From our families to yours, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
From our families to yours, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE
MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.
I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.
LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.
NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.
WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.
FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.
THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.
WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?
I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.
SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.
THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
I COULDN’T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.
THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.
THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
“SANTA DON’T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;
I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.”
THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND SOON DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.
I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.
I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.
THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”
ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”
Back when the adults were in charge.
Via CNS News
Fourth round in five days.
NIH is inventing a new culture – obesogenic.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending almost a half million dollars to determine what children think about fat characters in movies.
Children’s perceptions of “obesogenic” culture in films, or the promotion of excessive weight gain, is the subject of the $433,577 study being conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The researchers have concluded that children’s movies are confusing because they make fun of fat characters, while also promoting unhealthy behaviors like drinking soda and watching television.
“Children receive cultural messages about appropriate eating, exercise, and attitudes from a variety of influences, likely including family, friends, schools, religious institutions, and electronic culture (television, movies, and video games),” the grant explains. “One important source of culture in the world for children is children’s movies.”[…]
“These children’s movies offer a discordant presentation about food, exercise and weight status, glamorizing unhealthy eating and sedentary behavior yet condemning obesity itself,” said Eliana M. Perrin, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine and lead researcher for the NIH project.
The study found that many children’s movies contain “weight-based stigma” and had “significant ‘obesogenic’ content.”
The project is scheduled to continue until August of next year.
A person was killed in a shooting at Oakwood Center shopping mall in Terrytown Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 24), the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
There is one victim, the JPSO said at about 4:30 p.m.
The shooting apparently took place outside the Footlocker shoe store at the mall, located at 197 Westbank Expressway.
Teams of JPSO officers armed with assault rifles were in the mall, evacuating shoppers and employees. Outside the Footlocker, an employee sat crying.
One family left the mall in tears. “They almost shot us,” a young boy said. One family member said the victim was shot in the face.
A gunman opened fire on a shopper inside a Foot Locker at the Oakwood Mall, killing the victim in front of his family.
A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman said that the victim was at the register checking out when the gunman came up and fired at least three shots. A large Christmas Eve crowd started running for cover. The gunman ran out of the store.
Detectives believe an off-duty officer saw what happened and started to chase the shooter. He was able to call for back up, according to the JPSO. Officers arrived on scene. They caught the person they believe is the perpetrator.
A feel good story.
Amidst all the turmoil surrounding police officers and civilians, people are showing their support for Metro officers for all of their service and dedication.
The group, which calls itself Support Our Blue, bought pizza to feed a couple dozen officers working in downtown Nashville.
Members said they think it’s important to send a strong message to a group of men and women risking their lives to protect them.
“We all agreed we had had enough of this and we are not ones to lay in the streets to make a point,” said Robert Swope with Support Our Blue. “So one of the group said, ‘What are we going to do about it? Let’s buy lunch.’ So Support Our Blue was started.”
Although this is the holidays, Support Our Blue said Wednesday’s free lunch and pat on the back had nothing to do with Christmas. They said this is something that can and should be done no matter what time of year.
Global warming interrupts the 0bama family vacation. Carbon tax back on the agenda in 2014.
A blizzard warning has been issued for the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea summits above 11,000 feet in elevation through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu. Up to a 8 inches of snow is forecast to fall Wednesday.
A sharp upper trough to the west of the Big Island will continue to draw deep moisture over the summits Wednesday leading to periods of heavy snow and low visibility. Winds are already increasing and are expected to continue that trend throughout Wednesday.
The service forecast south winds around 45 to 65 mph with gusts topping 90 mph.
Temperatures at the summit are expected to be in the upper 30s on Wednessday. Visibility during snow showers could near as low as a quarter-mile.
The Mauna Kea Weather Center on Wednesday morning reported the summit road was closed because of pathy ice and snow.
A blizzard warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibility can be expected that may lead to whiteout conditions that can make travel very dangerous. The service cautioned that conditions may be extremely hazardous and potentially life threatening and urged people to avoid travel to the area. If people must travel, the service advises having a survival kit and to stay within a vehicle should someone become stranded.
He caused the ambush of Seal Team 6?
A Navy official says the service is investigating an allegation that the former Navy SEAL who claims he shot and killed Osama bin Laden may have revealed classified information to those not authorized to receive it.
Robert O’Neill has given numerous interviews since coming forward to say he was part of the operation that culminated in the death of the al-Qaida leader. O’Neill told The Associated Press last month that he has taken pains not to divulge classified information or compromise SEAL tactics.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Navy, Cdr. Ryan Perry, said in a statement that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had received an allegation that O’Neill may have revealed classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information. “In response, NCIS has initiated an investigation to determine the merit of the allegations,” Perry said.
A call to a spokeswoman for O’Neill was not immediately returned Tuesday night.
Cease fire is over.
Via The Independent
The Israeli army has deployed tanks and called an airstrike on targets in Gaza after its troops were attacked by Palestinian snipers as they patrolled the Israeli side of the border.
It said it “immediately responded” to the Palestinian attack – on a routine patrol in the southern part of the region – on Wednesday.
According to reports, one Hamas militant was shot dead by Israeli forces in the original engagement.
Hamas sources named the dead man as Tayseer Asmairi, a member of its armed wing’s monitoring unit in the southern Gaza Strip, but the group did not immediately comment on the sniper fire.
Someone is needed to pick the crop of medicinal marijuana.
Chris Easterling was sick of relying on drug dealers in Minneapolis when he needed marijuana to help ease the pain of multiple sclerosis. They were flaky, often leaving the homeless man without the drug when he needed relief the most.
So he moved to Denver, where legal pot dispensaries are plentiful and accessible.
Easterling is among a growing number of homeless people who have recently come to Colorado seeking its legal marijuana and who now remain in the state and occupy beds in shelters, service providers say.
While no state agency records how many homeless people were drawn by legal weed, officials at homeless centers say the influx they are seeing is straining their ability to meet the needs of the increasing population.
“The older ones are coming for medical (marijuana), the younger ones are coming just because it’s legal,” said Brett Van Sickle, director of Denver’s Salvation Army Crossroads Shelter, which has more than doubled its staff to accommodate the increase.
The shelter did an informal survey of the roughly 500 new out-of-towners who stayed there between July and September and found as many as 30 percent had relocated for pot, he said.[…]
Many of those staying in shelters come to Denver with big plans and find they can’t make ends meet, said Tom Luehrs, executive director of capital city’s Saint Francis Center.
The shelter has seen an increase from 730 people a day in 2013 to 780 people this year, and as many as 300 new faces a month. Not all of them are pot-smokers, Luehrs said, but many have said they were drawn to the state because of legal marijuana.
Shelters in Washington state haven’t experienced a noticeable influx since that state’s legal recreational sales started in July. Capt. Dana Libby, Seattle Social Services director for the Salvation Army, said the economy is largely to blame for the high rates of homelessness there.
In Colorado, some out-of-town homeless people are seeking jobs in the marijuana industry but learn only after arriving that they lack the two-year residency requirement needed to work in a dispensary. Others have felony records that make them ineligible, Van Sickle said.
Boots on the ground before the New Year.
The first group of 3rd Brigade Combat Team paratroopers to deploy for Iraq is slated to follow a narrow security mission, but is ready for whatever is asked of it.
“Our specific mission is to go perform in a security role and guard a fixed site with American interests in Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Jacob Larkowich, commander of 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
“The paratroopers are prepared for a broad range of missions,” he said. “If they’re asked to do something, they’ll be capable of doing it. If we just guard a fixed site for some number of months before coming home, they’re prepared to do that as well.”
Earlier this month, officials announced about 250 paratroopers from 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, will deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. They will leave in late December and could be deployed for nine months.
The paratroopers will conduct security operations, according to officials.
Larkowich said the paratroopers are not tasked to work alongside or train Iraqi soldiers, but “it’s not outside the realm of possibility.”
Security and guard missions are part of the unit’s core functions, Larkowich said.
The unit will relieve another infantry unit that has been conducting the security mission, Larkowich said.
Obama and his jorts/mom jeans unavailable for comment.
Click photo for video.
It is for the revenue.
Via CBS Los Angeles
Orange County is threatening substantial fines to one neighborhood over their extreme Christmas decorations.
Twenty-one residents in Baudin Circle in Ladera Ranch say they received letters from the Orange County Public Works department, stating that their lights are safety hazards. Some homeowners at Baudin circle have taken pride in putting together an impressive Christmas lights show for ten years.
“We had to take down any cords that ran across our sidewalk, as well as any of the roads,” resident Jeff Stover said.
The fines are said to be in the amount of $500 per day if the lights are not taken down by 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday.[…]
Residents say that they intend to comply, but will be applying for permits for next year.
Via The Blaze:
The political director of the Huffington Post UK wrote a column earlier this week envisioning that if Joseph and Mary had traveled to Bethlehem today, they would have been stopped at an Israeli military checkpoint.
In response, a contributor to the Washington Post’s libertarian legal blog Volokh Conspiracy penned a piece challenging Hasan’s premise, a column titled “If Joseph and Mary tried to reach Bethlehem today, they might get murdered by Palestinian terrorists.”
The argument presented by the Huffington Post’s Mehdi Hasan followed a tradition of Palestinian efforts to frame Jesus as a Palestinian Arab, a theme that increases in volume around Christmastime. For example, in his Christmas message last year, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Jesus a “Palestinian messenger.”
