Daily Archives: September 3, 2008

WalesOnline: New Bishop of St David's named

THE new Bishop of St David’s has this evening been named as the Very Rev Wyn Evans, the current Dean of St David’s.

After less than a day locked inside St David’s Cathedral, 46 members of the Church in Wales named Rev Evans as their choice.

There was said to be “strong support” for the decision.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales

A Tribute to Michael Monsoor (video)


I happened to catch this last night coming home from shopping on satellite radio in the car. An important reminder of the daily sacrifice so many in the military and their families make for this country–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Victor Davis Hanson: Why Do We Like (Sarah) Palin?

Much has been written why Palin both brings strength to the McCain ticket and is a gamble at the same time. Why then the growing wave of popular sentiment in her favor?

Various reasons, but one I think is that millions of Americans are simply tired of being lectured at by smug elites. Jetting Al Gore made tens of millions finger-pointing at us about our global warming. Obama’s America, apparently unlike Rev. Wright’s Trinity Church, is a cruel, downright mean and dysfunctional place. John Kerry’s United States is one of the half-educated in need of Ivy-League enlightenment and tutorials.

So along comes someone (unlike Biden’s vastly inflated middle-class biography) who really is from the working class. She likes it””and finds snowmobiling, hunting, fishing and living in small-town America not as a wasteful use of carbon-emitting fuels, cruelty to animals, gratuitous depletion of our resources, or proof of parochial yokelism. Instead it is a life of action in an often harsh natural landscape, where physical strength is married to intelligence to bring us food, fuel, and progress.

Read it all.

I will consider posting comments on this article which are submitted first by email to: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

David Pogue: Serious Potential in Google’s Browser

Does the world really need another Web browser?

Google thinks so. Chrome, its new browser, was developed in secrecy and released to the world Tuesday. The Windows version is available for download now at google.com/chrome; the Mac and Linux versions will take a little longer.

Google argues that current Web browsers were designed eons ago, before so many of the developments that characterize today’s Web: video everywhere, scams and spyware, viruses that lurk even on legitimate sites, Web-based games and ambitious Web-based programs like Google’s own Docs word processor. As Google’s blog puts it, “We realized that the Web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser.”

What this early version of Chrome accomplishes isn’t quite that grand. But it is a first-rate beginning.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

Daniel Finkelstein: The mass chattering class changing America

Civil rights split the Democratic Party. A part of the Democrat base, the poor South, split off to support the Republicans, who had been, more or less, non-combatants in the war over civil rights. Since the day of LBJ’s lament on the White House lawn there has not been a successful Democratic presidential candidate from the North, and the Republicans have won almost twice as often as their opponents. Only once in the past ten elections has a Democrat polled more than 50 per cent of the vote (Georgia’s Jimmy Carter received 50.08 per cent in 1976). The long period of ascendancy for the Right in America was an uncovenanted bonus from a bitter bout of political infighting.

And now the advantages of that bonus are coming to an end. America is changing and the Democratic liberals might be able (just) to win a national election without the overwhelming support of the alienated white working class. If such a victory doesn’t happen this time, it will soon. America, like Britain, is seeing the rise of what one might call a mass chattering class.

The US census shows that a record number of Americans – more than 80 per cent – now complete high school or go to college. There is also, for the first time, a mass class of millionaires – 7.3 million Americans belong to this group, with more than a million dollars of assets. If you include their primary residence in the calculation there are many millions more. More than half of the country now considers itself middle class and is working less and enjoying more leisure time. Lyndon Johnson’s voters in the poor part of Texas did not have electricity. Last year more than 80 per cent of Americans went online.

With this change in economic fortunes has come a revolution in social attitudes – a mass class that is more tolerant, broadminded, socially concerned. And Democratic.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Race/Race Relations, US Presidential Election 2008

Teen suicides dip, experts worry rate remains high

The number of teen suicides has fallen slightly, but the rate remains disturbingly high, possibly fueled by drug warnings that have scared many from using antidepressants.

The suicide rate was about 4.5 per 100,000 in 2005, the most recent data available. That follows an 18% spike the previous year that alarmed experts when first reported.

That’s because until then, suicides among 10- to 19-year-olds had been on a steady decline since 1996.

Dr. David Fassler, a psychiatry professor at the University of Vermont, said the report suggests a “very disturbing” upward trend that correlates with a decline in teen use of antidepressants.

