Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bush and the Porn Star

As I am sure you all know Mary Carey and Mark Kulkis, porn star and pornagrapher respectively, will be in attendance at a Bush/Republican fund-raiser. Kulkis' stated objective for this meeting is to buy influence with top political leaders, the Republican Party and credibility for themselves and their "profession."

Farah writes Mark my words: If Bush and the Republicans go through with this meeting, it will come back to bite them. Their hypocrisy is about to be demonstrated to the entire world. But I would have to disagree. It wont harm them at all.

Why? Cuz even a look at Focus On The Family's website doesnt show a single thing about this. If Dobson, being the anti-porn crusader that he is, can't be bothered to have his organization post something about this then what hope is there that the public could be bothered by it? And even if the public WAS bothered by it who else is there to vote for? Those evil democrats? why they havent been the party of the Christians for some 30 years. Everyone knows Christians have to vote Repugnikan right?

Pessimistic? Yeah. But watch, history will prove me right. It will be more than a few years before Christians start to leave the Repugs for parties that actually hold to a Judeo-Christian worldview such as the Constitution Party. In fact, even the Libertarian party is more Christian friendly than the Repugs are (not by words true, but by actions.)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Human Folly

Seems to me there are two follies we all fall into. Not believing facts because they go against our beliefs, which I posted on previously, and beliving other people think like us. Believing that "so and so" believed, thought, or meant what we believe think or mean. By this I mean we tend to transpose our beliefs onto others. Specifically people of great importance, such as the founding fathers or the prophets and even the Christ.

In vogue for the past 30 years or so is that there is a separation between church and state written into the Constitution. Now obviously there can be no such interpretation from a literal reading of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence or the writings of those founding fathers or therecords of their debates over the Constitution. However, our current sensibilities tell us that they must have meant that.

Our "sensitivity" now leads us to believe that the FF would have wanted non-land-owners and women to vote. That our FF specifically allowed for abortion, and abhorred the thought of the Bible in schools. We also now believe that the Gov't. should be providing for the "welfare of the people, which leads me to something that is of greater concern... taking this attitude into religion. Going astray on a human document is a mere problem. Going astray in Theology is worse than deadly, it can imperil the soul.

By overlaying "modern sensitivities" over the Scriptures we often end up with something approaching socialism and often totally ungodly. Many times a single verse is quoted or perhaps even an old saying that is purportedly scriptural (think "Cleanliness is next to godliness")

I cant seem to finish this post so I am just uploading it anyways. Ya'll see what I mean, and you can add to it in the comments or argue with me (o= Either way is great.

Confiscated Arsenal

I think this might bring a tear to Nate's eye.

RIDGEFIELD, N.J. (AP) - A day after police escorted a disoriented elderly woman to her home, they returned with a search warrant and found a massive cache of weapons and gunpowder.

Nearly 500 guns, including AK-47s and high-powered rifles, 500 pounds of gunpowder and 100,000 rounds of ammunition were taken Wednesday from the home of Elizabeth and Sherwin Raymond, both 82.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

2,000 year old Date

After 2,000 Years, a Seed From Ancient Judea Sprouts

JERUSALEM, June 11 - Israeli doctors and scientists have succeeded in germinating a date seed nearly 2,000 years old.

The seed, nicknamed Methuselah, was taken from an excavation at Masada, the cliff fortress where, in A.D. 73, 960 Jewish zealots died by their own hand, rather than surrender to a Roman assault. The point is to find out what was so exceptional about the original date palm of Judea, much praised in the Bible and the Koran for its shade, food, beauty and medicinal qualities, but long ago destroyed by the crusaders.

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree," says Psalm 92. "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age. They shall be fat and flourishing."

Well, we'll see. Dr. Sarah Sallon, who runs a project on medicinal plants of the Middle East, notes that the date palm in ancient times symbolized the tree of life. But Dr. Elaine Solowey, who germinated the seed and is growing it in quarantine, says plants grown from ancient seeds "usually keel over and die soon," having used most of their nutrients in remaining alive.

The plant is now 11.8 inches tall and has produced seven leaves, one of which was removed for DNA testing. Radiocarbon dating in Switzerland on a snip of the seed showed it to be 1,990 years old, plus or minus 50 years. So the date seed dates from 35 B.C. to A.D. 65, just before the famed Roman siege.

Three date seeds were taken from Level 34 of the Masada dig. They were found in a storeroom, and are presumably from dates eaten by the defenders, Dr. Sallon says.

Mordechai Kislef, director of botanical archeology at Bar-Ilan University, had some date seeds from Ehud Netzer, who excavated Masada in the 1970's. "They were sitting in a drawer, and when I asked for one, he said, 'You're mad,' but finally gave me three," Dr. Sallon said. "Then I gave them to Elaine, who's an expert on arid agriculture and dates." Dr. Solowey said: "Well, I didn't have much hope that any would come up, but you know how Sarah is."

Dr. Sallon, who is a pediatric gastroenterologist trained at University College, London, came to Israel 20 years ago. She is the director of the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center at Hadassah Medical Organization, which she set up 10 years ago to study natural products and therapies, from Tibetan and Chinese medicine to the indigenous medicinal plants of the Middle East. The idea is to preserve these plants and their oral histories in a modernizing region, but also to domesticate them, evaluate them scientifically and then try to integrate them into conventional medicine.

Dr. Solowey, who teaches agriculture and sustainable farming at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, based at Kibbutz Ketura in the southern Negev, works on finding new crops for arid and saline areas like Jordan, Gaza and Morocco. She also works with Dr. Sallon to domesticate indigenous plants that appear to have medicinal uses.

Dr. Solowey grew up in the San Joaquin Valley in California and studied horticulture, then turned away from commercial agriculture in disgust, coming here in 1971. "I don't come to organic agriculture from the hippie side, but as a frustrated agricultural scientist," she said.

"We've bred for yield and taste, but not hardiness, so we have a lot of plants as hardy as French poodles, so we have to spray to protect them, and then we pay the price," she said. "There isn't a cubic centimeter of water in the San Joaquin Valley that isn't polluted with something."

She planted the date seeds at the end of January after trying to draw them out of their deep dormancy. She first soaked the seeds in hot water to soften the coat, then in an acid rich in hormones, then in an enzymatic fertilizer made of seaweed and other nutrients.

"I've done other recalcitrant seeds," she said. "It wasn't a project with a high priority. I had no idea if the food in the seed was still good, but I put them in new pots in new potting soil and plugged them into drip irrigation and kind of forgot about them."

About six weeks later, she said, "I saw the earth cracked in a pot and much to my astonishment, one of these came up."

The first two leaves looked odd, she said, very flat and pale. "But the third looked like a date leaf with lines, and every one since has looked more and more normal - like it had a hard time getting out of the seed."

Lotus seeds of about 1,200 years of age have been sprouted in China, and after the Nazis bombed London's Natural History Museum in World War II and a lot of water was used to put out the fire, seeds of 500 years of age also germinated.

"But no one had done it from 2,000 years old," Dr. Sallon said.

In the time of Pliny, forests of date palms covered the area from Lake Galilee to the Dead Sea and made Jericho famous; a date palm features on ancient coinage, as it does on the current Israeli 10-shekel coin.

The date palm symbolized ancient Israel; the honey of "the land of milk and honey" came from the date. It is praised as a tonic to increase longevity, as a laxative, as a cure for infections and as an aphrodisiac, Dr. Sallon said. But the dates of Judea were destroyed before the Middle Ages, and what dates Israel grows now were imported in the 1950's and 60's from California and originated elsewhere in the Middle East.

The Prophet Muhammad considered the date of great importance for medicine, food, construction and income, and it is described in the Koran as a "symbol of goodness" associated with heaven.

Dates need to grow 30 years to reach maturity and can live as long as 200 years.

But it is the female date that is considered holy, and that bears fruit. "Men are rather superfluous in the date industry," Dr. Sallon said.

"O.K, I have a date plant," Dr. Solowey said. "If it lives, it will be years before we eat any dates. And that's if it's female. There's a 50-50 chance. And if it's a male, it will just be a curiosity."