Daily Archives: December 30, 2009

Movies That Should Die With The Decade

Ever slap down $10 for a ticket for a film so foul you choked on the popcorn? It’s time for payback. Film critic Bob Mondello has caught the worst offenders of the past 10 years.

First, some ground rules. The film has to have burned a big enough American audience to be worth talking about ”” at least 4 million people at, say, $7.50 a pop, or roughly $30 million. That excludes Paris Hilton’s The Hottie and the Nottie, which only made $27,000 in the United States ”” though it made $1.5 million in Russia.

Second, to recognize the singular dreadfulness of each movie, we’re breaking the list into categories.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

The 7 year old boy who paints like an old master

Quite something–check it out (hat tip: Selimah).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Art, Children

Bishop Richard Chartres of London: Christmas and climate change

The Christmas message is supposed to be “good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.” How, though, is this credible amidst such encircling economic and eco-gloom?

The Copenhagen Conference has ended somewhat inconclusively. The prospect of a binding and ambitious agreement on reducing carbon emissions seems itself to have been reduced to a prelude for further negotiations. How the human race is collectively to face the reality of climate change in the 21st century remains troublingly unclear.

Yet the decisive action that Copenhagen had promised, but ultimately has failed to deliver, cannot be avoided forever. The Christian community is being recalled by this crisis to a more genuinely Biblical view of creation and our place within it. It is clear that the effects of climate change will be felt first by some of the most vulnerable communities in the world and those least able to bear the costs of adaptation….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, CoE Bishops, Energy, Natural Resources, Theology

From Today's WSJ: Daring to Live Your Life Offline

On the morning of Christmas Eve last week, I arrived at my gym””usually open at 5 a.m.””at 7:40, only to find that the holiday had delayed its opening to 8 a.m. Four of us stood there in a vestibule, listening to a frosty wind blow outdoors. The moment seemed perfect for holiday banter””how virtuous we were to be squeezing in a workout, how virtue would utterly disappear in the festive hours ahead. But one fellow pulled out his BlackBerry, and as if on cue, the rest of us did the same. For 20 minutes we read or sent emails and spoke nary a word to each other.

Of course, the image of the Internet holdout isn’t exactly a wholesome one. “Luddite” is the usual word for him, and the most infamous Luddite in modern times, Ted Kaczynski, was a lonely lunatic who killed and maimed in the name of tradition.

But in truth, little is really known about the offline American, and much is assumed: that he is rural, poor and possibly militant in his opposition to the Internet (although one blessing is that such opponents would have trouble finding each other offline).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

For some South Carolina Families, A Desperate time

With 30 hours of help a week, Christina Stewart could care for her mentally and physically disabled 9-year-old daughter, but come Friday her ability to keep the child at home will be put in jeopardy.

Hundreds of families will be put in the same position as the new year rings in, and at-home services for disabled residents are dramatically scaled back.

For Stewart, the number of hours of help available to care for her daughter, Camille, will be cut almost in half.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Afghanistan army flunks pentagon report card

Watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, War in Afghanistan

Father Marcel Guarnizo on the Consequences of Bad Ideas

The fall of the Berlin Wall is arguably the most significant event of the 20th century, says the director of an educational foundation that seeks to create a new intellectual culture in post-communist countries.

Father Marcel Guarnizo is founder and chairman of the Vienna-based organization Educational Initiative for Central and Eastern Europe (EICEE), which hosted a conference earlier this month to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and to reflect on lessons learned from the rise and fall of communism.

Part one is here and part two is there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Herald Bulletin–Even in tough times, stealing is never right

“I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither. I would ask that they do not steal from small, family businesses but from national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.”

With those words, [Tim] Jones set off a firestorm of criticism on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, rebuked Jones, saying the priest ought to know right from wrong.

“His concern for the least well-off is admirable, but his remedy is both misguided and foolish.”

Jones’ words bring to mind a different time when Victor Hugo wrote “Les Miserables” in 1862. The main character, Jean Valjean, was pursued by a police inspector for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family. Hugo’s contemporary, Charles Dickens, wrote about his disgust of poverty in such works as “Oliver Twist.” Dealing with wretched poverty and breaking the law to alleviate it seemed to be characteristics of the Victorian age.