That decline stems from the Food and Drug Administration’s 2004 black-box warning label because of reports that the drugs can increase risks for suicidal tendencies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Teens / Youth

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for end to violence in Orissa

(ACNS) The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Willams, has expressed profound distress at the extreme violence being used in Orissa following the murder of Hindu leader, Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati.

In a letter sent today to the Moderator of North India, the Most Revd Joel Mal, Dr Williams called for an end to the violence in Orissa and for intense prayer for the suffering churches.

The Archbishop said of the situation:

“I hope that Christians and people of faith around the world will make known their horror at this violence, their support for the rebuilding of lives and the churches, orphanages and schools destroyed, and for work towards future reconciliation”.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, India

David S. Broder: Sarah Palin's Learning Curve

Tom Donilon, the Washington lawyer who did the delegate-counting for Jimmy Carter in 1980, has a bit of practical wisdom that he has offered over the years to many other Democratic presidential hopefuls.

“There is no learning curve steeper than your first race for national office,” Donilon has warned those who have turned to him for counsel, many of whom have survived tough races in their home states. The difference between the scrutiny that applies to contenders for president or vice president and candidates for any other offices is so great that shocks are inevitable, Donilon advises.

The Donilon maxim is about to be tested — in spades — by Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old freshman governor of Alaska chosen by John McCain as his running mate.

Over the next few weeks, starting this evening with her acceptance speech, then with her first solo campaign trips, her first news conferences and interviews, and finally her Oct. 2 debate with Democrat Joe Biden, Palin will be tested as never before. Nothing she has experienced in her home town of Wasilla, where she was mayor, or her state capital can really prepare her for this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Anglican Journal: It is impossible to go back, bishops say of moratoria

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he wasn’t surprised with the Lambeth Conference’s call for a moratorium on actions that have led to divisions over sexuality. He said that bishops needed to be honest that this has been “a huge, huge challenge to implement.”

Archbishop Hiltz said that the moratorium and other recommendations are matters for the Canadian house of bishops and the Council of General Synod ”“ the church’s governing body between General Synods ”“ to discuss. Bishops were also presented with a proposal to create a pastoral forum that would create a “safe space” for conservative Anglicans who have left their churches.

There was wide agreement that moratoria on same-sex blessings, the ordination of gay bishops and cross-border interventions by conservative bishops would help to heal the conflict engulfing the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury warned that failure to heed the call would put the Communion “in grave peril.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

NY court backs recognition of same-sex marriages

New York officials should recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries where they are legal, even though New York State does not allow gay marriage, a state court judge ruled on Tuesday.

Justice Lucy Billings rejected arguments by the national Alliance Defense Fund that New York Gov. David Paterson overstepped his authority in May when he instructed officials to recognize same-sex marriages conducted outside New York.

“Nothing is more antithetical to family stability than requiring (couples) to abandon that solemnized commitment,” Billings wrote in her decision.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Sexuality

Spot on high School Popularity Scale Speaks to the Future; Middle Has Its Rewards

Social scientists map the social topology of a school by having students rate their peers on various measures, including likeability. For instance, the question “Who would you most like to hang around with on a Saturday?” quickly reveals a list of those who are considered the best company (potential dates excluded). This is a different measure of popularity from prominence ”” the quarterback and the cutest cheerleader may or may not qualify ”” and identifies a gifted class of a different kind.

Some 15 to 20 percent of high school students fall into this category, according to Mitchell Prinstein, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, and it’s not hard to find them. They tend to have closer friendships, to excel academically and to get on well with most others, including parents ”” their own and their friends’.

In a continuing study of 185 students in a school in Charlottesville, Va., researchers led by Joseph P. Allen of the University of Virginia have concluded that this group is “characterized by a degree of openness to strong emotional experience” and optimism about their relationships, past and future. “These are very, very socially skilled kids who are really able to master the intricacies of diverse social situations,” Dr. Allen said in a phone interview.

Surveys suggest that about 50 percent of students are average ”” that is, they have good friends but are neither especially liked nor disliked by classmates. The remaining 30 to 35 percent are split between low-status or “rejected” students, who are on the bottom of the heap, and neglected ones, who don’t show up on the radar at all.

Yet most youngsters in any school know who their popular, likable peers are, and can learn by observation in a dynamic social situation that, after all, lasts four years. “We have evidence that the neglected kids are the ones most likely to move up, or to move between groups,” Dr. Prinstein said. “These are the ones with no established reputation, they kind of blend into the woodwork, and this can give them a kind of freedom.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Psychology, Teens / Youth

After Lambeth: An Interview with the Dallas Bishops

SPRIT: So where from here?

