Saturday, November 12, 2005

Who Gets the Credit?

"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag."

Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC

Hat Tip to AubreyJ at -

Who gives a Hat tip to Amy P at Follow the Evidence, wherever it leads

AubreyJ says: Amen Father O'Brian

I (prying1) concur.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Did I Miss Something?

Christmas has come early this year.

I'm not counting the one time in July that I was shopping and said to a woman pushing a basket past me, "Do you hear that?"


"The music."

She listens to the canned music from the speakers overhead. She laughs. I laugh. Strains of Christmas songs were coming from on high. We shared our faith for a few moments and continued on our separate ways.
What I'm really writing about is that it seems the stores have skipped a major American holiday. The day before Halloween I saw one store pulling down the haunting displays, setting the trick or treat candy on sale and putting up yuletide decorations.

I asked one of the employees what happened to Thanksgiving. He said, "I just work here, I don't make decisions." He seemed a bit embarrassed about the task he was performing. I don't blame him at all. I'd be doing the same thing were I to have his job. You do what the boss tells you. Although I don't think I would be full of Christmas Cheer while doing it. I'd be mumbling imprecations beneath my breath about the 'suits' stealing Thanksgiving.

Not only is Christmas early this year the Grinch has come early too. This time he stole the only national holiday designed to thank the Living God for all of His grace, mercy and blessings...

Bio Weapons in the Mail

Quote from New Scientist -

YOU might think it would be difficult for a terrorist to obtain genes from the smallpox virus, or a similarly vicious pathogen. Well, it's not. Armed with a fake email address, a would-be bioterrorist could probably order the building blocks of a deadly biological weapon online, and receive them by post within weeks.

That's the sobering reality uncovered by a New Scientist investigation into the bioterror risks posed by the booming business of gene synthesis. Dozens of biotech firms now offer to synthesize complete genes from the chemical components of DNA (See "A dollar a base pair"). Yet some are carrying out next to no checks on what they are being asked to make, or by whom. It raises the frightening prospect of terrorists mail-ordering genes for key bioweapon agents such as smallpox, and using them to engineer new and deadly pathogens.

Customers typically submit sequences by email or via a form available on a company's website. The companies then construct the specified genes and mail them back a few weeks later, usually spliced into a bacterium such as Escherichia coli. New Scientist approached 16 such firms, identified by a Google search, to ask whether they screened orders for DNA sequences that might pose a bioterror threat. Of the 12 companies that replied, just five said they screen every sequence received. Four said they screen some sequences, and three admitted not screening sequences at all (see Table).

The risks posed by gene synthesis first hit the headlines in 2002, when a team from the State University of New York at Stony Brook made infectious polioviruses from synthetic DNA. And just last month, researchers with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, said that they had used similar means to recreate the virus that caused the 1918 flu (New Scientist, 8 October, p 16). - end quote -

Hopefully the companies in question will tighten security but don't expect all of them too. Security costs money and that might bite into profits.

prying1 sez: What can we do as individuals whose lives are far away from this problem?

Only 2 things I can think of. The first is to pray. My prayer is that all the schemes of terrorists blow up in their faces. The second is to realize the there really is a threat. Support the worldwide war against these thugs and murderers. The term "War on Terrorism" has almost become a cliche'. Some politicians placate and coddle these animals. Boot those politicians out!

The war against terrorism is producing good results we cannot see. Every time a terrorist is killed or taken off the street that is one less act of terrorism perpetrated against humanity. That is something that cannot be measured.

"So what? It doesn't affect me!" some might say. That might have some truth in it today. Maybe tomorrow also. - But it would no longer be true after a bomb goes off near you or yours... Or after a bio-terrorist plot hits your town...

Monday, November 07, 2005


No. Not the kind nuns wear. The kind that have you doing things without really thinking about it.

When I get home from work I take off my work shoes just inside the front door. I then slide my feet into a pair of comfortable slippers. Ahhh! Much better.

Tonight after I got home and ate dinner I went to drop a couple packages off at the LAX Post Office. I think it is the only Post Office in the world that stays open until 11:00 o'clock at night. Anyway, I decided to just keep my slippers on because I wasn't planning on seeing anyone I hoped to impress. Not that my work shoes would impress them.

Got home from there and what did I do? I took off my slippers and put on my work shoes.

It was close to an hour later that I realized my feet did not have that 'Ahhh!' feeling that lives inside the slippers. Another few moments of scratching my pate to realize what had happened.

Then I started to think about how many other times in my life I've let habits carry me away from where I should be. Too many to enumerate and many times it would be too embarrassing to recount the full stories. One thing I have found though is that in spite of it all I have a way to get back on track.

Someone, you see, whom I met years ago, has been a closer friend than a brother. He is always one up on me and is always willing to help me get back on track. Although he finds my behavior repugnant at times he still sticks with me. He promised me he would never leave me nor forsake me.

Some of you reading this have guessed already because you too have met this same friend. Funny how he gets around. Little did I know when I invited Jesus into my heart in January of '71 that 34 years later I would still feel the same sense of awe that the story is true. He died for my sins. He rose again. He is still alive!!!