Archive for the ‘American life’ Category

Iran Now Sees ‘World Without America’ as Attainable

October 14, 2008

By Clifford May and Jay Carafano
The Washington Times
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Which world leader is on record musing about “a world without America” – a goal he calls “attainable”? Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, right, watches President Bush address the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2008. Seated with him is his UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, left, and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Associated Press.

Above: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, right, watches President Bush address the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2008. Seated with him is his UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, left, and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Associated Press.

 

Until recently, it was possible to believe that whatever Mr. Ahmadinejad’s intentions, Iran was a long way from acquiring the capabilities it needs to achieve its goals. But a blue-ribbon commission has reported to Congress on what appears to be an Iranian drive to obtain the means to carry out an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack.

An EMP attack is produced by launching a ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon attached — and detonating it high above the Earth. This produces a massive pulse of ionized particles that could damage or even wipe out many electrical and information systems. Such an attack would disrupt telecommunications, banking and finance, fuel and energy, food and water supplies, emergency and government services and much more, threatening millions of lives.

We’ve seen a blacked-out South Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ike. We’ve seen New Orleans after Katrina. Now imagine that scenario over most of the continental United States. There would be a “world without America” – at least as we know it.

No one disputes that Iran is developing a robust long-range missile force. Few question that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s regime is working on nuclear weapons development. Less well-known is that Iran has conducted missile tests from sea-based platforms, detonating warheads at the high-point of the missile trajectory, rather at the aim point over the target. These facts have now been documented in official government reports.

Connect the dots, and you find the picture of a workable research program for developing a covert means to deliver an EMP attack against the United States.

A short-range ballistic missile could be carried on one of the thousands of commercial freighters sailing under “flags of convenience” that sail around U.S. waters every day. Without ever piquing the interest of the Navy, the Coast Guard, or the Customs and Border Protection, that ship could sail within range and deliver its payload over American territory. Even a modest warhead placed at the right spot over the East Coast could take down 75 percent of the electrical grid.

The genius of such a covert attack is that it doesn’t come with an obvious “return address.” The ship might be registered in Liberia. The crew might be Lebanese. The ship might disappear into the night – or be scuttled quietly.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/
14/irans-world-without-america/

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Transcript of Pope Benedict’s Remarks to Young Americans on Life, Hope, Prayer

April 20, 2008

From Peace and Freedom

On April 19, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI addressed compelling remarks to all young Americans while appearing at the Seminary of St. Joseph in Yonkers, New York.

We at Peace and Freedom believe this address, among all the Pope’s fine talks and sermons this week in the United States, provided the most stirring message. 

Below is a sample of that sermon and then you’ll find a link to the entire text.

Pope Benedict XVI waves before leaving Saint Joseph Seminary ... 
Pope Benedict XVI waves before leaving Saint Joseph Seminary following a meeting with the youth in New York April 19, 2008. Pope Benedict visited Ground Zero, site of the World Trade Center destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, on Sunday to pray for the nearly 3,000 victims and their families and for an end to hatred and violence.REUTERS/Max Rossi
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On April 19, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave the remarks below at the Seminary of St. Joseph in Yonkers, New York.

“What happens when people, especially the most vulnerable, encounter a clenched fist of repression or manipulation rather than a hand of hope? A first group of examples pertains to the heart. Here, the dreams and longings that young people pursue can so easily be shattered or destroyed. I am thinking of those affected by drug and substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence, and degradation — especially of girls and women. While the causes of these problems are complex, all have in common a poisoned attitude of mind which results in people being treated as mere objects ? a callousness of heart takes hold which first ignores, then ridicules, the God-given dignity of every human being….”

“At times…  we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage!”

“What matters most is that you develop your personal relationship with God. That relationship is expressed in prayer. God by his very nature speaks, hears, and replies. Indeed, Saint Paul reminds us: we can and should “pray constantly” (1 Thess 5:17). Far from turning in on ourselves or withdrawing from the ups and downs of life, by praying we turn towards God and through him to each other, including the marginalized and those following ways other than God’s path (cf. Spe Salvi, 33)….”

“There is another aspect of prayer which we need to remember: silent contemplation. Saint John, for example, tells us that to embrace God’s revelation we must first listen, then respond by proclaiming what we have heard and seen (cf. 1 Jn 1:2-3; Dei Verbum, 1). Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening? Do you leave space to hear God’s whisper, calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness….”

Related:
Pope at St. Patrick’s in New York: We Owe Bishop Hughes

Read the entire transcript of the Pope’s remarks:
Papal Message at St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York
http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2008/04/papal-message-at-st-joshephs-new-york.html
Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg
St. Peter’s, Rome

Pope Benedict Encourages Young Americans, Seminarians

April 20, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI focused on the future of his American church Saturday as he marked the third anniversary of his election as pontiff, rallying young people, priests and seminarians and assuring them of his support as they dealt with the damage from the clergy sex abuse scandal.

On a highly personal day, Benedict spoke of suffering under Nazism in his youth and, at another point, touched on his own “spiritual poverty.” He added that he hoped to be a worthy successor to St. Peter, considered the first pope.

Benedict began the day with a Mass at St. Patrick’s cathedral. The building was packed with cardinals and bishops, priests and nuns, who cheered him to mark the day he succeeded Pope John Paul II on April 19, 2005.

The German-born pope lamented that what he called “the joy of faith” was often choked by cynicism, greed and violence. Yet he drew an analogy to show how faith can overcome distractions and trials.

In America, he has said repeatedly, the religious intensity stands out in marked contrast to the tepid spiritual emphasis in his native Europe. That makes the U.S. a testing ground for him in his bid to counter secular trends in the world.

Benedict later was driven to St. Joseph’s Seminary in nearby Yonkers, for a rally with young Catholics and seminarians. Upon arriving he blessed about 50 disabled youngsters in the seminary chapel. Two small girls gave him a painting and a hug.

The pope got a hero’s welcome at the youth rally from a festive crowd of 25,000, which burst into wild cheers when Benedict first acknowledged them from the stage. The shy theologian took time to reach out and shake hands with the ecstatic faithful in the front rows.

During his speech at the rally, Benedict reflected on the repression of his own youth under Nazism. He urged the young people and seminarians to carry on the faith while enjoying the liberties that they were fortunate to have.

“My own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers,” he said making a rare reference to his own life. “Its influence grew — infiltrating schools ands civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion — before it was fully recognized for the monster it was.”

At the end of the St. Patrick’s service, Benedict was clearly moved when his top assistant, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, read a tribute for the third anniversary.

Benedict told the crowd of 3,000 that “I am deeply thankful” for the support they showed him, and for “your love, your prayers.” The pope said that he, like St. Peter, was a “man with his faults.”

Read the Pope’s remarks:
Transcript of Pope Benedict’s Remarks to Young Americans on Life, Hope, Prayer

CIA Director on Terrorism

September 8, 2007

CIA Director Michael Hayden spoke before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Friday, September 7, 2007.  The full text of his remarks can be found at the link at the end of this article.  A few remarks that should be highlighted include:

“al-Qa’ida has protected or regenerated key elements of its homeland attack capability. That means safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan.”
[This confirms what our friend Muhammad has been telling us as he reports from the tribal areas of Pakistan.]

“Our analysts assess with high confidence that al Qaeda’s central leadership is planning high-impact plots against the American homeland.”

“Al Qaeda is focusing on targets that would produce mass casualties, dramatic destruction and significant economic aftershocks.”

Read the full text of general Hayden’s remarks:
http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/cia_2717___
article.html/war_intelligence.html

Related:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070908/NATION/109080053/1001
and:
September 11, 2001 Anniversary Approaches: Reality Touches Us

Pakistan: Tribal Areas Remain Terror Enclave

Pakistan: Terrorists Planning Global Attacks

Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency

Multitasking Makes you LESS Efficient, a Dangerous Driver: Experts Say

August 20, 2007

By Farnaz Javid and Ann Varney
ABC News
First published on the web: August 14, 2007

Whether it’s driving while talking on your cell phone, sending e-mails during a business meeting or listening to music while you’re working, it seems multitasking has become a way of life.

Employers, parents, even kids are trying to get more done in less time.

But, does multitasking really make you more efficient? And what happens to your brain when you’re trying to complete two important tasks at once?

Read the rest at:
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=3474058&page=1

Our Related Essay from 2003!

We Could be Moving Too Fast

By John E. Carey
Fist Published in The Washington Times
August 8, 2003

A friend commented to me yesterday on the hectic nature and “rat race” of American life.  I was reminded of a piece I did for The Washington Times a few years ago.  It needed no dusting off.  We are still moving too fast.

For a long time I’ve suspected American society moved just too fast.  Recently a kindergarten teacher confirmed my suspicion. When I recounted happy memories about my own kindergarten experience, including “nap time,” the teacher told me: “There isn’t time for a nap anymore. We are getting these kids ready for life.”

Now I understand why my generation is such a failure. Too much nap time.

The telephone may also be an indicator we are rushing toward unhappiness and stress. Ever hear anyone say, “Gotta get the other phone. Sorry.  I’ll call you back”?

Another favorite conversation killer is, “We’re real busy here. Gotta go. Bye.” Not only are these communications rude and grammatically incorrect, they indicate a warp speed psychology in American life.

And cell phones, fortunately, are everywhere; allowing us to multiplex our minds and our lives. Cell phoning while driving. Cell phoning while eating. Talking on the cell phone at a wedding. I’ve even recently observed fast food restaurant guests talking to each other across the table on their cell phones. Do we really need to communicate this much? Are we discussing Plato or the meaning of life? Not usually. We are often scheduling more work, explaining why we are late, or just wasting time and space on the frequency band.

We drive way too fast. Even while going to work, people cut in and out of lanes at a breathtaking pace. Are they late or can’t they wait to get to work? One wonders. A recent survey reported the average American driver admits he takes dangerous risks behind the wheel to save precious time.

In suburbia the soccer Moms and Dads are notoriously overworked and on the run. The kids’ schedules drive everyday life and especially the weekends. Soccer, ballet, Girl Scouts, Little League, the amusement park, trips to the mall and other activities mean some families have more than one SUV to handle the workload of transporting preteens to everything and everywhere. Kids have even been known to suffer nervous breakdowns because they are so overscheduled.

My best suburban family of friends recently drove three hours to a one-hour wedding and then three hours back so they could get to the next scheduled event.

We are in such a hurry to pack more into life that TV sitcom writers have added many more pages of additional script for a single episode than ever before. Fortunately, the robotlike actors can speak faster than my VCR [we can now update this to a CD Player] on fast forward. This, of course, also means our kids (not robots, these) now utter every sentence as if the house were on fire and they were making the 911 call. And the speed-talking on TV allows more life-enhancing commercials.

So if we didn’t go this fast what would we miss? Or stated another way – why are we doing this and is it sane, normal and healthy? Does this life at the speed of sound give us better “quality of life?” More “family time?” More vacation? More money? Time to read a book? In most families, none of the above.

Usually we are just competing with other speed demons. Psychological pressure grows when we fear we can’t keep pace and can’t compete. Experts say the average white-collar worker fears for his job if he takes more than a week or two off at one stretch. This results in speedy weekend vacations with lots of driving and not much rest. Suburban parents often tell me little Judy or Tommy won’t get into the best middle school if he doesn’t pack more into “the early grades.” No nap time for you slackers.

Statistics do not confirm that all this rushing into, during and after school is building a generation of American geniuses. On the contrary, the school systems and cultural ways of life in several other nations are beating our pants off. And one of the best compensated team of teachers and school officials is right here in our nation’s capital. They also have some of the most embarrassing statistics on educating students. But this may not be due to trying to pack more quality education into the day.

Family life isn’t much improved either, surveys and statistics tell us. Families are more fractured, and a generation of single parents has exploded onto the scene and become an acceptable part of the norm.

Married people say they are “too busy” to have children.  They are too busy to stay married also because fewer than one-half of our marriage age population is married.  Most are divorced or living together.

And working quickly is not the same as efficiency. My favorite lawyer takes on too much work then tries to work faster, harder, later. Then he’ll make a silly mistake in an easy correspondence. He’ll make up for it the next time by writing a skilled, researched masterpiece. But trust me, there is another mistake out there soon.

Do we get more vacation time? Not compared to just about any European. The legally mandated vacation time in Sweden is 32 days per year. If you live in Denmark, France, Austria or Spain you get 30 days off by law. The Japanese get 25 vacation days annually. Even in China, the workers get a longer vacation than you: 21 days.

The Germans are the most widely traveled and well-compensated with vacation time of any people in the world. Most get 30 days off, but some get up to 48. And Paris shuts down and empties out for a month in the summer because everyone goes on vacation.

Well, Paris has more open stores and restaurants these days because lots of Americans are there for a few days in summer (maybe even a whopping week). The French keep Paris open on a limited basis during vacation season these days just to be rude to Americans and take their money.

Do we get longer vacations? The average Italian vacation is 42 days. How long was your last big one?

We Could Be Moving Too Fast

August 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Fist Published in The Washington Times
August 8, 2003

A friend commented to me yesterday on the hectic nature and “rat race” of American life.  I was reminded of a piece I did for The Washington Times a few years ago.  It needed no dusting off.  We are still moving too fast.

For a long time I’ve suspected American society moved just too fast.  Recently a kindergarten teacher confirmed my suspicion. When I recounted happy memories about my own kindergarten experience, including “nap time,” the teacher told me: “There isn’t time for a nap anymore. We are getting these kids ready for life.”

Now I understand why my generation is such a failure. Too much nap time.

The telephone may also be an indicator we are rushing toward unhappiness and stress. Ever hear anyone say, “Gotta get the other phone. Sorry.  I’ll call you back”?

Another favorite conversation killer is, “We’re real busy here. Gotta go. Bye.” Not only are these communications rude and grammatically incorrect, they indicate a warp speed psychology in American life.

And cell phones, fortunately, are everywhere; allowing us to multiplex our minds and our lives. Cell phoning while driving. Cell phoning while eating. Talking on the cell phone at a wedding. I’ve even recently observed fast food restaurant guests talking to each other across the table on their cell phones. Do we really need to communicate this much? Are we discussing Plato or the meaning of life? Not usually. We are often scheduling more work, explaining why we are late, or just wasting time and space on the frequency band.

We drive way too fast. Even while going to work, people cut in and out of lanes at a breathtaking pace. Are they late or can’t they wait to get to work? One wonders. A recent survey reported the average American driver admits he takes dangerous risks behind the wheel to save precious time.

In suburbia the soccer Moms and Dads are notoriously overworked and on the run. The kids’ schedules drive everyday life and especially the weekends. Soccer, ballet, Girl Scouts, Little League, the amusement park, trips to the mall and other activities mean some families have more than one SUV to handle the workload of transporting preteens to everything and everywhere. Kids have even been known to suffer nervous breakdowns because they are so overscheduled.

My best suburban family of friends recently drove three hours to a one-hour wedding and then three hours back so they could get to the next scheduled event.

We are in such a hurry to pack more into life that TV sitcom writers have added many more pages of additional script for a single episode than ever before. Fortunately, the robotlike actors can speak faster than my VCR [we can now update this to a CD Player] on fast forward. This, of course, also means our kids (not robots, these) now utter every sentence as if the house were on fire and they were making the 911 call. And the speed-talking on TV allows more life-enhancing commercials.

So if we didn’t go this fast what would we miss? Or stated another way – why are we doing this and is it sane, normal and healthy? Does this life at the speed of sound give us better “quality of life?” More “family time?” More vacation? More money? Time to read a book? In most families, none of the above.

Usually we are just competing with other speed demons. Psychological pressure grows when we fear we can’t keep pace and can’t compete. Experts say the average white-collar worker fears for his job if he takes more than a week or two off at one stretch. This results in speedy weekend vacations with lots of driving and not much rest. Suburban parents often tell me little Judy or Tommy won’t get into the best middle school if he doesn’t pack more into “the early grades.” No nap time for you slackers.

Statistics do not confirm that all this rushing into, during and after school is building a generation of American geniuses. On the contrary, the school systems and cultural ways of life in several other nations are beating our pants off. And one of the best compensated team of teachers and school officials is right here in our nation’s capital. They also have some of the most embarrassing statistics on educating students. But this may not be due to trying to pack more quality education into the day.

Family life isn’t much improved either, surveys and statistics tell us. Families are more fractured, and a generation of single parents has exploded onto the scene and become an acceptable part of the norm.

Married people say they are “too busy” to have children.  They are too busy to stay married also because fewer than one-half of our marriage age population is married.  Most are divorced or living together.

And working quickly is not the same as efficiency. My favorite lawyer takes on too much work then tries to work faster, harder, later. Then he’ll make a silly mistake in an easy correspondence. He’ll make up for it the next time by writing a skilled, researched masterpiece. But trust me, there is another mistake out there soon.

Do we get more vacation time? Not compared to just about any European. The legally mandated vacation time in Sweden is 32 days per year. If you live in Denmark, France, Austria or Spain you get 30 days off by law. The Japanese get 25 vacation days annually. Even in China, the workers get a longer vacation than you: 21 days.

The Germans are the most widely traveled and well-compensated with vacation time of any people in the world. Most get 30 days off, but some get up to 48. And Paris shuts down and empties out for a month in the summer because everyone goes on vacation.

Well, Paris has more open stores and restaurants these days because lots of Americans are there for a few days in summer (maybe even a whopping week). The French keep Paris open on a limited basis during vacation season these days just to be rude to Americans and take their money.

Do we get longer vacations? The average Italian vacation is 42 days. How long was your last big one?