Archive for October, 2005

On NPR’s Weekend Edition Today

29 October 2005 at 1:44 pm
by Jonah

Linda Wertheimer: Now the Gallop Poll shows that, even though conservative groups led the charge against the Miers nomination, more liberals were actually happy about her withdrawal than conservatives were. 57% of liberals said they were glad about it. Only 34% of conservatives were. How could that be?

Nina Totenberg: I think a lot of evangelicals don’t and didn’t agree with their leadership. I was listening to the Rush Limbaugh Show a couple of days ago … yes, I do that…

Linda Wertheimer: Okaaaay…

Fun Patron Saints

24 October 2005 at 10:32 pm
by Jonah

St. Dymphna – the mentally ill (Her father went mad with grief when her mother died, and his advisors told him to marry his daughter. When she refused, he sliced off her head with his sword.)

St. Joseph of Cupertino – pilots (His levitational ability caused enmity with his fellow monks.)

St. Agatha – bellmakers (No one knows why.)

St. Ambrose – beekeepers

St. Januarius – bloodbanks (A vial of abrout 30 ml the martyred saint’s clotted blood is kept in a locked vault in the Cathedral of Naples. When the vial is handled during a ceremony honoring the saint, the blood liquifies and appears to boil and froth. The Catholic Church has never officially declared this a miracle, leaving scientists to explain the phenomenon.)

St. Fiacre – cab drivers (French cabs are called fiacres because the first establishment to let coaches on hire was near the hotel Saint-Fiacre in Paris)

St. Venantius – falling

St. Bona – flight attendants

St. Martin de Porres – hairdressers (He was the barber in his friary.)

St. Rita of Cascia – lost causes (Though she wanted to become a nun, her parents insisted that she married at age 12. After her husband and both sons died, she tried unsuccessfully to enter the Augustinians. They required all sisters to be virgins. Finally, the order gave her entry.)

St. Sebastian – archers

St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars – senior citizens (She was canonized in 1974. I don’t know what seniors did before that.)

St. Cassian of Imola – shorthand writers (A teacher arrested for being a Christian, his students were invited to hack him to death. His martyrdom was lengthy, since his students could not wield mortal blows.)

St. Bernard of Montjoux – skiers

St. Stephen – stone masons (Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death)

St. Apollonia – toothaches (She had her teeth knocked out by a persecutor.)

St. Dismas – undertakers (Crucified with Jesus, he was the thief who believed.)

St. Philip of Agirone – US Special Forces

Republicans are stupid.

23 October 2005 at 10:23 am
by Berck

I could possibly have some respect for differing views if they were, at the very least, consistent. “Conservative” as I understand it, supposedly means minimal government involvement. Yet the current “conservative” regime has gotten government more involved in just about everything than any group to come before. Federal spending is at an all-time high. Clinton managed a balanced budget, and what did W do with it? “Conservative” now seems to be synonymous with state-supported religion, governmental restriction of women’s rights, and federal restriction of gays’ rights. Not to mention a tax policy intended to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Doesn’t sound like keeping the government out of people’s lives to me.

Conservatives are against public broadcasting, primarily NPR, ostensibly because it’s “federally funded” and “liberally biased.” I’m not going to address the liberal bias claim, because it’s silly. Most NPR listeners complain that it’s too right-leaning. I’m not sure how it’s federally funded, since NPR gets 1-2% of their funding from competitive grants from CPB, NEA, and the NSF. Member stations (which is the primary support for NPR) get a whopping 13% of their budget from the CPB. So, say, at MOST, the government contributes 15% of NPR and its member stations funding. Woot. Pennies.

The total allocation for CPB is currently $390 million. Most of that goes to television and PBS programming. A whopping $30 million goes to radio. Congress recently decided to cut CPB’s funding to about $300 million. The cuts are presumably necessary because we have to protect ourselves from Iraq. Included in the cuts were ~$40 million slated to go toward upgrading to digital television, since the FCC is going to stop allowing analog TV transmission in 2009.

So, keep in mind, this $390 million that conservatives think is just bad, though a whopping $30 million goes to evil, liberal NPR.

Now here’s where it gets sick. The Senate has approved $3 BILLION to subsidize the purchase of conversion boxes to allow Americans with older TV sets to watch new, digital television. Because by 2009 they won’t be able to watch television. (Keep in mind this only applies to over-the-air television.) But could someone please tell me how watching television is a right? A necessity? That we need to think about these poor Americans who won’t be able to watch new, digital TV without a $50 box? Maybe we should instead spend that money on education so they can get jobs and buy their own conversion boxes.

So think about this: we can give $3 billion to poor Americans so they can keep watching corporate, advertising-laden TV, but we can’t give $40 million to the corporation for public broadcasting to upgrade THEIR equipment??

Are there anymore?

22 October 2005 at 10:01 pm
by Jonah

This is one of my favorite pictures of Berck.

Are there anymore?

Shroud of Turino

22 October 2005 at 1:49 am
by Jonah

I was in Turin the week AFTER they ended the 1998 viewing.

Here’s an excellent site concerning the Shroud of Turin.

Here’s an article explaining why the 1988 carbon-14 dating test was flawed and how it’s actually much older. The first link goes into greater detail.

Nobody still knows how the image came to be, though a very interesting theory has emerged, explaining how a dead body in contact with linen woven using first century methods could leave such an impression. No one has been able to replicate it. It’s not painted–the image is a thin film of melanoidins, thick as the wall of a soap bubble. A forger would have to have scientific knowledge beyond what society has today to create an image like that. He’d also have to be able to accomplish this whole list.

Still, there are problems with the shroud. It doesn’t seem to jive with the Gospel of John, which says Jesus was buried with a separate cloth for the face and was bound in a cloth, which would surely produce wrinkles and distortion in the image. John also says Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus included a hundred pounds of spices, but there doesn’t seem to be much sign of them. And there are proportional problems with the image…the body seems elongated, one arm is longer than the other, the fingers are too thin and long, the head is too small, the lower part of the face is too big. Or maybe there aren’t enough distortions, if the cloth should have wrapped around the body.

Wikipedia also has a good overview.

Actual Fact: King Charles VI of France ordered the removal of the shroud, which was being displayed in Lirey, France, citing impropriety (the image consists of the front and back of a naked man). But the shroud was too popular, and the sheriffs were unable to carry out his order.