But as Carey points out, that time is not now.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology

Lekan Oguntoyinbo: A failed bombing, an opportunity for Nigeria

Since the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day, many have asked how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian student whose father flagged his radicalization to U.S. authorities, was able to get highly explosive material through airport security checkpoints and even on board a plane in Lagos. It may be a while before U.S. and Nigerian investigators present concrete responses to apparent security flaws. But some things are already clear.

The problems at Nigeria’s largest airport are symptomatic of issues plaguing the West African country. Once one of Africa’s greatest hopes, Nigeria, a nation about the size of Arizona, California and Nevada combined, has become an embarrassment, a lawless country run by plutocrats. Nigeria has all the makings of a failed state: Less than half of its 148 million people have access to running water, the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation have reported. Electricity is epileptic. The K-12 and public university systems are frequently beset by strikes. Roads are poor, often unpaved and unpassable. Crime is the order of the day. Nigerian police officers don’t protect and serve; their uniforms allow them to exploit, extort and oppress. If victims are not from Nigeria’s small protected class, they are sometimes murdered. Borders with neighbors such as Niger, which is known to host al-Qaeda cells, are notoriously porous.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Nigeria, Terrorism

Richard Dowden: In Africa they won’t feel lonesome tonight

I once landed at a remote airstrip in southern Sudan. The pilot dropped me off and flew away, and I was alone with a long wait for the person who was to pick me up. As we flew in I had seen nothing but bush and rock; almost no sign of human habitation.

But as I sat and waited in the shade of a tree, an old man emerged from the bush. He greeted me as if I came every day and asked if I had brought any newspapers. I had not. But he did not seem to think his journey had been wasted. We sat and chatted and then, when conversation dried up, we just sat in the shade and stared across the wooded valley.

Anywhere else it would have felt awkward just sitting there in silence. But silent companionship is just fine in Africa. Just being with someone is perfectly normal. In Britain we shut ourselves off from other people and leave the lonely to themselves, especially at Christmas. Loneliness and depression are serious afflictions, created by the way we live.

Maybe we should learn from Africa.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, England / UK

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God.

–Psalm 20:7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida May Endorse Covenant

The Diocese of Central Florida’s annual convention will have an opportunity in late January to affirm the now-completed Anglican Communion Covenant.

In a letter to members of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe urged delegates to support the Covenant by voting for a resolution by the Rev. Eric Turner.

A list distributed by the Episcopal Church Center mentions eight dioceses that have scheduled conventions in January: Central Florida, Florida, Newark, North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. To date, only Central Florida has posted any resolution that addresses the Covenant in any form.

In his letter, Bishop Howe acknowledged that drafting the Covenant has taken a few years and provincial approval of it will take more time still. “It has been a lengthy process, and it will not be concluded soon,” he wrote.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Al-Qaeda ”˜groomed Abdulmutallab in London’

The Christmas Day airline bomb plot suspect organised a conference under the banner “War on Terror Week” as he immersed himself in radical politics while a student in London, The Times has learnt.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, a former president of the Islamic Society at University College London, advertised speakers including political figures, human rights lawyers and former Guantánamo detainees.

One lecture, Jihad v Terrorism, was billed as “a lecture on the Islamic position with respect to jihad”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Terrorism

Churches urged to sell land to solve rural house crisis

Research by the National Housing Federation shows that as many as 10,000 new homes could be built if churches leased or sold off land and buildings to local housing associations.

The Church of England owns 129,000 acres, and the NHS said that if each of the country’s 9,600 rural Anglican churches sold or leased land or buildings, a 10th of the homes which it says are needed to solve the crisis could be delivered.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Anglican churches in Western Canada file appeal

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Abbotsford is among those involved in an appeal filed against a B.C. Supreme Court decision that could have forced them to vacate their properties.

Cheryl Chang, in-house legal advisor for the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), said the appeal was filed on Christmas Eve in order to meet a 30-day deadline since the judgment on Nov. 25.

Chang said trustees of the four congregations decided to file the appeal now and then weigh their options after the holiday season. An appeal can be withdrawn at a later date, but it cannot be filed once the deadline passes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues