Daily Archives: July 31, 2010

Voice on Phone Is Lifeline for Suicidal Veterans

(Please note–the above headline is from the print edition–KSH).

Melanie Poorman swiveled in her chair and punched a button on the phone. The caller, an Iraq war veteran in his 30s, had recently broken up with his girlfriend and was watching a movie, “Body of War,” that was triggering bad memories. He started to cry.

And he had a 12-gauge shotgun nearby. Could someone please come and take it away, he asked.

Ms. Poorman, 54, gently coaxed the man into unloading the weapon. As a co-worker called the police, she stayed on the line, talking to him about his girlfriend, his work, the war. Suddenly, there were sirens. “I unloaded the gun!” she heard him shout. And then he hung up. (He was taken to a hospital, she learned later.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Suicide, War in Afghanistan

The Economist Leader–The rising power of the Chinese worker

Cheap labour has built China’s economic miracle. Its manufacturing workers toil for a small fraction of the cost of their American or German competitors. At the bottom of the heap, a “floating population” of about 130m migrants work in China’s boomtowns, taking home 1,348 yuan a month on average last year. That is a mere $197, little more than one-twentieth of the average monthly wage in America. But it is 17% more than the year before. As China’s economy has bounced back, wages have followed suit. On the coasts, where its exporting factories are clustered, bosses are short of workers, and workers short of patience. A spate of strikes has thrown a spanner into the workshop of the world.

The hands of China’s workers have been strengthened by a new labour law, introduced in 2008, and by the more fundamental laws of demand and supply (see article). Workers are becoming harder to find and to keep. The country’s villages still contain perhaps 70m potential migrants. Other rural folk might be willing to work closer to home in the growing number of factories moving inland. But the supply of strong backs and nimble fingers is not infinite, even in China. The number of 15- to 29-year-olds will fall sharply from next year. And although their wages are increasing, their aspirations are rising even faster. They seem less willing to “eat bitterness”, as the Chinese put it, without complaint.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

The Onion–New Robot Capable Of Unhealthily Repressing Emotion

“This is the holy grail of artificial intelligence,” said project director Kate Tillman, explaining that the robot instantly performs millions of computations to ensure feelings of unresolved anger and simmering resentment remain deeply buried within its complex circuitry. “We felt we were on the right track when we brought up a personal shortcoming and it paced around the lab muttering, but when it started breaking eye contact and changing the subject, we knew we had accomplished something revolutionary.”

Heh. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Science & Technology

A sneak peek at Columbia, South Carolina's, Trinity Cathedral in its restoration

Scaffolding still obscures the entrance of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, and inside craftsmen are busy manning miter saws and layering ceiling plaster and floor tiles.

But a sneak peek inside the Gothic downtown church suggests a glorious restoration, once the $7 million project is completed this fall.

It has been a long three years for the 4,200 members of the congregation, who have worshipped and wed inside the adjacent Averyt Hall in the Trinity Center for Missions and Ministry during the absence from the cathedral.

The completion of the mammoth project comes at a difficult moment for the congregation. The cathedral’s longtime dean, the Very Rev. Philip C. Linder, was suspended July 14 by Bishop W. Andrew Waldo, the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. The cause of the action has not been publicized.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina

Kaite Roiphe with a Spectacular Swing and Miss in her NYT review of "Mad Men"

The phenomenal success of the show relies at least in part on the thrill of casual vice, on the glamour of spectacularly messy, self-destructive behavior to our relatively staid and enlightened times. As a culture we have moved in the direction of the gym, of the enriching, wholesome pursuit, of the embrace of responsibility, and the furthering of goals, and away from lounging around in the middle of the afternoon with a drink.

Watching all the feverish and melancholic adultery, the pregnant women drinking, the 7-year-olds learning to mix the perfect Tom Collins, we can’t help but experience a puritanical frisson about how much better, saner, more sensible our own lives are. But is there also the tiniest bit of wistfulness, the slight but unmistakable hint of longing toward all that stylish chaos, all that selfish, retrograde abandon?

In the early ’60s they smoldered against the repression of the ’50s; and it may be that we smolder a little against the wilier and subtler repression of our own undoubtedly healthier, more upstanding times.

All I can say is I sat here wondering if Ms. Roiphe and I were inhabiting the same globe, much less the same country. In any event, read it all–KSH (and you already knew this–the emphasis above is mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television, Sexuality

Edward Pentin in NCR: For Anglicans, the Calm Before the Storm?

It appears to be the calm before the storm for the Anglican Communion.

Amid much debate and controversy, last month the Church of England decided to allow women to become bishops in the next two years.

The move greatly upset traditionalist Anglicans, who are now expected to leave the Anglican Communion in large numbers ”” although not just yet.

All of the traditionalists’ wishes were rejected at a heated July 9-13 meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod in York, England. The traditionalists had sought an amendment for alternative male bishops. The amendment would have allowed parishes unwilling to have a woman bishop to call upon a male alternative who would have his own autonomy and “joint jurisdiction” over those parishes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Women

Former Catholic priest shares events that led him to seek ordination in the Episcopal Church

A former Roman Catholic priest now serving in the Episcopal Church was enthusiastically embraced by members of an Oklahoma City Hispanic congregation during his recent visit.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie preached and led discussions July 22-25 at Santa Maria Virgen Episcopal Church, 5500 S Western.

At a church dinner July 22 at Imperial Banquet Hall, 4701 S Shields, Cutie spoke candidly about the controversy that swirled around him a little more than a year ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

With Recovery Slowing, the Jobs Outlook Dims

There is no more disputing it: the economic recovery in the United States has indeed slowed.

The nation’s economy has been growing for a year, with few new jobs to show for it. Now, with the government reporting a growth rate of just 2.4 percent in the second quarter and federal stimulus measures fading, the jobs outlook appears even more discouraging.

“Given how weak the labor market is, how long we’ve been without real growth, the rest of this year is probably still going to feel like a recession,” said Prajakta Bhide, a research analyst for the United States economy at Roubini Global Economics. “It’s still positive growth ”” rather than contraction ”” but it’s going to be very, very protracted.”

Read it all.

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

Very Important–Jeffrey Rosen (NY Times Magazine): The Web Means the End of Forgetting

Four years ago, Stacy Snyder, then a 25-year-old teacher in training at Conestoga Valley High School in Lancaster, Pa., posted a photo on her MySpace page that showed her at a party wearing a pirate hat and drinking from a plastic cup, with the caption “Drunken Pirate.” After discovering the page, her supervisor at the high school told her the photo was “unprofessional,” and the dean of Millersville University School of Education, where Snyder was enrolled, said she was promoting drinking in virtual view of her under-age students. As a result, days before Snyder’s scheduled graduation, the university denied her a teaching degree. Snyder sued, arguing that the university had violated her First Amendment rights by penalizing her for her (perfectly legal) after-hours behavior. But in 2008, a federal district judge rejected the claim, saying that because Snyder was a public employee whose photo didn’t relate to matters of public concern, her “Drunken Pirate” post was not protected speech.

When historians of the future look back on the perils of the early digital age, Stacy Snyder may well be an icon. The problem she faced is only one example of a challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe: how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing ”” where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever. With Web sites like LOL Facebook Moments, which collects and shares embarrassing personal revelations from Facebook users, ill-advised photos and online chatter are coming back to haunt people months or years after the fact. Examples are proliferating daily: there was the 16-year-old British girl who was fired from her office job for complaining on Facebook, “I’m so totally bored!!”; there was the 66-year-old Canadian psychotherapist who tried to enter the United States but was turned away at the border ”” and barred permanently from visiting the country ”” after a border guard’s Internet search found that the therapist had written an article in a philosophy journal describing his experiments 30 years ago with L.S.D.

According to a recent survey by Microsoft, 75 percent of U.S. recruiters and human-resource professionals report that their companies require them to do online research about candidates, and many use a range of sites when scrutinizing applicants ”” including search engines, social-networking sites, photo- and video-sharing sites, personal Web sites and blogs, Twitter and online-gaming sites. Seventy percent of U.S. recruiters report that they have rejected candidates because of information found online, like photos and discussion-board conversations and membership in controversial groups.

Read it all.

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

BBC: Christian shop manager dissuades would-be armed robber

A 20-year-old Christian mobile phone shop manager in Florida stopped a would-be armed robber by preaching to him about Jesus.

Nayara Goncalves spent nearly five minutes persuading the man that he was doing the wrong thing.

The man eventually apologised, explained his gun was a replica and left the shop in Broward County.

“She was able to remain calm and keep him calm,” a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said.

Read it all and check out the video as well.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

The Un-Divorced

John Frost and his wife had been unhappily married for much of their 25 years together when his company relocated him in 2000. So when he moved from Virginia to Knoxville, Tenn., he left her behind.

At first, it wasn’t clear what would happen next. Would she follow him? Or would they end up divorced?

The answer: neither. “After a few months,” Mr. Frost said, “we both realized we liked it this way.”

Technically, the two are married. They file joint tax returns; she’s covered by his insurance. But they see each other just several times a year. “Since separating we get along better than we ever have,” he said. “It’s kind of nice.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

Charleston, South Carolina, serves as hub for getting military supplies, equipment to war zone

President Barack Obama may have set his 30,000 Afghanistan troop surge deadline for July, but it could be September before all their necessary equipment catches up.

Case in point: Just this week a C-17 cargo plane took off from Charleston Air Force Base with nearly 100,000 pounds of ammunition stuffed inside its cavernous belly.

Stored not too far away are tons of bridging materials set to move in the coming weeks. That’s on top of the more than 1,700 heavy armored vehicles that have been loaded, chained and flown overseas by Charleston pilots since January.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, War in Afghanistan

South Carolina called 8th-laziest U.S. state

South Carolina teems with remote-clenching, sleepy-eyed, unproductive people who rarely exercise and work a mere three hours and 26 minutes a day.

Or so says the latest BusinessWeek ranking.

The magazine rolled together various government studies that examined the nation’s sleeping habits, exercise patterns and overall time spent working. The report declared the Palmetto State the eighth-laziest in the country.

Louisiana ranked as the country’s laziest state, but South Carolinians spend more time watching TV than any other state — averaging three hours and seven minutes per day. The typical South Carolinian also spends eight hours and 42 minutes a day sleeping.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina

Two churches, same mission in the Diocese of Massachusetts

About 20 people who gather at St. David’s in Pepperell on Sundays embrace and support each other just the way the 30 people at Trinity do. And, together, the two churches have enough parishioners to do missionary work outside the Episcopal church.

“I felt like people were excited about the growth in a sense that we can share our community with other communities to do bigger things,” says Linda Hammill of Townsend, a St. David’s parishioner, about the two churches’ collaboration — which includes sharing their priest, [Marsha] Hoecker.

Hoecker has kept busy over the past 10 months, doubling as the priest for Trinity Chapel Episcopal Church in Shirley as well as for St. David’s Episcopal Church in Pepperell, after
the two parishes agreed to share resources.

Read it all.

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

The Maryland Episcopal Bishop's Guidelines Regarding the Blessing of Same-Gender Unions

These guidelines are for the clergy of the Diocese of Maryland in keeping with Resolution CO56 of the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church that states that bishops “may provide generous pastoral responses to meet the needs of members of this Church,” and that we “honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality.”

Read it carefully and read it all.

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