Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hospital Number 6

A couple of weeks ago I came across this article online. The BBC is reporting that hospital number 6 in the Ukraine is being accused of killing newborn babies in order to harvest organs, especially stem cells.

An excerpt:

The BBC has spoken to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who say they gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff.

In 2003 the authorities agreed to exhume around 30 bodies of foetuses and full-term babies from a cemetery used by maternity hospital number six.

One campaigner was allowed into the autopsy to gather video evidence. She has given that footage to the BBC and Council of Europe.

In its report, the Council describes a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate.

The pictures show organs, including brains, have been stripped - and some bodies dismembered.

Here are some other news sources on the topic.

Obviously this is disgusting. It is horrifying to know that there are people in the world willing to kill newborn babies in order to make money on stem cells. However, it does bring up some interesting discussion points. What if stem cell research were more allowed in this country? Would that availability create less of a market, and therefore less incentive to kill, for stem cells? Does that even matter? Should stem cell research be allowed at all?

Friday, December 22, 2006

BYU 38 Oregon 8

BYU wins the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl and ends the year on a 10 game win streak with a 11-2 season record. Quarterback John Beck finishes his career as BYU's second leading passer alltime, and running back Curtis Brown finishes as the career rushing leader and only player with 2 consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry Boo-Hoo!

“That’s a noise, “grinned the Grinch, “That I simply MUST hear!”
So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow …

But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN‘T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”

Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dave Barry on Christmas

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' ~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Last year, while still living in Utah, a bill was proposed in the state legislature that would have required a statement to be read in science classes. The statement basically said that evolution is a theory and that there are other theories that attempt to explain the origin of life. The bill created quite a bit of controversy and did not pass.

As I followed the bill during the legislative session I also read quite a bit of the back and forth regarding evolution and intelligent design. The discussions would become quite heated. Often, a court decision in Ohio would be brought up as proof that the bill had no chance of being held up in court. That decision was made by Judge John Jones in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case. Judge Jones wrote that Intelligent Design was not science and therefore should not be taught in science class.

However, there is a new report released by the Discovery Institute claiming that Judge Jones's judicial ruling is basically copied straight from a brief given to the judge by the ACLU one month prior to Judge Jones writing his ruling.

I have not seen this reported anywhere else other than by the Discovery Institute itself, which as a very vocal proponent of Intelligent Design across the country, clearly has something to gain by discrediting Judge Jones's ruling. So I will be following this story to check for its validity.

However, if true, I hope that Judge Jones is reprimanded and that the case is heard again.

UPDATE: Here is another analysis of the plagiarized ruling.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Silent Night

One of the all-time great Christams Carols is Silent Night. I've looked a bit into its origins and it seems that many legends have sprung up surrounding its history. However, for the most part the truth has been discovered. The song was written in Austria by Joseph Mohr in 1816, with the music composed at Mohr's request by Franz Gruber on December 24, 1818. It was originally written with guitar accompaniment and the pair sung it at Midnight Mass that night. Silent Night spread fairly quickly from there, as it was picked up by a travelling family singing troup and eventually was sung for royalty.

Silent night Holy night
All is calm all is bright
'Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born;
Christ the Savior is born.

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth;
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Friday, December 08, 2006

FDR's Pearl Harbor WWII Address

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor-65 Years

Today is the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Here are a couple of local newspapers with interviews of local veterans that survived the attack:


Deseret News

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Glorious Time of Year

"This is a glorious time of the year, simple in origin, deep in meaning, beautiful in tradition and custom, rich in memories, and charitable in spirit. It has an attraction to which our hearts are readily drawn. This joyful season brings to each of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree in which we have turned our mind, feelings, and actions to the spirit of Christmas."

Thomas S. Monson, "What Is Christmas?" Ensign, Dec. 1998