diego – Santa Cruz – San Francisco

These 3 Photos Fail to Do Justice For This Morning’s Southern California Sunrise

Beverly Hills: A California Sunrise in Memory of Shirley Temple

A Subtle Sunrise From The San Fernando Valley This Morning

A Colorful Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

A Golden Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

Today’s San Fernando Valley Sunrise

3 Shots of the San Fernando Valley Sunrise This Morning

The Sun Rises Over San Diego’s Working Waterfront

Today’s Sunrise in Inglewood Was Breathtakingly Beautiful

Colorado

Inspiring Sunrise Hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park

Stunning Shots of Sunlight Escape the Clouds In Roxborough Park

A Purple, Pink, and Gold Colorado Sunrise

Which of These 3 Colorado Sunrises Is the Best?

Garden of the Gods at Dawn

Colorado Sunrise Vodkapundit Style

An Orange Sunrise from Boulder, CO

Connecticut

Sunrise Over the Snow in New England

A Connecticut Church’s Stained Glass Sunrise

Delaware

A Delaware Sunrise That Looks Like Heaven

Florida

Great Colors in this Sunrise Over NYC Shot From Jersey City

An Instagram Video of Today’s Sunrise Over Miami

What Could Be Better Than Kayaking At Sunrise?

A Bold, Blood Red Sunrise Reflecting On Lake Maitland in Florida

3 Fantastic Photos of Yesterday Morning’s Florida Sunrise Courtesy of Myra Adams

The Sun Rises Over the Sea In Florida

A Heavenly Sunset in Cedar Key, Florida

Sunrise at a Damaged Honeymoon Cottage in Cedar Key, Florida

3 Florida Beach Sunrises

Florida Sunset With 3 Dogs (All Sunsets Are Better With Dogs)

Don’t Miss This Breathtaking Sunrise Shot From a Kayak On Lake Minnehaha

Georgia

The Sun Rising Over Atlanta From 10,000 Feet

Many Colors Over The Sky In Yesterday’s Sunrise Over Atlanta, Georgia

How the Sun Starts the Day in Covington, GA

Another Beautiful North Georgia Sunrise

Hawaii

Sunrise Dances Across The Clouds in Maui

Clouds at Sunset in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Idaho

Great Colors In the Sky Over Idaho at Sunrise

Beautiful Clouds As the Sun Rises In the Idaho Hills

Sunrise On the Farm in Buhl, Idaho

Illinois

Sunrise From the 57th Floor in Chicago

Chicago: 7 Sunrises to Start Your Sunday

Indiana

An Indiana Cornfield Sunrise In the Rearview Mirror

The Sunrise Today In Downtown Indianapolis

Iowa

A Bright Red and Orange Iowa Sunrise

Kansas

An Artsy Kansas Sunrise

Kentucky

An Inspiring Sunrise Over the Ohio River Shot From the Kentucky Side

Kentucky: A Great-Looking Truck on the Farm at Sunrise

Louisiana

A Peaceful Purple Louisiana Sunrise over the Superdome

Maine

2 New England Sunsets

**** Need to get a Main Sunrise!!! An oversight in the collection!!! ****

Maryland

A Superb Sunrise Canoeing on the Monocacy River in Maryland

Massachusetts

4 Sunrise Shots at the Light Houses in Gloucester, MA

Colors Reflected on Rocky Winthrop Beach in Boston at Sunrise

A Powerful Pink Sunrise From Framingham, MA

Michigan

Detroit Ice Fishing Sunrise

An Ice Fishing Sunrise From North of Detroit to Start Your Weekend

Sunrise on Lake St. Clair, Just Outside Detroit

Minnesota

Michigan Vs. Minnesota: Which Sunrise Is Better?

A Calming Sunrise Over Wolf Lake in Minnesota

Mississippi

An Overwhelming Sunrise on the Mississippi River

Missouri

This Missouri Sunrise On the Plains Is a Gorgeous Photograph

Montana

Sunrise from the Rooftop in Billings, Montana

Nebraska

A Truly Triumphant Sunrise From Nebraska

Nevada

A Hopeful Sunrise In the Nevada Desert

New Hampshire

This New Hampshire Sunrise Is One of the Most Beautiful In The Collection

2 Sunrise Shots From the Thanksgiving Day Snow Storm of 2014 (New Hampshire)

An Astonishing Sunrise Through the Bedroom’s ‘Glass Wall’

3 Superb Sunrise Shots From Don Sucher

A New Hampshire Sunrise Shot Through The ‘Glass Wall’

Submit A Superior Sunrise Shot From Your State! Here’s A New Hampshire

New Jersey

A Great Smile of a Sunrise On the Jersey Shore

New Mexico

Which State Has the Superior Sunrises? 2 From New Mexico Vs 2 From Colorado

A Hopeful Sunrise in New Mexico

New York

A Bright, Colorful New York Sunrise

North Carolina

A Sunrise to Start The Day at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

A Peaceful Sunrise Video at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina

North Dakota

These 2 North Dakota Sunrise Photos Are Some of the Most Breathtaking We’ve Ever Received…

A Wide Open North Dakota Sunrise on the Farm

Ohio

It’s 3 Below In Newark, Ohio And The Sun Shoots Up Like a Shining Column of Light

‘Flying at 6500′ Msl Over Zanesville, OH in My Cessna 182 Heading South’

What a 17 Degree Ohio Sunset Looks Like

4 Great Sunrises Today: Ohio Vs New Jersey Vs North Carolina Vs Florida

4 Snowy Midwestern Sunrises From Today

Oklahoma

An Oklahoma Driving Sunrise

Canada Vs Oklahoma Vs Tunisia: Which Sunrise Is Your Favorite Today?

A Wonderful Blue & Orange Sunrise Creeps Over the Oklahoma Grasses

Oregon

2 Wonderful Sunrises From Today in Oregon

Which of These 2 Oregon Sunrises Is More Beautiful?

A Beautifully Composed Portland Oregon Sunrise Photograph

Oregon Vs. Oklahoma: Which Sunrise Do You Like More?

Pennsylvania

2 Gettysburg Battlefield Sunrises

Rhode Island

A Colorful Rhode Island Sunrise

South Carolina

5 Instagram Sunrises From Around the World

Sunrise: Myrtle Beach or Miami Beach?

South Dakota

Golden Skies Over South Dakota at Sunrise

Tennessee

Cows At a Colorful Sunrise in Tennessee

Texas

6 Great Sun Shots from Galveston, Texas

Which of These 4 Texas Sunrise Photos From This Morning Is Your Favorite?

An Optimistic Sunrise Over Dallas

Sunrise From Galveston Island, Texas

West Texas Instagram Video: The Birds Flying at Sunrise

Utah

These 2 Bright Utah Sunrises Are Inspirational

A Utah Camping Sunrise

Vermont

Golden Dancing Clouds in this Tranquil Vermont Sunrise

Virginia

Sunrise Over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia

Charlottesville, VA: When the Morning Sun Gets Under the Clouds and Lights Them Up

Washington and West Virginia

West Virginia Vs Washington: Which Sunrise Do You Like More?

Wisconsin

3 Artsy Sunrise Photos From Milwaukee

Wyoming

Wake Up in Wyoming And Start Today With this Bright, Beautiful Sunrise

The Beginning of the Sunrise in Wyoming

Mars (which we might as well go ahead and start counting as an American state now)

What Does a Sunrise Look Like on Mars?

The International Sunset Collection

1. Australia:

The Sun Sets in Sydney, Australia

2. Brazil:

The Sun Sets at a South American Achipelago

2 Very Different Brazilian Sunsets

Women in Rio de Janeiro Jumping Over Today’s Sunrise

3. Canada:

6 Sunrises to Start the Last Week of January

4. Cayman Islands:

An Insta-Sunset From the Cayman Islands

5. Chile:

Fire Dances In the Skies As the Sun Sets in the Chilean Mountains

6. Costa Rica:

3 Bright Sunsets From Costa Rica

7. England, 8. France, and 9. Denmark:

3 European Sunrises

10. Finland

Brazil Vs Finland Vs Chile: Which of These Sunsets is Your Favorite?

11. Italy:

An Italian Sunset in Miramare, Trieste

12. Germany:

A Red Sunset in the Woods of Hagen, Germany

This Bright Orange German Sunset Is Like the Conclusion of an Epic Quest

13. Greece:

A Soothing Sunset On the Greek Island of Oia

14. Malaysia:

Sunsets On 3 Continents

15. Maldives:

Tropical Paradise: A Sunset in Maldives

16. Mexico:

Gray Crashes into Gold in This Striking Mexico City Sunset

17. Mozambique:

5 Golden Sunsets From Africa

Orange and Blue in the Mozambique Skies: The Sun Sets Over Nacala

An Absolutely Amazing, Haunting, Spiritual Sunset From Mozambique

2 More Magical Mozambique Sunsets And a Bonus Sunrise

18. Philippines:

A Panglao Island Sunset

19. Russia:

6 Sunrises from Australia to Paris to Russia to America…

20. Sweden:

6 Sunsets to End the Week

21. Thailand:

2 Thailand Sunsets

Sunset on the Quiet Side of Phuket, Thailand, April 2014

22. Trinidad:

A Trinidad Sunset Bursts Through Gray Clouds

23. South Africa:

A Waterfront Sunset in South Africa

24. Scotland:

An Astounding Scottish Sunset on the Isle of Mull

25. Serbia:

Purple and Gold in the Skies Over Serbia

26. Spain:

A ‘Naughty Sun’ Tries to Sneak Down the Chimney In Catalonia

27. Wales:

A Beautiful Burst of Sunset at Broughton Bay Yesterday in South Wales

28. Israel:

A Superb Sunset From Susan In Israel

29. Iraq:

2 ‘Not The Most Spectacular’ Sunset Shots From Iraq

An Iraqi Sunset From Camp Danger…

Starting the International Sunrise Collection:

1. Formentera

A Great Sunrise Video From the Island of Formentera

2. Australia

Blue & Orange Colorado Sunrise Vs. Pink Australia Skies

Sunrise on a Rocky Australian Coastline

Pink Clouds in This Tasmanian Sunrise

3. Canada

Running Through a Canadian Carrot Field at Sunrise

4. Italy

An Italian Sunrise Over the Sea In Calabria

A Sicilian Sunrise at the Beach

5. Argentina

A Superb Sunrise From Patagonia, Argentina

6. Thailand

Mist At Dawn in Thailand

7. Indonesia

Yellow Skies at Sunrise on Bromo Mountain in Indonesia

A Peaceful Glowing Sunrise in the Mountains of Indonesia

A Cool Sunrise Shot in Indonesia

8. Hong Kong

A Hong Kong Sunrise Worth Remembering

Starting The United States Sunset Collection:

1. Arizona

The Sun Sets Over the Grand Canyon

A Sharpshooter Sends in 2 Great Sunset Shots From Arizona

2. Florida

Florida: A Pink Sunset At Passagrille Beach

‘Probably My Favorite Two Sunset Shots I’ve Ever Taken…’

3. Montana

A Majestic Purple Montana Sunset

4. Massachusetts

A Bright Sunset over Laurel Lake in Berkshire County, Massachusetts

5. Washington

The First in a Fantastic Series of Seattle Sunrise and Sunset Shots

‘I Felt as Though I Was Inside a Jewel Box.’

‘Sunset, the Olympics and Low-Lying Fog over Elliott Bay’

6. California

5 Beautiful Playa Del Rey Beach Sunset Shots From Tuesday Night

A Transcendent Sunset Shot At Pepperdine Last Week

7. Connecticut

Peace At Compo Beach as the Sun Sets in Westport, Connecticut

The Washington D.C. Collection So Far:

27 Sunrises:

5 Sunsets:

The Dogs at Sunrise Collection So Far:

The Hyperlapse Sunrise/Sunset Collection

Sunrises:

International:

United States:

Sunsets

International

United States

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CSI: Cyber Another Case of Art Imitating Life

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

When CBS picked up the option to make CSI: Cyber last year, little did programming execs dream that hacking would move to the center of worry for individuals as well as businesses. The Sony hack is just one of a long line of devastating crimes committed by organized hackers — governments or crime syndicates — that have unsettled everyone and made internet security a top priority for governments, businesses and individual consumers.

Judging from this trailer for the premiere on March 4, it appears that the CSI brand is in good hands:

The setting will not be a local police station, but the FBI Cyber Crimes Division. Patricia Arquette heads up the unit and will be kicking butt and taking names playing FBI Special Agent Avery Ryan. The cast will also include James Van Der Beek, Charley Koontz, Peter MacNicol and Shad Moss (aka rapper “Bow Wow”).

The series will reunite the original team that brought CSI to TV: Carol Mendelsohn, Anthony Zuiker and Ann Donahue were writers and executive producers who brought the original CSI to TV in 1999. But how far will they stray from the CSI formula and still make the series work?

How much physical evidence is there in cybercrime? And will viewers sit still for explanations on the inner workings of the internet? It’s fairly easy to explain DNA and other trace evidence and long time viewers of the other CSI franchises know the basics of how the evidence is gathered and analyzed.

But investigating real cybercrime involves painstaking technical procedures that don’t lend themselves well to explanations on series TV. You would hope they wouldn’t go all Star Trek on us and just invent a bunch of gee-wiz gadgets and fake technical jargon to fill in the blanks. So it’s going to be interesting to see how they remain true to the CSI franchise while holding our interest.

All of the CSI spinoffs have done reasonably well and CSI: Cyber shouldn’t be any different. But a precious few shows have had the longevity of the original CSI drama and every time they expand the franchise, they risk going off the rails. You would think that with the original production team back on board that there would be a serious effort to maintain the integrity of the brand. If they do, they could easily have a big hit on their hands as cyber security becomes an even bigger issue going forward.

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Flurry of Activity at NBA Trade Deadline

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

There was the usual frenzied activity at the NBA trade deadline, with phone lines burning up between the offices of general managers across the league. You have buyers, you have sellers, and you have stand patters.

But this year, you have a genuine feel-good story; Kevin Garnett is going back to where it all started for him 20 years ago.

Garnett, an almost certain first ballot Hall of Fame inductee, spent his first 12 years with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Today, he was traded from Brooklyn back to the Wolves in exchange for power forward Thaddeus Young.

Garnett was the fifth player chosen in the 1995 NBA draft and the first player to skip college and go right into pro ball from high school since 1975 when Darryl Dawkins and Bill Willoughby were selected. He had spent most of his high school years in South Carolina, but for his senior year, his family moved to Chicago where he starred at perennial basketball power Farragut.

He spent 12 years with the Timberwolves, taking the new franchise to the playoffs 8 times. He was traded to Boston in 2007 and won an NBA title with the Celtics in 2008. But time took its toll on the big man, and this year — his 20th season — he was relegated to a bench role with the Brooklyn Nets.

In his prime, he was unstoppable. At 6’11″ and possessing the wingspan of a 747, Garnett was a shot blocker extraordinaire and a defensive stalwart. Watching him play was like watching cool, clear water pour out of a pewter pitcher. He was graceful, fluid, and he accomplished incredible feats of athleticism without appearing to break a sweat.

It is unknown whether he will play another season. His knees are shot, and he labors getting around the court. But Minnesota fans won’t care. Given the horrible season they’re having — 11-42 — they will embrace their former hero and make him feel welcome no matter how long he remains playing.

Elsewhere at the deadline, Miami appeared to help themselves enormously by trading for the Phoenix Sun’s star point guard Goran Dragic, who was unhappy with his changed role with the Suns. The Heat also got Goran’s brother Zoran in exchange for the enigmatic Danny Granger, reserve center Justin Hamilton, and two Miami first round draft choices. Granger starred with Indiana for 9 seasons but has been injured much of the last 3 years. With the Heat, he was averaging less than half his career average of 16 points per game. The Heat also got themselves some depth by picking up veteran swingman John Salmons from New Orleans. They appear to have positioned themselves nicely for a stretch run to the playoffs.

In a massive three team deal, Oklahoma City point guard Reggie Jackson was dealt to the Detroit Pistons. As the saying goes…it’s complicated:

The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded Reggie Jackson to the Detroit Pistons in a three-team deal, a source confirmed to ESPN.com.

The Thunder will acquire Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter and forward Steve Novak, Pistons forward Kyle Singler and guard D.J. Augustin, with Thunder center Kendrick Perkins going to the Jazz, in addition to Grant Jerrett, rights to Tibor Pleiss a Pistons’ second-round pick and a protected future first rounder from the Thunder.

The Thunder are just starting to play well following a rash of devastating injuries to start the year. They are currently in 9th place, a half game out of a playoff spot. Can they be contenders> Don’t count any team out with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

The Suns were part of another 3 team deal, getting the Milwaukee Bucks fine young point guard Brandon Knight. The Suns sent 2 players to Milwaukee, reserves Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee. The third team in the trade, the Philadelphia 76′ers, received draft picks for sending point guard Michael Carter Williams, the reigning rookie of the year, to Phoenix. The Bucks are in the thick of the Central Division race for the first time in years and by bolstering their bench, they have given themselves a good shot to make the playoffs for the third time in the last decade.

It’s not likely that any of these deals will make a champion out any of the teams that dealt at the deadline. But at this time of the year, most general managers are realists and are beginning to think beyond this year and are starting to build for the future. In the end, building an NBA champion takes a combination of good drafts, good trades, and good free agent signings.

And a bit of luck too.

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This is Honestly One of the Scariest News Items I’ve Read in a Long Time…

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by Stephen Green

Via StrategyPage.com:

In early 2014 U.S. Navy submarine detection experts got a scare when a Russian Vishnya class AGI (Auxiliary General Intelligence, or electronic reconnaissance) ship was seen several times off the east coast of Florida, in the vicinity of naval air and submarine bases. The Vishnya spotted off Florida was accompanied by a sea going tug. Both ships used Cuban ports for resupply. The two ships apparently first showed up in Cuba in February. What scared the submarine detection crowd was the recent realization that computers had become cheap and powerful enough to make it possible to detect submarines via the faint signs (like disturbance of the surface waters above them) that they leave. It has been known for decades that these telltale signs existed and that with sufficient computing power and sensitive enough sensors you could use this method to track submarines in real time. In other words, it no longer mattered how quiet a sub was, just whether it was there or not and moving. U.S. Navy experts had been doing the math and realized that the time was rapidly approaching, if not already here, when the sensors were sensitive enough and the computers fast enough to unmask all current subs.

“All current subs” would of course include our 14 Ohio-class nuclear missile boats, carrying over half the deployed warheads of our nuclear deterrent.

******

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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Are Boys the Target of a Feminist Gendercide Campaign?

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Last week social media jumped on the story of a woman who supposedly decided to have a late-term abortion specifically because she found out she was having a boy. Based on a near-anonymous comment posted on an Internet forum, the story is highly questionable at best. Nevertheless, both pro- and anti-abortion advocates pounced on the missive. The dialogue generated took on a life of its own, inspiring the following comment from feminist site Jezebel:

“The virality of this story is sort of a nice reminder about confirmation bias: when something fits our preferred narrative just a little too snugly, it’s probably time for skepticism,” wrote Jezebel’s Anna Merlan.

How, exactly, does gendercide “fit our narrative” in the West, especially in relation to boys?

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Asking the Most Powerful Question to Protect Your Family

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by Roy M. Griffis

You’re reading a post for Preparedness Week, a weeklong series of blogs about disaster and emergency preparation inspired by the launch of Freedom Academy’s newest e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. You can download the e-book exclusively at the PJ Store here.

The question “What if…?” is arguably one of the most important questions humans have ever asked, right up there with “How come..?”  By posing the problem “What if…” man allows himself to discover answers.  Even a failed “What if…” provides the attentive viewer with information. Early Man may have asked “What if we poke that Saber Tooth Tiger in the testicles with a stick? Go ahead, you do it.” So he asked and so he learned. But “What if…” can also provide you with unexpected solutions, such as “What if a bunch of us Australopithecines  teamed up against that mastodon,” which lead to the invention of the first all-you-can eat buffet, the benefits of which we enjoy even down to modern times.

Buffets aside, one of the problems of our modern times is the complexity and technological entanglement of the civilization we’ve built. The need to ask “What if…” is more important than ever, if for no other reason than the desire to protect family and clan. Because of the enormity of the factors to consider, the layman questioner could be overwhelmed with scenarios and data. That is where both Dr. James Jay Carafano and I (Roy M. Griffis) come riding to your rescue, albeit from opposite directions. The good Doctor hales from the direction of facts and experience, and myself from the land of fiction.

Carafano, a career Army officer who has gone onto a distinguished career writing thinking about disasters that threaten our nation, took the time to not only ask “What if…,” but he spent a lot of time answering that question. His book, Surviving the End, is exactly what its subtitle proclaims, a practical guide for everyday Americans in the age of terror. Given the various Ends he contemplates (plagues, nuclear attack, the many flavors of terrorism, the under-feared EMP attack, and even a Cyber Pearl Harbor), Carafano is remarkably even-handed, presenting facts and outcomes calmly with just an occasional bit of wry humor to let you know he knows how seriously grim most of this stuff is. He studiously provides data and incredibly useful links to education and free training, along with preparatory lists you can use immediately, all the while avoiding sensationalism (leaving that for folks like me, where I describe survivors of a coordinated series of Al Qaeda attacks that stagger and ultimately shatter the nation as “running like their ass was on fire.”)

It’s weirdly ironic I’m writing this piece, given that I’ve just returned from a book-launch party in New York City with good memories, great photos, and the flu. As such, I’m almost a lab subject for the plagues portion of his book. On a plane for six hours, where roughly 300 passengers exchanged seats, breathing the air I was likely infecting, then in two different international airports, where I was able to infect more people, and on one more plane and yet another airport. I didn’t begin to feel ill until two days later, but per his startling research, I was likely sharing the virus everywhere I went. And I was just one asymptomatic, but flu-incubating individual, unknowingly helping create additional virus factories everywhere I went. Had the virulence of this illness been bumped up to the levels of something like the Spanish Flu, we could have a real problem on our hands.

But according to Carafano’s thoughtful explication, a lot of the solution lies in our hands, as well. Again and again, he returns to the theme of taking personal responsibility (and lists a hell of lot of resources to help you do so): for our health, for having a disaster plan (and a bugout bag), for having established and practiced communication trees well before the Big One strikes.

Grim? Perhaps. Far-fetched? Not so much.

But useful, informative, and empowering? Hell, yes.

Learn more about the inspiration for Disaster Week by downloading Surviving the End on the PJ Store today, and make sure your family is prepared.

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Pink Clouds in This Tasmanian Sunrise

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Sunshine

*****

Since December of 2013 PJ Lifestyle has been collecting sunrise and sunset photos from contributors, readers, and Instagram. Now we’re going to begin an effort to organize the ongoing collection. Revised goals:

1. Collect a sunrise from every state in the union. Completed July 25, 2014 but you can still send in your great photos to be featured.

2. Collect a sunset from as many countries around the world as possible.

3. After getting all 50 states’ sunrises then switch to collecting their sunsets and begin the global sunrises collection.

Updated April 2014: 4. The extraordinary submissions of Mark Baird have inspired a new collection of photographs devoted specifically to our nation’s capital. We’re going to try and organize fantastic sunrise and sunset photos from all the different monuments and scenic views.

Updated August 2014: 5. We’re going to now try and start combining sunrise and pet photos, leading with images and video taken by PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle featuring Maura the Siberian Husky on her morning runs. Any pet/sunrise/sunset photos will be especially appreciated.

Updated August 30, 2014: 6. With the introduction of Hyperlapse, hat tip to Vodkapundit, we begin a new chapter of sped-up video sunrises from around the world. Please send in links to yours or leave the URLs of your favorites in the comments.

Updated January 23, 2015: 7. Yesterday we launched PJ Lifestyle Sunshine 2.0. This feature will group together various sunrises collected here and ask for your feedback about your favorites.

The Completed United States Sunrise Collection

Alabama

Great Colors In the Alabama Sky At Sunrise in Cullman

Alaska

The Sun Rises Over a Town in the Alaskan Mountains

Arizona

A Very Cool Sunrise in Arizona This Morning…

An Encouraging Sunrise While Driving in Arizona

Arkansas

3 Invigorating Sunrise Shots From the Shores of the Arkansas River

‘My 10 year old took this in Arkansas just northeast of Memphis, TN overlooking a field.’

California

94 California Sunrises and Sunsets from 2014 (And the First 3 of 2015…)

2 Videos & 2 Photos: Today’s Sunrise In Inglewood Was the Best in Months

3 Inglewood Sunrise Photos From the Last Few Weeks

Sunrise Today Reflecting on Big Bear Lake

A Bright Sunrise Over San Francisco Bay

Another Superb Sunrise Over Silicon Valley

The Sun Rises Over the Fog In Silicon Valley

A Huge, Colorful Sunrise over San Francisco

A Good Morning Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

The Sunrise Illuminates The Path By the Beach In Cambria, California

The Last Socal Sunrise of 2013

3 California Sunrises – San Diego – Santa Cruz – San Francisco

These 3 Photos Fail to Do Justice For This Morning’s Southern California Sunrise

Beverly Hills: A California Sunrise in Memory of Shirley Temple

A Subtle Sunrise From The San Fernando Valley This Morning

A Colorful Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

A Golden Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

Today’s San Fernando Valley Sunrise

3 Shots of the San Fernando Valley Sunrise This Morning

The Sun Rises Over San Diego’s Working Waterfront

Today’s Sunrise in Inglewood Was Breathtakingly Beautiful

Colorado

Inspiring Sunrise Hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park

Stunning Shots of Sunlight Escape the Clouds In Roxborough Park

A Purple, Pink, and Gold Colorado Sunrise

Which of These 3 Colorado Sunrises Is the Best?

Garden of the Gods at Dawn

Colorado Sunrise Vodkapundit Style

An Orange Sunrise from Boulder, CO

Connecticut

Sunrise Over the Snow in New England

A Connecticut Church’s Stained Glass Sunrise

Delaware

A Delaware Sunrise That Looks Like Heaven

Florida

Great Colors in this Sunrise Over NYC Shot From Jersey City

An Instagram Video of Today’s Sunrise Over Miami

What Could Be Better Than Kayaking At Sunrise?

A Bold, Blood Red Sunrise Reflecting On Lake Maitland in Florida

3 Fantastic Photos of Yesterday Morning’s Florida Sunrise Courtesy of Myra Adams

The Sun Rises Over the Sea In Florida

A Heavenly Sunset in Cedar Key, Florida

Sunrise at a Damaged Honeymoon Cottage in Cedar Key, Florida

3 Florida Beach Sunrises

Florida Sunset With 3 Dogs (All Sunsets Are Better With Dogs)

Don’t Miss This Breathtaking Sunrise Shot From a Kayak On Lake Minnehaha

Georgia

The Sun Rising Over Atlanta From 10,000 Feet

Many Colors Over The Sky In Yesterday’s Sunrise Over Atlanta, Georgia

How the Sun Starts the Day in Covington, GA

Another Beautiful North Georgia Sunrise

Hawaii

Sunrise Dances Across The Clouds in Maui

Clouds at Sunset in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Idaho

Great Colors In the Sky Over Idaho at Sunrise

Beautiful Clouds As the Sun Rises In the Idaho Hills

Sunrise On the Farm in Buhl, Idaho

Illinois

Sunrise From the 57th Floor in Chicago

Chicago: 7 Sunrises to Start Your Sunday

Indiana

An Indiana Cornfield Sunrise In the Rearview Mirror

The Sunrise Today In Downtown Indianapolis

Iowa

A Bright Red and Orange Iowa Sunrise

Kansas

An Artsy Kansas Sunrise

Kentucky

An Inspiring Sunrise Over the Ohio River Shot From the Kentucky Side

Kentucky: A Great-Looking Truck on the Farm at Sunrise

Louisiana

A Peaceful Purple Louisiana Sunrise over the Superdome

Maine

2 New England Sunsets

**** Need to get a Main Sunrise!!! An oversight in the collection!!! ****

Maryland

A Superb Sunrise Canoeing on the Monocacy River in Maryland

Massachusetts

4 Sunrise Shots at the Light Houses in Gloucester, MA

Colors Reflected on Rocky Winthrop Beach in Boston at Sunrise

A Powerful Pink Sunrise From Framingham, MA

Michigan

Detroit Ice Fishing Sunrise

An Ice Fishing Sunrise From North of Detroit to Start Your Weekend

Sunrise on Lake St. Clair, Just Outside Detroit

Minnesota

Michigan Vs. Minnesota: Which Sunrise Is Better?

A Calming Sunrise Over Wolf Lake in Minnesota

Mississippi

An Overwhelming Sunrise on the Mississippi River

Missouri

This Missouri Sunrise On the Plains Is a Gorgeous Photograph

Montana

Sunrise from the Rooftop in Billings, Montana

Nebraska

A Truly Triumphant Sunrise From Nebraska

Nevada

A Hopeful Sunrise In the Nevada Desert

New Hampshire

This New Hampshire Sunrise Is One of the Most Beautiful In The Collection

2 Sunrise Shots From the Thanksgiving Day Snow Storm of 2014 (New Hampshire)

An Astonishing Sunrise Through the Bedroom’s ‘Glass Wall’

3 Superb Sunrise Shots From Don Sucher

A New Hampshire Sunrise Shot Through The ‘Glass Wall’

Submit A Superior Sunrise Shot From Your State! Here’s A New Hampshire

New Jersey

A Great Smile of a Sunrise On the Jersey Shore

New Mexico

Which State Has the Superior Sunrises? 2 From New Mexico Vs 2 From Colorado

A Hopeful Sunrise in New Mexico

New York

A Bright, Colorful New York Sunrise

North Carolina

A Sunrise to Start The Day at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

A Peaceful Sunrise Video at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina

North Dakota

These 2 North Dakota Sunrise Photos Are Some of the Most Breathtaking We’ve Ever Received…

A Wide Open North Dakota Sunrise on the Farm

Ohio

It’s 3 Below In Newark, Ohio And The Sun Shoots Up Like a Shining Column of Light

‘Flying at 6500′ Msl Over Zanesville, OH in My Cessna 182 Heading South’

What a 17 Degree Ohio Sunset Looks Like

4 Great Sunrises Today: Ohio Vs New Jersey Vs North Carolina Vs Florida

4 Snowy Midwestern Sunrises From Today

Oklahoma

An Oklahoma Driving Sunrise

Canada Vs Oklahoma Vs Tunisia: Which Sunrise Is Your Favorite Today?

A Wonderful Blue & Orange Sunrise Creeps Over the Oklahoma Grasses

Oregon

2 Wonderful Sunrises From Today in Oregon

Which of These 2 Oregon Sunrises Is More Beautiful?

A Beautifully Composed Portland Oregon Sunrise Photograph

Oregon Vs. Oklahoma: Which Sunrise Do You Like More?

Pennsylvania

2 Gettysburg Battlefield Sunrises

Rhode Island

A Colorful Rhode Island Sunrise

South Carolina

5 Instagram Sunrises From Around the World

Sunrise: Myrtle Beach or Miami Beach?

South Dakota

Golden Skies Over South Dakota at Sunrise

Tennessee

Cows At a Colorful Sunrise in Tennessee

Texas

6 Great Sun Shots from Galveston, Texas

Which of These 4 Texas Sunrise Photos From This Morning Is Your Favorite?

An Optimistic Sunrise Over Dallas

Sunrise From Galveston Island, Texas

West Texas Instagram Video: The Birds Flying at Sunrise

Utah

These 2 Bright Utah Sunrises Are Inspirational

A Utah Camping Sunrise

Vermont

Golden Dancing Clouds in this Tranquil Vermont Sunrise

Virginia

Sunrise Over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia

Charlottesville, VA: When the Morning Sun Gets Under the Clouds and Lights Them Up

Washington and West Virginia

West Virginia Vs Washington: Which Sunrise Do You Like More?

Wisconsin

3 Artsy Sunrise Photos From Milwaukee

Wyoming

Wake Up in Wyoming And Start Today With this Bright, Beautiful Sunrise

The Beginning of the Sunrise in Wyoming

Mars (which we might as well go ahead and start counting as an American state now)

What Does a Sunrise Look Like on Mars?

The International Sunset Collection

1. Australia:

The Sun Sets in Sydney, Australia

2. Brazil:

The Sun Sets at a South American Achipelago

2 Very Different Brazilian Sunsets

Women in Rio de Janeiro Jumping Over Today’s Sunrise

3. Canada:

6 Sunrises to Start the Last Week of January

4. Cayman Islands:

An Insta-Sunset From the Cayman Islands

5. Chile:

Fire Dances In the Skies As the Sun Sets in the Chilean Mountains

6. Costa Rica:

3 Bright Sunsets From Costa Rica

7. England, 8. France, and 9. Denmark:

3 European Sunrises

10. Finland

Brazil Vs Finland Vs Chile: Which of These Sunsets is Your Favorite?

11. Italy:

An Italian Sunset in Miramare, Trieste

12. Germany:

A Red Sunset in the Woods of Hagen, Germany

This Bright Orange German Sunset Is Like the Conclusion of an Epic Quest

13. Greece:

A Soothing Sunset On the Greek Island of Oia

14. Malaysia:

Sunsets On 3 Continents

15. Maldives:

Tropical Paradise: A Sunset in Maldives

16. Mexico:

Gray Crashes into Gold in This Striking Mexico City Sunset

17. Mozambique:

5 Golden Sunsets From Africa

Orange and Blue in the Mozambique Skies: The Sun Sets Over Nacala

An Absolutely Amazing, Haunting, Spiritual Sunset From Mozambique

2 More Magical Mozambique Sunsets And a Bonus Sunrise

18. Philippines:

A Panglao Island Sunset

19. Russia:

6 Sunrises from Australia to Paris to Russia to America…

20. Sweden:

6 Sunsets to End the Week

21. Thailand:

2 Thailand Sunsets

Sunset on the Quiet Side of Phuket, Thailand, April 2014

22. Trinidad:

A Trinidad Sunset Bursts Through Gray Clouds

23. South Africa:

A Waterfront Sunset in South Africa

24. Scotland:

An Astounding Scottish Sunset on the Isle of Mull

25. Serbia:

Purple and Gold in the Skies Over Serbia

26. Spain:

A ‘Naughty Sun’ Tries to Sneak Down the Chimney In Catalonia

27. Wales:

A Beautiful Burst of Sunset at Broughton Bay Yesterday in South Wales

28. Israel:

A Superb Sunset From Susan In Israel

29. Iraq:

2 ‘Not The Most Spectacular’ Sunset Shots From Iraq

An Iraqi Sunset From Camp Danger…

Starting the International Sunrise Collection:

1. Formentera

A Great Sunrise Video From the Island of Formentera

2. Australia

Blue & Orange Colorado Sunrise Vs. Pink Australia Skies

Sunrise on a Rocky Australian Coastline

3. Canada

Running Through a Canadian Carrot Field at Sunrise

4. Italy

An Italian Sunrise Over the Sea In Calabria

A Sicilian Sunrise at the Beach

5. Argentina

A Superb Sunrise From Patagonia, Argentina

6. Thailand

Mist At Dawn in Thailand

7. Indonesia

Yellow Skies at Sunrise on Bromo Mountain in Indonesia

A Peaceful Glowing Sunrise in the Mountains of Indonesia

A Cool Sunrise Shot in Indonesia

8. Hong Kong

A Hong Kong Sunrise Worth Remembering

Starting The United States Sunset Collection:

1. Arizona

The Sun Sets Over the Grand Canyon

A Sharpshooter Sends in 2 Great Sunset Shots From Arizona

2. Florida

Florida: A Pink Sunset At Passagrille Beach

‘Probably My Favorite Two Sunset Shots I’ve Ever Taken…’

3. Montana

A Majestic Purple Montana Sunset

4. Massachusetts

A Bright Sunset over Laurel Lake in Berkshire County, Massachusetts

5. Washington

The First in a Fantastic Series of Seattle Sunrise and Sunset Shots

‘I Felt as Though I Was Inside a Jewel Box.’

‘Sunset, the Olympics and Low-Lying Fog over Elliott Bay’

6. California

5 Beautiful Playa Del Rey Beach Sunset Shots From Tuesday Night

A Transcendent Sunset Shot At Pepperdine Last Week

7. Connecticut

Peace At Compo Beach as the Sun Sets in Westport, Connecticut

The Washington D.C. Collection So Far:

27 Sunrises:

5 Sunsets:

The Dogs at Sunrise Collection So Far:

The Hyperlapse Sunrise/Sunset Collection

Sunrises:

International:

United States:

Sunsets

International

United States

 

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Morning Music Piano Fight: Beethoven Vs Schubert

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

This month we’re considering head-to-head match ups, starting with these 28 composers left as a comment in “10 Classical Music Composers Recommended by Charlie Martin”:

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After Tuesday’s opening match-up pitting William Byrd vs Thomas Tallis, another of PJ Lifestyle’s classical music experts offered his suggestions for match-ups:

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The first week of February we featured the Trombonist’s first head-to-head on Wednesday (Tchaikovsky Vs Rimsky-Koraskov), his second on Thursday (Brahms vs Wagner), and then Shostakovich Vs Prokofiev on Friday.

This week let’s explore more of the Trombonist’s “Tradition vs Revolution” matches, here’s Beethoven Vs Schubert, on piano:

Vs.

***

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this feature. Please leave your suggestions in the comments, on twitter to @DaveSwindle, or via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT Gmail.com

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Felix Mendelssohn

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Antonio Vivaldi

10 Recommended by Charlie Martin

Franz Liszt

Rimsky-Korsakov

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky

Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin

Mily Balakirev

Cesar Cui

Frederic Chopin, Gabriel Faure

Charles Gounod, Erik Satie

 

 

28 Recommendations from Markham S. Pyle

William Byrd and Thomas Tallis

Aaron Copland

Dvorak

Elgar

Holst

The Reformed Trombonist’s Match-Up Suggestions:

Haydn Vs. Mozart

Shostakovich

Brahms

Verdi

Rossini

Gesualdo

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Understanding This Bloody Truth About the Bible Will Save Your Life

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 - by David P. Goldman

Editor’s Note: This article is cross-posted from David P. Goldman’s Spengler blog where it was first published on February 16, 2015 with the title “Jihad and Self-Sacrifice in Islam.” I’ve decided to reprint it here because it serves as a powerful introduction to one of the foundational concepts in Goldman’s body of work: applying Franz Rosenzweig’s analysis of paganism to today’s foreign, domestic, and cultural problems. Read Goldman’s books How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too), and It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations for elaboration on this theme and many more paradigm-shifting concepts. For an understanding of the applicability of Goldman’s foreign policy approach in the upcoming presidential primary see my “No to Corporate Neoconservatism, No to Paleo-Libertarian Anarchism, Yes to Augustinian Realism” from August 9, 2013. -DS

Comparative religion is not a statistical exercise: it is meaningless to tally up the victims of Crusaders and compare them to the victims of Islam and quibble about which religion is more violent. Religious war of conquest, that is, jihad, has the same role in Islam that the Lord’s Supper has in Christianity. Christianity (and Judaism) have exercised violence in the past but never sacralized violence. That is unique to Islam among the self-styled Mosaic religions.

The great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig argued that Islam was not a monotheistic religion, but a “parody” of one, a monistic paganism in which the old pagan gods were rolled up into a single deity. I have summarized Rosenzweig’s views in a number of locations, and taken the argument further in two essays published a decade ago (“Jihad, the Lord’s Supper, and Eternal Life” and “The Blood is the Life, Mr. Rumsfeld). Below I offer some extracts from those essays, first published in Asia Times.

It is important to get the theology right — not so much to understand the depredations of radical Islam, which hardly are obscure, but to understand what makes the West different. Violence is incidental to Judaism and Christianity and fundamental to Islam. It does us little good to denounce radical Islam if we forget who we are, and how we came to be here.

All religion is about blood, because all religion is about life. Shi’ite Islam, though, displays an affinity for real blood that disturbs the West. On their holiest day, the Feast of Ashura, Shi’ites cut themselves until they bathe in their own blood. Jafariyanews.com, a Shi’ite information service, reported from the holy city of Karbala in Iraq on February 20:

Thousands of mourners slit open their heads with swords, big knives and razor blades streaming their blood to signify their grief over the martyrdom of [the Prophet Mohammed's grandson] al-Imam al-Hussein [in 680 AD] – the tragedy which caused the sky to rain blood and the earth to bleed. [2]

Spurting blood is the preferred symbol of Iran’s Islamic revolution. Fountains shooting red dye at Tehran’s Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery recalled the blood of the young Iranians interred there, who fell in the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s suicide battalions during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.

This turns Western stomachs, despite the universal presence of blood symbols in Western religion, as we observe in the Eucharist as well as the blood sacrifices of the Hebrew Bible. Catholics drink Christ’s blood literally (and Protestants symbolically) to attain eternal life, while lambs’ blood kept the Angel of Death from the doors of the ancient Hebrews on the eve of their exodus.

One dies a vicarious death in order to secure eternal life. Unlike Christians or Jews, whose religions are based on vicarious sacrifice, Islam demands the self-sacrifice of its adherents, in keeping with its essentially militant character. Revealed religion puts blood at a distance; Abraham sacrifices a ram and spares his son Isaac, and God sacrifices his own son in order to spare mankind. That is why blood in Judaism became taboo, to be handled only by the priest or his surrogate, the ritual butcher. Usually a Catholic priest administers the Eucharist. (An acolyte or lay person can give communion when not enough clergy are available, though only a priest or bishop can consecrate the host.) Unlike Christianity or Judaism, Islam has no ritual of sacrifice, nor does it need one, for the sacrifice that Islam demands is that of the Muslim himself.

To understand the promise of Islam, and the aspirations of Shi’ite Islam in particular, we first must understand what religion offers to begin with. All religion is about life, that is, about life eternal. Humankind cannot bear mortality without the hope of immortality, and for this men will sacrifice their physical existence without hesitation. That is true of paganism as much as it is true of revealed religion. The young men of the tribe march to war to protect the existence of the tribe, confident that the perpetuation of their blood and their memory will compensate them for their death in battle. But the expansion of the great empires of Macedonia and Rome made the tribes themselves sentient of their mortality; that is the dawn of history, namely of the knowledge that every nation has a history, and that this history must have an end. As Franz Rosenzweig (who lived from 1886 to 1929 and is one of the most influential modern Jewish religious thinkers) wrote:

Just as every individual must reckon with his eventual death, the peoples of the world foresee their eventual extinction, be it however distant in time. Indeed, the love of the peoples for their own nationhood is sweet and pregnant with the presentiment of death. Love is only surpassing sweet when it is directed towards a mortal object, and the secret of this ultimate sweetness only is defined by the bitterness of death. Thus the peoples of the world foresee a time when their land with its rivers and mountains still lies under heaven as it does today, but other people dwell there; when their language is entombed in books, and their laws and customs have lost their living power.

The pagans of the prehistoric world found immortality in the gods and totems of their tribe; when history intruded upon their lives on horseback, the power of the old gods vanished like smoke, and the immortality of the individual faded before the prospect of a great extinction of peoples. Among all the tribes of the world from the Indus to the Pillars of Hercules, only one claimed the eternity of its bloodline under a covenant with a universal God, namely the Jews.

The blood of the pagan was his life; to achieve a life outside of the blood of his tribe, the pagan had to acquire a new blood. It is meaningless to promise men life in the Kingdom of Heaven without a corresponding life in this world; Christianity represents a new people of God, with an existence in this life. That is why Christianity requires that the individual undergo a new birth. To become a Christian, every child who comes into the world must undergo a second birth, to become by blood a new member of the Tribe of Abraham. Protestants who practice baptism through total immersion in water simply reproduce the ancient Jewish ritual of conversion, which requires that the convert pass through water, just as he did in leaving his mother’s womb, to undergo a new birth that makes him a physical descendant of Abraham. Through baptism, Christians believe that they become Abraham’s progeny.

Before the Bible was written, the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh learned that his quest for immortality was futile. The demigods of Greece, mortals favored by Olympians, suffered a tedious sort of immortal life as stars, trees or rivers. The gods of the heathens are not in any case eternal, only immortal. They were born and they will die, like the Norse gods at the Ragnarok, and their vulnerability projects the people’s presentiment of its own death. To whom, precisely, have the gods offered eternal life prior to the appearance of revealed religion? Eternal life and a deathless mortality are quite different things.

But what is it that God demands of us in response to our demand for eternal life? We know the answer ourselves. To partake of life in another world we first must detach ourselves from this world in order to desire the next. In plain language, we must sacrifice ourselves. There is no concept of immortality without some concept of sacrifice, not in any culture or in any religion. That is a demand shared by the Catholic bishops and the Kalahari Bushmen.

God’s covenant with Abraham is unique and singular in world history. A single universal and eternal god makes an eternal pact with a mortal that can be fulfilled only if Abraham’s tribe becomes an eternal people. But the price of this pact is self-sacrifice. That is an existential mortal act beyond all ethics, as Soren Kierkegaard tells us in Fear and Trembling. The sacraments of revealed religion are sublimated human sacrifice, for the revealed god in his love for humankind spares the victim, just as God provided a ram in place of the bound Isaac on Mount Moriah. Among Jews the covenant must be renewed in each male child through a substitute form of human sacrifice, namely circumcision. Christians believe that a single human sacrifice spared the rest of mankind.

Jihad also is a form of human sacrifice. He who serves Allah so faithfully as to die in the violent propagation of Islam goes straight to paradise, there to enjoy virgins or raisins, depending on the translation. But Allah is not the revealed god of loving kindness, or agape, but — pace Benedict XVI — a god of reason, that is, of cold calculation. Islam admits no expiatory sacrifice. Everyone must carry his own spear.

We are too comfortable, too clean, too squeamish, too modern to descend into the terrible space where birth, death and immortality are decided. We forget that we cannot have eternal life unless we are ready to give up this one — and this the Muslim knows only through what we should call the sacrament of jihad. Through jihad, the Muslim does almost precisely what the Christian does at the Lord’s Supper. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that grants immortal life to all Christians, that is, those who become one with Jesus by eating his flesh and drinking his blood so that the sacrifice also is theirs, at least in Catholic terms. Protestants substitute empathy identification with the crucified Christ for the trans-substantiated blood and flesh of Jesus.

Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross to give all men eternal life, on condition that they take part in his sacrifice, either through the physical communion of the Catholic Church or the empathetic Communion of Protestantism. From a Muslim vantage point, the extreme of divine humility embodied in Jesus’ sacrifice is beyond reason. Allah, by contrast, deals with those who submit to him after the calculation of an earthly despot. He demands that all Muslims sacrifice themselves by becoming warriors and, if necessary, laying their lives down in the perpetual war against the enemies of Islam.

These are parallel acts, in which different peoples do different things, in the service of different deities, but for the same reason: for eternal life.

Why is self-sacrifice always and everywhere the cost of eternal life? It is not because a vengeful and sanguineous God demands his due before issuing us a visa to heaven. Quite the contrary: we must sacrifice our earthly self, our attachment to the pleasures and petty victories of our short mortal life if we really are to gain the eternal life that we desire. The animal led to the altar, indeed Jesus on the cross, is ourselves: we die along with the sacrifice and yet live, by the grace of God. YHWH did not want Isaac to die, but without taking Abraham to Mount Moriah, Abraham himself could not have been transformed into the man desirous and deserving of immortal life. Jesus died and took upon him the sins of the world, in Christian terms, precisely so that a vicarious sacrifice would redeem those who come to him.

What distinguishes Allah from YHWH and (in Christian belief) his son Jesus is love. God gives Jews and Christians a path that their foot can tread, one that is not too hard for mortals, to secure the unobtainable, namely immortal life, as if by miracle. Out of love God gives the Torah to the Jews, not because God is a stickler for the execution of 613 commandments, but because it is a path upon which the Jew may sacrifice and yet live, and receive his portion of the World to Come. The most important sacrifice in Judaism is the Sabbath — “our offering of rest,” says the congregation in the Sabbath prayers — a day of inactivity that acknowledges that the Earth is the Lord’s. It is a sacrifice, as it were, of ego. In this framework, incidentally, it is pointless to distinguish Judaism as a “religion of works” as opposed to Christianity as a “religion of faith.”

To Christians, God offers the vicarious participation in his sacrifice of himself through his only son.

That is Christian Grace: a free gift by God to men such that they may obtain eternal life. By a miracle, the human soul responds to the offer of Grace with a leap, a leap away from the attachments that hold us to this world, and a foretaste of the World to Come.

There is no Grace in Islam, no miracle, no expiatory sacrifice, no expression of love for mankind such that each Muslim need not be a sacrifice. On the contrary, the concept of jihad, in which the congregation of Islam is also the army, states that every single Muslim must sacrifice himself personally. Jihad is the precise equivalent of the Lord’s Supper in Christianity and the Jewish Sabbath, the defining expression of sacrifice that opens the prospect of eternity to the mortal believer. To ask Islam to become moderate, to reform, to become a peaceful religion of personal conscience is the precise equivalent of asking Catholics to abolish Mass.

Unlike the tribes who encountered Christianity in the fullness of its power, in 4th-century Rome or 9th-century Europe, the Arab tribes of the 7th century occupied the borders of a Roman Empire, then in a demographic death-spiral. The New Israel of the Christians was at its historic nadir. First the Alexandrine Empire and then the Romans crushed the traditional life of the nations, imposing their own gods and customs; faced with overwhelming force, the traditional society of the prehistoric world lost confidence in its own hearth-gods and submitted to baptism. Not so the Arabs. Whether the Arab tribesmen conquered Byzantine armies, or merely took over borderlands that the Byzantines abandoned, as a minority of scholars believe, the great movement of Arab tribes against the old empires found no solace in the floundering “New Israel.” In the fullness of their new self-confidence, the Arabs declared themselves to be the true descendants of Abraham, risen up against the falsifiers and usurpers. Islam gave traditional society the weapons to beat back the threat of extinction.

Muslims require no ritual of rebirth, for in their doctrine they already are the descendants of Abraham, through the supposed true line of Ishmael, the favored son of the patriarch whose heritage was usurped by the crafty descendants of Isaac — the Jews and their emulators the Christians. Allah sent prophets to all the nations of the world, but the Jews falsified the message of the prophets to favor their ancestors at the expense of the true successor of Abraham. In the revolt against the usurpers, all the tribes of the world enjoy the equality of the horde.

Revolt against usurpation, the revenge of the pure life of traditional society against the corrupt mores of the metropole, is the heart of Islam. The Muslim rejects the supposed chosen people of God as usurpers, and defends traditional society against the crucible of peoples that is the Christians’ New Israel. But Islam also forms a new people, the Umma, the collective of Muslims to which the individual must submit. In the pagan world the young men of each tribe march out to fight their enemies, and delay the inevitable moment when their tribe will be overwhelmed and its memory extinguished from the earth. Islam summons the tribes to unite against the oppressive empires to its West, to march out together and fight until their enemies, the Dar-al-Harb, exist no more.

Islam has no ethnicity; it is not an Arab movement; it is a new people, but a people defined first of all by militancy. The individual Muslim does not submit to traditional society as such, no matter how many elements of traditional society might be incorporated into Muslim doctrine; he submits to the movement of the tribes. That is why jihad is the most authentic form of Muslim religious activity, and why the blood rituals of Ashura the most authentic form of Muslim worship.

As I observed in an essay titled “Does Islam have a prayer? (May 18, 2004):

If the individual Muslim does not submit to traditional society as it surrounds him in its present circumstances, he submits to the expansionist movement. In that sense the standard communal prayer of Islam may be considered an expression of jihad. Again Rosenzweig: “Walking in the way of Allah means, in the strictest sense, the spread of Islam by means of the holy war. The piety of the Muslim finds its way into the world by obediently walking this way, by assuming its inherent dangers, by adhering to the laws prescribed for it.”

But the rising of the tribes against the usurpers must give rise to a new form of usurpation. Victors in war do not wish to campaign forever; at an opportune moment they will become the new tyrants of the territories they conquer. In the Shi’ite version (as Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis writes):

…the reigning caliphs appeared more and more as tyrants and usurpers, while for many, the claims of the kin of the Prophet, embodied first in Ali and then in his descendants, came to express their hopes and aspirations for the overthrow of the corrupt existing order and a return to pure, authentic, and original Islam.

The “Twelvers,” the Shi’ite mainstream, expect the return of Muhammad al-Mahdi, the 12th of the Imams (the canonical descendants of Ali) at the end of time. Facile identification of this doctrine with the Christian belief in the return of Christ or the Jesus expectation of a Messiah leads some in the West to think of Shi’ism as closer in spirit to Western religion. But the hope for the Mahdi expresses not a quasi-Christian sort of quietism, but rather an encysted revolutionary impulse, and that is what we observe in the Shi’ite fascination for blood.

The blood is the life, and men pass to eternal life only through blood — but whose blood? Self-sacrifice in war is the fundamental religious act of paganism, for it is only by the sacrifice of the young men of the tribe that the tribe has surety of survival among a forest of enemies. Human sacrifice, especially among warrior-cults, is a common religious expression among pagans. But with the notion of a universal God comes also the prospect of universal peace: if all men one day might worship one God by the same name, then the perpetual warring among tribes fighting for survival also might cease.

In proud defiance of revealed religion, the destroyer of the tribes, Islam holds to the primal demand of self-sacrifice. The jihadi’s self-immolation in war, symbolized by the drawing of blood and the bleeding of nature itself, is the fundamental act of worship. The immortality of the individual, put at risk by the encroachment of the metropole upon the life of the tribe, is regained through the revolt of the endangered tribes against the usurpation of the empire that forms its motivation. Shi’ism therefore represents the original impulse of Islam in its purest form, and the shedding one’s own blood an authentic response. The victors of the revolt against the usurpers become usurpers in turn, and so on in never-ending cycle. Again, Lewis:

Most Sunni jurists, even while recognizing the evils of the existing order, continued to preach conformism and submission, generally quoting yet another principle, that “tyranny is better than anarchy.” The Shi’ites, on the other hand, even while submitting, maintained their principled rejection of the Sunni order, and from time to time, more frequently in the early centuries than in the later, rose in revolt in an attempt to overthrow the existing order.

More than in the 7th century, indeed more than at any time in recorded history, the encroaching metropole jeopardizes the life of the tribes. More than ever, the Shi’ites will bathe in their own blood rather than submit to it.

*******

This essay is part of an ongoing dialogue between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island exploring the history of counter-cultures, the future of conservatism and the role of new, emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism. See the previous installments in the series and join the discussion:

 

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God, Guns, and Gays: Can We Find Something to Agree On?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 - by Stephen Green

GUNS

Finally, a civil rights measure on which I hope everyone can agree:

Last Tuesday, as the Nebraska legislature considered a bill making it easier for military spouses to carry concealed handguns, an unlikely issue arose: gay marriage. As written, the bill covered only spouses of military members whose marriages were recognized under state law—that is, opposite-sex partners. But Republican Sen. Paul Schumacher challenged that language, proposing an amendment that would define “spouse,” for the purposes of the legislation, using federal law—that is, including same-sex partners.

“Is not the Second Amendment sex-blind? Color-blind?” Schumacher asked during the debate. “What great evil would come from saying a partner of somebody in the military … is entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry a concealed weapon in this state?”

Schumacher’s amendment was adopted by a vote of 38-0.

Certainly, everyone in the Nebraska Senate agreed.

Further down there’s an interview with Schumacher where you get a good look at his thinking, and why he didn’t let his district’s opposition to gay marriage* get in the way of Second Amendment protections:

The amendment doesn’t [recognize gay military members’ spouses as their legal spouses], because our constitution prohibits saying that they are spouses. But we can create exceptions in which we say: Someone who receives a benefit of a spouse of a military person under federal law will [be covered] by this legislation. And that’s what everyone was satisfied was a good and fair thing to do.

Basically, the amendment grants benefits using [the federal government’s definition] of who gets benefits. If the federal government came out with a ruling that we confer upon a general’s grandmother the same rights and benefits of a general’s spouse—this would cover a pistol-packing grandma.

More guns, less crime.

(*When asked he if supports same-sex marriage, Schumacher deflected a bit with, “The people in my district do not support it.” And as a popularly elected lawmaker trying to stick to the issue at hand with a Slate writer, that’s a fair answer.)

*****

cross-posted from Vodkapundit, image illustration via shutterstock / 

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The World Is Terrible Right Now, So Here’s an Adorable Valentine Calf to Cheer You Up

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

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(Photo Credits: Lin-Dar Farms)

This adorable Holstein calf was born on Valentine’s Day — with a heart on the top of her head!

Charlie Klinefelter, who helps run Lin-Dar Farms in Wooster, Ohio, with his family, said the 85-pound calf was born on Saturday night, “with a little help from me.” She was standing on her own and drinking from a bottle within 24 hours.

Most of Ohio was under a severe winter weather advisory on Saturday night as white-out conditions made driving hazardous and temperatures hovered around zero (or below) for most of the day. The new calf was kept in the milk house so she could keep warm during the frigid weather.

Klinefelter said his family believes they are “caretakers of a small piece of God’s creation” and so they farm “in a manner that is honoring to God and that is beneficial to the land, to our animals, to consumers of our products and to us.”

The family milks a herd of 85 dairy cows of various breeds and they also raise crops (mostly for cow feed) on 200 acres in Wayne County, Ohio.

The Valentine’s Day calf doesn’t have a name yet, but the farm is taking suggestions. You can leave your ideas in the comments below or on Lin-Dar’s Facebook page.

Here are a couple more pictures of the precious new baby. Looks like she has a second heart on her tummy!

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Need more cow therapy? Enjoy some more pictures of the Lin-Dar cow family!

 

Here’s a sweet little newborn Jersey calf:

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Everyone has that one photobombing friend, even this calf who’s showing off her haute couture coat. Born last week, she’s the result of a Holstein heifer bred to an Ayrshire bull.

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Charlie Klinefelter said this is, “A first time mommy with her pretty stinking cute calf!” It doesn’t get much more stinking cute than this.

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This guy scoffs at winter. The Scottish Highlander cow has access to the barn, but even in the snow and the -11 degree wind chill, he still prefers to sleep outside.

 

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This Scottish Highlander bull is winning at life:

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Here’s what that talented Scottish Highlander looked like as a newborn:

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And finally, this little guy wants you to smile and enjoy  your day!

