Friday, April 28, 2006

Parents Try To Sue School

Two families filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a Massachusetts town and its public school system after a teacher read a gay-themed fairy tale to children without notifying them first.

The suit against Lexington seeks unspecified damages after the book "King & King" was read to a classroom of about 20 mostly 7 years olds. It is believed the first of its kind, the families' lawyers said.

The complaint said the school had "begun a process of intentionally indoctrinating very young children to affirm the notion that homosexuality is right and normal in direct denigration of the plaintiffs' deeply held faith."

It also charges that Lexington broke a 1996 Massachusetts law requiring that parents be notified of sex-education lessons. It names Lexington Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash and several other school and town officials.

Ash said the school was under no legal obligation to inform parents the book would be read. "This school district is committed to a welcoming environment for all kids. We embrace the diverse nature of the community," he told Reuters.

"King & King" tells the story of a crown prince who rejects a bevy of beautiful princesses, rebuffing each suitor until falling in love with a prince. The two marry, sealing the union with a kiss, and live happily ever after.

Ash has said reading the book was not intended as sex education but as a way to educate children about the world in which they live, especially in Massachusetts, the only U.S. state where gays and lesbians can legally wed. It was read during a lesson on different types of weddings.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston alleges violations of the federal civil rights of the two sets of parents, David and Tonia Parker, and Rob and Robin Wirthlin. The families are devout Judeo-Christians, it said.

"I was concerned that I had not broached this topic with my young child yet and I was concerned that the point of view that was being presented was different from our family's personal moral values," said Robin Wirthlin.

The suit also accuses the town and school officials of violating the Massachusetts civil rights code and the state's parental notification law.

The issue erupted when Robin Wirthlin complained to the school's principal after her 7-year-old son told her about the reading last month. She then turned to the conservative Massachusetts-based advocacy group Parents Rights Coalition, which issued a statement on the case to the media last week.

David Parker has been entangled with the town's school system since he was arrested a year ago for trespassing when he refused to leave school grounds until authorities promised to excuse his son from classroom discussions on same-sex parents.

His son, who at the time was about 5 years old, had brought home a "diversity book bag" that included the book "Who's in a Family?" The book includes pictures of same-sex parents along with other types of families.

Lexington school superintendent Paul Ash said the schools have no agenda and have done nothing illegal.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Natives Occupying Land

Last week, the Ontario Provincial Police tried, unsuccessfully, to remove some Six Nations natives from a residential development in Caledonia, Ontario. The police may have been asked by the developer to invoke a judge's decision to get them out and ended up arresting 16 people. Some of the protestors armed themselves with two-by-fours and crowbars. Now, the natives have set up barricades around the site.

Several years ago, there was a similar protest at Camp Ipperwash just north of Sarnia. Native Dudley George was shot and killed and there is an inquiry into his death. There was mention in today's paper that natives might protest a bridge that would be built across the Grand River in Kitchener to create a road from the city to the aiprort. This is despite that there are no native reserves in the region.

The natives better stop and think what they are doing. They have been asking the federal government to help with water quality in the reserves and I think iit is time that there should no longer have special rights in the Constitution when they abuse their rights.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Exodus Decoded

The Exodus Decoded aired in Canada this past Sunday on the Discovery Channel and will be broadcast in the US soon. It is produced by James Cameron and narrated and directed by Simcha Jacobovich. A disclaimer at the beginning says the opinion is the producer's and not necessarily Dicovery's.

The first piece of evidence that the Exodus happened is the Ahmose Stele dated from 1500 B.C. The stone describes a catastrophic event, a great storm, and that is was created by one God. The pharoah that is believed to be the one that released the Israelites was Ahmose, which in Herbrew is brother of Moses. Ahmose's father had a crushed skull suggesting he died from a battle.

Next evidence is Avartis, the city of slaves, which Egyptians force archaelogists to cover it up every year. They have found Egpytian seals with a Hebrew name on it. They have found evidence on Alphabetic inscriptions on walls in Sinai area.

There was a major volcanic eruption of Santorini, near Greece, around this time. Pumice was found in the Nile Delta and the Stele and the Bible describe large earthquake storms.

The first plague was from underwater gas leaks that caused the Nile to turn red. Similar events happened at two lakes in Cameroon about twenty years ago. This would cause the frog, lice, flies and bacteria infestions. The boils were also caused by the carbon dioxide gas as they did in Cameroon. The hail of ice and fire was caused by the Santorini eruption. This would keep the locusts down at ground level and cause darkness for several days.

The tenth plague was from the release of the toxic gas coming from the water and form in mist-like fog. Because Egyptian first-born slept on low-levelled beds, they died while the other Egpytians slept higher up and the Israelites were celebrating the Passover. A similar incident happened at Cameroon as people and animals died from the toxic gases. A mass grave of only male plague victims was found and Ahmose's son died at the age of tweleve.

The Yam Suf or Sea of Reeds is found at Lake El Bah. Several hieroglyphics in a museum tell of the Exodus. It is believed that salt collapsing in the Mediterrean Sea from seismic tremors caused the area to be drained and a tsunami flooded the lake again. Some Israelites may have gone to Greece because Greeks were trade partners.

The traditional Mount Sinai, Mt. Catherine, is not the mountain because it has no large plateau, a holy mountain or place where sheep/goats can graze. The mountain is 14-day journey from Egpyt, about 45 km from the grazing site Timea and a 11-day journey from Kadesh Barnea. The mountain is Mt. Hasham El Tarif, which has a large cleft, rock grave site on the summit and had a natural spring as mentioned in the Bible.

The final piece of evidence is the Ark of the Covenant. They found a small artifact in the Egpytian museum where they found the hieroglyphics. It seems to depict the ark as described in the Bible. The conclusion says the only question is that did this happen from nature or divine intervention.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Naked Archaeologist

I was watching a four-episode marathon of The Naked Archaeologist the other day. The episodes dealt with Jesus' crucifixion, Jesus' early years, the story of David and St. John the Baptist.

There has been only one piece of evidence found of a Roman crucifixion, that the Romans did not invent crucifixions and there were different ways of crucixion. It was noted at the end, the reason why we cannot find more evidence of crucifixions is that family would take the nailed hands or feet and keep them as lucky charms like a rabbit's foot.

In the early years episode, it is noted that nativity is different is the Gospels, there are two Bethelems, one in Judea - the traditional one, and one in Galilee.

In the David episode, many believe that the size of Goliath is exaggerated but there is disputation in the size of David's kingdom.

In the St. John the Baptist episode, they mention of several sects in Christianity that believe that John was bigger than Jesus and Da Vinci painted John more often Jesus.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fossil Fish Sheds Light on Transition

From Yahoo! News and Nature Magazine:

Scientists have caught a fossil fish in the act of adapting toward a life on land, a discovery that sheds new light one of the greatest transformations in the history of animals. Scientists have long known that fish evolved into the first creatures on land with four legs and backbones more than 365 million years ago, but they've had precious little fossil evidence to document how it happened.

The new find of several specimens looks more like a land-dweller than the few other fossil fish known from the transitional period, and researchers speculate that it may have taken brief excursions out of the water.Experts said the discovery, with its unusually well-preserved and complete skeletons, reveals significant new information about how the water-to-land evolution took place.

The new find includes specimens, 4 to 9 feet long, found on Ellesmere Island, which lies north of the Arctic Circle in Canada. It is reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature by Shubin, Ted Daeschler of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and Farish A. Jenkins Jr. of Harvard.

Some 375 million years ago, the creature looked like a cross between a fish and a crocodile. It swam in shallow, gently meandering streams in what was then a subtropical climate, researchers say. A meat-eater, it lived mostly in water.
Yet, its front fins had bones that correspond to a shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm and a primitive version of a wrist.

It might have pulled itself onto stream banks, perhaps moving from one wet area to another, and even crawled across logs in swamps. The researchers have not yet dug up any remains from the hind end of the creature's body, so they don't know exactly what the hind fins and tail might have looked like.

The creature was dubbed Tiktaalik roseae, and also had the crocodile-shaped head of early amphibians, with eyes on the top rather than the side. Unlike other fish, it could move its head independently of its shoulders like a land animal. The back of its head also had features like those of land-dwellers. It probably had lungs as well as gills, and it had overlapping ribs that could be used to support the body against gravity. Yet, the creature's jaws and snout were still very fishlike, showing that "evolution proceeds slowly; it proceeds in a mosaic pattern with some elements changing while others stay the same," Daeschler said.

Shubin said the researchers plan to return to the small rocky outcropping that yielded the fossils and recover more material. "We've really only begun to sort of crack that spot," he said.

The site is in Nunavut Territory, and "Tiktaalik" in the creature's name comes from the traditional language used in the area. It refers to a large freshwater fish seen in the shallows.