Netanyahu vows to banish ‘darkness’ of Iran nuclear program

Melding the Hanukkah holiday and foreign affairs, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu solemnly vowed to serve as a “light unto the nations” and act against Iran’s nuclear program should diplomacy fail Thursday night.

Speaking at the Western Wall for a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony, Netanyahu compared Iran’s nuclear program to a darkness that would be forced out by Israel, referencing a popular children’s song for the holiday.

“We came to drive out the darkness, and the largest darkness that threatens the world today is a nuclear Iran,” he said. “We are bound to do all we can to prevent this darkness. If possible we will do this diplomatically, if not we will act as ‘a light unto the nations’.”
Jerusalem has denounced a deal signed Sunday between Iran and six world powers that eases sanctions in return for limits on uranium enrichment and a more intrusive inspections regime.
Earlier Thursday, Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli National Security Council took to the pages of The New York Times to rail against the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, calling the accord a diplomatic failure that missed the mark in diverting Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.
“The agreement represents a failure, not a triumph, of diplomacy,” Amidror wrote.
Netanyahu has been castigated at home and abroad for taking a harsh stand against the US and Europe for signing the deal, with critics claiming he is deepening Israel’s isolation while strengthening the Iranian regime.
The prime minister, however, said he had “not given in to delusions” that Iran would pull back its nuclear program, comparing the nuclear deal to a failed diplomatic initiative meant to stymie North Korea’s nuclear program.
“I believe in speaking the truth, and standing for important principles in order to ensure peace in the world and our security, and of course our peace,” he said. “We will continue to act in this spirit.”
Peres: Iranians and Israelis not enemies

The prime minister added that Jerusalem was in talks with the US and P5+1 to ensure that a final deal “brings a final result of the dismantling of Iran’s ability for a military nuclear program.”

Speaking on a state visit to Mexico City, President Shimon Peres struck a more conciliatory tone, saying Israel preferred diplomacy and that Iran and Israel were not enemies.
He called on Tehran to stop sponsoring terror, end its nuclear program and halt development of long-range missiles.
“There are countries that try to take advantage of this transition [in the Middle East] and attempt to overpower other countries and stop their march to the new age,” Peres said. “They do it by building nuclear threats, centers of terror, tongues of hatred. Iran has signed an interim agreement with the P5+1. Success or failure of the deal will be judged by results, not by words.
“As far as Israel is concerned, we do not consider the Iranian people our enemies,” he stressed. “We do not share a border. We do share a common history. It demonstrates that we can be friendly. There is an opportunity to solve this issue diplomatically. It is in your hands. Reject terrorism. Stop the nuclear program. Stop the development of long-range missiles,” he continued.
“Israel like the rest of the international community prefers a diplomatic solution. But the international community will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. No one threatens Iran. When Iran will cease to threaten others, it will liberate itself from the burden which it has brought upon itself. I truly hope that this deal will free the Iranian people from being a source of menace and will turn it into a contributing nation for peace. Only time will tell,” he said, sounding rather more optimistic than Netanyahu over the deal.
“Israel extends its hand in peace to all its neighbors. But we have learned from bitter experience to beware of tyrants. Tyranny has no message for the future. It offers dark nights instead of enlightened days.   The real promise of progress lies in the employment of science and technology by a society which seeks justice and peace,” said Peres.

Comet ISON, if it survives trip around the sun, could bring spectacular sky show

By Meeri Kim

As Comet ISON hurtles toward the sun, its million-year-long journey through our solar system may end with its violent death — or a spectacular sky show.

On Thanksgiving, when the comet rounds the sun, professional and amateur astronomers alike will await ISON’s fate with bated breath. Its tail may get ripped off by a cloud of solar particles, or the sun’s brutal radiation and pressure may demolish it completely.

But if ISON makes it out alive, stargazers say, it could provide a breathtaking show visible to the naked eye and possibly live up to the name “Comet of the Century,” as some astronomers have dubbed it.

“On Friday, we’ll all be delighted to see its beautiful face as it then comes around the sun,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division. “Then between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it will fly over the North Pole — a very nice holiday comet.”

ISON is a lone traveler originating from a giant population of comets at the very edge of the solar system.

“ISON is very special,” Green said. “What makes it different is where it comes from — the further reaches of the sun’s gravity.”

The distance from the Earth to the sun is an AU, or astronomical unit; Pluto is 40 AU from the sun. Comet ISON began its journey 100,000 AU away from us.

It comes from a place called the Oort cloud, a loose nebulous sphere containing billions of icy, rocky objects. Detected comets from the Oort cloud are rare, probably only a handful per century, Green said.

For all of human history — at least a million years, according to NASA — this comet has been heading toward the sun. On Thanksgiving, ISON will reach perihelion, or the point in orbit where it is closest to the sun. Green calls the comet a “sungrazer” since it will come within a hair of the sun, swing around it and slingshot back outward.

But experts aren’t sure it will come out the other side intact. “Comets tend to be delicate, so it may actually break up,” said Adam Block of the University of Arizona’s Mount Lemmon Sky­Center.

Comets are mostly made of ice, with some dust and soil and rocks mixed in, and so any number of destructive things could happen to ISON. First, intense solar radiation will boil the water in the comet as it gets closer to the sun. It could face total disintegration, or survive initially and break apart later. Or the sun could send out an unfortunate burst of solar material called a coronal mass ejection that would pull off the comet’s tail.

Both space-based observatories and ground-based solar telescopes will watch the comet closely, detecting how the shape and composition of the comet evolve in real time.

“We can watch the whole thing unfold,” said Block, who hopes it will come back around even brighter and with a big tail.

If ISON survives the close shave, the comet will likely look its best for the first weeks of December as it passes close to Earth.

As it careens along, ISON will be spraying out dust, water and carbon dioxide from the faraway parts of the solar system into our neighborhood — all of which will reflect sunlight. There are no worries about a collision with Earth, although roughly 40 percent of our water has come from space bombardments like comets and asteroids, said Green.

If the comet’s ice does dissipate, the remaining rocky material could just continue to orbit the sun. For instance, the famous Leonid meteor shower that just peaked last week are the leftovers of an old comet.

ISON, detected in September 2012, was named for the international collaboration of scientists working on the project, the International Scientific Optical Network.

The original excitement came from when it was further than the orbit of Jupiter, shining brightly, and many comet scientists thought it would be massive.

“It started out being very promising, but we now know from observation that it’s probably fairly small,” Green said, estimating a size of 2 kilometers — about the distance from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.

If you’re an early riser, you may be able to catch a glimpse now in the twilight before dawn, near the planet Mercury. But as it ventures closer to the sun, ISON will become increasingly harder to see. Block, an avid astrophotographer, suggests that comet-hunters wait until after perihelion.

If the comet survives, viewers should be able to see it during the first or second week of December, either with the naked eye or using binoculars. To take a photo, Block said a simple digital camera on a tripod should do the trick, with an exposure time of 10 to 30 seconds.

Before dawn, look for a prominent object with a bright tail pointing upward, advises Damian Peach, a British astrophotographer who has managed to capture the fleeting comet with stunning detail.

“Look to the southeast around 30 minutes before sunrise, and you may be able to see the comet with the unaided eye,” Peach said in an e-mail.

Kim is a freelance science journalist based in Philadelphia.

George W. Bush's artwork up for sale


This Christmas, for $29.98, you can trim your tree with some of former President George W. Bush’s artwork.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center is selling an ornament that features 43’s own painting of a cardinal perched on a branch.
Bush painted the bird as a gift for former Ambassador Warren Tichenor, and his wife decided it looked Christmas-y.
“Laura liked the bright red on the cardinal and the green of the foliage and chose my painting, for which I am grateful, for the Christmas card and the ornament,” the former president says ina video posted online. “I’m flattered. I hope my painting meets expectations.”
Earlier this week, Bush chatted about his painting hobby on “The Tonight Show.”
“I do take painting seriously,” he said. “It’s changed my life.”
Bush said he takes lessons once a week and once told his teacher, “There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find it."

