Daily Archives: January 12, 2010

Lawyers challenge Ohio on executions

Proper training of prison officials could have prevented a botched execution in Ohio last year that led the state to overhaul its method of execution, lawyers for several death row inmates have argued in court filings.

The filings contend that Ohio prison officials have shown a consistent disregard for their own rules in carrying out executions, including failing to ensure that execution staff members attend required rehearsals and training.

And they contend that one of the people who helped conduct the botched execution on Sept. 15, involving an inmate named Romell Broom, was inadequately trained and had failed to attend all the required rehearsals.

That employee is a licensed emergency medical technician, but has not worked as one for several years, does not regularly establish IVs and was out of practice at the time of Mr. Broom’s attempted execution, according to the court documents filed Friday in Federal District Court in Columbus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Capital Punishment, Law & Legal Issues

Corker questions Geithner on 'blank check' to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) ”” a member of the Senate Banking Committee ”” sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Monday with a list of questions regarding what the Republican called a “blank check” to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In the letter, Corker criticized the Treasury’s removal of a cap on credit available to the two government-backed firms that were in at the nexus of the mortgage crisis.

“On Dec. 24, 2009, the United States Department of the Treasury announced amendments to the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements it has with the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Those amendments removed the $200 billion per enterprise cap ($400 billion total) and, in effect, wrote a blank check for the amount of ‘credit’ that will be made available to the two mortgage giants,” the letter reads.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Church Times: Canon John Armson looks at two different styles of spiritual writing

What a pleasure it was, then, to pick up [Barbara Brown] Taylor’s exciting book. It is aptly subtitled; for indeed she tells, in a homely and forthright way, of discovering the sacred beneath our feet ”” sometimes literally. Hers is a most down-to-earth book, bursting with life, offering imagina­tive and exciting advice, with no hint of a “holier-than-thou” atti­tude.

Each chapter starts from incidents and anecdotes ”” some hilarious ”” in her life as a divinity teacher, wife, pastor, and friend. They are the kinds of experiences, good and bad, happy and sorrowful, any of us might have had or have. But she has the holiness (my word) to see be­neath and behind them.

While she is clearly well-trained in spirituality at an academic level, that is not her source here ”” just her tool for interpreting and extra­polating from day to day events: finding a job, making eye contact with a check-out girl, getting lost in a wood.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

Finalists for Episcopal Bishop of Alaska

Check out the 4 here.

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

Anglican Journal: Fewer staff at Anglican Church of Canada national office forecast

It will be a “challenging” year for staff at the General Synod office in Toronto.

More budget cuts will be needed to achieve a balanced budget for 2011 and eliminate deficits by 2012, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

“There’s another cut to come and it will be bigger,” Archbishop Hiltz told a meeting of the House of Bishops held Jan. 7 to 9. “We’ll look at a smaller staff.” He said that decisions will be guided by priorities that will be set out at the upcoming General Synod this June.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

In Tennessee a Faith-based program helps women leave behind 'horrors of the street'

Behind barbed wire and heavily secured gates, the women housed at the Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center fixate on the days left until they’re up for parole.

But for many, the real hurdles lie beyond prison fences.

“The biggest problem is they don’t have the support system out there,” said Patrisha Bridges, pre-release coordinator for the East Memphis prison.

Too often, that means returning to drugs and prostitution and eventually back in jail.

But a faith-based program out of Nashville, which helps women with a history of prostitution and addiction turn their lives around, visited Memphis inmates on Monday to show there’s another way.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Parish Ministry, Prison/Prison Ministry, Women

The Sun: God protect this blessed laptop

A vicar has launched a bizarre bid to attract city workers to his church ”” by offering to BLESS their mobile phones and laptops.

The Rev David Parrott issued his first blessing over a heap of high-tech laptops and smart phones on the altar of London’s 17th Century St Lawrence Jewry church today.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Science & Technology

BBC: Malaysia church attacks continue in use of 'Allah' row

Another Christian church has been attacked in Malaysia – the ninth such incident since Friday.

No one was injured in the attack on an evangelical Christian church, but buildings were damaged by what appear to have been home-made petrol bombs.

In another case a church was vandalised with black paint.

The attacks appear to have been triggered by a High Court ruling last month that overturned a government ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Malaysia, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

N.J. Senate Rejects Same-sex Marriage Bill

The New Jersey state Senate on Thursday (Jan. 7) voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, prompting a promise from gay-rights advocates to take their campaign to the courts.

The final tally, 20-14 with three abstentions, reflects a dramatic shift in the state’s political landscape since gay-marriage supporter Gov. Jon Corzine lost his bid for re-election to Republican Chris Christie in November.

Christie came out strongly against the bill, emboldening opponents of same-sex marriage and drawing undecided senators to the Republican fold. He has also said he would veto a same-sex marriage bill if it ever reached his desk.

Steven Goldstein, who led the push for gay marriage as chairman of the gay-rights group Garden State Equality, said he and other advocates would move swiftly to force the issue in the courts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government

Gary Rosensteel: Goodbye, Middle America! The shift to Web news allows us to ignore differing views

Newspaper circulation and magazine subscriptions have been declining for years. Why would I want to read a printed paper or magazine when I can instantly get access to whatever news they provide from thousands of sources on the Web? In fact, on the Web I can tailor my own presentation to see only the news of interest to me.

Ah, there’s the rub! Our under-30 population is self-limiting the information they see to only those things they currently are interested in, be it sports, celebrity news, music or videos. I understand why this is empowering, but at the same time it is enfeebling.

They are eliminating the possibility of ah-ha! moments, when you stumble across some story on page 5 of the paper, or in one of the small sections of a magazine. When you find something you would never search for, because it’s way outside your sphere of interest, or you didn’t know it existed — until you saw a compelling headline and just had to read what followed.

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Media

AP–Stimulus Watch: Unemployment unchanged by projects

A federal spending surge of more than $20 billion for roads and bridges in President Barack Obama’s first stimulus has had no effect on local unemployment rates, raising questions about his argument for billions more to address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth.”

An Associated Press analysis of stimulus spending found that it didn’t matter if a lot of money was spent on highways or none at all: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless. And the stimulus spending only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, the analysis showed.

With the nation’s unemployment rate at 10 percent and expected to rise, Obama wants a second stimulus bill from Congress including billions of additional dollars for roads and bridges ”” projects the president says are “at the heart of our effort to accelerate job growth.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, 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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Aelred of Rievaulx

Almighty God, who didst endow thy abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: Grant to thy people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of thy eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

More families relying on food stamps to feed their kids

The United States has more poor children now than it did a year ago.

As recession-hammered families increase, more are using food stamps to feed their kids, according to a study by the Brookings Institution and First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy group.

“They are a really good barometer, a kind of economic-needs test,” said Mark R. Rank, an expert on social welfare programs at Washington University in St. Louis. “If you’re receiving food stamps and you’re a child, by definition, you’re in poverty.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Marriage & Family, Poverty

Pontiff Notes Fundamental Need in Mideast Conflict

Benedict XVI says peace in the Holy Land is possible, and that it hinges on Israelis and Palestinians recognizing their mutual right to a homeland.

The Pope took up this theme today when he delivered his traditional New Year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

The Holy Father’s address for 2010 centered on the issue of respect for creation and the environment, the same theme he highlighted in his Jan. 1 message for the World Day of Peace.

The Pontiff recalled how during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land last May, he “urgently appealed to the Israelis and the Palestinians to dialogue and to respect each others’ rights.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Middle East, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

From the Morning Scripture Readings

John answered them, “I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

–John 1:26,27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture