Bernie brings it
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ROME – A Vatican researcher has rekindled the age-old debate over the Shroud of Turin, saying that faint writing on the linen proves it was the burial cloth of Jesus.The Templars, The Secret History Revealed (Barbara Frale)
Experts say the historian may be reading too much into the markings, and they stand by carbon-dating that points to the shroud being a medieval forgery.
Barbara Frale, a researcher at the Vatican archives, says in a new book that she used computer-enhanced images of the shroud to decipher faintly written words in Greek, Latin and Aramaic scattered across the cloth.
She asserts that the words include the name "(J)esu(s) Nazarene" — or Jesus of Nazareth — in Greek. That, she said, proves the text could not be of medieval origin because no Christian at the time, even a forger, would have mentioned Jesus without referring to his divinity. Failing to do so would risk being branded a heretic.
"Even someone intent on forging a relic would have had all the reasons to place the signs of divinity on this object," Frale said Friday. "Had we found 'Christ' or the 'Son of God' we could have considered it a hoax, or a devotional inscription."
A widening gender gap is now apparent on both abortion and gun control. A year ago, a narrow majority of men (51%) said it was more important to control gun ownership, while 45% said it was more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns. Today, by 57% to 38%, men say protecting gun rights is more important.By contrast, 60% of women say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 33% see protecting gun rights as more important. In April 2008, 64% of women said controlling gun ownership was more important compared with 30% who placed greater importance on protecting the right to own guns.and
There are substantial gender differences in views about gun control among gun owners and non-owners alike. Fully three-quarters of men who say they have a gun in their home (75%) believe it is more important to protect gun rights than to control gun ownership; a much smaller majority of women gun owners agree (57%). Similarly, most men who do not have a gun in their home (53%) say it is more important to control gun ownership. But an even higher percentage of women who are not gun owners (69%) place a greater priority on controlling gun ownership.
Speeches and news reports can lead you to believe that proposed congressional legislation would tackle the problems of cost, access and quality. But that's not true. The various bills do deal with access by expanding Medicaid and mandating subsidized insurance at substantial cost—and thus addresses an important social goal. However, there are no provisions to substantively control the growth of costs or raise the quality of care. So the overall effort will fail to qualify as reform.
In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care's dysfunctional delivery system. The system we have now promotes fragmented care and makes it more difficult than it should be to assess outcomes and patient satisfaction. The true costs of health care are disguised, competition based on price and quality are almost impossible, and patients lose their ability to be the ultimate judges of value.
Worse, currently proposed federal legislation would undermine any potential for real innovation in insurance and the provision of care. It would do so by overregulating the health-care system in the service of special interests such as insurance companies, hospitals, professional organizations and pharmaceutical companies, rather than the patients who should be our primary concern.
In effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants. This will make an eventual solution even more difficult. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all.
Influenced by the Romantics, progressive-education doctrine held that children learn best “naturally” and that we should not drill “lifeless” facts into their developing minds. Such views, which became prevalent in American teacher training by the 1920s, Hirsch shows, represented a sharp break with the Founding Fathers, who believed that children needed to learn a coherent, shared body of knowledge for the new democracy to work. Thomas Jefferson even proposed a common curriculum, so that children’s “memories may here be stored with the most useful facts from Grecian, Roman, European, and American history.”
By the time Hirsch turned his attention to education reform in the mid-1980s, Romanticism’s triumph was complete. Most public schools, for instance, taught reading through the “whole language” method, which encourages children to guess the meaning of words through context clues rather than to master the English phonetic code. In many schools, a teacher could no longer line up children’s desks in rows facing him; indeed, he found himself banished entirely from the front of the classroom, becoming a “guide on the side” instead of a “sage on the stage.” In my children’s elementary school, students in the early grades had no desks at all but instead sat in circles on a rug, hoping to re-create the “natural” environment that education progressives believed would facilitate learning. In the 1970s and 1980s, progressive education also absorbed the trendy new doctrines of multiculturalism, postmodernism (with its dogma that objective facts don’t exist), and social-justice teaching.
The Basic Tenets of Conservative PartyI find #2, 3, and 5 questionable. Re: #2, I agree that the American system should not be imposed on a society with different values and culture, but the use of "American exceptionalism" as a part of the explanation just rubs me the wrong way.
1. Principal of Subsidiarity – Government works best at the local level. The closer the control of government is to the people, the more interest citizens hold in political proceedings and operations.
2. American Exceptionalism: Conservatives believe that America is a country of a distinguished founding, historical experiences and a unique path to the future. We do not take lightly these characteristics. Thus, we do not believe that American institutions should be imposed upon nations of dissimilar origins and experiences.
3. Government cannot legislate a perfect life for its citizens. Government’s role is to make life tolerable and to allow citizens to achieve their best. Legislation has limited ability to change our true social condition. Politicians have unethically preached to the public they have a right to steady economic betterment.
4. Citizens have a contract with the past, the present and the future to:
a. Preserve the best of our ancestors and change only that which leads to a
better civil and social existence.
b. Voluntarily assist those less prosperous.
c. Conserve natural resources for our posterity
5. Government should not “do.” Government must have limited intrusion in the marketplace. Government actions should pertain to fair and just competition.
6. The Federal government has reduced the citizens responsibility in life by overextending its participation in education, economics, food and housing. Americans should be active citizens, not subjects.
7. Taxation, a free grant from the citizen to the government, has become extortion and the two national parties have used taxation as a means to create division among the citizens of the United States. Government re-distribution of wealth creates a covetous nature in the recipients. Spending of citizens ethically and legally earned money and consuming our posterities resources are not signs of a virtuous political organization.
8. Conservatism has been mistakenly defined as a philosophy of avarice and consumerism. Nothing could be further from the truth, as conservatives believe that success is to be shared in a voluntary manner with poor and less fortunate. The primary benefits of charity is ascribed to the voluntary donor and the recipients of material goods from a central authority show no gratitude.
9. Those who believe that redistribution of wealth is an entitlement will themselves cause detriment to their posterity due to a lack of restraint much like consumerists believe our natural resources are purely for present consumption.
Since our farmer’s need for water and our citizen’s need for water has become a political football, I’m ready to fully explore privatizing our water sources.Who would own those water rights, or be able to acquire them? It seems like a very bad idea, so why even consider it, instead of a different solution that would be a more comprehensive plan for dealing with the state's many problems?
Political excitements will corrupt women tenfold more than men; and this, not because women are naturally inferior to men, but because they are naturally adapted to a wholly different sphere. When we point to the fact that they are naturally more emotional and less calculating, more impulsive and less self-contained, that they have a quicker tact but less logic, that their social nature makes them more liable to the contagion of epidemic passions, and that the duties of their sex make it physically impossible for them to acquire the knowledge in a foreign sphere necessary for political duties, we do not depreciate woman; we only say that nature has adapted her to one thing and disqualified her for the other. The violet would wither in that full glare of midsummer in which the sunflower thrives: this does not argue that the violet is the meaner flower. The vine, left to stand alone, would be hurled prone in the mire by the first blasts of that history. In the case of the Amorites there was also this wise wind which strengthens the grasp of the sturdy oak upon its bed: still the oak may yield no fruit so precious as the cluster of the vine. But the vine cannot be an oak; it must be itself, dependent, clinging, but more precious than that on which it leans or it must perish. When anything, animate or inanimate, is used for a function to which it is not adapted, that foreign use must endamage it, and the more the farther that function is from its own sphere. So it will be found (and it is no disparagement to woman to say it) that the very traits which fit her to be the angel of a virtuous home unfit her to meet the agitations of political life, even as safely as does the more rugged man. The hot glare of publicity and .passion will speedily deflower her delicacy and sweetness. Those temptations, which her Maker did not form her to bear, will debauch her heart, developing a character as much more repulsive than that of the debauched man as the fall has been greater. The politicating woman, unsexed and denaturalized, shorn of the true glory of her femininity, will appear to men as a feeble hybrid mannikin, with all the defects and none of the strength of the male. Instead of being the dear object of his chivalrous affection, she becomes his importunate rival, despised without being feared.
By the end of the 19th century, thanks to wise reform and the abandonment of the wilder liberal ideas, the Victorians had arrived at rather a good compromise.
The police deterred crime in cities and countryside, the Churches and the Temperance movement worked constantly to improve morality. Heinous murderers were hanged, so there were very few of them. The municipal reformers sought to clear the slums.
And the declining numbers who committed crimes went to prisons which were austere and harsh but not cruel or chaotic or diseased.
Prisoners had to work. They were kept under strict discipline, they lived in single cells and every moment of their lives was governed by hard rules. They could associate with each other only in very limited circumstances. Food was basic. Heating in winter was minimal. Contact with the outside world was very limited. Tobacco was not allowed (let alone drugs). Remission had to be earned by consistent good behaviour, as did privileges - access to books, visits, letters, better food.
In short, the authorities had the upper hand, all the time. Prison terms were not usually particularly long, but few who had undergone them wished to sample the fare again. Word got out that a spell in prison was to be avoided. People avoided it.
True, Globalization has various manifestations. If viewed strictly from economic terms, then the debate delves into trade barriers, protectionism and tariffs. Powerful countries demand smaller countries to break down all trade barriers, while maintaining a level of protectionism over their own. Smaller countries, knowing that they cannot do much to hide from the hegemonic nature of globalization, form their own economic clubs, hoping to negotiate fairer deals. And the economic tug-of-war continues, between diplomacy and threats, dialogue and arm twisting. This is the side of globalization with which most of us are familiar.
But there is another side of globalization, one that is similarly detrimental to some countries, and profitable to others: cultural globalization - not necessarily the domination of a specific culture, in this case Western culture, over all the rest - but rather the unbridgeable disadvantage of poorer countries, who lack the means to withstand the unmitigated takeover of their traditional ways of life by the dazzling, well-packaged and branded ‘culture’ imparted upon them around the clock.
What audiences watch, read and listen to in most countries outside the Western hemisphere is not truly Western culture in the strict definition of the term, of course. It’s a selective brand of a culture, a reductionst presentation of art, entertainment, news, and so on, as platforms to promote ideas that would ultimately sell products. For the dwarfed representation of Western culture, it’s all about things, tangible material values that can be obtained by that simple and final act of pulling out one’s credit card. To sell a product, however, media also sell ideas, often one sided, and create unjustifiable fascinations with ways of life that hardly represent natural progression for many vanishing cultures and communities around the world.
That relocalization needs to happen, and will happen, is clear. Among other things, it’s clear from history; when complex societies overshoot their resource bases and decline, one of the things that consistently happens is that centralized economic arrangements fall apart, long distance trade declines sharply, and the vast majority of what we now call consumer goods get made at home, or very close to home. Now of course that violates some of the conventional wisdom that governs economic decisions these days; centralized economic arrangements are thought to yield economies of scale that make them more profitable by definition than decentralized local arrangements.
When history conflicts with theory, though, it’s not history that’s wrong, so a second look at the conventional wisdom is in order. The economies of scale and resulting profits of centralized economic arrangements don’t happen by themselves. They depend, among other things, on transportation infrastructure. This doesn’t happen by itself, either; it happens because governments pay for it, for purposes of their own. The Roman roads that made the tightly integrated Roman economy possible, for example, and the interstate highway system that does the same thing for America, were not produced by entrepreneurs; they were created by central governments for military purposes. (The legislation that launched the interstate system in the US, for example, was pushed by the Department of Defense, which wrestled with transportation bottlenecks all through the Second World War.)
Government programs of this kind subsidize economic centralization. The same thing is true of other requirements for centralization – for example, the maintenance of public order, so that shipments of consumer goods can get from one side of the country to the other without being looted. Governments don’t establish police forces and defend their borders for the purpose of allowing businesses to ship goods safely over long distances, but businesses profit mightily from these indirect subsidies nonetheless.
When civilizations come unglued, in turn, all these indirect subsidies for economic centralization go away. Roads are no longer maintained, harbors silt up, bandits infest the countryside, migrant nations invade and carve out chunks of territory for their own, and so on. Centralization stops being profitable, because the indirect subsidies that make it profitable aren’t there any more.
Ugo Bardi has written a very readable summary of how this process unfolded in one of the best documented cases, the fall of the Roman Empire. The end of Rome was a process of radical relocalization, and the result was the Middle Ages. The Roman Empire handled defense by putting huge linear fortifications along its frontiers; the Middle Ages replaced this with fortifications around every city and baronial hall. The Roman Empire was a political unity where decisions affecting every person within its borders were made by bureaucrats in Rome. Medieval Europe was the antithesis of this, a patchwork of independent feudal kingdoms the size of a Roman province, which were internally divided into self-governing fiefs, those into still smaller fiefs, and so on, to the point that a single village with a fortified manor house could be an autonomous political unit with its own laws and the recognized right to wage war on its neighbors.
The same process of radical decentralization affected the economy as well. The Roman economy was just as centralized as the Roman polity; in major industries such as pottery, mass production at huge regional factories was the order of the day, and the products were shipped out via sea and land for anything up to a thousand miles to the end user. That came to a screeching halt when the roads weren’t repaired any more, the Mediterranean became pirate heaven, and too many of the end users were getting dispossessed, and often dismembered as well, by invading Visigoths. The economic system that evolved to fill the void left by Rome’s implosion was thus every bit as relocalized as a feudal barony, and for exactly the same reasons.
Here’s how it worked. Each city – and “city” in this context means anything down to a town of a few thousand people – was an independent economic center; it might have a few industries of more than local fame, but most of its business consisted of manufacturing and selling things to its own citizens and the surrounding countryside. The manufacturing and selling was managed by guilds, which were cooperatives of master craftsmen. To get into a guild-run profession, you had to serve an apprenticeship, usually seven years, during which you got room and board in exchange for learning the craft and working for your master; you then became a journeyman, and worked for a master for wages, until you could produce your masterpiece – yes, that’s where the word came from – which was an example of craftwork fine enough to convince the other masters to accept you as an equal. Then you became a master, with voting rights in the guild.
The guild had the legal responsibility under feudal municipal laws to establish minimum standards for the quality of goods, to regulate working hours and conditions, and to control prices. The economic theory of the time held that there was a “just price” for any good or service, usually the price that had been customary in the region since time out of mind, and the municipal authorities could be counted on to crack down on attempts to push prices above the just price unless there was some very pressing reason for it. Most forms of competition between masters were off limits; if you made your apprentices and journeymen work evenings and weekends to outproduce your competitors, for example, or sold goods below the just price, you’d get in trouble with the guild, and could be barred from doing business in the town. The only form of competition that was encouraged was to make and sell a superior product.
This was the secret weapon of the guild economy, and it helped drive an age of technical innovation. As Jean Gimpel showed conclusively in The Medieval Machine, the stereotype of the Middle Ages as a period of technological stagnation is completely off the mark. Medieval craftsmen invented the clock, the cannon, and the movable-type printing press, perfected the magnetic compass and the water wheel, and made massive improvements in everything from shipbuilding and steelmaking to architecture and windmills, just for starters. The competition between masters and guilds for market share in a legal setting that made quality and innovation the only fields of combat wasn’t the only force behind these transformations, to be sure – the medieval monastic system, which put a good fraction of intellectuals of both genders in settings where they could use their leisure for just about any purpose that could be chalked up to the greater glory of God, was also a potent factor – but it certainly played a massive role.
The guild system has nonetheless been a whipping boy for mainstream economists for a long time now. The person who started that fashion was none other than Adam Smith, whose The Wealth of Nations castigates the guilds of his time for what we’d now call antitrust violations. From within his own perspective, Smith had a point. The guilds were structured in a way that limited the total number of people who could work in any given business in any given town, and of course the just price principle kept prices from fluctuating along with supply and demand. Thus the prices paid for the goods or services produced by that business were higher, all things considered, than they would have been under the free market regime Smith advocated.
The problem with Smith’s analysis is that there are crucial issues involved that he didn’t address. He lived at a time when transportation was rapidly expanding, public order was more or less guaranteed, and the conditions for economic centralization were coming back into play. Thus the very different realities of limited, localized markets did not enter into his calculations. In the context of localized economics, a laissez-faire free market approach doesn’t produce improved access to better and cheaper goods and services, as Smith argued it should; instead, it makes it impossible to produce many kinds of goods and services at all.
Thomas Jefferson laid great stress on literacy as an indispensable asset to good citizenship and sound patriotism. He was all for having everybody become literate, and those who have examined his own library (it is preserved intact in the Library of Congress) may easily see why. Mutatis mutandis, if everybody read the kind of thing he did, and as he did, he would have been right. But in his laudable wish to make the benefits of literacy accessible to all, Mr. Jefferson did not see that he had the operation of two natural laws dead against him. He seems to have jumped to the conclusion that, because certain qualified persons got a definite benefit out of literacy, anybody could get the same benefit on the same terms; and here he collided with the law of diminishing returns. He seems also to have imagined that a general indiscriminate literacy would be compatible with keeping up something like the proportion that he saw existing between good literature and bad; and here the great and good old man ran hard aground on Gresham’s law.
Gresham’s law has to do with the nature of currency, and the common formula for it is that “bad money drives out good.” That is to say, it is always the worst form of currency in circulation that fixes the value of all the others and causes them presently to disappear. Gresham’s law usually comes into play whenever a government undertakes to settle a bill for its misfeasances by the larcenous expedient of “managing” its currency; hence of late years this law has been very busy with the currency of many countries.
This isn't the time for hemming-and-hawing. Obama should be using his clout to launch a trillion dollar "Get America Back to Work" campaign with all the public relations rigmarole to go along with it. 17.5 percent "real" unemployment is only part of the story, too. There's also 300,000-plus foreclosures every month, record personal bankruptcies, plummeting state revenues, and countless maxed out homeless shelters and food banks. We're in the throes of a low-grade depression that requires emergency mobilization aimed at expanding the public workforce and increasing wage-and-benefits packages to spark greater demand. The states should be given open-ended funding to cover losses in annual tax revenue as long as they agree to an across-the-board firing freeze for all state and local employees. Government resources should be provided in block grants to states for green technology, infrastructure projects, foreclosure relief, low income housing, and public health care facilities. Whatever it takes to rev up the industrial flywheel that keeps the economy purring; Do it!
The reality is that the Legion wrongly appropriated the intellectual property of the Curriculum Director of the Highlands School, Dr. Rollin Lasseter. Having gotten what he created for their use, the Legion then dismissed him. The Highlands School (the only LC school in the USA in 1992) was presented to Dr. Lasseter as the flagship school of the Legion, whereby Catholic education in North America would be renewed. Dr. Lasseter, a Catholic scholar and gentleman, with a Yale PhD and many years of teaching at the college and high school level, gave the Legion a very fine program for "integral formation." Moreover, he coordinated the program with the requirements of the Diocese of Dallas. He helped the teachers and defended the curriculum against its critics; he knew what was needed for "integral formation." He also developed a "curriculum of the halls," which dictated what was needed outside of the classroom to make the school work as a unified whole and as a reliable model and teacher of the Catholic Faith. He consulted non-Regnum Christi colleagues and built the curriculum that he developed for the Highlands on the work of other University of Dallas professors, whose children attended the Highlands in the early 1990s. The work of Prof. John Senior at U. of Kansas was also used as authority for developing the Legion's curriculum for the Highlands School --and other LC/RC schools -- of "integral formation."
In other words, LC/RC, through the National Consultants for Education, represented to the United States Patent and Trademark Office that they were the only ones to be associated with the term "Integral Formation." From previous discussions here, there is a clear understanding that "Integral Formation" is part of the patriomony of the Church (and most often associated with the Jesuits, who are obviously centuries older than the Legion) and thus it follows that the relevant public (that would be us) does not associate the term with LC/RC alone.