Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Billy Graham's group removes Mormon cult reference from website after Romney meeting -

Billy Graham's group removes Mormon cult reference from website after Romney meeting - 

Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev.  Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham's mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In a section of the website called Billy Graham's My Answer there had been the question "What is a cult?"

Answer: "A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith."

"Some of these groups are Jehovah's Witnesess, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spritualists, Scientologists, and others," the site continued.

No longer. On Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed that page has recently been removed from the site.

“Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ken Barun, chief of staff for the association, told CNN in a statement. "We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."

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Romney is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of which are known as Mormons.

The information about cults can be found on cached sections of the website on Archive.org from June 5, 2010.

The theological question of where Mormons fit on the religious spectrum has drawn more attention because of Romney's candidacy. Mormons consider themselves to be strong Christians. Many traditional Christian denominations disagree, though rank-and-file members have their own views on the matter.

The removal of the post from the Graham group's website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.

Last week's meeting between Romney and Graham was their first.

After the 30 minute sit-down in Montreat, North Carolina, just outside Asheville, Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

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Bra Detects Breast Cancer Uses Sensors To Detect Tumors -

Bra Detects Breast Cancer Uses Sensors To Detect Tumors - 

Imagine being able to detect the first signs of breast cancer simply by putting on a bra.

For the past 20 years, Lifeline Biotechnologies has been developing and testing a "smart bra" called First Warning Systems, that it claims provides accurate screening for breast tissue abnormalities.

First Warning Systems says that three trials have shown the bra can detect abnormalities with a 90% and higher accuracy rating in women of all ages. According to SmartPlanet.com, if the bra sees more success in the trial stage, the company will be ready to sell it in Europe next year and the U.S. in 2014. The website said the retail price would be around $1,000.

First Warning Systems claims this new technology will reduce false positives, which are currently between 50-60% using other detection methods.

One in eight women, just under 12% of the U.S. population, will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Last year alone, 230,480 new invasive breast cancer cases were diagnosed in women.

According to Lifeline, sports bra-like material is encased with sensitive sensors that can detect small changes in temperature in breast tissue. The self-exam bra is worn close to the body for the testing period, at the end of which the sensors are capable of sending collected data to the Internet to be analyzed by "sophisticated algorithms," results of which are then sent to the user's personal device.

"As tissues transition from normal to hyperplasia, to atypical hyperplasia, to cancer in-situ to, to invasive cancer they develop their own distinct thermal finger print and can be compared with normal tissue temperature," according to the company's website.


Woman Arrested for DUI After Drinking Half Bottle of Hand Sanitizer... -

Woman Arrested for DUI After Drinking Half Bottle of Hand Sanitizer... - 

A Middletown woman is accused of driving drunk after drinking a half a bottle of hand sanitizer.

According to The Middletown Press, police say 36-year-old Jennifer Wilcox lost control of her car on Oct. 5, almost crashing into another vehicle.

Officers arrested her after she failed a field sobriety test, blowing a blood alcohol level of .17. Wilcox “admitted to drinking one half of a bottle of hand sanitizer,” police told the Press.

Wilcox told WTNH-TV that she drank the bottle of hand sanitizer on her own merit.

“I just saw it there so I drank it,” Wilcox told the station.

WTNH reports that Wilcox drank the equivalent of 32 shots of vodka.

“It’s the same alcohol in beer, in wine and Jack Daniels, however, it is more concentrated,” Dr. Danyal Ibrahim said of St. Francis Hospital told the station.

Wilcox was charged with driving under the influence and was released on $500 bond.


Government Study Confirms 'GAYDAR' EXISTS, 60% ACCURATE... -

Government Study Confirms 'GAYDAR' EXISTS, 60% ACCURATE... - 

The National Science Foundation spent $30,000 to fund a study done by the University of Washington and Cornell University's to measure "gaydar" - the ability of people to identify sexual orientation merely by appearance. The researchers confirmed that "gaydar" exists, writing that participants were about 60% accurate when attempting to identify sexual orientation by appearance.

Senator Tom Coburn released the Wastebook 2012 today detailing the 100 most egregious wastes of taxpayer money. The two hundred page report details waste in all manner of federal spending - from multi-billion dollar programs all the way down to a $300 grant to a small-town library for a Star Wars-themed event. It's emblematic of the waste found everywhere in the federal budget.
Coburn details a $27 million U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program for pottery classes in Morocco. The program, which has a questionable premise in the first place, was doomed due to incompetence and mismanagement. Translators with a questionable grasp of English were hired and used materials unavailable to Moroccans. The Inspector General concluded that the program was "ineffective and poorly implemented."

No sacred cow is spared in the report. Coburn notes that producing pennies has become too expensive for the government to justify. "The cost to produce a penny in 2012 is more than two times its actual value." Noting that other developed countries have discontinued their smallest forms of currency, he writes, "the United States should follow suit and stop producing it."

While the viral video of an Obama supporter claiming to have received a free phone may stretch credibility, the truth is more real than you think. There is in fact a federal program aimed at providing "free or reduced-price cell phone service," as detailed in Wastebook. The federal government is empowered to provide universal telecommunications service to Americans, and have started using cell phones rather than landlines as a means of accomplishing that.


AMTRAK snack bars lost $84.5 Million last year; $833 Million in 10 years... -

AMTRAK snack bars lost $84.5 Million last year; $833 Million in 10 years... - 

Federal spending over the past 20 years has surged 71 percent faster than inflation, much of it on bloated and wasteful programs and services, including Vice President Joe Biden's favorite mode of travel: Amtrak.

According to the newly revised Heritage Foundation report, "Federal Spending by the Numbers," the rail service lost $84.5 million alone on its food and beverage services in 2011, and $833.8 million over the past 10 years. "It has never broken even on these services," said Heritage.

The regularly revised analysis found that federal spending spiked this year to $3.6 trillion, which is nearly 23 percent of the U.S. economy. And to illustrate why the federal deficit has reached $1 trillion each year of the Obama presidency, Heritage determined that for every $6.80 Washington collects in taxes, it spends $10, meaning that the Treasury has to borrow the remaining $3.20.

Debt and federal spending is a major issue in the presidential election, with President Obama pledging to keep an eye on it and Mitt Romney promising deep cuts. Heritage warned, however, that if spending is allowed to continue at the current pace, federal spending will reach $5.5 trillion in a decade.

Not surprisingly, entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, are driving growth. But anti-poverty programs have also surged by 49 percent in just the past decade. And spending on another politically touchy issue, food stamps, has more than tripled since 2002.

Heritage noted that the current spending crisis doesn't include the oncoming program and spending changes required by Obamacare, which will spend $1.7 trillion over 10 years. The group explained that Obamacare will increase federal health spending by 15 percent, bringing it to 44 percent of all mandatory spending.

What's more, "Obamacare's 18 new or increased taxes and penalties raise $836 billion in new taxes between 2013 and 2022."

Heritage offered a few examples of waste worthy of cutting or consolidating:

-- In fiscal year 2010, the federal government spent nearly $1.7 billion to maintain 77,700 underused or unused buildings.

-- Eliminating both the New Starts and Small Starts transit grants programs would save taxpayers $5.6 billion over the next five years and $16.3 billion over 10 years. It would get the federal government out of the business of subsidizing high-cost, low-value local transit projects, such as $900 million for a 10-mile extension of the Bay Area rail system in San Jose and a $1.6 billion grant to construct a Honolulu rail line.

-- The Department of Agriculture's Office of the Chief Information Officer funded a $2 million intern program. Only one intern was hired full time as a result.

-- The U.S. Navy bought 450,000 gallons of biofuels for $12 million, or almost $27 per gallon, to conduct exercises to showcase the fuel and bring it closer toward commercialization. It is the largest biofuel purchase ever made by the government.

-- The Internal Revenue Service stored 22,486 items of unused furniture in a warehouse at an annual cost of $862,000.

-- The State Department began a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program in 2012. Over 80 American chefs have been inducted into the American Chefs Corps and will support the State Department by preparing food for visiting officials and traveling around the world to engage in "culinary diplomacy."

-- The Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program spends $200 million a year to help U.S. agricultural trade associations and cooperatives advertise their products in foreign markets. In 2011, it funded a reality TV show in India that advertised U.S. cotton.

-- The Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers $2.1 billion annually not to farm their land for a period of at least ten years.


Air Canada Crew Aids Yacht Rescue Off Australia's New South Wales Coast -

Air Canada Crew Aids Yacht Rescue Off Australia's New South Wales Coast - 

Air Canada is being credited with helping rescue officials pinpoint the location of a yacht in trouble off he coast of Australia.

A solo yachtsman left Pittwater, on Sydney's northern beaches, two weeks ago heading for Eden on the New South Wales south coast.

Australian media reports an emergency beacon was activated early today with the man reporting that his boat had been drifting away from land since last week.

Because of the remote location, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority asked two airliners passing over the man's GPS position to help confirm his whereabouts.

An Air Canada Boeing 777 flying to Sydney from Vancouver subsequently diverted from its courses to check on the distressed yacht about 435 kilometres east of Sydney. An Air New Zealand A320, heading to Sydney from New Zealand also went off course to locate the yacht.

With the boat’s location confirmed, a police vessel was dispatched to the demasted yacht, which was running low on fuel and drifting further out to sea.

A maritime safety official says police will make a judgment call when they arrive as to whether the man needs to abandon ship.

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