New Year's Eve in days gone by:
|Jon McNaughton's The Nativity|
Meaning / Story behind the song:Another version...the Vienna Choir Boys performing "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht":
Silent Night, Holy Night. All is calm, all is bright!
Sometimes it seems there is little in this world today that is silent, holy, calm, or bright. However noisy, unholy, frenetic, or dark it may appear to be, music such as the immortal hymn, “Silent Night,” carries with it a feeling that can remind us there is still an abundance of virtue all around us. There is hope and beauty. And there is light.
To properly paint this feeling we collaborated with none other than the tenor legend, Plácido Domingo, whose sublime vocal gift is rivaled by his kindness and sincerity. It was a joy to work with him. He is an artist whose illustrious, exalted career has not snuffed out his sweet disposition or his genuine love for the art of music. Joining us are the children from the Cathedral School Choristers, whose pure faith proclaim the profound message of this hymn. We filmed this during an East coast tour in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, one of the largest cathedrals in the world, a colossal monument to the greatest gift ever given, the Son of God.
May your Christmas this year be filled with serenity, spirituality, peace, and felicity.
Merry Christmas from The Piano Guys!
Dear Paul Ryan, I voted for you in 2012, and …Additional reading: GOP Sells America Down the River.
so I feel I have some kind of investment in what you do.
My vote for Mr. Romney and you was in no small part because of your reasoning on budgeting, debt, and the future of the Republic.
However right now, all I see is that the maximum effort,, if that is what it is, is merely to make things worse somewhat more slowly.
Now, if what we are doing is unsustainable (as I believe it is, and as many of you with the appellation “R” have explained), and you have no taste for sticking your flag in the ground, or don’t want to, please explain to me WHY I should not vote for Bernie, or HRC, and thereby vote myself the most free stuff possible, since we’re all going to hell anyway?
Please don’t tell me things would be different with a republican president. First, we may not have one, and second, that president has to operate on the principle that we can’t go on like this, or there will be nothing for anyone.
You have convinced me, NOW, that there may be no point in my vote for an R since I see no R who will act out of conviction for CHANGE. REAL OBJECTIVE CHANGE in the way the republic has been going.
We’re all watching very carefully out here, and I know I am not the only one thinking this way.
The budget you created and the time to review it you set CYNICALLY, at 3 days, for 2009 pages requires a congressman to read 2/3 of the Lord of the RIngs Trilogy every day and COMPREHEND IT.
Sounds a lot like, ‘you have to pass it to find out what’s in it’ without the quote.
I don’t dislike bipartisan action, but suppose bipartisan action will not save the republic.
That you did not include additional provisions over entrance to the USA of those of ANY nation, or other entity which harbors ill intentions towards our civilians is ASTONISHING, and recalls govts like those of Stanley Baldwin.
SO WHAT if Obama vetoes it? It is JUST THAT kind of issue for you to PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE which causes us to wonder if we should vote ourselves the treasury and just put another turkey breast, and brisket in the smoker the morning of the game.
After all, YOU DON’T CARE. Not enough to RAISE HELL.
You can’t IMAGINE how carefully you and the others are being scrutinized every day.
Don’t count on my vote.
|The guy who is apparently being questioned about helping the San Bernardino jihadists to obtain guns|
Is he insane?...He's on drugs? It doesn't make sense. What did you expect from an affirmative action President? This guy has never served in the military[,] never worked a day in his life.Much more in the May 2015 video below (SPEW ALERT! Set down your beverage before watching!):
Think about the progression over the course of less than two weeks.
Barack Obama plan to defeat Isil dismissed by US intelligence experts: Former and serving diplomats and intelligence officials tell the Telegraph that President Obama's hopes of defeating Islamic State are based on "smoke and mirrors"
By Ruth Sherlock, Washington and Richard Spencer, Middle East Editor
7:00AM GMT 27 Nov 2015
President Barack Obama's attempts to destroy Isil have been derided by Western diplomats and his own former intelligence officials.
Mr Obama has insisted that the United States will not change the strategy that he said was already “containing” Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and would work eventually to “degrade and destroy” it.
But in a series of candid interviews with the Telegraph, Western diplomats and intelligence officials - current and former - have angrily dismissed the approach as a “smoke and mirrors” public relations exercise founded on little substantive or effective action.
“It’s smoke and mirrors and that is the dirty little secret,” said Derek Harvey, one of Mr Obama’s senior former intelligence officials, a Middle East specialist, who said he resigned from his job in frustration at the administration's handling of the conflict.
Many members of both the American and the European intelligence and diplomatic apparatus say the chaos in Iraq and Syria is caused by Mr Obama’s determination to press on with an “exit strategy” from the region, signalled by the withdrawal from Iraq.
The intelligence official said this had created a sense of apathy, with departments feeling they were being judged by how much they were focused on “detaching” from the Middle East, rather than on the success of the policies they were actually implementing there.
Experts in the region had also been withdrawn in case they concentrated on achieving results.
“Who is in charge?” Mr Harvey said. “Where is the intelligence community? It is totally broken on this.”
Two active intelligence sources told the Telegraph that there was a sense of disarray inside the various intelligence agencies.
Official policy is to defend the strategy of gradual disengagement and limited military action against Isil, saying that more direct options might have a “satisfying” immediate visible effect, but would prove damaging in the long run.
That policy depends on American “containing” Isil, as Mr Obama claimed shortly before the attacks in Paris, co-ordinated by Isil, which claimed 130 lives.
“Isil have expanded geographically to eight other countries, taking advantage of civil wars in Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan and so on,” the intelligence source, who served in Baghdad at the height of the post-invasion period, said. “They are taking advantage in places where there is lack of effective governance and highly tribalised societies.
“We have not done anything to really hurt them. Even in the areas they have been formerly pushed out of, they continue to operate covertly and they mostly control the largest Sunni Muslim cities outside of Baghdad.”
Diplomats privately agree that a campaign of relatively sporadic air strikes alone cannot be the road to success.
“Isil is not the homogenous block they want us to believe it is,” one very senior Western diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “If you look at military tactics it’s clear that it’s not just one entity, so you cannot have one answer.”
Another diplomat said Mr Obama had allowed the idea to become prevalent that taking on Isil was a separate issue from countering the Assad regime, which could be left till later - even though that was not American or European policy.
The diplomat said it was not possible to rationally separate Isil from the Syrian regime. He said they were two mutually dependent evils.
Diplomats and analysts have been arguing for years now that the survival of the regime and its bombing of civilian areas drive support from the less successful Western-backed rebel groups to jihadists like al-Qaeda’s branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Isil.
Meanwhile, Damascus has itself remained a key funding source for Isil as it buys up black-market oil produced in wells under the extremists’ control.
A key problem remains that the current rules of engagement limit the US in what it can legally do militarily. Under the current authorities, it “takes months” to close down bank accounts belonging to Isil jihadists when they are discovered.
It also limits the US ability to fight against the jihadists’ powerful propaganda: “Why is the hacking group Anonymous able to take down 5,000 Isil Twitter accounts and the government not? It’s an authority issue," Mr Harvey, the former official, said.
The Obama administration’s legal authorisation for the use of military force against Isil derives from measures passed by congress in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
White House officials sought a new authorisation from Congress earlier this year that would allow it to better tailor rules of engagement and strategy to combat Isil, on and off the battlefield, but it was blocked by Republicans.
Whether any strategy that is envisaged by any side will do more than send an ever-increasing number of bombs on to an enemy that has shown itself capable of “sucking up” long-range attacks with relative ease so far is another question.
“Where is the intelligence community? It is totally broken on this.”
|Thousands of migrants emerge from the hold of a ferry onto the streets of Greece's capital, Athens |
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has dramatically slowed the resettlement of Iraqi refugees — including former U.S. military translators and embassy workers — in the midst of growing concerns about al-Qaida's potential ties with some asylum seekers, an administration official says.More information at the Federalist.
Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That's not who we are. And it's not what we're going to do.An executive order even if Congress passes a refugee bill over Obama's veto?
Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday suggested that the "rationale" for the terrorist attack against the satirical French publication Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead in January, is more understandable than any rationale for last week's attacks in Paris.The full text of Kerry's statement is HERE at the U.S. Department of State's web site.
"There's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that," he said in remarks at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. "There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of - not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, 'Okay, they're really angry because of this and that.'..."
"Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.” — Hajj Amin al Husseini on German Nazi radio on March 1, 1944.Seven steps to the caliphate, from this 2005 article based on material from Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein, back when Al-Qaida was the primary Islamic threat (hat tip to Infidel Bloggers Alliance):
Student C: It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here! You are not doing that. You’re going against that.Please watch the following brief video (1 minute, 20 seconds):
On November 5, 2015, students at Yale University gathered on campus to protest an email sent by Associate Master of Silliman College Erika Christakis on October 30. Christakis’ email responded to a separate email from the school’s Intercultural Affairs Council that asked students to be thoughtful about the cultural implications of their Halloween costumes.Additional reading (worth your time):
Christakis [advocating freedom of expression with regard to Halloween costumes] argued that the council’s email [emphasizing sensitivities with regard to Halloween costumes] was infantilizing and threatened free expression on campus. There was also a concern that because the email was long, detailed, had 13 signatories, and links to acceptable and unacceptable costumes, it would not be interpreted as a suggestion. But rather it had the “color of law” implicit within it.
FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff was on Yale’s campus during the protests on November 5 and captured this footage on his cell phone of Christakis’ husband, Nicholas, meeting with the protestors. By the time Lukianoff arrived on the scene, Nicholas had been speaking with the protesters for about an hour.
The Washington Post reports that students have begun to organize formal demands for the resignation of Christakis and her husband.
Former President Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, have sent $28,000 worth of household goods back to Washington after questions arose over whether the items were intended as personal gifts or donations to the White House.Read the rest HERE.
“We have been informed that it is being shipped back, and the National Park Service is ready to receive it, take possession of it and take custody of it,” Jim McDaniel, the National Park Service’s liaison to the White House, said Wednesday.
“The property is being returned to government custody until such time that the issues can be resolved. It may well turn out that that property is rightly the personal property of the Clintons.”
After they were criticized for taking $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts with them when they left, the Clintons announced last week that they would pay for $86,000 worth of gifts, or nearly half the amount.
Their latest decision to send back $28,000 in gifts brings to $114,000 the value of items the Clintons have either decided to pay for or return.....
|Photo from police-car dash cam|
Dorothy Bland: I was caught ‘walking while black.’Please read this link and watch the video.
Police chief: No, officers were doing their jobs.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has ordered a taxpayer-funded school district in the suburbs of Chicago to allow a male transgender student who dresses like a girl and otherwise identifies as female to use the girls locker room and shower on school premises.The complete Chicago Tribune article is below the fold. Emphases mine.
The feds delivered the edict against Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Ill. on Monday [November 2, 2015], the Chicago Tribune reports.
The Department of Education has given the school district one month to let the student use the girls locker room. If the district does not capitulate, it risks losing federal funding....
|Wreckage from Russian Airbus A321|
|The Memento Mori Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut, from the Liber chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel|
...RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced a 13-member committee of Republican officials who will set rules for the GOP’s debates during the 2016 cycle, including selecting venues, debate partners, and even moderators. The committee will be led by Priebus ally Steve Duprey of New Hampshire, who was close to both Mitt Romney and John McCain. The committee is dominated by Priebus loyalists.Shall we take bets as to whether or not Reince Priebus and Karl Rove are best buddies? See Gestapo Cartel Of Karl Rove, Reince Priebus, and Establishment Republicans (September 10, 2015):
Any candidate who participates in a debate that is unsanctioned by the RNC’s committee will be barred from appearing in any of the authorized debates, according to the party’s rules.
The RNC debate committee has yet to determine the qualification standards for candidates to earn a spot on the stage.
|Phone Slaves by Steve Cutts|
|Evolution by Steve Cutts|