Recovering from the initial shock and chaos, hotel staff shepherded the guests, including the Mangeshikar family, through the service section upstairs — only suddenly to come face to face with one of the gunmen.
"He looked young and did not speak to us. He just fired. We were in sort of a single file," Mangeshikar, a 52-year-old gynecologist, told Reuters. "The man in front of my wife shielded us. He was a maintenance section staff. He took the bullets."
The tale of the unnamed staff member has echoed across Mumbai where, time after time, hotel workers have emerged as the people who shielded, hid or evacuated their wealthy guests from militants at the Taj and Trident/Oberoi hotels.
Hotel workers in one case ushered guests into a conference room and then locked the doors to protect them from the militants. The guests were later rescued by the fire brigade.
Kanda Noriyaki, a chef at the hotel's Japanese restaurant, led guests trembling and screaming with fear to safety.
"We hid in the restaurant," Noriyaki told Reuters. "We could hear the firing somewhere very close. Intermittently, there were blasts."
Many evacuees from the hotel hailed the bravery of the staff. "Just imagine, they even served us food the first few hours," said a hotel guest, who did not wish to be named. "Only when the kitchens became out of bounds did they express regret for not being able to serve us food."
One person recounted how Taj staff stopped panicky guests from rushing into the lobby where militants could have shot them.
"They were brilliant," Bhisham Mansukhani told the Mail Today. "If they hadn't kept their cool, many more lives would have been lost."
Abortion is now the number one cause of death in Spain, and represents the most common type of violence against women in the formerly Catholic country, according to a new report by the international Institute for Family Policy (IPF).
The report, which was issued on the International Day of Violence Against Women, notes that Spain has one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe, allowing women to kill their unborn child for "psychological" reasons at any time during their pregnancy.
Under Spain's practically nonexistent restrictions, abortions have more than doubled since the mid 1990s, climbing from 51,006 in 1996 to over 120,000 in 2007. The abortion rate is now approaching one in five pregnancies (18.3%), according to the report.
Although purely elective abortions are not technically legal under Spanish law, the vast majority (97%) were undertaken due to a purported psychological or physical risk to the mother.
Undercover investigations by Spanish media in late 2007 showed that abortion clinics in Spain maintain financial ties with psychologists who automatically issue assessments to abortion clinic customers stating that the woman is psychologically at risk from her pregnancy (see LifeSiteNews coverage at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/nov/07112913.html).
The IPF report also notes that the proportion of women having their second or later abortion has risen substantially since 2000, from 23% that year to 31% in 2006.
Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:
So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.
When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.
The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.
Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.
Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.
If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.
We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.
And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.
Can't figure out what to buy that special someone in your life? How about an abortion? Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) is offering gift certificates for their services and products.
President of PPIN, Betty Cockrum, confirmed that the certificates could be used for abortion. She also said, "The gift certificates are also a wonderful idea for that person in your life who puts everyone else first…" Of course, except for their own child.
I can already imagine uncomfortable conversations on Christmas morning. "Gee, uh, thanks. That's just what I…needed."
Henry Laurens as President of the Continental Congress issued the country's first Thanksgiving Day proclamation on Dec. 18, 1777.
That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole.
1777 was about a year and a half into the Revolutionary War, when the outcome was still far from known. In fact, the U.S. army under the command of General Washington had experienced significant losses that year. This was the winter George Washington and his men billeted at Valley Forge.
For Washington, December 18 was a day of thanks, but mostly of work. He was busy preparing for the winter encampment. His men had only tents to shield themselves from the weather, and Washington’s General Orders for the day show his concern for their proper billeting at Valley Forge....
[General Washington] issued a separate note of thanks to his loyal troops:
The Commander in Chief with the highest satisfaction expresses his thanks to the officers and soldiers for the fortitude and patience with which they have sustained the fatigues of the Campaign—Altho’ in some instances we unfortunately failed, yet upon the whole Heaven hath smiled on our Arms and crowned them with signal success; and we may upon the best grounds conclude, that by a spirited continuance of the measures necessary for our defence we shall finally obtain the end of our Warfare—Independence—Liberty and Peace—These are blessings worth contending for at every hazard.
...The Continental Congress continued the tradition of annual Thanksgiving decrees through 1784. And George Washington finally made the holiday his own on with a Presidential proclamation in 1789, making Thursday November 26 a day of “service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks” for his “kind care” before the Revolution, “manifold mercies” during the war, and “the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed.”