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Pastor to Oprah: Christianity ‘Moments Away’ from Embracing Gay Marriage

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Immutability stands as a defining characteristic of divine nature. A god who changes cannot be God. At least that’s been a long-standing Christian doctrine.

But at least one best-selling author and pastor believes that Christianity itself must change. The Blaze reports:

Former megachurch pastor Rob Bell told TV host Oprah Winfrey that he believes Christian churches will become even more irrelevant if they fail to embrace gay relationships and that he sees the Christian umbrella becoming more favorable of homosexuality in the very near future.

When Winfrey asked when the church will come on board with same-sex relationships, Bell, the former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, said that he believes that the time is “close” and that “we’re just moments away from the church accepting it,” according to the Christian Post.

“I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone,” Bell said on OWN’s “Super Soul Sunday.”

Two things stand out from these comments. First, Bell proceeds on the unspoken premise that cultural relevance ought to be a Christian value. Of course, if Christians want to be relevant to the culture, they should just renounce Christianity. Scripture is replete with exhortations for the believer to stand apart from the culture, to be distinct in both attitude and conduct. You’d be hard pressed to find a passage in the Bible urging Christians to be “relevant” to the world around them.

Which leads to the second standout from Bell’s comments: his cavalier dismissal of scripture. Who needs 2,000 year old letters to guide their theology? That’s so yesterday. One wonders why anyone would bother to consider themselves Christian at all if they hold so little regard for biblical authority.

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Glorious Gold and Blue In the Skies As the Sun Sets in Spain

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Sunshine

A photo posted by @maura_cc on

*****

Since December of 2013 PJ Lifestyle has been collecting sunrise and sunset photos from contributors, readers, and Instagram. Now we’re going to begin an effort to organize the ongoing collection. Revised goals:

1. Collect a sunrise from every state in the union. Completed July 25, 2014 but you can still send in your great photos to be featured.

2. Collect a sunset from as many countries around the world as possible.

3. After getting all 50 states’ sunrises then switch to collecting their sunsets and begin the global sunrises collection.

Updated April 2014: 4. The extraordinary submissions of Mark Baird have inspired a new collection of photographs devoted specifically to our nation’s capital. We’re going to try and organize fantastic sunrise and sunset photos from all the different monuments and scenic views.

Updated August 2014: 5. We’re going to now try and start combining sunrise and pet photos, leading with images and video taken by PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle featuring Maura the Siberian Husky on her morning runs. Any pet/sunrise/sunset photos will be especially appreciated.

Updated August 30, 2014: 6. With the introduction of Hyperlapse, hat tip to Vodkapundit, we begin a new chapter of sped-up video sunrises from around the world. Please send in links to yours or leave the URLs of your favorites in the comments.

Updated January 23, 2015: 7. Yesterday we launched PJ Lifestyle Sunshine 2.0. This feature will group together various sunrises collected here and ask for your feedback about your favorites.

The Completed United States Sunrise Collection

Alabama

Great Colors In the Alabama Sky At Sunrise in Cullman

Alaska

The Sun Rises Over a Town in the Alaskan Mountains

Arizona

A Very Cool Sunrise in Arizona This Morning…

An Encouraging Sunrise While Driving in Arizona

Arkansas

3 Invigorating Sunrise Shots From the Shores of the Arkansas River

‘My 10 year old took this in Arkansas just northeast of Memphis, TN overlooking a field.’

California

94 California Sunrises and Sunsets from 2014 (And the First 3 of 2015…)

2 Videos & 2 Photos: Today’s Sunrise In Inglewood Was the Best in Months

3 Inglewood Sunrise Photos From the Last Few Weeks

Sunrise Today Reflecting on Big Bear Lake

A Bright Sunrise Over San Francisco Bay

Another Superb Sunrise Over Silicon Valley

The Sun Rises Over the Fog In Silicon Valley

A Huge, Colorful Sunrise over San Francisco

A Good Morning Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

The Sunrise Illuminates The Path By the Beach In Cambria, California

The Last Socal Sunrise of 2013

3 California Sunrises – San Diego – Santa Cruz – San Francisco

These 3 Photos Fail to Do Justice For This Morning’s Southern California Sunrise

Beverly Hills: A California Sunrise in Memory of Shirley Temple

A Subtle Sunrise From The San Fernando Valley This Morning

A Colorful Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

A Golden Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

Today’s San Fernando Valley Sunrise

3 Shots of the San Fernando Valley Sunrise This Morning

The Sun Rises Over San Diego’s Working Waterfront

Today’s Sunrise in Inglewood Was Breathtakingly Beautiful

Colorado

Inspiring Sunrise Hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park

Stunning Shots of Sunlight Escape the Clouds In Roxborough Park

A Purple, Pink, and Gold Colorado Sunrise

Which of These 3 Colorado Sunrises Is the Best?

Garden of the Gods at Dawn

Colorado Sunrise Vodkapundit Style

An Orange Sunrise from Boulder, CO

Connecticut

Sunrise Over the Snow in New England

A Connecticut Church’s Stained Glass Sunrise

Delaware

A Delaware Sunrise That Looks Like Heaven

Florida

Great Colors in this Sunrise Over NYC Shot From Jersey City

An Instagram Video of Today’s Sunrise Over Miami

What Could Be Better Than Kayaking At Sunrise?

A Bold, Blood Red Sunrise Reflecting On Lake Maitland in Florida

3 Fantastic Photos of Yesterday Morning’s Florida Sunrise Courtesy of Myra Adams

The Sun Rises Over the Sea In Florida

A Heavenly Sunset in Cedar Key, Florida

Sunrise at a Damaged Honeymoon Cottage in Cedar Key, Florida

3 Florida Beach Sunrises

Florida Sunset With 3 Dogs (All Sunsets Are Better With Dogs)

Don’t Miss This Breathtaking Sunrise Shot From a Kayak On Lake Minnehaha

Georgia

The Sun Rising Over Atlanta From 10,000 Feet

Many Colors Over The Sky In Yesterday’s Sunrise Over Atlanta, Georgia

How the Sun Starts the Day in Covington, GA

Another Beautiful North Georgia Sunrise

Hawaii

Sunrise Dances Across The Clouds in Maui

Clouds at Sunset in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Idaho

Great Colors In the Sky Over Idaho at Sunrise

Beautiful Clouds As the Sun Rises In the Idaho Hills

Sunrise On the Farm in Buhl, Idaho

Illinois

Sunrise From the 57th Floor in Chicago

Chicago: 7 Sunrises to Start Your Sunday

Indiana

An Indiana Cornfield Sunrise In the Rearview Mirror

The Sunrise Today In Downtown Indianapolis

Iowa

A Bright Red and Orange Iowa Sunrise

Kansas

An Artsy Kansas Sunrise

Kentucky

An Inspiring Sunrise Over the Ohio River Shot From the Kentucky Side

Kentucky: A Great-Looking Truck on the Farm at Sunrise

Louisiana

A Peaceful Purple Louisiana Sunrise over the Superdome

Maine

2 New England Sunsets

**** Need to get a Main Sunrise!!! An oversight in the collection!!! ****

Maryland

A Superb Sunrise Canoeing on the Monocacy River in Maryland

Massachusetts

4 Sunrise Shots at the Light Houses in Gloucester, MA

Colors Reflected on Rocky Winthrop Beach in Boston at Sunrise

A Powerful Pink Sunrise From Framingham, MA

Michigan

Detroit Ice Fishing Sunrise

An Ice Fishing Sunrise From North of Detroit to Start Your Weekend

Sunrise on Lake St. Clair, Just Outside Detroit

Minnesota

Michigan Vs. Minnesota: Which Sunrise Is Better?

A Calming Sunrise Over Wolf Lake in Minnesota

Mississippi

An Overwhelming Sunrise on the Mississippi River

Missouri

This Missouri Sunrise On the Plains Is a Gorgeous Photograph

Montana

Sunrise from the Rooftop in Billings, Montana

Nebraska

A Truly Triumphant Sunrise From Nebraska

Nevada

A Hopeful Sunrise In the Nevada Desert

New Hampshire

This New Hampshire Sunrise Is One of the Most Beautiful In The Collection

2 Sunrise Shots From the Thanksgiving Day Snow Storm of 2014 (New Hampshire)

An Astonishing Sunrise Through the Bedroom’s ‘Glass Wall’

3 Superb Sunrise Shots From Don Sucher

A New Hampshire Sunrise Shot Through The ‘Glass Wall’

Submit A Superior Sunrise Shot From Your State! Here’s A New Hampshire

New Jersey

A Great Smile of a Sunrise On the Jersey Shore

New Mexico

Which State Has the Superior Sunrises? 2 From New Mexico Vs 2 From Colorado

A Hopeful Sunrise in New Mexico

New York

A Bright, Colorful New York Sunrise

North Carolina

A Sunrise to Start The Day at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

A Peaceful Sunrise Video at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina

North Dakota

These 2 North Dakota Sunrise Photos Are Some of the Most Breathtaking We’ve Ever Received…

A Wide Open North Dakota Sunrise on the Farm

Ohio

It’s 3 Below In Newark, Ohio And The Sun Shoots Up Like a Shining Column of Light

‘Flying at 6500′ Msl Over Zanesville, OH in My Cessna 182 Heading South’

What a 17 Degree Ohio Sunset Looks Like

4 Great Sunrises Today: Ohio Vs New Jersey Vs North Carolina Vs Florida

4 Snowy Midwestern Sunrises From Today

Oklahoma

An Oklahoma Driving Sunrise

Canada Vs Oklahoma Vs Tunisia: Which Sunrise Is Your Favorite Today?

A Wonderful Blue & Orange Sunrise Creeps Over the Oklahoma Grasses

Oregon

2 Wonderful Sunrises From Today in Oregon

Which of These 2 Oregon Sunrises Is More Beautiful?

A Beautifully Composed Portland Oregon Sunrise Photograph

Oregon Vs. Oklahoma: Which Sunrise Do You Like More?

Pennsylvania

2 Gettysburg Battlefield Sunrises

Rhode Island

A Colorful Rhode Island Sunrise

South Carolina

5 Instagram Sunrises From Around the World

Sunrise: Myrtle Beach or Miami Beach?

South Dakota

Golden Skies Over South Dakota at Sunrise

Tennessee

Cows At a Colorful Sunrise in Tennessee

Texas

6 Great Sun Shots from Galveston, Texas

Which of These 4 Texas Sunrise Photos From This Morning Is Your Favorite?

An Optimistic Sunrise Over Dallas

Sunrise From Galveston Island, Texas

West Texas Instagram Video: The Birds Flying at Sunrise

Utah

These 2 Bright Utah Sunrises Are Inspirational

A Utah Camping Sunrise

Vermont

Golden Dancing Clouds in this Tranquil Vermont Sunrise

Virginia

Sunrise Over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia

Charlottesville, VA: When the Morning Sun Gets Under the Clouds and Lights Them Up

Washington and West Virginia

West Virginia Vs Washington: Which Sunrise Do You Like More?

Wisconsin

3 Artsy Sunrise Photos From Milwaukee

Wyoming

Wake Up in Wyoming And Start Today With this Bright, Beautiful Sunrise

The Beginning of the Sunrise in Wyoming

Mars (which we might as well go ahead and start counting as an American state now)

What Does a Sunrise Look Like on Mars?

The International Sunset Collection

1. Australia:

The Sun Sets in Sydney, Australia

2. Brazil:

The Sun Sets at a South American Achipelago

2 Very Different Brazilian Sunsets

Women in Rio de Janeiro Jumping Over Today’s Sunrise

3. Canada:

6 Sunrises to Start the Last Week of January

4. Cayman Islands:

An Insta-Sunset From the Cayman Islands

5. Chile:

Fire Dances In the Skies As the Sun Sets in the Chilean Mountains

6. Costa Rica:

3 Bright Sunsets From Costa Rica

7. England, 8. France, and 9. Denmark:

3 European Sunrises

10. Finland

Brazil Vs Finland Vs Chile: Which of These Sunsets is Your Favorite?

11. Italy:

An Italian Sunset in Miramare, Trieste

12. Germany:

A Red Sunset in the Woods of Hagen, Germany

This Bright Orange German Sunset Is Like the Conclusion of an Epic Quest

13. Greece:

A Soothing Sunset On the Greek Island of Oia

14. Malaysia:

Sunsets On 3 Continents

15. Maldives:

Tropical Paradise: A Sunset in Maldives

16. Mexico:

Gray Crashes into Gold in This Striking Mexico City Sunset

17. Mozambique:

5 Golden Sunsets From Africa

Orange and Blue in the Mozambique Skies: The Sun Sets Over Nacala

An Absolutely Amazing, Haunting, Spiritual Sunset From Mozambique

2 More Magical Mozambique Sunsets And a Bonus Sunrise

18. Philippines:

A Panglao Island Sunset

19. Russia:

6 Sunrises from Australia to Paris to Russia to America…

20. Sweden:

6 Sunsets to End the Week

21. Thailand:

2 Thailand Sunsets

Sunset on the Quiet Side of Phuket, Thailand, April 2014

22. Trinidad:

A Trinidad Sunset Bursts Through Gray Clouds

23. South Africa:

A Waterfront Sunset in South Africa

24. Scotland:

An Astounding Scottish Sunset on the Isle of Mull

25. Serbia:

Purple and Gold in the Skies Over Serbia

26. Spain:

A ‘Naughty Sun’ Tries to Sneak Down the Chimney In Catalonia

27. Wales:

A Beautiful Burst of Sunset at Broughton Bay Yesterday in South Wales

28. Israel:

A Superb Sunset From Susan In Israel

29. Iraq:

2 ‘Not The Most Spectacular’ Sunset Shots From Iraq

An Iraqi Sunset From Camp Danger…

Starting the International Sunrise Collection:

1. Formentera

A Great Sunrise Video From the Island of Formentera

2. Australia

Blue & Orange Colorado Sunrise Vs. Pink Australia Skies

Sunrise on a Rocky Australian Coastline

3. Canada

Running Through a Canadian Carrot Field at Sunrise

4. Italy

An Italian Sunrise Over the Sea In Calabria

A Sicilian Sunrise at the Beach

5. Argentina

A Superb Sunrise From Patagonia, Argentina

6. Thailand

Mist At Dawn in Thailand

7. Indonesia

Yellow Skies at Sunrise on Bromo Mountain in Indonesia

A Peaceful Glowing Sunrise in the Mountains of Indonesia

A Cool Sunrise Shot in Indonesia

8. Hong Kong

A Hong Kong Sunrise Worth Remembering

Starting The United States Sunset Collection:

1. Arizona

The Sun Sets Over the Grand Canyon

A Sharpshooter Sends in 2 Great Sunset Shots From Arizona

2. Florida

Florida: A Pink Sunset At Passagrille Beach

‘Probably My Favorite Two Sunset Shots I’ve Ever Taken…’

3. Montana

A Majestic Purple Montana Sunset

4. Massachusetts

A Bright Sunset over Laurel Lake in Berkshire County, Massachusetts

5. Washington

The First in a Fantastic Series of Seattle Sunrise and Sunset Shots

‘I Felt as Though I Was Inside a Jewel Box.’

‘Sunset, the Olympics and Low-Lying Fog over Elliott Bay’

6. California

5 Beautiful Playa Del Rey Beach Sunset Shots From Tuesday Night

A Transcendent Sunset Shot At Pepperdine Last Week

7. Connecticut

Peace At Compo Beach as the Sun Sets in Westport, Connecticut

The Washington D.C. Collection So Far:

27 Sunrises:

5 Sunsets:

The Dogs at Sunrise Collection So Far:

The Hyperlapse Sunrise/Sunset Collection

Sunrises:

International:

United States:

Sunsets

International

United States

 

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Should We Be More Worried About Natural Disasters or Islamic Terror Attacks?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 - by David Solway

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You’re reading a post for Preparedness Week, a weeklong series of blogs about disaster and emergency preparation inspired by the launch of Freedom Academy’s newest e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. You can download the e-book exclusively at the PJ Store here.

One of the major issues of our time has to do with the status of Islamic terror. Is it something that should fill us with fear and panic, distract us from the ordinary affairs of life and prompt us to cede extraordinary powers of preventative surveillance to government? Or, indeed, to take the concrete measures outlined in terrorism expert James Jay Carafano’s new book Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror (of which, more later). Or is it merely another of those unpredictable disruptions and upheavals that happen along life’s road, deplorable, certainly, but inevitable, that we should come to terms with and go on conducting business as usual? In light of the recent murderous assault at a free speech symposium organized by Swedish artist Lars Vilks in Copenhagen, followed by an attack on a Copenhagen synagogue, we will no doubt once again hear cautions that we must not over-react to Islamic terror.

Many observers have contended that terror is insignificant compared to natural disasters. Ronald Bailey, writing in Reason.com, argues from statistics that people are “four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.” In fact, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic develops the same notion, as have innumerable others, namely, that we should refrain from exaggerating the threat of terrorism, given the much larger and vastly more lethal number of accidents and natural calamities. Here ensues the nub of his thesis. Since, as statistics show, Acts of God and quotidian mishaps far outnumber acts of terror, and since even these general misfortunes remain statistically insignificant, Friedersdorf contends we should not trade civil liberties for (excessive) security. From this point of view, the national security state presents a greater threat to our way of life than does the spectre of jihad, creating “a permanent database that practically guarantees eventual abuse.”

Admittedly, there is considerable sense to the apprehension that the surveillance state may prove invasive, as it surely has under the reign of Barack Obama and his decadent administration. Clearly, a degree of balance between liberty and security is necessary, though especially tricky to work out in practice. That the surveillance apparatus can be abused goes without question. That it is necessary, given the number of terrorist attacks that have been thwarted in embryo, is undoubted. It’s a good bet that the matter will never be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction.

Here in Canada, prime minister Stephen Harper has come under fire for criminalizing the promotion of terrorism under Bill C-51, which enhances the powers of Canada’s national spy agency CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service). As the country’s politically correct paper of record The Globe and Mail puts it, “Under the cloud of fear produced by his repeated hyperbole about the scope and nature of the threat, he now wants to turn our domestic spy agency into something that looks disturbingly like a secret police force.” The Globe, of course, like the rest of Canada’s major media outlets, relentlessly lauds the virtues of multiculturalism, which asserts the moral equivalence of all religions and cultures. This means, in practice, affirming the innocence and splendor of Islam to the detriment of Christianity and Judaism. Terror is not Islamic, but a mere excrescence of disordered minds or, alternatively, one of those incidents that may sometimes trouble the daily commute. Nothing to concern yourself about, certainly nothing to be unduly wary of or to keep under stringent observation. The attitudes of the gated community still prevail as the cultural orthodoxy of the day.

The underlying issue, however, is that those who oppose preventative measures, whether from ideological reasons or because they live sheltered and privileged lives, are reluctant to acknowledge terror—that is, Islamic terror—for the particular menace that it poses to our settled way of life or to recognize that we are in the midst of a millennial war that shows no sign of relenting. They are eager to adopt a tactic that we might, on the model of moral equivalence, call category equivalence, the attempt to neuter the unique fact of terrorism by equating it with natural contingencies and “normal” hazards of everyday existence. Once this false equivalence has been accepted as persuasive, the statistical machinery is duly wheeled in, like the eccyclemata of the Attic theatre, to confirm the hypothesis as given. But “[w]hat do we do,” asks Carafano, sensibly enough, “if the enemy isn’t Mother Nature?” Rather than conflate terrorism with nature or accident and urge us to carry on with defiant insouciance, Carafano devotes a considerable portion of the book instructing us to be—and how to be—prepared for acts of terrorist violence.

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