Sir Patrick Moore, astronomer and
broadcaster, dies aged 89
image from bbc.co.uk
when I went on a trip organised by the Irish Astronomical Society to Jodrell Bank observatory in England. He was one of the most recognisable men on television with his great size and his monocle covering his right eye.
I am speaking of course about Patrick Moore who presented “The Sky at Night” from shortly after the Big Bang, 14 billion years ago until a few weeks before he died. Patrick now sees the stars from the other side! I hope he takes as much delight in meeting the God who made them as he did in telling us about galaxies, planets and black holes.
Ravi Shankar has also gone up and away to perform for the heavenly host. The “godfather of world music” as George Harrison once called him died in San Diego during last week. I am sad to say that I never saw him perform on stage. He brought Indian music to the world.
Then to top it all Kenneth Kendall, who brought us the news for many years, became the news. Kenneth is now in the happy position of knowing the truth of all the stories that he ever read out on our screens. Heaven is that type of place; you see the truth of everything.
It won’t be until we get to heaven that we shall see the truth of what happened to Pat Finucane. “The truth is too ugly,” said one reporter on TV last week when he was interviewed about why the British won’t let there be a public inquiry.
That’s the great thing about our Christian faith. It assures us that there shall be justice and that the truth of all these things shall be told. Of course there was collusion and high up people connived in the death of Finucane. Of course the Special Branch and the RUC were passing information to the Loyalist murder groups.
But before you go shouting too much about what “they” did, look into your own heart and see what you did.
How many times when we heard a person was shot did we listen to hear was it a Catholic name or a Protestant name?
How many times did we turn a blind eye when people laughed about the death of a soldier or a policeman? Believe it or not even they had a family.
Nobody in the old Northern Ireland was without sin. It was a shameful little war and we were all part of it. There are two old sayings worth remembering when we look back at what “they” did; (A) When blaming stops healing begins; and (B) anything that tears down community is not from God.
And yes...found a photo from geograph.ie
showing that the Union flag flies in the
in the centre of Magherafelt.
On the subject of tearing down I heard a strange thing the other day. My son told me that the next big flag to be tackled is the one that flies in Magherafelt. Small problem for me; I drive through Magherafelt regularly and have never noticed the flag.
That’s the problem with flags, they are like flies on the end your nose, after a while you don’t notice them. Arlene Foster, a woman I don’t often find myself in agreement with, summed it all up perfectly; the flag protests were hurting local trade. At the end of the day no trade no work. You can’t eat flags. And threatening war and mayhem does not change that fact.
There was a lot of talk about death in the New North this week. There were death threats against a host of people over various things. Any politician worth his salt was threatened at least once last week and if your local MLA or MP was not threatened then he is not working hard enough.
Darren Scott needed twelve pints of cider before he made the threat to kill Peter Robinson in a 999 call. They remanded Darren in custody. If every drunk man who made a threat to shoot somebody was put in the clink we would need a mighty big prison. We could rebuild the Kesh.
Death even affected the census figures: “One of the reasons for the decline in the Protestant population is that it is an older community with higher mortality” wrote Mark Davenport in the BBC news on the internet.
We are heading for “parity of population” when the Protestant and Catholic figures shall be equal. This will have a profound effect on the way we see ourselves in this wee province. The 20% who define themselves as Northern Irish will grow in number.
After the Scottish referendum on independence, there shall be fundamental changes to the union, no matter what. While Wales, simply because it has been long since consumed into the English way of life, shall become another English county, Scotland shall gain more and more independence. Where will that leave the old north?
If the euro fails, which is still a high probability, or if a two tier Europe appears, where will the Free State go?
The shared history, language and culture of these islands make the whole process impossible to predict. In the same manner as Arlene Foster spoke about the affect of the flags issue on local trade, as memories of empire fade, England could well become much more nationalistic and want no bother with this ungovernable little place.
In that case, to paraphrase the Sun which once famously wrote in another context, “Will the last one to flee the flagless north please turn off the lights!”
Interesting times lie ahead!
The X-37B is a prototype of a reusable
unmanned satellite ... so it is marketed.
Image from: space.skyrocket.de
Did you ever wonder who decides what is news and what is not? Last week we were all frightened to hear that North Korea, which some of our news editors has decided is a “pariah” country, tested a missile that could possibly be used to carry a nuclear bomb. This news was broadcast day and night for 48 hours with all sorts of experts giving dire warnings.
The day after North Korea launched their rocket, the United States launched a top secret space plane with the code name X-37B for its third flight. In 2010 it spent 224 days in space and in 2011 it was up there for 449 days.
What was this eye in the sky doing and what is its future purpose? We are not told. The X-37B is a very top secret military plane. But it’s a good military plane; it belongs to the Americans and will only be used to kill those bad people that the Americans don’t like.
Have you heard the latest on Saint Tony of Blair, the great Labour leader of the noughties who turned Catholic and has been canonized by the media many years before his death?
Well, it turns out that while the country was under the watchful eye of Saint Tony of Blair his “MIQ6,” the nations sub normal intelligence agency, was kidnapping men on behalf of Monsieur Gaddafi, well known Libyan dictator with a penchant for a little torture.
“Having sought for years to avoid the agents of the Libyan dictator, Sami al-Saadi was forced on board a plane in Hong Kong with his wife and four young children in a joint UK-US-Libyan operation. They were then flown to Libya, where all of them were initially imprisoned. Saadi was held and tortured for years.
The Saadi family had accepted a settlement of £2.23m, the high court heard on Thursday. The government paid the sum by way of compensation and without admitting any liability,” said a British newspaper.
Imagine paying out over £2 million for a crime you didn’t commit. You have to hand it to the British, they’re a decent bunch!
“Two days before Saadi and his family were flown to Libya, Tony Blair arrived in the country for his first meeting with Gaddafi, embracing the dictator and announcing a new era of counter-terrorism co-operation,” wrote Ian Cobain in the Guardian. (Oct 24, 2011)
Coincidence or what!
Tony Blair with Col Muammar Gaddafi
during a visit to Libya in 2007
image from: telegraph.co.uk
“Britain and America like to help their friends. The fact that Libya has oodles of oil and that Gaddafi spent billions on armaments had absolutely nothing to do with our willingness to bring a few chappies home for him,” is a quote from...... well no one actually. I just made it up but it sounds good!
Who do we trust anymore? HSBC was fined £1.2 billion for being a money laundering operation for Mexican drugs cartels.
But guess what: the Conservative Business Minister is Lord Green, who just happened to be chief executive and then chairman of HSBC when the failings occurred between 2004 and 2009. Like Saint Tony of Blair he probably didn’t know a thing.
The fine comes as another London bank, Standard Chartered agreed to pay a further £203m to settle allegations that it breached US sanctions with Iran. Anyone ever ask why only the US is taking bank misbehaviours seriously? Do you think these banks would have been fined here?
If you didn’t laugh you would have to cry.
The next ploy of our European friends is new banking regulation:
“Around 200 of the biggest banks will come under the direct oversight of the European Central Bank, which will act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks.
The agreement - a key step towards banking union - will be put before European leaders later on Thursday.”
More jobs for the boys!
image from: voices-against-corruption.ning.com
The whole world is amiss with dodgy banks, cronyism, secret war planes, torturing dictators and corrupt politicians. But it’s great fun watching it; that is unless you are one of the billion people who are starving in a world of plenty. And there was always plenty—at least of cheese anyway.
Scientists have found evidence of cheese making that goes back 7,500 years. They have often pondered when cheese was first made in Europe and now they think that they are nearer to the answer.
“But now milk extracts have been identified on 34 perforated pottery vessels or "cheese-strainers", which date back 7,500 years that have been excavated in Poland.
It is unambiguous evidence for cheese-making in northern Europe during Neolithic times, scientists believe, and the findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature.”
Why am I focusing on cheese making when there are more important things to discuss such as Christmas dinner and parties?
Well, as I write this piece this week an interesting question has come to my mind; when did famine become the norm?
It might sound like a silly question but over a billion people in the world are starving. Thousands of children shall die today because they have no food.
One in seven of the world’s population are starving and we don’t call that a famine; we don’t even notice.
And yet we are not bad people. We go about our business, caring for our families and paying our taxes. But the people who are starving are all part of the “they” group; you know, the type that starts with “n” and live in Africa.
Could you ever fathom a billion whites starving and nothing being done about it?
Then we waken up to the news that some young man has shot his parents and twenty children aged six and seven in a fit of rage. What a world! How can these things happen?
image from: fanpop.com
Morgan Freeman is a wise man. In the film “Bruce Almighty” Freeman played the part of God and he gave his almighty power to Bruce with two conditions; that he tell no one he had the power and that he did not interfere with free will.
Adam Lanza had free will. For whatever reason he decided to carry out this act; God does not interfere with free will.
Like the mystery of Pat Finucane, we shall not understand the immensity of our free will until we meet God.
If God had stopped Adam Lanza from doing as he wished, we would be shouting that we are not free. Bad acts are not proof there is no God. Bad actions are proof that there is evil in the world. We have free will and we choose how to use it.
It’s the same with the starvation in a world of plenty. Those of us with the food choose to let the people with no food go hungry. We naturally protect our own corner and look after ourselves. That is the way human beings are.
We’re back to the question of justice. In the fullness of time God shall reveal the reasons why all these things happened.
If you think it could not get any worse please read this from Sunday’s Irish Independent:
“Meanwhile, in Fine Gael this weekend, TDs are preparing to do battle this week with Labour on another front – a demand to legislate for the X case on abortion.
Minister of state Lucinda Creighton has made it clear that she will resign from her position if any proposed legislation is "too liberal", according to informed sources.
An estimated 30 Fine Gael TDs and senators fear Mr Kenny will "cave in" to demands on abortion as a "sop" to placate Labour after Fine Gael was widely seen to have "won" the Budget argument.”
Think of what this article is saying; that Enda Kenny will give way on abortion because Labour gave him the budget he wanted.
Is that what we have become—a country where we shall trade the lives of our unborn for the sake of a budget proposal?
Is that your price for a few years in power, Enda, the killing of our unborn?
Mary was an unmarried mother, pregnant to someone other than the man she was to marry. She had no prospects, no income and was still living with her parents. If she had this child she would become a social outcast.
Tell us, Enda, as we approach Christmas, what would you tell Mary to do?
Happy Christmas from the Isle of Saints, Sinners, Dodgy Bankers, and Corrupt Politicians.
“Our God is a great God.”
Any comments? Submit via this blog or send us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
published in Observer Newspaper group, N.I.
20th Dec '12