Daily Archives: February 17, 2014

Richland County S.C. Sheriff Leon Lott–Mistreating mentally ill inmates endangers public

Two months ago, an escaped mentally ill inmate was walking down the street, blocking traffic. I stopped, and the next thing I knew he started accusing me of killing his mother. Then he attacked me. Fortunately, I was able to subdue him, and we returned him to prison.

Mental illness is not a crime, and the vast majority of people with mental illness are not dangerous. People whose mental illness goes untreated, however, may become dangerous. Tragic headlines around the country too often provide evidence of that fact.

It is against this background that S.C. Circuit Judge Michael Baxley recently found that mentally ill inmates in S.C. prisons receive grossly inadequate treatment. His 45-page order sets forth in shocking detail the deficiencies in the Department of Corrections’ mental health system.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Mental Illness, Politics in General, Prison/Prison Ministry, Psychology, State Government, Theology

(New Yorker) George Packer–Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?

Amazon is not just the “Everything Store,” to quote the title of Brad Stone’s rich chronicle of Bezos and his company; it’s more like the Everything. What remains constant is ambition, and the search for new things to be ambitious about.

It seems preposterous now, but Amazon began as a bookstore. In 1994, at the age of thirty, Bezos, a Princeton graduate, quit his job at a Manhattan hedge fund and moved to Seattle to found a company that could ride the exponential growth of the early commercial Internet. (Bezos calculated that, in 1993, usage climbed by two hundred and thirty thousand per cent.) His wife, MacKenzie, is a novelist who studied under Toni Morrison at Princeton; according to Stone, Bezos’s favorite novel is Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day,” which is on the suggested reading list for Amazon executives. All the other titles, including “Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story,” are business books, and even Ishiguro’s novel””about a self-erasing English butler who realizes that he has missed his chance at happiness in love””offers what Bezos calls a “regret-minimization framework”: how not to end up like the butler. Bezos is, above all things, pragmatic. (He declined to be interviewed for this article.)

It wasn’t a love of books that led him to start an online bookstore. “It was totally based on the property of books as a product,” Shel Kaphan, Bezos’s former deputy, says. Books are easy to ship and hard to break, and there was a major distribution warehouse in Oregon. Crucially, there are far too many books, in and out of print, to sell even a fraction of them at a physical store. The vast selection made possible by the Internet gave Amazon its initial advantage, and a wedge into selling everything else. For Bezos to have seen a bookstore as a means to world domination at the beginning of the Internet age, when there was already a crisis of confidence in the publishing world, in a country not known for its book-crazy public, was a stroke of business genius.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization

(The Observer in 2003) The 100 greatest novels of all time

See what you make of the list especially in terms of works you think should have been there but are not curretnly on the list.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History

Washington's Birthday Documents (II): George Washington's First State of Union Address

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents itself of congratulating you on the present favorable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of North Carolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received), the rising credit and respectability of our country, the general and increasing good will toward the government of the Union, and the concord, peace, and plenty with which we are blessed are circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our national prosperity.

In resuming your consultations for the general good you can not but derive encouragement from the reflection that the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory to your constituents as the novelty and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope. Still further to realize their expectations and to secure the blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach will in the course of the present important session call for the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness, and wisdom.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

Valerie Strauss–Another Quiz About Presidents on Washington's Birthday

You thought you were done, but no. Read it all and see how many answers you can get.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

Valerie Strauss–A Washington's Birthday quiz on the office of President

Read it all and see how you do.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

[Matt Kennedy] Archbishop Welby’s Speech at Synod: Understanding the English

This speech by Justin Welby could have easily been given by Rowan Williams or, indeed, any number of revisionist Episcopalian bishops. It is, of course, about women bishops and how those who rightly oppose the move to make them ought to open themselves to the “perfect love” that casts out all that curmudgeonly concern for biblical fidelity which as we all know inhibits “human flourishing”. But this speech is not only about women bishops. The language he uses here is “precisely” the language he uses to push reconciliation with those leaders in the Communion who want to mainstream and bless homosexual behavior. This subtext breaks to the surface quite clearly in the paragraph below

“This sort of gracious reconciliation means that we have to create safe space within ourselves to disagree, as we began to do last summer at the Synod in York, and as we need to do over the issues arising out of our discussions on sexuality, not because the outcome is predetermined to be a wishy-washy one, but because the very process is a proclamation of the Gospel of unconditionally loving God who gives Himself for our sin and failure. It is incarnational in the best sense and leads to the need to bear our cross in the way we are commanded.”

Note here that Welby identifies the gospel with the “very process” of creating a “safe place” to disagree about human sexuality.

No. That is not the gospel. The gospel is the truth that God became Man to save sinners from the consequences of sin and its enslaving power. God did not become Man to make peace with those who lead people into sin. To those who do such things, quite contrary to the Archbishop’s claim, Jesus suggested millstones and deep lakes would be far more bearable compared to what he has planned for them apart from repentance.

Remember, if you will, the constant revisionist refrain beginning in 2003: “These issues do not have to divide us. We still gather round the same table and worship the same Jesus. Let us work on being brothers and sisters despite our differences”¦”

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Washington's Birthday Documents (I): George Washington's First Inaugural Address

By the article establishing the executive department it is made the duty of the President “to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The circumstances under which I now meet you will acquit me from entering into that subject further than to refer to the great constitutional charter under which you are assembled, and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications I behold the surest pledges that as on one side no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests, so, on another, that the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

(CSM) Peter Grier–Why does myth of US Presidents Day persist?

When is Presidents Day 2014? The correct answer to that question is “never.” When it comes to federal holidays, there is no such thing as Presidents Day. We’ve been saying this for years, but shockingly, the charade continues.

The official name for the holiday celebrated Feb. 17, 2014, is Washington’s Birthday. If you don’t believe us, look at the Office of Personnel Management’s list of 2014 holidays for federal workers.

There it is, Washington’s Birthday, right between Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and Memorial Day. There are an asterisk and a helpful note at the bottom of the page, which says that the holiday in question is specified as Washington’s Birthday under Section 6103(a) of Title 5 of the United States Code.

Read it all and note well the earlier article also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate

([London] Times) ”˜Hard-nosed’ drugs policy would write off elderly

The elderly would be denied new drugs under “hard-nosed” plans by ministers that prioritise patients who contribute to the economy, the NHS treatments adviser has warned.

In a blunt rebuke to the Government, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has rejected plans to take “wider societal benefit” into account when considering whether to pay for a drug, The Times has learnt.

Sir Andrew Dillon, the head of NICE, said that he was uncomfortable with a “fair-innings approach” that would tilt funding away from the old because younger patients had more to gain from treatment and more to give back.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues

***Bishop Festo Kivengere's account of the Martyrdom of Ugandan Archbishop Janani Luwum

In Uganda, during the eight years in the 1970’s when Idi Amin and his men slaughtered probably half a million Ugandans, “We live today and are gone tomorrow” was the common phrase.

We learned that living in danger, when the Lord Jesus is the focus of your life, can be liberating. For one thing, you are no longer imprisoned by your own security, because there is none. So the important security that people sought was to be anchored in God.

As we testified to the safe place we had in Jesus, many people who had been pagan, or were on the fringes of Christianity, flocked to the church or to individuals, asking earnestly, “How do you prepare yourself for death?” Churches all over the country were packed both with members and seekers. This was no comfort to President Amin, who was making wild promises to Libya and other Arab nations that Uganda would soon be a Muslim country. (It is actually 80 per cent Christian)….

It became clear to us through the Scriptures that our resistance was to be that of overcoming evil with good. This included refusing to cooperate with anything that dehumanizes people, but we reaffirmed that we can never be involved in using force or weapons.

…we knew, of course, that the accusation against our beloved brother, Archbishop Janani Luwum, that he was hiding weapons for an armed rebellion, was untrue, a frame-up to justify his murder.

The archbishop’s arrest, and the news of his death, was a blow from the Enemy calculated to send us reeling. That was on February 16, 1977. The truth of the matter is that it boomeranged on Idi Amin himself. Through it he lost respect in the world and, as we see it now, it was the beginning of the end for him.

For us, the effect can best be expressed in the words of the little lady who came to arrange flowers, as she walked through the cathedral with several despondent bishops who were preparing for Archbishop Luwum’s Memorial Service. She said, “This is going to put us twenty times forward, isn’t it?” And as a matter of fact, it did.

More than four thousand people walked, unintimidated, past Idi Amin’s guards to pack St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kampala on February 20. They repeatedly sang the “Martyr’s Song,” which had been sung by the young Ugandan martyrs in 1885. Those young lads had only recently come to know the Lord, but they loved Him so much that they could refuse the evil thing demanded of them by King Mwanga. They died in the flames singing, “Oh that I had wings such as angels have, I would fly away and be with the Lord.” They were given wings, and the singing of those thousands at the Memorial Service had wings too.

–Festo Kivengere, Revolutionary Love, Chapter Nine

[See here for further information, and, through the wonders of the modern world, you may also find a copy online there].

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Uganda, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Uganda, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Janani Luwum

O God, whose Son the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep: We give thee thanks for thy faithful shepherd, Janani Luwum, who after his Savior’s example gave up his life for the people of Uganda. Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression, but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ, who died and rose again, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Uganda, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and eternal God, who in thy Son Jesus Christ hast revealed thy nature as Love: We humbly pray thee to shed thy love abroad in our hearts by thy Holy Spirit; that so by thy grace we may evermore abide in thee, and thou in us, with all joyfulness, and free from fear or mistrust; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations. For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens.

–Psalm 89:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Lent and Beyond: Prayer for the Church of England

Proverbs 9:10a (NLT)
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.

Hebrews 10:26-31 (ESV)
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Our Father in heaven,
You are a holy God, and You cannot share Your glory with lies. Your mercy is for those who fear You and reverence You and obey You, from generation to generation. We humbly ask You to pour down upon the Church of England, and especially upon her bishops, the spirit of the fear of the Lord. Amen.
Luke 1:50

Read it all and there are more prayers for the Church of England here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)