Filed under: History, Religion, Science/Technology | Tags: Palimpsests, The Sinai Desert, The World's Oldest Library
A team of scientists with cutting edge technology has traveled from Washington to an isolated, fortress-like monastery in the middle of the Sinai Desert that is the home of the oldest continuously operating library on the planet.
They are there to turn their high definition cameras on the monastery’s rare and priceless ancient manuscripts. The ancient animal-skin parchments have been scraped so the earlier texts can be erased and new texts can be written on the old skin. Such erased texts are known as palimpsests. I had seen the word before, but never known the meaning.
In 1999 a policy director from the National Reconnaissance Office which designs spy satellites and imaging systems read about a project at the Walters Art Museum. An anonymous bidder had paid $2 million at auction for a prayer book handwritten in Europe in 1229. The value came from what the prayers had overwritten: 10th century copies of key works by the Greek mathematician Archimedes. They knew there was a hidden text, but they couldn’t read much of it. It has been a ten year project of photographing pages with special lights and filters, and computerized enhancement to discover the lost words.
The monastery has existed in a valley at the base of Mount Horeb since at least the 4th century. In the 6th century, the Emperor Justinian I called for the construction of a monastery at the site of what is to believed to be the biblical Mount Sinai, where the burning bush from which God spoke to Moses rested. The monks preserve their ancient traditions, they have just added some iPads and PowerBooks.
The monastery holds at least 130 palimpsests, all from medieval times. The main enemies to document preservation are mold and insects, but humidity in the desert is so low neither is an issue. There are months or even years between rainstorms, and no rats to chew pages. The library’s isolation has added to the preservation of the documents.
This is a fascinating story of bringing together the newest technology and the oldest written words. You can find the whole article here in The Washington Post.
Filed under: Freedom, Health Care, Law, Politics, Religion, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Freedom of Religion, The Catholic Church, The U.S. Constitution.
There are about 40-thousand Catholic priests in the US and about 220,000 parishes serving about 70+ million Catholics, over 20% of the US population. — If not religious, skip to about 1:25 minutes.
Fr. Andrew was invited to lead the opening prayer at the 2012 Colorado Republican State Assembly and Convention in the Magness Arena at the University of Denver. The moral challenges facing our country are not caused by political affiliation, but rather by attacks on religious freedom. He invites all people of conscience to uphold religious freedom.
This post is borrowed shamelessly from Bruce Kessler at Maggie’s Farm.
This one is from the Catholic Church.
Filed under: Politics, Religion, Environment, Global Warming, Capitalism, Junk Science, United Nations | Tags: World Wildlife Fund, Conference on Sustainable Development, Hold Back Human Progress
Are you familiar with the World Wildlife Fund? Huge, wealthy worldwide organization, preserving wildlife, caring for the environment, doing good environmental works. If you visit their website and look at their board of directors, it’s an impressive list of the prominent and very well-to-do.
The other face of the World Wildlife Fund is as an extremist green campaigning group. In their just-issued Living Planet Report for 2012, they state that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world’s wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race’s energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now.
The hard greens demand that the enormous numbers of wind farms, tidal barriers and solar arrays required under their plans should be built while at the same time severely rationing supplies of concrete, steel, copper and glass. The document is endorsed by the European Space Agency (ESA) an organization which would cease to exist were the document’s recommendations to be fully carried out. They’re important. Nobody said they had to make sense.
Ben Pile, the convenor of the Oxford Salon, said simply: “The real enemy is humanity itself.”
At Rio+20 next month, the world’s elites will meet in Brazil with the aim of holding back human progress.
Forty years ago, two ideas about humanity’s relationship with the natural world caught the imagination of the richest and most influential people. The first was that the demands of a growing population were taking more from the planet than could be replaced by natural processes. The second, related idea was that there exist natural ‘limits to growth’. These two reinventions of Malthusianism became the basis of a new form of global politics, which has sought to contain human industrial and economic development ever since.
Organizations like the WWF draw their supporters for emotional reasons. Love of baby animals, love of large and noble species like African elephants, pandas, rhinoceros, giraffes; beautiful photography can be very moving.
Fears of out-of-control population growth led Malthus and then Paul Erlich, author of the 1968 prophecy The Population Bomb to fear that we would run out of food, and humanity would starve. Fortunately Norman Borlaug came along with the Green Revolution, and put that worry aside.
The Club of Rome, a talk-shop for diplomats, noted politicians and researchers fostered the development of all sorts of organizations and conferences and commissions designed to save the world. An entire ecosystem of global, national, governmental and non-governmental organizations has emerged to advocate closer integration of human productive life with environmental care and to observe “the limits to growth.” Most notable is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which seeks a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Well, all the predictions of doom didn’t happen. Average life-expectancy has increased by 10 years, the number of infants dying before the age of five has fallen from 134 per thousand to 58 per thousand. Human population has nearly doubled, and we are healthier, wealthier (even in spite of the recent downturns) and global GDP has risen threefold. We’ve learned to grow more food on less land, cured diseases, and made amazing progress, but those who joined the church of the doomed have established “sustainable development’ as an imperative of global politics. The first ‘Earth Summit’ was held in Rio leading to Agenda 21 and ‘the blueprint for a sustainable planet.’
If you are perpetually worried about very big things, with other, um, planetary leaders, you are moving in rarefied circles.The conferences are held in the world’s finest resorts, the finest people attend, the finest food and drink is served, and you discuss the finest subjects. It seems quite proper to be discussing surrendering national autonomy, solving the problem of world poverty, solving the problems on inequality.
What if you think we do pretty well with progress, that an emphasis on sustainability is not particularly useful, and that in general the planet is in pretty good shape? Doesn’t matter. These NGOs, world leaders, celebrities, and environmentalists have moved to a higher level where no such dissent is allowed. These meetings are already far beyond democratic control. The slogan is “global problems need global solutions.”
It is simply another political drive for power, this time on running the world. The participants, drunk on the association with the most important people and the most important ideas, think big thoughts. Easy. All the real dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and the real enemy is humanity itself.
Filed under: Education, Media Bias, News, Politics, Progressivism, Religion | Tags: Bigots, Bullies, Dan Savage, Liberal lies, NSPA, Obama
This is Dan Savage. Dan Savage makes me ashamed to be gay. Dan Savage is a vile [warning: when I say vile, I mean it], loathsome human being, far more hateful than any Christian I’ve ever known, and I know many.
Here, he proves that he does not seek to END bullying, but seeks TO bully. He also proves that he has no clue what the meaning of the word tolerance is, not to mention the words irony and hypocrisy.
He uses his position of power and authority over these high school kids, as an invited speaker with a stage, a microphone, and a very real “bully pulpit,” to bully those in the audience who dare to be Christian. He willfully misrepresents what the Bible says, knowingly lies about what Christians believe, dishonestly berates their religion (I know he knows better because I’ve seen and heard Christians explain to him exactly how he misrepresents their religion and beliefs, but instead of correcting his arguments, he keeps right on repeating what he knows to be lies.)
I am SO PROUD of all the kids, of every race & creed who got up and walked out on his bigoted, hateful tirade. I’m only sorry that the camera was zoomed in on Savage so that only one aisle could be seen. There were at least three aisles — probably 5 if you count the outsides, and I’m sure just as many kids were leaving via those aisles as well.
Tolerance does not mean that you must agree with people, or approve of what they do — that is the totalitarian leftist definition: “give us more money & control or you are a ‘H8er’.” If everyone agreed with one another, there’d be no need for tolerance. Tolerance means living in peace with people with whom you disagree — even strongly. Something Savage has never shown any evidence of doing. Something Christians do every day.
Tolerance is what these Christian kids did! (assuming they were all Christian, which may not be the case) – coming to see him speak knowing who he was, knowing he was gay, knowing that he was a hateful, anti-Christian, anti-religious bigot.
And when he started berating them from his bully pulpit, they didn’t protest, they didn’t throw things at him and try to shout him down — as so-called “progressives” regularly do to conservative speakers. Quite the contrary, they let him speak, and quietly left, refusing to sit there and be bullied.
And when these throngs of kids left, what did this “progressive, enlightened, tolerant” man do? He pretended HE is the victim and called these high school kids (guilty of nothing) “pansy ass” (a little self-loathing, internal homophobia there Dan?) for leaving.
The most courageous people in that auditorium were those who stood up and left, in front of an auditorium full of their peers.
Dan was the least courageous. Dan was and is a coward. Bullying Christian kids, knowing full well that the very ‘worst’ thing they would do is possibly pray for him.
He has the GALL to accuse Christianity of teaching that women should be stoned (which shows he doesn’t understand a thing about Christianity Hey Dan! New Testament, Google it!) and to intimate that Republicans might want to do that much or more, cus ‘who knows where they’re going” as he put it — at the very same time his “progressive” president is sending millions to Palestinians who actually DO kill people for being gay.
He picks on high school kids whom he knows will do nothing, but doesn’t have the balls to criticize the only religion on Earth that actually DOES stone, hang and burn gays to death in the name of their religion. You, Dan, are the “pansy ass”. The kids who laughed & applauded you at least have the excuse of being young and ignorant.
And lastly, I fervently hope it was more than just Christians who left!
I hope students of other faiths, and no faith at all, got up and left too. Most of all, I hope at least a few of those who left were gay kids who recognized the glaring hypocrisy of this “man” spewing hate and lies in the name of tolerance.
They were RIGHT to leave. Dan Savage is the bully. Dan Savage is the bigot.
[PS: He is supported & endorsed by Barack Obama & Democrats.]
Filed under: History, News, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Religion | Tags: Christianity, Easter, Faith, Holidays, Jesus
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Filed under: Education, Health Care, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Religion, The Constitution | Tags: Freedom of Religion, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, The First Amendment
I want to go back to the origins of this kerfuffle. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has been given the authority to make hundreds of rules and regulations pertaining to ObamaCare, announced that all employers who offered health insurance for their employees, workers or members would be required to offer birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients at no cost. Catholics were appalled. This was a direct attack on the first amendment freedom of religion clause. Catholics were quickly joined by members of many other denominations.
They notified Secretary Sebelius that the requirement was unacceptable. Catholics provide a large percentage of the hospitals in this country, about 615, and not just hospitals but large medical centers, and 499 Long Term Care facilities. The hospitals are among the nation’s finest. There are around 6,900 k-12 schools, and many colleges and universities. All would come under the new regulation, which is in direct opposition to Catholic doctrine. The First Amendment is not about “separation of church and state,” but bans the state from making any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
Dr. Richard Land, one of the most influential evangelical leaders is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He said flatly “We will not comply” with the HHS mandate. When Catholic bishops said they would have to close their hospitals — the American medical establishment said there is no way they could absorb that many patients. Do not misunderstand this controversy. It is a battle about freedom of conscience and religious liberty. It is not about “birth control,” nor is it about a “war against women.”
President Barack Obama, who swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, doesn’t have a lot of respect for that old worn-out document. Progressives, in general, see the Constitution as something to get around. They would prefer to re-draft it, bring it up to date — so it doesn’t interfere with things they want to do. Shallow, really shallow. Obama decided that he would take on the Catholic Church, that they were undoubtedly bluffing, and the rule was written into the Federal Register as law.
But what if the Bishops aren’t bluffing? The confrontation was not going the way Progressives wanted it to. Progressives determined to “redefine” the problem. Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced that he would hold hearings. Just before the hearings were to open, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted to run in a more promising witness to testify. Chairman Issa looked at her qualifications, and decided that she was not only not qualified to speak, but had nothing to offer. So former Speaker Pelosi and cohort set up their own (pretend) committee hearing so they could get their witness’s testimony out to the public.
Enter the spurious Ms. Sandra Fluke (rhymes with cluck), a supposed 23-year-old coed in her 3rd year of law school at Georgetown Law, a Catholic institution. She testified that her active sex life made it necessary for her to spend $3,000 over 3 years for birth control. Well, she turned out to be 30 years old, the cost of birth control was no more than $9 a month at a nearby pharmacy, and she was a long time feminist activist who chose Georgetown because it was a Catholic institution and she wanted to take them on about abortion and birth control.
Now we have to go back a few years to the Bush administration, when Progressives were whining loudly in the press that they didn’t have any ideas because they didn’t have any think tanks like Republicans did. So they got together some big money from the Democrat 1%, and founded Think Progress — their very own think tank to give them ideas.
The problem was that their understanding of a think-tank differed from the Republican understanding of a think-tank. The big, long-established think-tanks like Heritage, the American Enterprise Institute, The Hoover Institution, The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Cato (Libertarian) , The Hudson Institute, and the Manhattan Institute all employed scholars to do serious research on policy. They attempt to provide the background of research that will help Congress to understand the pros and cons of legislation, and what research shows works and what doesn’t.
Progressives were more interested in getting and keeping power. Think Progress undoubtedly does research, but its interest is in strategy of how to defeat Republicans and how to win. That’s where the redefining of problems comes from. So the GREEN division of Think Progress came up with this gem: “Access to Birth Control is A Fundamental Component of Climate Survival” February 10, 2012.
Any morally acceptable pathway to prevent catastrophic global warming includes broad access to affordable birth control for the world’s women. The conservative war on birth control is a war on women’s rights, and thus on the rights of us all. Manmade global warming is one of the most troubling symptoms of economic and social injustice around the planet, and the ”countries in the developing world least responsible for the growing emissions are likely to experience the heaviest impact of climate change, with women bearing the greatest toll.” Researchers have found that empowering women to reduce unplanned pregnancies is one of the most cost-effective ways to combat greenhouse pollution.
Well. There is a perfect example of redefining the problem! Suddenly neither the argument nor the conversation is about the attack on the First Amendment to the Constitution and religious freedom for Catholic Hospitals and Schools in the United States — it is about “reproductive health for the world’s women and empowering them to reduce unplanned pregnancies.” A world where women and girls have more power is a healthier world.
Think Progress is really quite good at what we might call “changing the subject.” Republicans, earnestly trying to accomplish something effective for the country are always blindsided by their unexpected approach.
Who could have thought that the phony testimony of Sandra Fluke (rhymes with cluck) would lead to an attempt to rid the airwaves of the Left’s favorite demon, Rush Limbaugh; Ms. Fluke’s acquiring an agent, and PR representative to book her for TV appearances, for her future stardom, and controversial attorney Gloria Allread rushing to her defense, since she hadn’t been charged with anything except completely misrepresenting herself and her history, and obviously needed a lawyer.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Religion, The Constitution | Tags: David Gregory, Democrat Talking Points, Newt Gingrich
And does a good job of it. Poor David Gregory makes a fool of himself, trying desperately to clutch onto the wrong story. You can get your story out when every media lefty says the same thing in the same words, but you can’t make the people swallow propaganda all the time.
Filed under: Health Care, Law, Religion, The Constitution | Tags: Freedom of Religion, President Obama, Sandra Fluke
Congressional Democrats in the guise of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been trying to pull a fast one. Sandra Fluke, portrayed as a 23 year-old coed at Georgetown Law School is actually 30 years old, and a long time activist for unmarried victims of domestic violence. Somehow this morphed into being an activist for “reproductive justice,” which means getting someone else to pay for your birth-control pills.
You have probably heard about her testimony. She claimed it cost poor law students $3,000 for three years of birth control; Rush Limbaugh noted that she was declaring on national television that she wanted to have an active sex life without benefit of marriage, and wanted someone else to pay for it, and suggested that implied that she was a slut. That prompted President Obama to make a personal telephone call to her to tell her how proud her parents must be that she was standing up for her principles.
Birth-control seems a private matter, and I don’t understand why someone else should pay for the cost. It is not a health matter, but a matter of Democrat feminists’ demand for “choice.” You choose whether or not you want to have sex outside of marriage, you choose whether or not you want to have a baby, and you choose whether or not you want to pay to do something about it. The price of a 30-day supply of birth control pills at WalMart has been variously described as $4, $6 and $9. That does not seem exorbitant — even for a student.
Adding birth control to mandated health insurance raises the cost of that insurance. Catholic institutions are morally opposed, and the matter is clearly unconstitutional under the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment. The State shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
This is a major case of hypocrisy. Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius are both Catholic. President Obama, at the same time he celebrates adding to the cost of ObamaCare unnecessarily, is asking Congress to triple the cost of Tri-Care, the military’s health insurance, to the troops, in order to cut the budget.
All this is an attempt to garner women’s votes by telling them that Republicans want to deny women the right to birth control. They are already running ads to that effect. This president has made it clear that he has little respect the separation of powers nor for the Constitution that he took an oath to preserve, protect and defend. He intends to get around it with executive orders and regulation.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Liberalism, Politics, Progressivism, Religion, Statism, The Constitution | Tags: First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, It's Not "Reproductive Health"
A euphemism is the substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered explicitly offensive. Jessica Mitford once said “euphemisms such as ‘slumber room’ abound in the funeral industry.” To obfuscate is to confuse or becloud.
Religious leaders told a House panel Thursday that the Obama administration was violating basic rights to religious freedom with its policies requiring religious affiliated institutions to fund birth control, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs for their members and employees.
Democrats were indignant because they had been denied the ability to present witnesses before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee who might support the government stance or speak for the rights of women to reproductive health coverage.
This isn’t even obfuscation and it’s more than an attempt to confuse. It’s an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ears. The edict handed down from the Catholic Secretary of Health and Human Services has nothing to do with women’s reproductive health. It involves only who pays for their birth control.
No woman is deprived of contraceptives. No woman is deprived of the ability to be sterilized. No woman is deprived of the morning-after pill. They can pay for it themselves, they can get someone else to pay for it. They can get it from Planned Parenthood. They can get a 30 day supply of birth control pills from WalMart for $4. (That’s only $48 for a whole year— they get more than that back from Obama’s payroll tax extension).
House Democratic leader, former speaker, and Catholic Nancy Pelosi said Thursday morning that “I think that all institutions who cover, who give, health insurance should cover the full range of health insurance issues for women.”
Not a health insurance issue. Nor are condoms for the other sex. Nor is the toothpaste that helps prevent my tooth decay, the aspirin that assuages my headaches. With the declining birth rate, it may not even be a national good. Smaller generations of children can’t pay for the Social Security and Medicare entitlements of women.
Nobody is preventing women of childbearing age from obtaining or using birth control. We just suggest they should pay for it themselves.
Gloucester Cathedral Choir: “In the Bleak Midwinter,” lovely carol, beautiful but — bleak. Tomorrow it starts getting lighter again, and the days will grow longer.
Filed under: Humor, Religion, Television | Tags: Christmas, Good Neighbors, Little House on the Prairie Christmas Special, Star Wars Christmas Special
Remember back when TV didn’t suck? Yeah, neither do I.
BUT, these first two videos had me briefly believing that such a time existed — then I remembered the third video.
The first is from my new favorite (old) show. I didn’t even discover Good Neighbors (alternately titled The Good Life) until a few years ago. It’s a show about a couple, the Goods, who drop out of the rat-race to live a simpler, self-sustaining life. (Don’t worry, it’s not a preachy environmental show at all) while their neighbors and friends maintain their affluent ways.
This is their Christmas show from 1977. The characters will charm your socks off, and you will probably end up watching the entire series as I have. Each show is less than half an hour and all are also available to view instantly, in much better quality, on Netflix. But YouTube works just fine, if you dont mind the show being split into three parts. See parts 2 and 3 here.
The second video is one you may remember. Schmaltzy tear-jerker, as Little House on the Prairie so often was. Warm, fuzzy family-viewing from back before networks had altogether eradicated Christ from Christmas in favor of Santa Claus. Here’s part one, the rest can be viewed here.
And the third video is one that I saw for the first time since 1978 last year. I remember seeing it then. I was nine years old and a GINORMOUS Star Wars fan. Even so, I think I remember thinking how bad this was even then. If you have not seen the Star Wars Christmas Special, you must. It truly is must-see-TV because watching is the only way to appreciate how utterly dreadful it is. Chewbacca’s wife and kids? Princess Leia singing, and what Star Wars Christmas Special could be complete without appearances by Harvey Korman, Jefferson Starship, Dianne Carol and Bea Arthur dancing with Greedo?
In all sincerity, this may very well be the worst thing ever broadcast in any format at any time. George Lucas has said he wishes he could hunt down and destroy every last copy. I wish he would.
WordPress wont allow us to imbed Google videos, so you can watch it here. So painfully, uncomfortably bad, it’s hardly to be believed. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
I am thankful for the health and well-being of my family and loved ones.
I am thankful that I am alive, happy, and retain all my necessary organs and appendages.
I am thankful that I am blessed to live in the United States of America — truly the greatest nation on Earth — where we still remain free.
I am thankful for the Pilgrims, the colonists, our founding fathers, and thankful that I know liberal revisionist history is codswallop.
I am thankful that after progressives took full control of the elected branches, the American people threw them back out again as soon as humanly possible in the biggest electoral landslide in 75 years.
I am thankful that I am blessed with everything I need: food, drink, warmth, heat, light, clothing and healthcare, and many comforts above and beyond that which I require.
I am deeply thankful for my neighbors; good people and good friends who are facing very difficult times.
I am thankful for our armed forces who keep us safe at great peril and sacrifice.
I am thankful for the wisdom I gain every day from others.
I am thankful for all of our readers.
I am thankful for fresh apple cider, thick socks and down pillows.
I am thankful that I have more blessings than I can count here.
And I am thankful that there is a God in Heaven who loves us, and has blessed each and every one of us, no matter our circumstances, in different ways, and blessed us all in the same way, through His Son, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, to whom I am thankful for everything.