Daily Archives: September 13, 2008

The Presiding Bishop’s Memo Outlining Bishop Duncan's Deposition

As the House has been informed previously, in November 2007 I directed a submission by my Office to the Title IV Review Committee that enclosed materials suggesting that Bishop Duncan had abandoned the Communion of this Church within the meaning of Canon IV.9. That submission recited that Bishop Duncan had supported first readings of amendments to the Constitution of the Diocese of Pittsburgh at the last Diocesan Convention that, among other things, would delete the unqualified accession by the Diocese to the Constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. The submission also recited Bishop Duncan’s leadership of a program under which delegates to the next Diocesan Convention in October 2008 would determine whether or not to adopt a second reading of the proposed amendments to the Diocesan Constitution deleting the “accession” clause, and pass a resolution purporting to make the Diocese a member of another Province within the Anglican Communion. Further details of Bishop Duncan’s program were outlined in a second submission to the Review Committee by certain lay and clerical members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The thrust of the foregoing submission by my Office was not that Bishop Duncan had already left the Episcopal Church, but rather that he had in his episcopal leadership role taken the position that the Diocese had the option of either remaining subject to the Constitution and canons of this Church or leaving this Church for membership in another Province of the Communion; and that in that role he was encouraging the Diocese to choose to leave. The submission suggested, therefore, that Bishop Duncan, by pressing his position that the Diocese had such a choice and should exercise it by disaffiliating from the Episcopal Church, had abandoned the Communion of this Church by “an open renunciation of the … Discipline … of this Church” within the meaning of Canon IV.9(1)(i).

The Review Committee evidently agreed with that analysis and on December 17, 2007 certified to me as Presiding Bishop that Bishop Duncan had abandoned the Communion of this Church. Shortly thereafter, I asked the three senior bishops having jurisdiction in this Church, pursuant to Canon IV.9(1), to consent to Bishop Duncan’s inhibition pending presentation of the matter to the House of Bishops, but not all these bishops gave their consent.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Mark Penn on the Media and the Campaign

CBSNews.com: Your former colleague Howard Wolfson argued that you all unintentionally paved the way for Palin by exposing some of the unfair media coverage that Hillary Clinton received. And, therefore, a lot of the media may now be treating Sarah Palin with kid gloves. Do you agree with that?

Mark Penn: Well, no, I think the people themselves saw unfair media coverage of Senator Clinton. I think if you go back, the polls reflected very clearly what “Saturday Night Live” crystallized in one of their mock debates about what was happening with the press.

I think here the media is on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report that Governor Palin ever filed, if they don’t do that for all four of the candidates, they’re on very dangerous ground. I think the media so far has been the biggest loser in this race. And they continue to have growing credibility problems.

And I think that that’s a real problem growing out of this election. The media now, all of the media ”” not just Fox News, that was perceived as highly partisan ”” but all of the media is now being viewed as partisan in one way or another. And that is an unfortunate development.

CBSNews.com: So you think the media is being uniquely tough on Palin now?

Mark Penn: Well, I think that the media is doing the kinds of stories on Palin that they’re not doing on the other candidates. And that’s going to subject them to people concluding that they’re giving her a tougher time. Now, the media defense would be, “Yeah, we looked at these other candidates who have been in public life at an earlier time.”

What happened here very clearly is that the controversy over Palin led to 37 million Americans tuning into a vice-presidential speech, something that is unprecedented, because they wanted to see for themselves. This is an election in which the voters are going to decide for themselves. The media has lost credibility with them.

Read it all.

Update: This comment from Glenn Reynolds is apt here:

As Andrew Breitbart said on PJTV last night, it’s almost impossible to overstate the extent to which the Democratic Party and the Big Media are one and the same these days.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Media, US Presidential Election 2008

From the New York Times Magazine: The Bipolar Puzzle

Most clinicians say they believe that there will eventually be clear “biological markers” of bipolar disorder: ways to see and measure the disease as we can seizures, cancer or hypertension. Scientists are working to identify the genes (there appear to be many) involved in creating a predisposition for bipolar disorder. Brain imaging, still in its infancy, can already detect broad differences of size, shape and function among different brains. The hope is to know early on who is at risk so their condition can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Mental illness wreaks brutal damage on a life, crippling decision-making, competence and self-esteem to the point where digging out from under years of it can be next to impossible. And there is also a biological theory for why going untreated might worsen a bipolar person’s long-term prognosis. Epilepsy researchers have found that by electrically triggering seizures in the brains of animals, they can prompt spontaneous seizures, a phenomenon known as “kindling.” Simply having seizures ”” even artificially generated ones ”” seems to alter the brain in such a way that it develops an organic seizure disorder. Some scientists say that a kindling process may happen with mania, too ”” that simply experiencing a manic episode could make it more likely that a particular brain will continue to do so. They say this explains why, once a person has had a manic episode, there is a 90 percent chance that he will have another.

Kiki Chang, director of the pediatric bipolar-disorders program at Stanford, has embraced the kindling theory. “We are interested in looking at medication not just to treat and prevent future episodes, but also to get in early and ”” this is the controversial part ”” to prevent the manic episode,” he told me. “Once you’ve had a manic episode, you’ve already crossed the threshold, you’ve jumped off the bridge: it’s done. The chances that you’re going to have another episode are extremely high.”

Along with medication, Chang is exploring family therapy and other forms of stress reduction that might help fortify a child against a genetic proclivity for bipolar disorder. “If we wait too long, they will probably need chronic medication treatment,” he told me. “But if we can get in early enough, they may not need to stay on medication. So we’re hoping to get in and get out, and not subject them to the long-term side effects.”

Long, but very worthwhile. I was especially touched by the reference to prayer near the very end. Do read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Psychology

Genetic Map of Cancer Reveals Unexpected Complexity

Researchers have mapped the genetic blueprint of two of the deadliest forms of cancer, detailing the mutations that lead to tumors of the pancreas and brain.

The work suggests that the genetic causes of cancer are even more complex than previously thought and highlights the difficulty of developing new drug treatments. However, it also points toward new avenues of research for treatments and diagnostic tests.

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center examined DNA from 22 patients’ brain tumors and 24 patients’ pancreatic tumors.

The type of brain tumor studied, called glioblastoma multiforme, affects some 20,000 Americans each year — including, most famously, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy — and the median survival time is between 7 and 17 months. Some 38,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with pancreatic cancer, with a survival rate of only about 5 percent.

In two studies published this week in the journal Science, the researchers sequenced the DNA of more than 20,000 genes in each of the tumor cells. They found that the typical glioblastoma contained about 60 mutations, and the average pancreatic tumor contained 63. However, no two patients had the exact same set of mutations.

“If you have 100 patients, you have 100 different diseases,” said Johns Hopkins researcher Bert Vogelstein, one of the authors of the papers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

Bishop Duncan to Skip House of Bishops Meeting

Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh has written to every member of the House of Bishops informing them that he will not attend the special meeting of the House of Bishops in Salt Lake City next week.

“One of the previously announced reasons for your gathering is to consider a charge brought against me by five priests and 16 lay people,” Bishop Duncan wrote. “The proper forum to determine whether I have violated the constitution and canons would be a church trial, as I am a bishop of this church.” He added that by instead pursuing “the abandonment shortcut,” “even the specific protections of that course of action have been ruled not to apply.”

Read it all.

Update: The full letter from Bishop Duncan is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Hurricane Ike floods Galveston's historic district

Hurricane Ike’s storm surge flooded Galveston’s historic district early Saturday, sparked fires and knocked out power.

Heavy winds continued to pummel the coastal region more than four hours after the storm made landfall as a Category 2 storm.

It has since weakened to a Category 1, the National Hurricane Center said in its 9 a.m. ET update.

Galveston County’s Emergency Management Coordinator John Simsen urged residents to be patient at a 7 a.m. briefing.

“We have a lot of work to do in terms of damage assessment,” he said. “We don’t understand yet what we’re dealing with …

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Weather

Rich Hailey–Gas Prices: The Real Story

Here’s how it worked. The Knoxville area has several bulk fuel storage depots. Some belong to the chain outfits, others are run by wholesalers that supply independent gas stations. In either case, they manage their storage levels to maintain a competitive retail price. When the price of gas is rising, they maintain a relatively full inventory. This means that on average the gas they store always costs less than the current spot price. On the other hand, when gas prices are dropping, they keep inventories low, so they aren’t holding a lot of gas that cost them more than the market price.

It’s the exact same thing you do to minimize how much you pay for gas. If the price is going up, you fill up in the morning before the price changes go into effect, and you fill the tank full. When the price is going down, you guy your gas in the afternoon, after the price changes, and you buy just what you need. The wholesalers and bulk storage facilities do exactly the same thing, except on a much larger scale. Gas prices have been plummeting lately, so all of the bulk storage facilities have been keeping their stocks low.

Then along came Gustav, which impacted the ability of refineries to deliver fuel to the regional and local bulk storage facilities. That hasn’t been a huge deal because they were drawing down their stocks anyway. But now Ike is headed for Galveston, and the pipelines are being shut down completely. And that is where the fertilizer hits the propeller. When you’re in a low stock condition, you are relying on a steady flow of gasoline to maintain smooth distribution. When that steady flow is disrupted, you’re only hours away from shortages.

It’s been more than a few hours, and shortages are already here.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources

Brad Worthen: The cognitive divide between black and white, 2008 election edition

For me, reading the piece by my old friend Joe Darby on… [Friday’s] op-ed page [of The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper] was another excruciating instance of the apparently unbridgeable cognitive divide between black and white Americans. I always find it very troubling — in fact, I lack words for just how much it troubles me.

