Saturday, January 9, 2010

Main Entry: massive

Main Entry: massive
Brobdingnagian, Cyclopean, Gargantuan, adamantine, amplitudinous, astronomical, awesome, awkward, big, bouncing, boundless, brawny, broad-bodied, bulky, bullnecked, burdensome, burly, close-knit, close-textured, close-woven, close, clumsy, coarse, colossal, compact, compacted, compressed, concentrated, concrete, condensed, congested, considerable, consolidated, corpulent, cosmic, cracking, crammed, crammed full, crass, crowded, cumbersome, cumbrous, cyclopean, dense, dinosaurian, durable, elephantine, enduring, enormous, epic, extensive, fantastic, fat, firm, fleshy, full-bodied, full, galactic, gargantuan, gigantic, gluey, grand, gross, hard, heavy, heavyset, heavyweight, hefty, hippopotamic, huge, hugeous, hulking, hulky, humongous, immeasurable, immense, impenetrable, impermeable, imposing, incumbent, infinite, jam-packed, jammed, jumbo, king-size, large-scale, large, lasting, leaden, leviathan, lubberly, lumbering, lumpish, lumpy, mammoth, massy, mega, mighty, monster, monstrous, monumental, mortal, mountainous, nonporous, obese, onerous, oppressive, outsize, overgrown, overlarge, oversize, oversized, overweight, packed, ponderous, portly, prodigious, roaring, rugged, serried, sizable, solid, sound, spacious, spanking, stable, steady, stout, strapping, strong, stupendous, sturdy, substantial, superincumbent, thick-bodied, thick-growing, thick, thickset, three-dimensional, titanic, tough, towering, tremendous, unwieldy, unyielding, vast, viscid, viscose, viscous, voluminous, walloping, weighty, well-built, well-constructed, well-founded, well-grounded, well-made, whopping

Main entries similar to: massive

Friday, January 8, 2010


Pronunciation: \ˈsa-krō-ˌsaŋ(k)t\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin sacrosanctus, probably from sacro sanctus hallowed by a sacred rite
Date: 1601

1 : most sacred or holy : inviolable
2 : treated as if holy : immune from criticism or violation

sac·ro·sanc·ti·ty \ˌsa-krō-ˈsaŋ(k)-tə-tē\ noun


Pronunciation: \(ˌ)in-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin inviolabilis, from in- + violare to violate
Date: 15th century

1 : secure from violation or profanation
2 : secure from assault or trespass : unassailable

in·vi·o·la·bil·i·ty \-ˌvī-ə-lə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

in·vi·o·la·ble·ness \-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl-nəs\ noun

in·vi·o·la·bly \-blē\ adverb

Another Addition To The Thor Cast

Last seen trying to exorcise demons in Drag Me To Hell, Adriana Barraza is now in talks to join Thor, the Marvel Comics adaptation that Kenneth Branagh is directing. Shooting starts next week, so this will probably be the last major addition to the cast.

Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek) will play the Norse God of Thunder, banished to Earth after his arrogance and recklessness "reignite an ancient war". Anthony Hopkins plays head god Odin, with Natalie Portman as Earth-bound love interest Jane Foster and Tom Hiddleston as the Thor-hating Loki. Barraza is expected to play one of the human characters, although it's not clear what her role is as yet.

Thor's due out on May 20, 2011, and it's probably fair to say that it's Marvel's biggest challenge yet. After all, making us believe a man can wear a super-powered iron suit is one thing; making us believe that Norse gods hang out in Manhattan is another. But we're still strangely convinced that somehow it's all going to work.

Helen O'Hara

Churches burned over use of the word "Allah"

Churches burned over use of the word "Allah"[/url ]

Three Malaysian churches have been firebombed in as tensions over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims intensify.

The churches in the capital Kuala Lumpur were hit by incendiary devices early on Friday ahead of planned protests by Muslims over a High Court decision to end a ban on the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

The court has suspended its December 31 decision pending an appeal by the government. The government imposed the ban, saying use of the word could lead to confusion and conversions among members of the Islamic faith.

(visit the link for the full news article)

Malaysia: Church bombed by Muslims Over Use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

Malaysia: Church bombed by Muslims Over Use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

Chrurch burnt muslims

It can make you sick. Physically ill. Demonize Israel but do not defame Islam, do not insult Islam, do not blaspheme Islam -- and Obama says, R-E-S-P-E-C-T it!

And do not use the word allah, or they'll burn down the churches.

Malaysian church fire-bombed ahead of Muslim protests

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A church in Malaysia has been fire-bombed in an attack that gutted its ground floor, church officials said Friday, escalating a dispute over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

A fire department official said all stations were on alert for more blazes at religious buildings, ahead of planned nationwide protests Friday by Muslim groups angry over the use of the word as a translation for "God" by Christians.

The three-storey Metro Tabernacle church in suburban Kuala Lumpur, part of the Assemblies of God movement, was set ablaze in the attack which took place around midnight, said church leader Peter Yeow, 62.

"Witnesses saw four people smash the glass and throw incendiaries into the church building. They came on two motorcycles," he told AFP at the scene as fire department forensic officers picked through the wreckage.

There were no casualties in the attack on the church, which occupies the corner lot of a row of shop houses and which Yeow said draws some 1,500 people weekly.

"The fire destroyed the administrative part of the church. We do not know if the prayer hall on the third floor suffered any damage," he said, warning all other churches to "double their guard" against any attacks.

Anuar Harun, who headed the fire department operation, said that forensic experts were working with the police and a canine unit to probe the blaze.

"We are investigating the cause of fire. We cannot provide any more details. It is a sensitive issue," he said when asked if it was a case of arson.

"We have asked all our fire stations to be on alert for such fires on religious premises," he told AFP.

The High Court last week ruled in favour of the Catholic "Herald" newspaper which has used "Allah" as a translation for "God" in its Malay-language section. The government has said the word should be used only by Muslims.

The ruling was suspended on Wednesday pending an appeal, after the government argued the decision could cause racial conflict in multicultural Malaysia, where Muslim Malays make up 60 percent of the population.

The security guard at the Metro Tabernacle church, 65-year-old V. Mariappan, said he had just walked away from the main entrance of the building to use the bathroom when the building erupted in flames.

"When I came back, there was a huge fire inside the church building. There was a few loud explosions like bombs exploding," he said, adding he saw two motorcycle helmets lying on the road in flames.

The Herald's editor Father Lawrence Andrew has warned of a campaign of intimidation including hacker attacks against the weekly's website, protest plans and widespread criticism in the media over last week's ruling.

"We believe these actions (are designed) to create a climate of fear and a perceived threat to national security so as to pressure the court in reversing its decision," he said this week.

Religion and language are sensitive issues in multiracial Malaysia, which experienced deadly race riots in 1969.

The row over the use of "Allah" is among a string of religious disputes that have erupted in recent years, straining relations between Malays and minority ethnic Chinese and Indians who fear the country is being "Islamised."

Church burned in Malaysia as Muslims dispute the use of the word Allah

Police in Malaysia have stepped up patrols around Christian churches after a church was fire-bombed overnight. Malaysian church officials believe the attack was in protest over a recent court decision overturning a government ban on the use of the word "Allah" to refer to God in Christian texts. The Catholic Church lead the court challenge on behalf of the Herald Newspaper, which uses the term in its Malay language edition. But some Muslim groups are angry about the ruling and are planning large protests across the country.

Presenter: Stephanie March
Speakers: Father Lawrence Andrew editor of Malaysia's Herald newspaper; Khairy Jamalluddin. UMNO Youth Leader

Malaysia church fire-bombed ahead of protests

Malaysia church fire-bombed ahead of protests

KUALA LUMPUR — Two Malaysian churches have been attacked, leaving one badly damaged, in an escalating dispute over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

As Muslim groups prepared to hold protests Friday, police stepped up security around churches nationwide after one in suburban Kuala Lumpur was fire-bombed in a midnight attack that gutted its ground floor and another had its grounds set ablaze.

"We are investigating the matter thoroughly and those responsible will be brought to book," police chief Musa Hassan told reporters.

"Police will deploy patrol cars to patrol churches in the country. We will investigate the matter thoroughly."

A fire department official said all stations were on alert for more blazes at religious buildings, amid conflict over the use of "Allah" as a translation for "God" by Christians.

Pribumi Perkasa, one of the groups organising the demonstrations to be held after Friday prayers, condemned the attacks but warned that Muslim Malays, who dominate the population, were deeply concerned.

"We will continue to voice our feelings in protests today because you cannot stop the outflow of feelings on this issue," the group's president, Ibrahim Ali, told AFP.

"I think it may have been because of restricting Muslims from voicing their anger and fears that the church attacks took place. You must understand that if Muslims are unhappy, I'm sure there will be no peace in this country."

The High Court last week ruled in favour of the Catholic "Herald" newspaper which has used "Allah" as a translation for "God" in its Malay-language section. The government has said the word should be used only by Muslims.

The ruling was suspended on Wednesday pending an appeal, after the government argued the decision could cause racial conflict in Malaysia, where Malays make up 60 percent of the population.

The ground floor of the three-storey Metro Tabernacle church, part of the Assemblies of God movement, was destroyed in the attack.

"Witnesses saw four people smash the glass and throw incendiaries into the church building. They came on two motorcycles," church leader Peter Yeow told AFP, warning other churches to "double their guard" against any attacks.

There were no casualties in the attack on the church, which occupies the corner lot of a row of shop houses and which Yeow said draws some 1,500 people weekly.

Several hours later, the Catholic Church of the Assumption in Kuala Lumpur's southwest was targeted, parish priest Philip Muthu said.

"I was awoken by men riding on motorcycles who threw a kerosene bomb into the church compound," he told AFP.

"The bomb lit a fire and damaged part of the compound but it did not burn down the church building," Muthu added. "I don't know why they are doing this but this is worrying."

Authorities at the nearby Saint Francis Xavier church said they were taking security precautions after receiving warnings that a protest would be staged outside the building.

Anuar Harun, who headed the fire department operation at the Metro Tabernacle, said that forensic experts were working with the police and a canine unit to probe the blaze.

"We have asked all our fire stations to be on alert for such fires on religious premises," he told AFP.

Religion and language are sensitive issues in multiracial Malaysia, which experienced deadly race riots in 1969.

The row over the use of "Allah" is among a string of religious disputes that have erupted in recent years, straining relations between Malays and minority ethnic Chinese and Indians who fear the country is being "Islamised."

More than half of Malaysia's Catholics are from indigenous groups, most of whom live in the Borneo island states and who mainly speak Malay.

Mild protests after Friday prayers following church attacks


By Syed Jaymal Zahiid and Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Small groups of Muslims rallied after Friday prayers today to protest against Christians using the word "Allah" for God after a spate of attacks on churches that threatened to stoke racial and religious tensions.

The groups proceeded with small protests after Friday prayers at a number of major mosques in the city amid strong police presence following the arson attacks earlier today.

In Kampung Baru, where organisers had wanted to hold a major protest against the recent High Court ruling allowing the word "Allah" to be used by a Catholic weekly in its Bahasa Malaysia section, about 200 members of Muslim NGOs held a brief demonstration.

The protesters carried banners with the words "Don't challenge Islam", "Do not test our patience" and "Allah is only for us" while some group leaders gave emotional speeches.

Zaim Shari, a leader from the Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia, in his speech, said the ruling was akin to an "invasion" by foreign forces. "Our soil has been invaded, our faith threatened, we must not let this happen," shouted Zaim in the middle of the protest which was held immediately after Friday prayers.

Later at a press conference, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia leader Mohd Raimi Ab Rahim said the use of the world “Allah” by non-Muslims is a highly sensitive issue and many Muslims had grown uneasy.

Temperatures have soared and the country's security was tightened following the shocking arson attacks on three churches in the Klang Valley early this morning.

Leaders from both sides of the political divide have condemned the attacks, triggering a blame game with opposition leaders pointing fingers at their political rivals in Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) for nurturing the rising tension. BN leaders have vehemently denied any role in the fiasco.

Mohd Raimi and his peers from other Islamic NGOs, commenting on the attacks, said it was too early to conclude if the arson was done by Muslims.

"We do not condone the attacks but let the police do their investigation first before we come to any conclusion. We still do not know if the attacks were done by Muslims.

"There are also Christians who disagree with the usage of ‘Allah’," he said. "In the meantime, we will take the peaceful approach of engaging the Catholics to resolve this matter," he said.

Malaysian Muslims are divided over the issue, with some saying there was nothing wrong in allowing the church to use the word "Allah," as is the practice in other Muslim countries.

Even among the grassroots, Muslims are polarized in opposite groups. This was reflected at the protest in Kampung Baru when a group of Muslims had called on others to ignore the protest and blamed the group for the attacks on the churches.

"These people are fanatics and their teachings are wrong. Ignore them," said one unidentified man.

At the National Mosque, the Friday sermon today warned Muslims not let outsiders to insult and manipulate Islam and word “Allah”.

“We must see the true reasons behind the struggle by certain parties that want to use the sacred word of Allah to weaken the Islam.

“They are supported by concerning Muslims who are only liberals.

“Some of them would also like to use the Qur’an and word Allah to confuse Muslims and Islam,” he said.

He added that the word Allah is different from the Holy Trinity.

He also urged all Malaysian not bring up sensitive issues like the word “Allah.”

“They only want to weaken and taint Islam morality and way of life,” he said.

While the Imam was giving his fiery sermon, 50 uniformed police officers were waiting at mosque’s main compound.

Several banners were hanged around the mosques.

“Don’t insult Islam,” “We promise to defend Islam and Malay King,” and “Don’t sell out Islam because of politics,” were written on the banners.

After the prayers, a crowd of 300, mostly Perkasa members, gathered at the front entrance while 30 lined up at the balcony.

However people only walked pass them when leaving the mosque while bystanders stood around.

The crowd then began exclaiming “Allah is great” while raising their fists.

Selangor Perkasa chief Amran Azhar Abdul Hanafi began speaking through the speakerphone at the mosque balcony surrounded by his supporters.

“Today we stand as Muslims and Malays for Islam for the first time. Let this be a warning to them not to insult Islam because Allah is from Muslims and we will fight till the end.

“We warn them not to insult Islam because Allah is Muslims and we will fight till the end!” he said.

The crowd began repeating “Allah is great” and “We will die as Muslims.”

However he stressed that they are peace-loving Muslims and are represented several Islamic NGOs.

“We do not burn churches. This is a peaceful demonstration to show that we are peaceful Muslims.

“But do not test us because we will unite and fight till the end,” he said.

The speaker then attempted to cry and claimed that Muslims are scared that Islam is in jeopardy.

“We should not migrate because this is our land! Islam is the constitutional religion!

“They cannot use the word ‘Allah’ because Islam is protected by constitution as the country’s official religion,” he said.

Amran then pledged to the Masjid Negara with the crowd repeating after him.

“We call on the Catholics to use the word Tuhan for their God.

“We ask them to bring any matters related to Islam to the Syariah court and not the civil court.

“We also urge the council of rulers to be proactive in matters relating to Islam,” he said.

The crowd began shouting “Allah is great” again and soon left without further ado.

The police did not have to move in as the leaders of the various NGOs urged them to leave.

Everybody, please leave. Even though you all are going to different places, we are all leaving with one heart,” he said.


Main Entry: lev·i·ty
Pronunciation: \ˈle-və-tē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin levitat-, levitas, from levis light in weight — more at light
Date: 1564
1 : excessive or unseemly frivolity
2 : lack of steadiness : changeableness


  • Un retard est le fait d'arriver, de se produire plus tard que prévu, son antonyme est . Le terme est notamment utilisé : *En médecine : **Retard mental **Retard de croissance intra-utérin **Retard de croissance staturo-pondérale *En économie : Retard économique *En éducation : Retard ...é
  • Remis à un autre temps; Se dit du mouvement, lorsque l’action continue de la force ou des forces qui sollicitent le mobile tend à le ralentir
  • retarder - Différer; Empêcher d’aller, de partir, d’avancer, être cause qu’une chose vienne à être différée


Delayed; or Mentally Delayed

Used in French transport terminals to indicate your expected conveyance is DELAYED.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Record-breaking lows in forecast this week

Record-breaking lows in forecast this week

Published January 7, 2010

The mercury plummeted Wednesday night, and forecasters said residents in New Braunfels could expect similarly frigid temperatures for the next few days.

The temperature Wednesday fell into the 30s, and the National Weather Service is expecting a high of 38 degrees today in New Braunfels with overnight lows to approach 20 degrees.

“There’s definitely a chance that New Braunfels could see record-breaking lows,” said NWS forecaster Chris Morris.

The chilly weather is expected to get colder Friday, with a high of 36 and a low of 18 degrees — just four degrees above of the area’s record for that date, which was set in 1886.

Some rain is expected throughout the next few days, Morris said, with a slight chance of the city seeing a mix of sleet and rain.

Morris said the temperature should improve slightly by Saturday, getting back into the 40s, but with lows still expected to dip into the teens.

“This is extremely cold weather for this area, and it’s something people need to take seriously,” he said.

National Weather Service forecasters are urging people to take precautions, covering plants, making sure all pets are protected, disconnecting and draining outdoor hoses and covering outdoor faucets. People are also urged to stay indoors, dress in layers and avoid over-exertion.

Cold temperatures are sweeping across the state this week, with the NWS predicting light snow and freezing drizzle to fall in the panhandle and parts of northeast Texas, and temperatures in the 40s as far south as Del Rio and the Gulf Coast.


Phalanx Block 1 during a Pre-Aimed Calibration (PAC) test-fire on 20 February 2003 aboard USS Carl Vinson CVN-70
US Navy Photograph No. 030220-N-9273C-027


by Ann Coulter
January 6, 2010

Someone mentioned Christianity on television recently and liberals reacted with their usual howls of rage and blinking incomprehension.

On a Fox News panel discussing Tiger Woods, Brit Hume said, perfectly accurately:

"The extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Hume's words, being 100 percent factually correct, sent liberals into a tizzy of sputtering rage, once again illustrating liberals' copious ignorance of Christianity. (Also illustrating the words of the Bible: "How is it you do not understand me when I speak? It is because you cannot bear to listen to my words." John 8:43.)

In The Washington Post, Tom Shales demanded that Hume apologize, saying he had "dissed about half a billion Buddhists on the planet."

Is Buddhism about forgiveness? Because, if so, Buddhists had better start demanding corrections from every book, magazine article and blog posting ever written on the subject, which claims Buddhists don't believe in God, but try to become their own gods.

I can't imagine that anyone thinks Tiger's problem was that he didn't sufficiently think of himself as a god, especially after that final putt in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last year.

In light of Shales' warning Hume about "what people are saying" about him, I hope Hume's a Christian, but that's not apparent from his inarguable description of Christianity. Of course, given the reaction to his remarks, apparently one has to be a regular New Testament scholar to have so much as a passing familiarity with the basic concept of Christianity.

On MSNBC, David Shuster invoked the "separation of church and television" (a phrase that also doesn't appear in the Constitution), bitterly complaining that Hume had brought up Christianity "out-of-the-blue" on "a political talk show."

Why on earth would Hume mention religion while discussing a public figure who had fallen from grace and was in need of redemption and forgiveness? Boy, talk about coming out of left field!

What religion -- what topic -- induces this sort of babbling idiocy? (If liberals really want to keep people from hearing about God, they should give Him his own show on MSNBC.)

Most perplexing was columnist Dan Savage's indignant accusation that Hume was claiming that Christianity "offers the best deal -- it gives you the get-out-of-adultery-free card that other religions just can't."

In fact, that's exactly what Christianity does. It's the best deal in the universe. (I know it seems strange that a self-described atheist and "radical sex advice columnist faggot" like Savage would miss the central point of Christianity, but there it is.)

God sent his only son to get the crap beaten out of him, die for our sins and rise from the dead. If you believe that, you're in. Your sins are washed away from you -- sins even worse than adultery! -- because of the cross.

"He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:14.

Surely you remember the cross, liberals -- the symbol banned by ACLU lawsuits from public property throughout the land?

Christianity is simultaneously the easiest religion in the world and the hardest religion in the world.

In the no-frills, economy-class version, you don't need a church, a teacher, candles, incense, special food or clothing; you don't need to pass a test or prove yourself in any way. All you'll need is a Bible (in order to grasp the amazing deal you're getting) and probably a water baptism, though even that's disputed.

You can be washing the dishes or walking your dog or just sitting there minding your business hating Susan Sarandon and accept that God sent his only son to die for your sins and rise from the dead ... and you're in!

"Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9.

If you do that, every rotten, sinful thing you've ever done is gone from you. You're every bit as much a Christian as the pope or Billy Graham.

No fine print, no "your mileage may vary," no blackout dates. God ought to do a TV spot: "I'm God Almighty, and if you can find a better deal than the one I'm offering, take it."

The Gospel makes this point approximately 1,000 times. Here are a few examples at random:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23.

In a boiling rage, liberals constantly accuse Christians of being "judgmental." No, we're relieved.

Christianity is also the hardest religion in the world because, if you believe Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead, you have no choice but to give your life entirely over to Him. No more sexual promiscuity, no lying, no cheating, no stealing, no killing inconvenient old people or unborn babies -- no doing what all the other kids do.

And no more caring what the world thinks of you -- because, as Jesus warned in a prophecy constantly fulfilled by liberals: The world will hate you.

With Christianity, your sins are forgiven, the slate is wiped clean and your eternal life is guaranteed through nothing you did yourself, even though you don't deserve it. It's the best deal in the universe.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Led Zeppelin — Immigrant Song lyrics

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

America: "Chili Soup"...but No Piazza

My friend Claudia (a favorite local Roman guide among our tour groups) is spending a month in Seattle. She’s enjoying an extensive — and romantic — private tour with one of our ace American guides. They came over to our house for dinner, and I enjoyed quizzing her on culture shock an Italian might experience in the USA.

Claudia’s thoughts reminded me that a good guide is a keen observer of cultures. While she enjoys America immensely, she does have a few challenges here. Here’s a review of Claudia’s comments (the best I can recall them) as she settled into American cultural soil this month:

“In America, the cityscape leaves me feeling isolated. Buildings of steel and cement have no stories to tell. When alone in a city with a long history (such as Rome), your imagination keeps you company.”

“We Italians relate to urban space. American cities seem to be grid after grid...without public squares. Piazzas are fundamental to Italian life. At the piazza, you can imagine life in the past. Yes, with piazzas filled with people, I feel connected...not lonely. Sure, you have lots of people — but they are always going someplace.” (Her boyfriend replied, “Yes, in America, people work.”)

Claudia is loving the food here. Her favorites include the BLT sandwich and “chili soup.” While we lack people-filled piazzas, Claudia is charmed by our breakfast culture and that we “meet for breakfast.” You would never see families “going out for breakfast” in Italy. And she had never encountered a waffle.

After eating Italian in Seattle, it seems clear to Claudia that the typical American notion of “Italian food” is heavily influenced by peasant village Sicilian food (tomato sauce, big meatballs, and spumoni ice cream). It was the poor people who left Italy in droves for America, and they took with them not Italy’s high cuisine, but their peasant cuisine.

After plenty of eating out in Seattle, Claudia and her boyfriend developed a game. She claims that the average number of ingredients in an American restaurant salad or pasta is 8 or 10, while in Italy the average salad or pasta has only 4 or 5 ingredients. And she can’t understand our heavily flavored dressings. “If your lettuce and tomato are good, why cover it up with a heavy dressing? We use only oil and vinegar.” When I tried to defend the fancy dishes as complex, she said, “Perhaps 'jumbled' is a better word.”

Claudia’s favorite souvenir so far: a five-pound block of cheddar cheese from Costco. A favorite experience: going to a bingo parlor and learning to use a dauber. A big surprise: Going to an American football game and finding that they stop play to make time for TV commercials. “That would be unthinkable in Europe.” Politically these days, Italy is cynical and fatalistic. (They are preparing to see Silvio Berlusconi — an openly corrupt right-winger who makes GWB seem meek and mild — return to power.) Just waiting in line to get into an Obama rally, Claudia felt America was a country awakening. Seeing families together at a political rally astounded her, as she’d never see that in Italy. Claudia’s father cannot understand the appeal of a guy he calls “Alabama” — a man with charisma and vision, but little experience.

To Claudia, her father is emblematic of Italy’s political doldrums: “In Italy, there’s no renewal. We have the same old faces, over and over again. So it doesn’t surprise me that Berlusconi is back.”



Underreported Stories of 2009

Underreported Stories of 2009
by Michelle Malkin
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Are you concerned about new terror threats in the wake of the Christmas attempted attack?
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Most news outlets end the year with extensive reviews of their top headlines and scoops. But the stories they didn't cover deserve much greater attention. Journalistic sins of omission are often far more damning and more telling than sins of commission.

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

Let's start with President Obama's ongoing radical czar problem. Until Bay Area Marxist agitator-turned-green-jobs-czar Van Jones resigned in September, most Americans hadn't heard of him. Mainstream newspaper readers and network news viewers were left in the dark about his cop-killer-supporting activism, his endorsement of nutball Sept. 11 conspiracies and his advocacy of using capitalism-sabotaging environmental policies as "the engine for transforming the whole society."

Fox News, talk radio and conservative blogs pounded Jones' embarrassing public record for months until the White House and its press corps enablers were forced to acknowledge the firestorm. Only after Obama threw Jones under the bus did New York Times editor Jill Abramson confess that the Fishwrap of Record suffered from "insufficient in-tuned-ness." She promised better coverage of Obama scandals.

So, what's she waiting for, pray tell?

Obama has appointed unaccountable czars by the mile whose statements and policies have yet to hit national media front pages. The "safe schools czar," Kevin Jennings, is a far-left activist whose organization, GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) is infamous among parents' groups for promoting explicit, outrageously age-inappropriate sexual lessons in the classroom. GLSEN's recommended reading for teens includes pamphlets promoting leather bars and public sex in parks and lurid books describing incest, rape, adult-child fantasies and essay collections in which one author recounted playing "sex therapist" at the age of 6 with a 5-year-old friend, and exploring "our sexuality to its fullest."

GLSEN's corporate sponsors include Eastman Kodak, Ernst & Young, PepsiCo and Time Warner. Eastman Kodak defended its sponsorship as an expression of its commitment to "diversity." Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also said he stood by Jennings earlier this year, before this material was exposed in-depth on Fox News, talk radio and conservative blogs. Where are the vaunted watchdogs of the Fourth Estate to follow up now?

Liberal journalists were also AWOL on the Obama White House's U.S. attorney nomination debacle in Denver. What, you hadn't heard of it? You're not alone. Nominee Stephanie Villafuerte withdrew earlier this month after Colorado Republicans, immigration enforcement activists, Denver Post investigative reporter Karen Crummy and Denver talk show host Peter Boyles raised bright red flags about the culture of corruption in her office.

Villafuerte is entangled in the railroading of Denver Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Cory Voorhis -- whom federal prosecutors tried to punish after he blew the whistle on sweetheart deals for criminal illegal aliens during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign. A jury acquitted Voorhis of all federal charges. He's trying to get his job back. At least one of his supervisors has admitted lying.

Villafuerte served on then-Democrat gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter's campaign team while on leave from the Denver District Attorney's office, and from all Denver Post news accounts was deeply involved in the witch hunt against Voorhis.

Villafuerte and the Justice Department evaded critics as long as they could, but when U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, pressed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for answers on Villafuerte's meddling, the stonewall crumbled. There's still a raft of unanswered questions about the cover-up and the feds' dangerously lax policies toward criminal illegal aliens.

Speaking of the corrupted DOJ, where's the heat on crime-coddling Attorney General Eric Holder for his continued obstructionism in the New Black Panther Party Election Day voter intimidation case? In a highly unprecedented move, Holder and his political appointees dropped default judgments against the NBPP's billy-club-wielding thugs who threatened white poll workers and voters in Philadelphia last November.

The nonpartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has demanded answers and issued subpoenas to find out why the cases were abandoned after the George W. Bush administration had won them. The DOJ has ordered its employees not to comply or cooperate. And over the holidays, the DOJ veteran voting rights section chief who originally handled the case was unceremoniously evicted from the Washington, D.C., office and moved to South Carolina.

One of the NBPP bullies was a local Democratic official. Another of the defendants, NBPP head Malik Shabazz, has decried the probe as a racist "political witch hunt" against Holder.

Grievance hustlers are counting on liberal journalists to give them cover. A nation of cowards, indeed.


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