Daily Archives: August 10, 2010

Local Paper Health Section–CDC, experts warn of obesity's dangers, costs

The latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on America’s obesity epidemic is not good.

After crunching the numbers in 2009, more states got fatter.

Specifically, the number of states with an obesity rate of 30 percent or more has tripled to nine states in two years, according to the CDC report “Vital Signs: State-Specific Obesity Prevalence Among Adults — United States, 2009.”

To put the report in startling perspective, no state had a 30 percent obesity rate 10 years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine

For Baby Boomers, retirement jobs can be a tough fit

Baby Boomers approaching retirement age are in for a rude awakening.

Many want to keep working, knowing that they likely will live well into their 80s and 90s, stay healthier than previous generations and need more cash to keep paying the bills.

However, for Boomers ”” those 79 million Americans born from 1946 through 1964 ”” “the new retirement reality may be a messy proposition,” says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Jobs are scarce and many employers aren’t willing to hire older workers. Boomers who do land jobs often must settle for ones that are less fulfilling than desired.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Belfast Telegraph–All eyes on the Pope as he visits ”˜Protestant Britannia’

On a global scale, Britain, the foremost Protestant nation through the rabid religiosity of the English and the Scots, mobilised its empire in aggressive opposition to papal power, while Catholic Ireland spawned its own spiritual diaspora by exporting generations of priests and people to the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

In the perspective of this fire and dungeon history, it is a stunning turnaround that Pope Benedict has selected ‘Protestant Britannia’ ahead of ‘Catholic Ireland’ for an official state visit next month.

Even more remarkably, Pope Benedict will meet his host, Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Anglican Church of England, in Edinburgh, the capital of Presbyterianism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Lightning strike crumbles Episcopal church steeple in Iowa

The Rev. Cathi Bencken managed to crack a joke Monday after an apparent lightning strike zapped an iron cross and crumbled the steeple of Trinity Episcopal Church.

“I don’t think it was (because) of anything I said,” she said of the sermon she delivered Sunday.

Neighbors in a nearby downtown apartment told Bencken and other church leaders that lightning hit the church about 3:30 a.m.

Read it all.

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

California's same sex marriage decision unlikely to shift campaign focus from economy

At another time, the ruling overturning California’s ban on same-sex marriages might have been the political equivalent of an earthquake. Instead, the relatively restrained response underscores both the singular economic focus of this year’s elections and the shifting politics of one of the country’s major social issues.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans appear eager to try to turn the California decision into a November rallying cry. Many Democrats who otherwise strongly support gay rights are still reluctant to advocate for same-sex marriages, President Obama being the most prominent example. Many Republicans believe their conservative base is already well motivated. For now, they prefer to stay away from the kind of wedge-issue politics that were once a hallmark of their campaigns.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Sexuality

Ross Douthat–The Marriage Ideal

…[What this debate is really about is]…a particular vision of marriage… This ideal holds up the commitment to lifelong fidelity and support by two sexually different human beings ”” a commitment that involves the mutual surrender, arguably, of their reproductive self-interest ”” as a uniquely admirable kind of relationship. It holds up the domestic life that can be created only by such unions, in which children grow up in intimate contact with both of their biological parents, as a uniquely admirable approach to child-rearing. And recognizing the difficulty of achieving these goals, it surrounds wedlock with a distinctive set of rituals, sanctions and taboos.

[This view] was a particularly Western understanding, derived from Jewish and Christian beliefs about the order of creation…

Lately [however, this view]… it has come to co-exist with a less idealistic, more accommodating approach, defined by no-fault divorce, frequent out-of-wedlock births, and serial monogamy.

In this landscape, gay-marriage critics who fret about a slippery slope to polygamy miss the point. Americans already have a kind of postmodern polygamy available to them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

At UNC Chapel Hill, a Black Theodicy Forum with Muslim and Christian Scholars

About 75 people showed up for the two-day event, organized by the Institute of African American Research. Among them was Umar Muhammad, a former assistant basketball coach at N.C. Central University in Durham.

“I came here to learn about how both religious traditions have common solutions to the problems of African-Americans,” said Muhammad, who is Muslim and lives in Durham.

As a sports consultant to young black men, he said, he wanted to be in a better position to offer spiritual solutions to some of the questions the men are asking.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology

Girls reach puberty earlier, raising health concerns

American girls are hitting puberty earlier than ever ”” a change that puts them at higher risk for behavioral problems as adolescents and breast cancer as adults, a new study shows.

About 15% of 1,239 girls studied showed the beginnings of breast development at age 7, according to an article in today’s Pediatrics. One in 10 white girls, twice as many as in a 1997 study, showed breast growth by that age, as did 23% of black girls and 15% of Hispanic girls.

The median age of breast development fell from 10.9 years in 1991 to 9.9 in 2006, according to a Danish study published in Pediatrics last year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sexuality, Women

Stephanie Paulsell–Wired and unwired

In 1993, not so terribly long ago, I signed up for my first e-mail account. I remember using it to compose and exchange haikus with other novice faculty about our daily travails, to keep up with friends from graduate school, and to sign up for more electronic mailing lists than I could possibly follow.

One year later, while I was still goofing around with my new electronic toy, cultural critic Sven Birkerts wrote in The Gutenberg Elegies, “Ten, fifteen years from now the world will be nothing like what we remember, nothing much like what we experience now. . . . We will be swimming in impulses and data””the microchip will make us offers that will be very hard to refuse.”

He must have had a crystal ball. In precisely the amount of time Birkerts predicted, I have gone from marveling at the novelty of e-mail to being simultaneously resentful of its hold on my life and unable to imagine how I would live without it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Globalization, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Across America, Mosque Projects Meet Opposition

While a high-profile battle rages over a mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, heated confrontations have also broken out in communities across the country where mosques are proposed for far less hallowed locations.

In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.

In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Local Paper front page: Charleston County School Board to seek 6-year sales tax hike

The Charleston County School Board decided Monday night to scale back its request to voters and ask them to approve a six-year, one-penny sales tax increase to pay for construction projects.

Board members had planned to put an eight-year sales tax increase on voters’ ballots in November, but a lack of business community support and revised revenue figures led them to reduce it by two years. The six-year tax would generate an estimated $75 million per year for a total of $450 million.

The money would go toward building 14 new schools, renovating four schools, acquiring land in three developments, conducting seismic evaluations of six buildings, creating design plans for one school and improving existing schools’ athletic facilities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Economy, Education, Politics in General, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

NPR–Strange Fruit: The Anniversary Of A Lynching

This is a must-listen-to (reading it really won’t work here, it will ruin the real impact in this case). I caught it in the car by accident–it is unspeakably powerful. Please be advised that the contents would not be appropriate for some blog participants–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Deacon Laurence

Almighty God, who didst call thy deacon Laurence to serve thee with deeds of love, and didst give him the crown of martyrdom: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, following his example, may fulfil thy commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving thee with all our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to begin the Day

Teach us, O God, to walk trustfully today in thy presence, that thy voice may encourage us, thine arm defend us, and thy love surround us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

–Acts 5:27-29

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture