December 2015 Archives

You've got 10 times as many bacteria in your body as you do human cells, and it shouldn't be surprising that these hitchhikers have a huge effect on health. New research shows that by drugging our gut bacteria we may be able to significantly reduce the incidence of heart disease without changing our diets. Faster, please!

Writing in the journal Cell, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and UCLA's division of cardiology suggest that disrupting the cascade of events that results in the production of TMAO might also prevent the kinds of fatty buildup in the arteries that leads to heart disease.

They came up with a chemical lookalike to choline, a common chemical compound that plays a key role in processing fatty acids. The lookalike chemical, called DMB, suppresses the first step in the lengthy process of TMAO production. Both in laboratory tests and in mice (where researchers added DMB to the drinking water), they saw that DMB drove down the amount of triethylamine available for liver enzymes to turn into artery-clogging TMAO.

In the study, mice were fed chow that typically doubles fatty buildup in the arteries. Among those mice that got DMB in their water, arterial buildup was significantly reduced; their arteries looked almost like those of normal, healthy mice, the researchers found.

Hillary Clinton says that she didn't blame the internet video for the attack on our embassy in Benghazi when she met with the families of the dead, but the families say she did exactly that. I guess you've got to decide for yourself who to believe.

George Stephanopoulos asked her Sunday if she'd told the victims it was about the film. Clinton gave a flat "no."

She added: "I said very clearly there had been a terrorist group, uh, that had taken responsibility on Facebook, um . . ."

At least four family members disagree.

Tyrone Woods' father said he hugged Clinton and shook her hand. Then "she said we are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of my son . . . She said 'the filmmaker who was responsible for the death of your son.' "

Sean Smith's mother said Hillary is "absolutely lying . . . She said it was because of the video." Smith's uncle backs her up.

Glen Doherty's sister agreed: "When I think back now to that day and what she knew, it shows me a lot about her character that she would choose in that moment to basically perpetuate what she knew was untrue."

Nina Shea writes of the thousands of Christians being murdered in the Middle East by ISIS. Pray for these martyrs, and pray that the Gospel of Christ will work powerfully in the region for the salvation of millions. Pray that the rest of the world will wake up to this genocide and put an end to it.

On October 1, the grim details emerged of twelve other Christians murdered, this time explicitly for refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. Christian Aid Mission of Charlottesville, Va., received eyewitness reports from relatives of the victims that, outside Aleppo on August 28, ISIS militants crucified a twelve-year old Christian boy and his Syrian missionary father, along with two other men with the ministry. "All were badly brutalized and then crucified," the Protestant ministry director said. The boy had his fingertips cut off, in an attempt to force his father to convert to Islam. Their bodies were left hanging on the crosses for two days, under signs reading "infidels."

In a separate incident on the same day, ISIS militants publicly raped two Christian women, ages 29 and 33, in front of a crowd summoned by the jihadis, and then beheaded them, along with six men, when they refused to convert to Islam. "Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord's prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus," the ministry director, who had baptized some of the victims, said. According to the witnesses, "One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, 'Jesus!'" Their bodies were then crucified.

Lots of sci-fi spaceships and a few real ones.

One really strange phenomenon since the horrific San Bernardino terrorist attack has been the media condemnation of those who have offered their thoughts and prayers to the victims.

Progressive and liberal politicians called for gun control. And other politicians prayed for the victims and their families while waiting for more information.

That's when things got super weird. For some reason, much of the media began mocking the efficacy of prayer. This was happening while victims of the shooting were actually asking people to pray. I mean, the critiques were everywhere. An editor at ThinkProgress said, and I quote, "Stop thinking. Stop praying." There's a bumper sticker for you!

Follow the link for images of all the bizarre targeting of Christians by prominent journalists.

I'm honestly not sure what possessed all of these media types to choose "people who pray" as the target of their anger. It was really weird and revealing. Almost more of a temper tantrum than anything else, particularly since progressives immediately turn to prayer of a different kind in the aftermath of tragedy.

Leftists pray to their god: government. The solution to every problem is to tax more, spend more, regulate more.

The theodicy of federal government seeks to defend the goodness of government in the face of tragedy. So just as some religious groups might blame a weather event on insufficient fealty to the relevant god, some progressives blame -- before we actually know what is even going on in a given tragedy -- insufficient fealty, sacrifice, and offerings to the relevant god of federal government. And so they explain that the god of good government would have been able to take care of us if only we'd given it sufficient power to do so.

Here's a sad tale about how anti-ISIS activists in the group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) view America under President Obama.

The members of R.B.S.S. are utterly frustrated with the efforts of the West to defeat both Assad, who has fended off the opposition so far, and ISIS, which has suffered recent losses in Iraq and Syria, but which has proved capable of exacting suffering from Sinai to Beirut to Paris.

"The problem the Syrian people have with the United States is that we are suffering for five years with barrel bombs," one R.B.S.S. journalist said. "Assad has killed so many innocents, and many people have lost hope. After Assad's chemical attack, when he crossed the so-called 'red line,' the U.S. just took the weapons. It made America look like a liar and weak.

We look that way because of President Obama.

President Obama wants more restrictions on gun ownership, and apparently he's willing to deceive people to get his way. He says that America has more mass shootings than other developed countries, but he completely neglects to account for our vastly larger population.

Let's look at mass public shootings from 2009 to the middle of June this year. To compare fairly with American shootings, I excluded attacks that might be better classified as struggles over sovereignty. For instance, I did not count the 22 people killed in the Macedonian town of Kumanovo last month.

Norway had the highest annual death rate, with two mass public shooting fatalities per million people. Macedonia had a rate of 0.38, Serbia 0.28, Slovakia 0.20, Finland 0.14, Belgium 0.14 and the Czech Republic 0.13. The U.S. comes in eighth with 0.095 mass public shooting fatalities per million people. Austria and Switzerland are close behind.

In terms of the frequency of attacks, the U.S. ranks ninth, with 0.09 attacks per million people. Macedonia, Serbia, Switzerland, Norway, Slovakia, Finland, Belgium and the Czech Republic all had higher rates.

It's funny that the term "liberal" is so backwards now... modern leftists see authoritarianism as the solution to every problem.

Normally, What We Learned This Week is a digest of the week's most curiously important facts. This week, it is not. This week the only thing we learned is that America has a gun problem.

Blah blah blah.

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. I'll disarm right after the rich and powerful lay off their professional armed bodyguards.

It's not politically correct to say it, but Christians are the most persecuted group in the world. Kudos to European Parliament President Martin Schulz for calling attention to the plight of Christians around the world.

In Wednesday's meeting, EP President Martin Schulz said that the persecution of Christians is "undervalued" and does not receive enough attention, which has also meant that it "hasn't been properly addressed."

Schulz's concerns were echoed by EP Vice President Antonio Tajani, who warned that Europe sometimes "falls into the temptation of thinking we can ignore this task," referring to the protection Christians throughout the world who suffer persecution.

Speakers cited the work of Open Doors, a human rights organization that monitors the persecution of Christians, noting that 150 million Christians worldwide suffer torture, rape and arbitrary imprisonment. Christians in Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea and Nigeria are among those hardest hit.

Jesus faced persecution to the point of death, and warned that his followers would also. Pray for safety and grace for persecuted believers, and pray that the gospel will be advanced by their suffering.

John 15:18-25

18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'"

The State Department has redacted this list of Hillary's achievements while Secretary of State. Darn it! Now we'll never know.

hillary achievements redacted.jpg

Maybe they were too confusing.

This is disgraceful: Inspector General reports that HUD can't be audited due to poor records. The people responsible for this failure should be prosecuted. Government that is both big and incompetent is the worst of both worlds. It seems incapable of competence, so it needs to be shrunken drastically.

A government watchdog says it can't audit billions in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spending because the agency's financial books are kept so poorly.

HUD's financial statements and systems are missing records, inaccurate and sometimes even violated federal laws, according to a HUD inspector general report released Monday. Included among the programs with useless financial accounting records is nearly $20 billion at the Government National Mortgage Association.

Try this with the IRS in April and see what happens.

Jay Rosen explains that Donald Trump's vast wealth makes him immune to the forces that normally confine presidential candidates.

But notice: Trump is not an institution. trumpairHe is really his own campaign manager, spokesman and chief strategist, which means that the chief strategist of the Trump campaign -- Trump -- doesn't care if he ever gets hired by another campaign. Poof! There goes one of the little structural forces that tend toward isomorphism. Multiply by 100 and you have pundits asking: have the laws of political gravity been repealed?

Rosen has several other good points, but I think they all come down to the fact that Trump's wealth makes him willing to alienate powerful/important people that other politicians want to be liked by.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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