Twain War PrayerThis short story by Mark Twain was published posthumously in 1923.

Planned ParenthoodPlanned Parenthood’s annual report for fiscal 2008-09 shows that the nation’s premier abortion provider received a banner $363.2 million in government funding through grants and contracts over its latest reporting period, a $13.6 million increase over the group’s federal take in fiscal 2007-08.

AflaqThough the majority of Americans have never heard of him, one hundred years ago a key figure in Islamic socialism was born in Damascus — most scholars believe a few days after Christmas. His name is Michael Aflaq (photo at left). Born of Orthodox Christian parents, Aflaq received a proper middle class education in Syria before studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. What did he study? That strange hybrid pseudo-science so common then as today — “political economy,” the salient parts of which were socialism and Arab nationalism.

December 27 marks the birthday of the Father of Celestial Mechanics, Johannes Kepler. Born in 1571, he went on to become one of the most important scientists in the field of astronomy as the first person to explain the laws of planetary motion. He also made important advances in the fields of optics, geometry and calculus. Kepler is credited with explaining how the moon influences the tides and with determining the exact year of Christ's birth.

pregnantThe University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics (UWHC) confirmed that it is giving up its plans to create a clinic in Madison that would provide late-term abortions. In early 2009 the board of UWHC had approved a plan to build a facility that would provide abortions to women in their second trimester of pregnancy (19 to 22 weeks), with projections for around 125 abortions annually.