Daily Archives: January 14, 2010

In Google's Rebuke of China, Focus Falls on Cybersecurity

Mr. Drummond said that an attack originating in China was aimed at its corporate infrastructure.

While the full scope of the attacks on Google and several dozen other companies remains unclear, the events set off immediate alarms in Washington, where the Obama administration has previously expressed concern about international computer security and attacks on Western companies.

Neither the sequence of events leading to Google’s decision nor the company’s ultimate goal in rebuking China is fully understood. But this was not the first time that the company had considered withdrawing from China, according to a former company executive. It had clashed repeatedly with Chinese officials over censorship demands, the executive said.

Google said on Tuesday that that in its investigation of the attacks on corporations, it found that the Gmail accounts of Chinese and Tibetan activists, like Ms. Seldon, had been compromised in separate attacks involving phishing and spyware.

Independent security researchers said that at least 34 corporations had been targets of the attacks originating in China.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Science & Technology

Haitian Roman Catholic Archbishop Killed in Earthquake

Archbishop Joseph Serge-Miot was reported dead after the Tuesday earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Father Andre Siohan, a missionary of the French St. Jacques Society, e-mailed the Missionary International Service News Agency a few hours after the quake, which was centered less than 10 miles from Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital.

“Nou atè nèt,” the priest wrote, which means in Creole, “We are on our knees.”

“I went to the city center this morning to visit the other religious communities,” he said. “The area is completely devastated and there are thousands of victims.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

SF Chronicle: Historian makes the case for same-sex marriage

A Harvard professor made a historian’s case for same-sex marriage in federal court Tuesday, saying backers of California’s Proposition 8 are offering the same rationale – that the survival of marriage is at stake – once used to defend bans on interracial unions and the legal subordination of wives.

Those who supported prohibitions on weddings across racial lines, bans dating from colonial days that the Supreme Court abolished only in 1967, often argued that “the institution would be degraded, their own marriages would be devalued” if such unions were allowed, Nancy Cott testified in San Francisco on the second day of the U.S. District Court trial of a suit challenging Prop. 8.

Similarly, she said, 19th century laws in most states that required women to surrender their property, earnings and legal status to their husbands were viewed by their supporters as “absolutely essential to what marriage was.” It took a series of Supreme Court rulings in the 1970s, Cott said, to stamp out the remnants of sex discrimination in marriage laws.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

Seward Hiltner: Bonsesquilistic Theology for Today

The courage I have needed to prepare and present this address would not have been possible without help from John Calvin and Jürgen Moltmann. In his only recently discovered book, Second Thoughts from Geneva, Calvin wrote, “Theology should be serious but not solemnly without humor.” And in a recent issue of Theology Today, Moltmann said, “Critical faith has achieved a reflective and free relationship with its basic traditions.”

Guided by such considerations, I want to make a plea for a genuine examination of the bonsesquilistic theology of Guido Buonofunacci as of peculiar importance to the ecumenical potentialities of our time. Rightly understood, I believe that Guido anticipated the work of Luther, Calvin, the Council of Trent, George Fox, Jonathan Edwards, Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Harvey Cox, and Sam Keen, among others.

Until the great modem scholarly study of Buonofunacci by J. C. Smith, and some much more modest unpublished writings of my own, it is remarkable and reprehensible that Guido has simply been ignored by both Catholics and Protestants ever since he completed his twelve volumes in the fourteenth century. It is true that the slow development of printing in his time delayed for years the publication of his works in the modern book sense. And his writing Campanola and became Bishop of Pizza, be found time for his potential reading public. His was a relatively tranquil time. After he left his long pastorate at the Church of the Holy Buttons in Campanola and became bishop of Pizza, he found time for his voluminous writing. And by the date when his series was actually published, Luther, Calvin, Erasmus, Ciuto, Gebovitz, von Gliesbar, de Tuil, and others had entered the theological front stage. Without close examination, Protestants wrote him off as a Catholic. Catholics ignored him because he disliked Latin and Italian. Italians neglected him because he had written twelve books.

What a lot of fun–read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Theology

Canon Mary Moreno Richardson (St Paul's Cathedral, San Diego): Support Legalizing Marijuana

Meanwhile, California’s largest cash crop is being largely ignored in the frenzied search for politically-viable revenue. The state’s marijuana yield is conservatively valued at $14 billion annually ”“ nearly double the combined value of our vegetable and grape crops. The state Board of Equalization estimates that taxing adult marijuana consumption like alcohol would generate $1.4 billion in new revenue for the state. While that’s only a modest contribution toward our fiscal woes, it’s one more incentive to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition. In fact, the financial and human price that we currently pay for criminalizing pot is far too high.

California, which decriminalized low-level marijuana possession in 1975, arrested more than 78,000 people for marijuana offenses last year alone, a nearly 30 percent increase since 2005. Of those arrested, four out of five were for simple possession, and one in five was a child under the age of 18. Police disproportionately arrest young people of color, many of whom permanently enter the criminal justice system and suffer severe limitations to their educational and employment opportunities.

California spends hundreds of millions of dollars to enforce marijuana prohibition. While law enforcement focuses ever-increasing resources on arresting marijuana users, there were 185,173 reported violent crimes in California in 2008, but only 125,235 violent crime arrests. Where are our priorities?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, State Government, TEC Parishes

The CIA World Factbook on Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country’s widespread deforestation. While the economy has recovered in recent years, registering positive growth since 2005, four tropical storms in 2008 severely damaged the transportation infrastructure and agricultural sector.

Before you look, please guess the GDP per capita income of Haiti (the United States is tenth in the world at $47,500 for comparison purposes) Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti

One Thirteen Year Old Girl's Miraculous Rescue in Haiti

Caught this on the morning run–brings it home. Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti, Teens / Youth

ENS: Haiti struck by devastating earthquake; diocese suffers heavy damage

Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin’s home was destroyed in the earthquake and his wife injured her foot, according to news received mid-morning on Jan. 13 by the Rev. Christopher A. Johnson, the U.S.-based Episcopal Church’s officer for social and economic justice. Duracin was not injured in the earthquake. The Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince died in the earthquake, according to the Associated Press. The Roman Catholic Cathedral was badly damaged.

The Episcopal Church has four U.S.-based missionaries working in Haiti, three of whom were in-country when the earthquake hit: the Rev. Oge Beauvoir, 53, dean of the theological seminary in Port-au-Prince, and Young Adult Service Corps volunteers Mallory Holding, 23, of Chicago and Jude Harmon, 28, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Episcopal Church (TEC), Haiti

Local Paper front Page on Haiti: Devastation

Charleston disaster relief worker Jerry Miner knows the earthquake in Haiti could be the start of a human nightmare that has every chance of escalating.

“The information is the destruction is on the scale of the (Pacific) tsunami,” said Miner, who works with West Ashley-based Water Missions International. “This is big and horrible.

Note especially the how to help section at the bottom. I esepcially want to highlight Water Missions International as a worthy idea for donations. In any event, read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti

La Times Editorial: Legalize marijuana? Not so fast

Marijuana advocates are cheering the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee for voting out a measure Tuesday designed to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of the drug to adults 21 and over. The bill is being marketed as a revenue raiser; the Board of Equalization estimates that the state could reap up to $1.3 billion in sorely needed tax revenue, and proponents have skillfully wielded the budget crisis to boost support for the measure.

Polls show that 56% of Californians back legalizing marijuana. Across the country, the numbers are somewhat lower, but nevertheless momentum is building for a reconsideration of marijuana laws covering both medicinal and recreational use. Many states now treat marijuana offenses as mere infractions, not subject to jail time. The American Medical Assn. recently reversed its long-held position and urged more research into the drug’s properties.

Still, for California to purport to legalize marijuana unilaterally raises several serious concerns. For one thing, to do so simply because the state faces a budget crisis would be a rash and reckless way to make public policy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

Standard & Poor's Lowers California's Debt Rating

A major credit-rating agency lowered California’s debt rating Wednesday, putting pressure on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers to start tackling the state’s $20 billion deficit.

Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on California’s $64 billion general obligation debt one step, from “A” to “A-.” The agency also dropped $9.4 billion in lease-revenue bonds three notches, from “A-” to “BBB-.”

California had the lowest general obligation rating of any state when S&P dropped it from “A+” to “A” in February 2009. Fitch and Moody’s, two other rating firms, have followed with their own downgrades.

Read it all.

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

Bloomberg TV: David Walker Discusses U.S. Debt and Budget Control

David Walker, chief executive officer at Peter G Peterson Foundation and former U.S. Comptroller, talks with Bloomberg’s Carol Massar and Matt Miller about the U.S. financial crisis.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

J.I. Packer: More Catechesis, Please

“Packer’s last crusade in this world,” the Rev. Dr. J.I. Packer affirms, is recovering catechesis ”” systematic instruction in the Christian fundamentals ”” to meet the challenges of an increasingly pagan age.

The evangelical theologian said at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas on Jan. 9 that he yearns for the return of catechesis, “Bible-based, Christ-centered, declarative in style,” at a time when “the Christian value system is virtually disappearing from schools.”

“We are drifting back into paganism, that’s the truth,” said Dr. Packer, the second featured speaker in the James M. Stanton Lecture Series.

“Ongoing learning is part of the calling of the Church,” he said. “It has to be taught in all churches at all times.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, Adult Education, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Pope Benedict XVI: On Hope for 2010

Dear friends, this is the true reason for humanity’s hope: history has meaning because it is “inhabited” by the Wisdom of God. And yet the divine plan is not automatically implemented because it is a plan of love, and love generates freedom and requires freedom. The Kingdom of God certainly comes, indeed it is already present in history and thanks to Christ’s coming has already conquered the negative power of the Evil One. However, all men and women are responsible for welcoming him into their own lives, day after day. Therefore even the year 2010 will be “good” to the extent that each of us, according to his or her own responsibilities, can work with God’s grace. Thus let us turn to the Virgin Mary to learn this spiritual disposition from her. The Son of God did not take flesh from her without her consent. Every time the Lord wants to take a step forward with us toward the “promised land”, he first knocks at our hearts. He waits, so to speak, for our “yes”, in small decisions as in important ones. May Mary help us always to accept God’s will with humility and courage, so that the trials and suffering of life may help to hasten the coming of his Kingdom of justice and peace.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

–Psalm 18:1-3

Posted in Uncategorized