Daily Archives: December 9, 2008

Details Of the Complaint Against Governor Blagojevich of Illinois (Now in Federal Custody)

[Rod ] Blagojevich, 51, and Harris, 46, both of Chicago, were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. They were charged in a two-count criminal complaint that was sworn out on Sunday and unsealed today following their arrests, which occurred without incident, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Both men were expected to appear later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich, a Democrat, was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining:

A substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;

Placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;

Promises of campaign funds ”“ including cash up front; and

A cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

Read it all.

Update: Here is a video of Patrick Fitzgerald’s statement on this matter today.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Politics in General

Connecticut Embraces Faith-Based Programs For Ex-Cons, Homeless

The men who live at Taste-N-See Outreach Ministry in Bridgeport have been praising God in song and scripture for a good hour when Pastor James Jennings urges them to their feet shortly after 7:30 a.m.

There are about a dozen ex-cons here, their histories muddy with violence and drugs and shame, but they stand and embrace each other with awkward grins and thumping backslaps, one after the other, as Jennings looks on.

“Sometimes we think love is what we say, but love is what we do,” Jennings says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poverty, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture

Church of England Bishop warns on UK immigration changes

It will be much more difficult for clergy from foreign churches to be brought into this country under new immigration laws, the Anglican Bishop of Ripon and Leeds has warned.

Bishop John Packer has criticised the Government’s new scheme, which is aimed at tightening immigration controls and allowing the implementation of the points-based system.

Under the new system immigrants from outside the European Union can enter under one of five new tiers, depending on their skills and occupation.

“The restriction on charitable and religious workers will affect how people of faith from other countries come here and experience and contribute to the life of faith in this country,” Bishop Packer during a debate on the new rules in the House of Lords.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Could Take Stakes in Big 3

Congress and the White House inched toward a financial rescue of the Big Three auto makers, negotiating legislation that would give the U.S. government a substantial ownership stake in the industry and a central role in its restructuring.

Under terms of the draft legislation, which continued to evolve Monday evening, the government would receive warrants for stock equivalent to at least 20% of the loans any company receives. The company also would have to agree to limits on executive compensation and dividend payments, much like those contained in the government’s $700 billion rescue of the financial industry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry

Lawyer Is Accused in Massive Hedge Fund Fraud

His legal lineage was impeccable. A Yale man with a law degree from Harvard, he was a litigation powerhouse, a leader at some of the more prominent firms at the New York bar who then started a top-shelf practice of his own.

But when the lawyer, Marc S. Dreier, stepped off a flight from Canada on Sunday night, federal authorities in New York arrested him in a $100 million fraud scheme, portraying his recent undertakings as more high-stakes grifting than high-end lawyering.

In brazen and carefully choreographed scams here and in Canada, Mr. Dreier, who in 1996 founded a 250-lawyer firm that bears his name, is said to have tried to take advantage of the current financial crisis by selling phony debt to hungry hedge funds looking for deals.

But in an era when high-tech frauds and inside information seem to dominate the world of white-collar crime, the square-jawed lawyer, known for his forceful personality and his penchant for high living, apparently did it the old-fashioned way.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Stock Market

Conference Explores Communion from a Biblical, Theological and Historical Perspective

Prof. [Ephraim] Radner, one of 10 members of the group drafting the proposed Anglican Covenant, made no bones about division as an endearing reality in the church’s life. He called unity a thing not to “cleaned of division,” but rather emanating from “the blood of the cross, from which there is no escape. We are called to be one,” he said, “but our soul depends on the sharp sword of division.”

Bishop [James] Stanton, billing his talk “a report from the front lines in the struggle for a Communion Covenant,” took issue with too-easy attempts to define the Greek word koinonia as mere “fellowship,” when the “koinonia” of God through Christ ”“ his entering into flesh and blood” in fact brings unity through restoration of “fallen, broken humanity.”

“It belongs to koinonia,” he said, “to endure sacrifice and suffering until the battle is through.” Among the obstacles to achievement of koinonia, in Bishop Stanton’s recounting: inadequate education concerning the whole question; the lack of “corporation memory” concerning the church’s own promises to rein in divisive, free-lance activity by advanced spirits; and, last, inability “to articulate in a compelling way why the office and person of the Archbishop [of Canterbury] is critical to our continuing Communion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Theology

Economic pessimism chills credit market action

Even as the Dow Jones industrial average rose nearly 300 points on growing confidence on Wall Street on Monday, a Treasury bill auction yielded a new low of less than 0.01%, noted Miller & Tabak analyst Tony Crescenzi. That’s a sign that investor demand for T-bills, considered the safest short-term assets around, is still on the rise despite a return of nearly zero.

“Things are bad, and they don’t look like they’re getting better,” said JPMorgan Chase economist Michael Feroli. The tone of the market was a bit better than last week, and Treasury yields recovered modestly on expectations of a $15 billion automaker bailout, but he cautioned against looking too much into “the day-to-day movements.”

As the reality of the mortgage meltdown and its massive, widespread aftershocks set in, investors and the financial industry are readjusting their strategies and becoming more cautious. Even if the government’s bailouts and other actions succeed in propping up the housing market, unemployment is worsening ”” a factor that will mean more losses for banks, and a tougher time for the government as it tries to stabilize the fragile economy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy

Notable and Quotable

There was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted: as, among other things, it may plainly appear by the common prayers in the Church, commonly called Divine Service: the first original and ground whereof, if a man would search out by the ancient fathers, he shall find, that the same was not ordained, but of a good purpose, and for a great advancement of godliness. For they so ordered the matter, that all the whole Bible (or the greatest part thereof) should be read over once in the year, intending thereby, that the Clergy, and especially such as were Ministers of the congregation, should (by often reading, and meditation of God’s word) be stirred up to godliness themselves, and be more able to exhort others by wholesome doctrine, and to confute them that were adversaries to the truth. And further, that the people (by daily hearing of holy Scripture read in the Church) should continually profit more and more in the knowledge of God, and be the more inflamed with the love of his true religion.

But these many years passed, this godly and decent order of the ancient fathers hath been so altered, broken, and neglected, by planting in uncertain stories, Legends, Responds, Verses, vain repetitions, Commemorations, and Synodals, that commonly when any book of the Bible was begun, before three or four Chapters were read out, all the rest were unread. And in this sort the book of Isaiah was begun in Advent, and the book of Genesis in Septuagesima; but they were only begun, and never read through. After a like sort were other books of holy Scripture used. And moreover, whereas St. Paul would have such language spoken to the people in the Church, as they might understand, and have profit by hearing the same, the Service in the Church of England (these many years) hath been read in Latin to the people, which they understood not; so that they have heard with their ears only; and their hearts, spirit, and mind, have not been edified thereby. And furthermore, notwithstanding that the ancient fathers had divided the Psalms into seven portions, whereof every one was called a nocturn, now of late time a few of them have been daily said (and oft repeated), and the rest utterly omitted. Moreover, the number and hardness of the Rules called the Pie, and the manifold changings of the service, was the cause, that to turn the Book only, was so hard and intricate a matter, that many times, there was more business to find out what should be read, than to read it when it was found out.

These inconveniences therefore considered, here is set forth such an order, whereby the same shall be redressed. And for a readiness in this matter, here is drawn out a Kalendar for that purpose, which is plain and easy to be understood, wherein (so much as may be) the reading of holy Scripture is so set forth, that all things shall be done in order, without breaking one piece thereof from another. For this cause be cut off Anthems, Responds, Invitatories, and such like things, as did break the continual course of the reading of the Scripture.

Yet because there is no remedy, but that of necessity there must be some rules: therefore certain rules are here set forth, which, as they be few in number; so they be plain and easy to be understood. So that here you have an order for prayer (as touching the reading of the holy Scripture), much agreeable to the mind and purpose of the old fathers, and a great deal more profitable and commodious, than that which of late was used. It is more profitable, because here are left out many things, whereof some be untrue, some uncertain, some vain and superstitious: and is ordained nothing to be read, but the very pure word of God, the holy Scriptures, or that which is evidently grounded upon the same; and that in such a language and order as is most easy and plain for the understanding, both of the readers and hearers. It is also more commodious, both for the shortness thereof, and for the plainness of the order, and for that the rules be few and easy. Furthermore, by this order the curates shall need none other books for their public service, but this book and the Bible: by the means whereof, the people shall not be at so great charge for books, as in time past they have been.

And where heretofore, there hath been great diversity in saying and singing in churches within this realm: some following Salisbury use, some Hereford use, some the use of Bangor, some of York, and some of Lincoln: now from henceforth, all the whole realm shall have but one use. And if any would judge this way more painful, because that all things must be read upon the book, whereas before, by reason of so often repetition, they could say many things by heart: if those men will weigh their labor with the profit in knowledge, which daily they shall obtain by reading upon the book, they will not refuse the pain, in consideration of the great profit that shall ensue thereof.

And forasmuch as nothing can, almost, be so plainly set forth, but doubts may arise in the use and practicing of the same: to appease all such diversity (if any arise), and for the resolution of all doubts, concerning the manner how to understand, do, and execute, the things contained in this book: the parties that so doubt, or diversely take any thing, shall always resort to the Bishop of the Diocese, who by his discretion shall take order for the quieting and appeasing of the same; so that the same order be not contrary to any thing contained in this book.

Though it be appointed in the afore written preface, that all things shall be read and sung in the church in the English tongue, to the end that the congregation may be thereby edified: yet it is not meant, but when men say Matins and Evensong privately, they may say the same in any language that they themselves do understand. Neither that any man shall be bound to the saying of them, but such as from time to time, in Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, parish Churches, and Chapels to the same annexed, shall serve the congregation.

–The preface of the first Book of Common Prayer (1549)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship

Santa delivers wish for soldier's daughter

This is just simply fantastic–it was also in this past Sunday’s sermon. Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Military / Armed Forces

American Missionaries Risking it all in Las Vegas

Take the time to watch it all, there is much to ponder here (Please note: because it is set in Las Vegas some of the images are less than helpful for the much younger blog reader). An excerpt from this was used this past Sunday in the sermon by yours truly–KSH

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pornography

The Des Moines Register Editorial board Meets with the Two Sides on the Same-Sex marriage Question

Some very interesting video material here if you follow the links provided.

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

Des Moines Register: Same Sex Marriage goes before Iowa high court this week

The case, Varnum vs. Brien, could make Iowa the first state in the Midwest to legalize same-sex marriage. Other high-court decisions that favor gay rights advocates have come from traditionally liberal coastal states, including California, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“This is the heartland of America – a place where family values are revered,” said University of Iowa law professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig, who has signed a court brief supporting gay-marriage rights. “It would be an incredibly strong signal for the Iowa Supreme Court to find that same-sex marriages are legal.”

Yet a ruling that upholds the Iowa Defense of Marriage Act would amount to a major setback for the gay rights movement, and a victory for social conservatives who argue that same-sex marriage threatens traditional families.

Read it all.

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

David Klinghoffer: Ghosts, aliens and us

Another possibility is that the human need to believe in the unseen world itself points to, while not proving, the reality of hidden dimensions. It could be that materialism — the philosophical assumption that reality is nothing but physical stuff — is a prejudice rather than a fact. Perhaps an unseen reality does exist, revealed in flashes that can be confusing or misleading, to which we sometimes give flaky designations. Like “Bigfoot.”

Religions used to confidently navigate this twilight realm. Some faiths still do, quietly. When Louisiana’s Catholic governor, Bobby Jindal, was being considered as a running mate for John McCain, the fact that Jindal once participated in an exorcism became a briefly sensational media story. As for the rabbi who presided over our twins’ bris, the evangelistic branch of Judaism to which he belongs, Chabad, stands out as bucking the trend elsewhere in Judaism toward a pallid rationalism.

The same trend is mirrored in other faiths, especially the shrinking mainline Protestant denominations. It may be that such pallidness helps explain why Americans turn to florid paranormal beliefs, as opposed to traditional supernatural ideas. Indeed, U.S. polling data from Gallup, reported by Baylor University researchers, shows that belief in the occult is more common among non- or infrequent churchgoers or those belonging to a liberal Protestant denomination than it is among frequent churchgoers and conservative evangelicals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

RNS: Conservative Anglican Primates Back New Province

Five Anglican archbishops have backed the introduction of a new Anglican province in North America, a significant, though unsurprising boost for the conservative-led initiative.

“We fully support this development with our prayer and blessing,”
said the archbishops, who are called primates because they lead regional branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion. “It demonstrates the determination of these faithful Christians to remain authentic Anglicans.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

Paul Volcker is back, and he warns of tough times ahead

His concerns go to the very core of how America lives and how Wall Street operates. A child of the Great Depression and a man of legendary personal thrift, Volcker thinks Americans have been living above their means for too long.

“It is the United States as a whole that became addicted to spending and consuming beyond its capacity to produce,” Volcker lectured the Economic Club of New York in April. “It all seemed so comfortable.”

Bringing consumption back in line with income would not only crimp individuals and families, but also require major readjustments in the global economy, which has relied on the U.S. as consumer of last resort.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, US Presidential Election 2008