Monday, March 8, 2021

A Watercolor of the Hameau de la Reine

 From East of the Sun, West of the Moon, via Vive la Reine: "A watercolor of the hameau de la reine by Jobst Riegel, 1875-1876... This is part of series of paintings commissioned by Louis II of Bavaria, who intended to use the pieces as inspiration for the New Herrenchiemsee Palace."


The Louvre Is Undergoing a Major Renovation

 From Travel and Leisure:

Since Oct. 30, 2020, the museum has been shut down to the public as part of the nation's efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. While its doors are shuttered, the Associated Press (AP) reported, those once overwhelmed museum workers are getting to do something they never thought they'd be able to do: renovate.

"We're taking advantage of the museum's closure to carry out a number of major works, speed up maintenance operations, and start repair works that are difficult to schedule when the museum is operating normally," Laurent le Guedart, the Louvre's Architectural Heritage and Gardens Director, told the AP.

As the AP noted, some 250 museum employees are hard at work adding new security systems, cleaning sculptures, checking inventories, checking over artifacts, reorganizing entrances, and conducting other necessary restorations to areas like the Egyptian Wing and the Grande Galerie. This way, when the museum does finally reopen, it will be like a brand-new experience for visitors. (Read more.)


Corporate Wokeness Has Gone Too Far

 From The Federalist:

Results from a national poll released Friday found 65 percent of Americans think corporate America is “taking political correctness too far.”

The study surveyed 1,098 adults about their thoughts on a range of high-profile actions corporations have taken recently to appease left-wing activists, including Hasbro dropping the “Mr.” from its Mr. Potato Head toy, Disney closing down popular rides at its theme parks that activists claimed were “racist,” and Lucasfilm’s firing of actress Gina Carano. On Thursday, eBay began banning the sales of Dr. Seuss books.

The study was conducted by Survey Monkey and Public Opinion Strategies and commissioned by The Daily Wire between Feb. 26 and March 3, following a storm of recent cancel mob moves, such as Disney placing warning labels on “The Muppets.”

Nearly 80 percent of respondents believe toymaker Hasbro’s changing “Mr. Potato Head” to “Potato Head” is “silly.”

When initially asked, 58 percent of respondents said they opposed Disney’s decision to fire Carano over social media posts. After being shown the actual post that resulted in her termination, however, 72 percent said they didn’t agree with the firing, including a majority of liberals and Democrats and 70 percent of Disney fans.

During an interview with The Federalist, Carano said she first became vocal about reportedly touchy or taboo subjects “because I feel like there is a large group of people that were being silenced this year and being forced to play this game of wokeism or whatever it is.” The cancel mob made sure to punish her for daring to speak freely and challenging the status quo. (Read more.)


Red Wine: A Very Healthy Drink

 From Nutrition and Anti-Aging Health News Daily:

You've probably heard that red wine can be a very healthy drink option, but you most likely only heard about generic benefits of the antioxidants and resveratrol in red wine. But here's another MAJOR reason below why red wine in moderation (1-2 glasses per day max) can be a super healthy part of your routine.  I personally have really grown to enjoy having a glass of red wine with dinner about 4-5 days per week.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95:1323-1334) reported that people who drank 2 glasses of red wine per day (dry red wine, not sugary dessert wines) had higher levels of beneficial bacteria in their gut and lower levels of pathogenic bad bacteria in their gut. This is great news as you know from reading this newsletter how vastly important your gut flora balance is to everything from your digestion, immunity, metabolism, skin health , and much more.

The study concluded that while red wine consumption decreased pathogenic bacteria in the gut, it actually had a prebiotic effect in the gut in that it supported the growth and colonies of healthy gut microbes which protect your health. (Read more.)


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Miniature of Woman Thought to be Marie-Antoinette


From East of the Sun, West of the Moon.


Eduard Habsburg on Hungary’s Family Policy Successes

 From The American Conservative:

Eduard Habsburg has served as Hungary’s ambassador to the Holy See and Sovereign Military Order of Malta since 2015. “I am unusual as an ambassador in that I have done many other things—TV work, animation producer, screenwriter, bishop’s spokesman—before, much to my surprise, being nominated as ambassador by the Hungarian government,” Habsburg told me.

In Austria he is still known popularly as Archduke Eduard, and the Habsburgs maintain their royal bloodlines—his wife is Baroness Maria Theresia von Gudenus, with whom he has six children. It is an ancient family with a very current role in 21st-century politics: “I had visions of diplomatic life that can best be summed up as ‘standing around at boring cocktails, holding a glass, and always having to say nice things.’ Boy, was I ever wrong.” Habsburg, who tweets his thoughts on a wide range of issues daily, is a staunch advocate of the pro-life and pro-family policies of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Habsburg is a devout Catholic and Orbán is a Calvinist, but the two agree on much.

As a diplomat, Habsburg represents one of the European Union’s most controversial countries. Joe Biden called Hungary and Poland “totalitarian regimes”; historian Anne Applebaum took aim at Orbán and his allies in her 2020 book Twilight of Democracy; and mainstream media outlets regularly speak of Hungary in ominous tones. This largely stems from Hungary’s social and cultural conservatism, which is offensive to many progressive and liberal journalists and commentators.

“With Hungary you are facing the rare beast of a country where a conservative government has been ruling for three uninterrupted periods—with a two thirds majority,” Habsburg told me. “We all know that a great part of the journalists in the so-called Western world pride themselves on being slightly (or strongly) ‘left of the middle.’ These two realities must necessarily clash, even if we had a prime minister who would speak and act like a mix between Gandhi and Martin Luther King—which Viktor Orbán doesn’t.”

Habsburg says that the media interprets Orbán for the wider public. And since “Hungarian is a unique language that very few people speak themselves,” most people “have to rely on sources inside or outside Hungary that translate material about Hungary. And many of those sources have, let us say, peculiar or strongly political points of view.” The reality is also that “Hungarians don’t like to chisel away at a statement for hours until it is politically correct but like to communicate in a clear and direct way without taking into account how things might be perceived in other countries.” (Read more.)


Critical Race Theory Is A Classic Communist Divide-And-Conquer Tactic

 From The Federalist:

Doused with critical race theory, the Black Lives Matter organization and its related Antifa-infused mobs are organized for the same purposes as all cult recruits: to recruit more people and to implement the desire to divide and conquer. The phenomenon can be seen as they surround people in vehicles or restaurants, demanding their victims raise a fist and recite slogans under the intense intimidation and implications of violence.

Indeed, agitators who deploy critical race theory have zero interest in ending racism. Instead, they’ve made essentially the same point over and over again: Racism is an unsolvable problem. If you’ve been tainted as “white,” there’s nothing you can do about it. You are eternally a racist, especially if you don’t believe you are.

Robin D’Angelo explains it all in her best-selling book “White Fragility.” Your only option is the cultist’s option: submit to your critical race theory overlords, then recruit others to do the same. If, however, you’re a black person who disagrees with all of this, well, then, “You ain’t black.”

As with all forms of identity politics and intersectionality, critical race theory stokes divisions between people where few or none existed before. It’s all about relational aggression and predatory alienation.

Let’s look at a perfect example of this process, a parallel case from Soviet history. As peasant farmers tended to be overwhelmingly religious, traditional, and family-oriented, the Bolshevik government hated them with a fiery passion. Increasing the acrimony further, the peasants resisted giving up their family-run farms—a roadblock to the Soviet leadership’s desire to exercise complete control over the nation’s food supply.

To collectivize agriculture, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin devised a plan to stir up hostilities among the peasants where resentments had never existed before. As would be the case later with Mao’s Red Guard (and today’s radical statue-toppling, Molotov-cocktail-throwing radicals), the Soviets used mobs of youth to do the dirty work.

The communist youth league, known as the Komsomol, went into villages to propagandize and incite divisions, turning formerly peaceful neighbors against one another. In his book “The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia,” Orlando Figes describes the situation:

The villagers had never heard such propaganda in the past, and many were impressed by the long words used by the leaders of the Komsomol. At these meetings, the villagers were told that they belonged to three mutually hostile classes: the poor peasants, who were the allies of the proletariat, the middle peasants, who were neutral, and the rich or ‘kulak’ peasants, who were its enemies. The names of all the peasants in these different classes were listed on a board outside the village school.

This process is eerily similar to the way critical race theory — and all identity politics — has been applied in America. You can see the same three divisions: victims, oppressors, and those who might save themselves by becoming “allies” of the victims.

Note the reference to the Komsomol using impressive “long words.” Today our miseducated youth are easily impressed by new terms such as “systemic racism,” “intersectionality,” and “white fragility.” Finally, the wokesters identify and condemn those marked as oppressors — doxing and canceling them by name — in a written list of names posted in the village. Today such work is helped along by media and Big Tech. (Read more.)


Mystery of Four-horned Goats and Sheep


Some members of the Bovidae family have additional horns. In fact, a few local breeds of sheep, which have been selected by many generations of breeders, are known for their multiple horns. Some goats may spontaneously develop an extra pair of horns as well, particularly in the Alps. Evidence of the existence of these animals, known as polycerate, goes back several centuries, for example, the transfer of a four-horned goat, from the town of Bulle in Switzerland to the Queen's farm in Versailles in 1786—requested by Queen Marie-Antoinette—is duly recorded. However, the genetic causes of this morphological anomaly remained unknown, until now. (Read more.)


Saturday, March 6, 2021

Country-Chic Home Goods


From Architectural Digest:

Her octagonal Brindille dishes are largely white and lightly speckled with folkloric flowers in classic blue—but she also offers the flowers in unexpected burnt ochre, “which I thought would look wonderful on a denim tablecloth.” Another pattern, La Savane, features exotic animals that one would see in the African savanna; it was inspired by Givenchy’s own children, who are passionate about the zoological world. AD100 interior designer Tom Scheerer asked if Givenchy could make a bamboo-motif dinnerware, telling her that “everyone tries to do it, but it always looks too chunky or it’s the wrong color.” Weeks of trial and error later, the artisans pulled together a particularly delicate-looking version. As for her cutlery, it features hand-carved boxwood and olivewood that has been artfully channeled for visual and tactile enjoyment, proof of the enduring power of the handmade. (Read more.)


A Love Story From Communist China

 From The Epoch Times:

After braving two years of relentless torture in a communist forced-labor camp in China, a woman was safely rescued to Australia by her fiancé nearly 20 years ago. The couple, now in their 50s, recounted to The Epoch Times their soul-stirring journey through the darkest days of life, exposing the injustices happening behind the closed red-terror walls of the Chinese jails and labor camps. Theirs is a story of true love, firm faith, and unwavering courage.

Almost two decades ago, Ying Li, now 51, was arrested in China for her faith in the Falun Gong spiritual practice. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a brutal persecution campaign against the peaceful meditation system in July 1999, fearing the practice’s universal teaching of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance as a threat to its ideologies rooted in atheism and Marxism.

Ying, who currently resides in Sydney with her husband and their three children, was persecuted and abused for refusing to give up her faith.

“It is his love that has supported me through the darkest days of my life,” Ying said. (Read more.)


Are We All Khazars Now?

 From The Jewish Review of Books:

Most historians have assumed that the Jews of Eastern Europe are the descendants of Central European Jews who moved eastward in the Middle Ages or shortly thereafter. In 1976, Arthur Koestler popularized an alternative hypothesis. In The Thirteenth Tribe, he argued that most Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the Khazars, a Central Asian people who ruled a large kingdom on the Black Sea and apparently converted to Judaism in the 8th century. This hypothesis has been taken up more recently by Shlomo Sand in a book called The Invention of the Jewish People. Koestler, one of the oddest and most extraordinary public intellectuals of the 20th century, wanted to weaken anti-Semitism by demonstrating that many Jews weren’t Semites at all. Sand, a self-avowed post-Zionist who teaches at Tel Aviv University, is apparently driven by the desire to prove that Ashkenazi Israelis are interlopers in the Middle East. 

The Khazars certainly existed, though not much is known about them. However, the story (or myth) of their conversion to Judaism has seized the imagination of generations of writers, from Judah Halevi, whose 12th-century classic The Kuzari is a philosophical dialogue between a Khazar king and the rabbi who convinces him of the truth of Judaism, to Michael Chabon, who considered calling his 2007 novel Gentlemen of the Road “Jews with Swords.”

Neither Arthur Koestler nor Shlomo Sand based their iconoclastic, politically driven conclusions on serious research. Eran Elhaik, however, is an accomplished scientist who has apparently come to the same conclusion through sophisticated statistical analysis of the salient genetic data. In his view, this proves that most contemporary Jews are descendants of the Khazars. He also thinks that it solves a demographic puzzle. How, he asks, are we to explain “the vast population expansion of Eastern European Jews from fifty thousand (15th century) to eight million (20th century),” particularly given “the severe economic restrictions, slavery, assimilation, the Black Death and other plagues, forced and voluntary conversions, persecutions, kidnappings, rapes, exiles, wars, massacres, and pogroms” to which they were subjected? I shall return to this puzzle, but first let us examine Elhaik’s solution. (Read more.)


More HERE. And HERE.


Friday, March 5, 2021

Marie-Antoinette: Lent and Abstinence

From East of the Sun, West of the Moon, via Vive la Reine:

At Versailles, Lent would have been marked by sermons given at least once a week, depending on who was chosen to give the special sermons and how often they were able to–or wanted to–preach. Marie Antoinette wrote to her mother on March 15th of 1773 on the subject:

This Lent we have a very good preacher three times a week; he talks of the good moral principles in the Gospels and tells everyone many truths; however I prefer the Massillon series of sermons for Lent, because they are more to my taste.

The ‘Massillon’ Marie Antoinette referred to in her letter was Jean-Baptiste Massilon (24 June 1663 - 28 September 1742); a famous bishop and preacher, well known for eloquent and poetical sermons which deal less with questions of dogma and more with issues of compassion, morality and humanity.

One of Massilon’s Lent sermons, ‘On the Fast of Lent,'  was possibly written for a sermon given at the chapel of Versailles–it certainly seems as if he was targeting those in the upper reaches of society, in any case. His words may have resonated with the young Marie Antoinette, who had been exposed to the hypocrisy of many courtiers–including those among her new family–at Versailles; who herself was turning frequently to amusements and pleasures, perhaps to occupy her mind with something other than her sorrows; and who wrote to her mother that she did not always find abstaining from meat to be easy. Perhaps Massilon’s words reminded her that, despite her mild complaints about abstaining from meat, that if those who had almost nothing gladly fasted from meat during Lent, that she–who had everything at her fingertips–could certainly abstain as well.

Of particular interest is a passage, targeted at those who complained about the Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat during Lent and sought dispensations for avoiding it:

Were you, however, to examine impartially into the state of your health, you perhaps would discover that the constant aversion you feel for self-denial and penance, has led you into an error on this subject; and that you imagine that your constitution is weak, because you never have had piety and resolution sufficient to induce you to try its strength.

If this be the case, as it probably is, can you pretend that the very reason which makes penance more necessary, is a sufficient plea for a dispensation? Your imaginary weakness is itself a crime, and ought to be expiated by extraordinary austerities, instead of exempting you from those which are common to all the faithful.

If the Church were to make any distinction among her children; if she was inclined to grant privileges to some, and none to others, it would be to those whose lowly arid dependent station exposes them to the hardships and fatigues of toilsome labour who suffer from the severities of the seasons, from hunger, from thirst, from public oppressions, and from private wrongs who have only a distant view of the pleasures which this world affords and whose happiness has attained its greatest height when a bare sufficiency is procured for themselves and families. But as for those on whom the world has lavished its choicest gifts whose greatest unhappiness arises from the satiety and disgust which is inseparable from sensual felicity, they can pretend to no other distinction than that of increased austerity, and a prolongation of the canonical rigours of penance.

But what is their conduct? The opulent, the independent, the higher classes of society the men who alone seem to need repentance the men for whom this penitential time is principally intended, are almost the only ones who plead for a dispensation; whilst the poor artisan, the indigent labourer, who eats his bread in the sweat of his brow whose days of feasting and merriment would be to the rich man days of penance and mortification, whilst he, I say, bows down with respect and submission to this holy law, and even in his poverty retrenches from his usual pittance, and makes the time of Lent a time of extraordinary suffering and penance

But, my God! the time will come when thou wilt openly espouse the cause of thy holy law, and confound the advocates of human concupiscence. The Pharisees in the gospel disfigured their faces, in order that their fasting might be remarked by men: but this is not the hypocrisy of the present day; no: after a year spent in excess, in murmurings, and in sin, the pampered disciples of a crucified Jesus put on a pale, a weak appearance at the commencement of this holy time, for the sole purpose of setting up a plausible pretext to violate in peace the law of fasting and abstinence.

The full sermon can be read here. (Read more.)


Secret History of the Racist Democrats

 From The National Pulse:

In the late 1960s, Democrats in coordination with media, academia and the most powerful institutions in America, performed the greatest political card trick in history. Until then, the upper echelons of the Democratic Party had a strong, historical association with racism. When they could no longer use government to keep black people from their schools, neighborhoods, and clubs, they shamelessly appropriated the civil rights movement to feign a phony moral superiority. Then they weaponized racism, turning the charge against their political opponents. Merrick Garland is the latest shill in this long and contemptible history.

 The Democratic Party came into prominence in the 1840s by harvesting three out of five uncast slave ballots to check the North’s attempts at abolition. When Northern Whigs and Abolitionists had enough of Democrat vote padding under the three-fifths compromise, they formed the Republican Party to finally stop slavery for good.

They elected the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, and Democrats seceded from the Union and launched a Civil War to preserve slavery. They lost, and to this day, the Democratic Party is the only American institution that ever launched armed insurrection against federal authority – in the 1860s and again in the 1950s – each time to deny African Americans basic civil rights. (Read more.)


Border Chaos

 From the Mel K show:

Mel and David discuss the true dangers at the border, what is going on on the ground in Texas first hand, and who is behind the chaos. Unaccompanied minors are trafficked children and children that grew up in cartels and gangs, and David discusses his experience working with some of the kids over the years, as well as the myth that is spread that good Mexican families send their kids alone to America for a better life. Border lies exposed. The border is no place for children, and definitely not about a better life.


Venetian Glass Beads Found in Arctic

 From SciNews:

Archaeologists often find ‘trade beads’ at archaeological sites dating between 1550 and 1750 CE throughout the Caribbean, the eastern coast of Central and North America, and the eastern Great Lakes region.

Europeans and others created glass beads using technology that didn’t exist in Native cultures.

Explorers carried them to trade with aboriginal people they encountered. Dutchman Peter Minuit included trade beads in his deal for Manhattan Island in 1626.

Dr. Mike Kunz from the University of Alaska Museum of the North and Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Dr. Robin Mills found at least ten glass trade beads at Punyik Point and two other archaeological sites in Alaska.

“Punyik Point, a mile from the Continental Divide in the Brooks Range, is unoccupied today. It was a seasonal camp for generations of inland Eskimos,” Dr. Kunz said.

“Punyik Point was on ancient trade routes from the Bering Sea to the Arctic Ocean, and was probably a dependable place to hunt caribou as the animals moved in fall and spring.”

“And, if for some reason the caribou didn’t migrate through where you were, Punyik Point had excellent lake trout and large shrub-willow patches.”

Along with the radiocarbon dating of the Alaska twine and charcoal found near the beads, the researchers figured the glass beads arrived at Punyik Point sometime between 1440 and 1480.

“How did the beads make their way from the canals of Venice to a plateau in the Brooks Range?” they said.

“In the 1400s, craftsmen in the city-state of Venice traded with people throughout Asia. The beads might have traveled in a horse-drawn cart along the Silk Road eastward toward China.”

“From there, these early Venetian beads found their way into the aboriginal hinterlands, with some moving to the Far East.”

“After that great journey, a trader may have tucked the beads into his kayak on the western shore of the Bering Sea. He then dipped his paddle and made passage to the New World, today’s Alaska. The crossing of Bering Strait at its narrowest is about 84 km (52 miles) of open ocean.”

The scientists think the beads found in Alaska probably arrived at an ancient trading center called Shashalik, north of today’s Kotzebue and just west of Noatak.

“From there, people on foot, maybe traveling with a few dogs, carried them deep into the Brooks Range,” they said.

“Someone at Punyik Point might have strung the exotic blue beads in a necklace, which they lost or left behind as they walked away.” (Read more.)


Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Remarkable Painting Nun

From ArtNet:

Thanks to an unexpected bequest, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art now boasts the largest collection of works by the Mannerist painter and nun Orsola Maddalena Caccia (1596–1676) outside the artist’s native Italy.

Upon hedge-fund manager Errol M. Rudman’s death last year, he surprised the Met with a gift that included three works by Caccia, whose art is rarely represented in US museum collections—or even outside of the convent in Moncalvo, Italy, where she lived and worked.

“I knew next to nothing about her when the gift came to us,” David Pullins, the Met’s associate curator in the department of European painting, told Artnet News. “Obviously, it’s extremely exciting.”

Caccia’s father, Guglielmo Caccia, trained her as an artist and she went on to use her work to support her religious community. A convent was constructed as an extension of the family home and painting became an important part of its income. (Read more.)


'Long Before 2024'

 From Just the News:

Despite facing a $1.3 billion defamation suit for alleging 2020 voter fraud, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell this weekend continued making such claims — even suggesting Donald Trump, who lost his presidential reelection bid last year, will be back in office before the 2024 White House race. Lindell is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems, which alleges he defamed the company with false accusations of having rigged last year's election for President Biden.

"I have all the evidence of the machines," Lindell says in a video recorded this past weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla. (Read more.)


Origins of Stonehenge

 From Daily Sabah:

The origins of the mysterious Neolithic structure Stonehenge might finally be unraveled as a new discovery by archaeologists indicate that the stones used to construct the prehistoric monument were originally part of a larger ancient stone circle in Wales that has been recently unearthed.

Among Britain's most recognizable and mysterious landmarks, the standing stones at Stonehenge draw tourists from around the world and people searching for spiritual connections with the past. Their exact purpose remains unknown.

In 2015, a team of archaeologists established that some of the stones came from a quarry in the Preseli Hills on the western coast of Wales, more than 250 kilometers (150 miles) away.

Now researchers at University College London (UCL) say they believe some of the stones originally formed an even older monument in Wales. They have found significant links between Stonehenge, which was built around 3,000 B.C, and the site in southwest Wales, called Waun Mawn, which stands 280 kilometers (175 miles) away from the UNESCO World Heritage site.

The discovery comes in the wake of several other new and exciting findings related to Stonehenge. In 2019, researchers determined that the builders of the ancient site were most likely Anatolian farmers who migrated to the island, shining light on another significant mystery surrounding the origins of Stonehenge.

More recently, in the summer of 2020, a giant circle of shafts was discovered just 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) away from Stonehenge, making the area even more attractive to tourists. (Read more.)


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Chip and Joanna Gaines Renovated An Emergency Girls' Shelter


From House Beautiful:

Chip and Joanna met with Barbara and Trasha, who oversee the shelter. Barbara had worked at the home since its opening nine years ago. Meanwhile, Trasha had stayed at the home when she was younger and returned to help run it. Classified as an emergency shelter, it takes in girls between the ages of five and 21 for 90 days at a time. The 3,900 square-foot-facility has a total of seven bedrooms, three full baths, and three half baths. Up to 16 girls can be accommodated by the shelter at once.

When Chip and Joanna did their initial walk through, the home had sparse furnishings and lots of empty space. The activity room, for example, had nothing more than a TV on the wall and two desks. Chip and Joanna set out to make the home feel warmer and more nurturing—a place filled with color and creativity to inspire the girls. Here's a peek at their renovation. (Read more.)


‘Metal Shavings & Raw Beef’

 From The National Pulse:

National Guard troops surrounding the U.S. Capitol have received meals that have been undercooked and contained metal shavings, sending over a dozen people to the hospital.

A whistleblower – a Staff Sergeant with Michigan National Guard – spoke with ABC7 meals he and his team have been receiving.

“Yesterday, for instance, there were 74 different meals found with raw beef in them. Just yesterday, soldiers had found metal shavings in their food,” he outlines.

The quality of the meals has sent more than a dozen soldiers to sick call or the hospital according to the Staff Sergeant, who insists the severity of the problem caused it to go up the chain of command:

“They said alright we’re going to make sure we spot check them, and we’re also going to start having them add temperatures to it. At 140, you cook that chicken, undercook it to 140 and now you’re telling, you’re telling us that it’s… 30-minute drive. But these meals are, and this is what they say on the little placard that’s (inaudible) good for four hours. No it’s not. It wasn’t good from the start and now it’s had hours to become even more dangerous.”

(Read more.)

Also from The National Pulse: 

President Donald Trump has confirmed reports he requested 10,000 National Guard troops ahead of the January 6th rally in Washington, D.C., only to be rebuffed by authorities.

Speaking Steve Hilton on “The Revolution,” the former president outlined how he knew in advance of the crowd size:

“Everyone said we’ll be at the rally. It was, I think, the largest crowd that I have ever spoken to before. I have spoken to big crowds, hundreds of thousands of people, more than that, but hundreds of thousands of people.”

In response, Trump said he “gave the number” to the Department of Defense, insisting that 10,000 members of the National Guard would be needed.

“They took that number, from what I understand, they gave it to people at the Capitol, that is controlled by Pelosi, and I heard they rejected it because they didn’t think it would look good,” added Trump in the interview after his Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) speech.

Trump’s comments follow reports that Pelosi discouraged the Sergeant at Arms from deploying the force and an implausible timeline whereby Pelosi approved a request for the National Guard before it was even received by former Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving.

The news confirms reporting from Vanity Fair, mostly ignored by the mainstream media:

On the evening of January 5—the night before a white supremacist mob stormed Capitol Hill in a siege that would leave five dead—the acting secretary of defense, Christopher Miller, was at the White House with his chief of staff, Kash Patel. They were meeting with President Trump on “an Iran issue,” Miller told me. But then the conversation switched gears. The president, Miller recalled, asked how many troops the Pentagon planned to turn out the following day. “We’re like, ‘We’re going to provide any National Guard support that the District requests,’” Miller responded. “And [Trump] goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people.’ No, I’m not talking bullshit. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’” At that point Miller remembered the president telling him, “‘You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do.’ He said, ‘You’re going to need 10,000.’ That’s what he said. Swear to God.”

(Read more.)



 From SciTechDaily:

A team, including an astronomer from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA), have confirmed a planetoid that is almost four times farther from the Sun than Pluto, making it the most distant object ever observed in our solar system. The planetoid, nicknamed “Farfarout,” was first detected in 2018, and the team has now collected enough observations to pin down the orbit. The Minor Planet Center has now given it the official designation of 2018 AG37.

Farfarout’s name distinguished it from the previous record holder “Farout,” found by the same team of astronomers in 2018. The team includes UH Mānoa’s David Tholen, Scott S. Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University, who have an ongoing survey to map the outer solar system beyond Pluto.

Farfarout’s current distance from the Sun is 132 astronomical units (au); 1 au is the distance between the Earth and Sun. For comparison, Pluto is only 34 au from the Sun. The newly discovered object has a very elongated orbit that takes it out to 175 au at its most distant, and inside the orbit of Neptune, to around 27 au, when it is closest to the Sun.

Farfarout’s journey around the Sun takes about a thousand years, crossing the giant planet Neptune’s orbit every time. This means Farfarout has probably experienced strong gravitational interactions with Neptune over the age of the solar system, and is the reason why it has such a large and elongated orbit.

“A single orbit of Farfarout around the Sun takes a millennium,” said Tholen. “Because of this long orbital period, it moves very slowly across the sky, requiring several years of observations to precisely determine its trajectory.” (Read more.)


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Slave Dwelling Project

 From House Beautiful:

"To be honest, I was a little surprised to hear from you," says Joseph McGill, Jr. at the beginning of our interview on The Slave Dwelling Project. McGill started the endeavor to preserve and spotlight onetime slave quarters in an effort to reframe the narrative of American history from the perspective of enslaved people, rather than the enslavers. "You hear 'House Beautiful,' and these aren't exactly the buildings you think when you think beautiful houses," he explains.

Frankly, McGill is right—and that idea is a large part of what drove him to start The Slave Dwelling Project over a decade ago. "11 years ago, when I started, one could visit a plantation or walk through the historic city of Charleston and see beautiful buildings built prior to the Civil War, and you could hear about the magnificence of these buildings, but nowhere in the interpretation was there any language about who was responsible for that building," he says. "Whose labor was stolen for that building to be there—who physically built that building? Who cut down those trees or made those bricks? Who provided the wealth for the person who took the credit for building it—or who was known for building it?" (Read more.)


New York City and the persistence of the Middle Passage. From The Nation:

In the middle of 1856, the soon-to-be-celebrated poet Walt Whitman visited an impounded slave ship in Brooklyn. The taking of the ship was an unusual occurrence, as it was one of the few illegal slavers seized by an otherwise lethargic Washington, D.C., and Whitman wanted to give his readers a tour of the vessel, which had been designed to add even more enslaved laborers to the millions already ensnared in this system of iniquity, including of its hold, where those victimized were to be “laid together spoon-fashion.”

Whitman’s keen journalistic interest was a response to the feverish political climate in his homeland, featuring ever more overwrought cries demanding the relegalization and reopening of the Atlantic slave trade. Officially, this branch of flesh peddling had been rendered illegal by Britain in 1807 and by the United States in 1808, but it had continued nonetheless, with boatloads of kidnapped Africans being transported to the Americas, especially Brazil, Cuba, and the United States. It was likely that some of Whitman’s readers in New York City—the citadel of this illicit commerce—would have taken a decided interest in his grim reportage.

John Harris’s The Last Slave Ships offers a more comprehensive portrait of the illegal slave trade in the Atlantic, starting with the last slave ships to dock in New York Harbor. Mining the historical archives in Spain, Portugal, Cuba, and the United States, Harris demonstrates how, even as slavery was being abolished in the Northern states, it continued to flourish, since the slave system was not confined simply to below the Mason-Dixon Line. The financing of the slave trade’s illegitimate commerce was sited heavily in Manhattan: The ships passed through the waterways of the city’s harbor, and the denizens of Gotham also enjoyed the profits of this odious system, even as many of them publicly denounced it. After all, slave ships required crews, not to mention the need to grease the palms of corrupt officials at the harbor and elsewhere with attractive bribes. In sum, the wealth produced by slave labor built not only a region but a nation. Like Charleston, S.C., and Galveston, Tex., New York City benefited from the trade in human souls—which, in a sense, continues to undergird Wall Street. (Read more.)


Thinking Free

 From Intellectual Takeout:

We see this anger daily among those who wish to command our lives. Outfits like Facebook and Twitter banish certain points of view from their platforms, labeling them as dangerous or as “hate speech.” Some on the left want to shut down or censor organizations such as Fox News or Newsmax simply because some of their reporting and editorials address the lies and distortions of politicians. It angers them, too, when we “keep on thinking free,” living our lives and practicing our faith and beliefs outside of their control.

Unfortunately for these who would be our masters, more and more people are waking up to what their keepers intend for them. They see the spider’s web being woven—what we today would call the matrix—and they understand the motives behind such post-modern ideas as “systemic racism,” cancel culture, and deconstruction. They see how these notions, when put into action, damage our schools, threaten free speech, increase crime and violence in our cities, and deliberately aim at creating groupings based on skin pigmentation, promoting division rather than unity.

In his first five weeks in the White House, Joe Biden issued a combination of more than 60 executive orders, directives, and memorandum. Simply from the sheer volume of these missives, we know that the president had little or no hand in writing them, and we are left to wonder whether he even read them or knew what he was signing.

But some of us have our eyes open, and we see what they are doing.

Let’s keep them riled by “thinking free” and helping others to do the same. (Read more.)


The Island of Gla

 From Ancient History:

Such would have been the climate during the Late Bronze Age. At that time the lake's shores were dotted with Mycenaean settlements, notably Orchomenos, a wealthy palace site in the north-west. There was also a string of Mycenaean forts in the north-east corner, centred on the citadel of Gla some six miles distant. This network of related sites suggests that Bronze Age Boeotia, as elsewhere in the Mycenaean world, supported a complex socio-economic structure under palace administration. Indeed much of mainland Greece was probably divided between several such powerful city-states – Mycenae and Tiryns in the Argolid, for example, and Pylos in Messenia – although the actual relationship between them is still hotly disputed, as is the mechanism by which power was transferred. Insofar as it can be trusted, Greek legend states that the Boeotian cities of Orchomenos and Thebes were enemies, and the forts around Gla were clearly built to protect the area from a neighbour or more distant invader.

Given Boeotia's tough local environment though and its concomitant limitation on resources, continued growth of a city-state could only have been sustained by increasingly specialised agricultural production. With this in mind, archaeologists have connected the Mycenaean draining of Lake Copais for high-yield agricultural purposes with the contemporary construction of the fortified citadel of Gla. (Read more.)


Monday, March 1, 2021

Kylemore Abbey Gardens


 From Country Life:

Thanks to the determination of the resident community of Benedictine nuns, the eight-acre garden at Kylemore Abbey Gardens in Connemara, Ireland, has been restored. Once lockdown lifts, visitors can once again enjoy a Victorian survival in an extraordinary setting. Mary Hackett paid a visit; photographs by Zara Napier.

The magnificent Kylemore Castle in Connemara in the west of Ireland was built by Manchester-born Mitchell Henry, a Harley Street eye surgeon and pathologist who became the Liberal MP for Co Galway and much-loved landlord. Intended as an elaborate tribute to his wife, Margaret, the castle sheltered the growing family until 1902, when it was bought by the 9th Duke of Manchester. It was turned into an abbey when a community of Benedictine nuns, shelled out of their Ypres convent in 1914, settled here in 1920. The nuns have remained to this day and, in 1995, thanks to their efforts, work started on the restoration of the original Victorian walled garden.

Still looking today much as it did when it was built, the castle has as its background the sessile oak and rhododendron that wrap Dúchruach mountain and, on a sunny day, its reflection gleams in the black water of Lough Pollacapul, exactly as Irish architect James Franklin Fuller had intended — the view the  Henrys saw on honeymoon in the 1840s. (Read more.)


Can Yale Be Saved?

From The Stream:

On Wednesday night I took part in a fruitful but profoundly alarming discussion. In an online livestream, I joined three other Yalies: best-selling Christian author Eric Metaxas; dogged and much-abused Christian scholar Robert Oscar Lopez; and Yale ’19 survivor conservative Declan Kunkel. The topic: Can Yale and schools like it be saved? Also: Can attending them lose you your soul?

The occasion? A petition circulating among Harvard students to revoke the diplomas of known Trump supporters. That’s right. These thin-skinned little Stalinists think they can get away with that. In a world where lawyers are trying to get Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley disbarred, it’s best to laugh nothing off as impossible.

Before 2020, if I told you what would happen at Twitter, then happen to Parler, would you have believed me? So don’t console yourself by scoffing. We’re in the midst of a great Awokening. Of mass conversions to a new and false religion. This creed steals what morals it has from the Christian Civil Rights Movement. But it splices them into its own nihilist, Darwinist DNA.

The Frankenstein monster resulting is neither slow, sluggish nor stupid. In fact, it’s busily conquering every bastion in the West, from the sniffy heights of Harvard to the crowded shelves at Kohl’s, even pausing to castrate Mr. Potato Head. (Though it looks like the spud may have been given a temporary reprieve.)

This religion of the antichrist has swamped the Vatican, the EU, the UN, and the US Catholic bishops. Even now it is trying to conquer evangelical colleges and seminaries — in the sheep’s clothing of “critical race theory,” i.e., Marxism in blackface and stubbly, bad drag. (Read more.)


The Denial of Evil: The Case of Communism

 From Dennis Prager at The Epoch Times:

One of the most highly regarded books of the 20th century was Ernest Becker’s “The Denial of Death.” Winner of the 1974 Pulitzer Prize, the book is regarded as a classic for its analysis of how human beings deny their mortality.

But there is something people deny more than mortality: evil. Someone should write a book on the denial of evil; that would be much more important because while we cannot prevent death, we can prevent evil.

The most glaring example of the denial of evil is communism, an ideology that, within a period of only 60 years, created modern totalitarianism and deprived of human rights, tortured, starved, and killed more people than any other ideology in history.

Why people ignore, or even deny, communist evil is the subject of a previous column as well as a Prager University video, “Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism?” I will, therefore, not address that question here.

I will simply lay out the facts.

But before I do, I need to address another question: Why is it important that everyone know what communism did?

Here are three reasons:

First, we have a moral obligation to the victims not to forget them. Just as Americans have a moral obligation to remember the victims of American slavery, we have the same obligation to the billion victims of communism, especially the 100 million who were murdered.

Second, the best way to prevent an evil from reoccurring is to confront it in all its horror. The fact that many people today, especially young people, believe communism is a viable—even morally superior—option for modern societies proves they know nothing about communism’s moral record. Therefore, they do not properly fear communism—which means this evil could happen again.

And why could it happen again?

That brings us to reason number three. The leaders of communist regimes and the vast number of people who helped those leaders torture, enslave, and murder—plus the many more people who reported on their neighbors for saying something objectionable to the communists—were nearly all normal people. Of course, some were psychopaths, but most were not. Which proves that any society—including free ones—can devolve into communism or some analogous evil. (Read more.)


From Crisis:

Yes, all Marxist-influenced initiatives, from the mildly socialist to the violently radical, serve to advance Marxism’s goal: the formation of a worldwide, collectivist, classless state where everyone accepts the principles of atheistic materialism—in a word, communism. While the West hasn’t yet reached that point, the widespread social support for Marxist Critical Race Theory and communist-style censorship makes it plain that we’re moving swiftly in the wrong direction.

How can Catholics offer effective resistance? Well, we could start listening to the voices that have been desperately trying to get through to us for the last 50 years. One of the greatest of these is Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008) whose time in the gulag gave him ample opportunity to observe Marxist ideology and its horrible consequences for humanity.

Here are five ways to resist Marxism, taken from the wisdom of Solzhenitsyn. (Read more.)

From a few moths ago but truer than ever. From Return to Order:

Many moderate voters do not realize that Mr. Biden chose one of the most radically leftist senators as his vice president. There is nothing moderate about Kamala Harris. She will always favor the most radical position.

The Biden Option carries the real possibility that the 78-year-old president, who has shown signs of mental weakness and confusion, might not reach the end of his term. Thus, the radical vice president could well take the place of the “moderate” president. A communistic leader will then rule America following the Democrats’ Marxist platform.

Those who sought to avoid radical Marxism by taking the Biden Option might suddenly find themselves in Communism’s nefarious grip. (Read more.)


From Just the News:

  • Almost immediately after the FBI opened a Russia collusion probe on July 31, 2016 narrowly focused on the foreign lobbying of a single Trump campaign aide named George Papadopoulos, agents pressed Halper for information on more than a half dozen other figures, including future Attorney General Jeff Sessions, foreign policy adviser Sam Clovis, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, economic adviser Peter Navarro, future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and campaign adviser Carter Page.
  • Halper provided significant exculpatory evidence to the FBI — including transcripts of conversations he recorded of targeted Trump advisers providing statements of innocence — that was never disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that approved a year of surveillance targeting the Trump campaign, and specifically Page.
  • While current FBI Director Chris Wray has insisted the bureau did not engage in spying on the Trump campaign, Halper's taskings include many of the tradecraft tactics of espionage, including the creation of a fake cover story (he wanted a job at the Trump campaign), secret recordings, providing background on targets, suggested questions to ask and even contact information for potential targets. (Read more.)


From UncoveredDC:

Justice Clarence Thomas recently wrote in his dissent:

”Elections are “of the most fundamental significance under our constitutional structure.” Through them, we exercise self-government. But elections enable self-governance only when they include processes that “giv[e] citizens (including the losing candidates and their supporters) confidence in the fairness of the election.”

The majority of Americans believe that the election in 2020 was irregular if not fraudulent. Trump supporters believe that President Donald J. Trump was robbed, and many of them are now saying that they will never participate in elections again, “Why bother? The system is rigged.”

We must now create an environment in which the American people demand the necessary solutions to repair this broken election system. The people need to find out “what really happened.” What is the matter with discovering the truth? Eventually, the truth will rise to the top.

President Trump can help all of us by speaking clearly in his upcoming CPAC speech. Whatever the reasons for it, the November 2020 election has shaken the “confidence” of all Americans in our election system, and all of us need to better know what happened. Only when we do can we correctly reform this system and then start to recover our confidence.

If the President simply moves on past the November 3, 2020 election without specifically addressing the massive election irregularities and then directing his supporters to specific action items, the nation may likely never have another free and fair election.

What would I like to hear him say? We, America First supporters, should consider taking the following steps:

  1. Continue to peacefully and patriotically make our voices heard using all means possible.
  2. We must get better organized and more involved in our parishes, wards, towns, cities, and counties.
  3. Identify key upcoming local elections and become a volunteer at your local precincts. We can no longer sit and talk, we now have to stand and do!
  4. Demand local, state, and our federally elected officials take measures to prevent future election fraud.
  5. Seek out America 1st patriot citizens for public office, but be careful not to recruit the next generation of establishment elites.
  6. Recruit others to the Save America movement.

If you want to get involved, you can join the “Defending The Republic” organization. Those leading this to include myself, we will ensure we follow these steps. (Read more.)


Struggling With Authenticity

 From Gabriel Byrne on LitHub:

I struggle with authenticity. Being truthful. Both to myself first and to other people. Is it possible to be completely honest with myself? To admit my fears, my demons, prejudices, the petty envies, the unfulfilled desires? I want to live an authentic life. To take off the mask requires courage. I admit my fragility, my vulnerability and weakness. Why are we so afraid to let others see us as we truly are? Can you ever really know another human being? There is a locked room which we ourselves dare not enter for fear. Fear of what exactly I don’t know. Maybe that is one of the necessities of fiction. It allows us to experience the hidden depths of ourselves and to acknowledge that we are all made of the same human stuff.

I am by nature an introvert. For a long time I was ashamed of this. As if it were somehow a moral failing. I never felt I belonged anywhere. Was always trying to be as real as I could. Seeking authenticity. But paralyzed by my mask and the masks of others. I can be sociable too. But it drains me of energy and I have to find refuge in solitude again. I have few friends. That also used to mortify me. Aren’t you supposed to have huge parties where scores of successful witty people surround you? (Read more.)


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Stewarding Treasures

 From Victoria:

Madame de la Maison, translated “madam of the house,” specializes in antique tabletop items and other pieces related to gathering. What began with tablecloths and plates now includes vases, books, and other decorative pieces to adorn the hosting space. Ajiri theorizes that the reason certain styles pique her interest is because they come from moments in history where there was pomp, circumstance, and fun. Similarly, she hopes the items from her shop will be used in celebration and moments of shared joy. (Read more.)


Death Sheds Light on Elder Care

I have heard other horror stories like this, and always about expensive long-term care facilities. I knew of one older gentleman at a facility for dementia patients who tripped in the night, broke his leg, and lay in agony for hours and hours until the staff deigned to check on him in the morning. He died shortly afterwards. From Mary Beth Bonacci at the Arlington Catholic Herald:

Four weeks ago, Mom was found in that facility’s back yard. Frozen to death. She had let herself out through an unsecured exterior door, unnoticed and unimpeded, on a cold winter evening. No one realized she was missing until the next morning.  A health department investigator told me that she had been out there at least 12 hours. Which means caregivers over three shifts failed to recognize her absence. I’m told she was wearing thin pants, a short-sleeved shirt and socks. The overnight low was 20 degrees.

We are devastated. Beyond devastated. Frankly, I don’t know that it has completely sunk in yet. I think the brain only lets in a little horror at a time. I re-read what I just wrote, and think "Wow, that would be a really horrible thing to happen to a loved one."

I debated what my first column after Mom’s death would look like. I have felt compelled, in social media, to celebrate the person my Mom was and the way she lived. To keep the memory alive of the truly amazing person she was. But I think I did it mostly to distract my mind from the horror of how she died.

But I am feeling more compelled, in this moment, to tell the story of how she died. Because I think it needs to be told. Because others are struggling with the agonizing decision to place a parent in memory care. Because when we were doing our research, we would have wanted to know that these kinds of things happen.

I am not naming the facility here. It will be public knowledge when the Colorado Department of Health and Environment report is completed. I figure by the time the investigations are over, they will be either closed down or the safest place in the nation to place a loved one.

My point here is much bigger. I am discovering the enormous problems we face in senior care, particularly in the era of COVID. I was told by someone in the industry that, since the facilities are locked down and families can’t get in to check on their loved ones, standards are slipping in many places. With no oversight, caregivers and managers are getting lazy. I was in regular communication with Mom’s house manager, and I raised flags every time I suspected a problem. But you can only ascertain so much in phone conversations with a dementia patient.

Now, since her death, we have discovered that her nightly 2 a.m. bed check — a state mandated protocol — had only been done once in the ten days before her death. She could have disappeared on any of those nights, and no one would have realized it.

I have racked my brain to figure out what we could have done differently. The facility had no previous infractions. Their reputation was stellar. Their people seemed very caring. Their website would make you want to move in yourself.

Knowing what I know now, I would have asked some very specific questions. How are the doors secured? Are they alarmed? Is the back yard accessible at night? Are bed checks actually done every night? Who checks the logs to confirm? (Read more.)


The Equality Act

From First Things:

The first, most fundamental provision proposes changing the 1964 Act by replacing the term “sex” with “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity).” Groups supporting the imposition of LGBTQ+ ideology on the law have been attempting to persuade federal courts to define sex this way for many years. And they scored a historical victory in 2020 in Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the ’64 Act includes gender identity and sexual orientation in its definition of “sex.” Even some supporters of this ruling, however, recognize the sophistry of Justice Gorsuch’s majority opinion, and thus its vulnerability in future cases under the current structure of the Court.

HR5, if passed, will resolve that vulnerability. Or will it? One of the most vexing aspects of the ’64 Act is that, while its purpose was principally to outlaw discrimination because of sex, “sex” is not defined in the Act. While HR5 now defines sex as “including sexual orientation and gender identity,” it defines neither. In mainstream LGBTQ+ ideology, “gender identity” is “fluid.” Thus, I might identify as male one day and female the next—or according to which restroom line is longer at the ballpark, theater, or parish fish fry. 

For HR5 expands the ’64 Act’s definition of “public accommodation” to include any “place of or establishment that provides exhibition, entertainment, recreation, exercise, amusement, public gathering, or public display”; and “any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a . . . food bank, service or care center, [or] shelter.” This language means that parishes, parochial schools, and other religiously affiliated institutions could be sued under the bill. In fact, it is difficult to conceive of any place or program outside a private residence that is not included in this definition.

For example, any Catholic Youth Organization sporting event is a place of recreation and exercise. Every Christmas nativity scene is a public display. Every pregnancy counseling center is a service or program. Every diocesan-sponsored woman’s shelter and food bank is, well, a shelter and foodbank. If a church, mosque, synagogue—or any affiliated school, recreation center, or food pantry—provides any of these programs or services, it will be compelled to allow biological men, for example, to use the women’s restroom. Sports teams would be compelled to allow boys to use the girls’ locker room. Shelters for abused and battered women would be forced to admit males. And of course, girls would be forced to compete against boys in sporting events. The bill expressly denies any religion-based objection.

The bill’s sponsors, recognizing that it is an infringement on the free exercise of religion, explicitly deny application of the most important statutory security of the free exercise of religion, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”). The bill specifically provides that RFRA “shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under” HR5. This means two things.

First, if an individual or institution wants to sue a governmental entity to prevent it from enforcing the bill, it may not use RFRA as the authority for its lawsuit. To bring a legal action against any person, one must have statutory or common-law authority under which one prosecutes her claims. As it stands, RFRA provides just such authority. It has been used widely and successfully across the country to protect churches, schools, and other institutions from otherwise generally applicable laws that would force them to violate their religious practice or conscience. Under HR5, this powerful shield against government intrusion on religious liberty would be removed.

Second, if a church, school, or any other place of “public accommodation” is itself sued by an individual or the federal government for violating HR5, it may not use RFRA as a defense against the lawsuit. The very purpose of RFRA is to protect the free exercise of religion from generally applicable laws that unduly burden religious freedom. Without invalidating the law, RFRA is used to fight for exemptions from it. The Equality Act will remove that defense, leaving churches, mosques, synagogues, and virtually any other institution without defense against its imposition of secular ideology. (Read more.)


From Newsweek:

 The Equality Act is 31 pages long, and devotes thousands of painstakingly drafted words to prohibiting "sex discrimination." In all those pages, however, the word "female" never appears.

That's by design. And it spells disaster—not only for females, but for all of us who believe that our laws and language must be grounded in reality. Human beings are created male or female. Our biological sex matters, not only in law but also in practice.

Sex is a basic fact about who we are. It is the whole body's organization for a particular reproductive role; from conception, each individual's body is organized to produce either large gametes (ova) or small gametes (sperm). It's in our DNA. "Every cell has a sex," says the Institute of Medicine. Sexual difference has meaning and consequences. Sex cannot be reduced to "stereotypes," "sex characteristics" (breasts, genitals, etc.), sexual desires ("sexual orientation") or self-perception ("gender identity")—the terms the Equality Act uses to define "sex."

 Notably, the Equality Act's definition makes no mention of what sex actually is: the unchangeable reality that a person is either "male" or "female" (intersex conditions are disorders of sexual development, not a different sex). Only females go through female puberty, get pregnant, give birth and go through menopause. That's biology, and no one can self-define into or out of a biological reality. (Read more.)


From CNA:

The House on Thursday passed the Equality Act, a bill that the U.S. bishops have warned would trample religious freedom protections while codifying gender ideology in federal law. By a vote of 224 to 206, the House passed the Equality Act only six days after it was introduced on Feb. 18. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), recognizes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under civil rights law and forbids discrimination on the basis of those classes in a number of areas.

The U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) has opposed the legislation, saying it upholds gender ideology and the redefinition of marriage and frames gender as simply a “social construct.” Furthermore, it would “punish” religious groups opposed to these beliefs, the conference warned. Through the bill, Congress is forcing “novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations,” stated a Feb. 23 letter by five USCCB committee chairs to members of Congress. (Read more.)

From Dr. Michael Brown at The Stream:

It’s one thing to stand against the mistreatment of those who identify as LGBTQ (or anything else). It’s another thing to turn the world upside down, throw out common sense and logic, and trash the religious liberties of the majority of the nation in the name of equality.

As expressed by the Catholic bishops, “Human dignity is central to what Catholics believe because every person is made in the image of God and should be treated accordingly, with respect and compassion. This commitment is reflected in the church’s charitable service to all people, without regard to race, religion or any other characteristic.”

Consequently, “It means we need to honor every person’s right to gainful employment free of unjust discrimination or harassment, and to the basic goods that they need to live and thrive. It also means that people of differing beliefs should be respected. In this, we wholeheartedly support nondiscrimination principles to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.” (Read more.)

From LifeSite:

Here are five things all Catholics and Christians should know about the drastically pro-LGBT, pro-abortion Equality Act that could become law in a matter of days.

It would force Catholic institutions to hire transgenders, female “priests” — or face sanctions

The Equality Act would mandate that “existing Federal statutes prohibiting sex discrimination in employment” cover gender identity and sexual orientation, outlawing Catholic hiring practices.

“Any church or private school which refused to hire persons who engage in sodomy and other same-sex behaviors, or who support abortion, even though it violates church teaching, will be held to be in violation of the Act,” said Robert Marshall, writing for LifeSiteNews.

“Businesses run by Christians or those who believe in Natural law, who fail the implement the LGBTQ+/abortion agenda, will be fined, just as they would be for engaging in racial discrimination,” he continued, adding that churches may lose tax-exempt status if they reject Democrats’ dictates.

“[C]hurches which ordain male-only clergy would be compelled to change their policies under the Equality Act or lose their tax-exempt status,” he said.

A 2019 letter signed by three high-ranking Catholic bishops, as well as leaders of dozens of Catholic and Christian institutions, raised similar issues, stating that the Act would “subject private employers and others to expensive lawsuits if they fail to adhere to strict preferred pronoun policies.”

“This would affect not only small, family-owned businesses but also charities and other nonprofits that are organized with a specific mission,” it continues.

The Equality Act specifically neuters religious protections provided for in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993 and sponsored by both current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The limitations on RFRA would be the first since the pro-faith bill became law.

The Equality Act would force Christian doctors and hospitals to perform transgender mutilation surgeries, abortions

The act would redefine sex discrimination in federal civil rights law to include “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition,” codifying and expanding abortion protections, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pro-life committee has noted.

“The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act to forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, but it would also fulfill the abortion industry’s long-fought desire to establish abortion as ‘health care’ officially and legally,” Kenneth Craycraft of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and School of Theology recently wrote in First Things.

“It requires that access to ‘treatment’ for pregnancy must not be any different from access to any other kind of health care treatment for any other ‘physical condition.’ But this is all code language for implementation of a vigorous national policy of abortion on demand for any or no reason,” he added. (Read more.)