Daily Archives: August 17, 2009

Popular Science: Nine Overhyped and Misleading Health Headlines Debunked

Does red wine make you live longer? Do bras cause cancer? Is sugar as addictive as cocaine and heroin? We uncover what headline-grabbing scientific studies really mean for your health

Check it out.

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

Warren Tanghe: ACNA's Challenges

The dominant stream’ in ACNA is Evangelical. But the fundamental question is, will that prove the dominant stream’ within a coherent identity clearly rooted in and affirming in its fullness ‘the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church’, or will it prove the ACNA’s predominant identity, with Catholics as an odd, honoured, but basically just tolerated minority outside its mainstream? ACNA may be a welcome refuge for Catholics who cannot remain in TEC or have been pushed out of it. It may offer them, for the time being, the only safe place available which is connected with the Communion? But will it prove a true and permanent home for those of our integrity, or only a stopping-point on the way elsewhere?

The divisions within ACNA at its founding, both practical and theological, are real. The leaders of ACNA are very much aware of them. So are the overseas Primates who are offering them support and guidance.

But what is remarkable about ACNA is the degree to which, despite their fractious history, the Lord’s hand resolved issues that once stood between the disparate elements of which it is composed. Where once one had seen a ‘trajectory of disintegration’ (in Archbishop Duncan’s words) there has been a will to find a way forward together at each crucial moment since 2003. But if the Lord has done this, he can continue to do it, so long as ACNA’s constituent members hold fast to that will.

But that will can hold only if ACNA’s constituent parts have time to grow together into a more consistent whole. ACNA’s focus on local mission in obedience to the Great Commission, each part supporting each other part at the local level in the common work of sharing the Gospel, Archbishop Duncan asserts, is thus also the best means by which that body can develop the coherence necessary to address the issues which divide it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Gerard Lyons: Balanced growth is a win-win situation

In late September all eyes will be on the world’s leaders as they gather in Pittsburgh for the Group of Twenty (G20) meeting. Their last gathering at the London Summit in April was hailed as the most important economic meeting since the Great Depression. In my view, the forthcoming G20 meeting is as important, for two key reasons.

First, it is vital that the imminent but fragile global recovery is not blown off-course by premature policy tightening. Second, the global imbalances that contributed to this crisis threaten to be as big an issue in coming years as in the recent past.

World leaders may feel genuinely upbeat when they meet. Policy works, recessions end, may be their message. Yet they must not be complacent, particularly leaders from the West. The recovery, so far, is centred on emerging economies, such as China, where the policy stimulus has been significant.

In contrast, last week both the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England sent cautious messages. They were right to do so.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Federal Reserve, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Kendall Harmon: In the Steel City Heading to the Memorial Service for Alex Heidengren

What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

–Psalm 116: 12-15

It would mean a lot to me if you could pray this morning for the Heidengren family and for the service–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Young Adults

Washington Times: Lutheran gay policies face close vote

America’s largest Lutheran denomination has reached its crossroads on homosexuality and allowing openly gay clergy, with crucial votes slated at its biennial assembly this week in Minneapolis that participants say are too close to call.

“We recognize we’re in for some long conversation this week,” said Virginia Synod Bishop James F. Mauney, who oversees 42,000 members in 163 churches across the state. “I am hopeful that our worship will guide our conversation and we will be guided by the Holy Spirit.”

The gathering of 65 synods representing the 4.6-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America mirrors a denomination split over homosexuality.

Only celibate gay clergy can serve in ELCA churches. A small majority – 54 percent – of ELCA clergy support gay ordination, according to a Clergy Voices survey conducted in May and posted recently on the denomination’s Web site.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

USA Today–Poll: 57% don't see stimulus working

Six months after President Obama launched a $787 billion plan to right the nation’s economy, a majority of Americans think the avalanche of new federal aid has cost too much and done too little to end the recession.

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 57% of adults say the stimulus package is having no impact on the economy or making it worse. Even more ””60% ”” doubt that the stimulus plan will help the economy in the years ahead, and only 18% say it has done anything to help improve their personal situation.

That skepticism underscores the challenge Obama faces in trying to convince the public that the stimulus has helped turn the economy around. It also could complicate the administration’s plans to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Health Care in Britain: Expat Goes for a Checkup

Britons are well aware of the limitations of their system. But do they appreciate having the N.H.S. held up by Americans on the right as Exhibit A in discussions of the complete failure of socialized medicine? Do they want to hear that it is “Orwellian,” that it is a breeding ground for terrorism, or that, in the words of Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, it would refuse to treat everyone from “Granny” to Senator Edward M. Kennedy?

No, they do not.

Like squabbling family members who band together against outside criticism, Britons have reacted to the barrage of American attacks on the N.H.S. with collective nationalist outrage.

A new Twitter campaign, “We Love the NHS,” has become one of the most popular topics on the site, helped by Prime Minister Gordon Brown himself, as well as the leader of the opposition Conservative Party, David Cameron.

Mr. Brown’s eyesight was saved by a National Health surgeon after a rugby accident when he was in college; Mr. Cameron’s 6-year-old son, Ivan, who died in February, was severely disabled and received loving care from the service.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Health & Medicine

Overhauling health-care system tops agenda at annual meeting of Canada's doctors

The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country’s health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country – who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting – recognize that changes must be made.

“We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize,” Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Health & Medicine

Alexander J. Heidengren RIP

From here (make sure to click on the link to see the picture):

Alexander J. Heidengren, 18, of Center Township, died unexpectedly Saturday, August 8, 2009, at Honey Rock Camp in Three Lakes, Wisconsin.

He was born September 17, 1990, in Evanston, Illinois, and was the son of the Rev. John M. and Blanche W. Heidengren of Center Township.

He was entering his sophomore year as a student at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He was a member of Prince of Peace Church in Hopewell Township, active in their youth ministry, and served on their music ministry team for many years.

In addition to his parents, Alex is survived by his grandparents, Hugh and Ruth Williams of Raleigh, NC; grandfather, John A. Heidengren of Berwyn, PA; brother, Jonathan, entering his senior year at Wheaton College; sister, Katherine, a sophomore at Beaver County Christian School, and brothers, Nathaniel and Nicholas, entering fifth and second grades at Rhema Christian School.

The family will receive friends on Monday, August 17, 2009, both before and after the Memorial Service. The visitation begins at 10 a.m., followed by the service at 11 a.m. at the Chippewa Evangelical Free Church, 239 Braun Road, Chippewa Township, PA 15010.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to several ministries posted at www.pop-church.com.

Alex’s life continues in heaven with Jesus and on earth through the many lives he touched for God.

The HUNTSMAN FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES OF ALIQUIPPA, www.huntsmanfuneralhomes.com, are in charge of the arrangements.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Young Adults

Star Ledger: Mainline Protestant groups weigh policies affecting gay people

It was Aug. 5, 2003, and bishops at the triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church had just voted for the first time to let an openly gay man become a bishop. Louie Crew of Montclair, active in Episcopal Church politics for decades, was there in Minneapolis and vividly remembers trying to hide his jubilation when Gene Robinson was made bishop of New Hampshire.

“We were under strict orders not to cheer,” said Crew, who is gay, recalling the scene in the auditorium that day at the Minneapolis Convention Center. “We all respected the fact that it was a momentous decision that would be very painful to a large minority of the persons present. I don’t think there was anybody that disrespected those restraints.”

Still, to no one’s surprise, keeping the Church together afterward has been a struggle.

Four Episcopal dioceses, in Fort Worth, Texas.; Quincy, Ill.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and San Joaquin, Calif., have split with the national church over the issue. African conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Communion, which the Episcopal Church is part of, have aligned with those departing U.S. dioceses.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Randall Foster: A Response to Bishop Lawrences Remarks to the Clergy of South Carolina

Perhaps these moves aren’t exactly “timid” but they surely are not the bold action I was hoping for from the worthy Bishop Lawrence. This very cautious approach may be exactly what the good people of DioSC want to happen. But does the “third way” some are looking for between a.) endorsing TEC’s present trajectory into folly and heresy, and b.) departing TEC for ACNA, amount to anything more than I have just summarized? As far as I can tell this “third way” constitutes little more than tending faithfully to church local affairs while taking a few symbolic actions to “differentiate” from national TEC a bit more and ignoring 815 as much as possible.

Sadly absolutely nothing proposed in this new “middle way” will save DioSC in the long run. One day the worthy Bishop Lawrence will leave the scene and they will have to elect a new bishop. And as long as they remain under the Constitutions and Canons of TEC their new-bishop elect, whoever he is, will have to receive consents from a majority of the heretical leadership of TEC in order to be consecrated. Any plan DioSC adopts now that does not rapidly move toward departure from TEC will eventually spell their doom. I hope they have the wisdom to see that.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

If the Economy Mends, Will the Fed Get the Credit?

Still, as Wessel shows, the Fed in general and Bernanke in particular were hardly blameless in the buildup to the crisis. Under former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, the central bank probably kept interest rates too low for too long in the wake of the 2001 recession, fueling the housing boom whose bust in the second half of 2007 brought on the Great Panic. The Fed’s policy under Greenspan reflected the intellectual influence of none other than Bernanke, Wessel writes, whose fear of a downward spiral made him “a strong ally of Greenspan’s in making the case that the Fed should keep interest rates low and say so publicly.” Bernanke on that occasion was not necessarily well served by his lifelong focus on depression economics: When you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

A final verdict on Bernanke’s performance will have to wait until the Fed finishes the job he started. If the U.S. economy has stopped sinking, it is because of the flood of artificial liquidity, released by Bernanke, that has borne it up. The Fed’s next job will be the perfectly timed withdrawal of all that extra money, so as to avoid either roaring inflation or a relapse of deflation. Bernanke’s term ends in 2010, and it’s clear he is itching for a chance to finish what he began, even though President Obama will be sorely tempted to replace him with a Democrat such as Larry Summers, the White House economic adviser (and Bernanke’s longtime intellectual competitor).

A second term for Bernanke would be a good call for Obama if he wants to preserve continuity at the Fed, and if he concludes that Bernanke’s belated but creditable actions merit a reward. But in a sense, the Fed’s job for the next half-decade has already been determined by the course Bernanke chose in the past 18 months. Whoever takes the helm will face the greatest liquidity mop-up in history. And only if the Fed pulls it off can there be a happy ending to the Great Panic, whose scary beginning David Wessel has so effectively narrated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

I Say Spend. You Say No. We’re in Love.

Despite the old saying “opposites attract,” scholars have found that in almost every way imaginable, people tend to choose mates who look, sound and act as they do.

But in the area perhaps most fraught with potential conflict ”” money ”” somehow, some way, people gravitate toward their polar opposite, a new study says.

“Spendthrifts” and “tightwads” (which, as it turns out, are actual academic terms) tend to marry the other. Unfortunately, these dichotomized duos report unhappier marriages than people with more similar attitudes toward spending.

How do we know all this? Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan and Northwestern University looked at several surveys that asked a married couple to assess separately their personal feelings toward spending money.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

Sebelius Says Government Insurance Plan Not Essential

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said providing citizens with the option of government-run insurance isn’t essential to the Obama administration’s proposed overhaul of U.S. health care.

“What’s important is choice and competition,” Sebelius said today on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The public option itself “is not the essential element.”

Asked if a cooperative plan is a possible replacement, Sebelius said she didn’t know what alternatives Congress would settle on among competing versions of the health legislation now under consideration. The Senate Finance Committee is discussing cooperatives, or networks of health-insurance plans owned by their customers, that would get started with government funds.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Online, your private life is searchable

When Maya Rupert wrote an article frowning at several Southern states for officially celebrating Confederate History Month, Internet critics lined up to fire back.

But this time, they arrived with more than harsh words.

The 28-year-old Los Angeles attorney’s detractors dug up a photo of her and posted it, along with details of political contributions she’d made, in an online discussion of the article she wrote for the L.A. Watts Times. They called their finds evidence of her bias on the emotionally charged subject.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Law & Legal Issues