Archive for July, 2013

The One-Acre Mosquito Trap

July 30, 2013

I occasionally buy gifts from Hammacher-Schlemmer, even though they are a little too upscale for my budget. Even though I can’t afford most of their products, I still find it fascinating to browse through their catalog. They really do sell some unique items. One thing that caught my eye was the One-Acre Natural Attractant Mosquito Trap. Here is the description from their website.

This trap attracts and kills mosquitoes across one acre without harmful chemicals. The trap mimics the natural conditions of human habitation by emitting heat and odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light to lure mosquitoes. Carbon dioxide is generated when ultraviolet rays from two fluorescent bulbs react with a titanium dioxide coating inside the trap. When the mosquitoes are drawn inside the device, an integrated fan traps the insects and sends them to a removable net where they die of dehydration. Unlike propane systems that require frequent refills or electrocution traps that release pathogens when an insect is killed, this superior model uses 5,000-hour rated UV bulbs and does not create biological agents. Plugs into AC. 22″ H x 13″ Diam. (9 lbs.)

And a picture.

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I really like this,not only because I really, really hate mosquitoes, but also because it generates carbon dioxide, or “carbon pollution” as they call it these days. I would love to run this thing all year round just to increase my carbon footprint and promote global warming/climate change/climate catastrophe/ climate something bad. At $199.95,the mosquito trap is more than I can afford, but it might be worth the money just to irritate global warming alarmists.

Fast Food Strike

July 30, 2013

Employees at some fast food restaurants are planning to walk off the job to demand higher wages. Read about it here at Fox News.

Workers at the nation’s best known fast-food restaurants in seven cities across America are planning to walk off the job Monday to protest what they say are wages that are too low to live on. In a move orchestrated with the help of powerful labor unions and clergy groups, the workers plan to strike for a day to demand their wages be doubled.

The Washington Post reports that the protests will take place in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Flint, Mich., involving workers at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Some employees at stores including Dollar Tree, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret are also expected to join the protesters in several cities.

The workers are calling for wages of $15 per hour, more than double New York’s current minimum wage of $7.25.

A network of local community groups, clergy and unions, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), are backing the strike.

“SEIU members, like all service-sector workers, are worse off when large fast-food and retail companies are able to hold down wages and push benefit standards for working people,” Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, told the Washington Post.

In New York City, the protests were organized by a group called Fast Food Forward, which states its Twitter account: “No one can survive on $7.25.”

“A lot of the workers are living in poverty, you know, not being able to afford to put food on the table or take the train to work,” Fast Food Forward director Jonathan Westin told CBS New York. “The workers are striking over the fact that they can’t continue to maintain their families on the wages they’re being paid in the fast-food industry.”

The group posted a photograph on its Twitter account early Monday depicting workers who have “walked out” in New York.

Fast-food workers in New York City earn an average salary of $11,000 annually. That’s less than half of the average daily salary — $25,000 — for most fast-food restaurant CEOs. Employees in the $200 billion industry make 25 percent of the money they need to survive in New York City while working at fast-food restaurants, according to the group’s website.

I sympathize with these people. Working in a fast food restaurant is an unpleasant job and they don’t get paid what they really deserve. The trouble is that no one gets paid what is actually fair. They get paid according to how much their labor is worth. There is no shortage of people qualified to work at McDonald’s and given the present unemployment rate, I doubt that McDonald’s is having too much trouble finding people to staff its restaurants. These factors tend to keep wages low. On the other hand, it may be unfair that a corporate CEO is paid more in one day than many are paid in a year, but there are not that many people who have the skills and experience to be a CEO. If you try to pay a CEO according to what might be fair, you may find it extremely difficult to attract somebody who is actually qualified, as Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream discovered.

Also, I don’t  about the finances or profitability of these restaurants but it may be that their profit margins are slim enough that they cannot pay their employees much more without suffering losses. Most people do not go to fast food restaurants like McDonald’s for the fine dining experience. They go because the food is cheap and fast, so places like McDonald’s cannot raise their prices by very much, or they will lose customers and money. I am afraid that if these employees force matters, they may find out the hard way that while it is difficult to live on $7.25 an hour, it is far more difficult to live on $0 per hour.

I know this might sound harsh, but we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might like it to be. The simple truth is that your employer is not obliged to pay you a “living wage”. They are only required to pay you what your labor is worth, and sometimes they don’t do even that. If you are trying to live on minimum wage, then you need to take stock of your life and decide what skills and experiences you can acquire that an employer is willing to pay a decent wage for and then figure out how you can acquire them. This is not easy. In fact, it is very difficult, but it may be the only way you can get ahead. You will never get ahead by complaining how unfair life is, or how unfair the other guy was born with more opportunities than you have had. It is unfair, but we each must make the most of what opportunities are given to us.

 

George Zimmerman is a Good Man

July 29, 2013

I have not written anything on the characters of the two people involved in the altercation at Sanford, Florida which led to the death  of Trayvon Martin simply because I do not know anything about their personal lives and it didn’t seem to be at all relevant to the issues of the incident and the trial. I still cannot say very much about Martin. He seems to have been involved in some petty crimes and perhaps was a somewhat troubled young man. I think it likely that he would have changed once he grew up and might well have been a successful member of his community. We will never know.

As for George Zimmerman, the story of his rescue of a family in an accident tells us a lot about his character. Here is the story from Fox News.

George Zimmerman, who has not been seen publicly since his acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin earlier this month, surfaced last week to rescue an unidentified family trapped in an overturned vehicle on a Florida highway, police said Monday.

Sanford Police Department Capt. Jim McAuliffe told Fox News that Zimmerman, 29, was identified by a crash victim as the man who pulled him from the mangled vehicle.

“George Zimmerman pulled me out,” firefighters were told by the unidentified driver, according to McAuliffe.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said the single-car accident occurred July 17 at approximately 5:45 pm. and involved a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had left the road and rolled over.

The sheriff’s office said there were four occupants inside — two parents and two children. There were no reports of injuries.

The deputy responding to the crash said that when he arrived, two men — one of whom was Zimmerman — had already gotten the family out of the overturned vehicle.

Zimmerman was not a witness to the crash and left after making contact with the deputy, the sheriff’s office said.

The crash occurred at the intersection of I-4 and Route 417 in Sanford, police said.

He didn’t have to do that. Given his notoriety, he could have simply kept on driving and not shown his face in public. That might have been safer for him. He also didn’t have to volunteer to be the coordinator for the neighborhood watch. He didn’t have to try to stop a wave of burglaries in his neighborhood.   He didn’t have to protest the police beating of a Black homeless man and accuse the Sanford police of conspiring to cover up the event. He could have lived his life looking the other way, like most of us do. He didn’t He was evidently the sort of man who stepped up and took responsibility. That makes him a good man and a hero.

To get an idea of what he is facing, here is the rest of the article at Fox News.

In another development, Sanford police confirmed that Monday they had delivered boxes of evidence from their Zimmerman investigation, including his firearm, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice.

Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder on July 13 in the killing of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman’s parents, meanwhile, have told ABC News that they have received death threats and have been unable to return to their home following the verdict

“We have had an enormous amount of death threats,” Robert Zimmerman said. “George’s legal counsel has had death threats, the police chief of Sanford, many people have had death threats … ‘Everyone with Georgie’s DNA should be killed’ — just every kind of horrible thing you can imagine.”

And while the family he rescued are grateful, they would rather not say anything about what happened. That is understandable, considering the circumstances, but also cowardly and ungrateful. Here is their story in the Daily Mail.

The family rescued by George Zimmerman after a rollover crash in Florida are terrified they will become targets for hate mobs who have made death threats to the neighborhood vigilante.

Mark and Dana Michelle Gerstle told friends they do not want to talk publicly about Zimmerman for fear they will be accused of portraying him as a hero – and face a backlash from those who consider he got away with murder.

‘They are very grateful to Zimmerman for what he did, but they do not want to get involved,’ said a friend, who asked not to be named.

‘There is so much hatred directed towards him they have got to think about their own family. There are a lot of crazies out there. If they say anything in support of him it could backfire.’

The neighborhood watch volunteer, who to many is the most hated man in America after being acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin, helped save the family after a terrifying crash.

Friends of the couple, who make regular trips from their home to the Disney theme parks in Orlando, said they will be concerned that they could become targets for hate mobs who have threatened revenge for the death of Trayvon Martin.

‘Let’s face it, George Zimmerman is pretty toxic right now,’ said a friend.

‘Mark has two young children and has got to live his life round here. Why would he want to mark himself out.

‘Whatever he says could be taken out of context. If he praises Zimmerman then people will say he is making him into a hero. It is easier if he says nothing.’

Such is life in Obama’s America. George Zimmerman has been declared an enemy of the people, by the President himself and anyone who gives him aid and comfort faces the wrath of the mob. Well, I will praise him, where praise is deserved. He is a good man and should be celebrated rather than threatened, and it says a lot about our degradation as a country that he is not.

Quality or Quantity

July 28, 2013

I was thinking about the e-mail I received from Organizing for Action the other day; the one criticizing Speaker Boehner for claiming that Congress should be judged by the number of laws that are repealed. It occurs to me that the standard they are using to judge Congress is based on the number of bills passed rather than whether the bills are actually good ideas. Surely it is better to pass one good law than ten bad ones, and surely it is better to repeal ten laws known to be bad than to pass one law which may be good. I really wish we could somehow get away from the mentality that the solution to any problem is pass legislation quickly without thinking too much about whether it might have any unintended consequences.

It is not too hard to imagine why politicians of every party prefer to be judged by quantity rather than quality and why they would rather not be judged by results. If people ever realized that they would be better off trying to solve their problems on their own, rather than expecting the government to do something, and that the sort of person who runs for office is the last one you should depend on,  then most politicians would be out of a job.

Freedom, Security, and Chris Christie

July 27, 2013

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had something to say about the “strain of libertarianism going through both parties” while attending  a meeting of the Aspen Institute. Here is the story in the Washington Post.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday offered a clear broadside against Republicans drifting toward a more libertarian view of foreign policy, lumping Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in with them and suggesting they explain their position to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The House earlier this week narrowly voted against a reduction in funding for the National Security Agency’s program collecting Americans’ phone records, as libertarian-leaning members from both sides joined together to vote for the amendment.

“As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought,” Christie said.

Asked whether he includes Paul — a fellow potential 2016 presidential candidate — in his criticism, Christie didn’t back down.

“You can name any one of them that’s engaged in this,” he said. “I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. … I’m very nervous about the direction this is moving in.”

Christie acknowledged that there will always be mistakes when it comes to national security and protecting privacy, but said Americans need to stay focused on what’s at stake.

He dismissed some of the current privacy/national security debates as “esoteric.”

“I think what we as a country have to decide is: Do we have amnesia? Because I don’t,” he said. “And I remember what we felt like on Sept. 12, 2001.”

We do need to have more of a pubic debate on what balance between freedom and security we, as a nation, want to take. I am nervous about the direction things are moving in, but I am not sure if my concerns are quite the same as Christie’s. While I certainly do not want another terrorist attack on the scale of 9-11, I also do not especially want to live in a country where Big Brother is watching my every move. Frankly, I would rather take the risk of a terrorist attack to having to live with the level of surveillance that would make such an attack impossible. I mean, you never hear about terrorists attacking North Korea, but who would want to live there?

There is also the question of how well the NSA’s surveillance is actually working. They didn’t prevent the Boston bombing. They didn’t prevent the attempted car bombing at Times Square, or the Shoe Bomber, or the Underwear Bomber, or the attack at Benghazi. It is possible that for each one of these acts listed, the NSA anticipated hundreds of attempted attacks, yet how can we know?

I remember how I felt on September 12, 2001. I also know that immediately after a crisis is the worst possible time to consider any legislation to address that crisis. While emotions are still high and everyone’s afraid, stupid and ineffective laws are likely to be passed without close examination. This is why politicians love to pass laws immediately after a crisis. They also love to drag out widows and orphans to pull on the heart strings and evade any rational examination of whether any proposed legislation is working as intended.

Rand Paul struck back.

“Defending America and fighting terrorism is the concern of all Americans, especially Sen. Paul,” Paul’s former chief of staff, Doug Stafford, said. “But it can and must be done in keeping with our constitution and while protecting the freedoms that make America exceptional.”

Paul himself also tweeted a response:

Senator Rand Paul         @SenRandPaul

Christie worries about the dangers of freedom. I worry about the danger of losing that freedom. Spying without warrants is unconstitutional.

I worry about that too.

Christie appeared alongside Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R). The four GOP governors appeared side-by-side at a session hosted by the nonpartisan Aspen Institute.

The four of them — along with Paul — are all considered among the GOP’s top potential presidential candidates in 2016, with each of them ranking on The Fix’s most recent list of the top 10 likeliest nominees.

If Chris Christie keeps going the way he has been, he might not continue to be among the GOP’s top presidential candidates in 2016. He certainly won’t deserve to be.

 

The Lamb and the Fuhrer

July 26, 2013

Adolf Hitler committed suicide as his Third Reich collapsed around him. He was never tried for his crimes against humanity. The only time Hitler ever was on trial was after his unsuccessful coup in 1923. Then, he managed to beguile the judge and German public opinion and only received a sentence of five years for the minor crime of trying to overthrow the government. Even so, he only served nine months of his sentence.

What if Hitler faced a judge who could not be beguiled by charm, sophistry, or histrionics? What if Hitler had to account for himself before a judge who knew Hitler better than he knew himself and could see through any lies or justifications? What is the man who preached war and genocide had a face-to-face discussion with the Prince of Peace? What would the Lamb of God and the Fuhrer of Nazi Germany have to say to each other?

 

These are the questions that Ravi Zacharias seeks to answer in The Lamb and the Fuhrer. Like his other books, The Lotus and the Cross, and New Birth or Rebirth, Zacharias presents a conversation between representatives of imagesdiffering worldviews. In this case, Jesus Christ questions and ultimately judges Adolf Hitler. It is a short, little book but very profound and I do believe that Zacharias did an excellent job imagining how Hitler might seek to justify himself before Jesus. Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes an appearance as a sort of witness and the discussion between Hitler and Bonhoeffer over the morality of the pacifists’ attempted assassination of Hitler is interesting and illuminating.

 

I do have one or two quibbles. First, this is a very short book, only about 90 pages in print, yet the price is $10.99, which seems a bit steep. Secondly, the end was not as clear as I would have liked. Hitler asks about repentance and whether he would have been forgiven if he had repented just before his death. There seems to be an implication that he would be forgiven but then he is condemned. I think Zacharias ought to have made it clear that Hitler, being the person he was, could not have sincerely repented for his sins and was justly condemned. Despite these minor flaws, I greatly enjoyed reading The Lamb and the Fuhrer.

 

 

 

Do Nothing Congress

July 23, 2013

I got another email from Organizing for Action.

David —

Think about this:

Yesterday, the speaker of the House went on national TV and said that Congress “should not be judged on how many new laws we create,” but rather on “how many laws … we repeal.”

It’s just embarrassing. Within hours of his interview, Boehner’s remarks were making headlines across the country — and even overseas.

We elected our members of Congress to work on the issues we care about: creating jobs, fixing our immigration system, fighting climate change, and passing laws to reduce gun violence.

We didn’t put them in office to sit there and wind back the clock.

All next month, while our members of Congress are home on recess, we’ll be holding Action August events and making our voices heard. I’m asking you to help make sure they go back to Washington with a message for John Boehner.

Chip in $5 or more to support our grassroots organization today:

Thanks,

Jon

Jon Carson
Executive Director
Organizing for Action

P.S. — Last week, the House voted to kill or delay Obamacare for the 39th time. That’s the kind of obstructionism we’re up against. Donate today.

I am not ashamed at all. Considering that the Code of Laws of the United States of America runs to over 200,000 pages, I don’t think we have a shortage of laws.

I think that the best thing that Congress could possibly do for America would be to take a break from any new legislation for the next couple of years. Instead, they should go through the entire body of federal law and eliminate every law, regulation, statute that is unnecessary, burdensome, superfluous, or has an effect contrary to the intent of the legislators. First on the list would be Obamacare. After all this is done and the federal law code is streamlined and efficient, we can start passing new laws. It would probably be a good idea to include an expiration date for any new laws so that Congress can be forced to go back and investigate how effective the laws actually were.

This is not likely to happen, though. Until it does, I’ll settle for obstructionism.

 

Conan the Fascist

July 23, 2013

One of my favorite movies is Conan the Barbarian, the 1982 release starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. I like this movie more because of the magnificent score by Basil Poledouris than because of any merits the film possesses, although it is a good movie. Not too long ago, I was wasting time, looking up things on Wikipedia when I came across some interesting comments in its article of Conan the Barbarian.

Ebert was disturbed by the depiction of a “Nordic superman confronting a black”, in which the “muscular blond” slices off the black man’s head and “contemptuously [throws it] down the flight of stairs”. His sentiment was shared by Adam Roberts, an Arthurian scholar, who also said Conan was an exemplar of the sword and sorcery films of the early 1980s that were permeated in various degrees with fascist ideology. According to Roberts, the films were following the ideas and aesthetics laid down in Leni Riefenstahl‘s directorial efforts for Nazi Germany. Roberts cautioned that any political readings into these sword and sorcery films with regards to fascism is subjective.

Robin Wood, a film critic, suggests that in most cases, there is only a thin veneer between individualism and fascism; he also said that Conan is the only film in that era to dispense with the disguise, openly celebrating its fascist ideals in a manner that would delight Riefenstahl.

I am not a movie critic and I neither know nor care if there are Fascist or individualist themes in Conan the Barbarian. What I would like to know is, why in the world would anyone think that Fascism and individualism are in any way connected. Here is what Benito Mussolini had to say about individualism. Since Benito Mussolini is the man who created Fascism, I think he would know more than anyone else what it is all about.

 

Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State, which is the conscience and universal will of man in his historical existence. It is opposed to classical Liberalism, which arose form the necessity of reacting against absolutism, and which brought its historical purpose to an end when the State was transformed into the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual. And if liberty is to be the attribute of the real man, and not of that abstract puppet envisaged by individualistic Liberalism, Fascism is for liberty. And for the only liberty which can be a real thing, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State. Therefore, for the Fascist, everything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value, outside the State. In this sense Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State, the synthesis and unity of all values, interprets, develops and gives strength to the whole life of the people.

In the Fascist State the individual is not suppressed, but rather multiplied, just as in a regiment a soldier is not weakened but multiplied by the number of his comrades. The Fascist State organizes the nation, but it leaves sufficient scope to individuals; it has limited useless or harmful liberties and has preserved those that are essential. It cannot be the individual who decides in this matter, but only the State.

Fascism, like Communism, Nazism, and many other “isms” is a collectivist totalitarian ideology. If there it any political ideology based on individualism, it would be classical liberalism, what most people think of as democracy. Under classical liberalism, the state exists for the purpose of protecting the rights of the individual. Persons are believed to have inalienable rights which no government may justly take away.  Under Fascism, and other forms of Socialism, the individual exists to serve the state, or the race, or the working class, etc. Individuals have, as Mussolini said, rights only insofar as these rights benefit the state. Fascism and individualism are not linked but are opposites.

I think I know where the mistake lies, though. Fascism, like Communism, was a revolutionary ideology. Fascists sought to do away with existing traditions and institutions and reorganize society on a more authoritarian and regimented basis. People generally seem to believe that revolutionaries of any sort seek to do away any restraints on the individual, despite the fact that Fascists and Communist made no secret of their plans for a post-revolutionary dictatorship and that their political parties tended to be organized along military lines even before they seized power. And, in fact, revolutionaries do often preach indulgence to weaken society and make it easier to overthrow. The Bolsheviks preached free love before the Revolution. Afterward, they turned into puritans. Thus we have idiots who wear Che Guevera shirts because he resisted the Batista dictatorship, never mind that the Castro dictatorship that followed made Batista look like Thomas Jefferson.

I might hope that someone reasonably well informed would know better. Perhaps film critics don’t know very much about political ideologies.

 

A Royal Baby

July 22, 2013

Our British friends are celebrating the birth of the newest addition to the royal family. Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a boy. This newborn is now the third in line to the throne, after Princes Charles and William. I suppose its a good thing to know that the royal line will continue for another generation though there is no shortage of heirs to the throne. The Wikipedia article lists fifty people but states that there are several thousand people potentially in line to the throne.

I don’t think they have released any photographs of the new prince yet. If the young royals need a baby sitter, I understand that Mr. Bean is available, though perhaps they might not want to take advantage.

They also haven’t released the name of the baby yet and people are taking bets on what names will be chosen. I wouldn’t care to speculate myself, but I can guarantee that the name chosen will not be John. There was only one King John of England who was not a very successful king. His legacy has been so negative that no royal prince has been named John since his time.

In case you’re not that familiar with English history, John reigned from 1199 to 1216. He was the youngest son of Henry II and the brother of Richard I the Lion-Hearted. He wasn’t actually a complete disaster as king. He made the administration of his government more efficient and continued the judicial reforms of Henry II. He paid more attention to England than his brother Richard, who was always off crusading. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful at war and during his reign, England lost most of its territory on the continent to France, earning John the name of lackland and soft sword with his barons. He managed to alienate the Pope, who placed England under the interdict, and his barons, who rebelled and forced him to sign the Magna Carta in 1215. When it became clear that King John would not adhere to the Magna Carta, the barons rebelled again and invited Louis, the son of Phillip II of France to be their king. They changed their minds when John died in 1216 and his nine year old son Henry III became king and Louis had to go back to France. No one in England wants a king so bad that rule by the French is preferable, so the royal family avoids the name John.

Finding King David’s Palace

July 22, 2013

I think I will move on to something completely different from recent events in Florida and the scoundrels who are taking advantage of them. In Israel, archaeologists have been excavating the ruins of a palace believe to date from the time of King David. I read about this fascinating story in the Jerusalem Post.

Maybe they will find David's sligshot

Maybe they will find David’s slingshot

A joint excavation led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authorities discovered two of the largest structures ever uncovered from the Kingdom of Judea, the Israel Antiquities Authorities announced on Thursday.

Researchers Prof. Yossi Garfinkel and Saar Ganor identified one of the structures as a palace of King David, while the other as a large storage structure for the kingdom.

The excavation, which lasted seven years, gives evidence to state building and administrative organization during the time of King David.

According to Garfinkel and Ganor, “The ruins are the best example to date of the uncovered fortress city of King David,” giving researchers a step up in understanding the origins of the kingdom of Judah.

“This is indisputable proof of the existence of a central authority in Judah during the time of King David,” the archaeologists said.

Until now, no palaces were clearly attributable to the early tenth century BC. According to the archeologists, the site, named ‘Khirbet Qeiyafa’, was probably destroyed in a battle against the Philistines in 980 BC.

Recent excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the first early Judean city to be dated by 14C, clearly indicate a well planned fortified city in Judah as early as the late 11th-early 10th centuries BC. This new data has far reaching implication for archaeology, history and biblical studies.

Khirbet Qeiyafa is located 30 km southwest of Jerusalem, on the summit of a hill that borders the Elah Valley on the north. This is a key strategic location in the biblical Kingdom of Judah, on the main road from Philistia and the Coastal Plain to Jerusalem and Hebron in the hill country. The city was constructed on bedrock, 2.3 hectares in area, surrounded by massive fortifications of megalithic stones. Five seasons of excavation were carried out in 2007-2011, five areas of the site (Areas A-E) were examined, and nearly 20% of the city has been uncovered. The expedition excavated 200 m of the city wall, two gates, a pillar building and 10 houses. In this area one of the world’s most famous battles took place, the battle between David and Goliath.

Such urban planning has not been found at any Canaanite or Philistine city, nor in the northern Kingdom of Israel, but is a typical feature of city planning in Judean cities: Beersheba, Tell Beit Mirsim, Tell en-Nasbeh and Tell Beth-Shemesh. Khirbet Qeiyafa is the earliest known example of this city plan and indicates that this pattern had already been developed by the time of King David.

The city came to an end in a sudden destruction, as indicated by hundreds of pottery vessels, stone utensils and metal objects left on the floors of the houses. Very rich assemblages of pottery, stone tools and metal objects were found, as well as many cultic objects, scarabs, seals and the most famous Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon, an inscription written with ink on a pottery sherd. The recent excavations also revealed fragments of a special alabaster stone imported from Egypt.

Around the perimeter of the palace were rooms in which various installations were found – evidence of a metal industry, special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt, archaeologists said.

A pillared building 15 meters long by 6 meters wide was exposed in the north of the city, which was used as an administrative storeroom, they said.

The importance of the discovery of the biblical city led the Israel Antiquities Authority in collaboration with the Natural Parks Authority to reject a proposal to build a new neighborhood close to the site, declaring the area and its surroundings a national park.

There are many historians who believe King David to be a legendary figure and that he either did not exist at all, or his accomplishments in the Old Testament are very much exaggerated. Denying David’s existence would seem to be an extreme and untenable position given that there was a dynasty ruling in Judah that claimed descent from David. Someone had to have founded the dynasty. The eleventh and tenth centuries BC in the Middle East are something of a dark age since there are few reliable records of that time. If it were not for the Bible, we probably would have no records of David at all.

This discovery does not prove that David existed or that the records in the Bible are accurate, but it does indicate that there was something like a centralized state in the region at about the time in which David is believed to have lived. It will be interesting to see what develops from their work.


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