Sep 29 2009

Introducing Mrs. Miner

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:15 am

Below is the first post here from my wife, Mrs. Miner.  It’s about her young student, Jennifer, who recently ran (or just possibly skipped) through the gates of Heaven.

Sep 29 2009


Category: UncategorizedMrs. Miner @ 9:10 am

When I walked into Jennifer’s hospital room, I was initially surprised at the number of people present.  The pediatric intensive care unit doesn’t usually allow more than a few visitors at a time. The hospital staff was letting us say goodbye.

Peggy and I hugged.  There are no words for a mother at a time like this.  Then we both turned to Jennifer.  She was unconscious, breathing like my father had breathed during his last twenty four hours.  I noted the display of her vitals, grim confirmation of the obvious.  Family members were present that I had not yet met.  Introductions were made, and I sat down with silent prayers of support for a family in indescribable pain.

Conversations would start and stop.  Grandma softly sang hymns while stroking Jenny’s face.  Big sister Sarah leaned from her chair and partly lay across Jennifer.  (Maybe, if she could just hold tightly enough…)  Jennifer would occasionally open her eyes, look around briefly, then go back to sleep.  I was told that she had roused earlier in the day, alert enough to demand the remote control for the TV.  Hey, Tom and Jerry rocks.

Jennifer was born with a rare genetic disorder which resulted in a host of problems, including legal blindness, skeletal anomalies, learning difficulties and pulmonary hypertension, a fatal disorder of the heart and lungs.   She attended public school for a time, but became too frail to continue.  Our school district contacted me and asked if I would be interested in teaching Jennifer in her home.  After meeting with Jennifer and her mother, I gladly accepted the position.

Jennifer’s house was modest.  She had three sisters still living at home, and they all shared one bedroom.  There was no father.  Peggy, fiercely devoted to her children, seemed undaunted by her many challenges, drawing strength from extended family, church, and her Lord.  Jennifer was surrounded in love by a family that had truly learned to treasure what’s important in this life.

I quickly grew accustomed to her oxygen tank and was even able to avoid stepping on the tubing that accompanied Jennifer everywhere she went.  After a little more time, I nearly stopped seeing them altogether.  Jennifer was just … Jennifer.  Fourteen years old when I met her, she only weighed about sixty pounds, but she had a big attitude.  She was assertive, even stubborn, and her family and I would have it no other way.

Sweet Pea, one of two tiny canine family members, merely tolerated my presence, but she and Jennifer adored one another.  When Jennifer was feeling worse than usual, Sweet Pea would hop into her lap, seeming to comfort both of them.  In turn, Jennifer took excellent care of her dogs, leaping to their defense when I threatened one or both of the creatures with barbecue sauce.

Jennifer and I worked out of a small room Peggy had set up for that purpose.  This room was Jennifer’s domain, and she took great pride in her school work and in keeping her materials organized.  It never ceased to amaze and sometimes shame me that Jennifer accepted her many limitations without complaint. She was determined to find the good in all situations and never missed an opportunity to laugh.  Once, we read through The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  When I asked what the troll had in mind for the goats, Jennifer gleefully replied, “He wants to eat them!”  She licked her lips. Then she giggled.  Oh, that giggle…  It filled the room and made you laugh right along.

Jennifer was generous.  Sometimes I arrived at her home to find a brownie or some other example of her growing culinary skills waiting for me.  When my son had surgery, she sent him a homemade get-well card.  This required Jennifer to hold her face about three inches from the paper while she worked on the greeting.  She certainly wasn’t going to let a small annoyance like legal blindness stop her from encouraging another.

Jennifer’s life was worth living, and she lived it well.  I’ve heard some say she is “resting in peace,” but I see her running for the first time.  Running, running, running… into her Father’s arms.

Jennifer Monique Tinker

January 10, 1994-September 17, 2009

Sep 28 2009

Russia buying arms from Israel and others?!?

Category: Israel,military,Russiaharmonicminer @ 9:11 am

It seems now that it has become common for Russia To Spend More on Purchasing Arms Abroad.

The Ministry of Defense is looking at the armory and equipment produced by foreign manufacturers. After the war in August 2008, there were many discussions about purchasing Israeli unmanned aircraft systems. The systems were purchased without much buzz. Shooting equipment for some of the Special Forces departments is purchased abroad. Recently it was reported that a Mistral-class helicopter carriers may be purchased in France.

I’m especially interested in the notion of Russia buying arms from Israel.  Just consider what it would mean if Israel became a major supplier for Russia.   Israel is known for making cutting edge weapons systems, both in small arms and more high-tech items.  It would be very interesting if Russia became dependent on Israel for some items it found essential for its own military.  That would be bound to affect the Russian participation in Middle East matters….  and Russia’s recent slightly harder stand towards Iranian nukes may be evidence of that.

It bears watching.

Sep 27 2009

Under Obamacare, we’ll all pay for abortion-on-demand, won’t we?

Category: abortion,religionharmonicminer @ 8:59 am

Some on the Christian Left would like to pretend that they are pro-life while essentially supporting politicians and policies that are pro-abortion. (More on that general topic here.)   In this interesting article, Michael New discusses this, and sums up this way:

It seems that any concerns about abortion raised by Catholic Left groups like Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United are nothing more than rhetorical arm-waving. Technically both groups are nominally pro-life, but neither group has once criticized the Obama administration for pursuing policies which undermine the sanctity of human life, such as rescinding the Mexico City policy, repealing the Dornan Amendment, and ending the federal ban on funding on embryonic-stem-cell research.

However, health-care reform is more visible than some of these other initiatives. Furthermore, there is a good chance that if health-care reform is passed, the Department of Health and Human Services will be issuing reimbursements for abortions. To fend off future criticism, the Catholic Left probably saw a need to issue some statements to purchase itself some political cover.


Sep 26 2009

Biased reporting on the Middle East

Category: media,middle eastharmonicminer @ 11:09 am

Here’s a nice read from the Christian Science Monitor on The unseen bias in Middle East reporting.

Of course, many of us have been able to see that bias for quite a long time, and not only in reporting about the Middle East. But it’s nice when other people notice it, too.

Sep 26 2009

An Afghan Tribal Chief’s view of the facts on the ground

Category: Afghanistanharmonicminer @ 9:21 am

Following up on this discussion about our prospects in Afghanistan, here is An Interview with an Afghan Tribal Chief. This video and/or text interview is the first in a series on the blog of Steven Pressfield, and I highly recommend it, as well as his books, which have to be one of the most entertaining and engaging ways of learning history I’ve seen.

Sep 26 2009

Counterpoint to Netanyahu’s speech to UN: new Iranian nuke facility

Category: Iranharmonicminer @ 8:59 am

A secret Iranian nuclear facility has been announced, incredibly, by the UN (incredibly):

In what might be described as a bombshell, the International Atomic Energy Agency has announced that Iran had informed the agency earlier this week that it has a covert underground uranium enrichment plant in addition to the one known at Natanz.

The admission to the IAEA in Vienna comes on the heels of reports that the US, Britain and France were about to reveal the plant’s existence at the meeting of the G-20 this week in Pittsburgh.

The revelation will make it harder than ever for Iran to claim its uranium enrichment programme is for peaceful purposes. Natanz itself was a secret until rumbled in 2003, and put under inspection by the IAEA. It is hard to imagine why Iran would need to keep yet another enrichment plant, near the holy city of Qom, a secret if it was merely to make yet more fuel for its still-uncompleted nuclear power plants.

More at the link above. In the meantime, Obama continues to talk about nuclear disarmament. Maybe something else is going on behind the scenes.

We can hope.

Sep 26 2009

No, Virginia, you won’t get to keep your coverage, even if you DO like it now

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:53 am

Case Closed

The Democrats are perfectly well aware that millions of Americans will lose the coverage they have under their proposal, whatever form it finally takes. In fact, that’s their objective: in the long run–President Obama has said it may take 10 to 20 years–they intend to force all of us to lose our private health care and be forced into a socialized medicine system.

At the link, a report on a simple amendment that tested the Democrats’ sincerity on letting people keep the coverage they now have, if they like it. You know how it turned out without looking, of course, but it is interesting.

Sep 25 2009

More archaeological corroboration of the Old Testament

Category: history,Israel,religionharmonicminer @ 8:32 am

Here’s a very interesting article discussing a find of Coins with Joseph’s name found in Egypt

Archeologists have discovered ancient Egyptian coins bearing the name and image of the biblical Joseph, Cairo’s Al Ahram newspaper recently reported. Excerpts provided by MEMRI show that the coins were discovered among a multitude of unsorted artifacts stored at the Museum of Egypt.

According to the report, the significance of the find is that archeologists have found scientific evidence countering the claim held by some historians that coins were not used for trade in ancient Egypt, and that this was done through barter instead.

The period in which Joseph was regarded to have lived in Egypt matches the minting of the coins in the cache, researchers said.

“A thorough examination revealed that the coins bore the year in which they were minted and their value, or effigies of the pharaohs [who ruled] at the time of their minting. Some of the coins are from the time when Joseph lived in Egypt, and bear his name and portrait,” said the report.
“Studies by Dr. Thabet’s team have revealed that what most archeologists took for a kind of charm, and others took for an ornament or adornment, is actually a coin. Several [facts led them to this conclusion]: first, [the fact that] many such coins have been found at various [archeological sites], and also [the fact that] they are round or oval in shape, and have two faces: one with an inscription, called the inscribed face, and one with an image, called the engraved face – just like the coins we use today,” the report added.

One of the comments to the article says that these weren’t “coins” but “protection amulets.”  One can only wonder where the commenter keeps his time machine.

It would make sense that Joseph’s image would have been used for such things sometimes, since he was number two for many years in the Egyptian hierarchy, second only to Pharoah himself, and essentially acted as Pharoah’s surrogate, according to the Biblical record. 

More humorous, in a dark sort of way, was this comment:

But since HAMAS insists that this country was never Jewish, the obvious conclusion is that Joseph went to Egypt from Brooklyn, perhaps from Boro Park. Now it all becomes clear; there is really no quarrel between us at all. Joseph was the first Lubavicher Rebbe.

That really would explain a lot, since I’ve known several people from Brooklyn who would sell their own brother.

Sep 23 2009

Obama and Academia – a Fascinating Comparison: BUMPED

Category: college,education,Obamaamuzikman @ 7:00 pm

The author of this article makes some very interesting comparisons and poignant observations about the Obama presidency and academic life.  It is worth reading every word.

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