Daily Archives: May 22, 2009

Notable and Quotable

Coins are a medium of exchange. They should be relatively standard, universally identifiable units of money. On a deeper level, coins are also representations of the country that issues them. Our currency has become a shifting, unidentifiable mess that tries to recognize everything and ends up symbolizing nothing.

Michael Zielinksi, “Change we Don’t Need,” in yesterday’s New York Times op-ed (p. A27) which I caught last night on the plane

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Can Notre Dame Turn Back the Tide? An Interview with Patrick Reilly

Q: Many stories have been emerging about the pro-life response to the Notre Dame commencement ceremony. What kind of response did Notre Dame see that day from students and others who came together for the pro-life cause?

Reilly: The response to the Notre Dame scandal was immense and unprecedented.

More than 367,000 Catholics signed the Cardinal Newman Society’s petition against the honor at NotreDameScandal.com.

Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the local ordinary for Notre Dame, boycotted the commencement ceremony.

Nearly 80 bishops, representing about one-third of the dioceses in the United States, spoke out against the honor, and none publicly supported it.

Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, who was to receive Notre Dame’s prestigious Laetare Medal, declined the honor rather than share the stage with America’s pro-abortion leader.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Anglican Media Melbourne: ACC delays Anglican Covenant

The Primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, who attended the meeting as a member of the joint standing committee, said while there were reports of much confusion about the process by which the Covenant decision was delayed, “the people he spoke to were aware of what was proposed and what was voted on”.

The ACC is a significant body within the Anglican Communion, composed of representative bishops, clergy and laity from each of the 38 member churches. Australia ’s representatives are Bishop Andrew Curnow ( Bendigo ), Archdeacon Dr Sarah Macneil (Canberra & Goulburn) and Robert Fordham (Melbourne & Gippsland). It is one of the four Anglican “instruments of unity”, the other three being the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ Meeting.

Dr Aspinall has commented that “if all goes smoothly”, the Anglican Church of Australia should have the final form of the Covenant in readiness for debate at the next meeting of General Synod, to be held in Melbourne in September next year.

“I hope that the Anglican Church of Australia will decide to adopt the Covenant, and that all or nearly all of our Anglican Communion sister and brother churches will do so also,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

Western Anglicans has a New Website

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership

Jim Auchmutey on the United Church of Christ: The Bully Pulpit

Ever since the Pilgrims crossed an ocean in search of freedom from the religious doctrines of the Old World, their descendants in the Congregational Church have prided themselves on independence. Now that sense of independence is on trial. A regional body of the United Church of Christ has sued to oust a tiny congregation here from its property. The plaintiff: the Southeast Conference of the UCC, whose 1.2 million members make it the nation’s largest Congregational fellowship. The defendant: Center Congregational Church, 36 members on a good Sunday.

“As far as I can see, the UCC just wants to bully us,” says Rick Langdon, chairman of the trustees at Center Congregational. But there’s more here than a David-and-Goliath story. The dispute involves doctrinal issues, legal complexities and conflicting personalities. A church breaking away from its denomination is something like a divorce, with all the attendant messiness of property division. Each case is unique — yet similar — and dissident churches everywhere will be watching this one for clues about how far a denomination will be allowed to go legally when things get ugly.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, United Church of Christ

The Houston Press on Allegations Against the Episcopal Diocese of Texas

This warning was summarily ignored. A single accusation of child molestation was not going to gum up the gears of the fund-raising machine.

But about ten years later, another accusation surfaced. And another. And then another, this one from the Episcopal church and school in Houston where Tucker worked after St. Stephen’s.

That’s when the Episcopal Diocese of Texas went back and looked at Woodruff’s notes from his 1993 talk with Haslanger. And that’s when diocesan officials figured they had a problem on their hands: It looked like, for the past 40 years, a series of diocesan and school authorities had conspired to cover up allegations of sexual abuse. Now the school and diocese are facing a $45 million lawsuit for that cover-up. And now, say Haslanger and the other two plaintiffs, the diocese is abusing them all over again.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues

San Diego Union-Tribune: Don't blame voters for California's Fiscal Crisis

it wasn’t voters who decided to increase the number of state government and public school jobs paid for by taxpayers from 719,000 in 1997 to 895,000 in 2007 ”“ an additional 176,000 employees. That translates into 48 added jobs a day every day for 10 years.

It wasn’t voters who changed laws to allow public employees to retire with extravagant pensions equal to 90 percent of their final pay ”“ without resolving how to pay the eventual tab.

It wasn’t voters who approved a 37 percent pay hike for prison guards and bizarre, unprecedented concessions to the guards that gave them a management say in Corrections Department decisions ”“ helping make California prisons more than twice as expensive per-inmate than Florida’s.

It wasn’t voters who refused to look at ways to relieve costly overcrowding at prisons, even as states such as New York enjoyed great success with reform measures.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Obama Faces Pitfalls With ”˜Surgical’ Tack on Detainees

As President Obama defends his national security strategy, he faces a daunting challenge. He must convince the country that it is in safe hands despite warnings to the contrary from the right, and at the same time persuade the skeptical left that it is enough to amend his predecessor’s approach rather than abandon it.

Arguably on the defensive over policy for the first time since taking office, Mr. Obama is gambling that his oratorical powers can reassure the public that bringing terrorism suspects to prisons on American soil will not put the public in danger.

At the same time, he must explain and win support for a nuanced set of positions that fall somewhere between George W. Bush and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Terrorism

Tweeting Your Way to a Job

“IT is my mission in life to get this job,” said Amanda Casgar, who is better known to executives at Murphy-Goode Winery in Sonoma County as applicant No. 505.

Three weeks ago Murphy-Goode began a search for a “social media whiz,” a wine enthusiast interested in moving to Healdsburg, Calif., for six months to promote the vineyard’s malbec and chardonnay on blogs, Facebook and Twitter. The job ”” which comes with the official title “lifestyle correspondent” ”” pays $10,000 a month, plus free accommodations at a private home within walking distance of the tasting room. Ms. Casgar, a former magazine marketing executive, has been endorsing herself as enthusiastically as she would a bottle of petit verdot.

Already an occasional Twitterer, she increased the number of tweets she posts; they are mostly about wine. She created a Web site, “Goode Times With Amanda Casgar,” to chronicle her job quest. Like about a half-dozen other eager applicants, she has started a fan group on Facebook, buying ads for 50 cents a click to generate traffic.

And last week Ms. Casgar spent two days filming her video résumé, rejecting the idea to sing a rap song (“I want to demonstrate my personality without being too cheesy or a loser,” she explained) in favor of a sketch dubbed “random acts of wineness.”

Talk about investing in the future. The position of social media specialist, introduced by companies like Comcast, General Motors and JetBlue Airways, has become the hottest new corporate job among the Twitterati.

Read it all from yesterday’s New York Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

ENS: General Convention to consider justice and peace initiatives

The 76th General Convention this July will be asked in various ways to continue the Episcopal Church’s mission of living out the baptismal covenant vow to “strive for justice and peace.”

Already-filed resolutions, most contained in the triennial reports of the church’s commissions, committees, agencies and boards, address social justice issues and echo the baptismal promise to “respect the dignity of every human being.”

Leading the list of new domestic initiatives to be considered at the convention in Anaheim, California, is one from the Executive Council’s Jubilee Advisory Committee to establish a program to alleviate domestic poverty.

Arising from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s May 2008 summit on domestic poverty, the resolution focuses on the poorest counties in the United States that encompass federal reservations for Native Americans.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Foreign Relations, General Convention, Military / Armed Forces

LA Times: Obama and Cheney in a duel for hearts and minds

It was an unusual showdown pitting present and former leaders, live on national television, with President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney dueling in back-to-back speeches Thursday over how to best protect the nation against terrorism.

Obama pressed his case for closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and for discarding interrogation techniques he described as brutal, while Cheney warned that doing so would endanger the country.

But beyond the discord over those issues, the clash represented the latest round in a larger and fast-changing fight for the public’s confidence on national security.

Americans for decades have seen the Republican Party as more trustworthy when it comes to waging war and keeping the country safe. But after sweeping the GOP into the minority in 2008, Obama is trying to forge a doctrine that would upend that view and cement his credentials — and those of his party — as a defender of the country’s security, even as he takes a more moderate course on civil liberties.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Terrorism

Bishop John Bickersteth: There are more suffragans than is healthy for the Church

It intrigues me that Church of England bishops seem to be regarded by the public today much as they were when I was consecrated to be one in 1970: namely as “a good thing for the country” at best, and at worst an amiable irrelevance. Perhaps this is because (as current polls suggest) most people still perceive themselves as believers in God.

None the less, I have come to the conclusion that too many bishops are being appointed for the health of the Church. As it is difficult for serving clergy to agree openly with this view (partly out of loyalty to their bishop, partly because some of them might become bishops themselves), I hope that among the million-or-so faithful in the pews, someone might ponder my argument.

A few statistics first:

1. In 1961, there were 13,500 full-time parochial clergy in our Church; currently there are 8616.

2. In 1961, there were the same number of dioceses as there are now, 44; so there were and are 44 diocesan bishops. But the number of suffragan/area/provincial bishops (all full-time) has grown from 44 in 1961 to 70 now. Thus there are now 114 bishops responsible for 9000 clergy, whereas, less than 50 years ago, there were 88 bishops shepherding 13,500 clergy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Peter Toon's Obituary in the (London) Times

In 1991 he moved to the US to teach at the very High Church and conservative theological college of Nashotah House, Wisconsin. He was appalled by what he saw as the excessive liberalism of most of the Episcopal Church and worked for the Prayer Book Society, defending The Book of Common Prayer against the newly authorised American Prayer Book. He was opposed to the use of inclusive language in liturgy. In 2001 he moved to the diocese of Lichfield and he spent five years in the north Staffordshire parishes of Biddulph Moor and Brown Edge, where his highly sympathetic pastoral expertise was much appreciated.

The research which lay behind his writings was monumental and he tried to put opposing views in a clear and fair way. His eccentric, warm and humorous style concealed a strong and determined faith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

Episcopal Diocese of Northern California: St. John's Settlement

Take a look.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Daily Telegraph–MPs' expenses: 20 most bizarre claims

Take a look.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Politics in General