Archive for September 4th, 2009

Passage Found, May Have Been Used by Abraham

Friday, September 4th, 2009

(IsraelNN.com) A Jerusalem walkway from the times of the Patriarch Abraham, protected by a wall of large rocks, has been discovered, and will be displayed to the public on Thursday.

The double-wall was uncovered in a dig run by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and sponsored by the City of David Association. Prof. Roni Reich of the University of Haifa, who is directing the dig together with Eli Shukrun of the IAA, told Israel National News, “Based on clay pottery fragments found at the site, it is assumed to have been built by the Canaanites some 3,700 years ago, during the period known as the Middle Bronze Age.”

The Patriarch Abraham met with “Malki-Tzedek, King of Shalem” – later known as Jerusalem – during this period, according to Biblical chronology and Genesis 14,18.

The fortifications are eight meters (over 26 feet) high, and served to protect those walking down to a spring in what is now the National Park, around and at the foot of the walls of Jerusalem. Some 24 meters of the double wall’s length have been uncovered, but it is apparently even longer, waiting to be uncovered in the future.

“This is the most massive wall ever discovered in the City of David,” Reich said. “It is tremendously large in terms of its dimensions, thickness, and size of the rocks used. It appears that they protect a walk-way used to walk down from some tower atop the hill towards the spring.”

The protected passage is designed to solve an inherent paradox in the need for a spring, Reich explained: “On the one hand, water is necessary, especially in times of crisis, but its source is located in a spring, in the lowest and most vulnerable spot in the area. Thus the need to build such a protected passage, even though it involved great effort.”

A small part of the fortifications was first discovered exactly 100 years ago by a British archaeologist, but now it has become clear that these were just part of a very large double-wall. “This is the first time we have found such massive building in Jerusalem from before the period of King Herod,” Reich said.

Fortifications on such a massive scale indicate that Jerusalem became, at this time, a city-state of its own that was able to deploy and gather the resources to build them. “A small village would not have been able to build such a structure,” Reich said.

“This discovery shows that our picture of Jerusalem’s eastern fortifications, and of its water supply, from these periods is far from complete,” Reich said. “Though so many people have dug this hill, there is still a strong chance that large architectural elements are still well-hidden and waiting to be discovered.”

The fortifications will be opened to the public for the first time on Thursday during the 10th annual City of David Research Conference. Other discoveries will be on display as well, and tours of the area – 17 different routes! – will be provided as well.

Original Link.

Canadian ‘Hate-Speech’ Law Declared Unconstitutional

Friday, September 4th, 2009

It’s about time some sanity returns…

A much-criticized federal law governing hate speech violates rights to freedom of expression, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.

The decision, announced Wednesday, threw out the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s controversial legal mandate to pursue “hate speech” on the Internet.

In a 107-page ruling, tribunal member Athanasios Hadjis called the law an infringement of the free speech guarantees of Canada’s Charter of Rights.

The ruling also marks a failure of Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, an anti-hate law created in the 1960s to target racist telephone hotlines, according to the National Post. It was expanded in 2001 to include the entire Internet.

“At issue here was not true hate speech – racial slurs, etc. – which are indefensible,” Jihad Watch stated. “Rather, the aim of such laws is to crush political dissent.”

Jihad Watch accused the Organization of the Islamic Conference of “trying to strong-arm Western nations into imposing hate speech laws that will restrict speech about Islam they don’t like, including explorations of the motives and goals of jihad terrorists.”

Mark Steyn, author of “America Alone,” was on trial in Canada for allegedly inciting hatred against Muslims in an article adapted from his book. A 2007 complaint filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission claimed that Stein’s article, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” did not allow rebuttal – an action, complainants argued, violated their human rights. Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner for the Canadian Human Rights Commission wrote a letter to Maclean’s magazine after it published Steyn’s article.

“Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free reign,” Lynch wrote. “History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred.”

The Commission later ruled that, in general, “the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature, as defined by the Supreme Court.”

In the United States, Congress has recently embraced its own hate-crime legislation. A key Senate vote during the wee hours when most Americans were asleep added a so-called “hate crimes” plan, which creates federal protections and privileges homosexuals and others who have chosen alternative sexual lifestyles, to a defense spending bill.

The House approved its version, H.R. 1913, or the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, April 29.

The Senate plan remained in the Judiciary Committee until Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced its consideration. Then in a middle-of-the-night vote, senators approved 63-28 a plan to add it as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, despite opposition from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

The proposal that critics say essentially makes homosexuals a protected class of citizens in the United States soon will reach the desk of President Obama, who has lobbied for it.

As WND reported, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder admitted a homosexual activist who is attacked following a Christian minister’s sermon about homosexuality would be protected by the proposed federal law, but a minister attacked by a homosexual wouldn’t be.

Richard Land, of the Southern Baptist Convention, has said such a law – by definition – requires judges to determine what those accused of crimes were thinking.

“This could create a chilling effect on religious speech, connecting innocent expression of religious belief to acts of violence against individuals afforded special protections,” he wrote. “The criminalization of religious speech, such as speech against the practice of homosexuality, has already been seen in other countries with similar hate crimes legislation in place.”

Original Link.

Unemployment Jumps to 9.7 Percent

Friday, September 4th, 2009

The unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent in August, the highest since June 1983, as employers eliminated a net total of 216,000 jobs.

Analysts expect businesses will be reluctant to hire until they are convinced the economy is on a firm path to recovery. Many private economists, and the Federal Reserve, expect the unemployment rate to top 10 percent by the end of this year.

While the jobless rate rose more than expected, the number of job cuts is less than July’s upwardly revised total of 276,000 and the lowest in a year, according to Labor Department data released Friday. Economists expected the unemployment rate to rise to 9.5 percent from July’s 9.4 percent and job reductions to total 225,000.

If laid-off workers who have settled for part-time work or have given up looking for new jobs are included, the so-called underemployment rate reached 16.8 percent, the highest on records dating from 1994.

The recession has eliminated a net total of 6.9 million jobs since it began in December 2007. There are now 14.9 million Americans unemployed.

Other economic data released this week has been positive. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said Tuesday that the manufacturing sector grew in August for the first time in 19 months. On Thursday, the ISM said its service sector index rose to 48.4 last month, the highest level in nearly a year. Home sales, meanwhile, have increased for several months and prices are stabilizing.

Federal Reserve policymakers said in minutes from an August meeting that they expect the economy to recover in the second half of this year. But labor market conditions are still “poor,” the Fed minutes released Wednesday said, and many companies are likely to be “cautious in hiring” even as the economy picks up.

Some economists credit the Obama administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus package of tax cuts and spending increases, along with the Cash for Clunkers program, with contributing to a recovery. But they worry about what will happen when the impact of the stimulus efforts fades next year.

Vice President Joe Biden defended the stimulus package Thursday against Republican critics who say it is too costly.

“The recovery act has played a significant role in changing the trajectory of our economy, and changing the conversation in this country,” Biden said. “Instead of talking about the beginning of a depression, we are talking about the end of a recession.”

Republicans criticized Biden’s speech. “The Democrats’ rhetoric on their economic experiment doesn’t match with the reality of millions of Americans remaining unemployed,” said Republican Party chief Michael Steele. “The stimulus was an economic experiment that failed Americans.”

Original Link.

Notice on Obama Advocacy Site Uses Sept. 11 Attacks To Push ObamaCare

Friday, September 4th, 2009

That’s a pretty despicable thing to do.

President Obama’s grassroots advocacy group is coming under fire for a supporter who pulled the Sept. 11 attacks into the health care debate.

The controversy stems from a notice on the Organizing for America Web site urging reform advocates to use the anniversary of the terror attacks to call on lawmakers to pass health care reform.

“All 50 states are coordinating in this — as we fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders,” the notice said in part. It has since been scrubbed from the Organizing for America site.

Following criticism from the conservative Heritage Foundation, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee told FOX News in a statement that anyone can post on the site and condemned the language.

“We certainly don’t agree with these comments, nor do we condone them, just as I’m sure the Heritage Foundation or FOX don’t agree or condone some of the things posted in sections of their Web site,” the statement said.

But the Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper said the call to action was actively distributed.

“This was distributed to people in Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina. So yeah, the original posting was just an independent person who went too far. But when Organizing for America took the next step and invited people to the event, they became complicit in the language,” Cooper said.

Cooper criticized Obama for pushing his message through both the official White House Web site and Organizing for America’s BarackObama.com.

“Barack Obama needs to quit the perpetual campaign … he needs to choose which one he’s going to communicate with the American public through,” Cooper said.

The Sept. 11 reference comes after both sides of the debate employed accusations of Nazism just a few weeks ago. In another sign that the health care debate is getting overheated, New York Rep. Charlie Rangel was quoted in The New York Post as suggesting race and bias are fueling popular resistance to health care reform.

“Some Americans have not gotten over the fact that Obama is president of the United States. They go to sleep wondering, ‘How did this happen?'” he said at a town hall meeting, according to the newspaper.

Original Link.