Hasan wrote on Monday, “How would that carpenter and his pregnant wife have circumnavigated the Kafkaesque network of Israeli settlements, roadblocks and closed military zones in the occupied West Bank? Would Mary have had to experience labor or childbirth at a checkpoint, as one in ten pregnant Palestinian women did between 2000 and 2007?”
(Note: serious questions have been raised about the validity of the “one in ten” figure cited by Hasan, as explained below.)
In response to the column, George Mason University law professor David Bernstein wrote, “Well, since Joseph and Mary were Judeans, i.e., Jews, from Nazareth, they wouldn’t need to be afraid of Israeli roadblocks needed.
Better kill ratio than a drone strike.
Via Military Times
A suicide bomber blew up himself on Wednesday among a group of pro-government, anti-Islamic State group Sunni militias near Baghdad, killing at least 22 people, a latest bold attack by militants seeking to undermine government efforts to fight extremists.
The attacker managed to mingle with the militiamen who gathered at a military base in the town of Madain to receive their monthly payment, two police officers said. At least 15 of the dead were Sunni militiamen and the rest were soldiers, while 55 others were wounded, they said.
The town is located about 20 kilometers (14 miles) south of Baghdad.
The group, known as Sahwa or the Awakening Councils, is made up of Sunni militiamen who joined U.S. troops in the fight against al-Qaida during the height of Iraq’s insurgency in 2007 and 2008. They are viewed as traitors by the Sunni militants.
What would we do without the lily white media telling us how racist we are?
Across the United States, white Americans show subtle or “implicit” biases against blacks — biases they mostly don’t even realize they have. This has been established through lots of research, but it’s not perfectly uniform across the land. Whites in some states show more bias, overall, than in others.
That’s the takeaway from the map above, courtesy of Project Implicit, which is based on the scores of 1.5 million voluntary takers of the Implicit Association Test or IAT (which detects subtle or unconscious racial preferences), and which we examined e
Earlier this month. But we didn’t know why the map looked this way — with levels of uncontrolled bias higher in the U.S. Southeast and East Coast (but not so much New England).
Dominic Packer, a psychologist at Lehigh University, has a surprising (and troubling) answer: Unconscious racial bias, he shows in a new analysis, is higher in U.S. states in which there is a higher ratio of black citizens to white citizens — or in other words, in which there are relatively more black people for every white person. […]
The result was striking: The ratio of white to black residents in a given state explained over 50 percent of the variability in various states’ white participants’ Implicit Association Test scores. “That’s pretty big, for anything social scienc-y,” said Packer of the result.
Or to state the result in a different way: “States where Whites outnumber Blacks substantially in the population have lower average IAT scores,” wrote Packer. “In contrast, states where Blacks make up proportionally more of the population have higher average IAT scores.”
Libs hardest hit.
Via Washington Examiner:
Nearly three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians.
Of those identifying as Christians in 2014, half identified as Protestants or another non-Catholic Christian religion and nearly a quarter identified as Catholic, according to a Gallup survey.
Nineteen percent of Americans do not have a formal religious identity, the poll found — up one percent from last year.
The numbers across the board overall have changed very little since 2013, including two percent in 2013 and 2014 identifying as Jewish and one percent as Muslim.
But the longer-term trend shows a bigger decrease in Protestant affiliation: in the 1950’s, up to 71 percent of Americans identified as Protestant with a significantly smaller percentage having no religious identity.
Americans remained religious in 2014, with eight in 10 Americans reporting attendance at religious services at least occasionally, while more than half attend monthly or more frequently.
Acts of kindness by Law Enforcement that won’t make the rounds on the LSM or 24/7 news outlets, unless Al Sharpton calls for a Federal investigation into racial profiling by the Covington PD.
What at first seemed like bad luck for Covington resident Annie Williams turned out to be a “blessing” Tuesday morning (Dec. 23). She had just turned on to her street in The Groves subdivision when Covington Police Sgt. Russell Spinks pulled her over for failing to use her turn signal.
After Spinks checked her license and registration he let her off with a warning – and then he handed Williams a $100 bill.
“On behalf of the Covington Police Department and an anonymous Secret Santa, here’s $100,” Spinks told Williams and other drivers before they drove away from his traffic stop. “Merry Christmas.”
Spinks was one of eight Covington officers who participated in the Secret Santa event, which was fueled by an anonymous donor giving several thousand dollars to the Covington Police Department. Officers stopped drivers who committed minor traffic infractions, and instead of a citation, gave them a $100 bill with the words “Secret Santa” stamped in red on the back on each bill.
Williams’ jaw dropped when Spinks gave her the money.
“I am very grateful,” she said. “Shocked.”
Williams said she’d spend the $100 on Christmas presents for her six grandchildren. The money was a blessing, she said.