Marines celebrate 238th birthday

The Marines are celebrating their 238th birthday Sunday. To mark the occasion, Commandant of the Marine Corps, released a birthday message:
For 238 years, The United States Marine Corps has proudly served our great Nation with unfailing valor – bolstered by the enduring fortitude of our fellow Marines, our families, and our friends. This is why each year on November 10th, Marines from all generations gather together, in groups large and small, to celebrate the birthday of our Corps and to reflect on the proud legacy and warrior ethos we share. This is what unites us as Marines. From our first battle at New Providence to today in Afghanistan, Marines have always shown that they were made of tougher stuff – that when the enemy’s fire poured in from all angles, and the situation was grim, Marines unequivocally knew that their fellow Marines would stay behind their guns, fight courageously, and drive the enemy from the battlefield. We have always known hardship, fatigue, and pain…but we have never known what it is to lose a battle!
Marine of generations past built our reputation as the most disciplined and honorable warriors to ever set foot on a battlefield, and we have triumphed in every battle because our Corps has always focused on iron discipline and combat excellence. This is who we are…this is what we do! It matters not whether you carried an M-1, and M-14, or an M-16. It matters not whether you fought on a lonely island in the Pacific, assaulted a citadel in the jungle, or marched up to Baghdad. It matters not whether you are a grunt, a pilot or a loggie. What matters most is that, when the chips were down and things got tough, your fellow Marines could count on you to stand and fight…and fight we did!
This year, we celebrate the anniversary of several epic battles in our celebrated history: the 70th anniversary fo the 2nd Marine Division landing on Tarawa, the 45th anniversary of the Battle of Hue City, and the 10th anniversary of the “March Up” to Baghdad. Marines who fought in these legendary battles each made their mark upon the history of our Corps. They have passed a rich and illustrious legacy on to us – a much heralded reputation. It is ours to jealously guard, and it is up to us to make our own marks and thus proudly pass it on to the generations of Marines who will follow.
Sergeant Major Michael Barrett joins me in congratulating each of you. Because of you, your selfless service, and your many sacrifices, our Corps remains strong and ready to respond to any crisis. Throughout history, Marines have faced tough times and there will be tough times ahead, but there is no challenge we cannot overcome if we remain honorable and always faithful to our Nation, our Constitution and each other. Happy Birthday, Marines!
Semper Fidelis
James F. Amos
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps

Read more: http://fox59.com/2013/11/10/marines-celebrate-238th-birthday/#ixzz2kHiZ72PU

Sarah Palin tells Iowa conservatives it's time 'to stiffen our backs'

By Kay Henderson | Reuters

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who rallied members of the Tea Party in their failed effort to defund Obamacare, lashed out on Saturday against members of the Republican Party who agreed to end the government shutdown.
The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee's comments during a speech in Des Moines come at a time of division within the party over the strategy conservative members of Congress adopted in forcing a 16-day shutdown of the federal government last month.
Polls have shown voters blamed Republicans for the shutdown.
Palin, who was speaking to hundreds of attendees at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's annual fall banquet, was joined by Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah. Lee, along with fellow Tea Party movement star Senator Ted Cruz, was instrumental in the ill-fated attempt to defund Obamacare, the popular name for the healthcare reform law championed by President Barack Obama.
Palin told the Christian conservatives in attendance it was time to "stiffen our spines" for the 2014 elections.
"I want to encourage you to make your voice heard, to hold politicians accountable," Palin said.
The bulk of Palin's speech was focused on the nation's current political climate. She drew thunderous applause with her sharp attack on Republicans in Congress who voted in October to raise the nation's debt ceiling and reopen the government.
"They promised that they would do everything in their power to fight against socialized medicine, against Obamacare, but when it came time to stand and defund it, they waved the white flag of surrender and they threw under the bus the good guys who did stand up and fight for us," Palin said.
Palin named Lee and Cruz as leaders in that fight. Last month, Cruz also made a stop in Iowa, a key state in presidential campaigns because the Iowa caucuses are the first electoral event in the nominating process.
In 2010 Lee defeated three-term Republican Senator Bob Bennett in a primary on his way to winning the Senate seat.
In his speech on Saturday, he called on Republicans to offer up "market-based alternatives" that could replace Obamacare if the Republicans hope to have success at the polls in 2014.
"Frustration is not a platform. Anger is not an agenda and outrage, as a habit, is not even conservative," Lee said.
(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis)

Chris Christie: I'm a Conservative, Not a Moderate


New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a Republican, is on his way to winning big in his bid for reelection Tuesday, and there's already talk he may be on his way to running for president in three years.Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper, Christie argued he's not a moderate as he's sometimes portrayed.
"I'm a conservative," Christie told Tapper. "I've governed as a conservative in this state, and I think that's led to some people disagreeing with me in our state, because it's generally a left-of-center, blue state."
The governor added, "The difference has been is I haven't tried to hide it, or mask it as something different.