+JMS: It depends much on the will of the Communion. Bishops acting unilaterally do not help this. The future of the Communion depends on those who are willing to forgo what they perceive to be their rights and their prerogatives and agree to live with and for others. We’ve been deaf to that call. It just depends on the will of those who are in leadership and who say, you know, the time has come to work together in unity. As far as I’m concerned as diocesan bishop, we have strong ties and relationships with the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Global South. The Global South bishops invited both Bishop Paul and me to a meeting with them. We cherish those relationships, and we will continue to witness and carry out our part in the Anglican Communion.

+PEL: I don’t know how I can expand upon that. We need to be faithful to the Scriptures and our Lord’s command to go forth into the world, but one of the things I’m trying to live into is what it means to be faithful to the vows I took when I was consecrated. There are some significant vows there. I think the House of Bishops and all bishops would do well to read those every day.

+JMS: It’s hard to know exactly what happened there until ”” it’s one of those odd things. It’s hard to know what happened at the meeting until you get well beyond it.

+PEL: It’s not unlike Jacob wrestling with God at Peniel (Gen. 32:30). He didn’t know it was God until after the fact. And that’s what sometimes happens during crises. You live into that crisis and do the wrestling ”” and we did some. I mean, it wasn’t all fun and games. Some hard things were said in those indaba groups.
+JMS: I like that. And I can think of Moses’ supporters saying to Moses after he had gone up on Sinai, “What happened?” We’ll see. It’s sort of the nature of God. God says to Moses, “I will be with you. That’s my name.” That’s all we can do ”” live in faith that God will be faithful.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

Marriage Woes? Husband's Genes May Be At Fault

Men who are lacking in the romance department may have a new excuse to offer their wives or significant others: They can blame it on their DNA.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that a certain gene variant found in some men is linked to less bonding and more trouble in a long-term relationship.

The story of this gene starts not with men, but with prairie voles ”” small, furry rodents that have underground burrows. Prairie voles stay with one mate to raise their little ones. That’s intriguing, because other species of voles don’t do that.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

Christopher Orr: The Case Against the Case Against Sarah Palin

Listening to the Democratic leadership respond to John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, one hears echoes of the Alaska Republican leadership from just a few years ago. Barack Obama’s spokesman, Bill Burton, put it this way: “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.” Former mayor? If you’re going to skip over her job as governor and, before that, her job heading the commission that oversees production of the largest petroleum reserves in America, why not “former high school student”? Bah, what does it matter: She’s just a small town mayor, just a hockey mom, just a beauty pageant queen. Palin has never shunned these belittling monikers, in part, I imagine, because the camouflage has served her so well. Soothed by the litany, her opponents tend to sleep too late, sneer too much, and forget who it is that hires them.

Watching Palin operate over the past few years has been like witnessing a dramatic reading of All the King’s Men. In 2002, Murkowski had interviewed but passed over Palin in selecting a replacement for the senate seat he vacated to become governor. In a grand act of nepotism, he chose his own daughter instead. Palin was tossed a bone: She chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which oversees the production of petroleum in Alaska. When she reported conflicts of interest and other ethical violations by another commissioner, she was ignored by Murkowski’s chief of staff and ultimately resigned in frustration. One can imagine how the quick double dose of corruption–insiders having their way with the polity and its resources–sickened the young Palin. It also fired a savage competitiveness that is not, perhaps, apparent at first glance.

Read it all and then read Christopher Orr’s response to his friend from Alaska.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson's Address from this evening's Republican Convention

Speaking of the vice presidential nominee, what a breath of fresh air Governor Sarah Palin is.

She is from a small town, with small town values, but that’s not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family.

Some Washington pundits and media big shots are in a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit. Well, give me a tough Alaskan Governor who has taken on the political establishment in the largest state in the Union — and won — over the beltway business-as-usual crowd any day of the week.

Let’s be clear … the selection of Governor Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful, reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment.

Sound like anyone else we know?

She has run a municipality and she has run a state.

And I can say without fear of contradiction that she is the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose … with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt.

She and John McCain are not going to care how much the alligators get irritated when they get to Washington, they’re going to drain that swamp.

But tonight, I’d like to talk to you about the remarkable story of John McCain…

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008