Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mike Huckabee - Crazy Nutjob? You decide...

The Huffington Post, while reporting on the values voter conference, noted this little gem :

"Though no candidate emerged from the Summit as a clear Christian right favorite, the badly underfunded former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee won over the audience with his insistence that banning abortion would put an end to America's illegal immigration problem." (emphasis mine)

Anti-abortion comment: Check

Anti-illegal immigration comment: Check

Tying both together using incomprehensible logic: Jackpot!

Looks like Huckabee must have read the memo:

Public release date: 7-Nov-2007

Contact: Emily Simon
Harvard University

Roots of Fundamentalism traced to 16th-century Bible translations

Researcher finds that reading was a 'tightrope of terror' for early Protestants

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 7, 2007 -- The English Reformation—heyday of religious change—spurred a fundamentalist approach to Bible reading, according to new research by a Harvard professor.

“Evangelical reading habits after 1525 were disciplinary, punishing and even demeaning,” says James Simpson, Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English in Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

In 1525, Protestant reformer William Tyndale translated the Bible into early modern English. Scholars have widely hailed that moment as a liberating step for the literate public, who could suddenly read the Bible on their own terms—without the constraints of priestly interpretation.

Simpson disagrees.

“The 16th-century moment was not the foundation of liberalism, as many historians have maintained, but rather the foundation of fundamentalism,” he says. “Anyone who wants to understand how fundamentalism is a product of the modern era must look to its birth in the 16th century.”

Tracing the history of biblical translations between 1525 and 1547, or from Tyndale to the death of Henry VIII, Simpson argues that reading in this era became a program of punishment that left believers “persecuted and paranoid.” His argument is the focus of a forthcoming book titled “Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents” (Harvard University Press).

“Evangelicals did not believe that you could be saved through good works, so they looked for signs that the decision had gone their way,” Simpson says. “Reading became the locus for salvation or damnation—it was an intense experience in which your eternal fate would be decided.”

Prologues to the Bible as well as polemical works helped Simpson to illuminate what the reading experience would have been like for commoners in the 16th century. Tyndale’s prologue to the 1525 Bible, for example, highlights the kind of stern warnings offered to private readers.

“If you fail to read it properly, then you begin your just damnation. If you are unresponsive … God will scourge you, and everything will fail you until you are at utter defiance with your flesh,” the prologue reads.

According to Simpson, such rhetoric reveals the fundamentalist nature of these early translations, and indicates the extent to which reformers repudiated individual interpretation.

“Reading became a tightrope of terror across an abyss of predestination,” Simpson says. “It was destructive for evangelicals, because it did not invite freedom but rather fear of misinterpretation and damnation.”

Simpson argues that the history of evangelical reading has important implications for politics in today’s world.

"The birth of fundamentalism marked a new kind of modernity which still influences religion today," he says. "As we enter a new period of fundamentalist reading, we had better understand the ways in which the last period in the West produced 150 years of European violence."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Daylight Savings Discovery

I was resetting the clock on our stove yesterday and noticed that it had a "Sabbath Mode" setting. I've never heard of this before so I googled it (source:

Sabbath Mode Ovens
(The Following Applies to Yom Tov Only)

Sabbath mode ovens are designed to bypass many of the practical and halachic problems posed by the modern oven.

For the Sabbath mode ovens with the random delay feature, one may raise or lower the temperaturet of the oven without concern for the heating element or glow plug. This is because the computer does not directly react to the change in settings. The oven will randomly look to the setting and adjust the temperature. This means that turning on the heating element or glow plug is only an indirect result of your action (grama). Therefore, since a grama is permitted on Yom Tov one may actually adjust the temperature. For the Sabbath mode ovens without the random delay, the temperature may be raised when power is flowing to the oven and lowered when power is not flowing to the oven as indicated by the readout on the display.6

Another issue is that some ovens can be programmed to turn off at a preset time. This feature is known as timed bake. In many models, when the time has elapsed and the oven shuts off, it will sound a bell or buzzer or display a readout (such as the word “end”) to indicate that the oven is off. On some models this buzzer or display will continue until it is manually turned off or until the door is opened, which is not permitted on Yom Tov. On those Sabbath mode models that include the timed bake feature, the buzzer or readout is eliminated. (Please note that once the timed bake goes off, the oven cannot be used again for that Yom Tov.)

As a safety feature new ovens are designed to shut off after being on for twelve hours. Although this safety feature is very important, it creates a problem when preparing food for the daytime meal which is more than twelve hours after the onset of Yom Tov. For all types of Sabbath mode ovens, the twelve hour cutoff is bypassed.

In Sabbath mode ovens, the door plunger switch is disabled so that it will not directly cause any electronic reaction.

The oven cavity light for some Sabbath mode ovens will remain on or off, depending on how Sabbath mode was entered. For other Sabbath mode ovens, the light must be turned on at the control panel before entering the Sabbath mode, or the bulb must be unscrewed.

It is important to note that not all Sabbath mode models offer the same features. If you have a Star-K certified Sabbath mode oven, please check the appliance section of our website at to see which features are available on your model, or contact our office at 410-484-4110.7

The following are some commonly asked questions about oven and stovetop use on Yom Tov:

  1. Why is one allowed to push a button on the keypad of a Sabbath mode oven on Yom Tov?

    Pushing a button on an oven, when in Sabbath mode, on Yom Tov that starts a process internal to the computer without any heat, light, sound, movement or anything tangible that can be perceived, is not considered a melacha and is permitted on Yom Tov. When a melacha is finally accomplished, namely turning on the heating element in the oven, it is accomplished through a grama, (an indirect act because there is a random delay of between 15 and 25 seconds before the heating elements can be activated). This grama is permitted on Yom Tov, but not on Shabbos.

  2. Can one turn on a Sabbath mode oven on Yom Tov or Shabbos?

    Not on Yom Tov, and certainly not on Shabbos. This is because it directly causes the display to change which is prohibited.

  3. Can I set the timed bake feature on Yom Tov?

    For those ovens that have the timed bake feature included in the Sabbath mode, it can only be set from before Yom Tov. This will allow for a one time usage. Once the oven shuts off, it cannot be used again for that Yom Tov. One may not set the timed bake on Yom Tov (and certainly not on Shabbos).

  4. May one turn off their stove or oven to conserve energy on Yom Tov?

    No. One is only permitted to lower the setting when it is necessary for the preparation of the Yom Tov’s food.

  5. May one lower the setting on a Sabbath Mode oven even when it is not for the benefit of the food?

    Those Sabbath Mode ovens that are equipped with a random delay may be lowered on Yom Tov. This is because the random delay makes the reaction of the oven to lower the temperature a grama (indirect action). Although we only permit extinguishing or lowering a flame where it is needed for food, this only applies where one does the action. Here, where the computer will lower the temperature later on as a reaction to your instructions, it is called gram kibui and it is permitted.

  6. Can I open and close a standard oven door at any time on Yom Tov?

    One may open and close the door of an oven on Yom Tov to process the food as needed if this does not cause a light or icon to go on directly because the door was opened. On Shabbos there is a problem with opening the door because you will cause additional burning in the oven. This is prohibited on Shabbos8 and permitted on Yom Tov.

  7. Must I wait until I see the glow plug glowing to open the door to my gas oven on Yom Tov?

    As a rule the oven will not immediately go on because of the reduction of heat created by your opening of the door. Therefore, even though the oven will eventually go on because its door was opened, this is not a direct result of your action. The additional burning is permitted on Yom Tov.

Regarding raising the temperature of a gas oven on Yom Tov, one may not do so unless they know that the glow plug is glowing and the display will not change. This is because raising the temperature setting will direcly cause the glow plug to go on if it is otherwise off, creating a problem of molid. However, if the oven is cerified with sabbath mode that has a random delay feature built in, and this was initiated before Yom Tov, one may adjust the temperature on Yom Tov.