Daily Archives: July 2, 2009

BBC: Ant mega-colony takes over world

A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.

Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another.

The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Science & Technology

Notable and Quotable

If, as expected, 363,000 jobs were eliminated last month, it will mean 131.8 million people are working in the U.S.–the same as May of 2000. If another million jobs disappear by the end of the year–likely, without unexpected improvement–an entire decade of employment gains will have been wiped out. In January of 2000, there were 130.8 million jobs in the country. “It’s not that those jobs weren’t needed. The labor force has grown by nearly 13 million people,” says Heidi Shierholz, an economist for the Economic Policy Institute.

Forbes Magazine.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

An Aspiring Lawyer Finds Debt Is Bigger Hurdle Than Bar Exam

In January, the committee of New York lawyers that reviews applications for admission to the bar interviewed Mr. Bowman, studied his history and the debt he had amassed, and called his persistence remarkable. It recommended his approval.

But a group of five state appellate judges decided this spring that his student loans were too big and his efforts to repay them too meager for him to be a lawyer.

“Applicant has not made any substantial payments on the loans,” the judges wrote in a terse decision and an unusual rejection of the committee’s recommendation. “Applicant has not presently established the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counselor-at-law.”

Read it all from the front page of today’s New York Times. 400,000 in loans–symbolic of this recent era, alas.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Local Editorial on Governor Mark Sanford: His own worst enemy

Gov. Mark Sanford’s latest expanded explanation about his love life has increased calls for his resignation among the Legislature and is being followed up with an investigation to determine if any state funds were misspent.

It also offered up more embarrassment to South Carolinians who were just getting over the shock of his rambling, emotional press conference of last week. The governor related the latest chapter of his personal soap opera to an Associated Press reporter during a three-hour interview.

One of his most reasonable comments in the published account was the observation that he is dealing with his “own political funeral.” The governor appears to be under some inner compulsion to get to the graveyard in a hurry.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina

David Leonhardt: An Economic Forecast from the Obama Administration With Hope Built In

In concrete terms, the difference between the situation that the Obama advisers predicted and the one that has come to pass is about 2.5 million jobs. It’s as if every worker in the city of Los Angeles received an unexpected layoff notice.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Allison DeFoor: Florida must slow its revolving doors into prison

Because of this high failure rate, DOC’s budget has crept up to $2 billion as Florida’s prison population has approached 100,000. Ironically, though, we now know ”” and can quantify ”” key factors that reduce recidivism. Among them:

ӢA belief in something outside of themselves, such as God. Prisoners, like other humans, tend to behave differently in the face of the transcendent.

ӢSubstance-abuse treatment. For many offenders, substance abuse has been a major problem. Treatment substantially reduces recidivism.

ӢEducation. DOC data show a 4 percent reduction in recidivism for each grade-level increase in reading skills. Literacy should be required for release.

”¢Age. It’s statistically odd but true that turning 28 makes a difference. Marriage also helps.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Prison/Prison Ministry

An Interview with Bishop Schofield

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Julia Duin: New Anglicans split on women

“We’re trying to be servants,” Katherine Martin, a cleric from Auburn, Ala., told me. “I’m not being welcomed to consecrate [Communion] in Quincy [Illinois] or Fort Worth [Texas],” which are two dioceses that don’t ordain women, “but both the bishops of those dioceses couldn’t be more kind.”

I wondered if the men would take a similar position, agreeing to be “servants” while limitations were placed on them.

“I’d be lying if I’d say I wasn’t disappointed,” said Canon Mary Hayes of the Pittsburgh Diocese. “I’ve been a priest 25 years. I’m delighted to be in a body of people who have different views. It’s not about getting my way.”

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Women

Episcopalians return to Petaluma church

Although the decision has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Anglican leaders in Petaluma decided to settle rather than engage in a costly legal battle, said their lawyer, the Rev. Lu T. Nguyen.

“My clients felt as though it just wasn’t worth the long-term fight,” Nguyen said. “This is a church. It’s purpose is not material gain but spiritual matters.”

Petaluma Episcopalians appeared happy Wednesday to have a place of their own.

After a majority of the congregation voted to split from the Episcopal Church in December 2006, the remaining Episcopal members re-formed under the Rev. Norman Cram, and held services first in a parishioner’s living room and later at Elim Lutheran Church.

The congregation now has about 50 members.

Read it all.

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

The Ninth Bishop Of The Episcopal Diocese Of Alabama Dies

The Rt. Rev. Robert .O. Miller, Ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, died Monday evening June 30, 2009, at Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham. Bishop Miller served as spiritual head of the more than 30,000 member diocese for almost a decade from 1989 until his retirement in 1998. His ordained ministry spanned almost half a century.

“Bishop Miller was a much beloved bishop in our diocese. He was a devoted pastor to many, a champion of the church’s ministry among the poor and persons in special need, and a leader in expanding the ministry of the Episcopal Church in Alabama. He will be greatly missed,” said the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley Jr., Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

Courier Journal: New chapel opens at Episcopal Church Home in Kentucky

The 3,600-square-foot church, which faces Lyndon Lane across from Westport Village Shopping Center, is also intended to serve people in the immediate neighborhood. About 400 people were invited to the consecration service, which also was open to the public.

“Let the doors be opened,” the Rev. Edwin F. Gulick Jr., Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky intoned at the service, before leading a procession into the church sanctuary. The congregation sang “The Church’s One Foundation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

An Excellent Bloomberg Television Interview with Harvard's Niall Ferguson

He discusses the Obama administration’s fiscal policy, the U.S. government’s debt and proposed changes to the financial regulatory system.

I happened to catch this yesterday morning. Note especially the concern about the mounting national debt and the mention of the historical parallels with the 1930’s (he sees significant discontinuities there). Watch it all (a little over 10 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Nuns in the U.S. Are Facing Scrutiny by the Vatican

The Vatican is quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition.

Nuns were the often-unsung workers who helped build the Roman Catholic Church in this country, planting schools and hospitals and keeping parishes humming. But for the last three decades, their numbers have been declining ”” to 60,000 today from 180,000 in 1965.

While some nuns say they are grateful that the Vatican is finally paying attention to their dwindling communities, many fear that the real motivation is to reel in American nuns who have reinterpreted their calling for the modern world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

U.S. Marines Try to Retake Afghan Valley From Taliban

Almost 4,000 United States Marines, backed by helicopter gunships, pushed into the volatile Helmand River valley in southwestern Afghanistan early Thursday morning to try to take back the region from Taliban fighters whose control of poppy harvests and opium smuggling in Helmand provides major financing for the Afghan insurgency.

The Marine Expeditionary Brigade leading the operation represents a large number of the 21,000 additional troops that President Obama ordered to Afghanistan earlier this year amid rising violence and the Taliban’s increasing domination in much of the country. The operation is described as the first major push in southern Afghanistan by the newly bolstered American force.

Helmand is one of the deadliest provinces in Afghanistan, where Taliban fighters have practiced sleek, hit-and-run guerrilla warfare against the British forces based there.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan

ENS: Private meeting with Rowan Williams at convention will address sexuality, ministry

Eight members of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies are scheduled meet privately with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at General Convention in a session that is intended in part to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in the church.

General Convention meets July 8-17 in Anaheim, California, and Williams will be present July 7-9.

The session is not an official convention meeting and thus there has been no announcement of the plans. However, when contacted by Episcopal News Service, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe of the Diocese of California confirmed the details.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Parishes