Somehow, Joe looked at the fact that Republicans LIKE an inexperienced conservative Republican, but DON’T like an inexperienced liberal Democrat, and saw it as racism. I realize that after my more than half a century of living in this country, I should not be shocked at such things, but I was. Shocked, and very worried.

Remember this post about Bill Moyers’ hyperbole about the stakes in this election. Something one of y’all said caused me to express my worry about what will happen if Barack Obama loses this election: Democrats, who have been VERY charged up about their expectation of winning, and whose hatred of Republicans has reached new depths in the past eight years, will be so bitter that — and I hate even to think this thought aloud — the political polarization will be even WORSE in this country. MoveOn.org, to name but one segment of that alliance, will probably implode to the point of nuclear fusion.

Read it carefully, as well as the linked piece to which it is responding.

Update: Stephen Green has some thoughts on the general subject here which form a useful background.

Another update: This earlier article by Bob Herbert is also worth reconsidering in the light of this post.

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

For teens, a social network becomes a lifesaver

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Teens / Youth

Notable and Quotable (II)

The biggest financial scandal in American history is going on entirely unacknowledged by both campaigns, but especially by the Democratic party which is supposed to be the guardian of the little people against Big Finance.

Ron Rosenbaum

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Stock Market, US Presidential Election 2008

Terry Mattingly: How will evangelical Christians vote on election day?

Meanwhile, some Americans are getting confused and even angry about all of this, even though they admit that they know little or nothing about evangelicalism.

According to surveys by Ellison Research of Phoenix, 36 percent of Americans polled indicate that they have no idea “what an evangelical Christian is” in the first place. Only 35 percent of all Americans believe they know “someone very well who is an evangelical,” while a stunning 51 percent are convinced they don’t know any evangelicals at all. On the left side of the aisle, some critics have grown hostile.

One of the surprises of a new Ellison study is “how much abuse is aimed at evangelicals,” noted company president Ron Sellers. “Evangelicals were called illiterate, greedy, psychos, racist, stupid, narrow-minded, bigots, idiots, fanatics, nut cases, screaming loons, delusional, simpletons, pompous, morons, cruel, nitwits, and freaks, and that’s just a partial list. …

“Some people don’t have any idea what evangelicals actually are or what they believe — they just know they can’t stand evangelicals.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

The Key to Wedded Bliss? Money Matters

IF you ask married people why their marriage works, they are probably not going to say it’s because they found their financial soul mate.

But if they are lucky, they have. Marrying a person who shares your attitudes about money might just be the smartest financial decision you will ever make. In fact, when it comes to finances, your marriage is likely to be your most valuable asset ”” or your largest liability.

Marrying for love is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries, marriages were arranged affairs, aligning families for economic or political purposes or simply pooling the resources of those scraping by.

Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union. So much of what we want ”” or don’t want ”” out of life boils down to dollars and cents, whether it’s how hard we choose to work, how much we consume or how much we save. For some people, it’s working 80-hour weeks to finance a third home and country club membership; for others, it means cutting back on office hours to spend more time with the family.

“A lot of the debates people have about money are code for how we want to live our lives,” said Betsey Stevenson, assistant professor of business and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who researches the economics of marriage and divorce. “A lot of the choices we make in how we want to live our lives involve how we spend our money.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance

Third Way Interviews Archbishop Peter Akinola

I suppose my background helps me to achieve that. My father died December 12, 1948 when I was barely five years old; my mother never went to any school, and so when I left primary school in 1959 there was no one to even pay my fees to go to secondary school. I was on my own then, struggling through life to get to where I am today. From time to time I ask myself: ‘Peter, who do you think you are?’ and I remind myself of who I know I am. As we say in my country, I have been ‘hewed out of the rocks’. I have no claim whatsoever to glory, to glamour, to superstar syndrome – I’m not into such things – and so I have no choice but to be humble. Let me be blunt with you: I’m a nobody, all right?

Look at Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour, whom I serve, who has called me to serve him, who has made me whom he has made me! Look at the pattern of his life! He stooped to conquer. He had the power to turn the nails on the cross into common thread, but he didn’t do it. He had the power to bring down soldiers from heaven to destroy his enemies. He didn’t do it. Rather, he subjected himself to inhuman treatment. But then on the third day God raised him from the dead and gave him his name that is above every name.

Read it all.

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

A Wall of Texas Television Coverage on Hurricane Ike

For those interested.

Posted in * General Interest, Weather

Jonathan Wynne-Jones: Has the Church become too feminine?

Tired of waiting to wear a mitre, they are putting on pointy hats instead – or dressing in garlands and flowing skirts at any rate.

This, generally speaking, was how the newspapers sold the conclusions of a study by Dr Kristin Aune – a Derby sociologist – into churchgoing habits.

It claimed that the Church faces a crisis in maintaining female worshippers who have become disillusioned because of its traditionalism and hierarchies.

Wicca, on the other hand, offers them real empowerment apparently as they can aspire to the lofty position of High Priestess.

They can even establish their own coven if they so wish.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture