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A Christmas Card from Outer Space PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Rutherford Institute   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:51
On December 21, 1968, the Apollo 8 spaceship blasted its way through the earth's atmosphere to begin the first U.S. mission to orbit the moon—a mission that would set the stage for the first moon landing less than a year later. On board were astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders. By Christmas Eve, the Apollo 8 had begun to orbit the moon. 

Borman, who had planned to participate in the Christmas service at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in League City, Texas, arranged with an engineer at mission control to read a short prayer that could be played for the church. During the third lunar revolution, Borman read:
Give us, O God, the vision which can see thy love in the world, in spite of human failure. Give us the faith to trust the goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness. Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts, and show us what each one of us can do to set forth the coming of the day of universal peace. Amen.
“Amen,” echoed the engineer back on earth.
During the ninth lunar revolution, the astronauts pointed their camera at the moon so that those on earth could get a glimpse of its cratered surface. Then they read the story of the creation from the Bible, as told in the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

As writer Mike Wright observed, “The Bible reading, with all three astronauts taking part, drew both intense joy and intense dissent.” Acting NASA administrator Dr. Thomas D. Paine called it “the triumph of the squares—the guys with computers and slide-rulers who read the Bible on Christmas Eve.”

One of the most vocal critics was the infamous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the woman credited with getting prayer taken out of public schools. In a 1963 decision in Abington School District v. Schempp, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that schools could not require students to read passages from the Bible or recite the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. In response to the Christmas Eve scripture reading from space, O’Hair remarked, “I think the astronauts were not only ill advised but that it was a tragic situation...that they should read portions of the Genesis Bible which is accepted by a very minor number of persons in the total world.”

Minor or not, the Bible reading cut through the political haze and sent a strong message to those glued to their radios and TV sets—a message of hope in a torn and ravaged world. And before signing off, the crew of the Apollo 8 sent a final message back to earth: “We pause with good night, good luck and God bless all of you-all of you on the good earth,” which apparently included Madalyn Murray O’Hair, whether she liked it or not.

And so ended what had been a tumultuous year that saw the Tet offensive launched by the North Vietnamese; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy assassinated; and disenchanted citizens from Paris to Chicago taking to the streets in revolt.

This year, with its heart-wrenching tragedies in the schools and elsewhere, has been no less tumultuous. We’ve had kids getting micro-chipped in the public schools. Congress, the courts and the White House working in cahoots to erode our privacy rights. The Transportation Security Administration fumbling its way through national security. Hurricane Sandy ravaging the Eastern shore. The police state merging with the surveillance state to keep us tagged, tracked and under control. The military industrial complex lobbying to keep the nation at war and defense contractors in the money. Individuals getting fined and arrested for violating any number of vague and overreaching laws. Homes getting raided and innocent Americans killed by rampaging SWAT teams armed to the hilt.

Through it all, The Rutherford Institute has remained strong, vibrant and incredibly relevant, despite a growing caseload and limited resources. However, as you will see from this month’s Faith and Freedom newsletter, we could not do what we do without the prayers, friendship and support of individuals like you. We accomplished a great deal in 2012, and with your continued support, we will be able to continue our vital mission of restoring and preserving our civil liberties well into 2013.

So thank you, and God bless you, for giving what you can, when you are able, time and time again. Thank you for believing that freedom is worth fighting for. And thank you for your prayers for our guidance, protection and perseverance. As we remember all the battles you’ve helped us through this year and anticipate the ones waiting on the horizon, we pray that God will bless you and your loved ones, both now and in the year to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

 
As Severe Winter Weather Arrives, So Do Property Damage Risks as a Result of Ice Dams PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph King   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:39

A severe winter storm has already dropped significant amounts of snow on the mountains in the Northwest, and now the storm is headed for the Rockies and Midwest. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a blizzard watch for Wednesday in eastern Colorado, Kansas, and a small area of southern Nebraska. Meanwhile, a winter storm watch has been issued from Colorado all the way through the Midwest as far north as Wisconsin.

As severe winter weather arrives, so do property damage risks as a result of ice dams. In fact, ice dams during freezing temperatures can cause thousands of dollars in property damage, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).

During freezing weather, heat from your home or business can escape through the roof and melt snow on the roof. The snow melt can trickle down to the roof’s edge and refreeze, creating an ice dam that leaves additional snow melt no place to go but inside the attic.

Find out common misconceptions about ice dams below using guidance from IBHS, while ice dam prevention resources are available at DisasterSafety.org.

ICE DAM MYTHS

Ice dams only form around gutters and eaves.

False: Ice dams can also form in roof valleys, pans, and shed dormers.

Heat cables are the answer.

False: Although heat cables can help prevent ice dams from forming, the are not a simple solution. Heat cables only last a few years before they need to be replaced, while it is important to also have proper drainage when using cables.

Ice dams are only a problem for older homes.

False: Ice dams are more common for older homes that have poor ventilation, newer homes can also be a risk of ice dam damage.

for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, large and small. Follow IBHS on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on

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About IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.

 
State Farm Warns Homeowners about the 12 Fire Horrors of the Holidays PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Missy Dundov   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:37
December 18, 2012 - The holiday season is the time of year when most people are thinking about shopping for gifts, office parties, and spending time with family and friends. Sadly, this is also the time when home fires peak. Approximately one-third of home fires and home fire deaths occur during December, January and February.
State Farm® reminds consumers that the potential for a home fire is highest during the winter months. A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that nearly 50 percent of Americans age 23 and over increased their chances of a home fire because of decorating for the holidays:
  • 34 percent connect multiple extension cords together
  • 16 percent put up holiday lights without inspecting them for frayed cords
  • 9 percent let their tree dry out after it is decorated in the home
  • 9 percent have lit a fire without an annual chimney inspection
  • 5 percent have left a burning candle unattended
To help keep your family and loved ones safer during the holiday and winter season, learn how to avoid the 12 fire horrors of the holidays.
  1. Cooking Calamities: While November is the top month for grease and cooking-related fires, December is a close second. Unattended cooking remains one of the top causes of home fires. There are a lot of distractions and all it takes is a brief moment for a cooking fire to get out of control. Keep an all-purpose or Class ABC rated fire extinguisher nearby to get a kitchen fire under control.
  2. Space heaters: Home heating equipment is second to cooking fires for causing home structure fires. More than half of home heating fires occur during December, January and February. Avoid setting up a space heater too close to curtains, furniture, or holiday decorations. Remember to keep at least three feet of clear space around it and set it up on the floor unless it is designed for other use.
  3. Children Playing with Fire: The number of fires and deaths caused by children playing with fire goes up significantly during the holidays. Never leave children unsupervised with ignition materials such as matches or lighters.
  4. Burn Wood in the Fireplace: Do not burn trash, cardboard boxes or Christmas trees in the fireplace. These items burn unevenly and may cause a dangerous flash fire.
  5. Caution with Candles: Christmas Day is the peak day of the year for candle fires. Make sure candles are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
  6. Holiday Lights: Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots or broken sockets before putting them up. Remember to turn off holiday lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  7. Counterfeit Electronics: Christmas lights are the perfect product for counterfeiting – high volume and low manufacturing cost. Look for CSA or UL certification marks that indicate the product was tested and met the product safety standards.
  8. Electrical Outlets: Don’t overload your electrical outlets with too many lights or decorations.
  9. Electrical Cords: To reduce the chance of overheating, electric cords should never be bundled together or run under rugs or carpet.
  10. Christmas Trees: Take fire safety precautions when keeping a live tree in the house. Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches. Regularly give the tree plenty of water.
  11. Dirty Chimney: Most chimney fires are caused by the buildup of creosote, a highly combustible by-product of burning wood. To protect your chimney from creosote buildup, have it inspected and cleaned annually.
  12. Dirty Fireplace: When cleaning your fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.
About State Farm
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit  http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada  http://www.statefarm.ca.

 
Newtown PDF Print E-mail
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Written by David Axelrod   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:22
Our hearts broke on Friday as we learned of the tragic and senseless deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Last night, President Obama addressed the families of Newtown, offering the love and prayers of a nation, and vowing to use whatever power his office holds to protect our children from such unthinkable acts of violence.

He spoke from the heart -- as a president and a parent. Watch this speech:


As we reflect on the lives lost last week, we must also, as the President urged, consider how each of us can play a part in making our country worthy of the memory of those little children.

I hope you and the ones you love have a happy and safe holiday.

 
Clinton won't testify on the Libya cover-up after all PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mathew Staver, Chairman Liberty Counsel Action   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:21
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was originally scheduled to testify to Congress about the Benghazi attacks this Thursday, isn’t going to do so as she is recovering from a concussion purportedly suffered after fainting due to a stomach virus.
Today, the State Department acknowledged that Secretary Clinton is now in possession of an independent Advisory Review Board (ARB) report which is widely thought to contain damaging information about warning signs that were missed or ignored in the run-up to the Benghazi attack that cost four American lives, including that of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
I am outraged that more than three months have passed and we are still in the dark about Benghazi!  Liberty Counsel Action refuses to let Benghazi be swept under the rug by this administration and the liberal media, but we need the help of key members of our team to keep the heat on at this critical time.

 
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