Since the passage of Prop. 8 in California, I've heard a claim made several times and we had it from a caller yesterday. The claim is that proponents of Prop. 8 who claim that same-sex couples already have equal rights under state law are either being dishonest or are ignorant because the lack of marriage status at the state level prevents them from getting Federal rights granted to married couples. So they don't, in fact, have equal rights.
Well, they may not have those Federal rights of marriage, but being able to marry in California or any other state wouldn't make any difference because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
I'm no legal expert, but several explanations of this Federal law make it seem clear cut that DOMA prevents the Federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages even if they are at the state level. There are two provisions of DOMA. The first is that no state is required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in another state. The second provision is the key one to the objection now being made about equal rights for same-sex couples.
Here is one summary that is typical of the several I read:
The second substantive section of the bill amends the U.S. Code to make explicit what has been understood under federal law for over 200 years; that a marriage is the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and a spouse is a husband or wife of the opposite sex. The DOMA definition of marriage is derived most immediately from a Washington state case from 1974, Singer v. Hara, which is included in the 1990 edition of Black's Law Dictionary. More than a century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court spoke of the "union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony." Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15, 45 (1985).
DOMA is not meant to affect the definition of "spouse" (which under the Social Security law, for example, runs to dozens of lines). It ensures that whatever definition of "spouse" may be used in Federal law, the word refers only to a person of the opposite sex.
So no Federal rights would be granted to same-sex couples even if they are married at the state level. The loss of Prop. 8 wouldn't have gained any new rights for same-sex couples. They didn't lose any rights because of the passage of Prop. 8. It's a moot issue because of a Federal law, which Prop. 8 wouldn't have changed.
Perhaps they are looking down the road to the repeal of DOMA in the future, but that is yet to be determined and isn't relevant to a discussion about state laws. State laws can't affect the overturn of DOMA.
So it seems to me accurate to say that same-sex couples have all the same rights in California under current law as married couples, though they aren't married. There's no dishonesty or ignorance about the point. There were no new rights to be gained Federally with the defeat of Prop. 8.
Another example of how "tolerance" is being corrupted to actually criminalize free and open dialog and disagreement:
Two international meetings to promote interfaith harmony were held in the last two weeks, one in New York and one in Rome. The former, called by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia under the auspices of the United Nations, drew some 20 heads of state to discuss a "Culture of Peace." The latter brought together Muslim and Catholic scholars at the Vatican in the latest session of the dialogue called A Common Word. Both gatherings underscored the gulf between us. At both, all parties spoke for peace and tolerance, but they often meant different things.
As President Bush made clear in his remarks at the U.N. meeting, tolerance is understood in the West as respect for religious freedom. For the Muslim leaders in New York, tolerance means respect for religion itself, particularly Islam. As the astute Turkish political observer Ziya Meral pointed out, if Muslim leaders really wanted tolerance for different religious viewpoints, they would be holding similar discussions within their own societies. But no such discussions are going on....
Organization of the Islamic Conference...has pushed the U.N. to adopt a universal ban on defaming Islam. This measure would aim to curb the freedom not only of Danish cartoonists but also of scholars, writers, dissidents, religious reformers, human rights activists, and anyone at all anywhere in the world who criticizes Islam. This is already the effect of the domestic laws against apostasy and blasphemy that exist in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, and other states of the Islamic Conference.
Peter Kreeft wrote a fascinating book 25 years ago Between Heaven & Hell, which was an imagined conversation after death between three men who all died on the same day November 22, 1963: John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley. Kreeft's premise is that everyone has a view about Jesus, and in this book these men carry on that discussion. The book is being reissued and Kreeft recently talked about the significant worldview issues that motivated the book:
These three guys seem to have represented the three most influential worldviews in the history of the world…Christianity…modern secular human[ism] with a thin Christian veneer and…ancient Hindu/Buddhist mysti[cism].
Physicians at four European universities have successfully transplanted a human windpipe, using stem cells from the recipient’s own bone marrow to reline a donor trachea and prevent its rejection by her immune system, according to an article in the British medical journal The Lancet.
The operation, performed in June, was the first to use stem cells in transplanting an airway, and is considered an important advance because it allowed the surgeons to replace a larger segment than had generally been possible in the past. The hope is that the stem cells will transform themselves into the kind of cells that normally line the windpipe and carry out important functions such as clearing mucus out of the airway.
Similar techniques using other types of cells from patients have been used to fashion bladders and also to grow skin for grafting.
In this case, surgeons used stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow because they have the ability to transform themselves into different types of tissue. In that sense, the marrow cells are similar to embryonic stem cells, but they are free of the ethical issues raised by the use of embryonic cells.