Daily Archives: January 6, 2008

Caring for aging parents from a distance: a growing problem

“I had the feeling that all wasn’t well with my father,” Claire Milne recalled.

It was Christmastime in 2003, and Milne had flown from her London home to visit her 82-year-old father in Maryland. Milne noticed that her dad struggled to stay upright as he walked — early signs of a mysterious neurological condition.

Over the next four years, Milne, 56, would travel across the Atlantic every few months to watch over him, standing by during hospital stays, offering support as well to her ailing stepmother.

She helped arrange electronic payment of their bills. She helped them think through the pros and cons of moving into an apartment. She made sure her siblings were up to date on the latest health news.

“I don’t think of it as a duty,” Milne, a telecommunications consultant, explained shortly before her father died last month. “I think of it as what I want to do.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

Barack Obama's Speech at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner

About twenty minutes and worth the time.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Anyone else watching the debates tonight?

If anyone’s interested… Here’s an open discussion thread for those watching the Republican and Democratic debates tonight on ABC.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

NY Times: AIDS Patients Face Downside of Living Longer

John Holloway received a diagnosis of AIDS nearly two decades ago, when the disease was a speedy death sentence and treatment a distant dream.

Yet at 59 he is alive, thanks to a cocktail of drugs that changed the course of an epidemic. But with longevity has come a host of unexpected medical conditions, which challenge the prevailing view of AIDS as a manageable, chronic disease.

Mr. Holloway, who lives in a housing complex designed for the frail elderly, suffers from complex health problems usually associated with advanced age: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, kidney failure, a bleeding ulcer, severe depression, rectal cancer and the lingering effects of a broken hip.

Those illnesses, more severe than his 84-year-old father’s, are not what Mr. Holloway expected when lifesaving antiretroviral drugs became the standard of care in the mid-1990s.

The drugs gave Mr. Holloway back his future. But at what cost?

That is the question, heretical to some, that is now being voiced by scientists, doctors and patients encountering a constellation of ailments showing up prematurely or in disproportionate numbers among the first wave of AIDS survivors to reach late middle age.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Joe Nocera on Amazon Dot Com: Put Buyers First? What a Concept

My Christmas story ”” the one I’ve been telling and retelling these last 10 days ”” began on Friday, Dec. 21.

It was early in the morning, and I had awoken with the sudden, sinking realization that a present I had bought for one of my sons hadn’t yet arrived. It wasn’t just any present either; it was a PlayStation 3, a $500 item, and a gift, I happened to know from my sources, that he was hoping for.

Like most things I buy online, the PlayStation had come from Amazon.com. So I went to the site and tracked the package ”” something, thankfully, that is a snap to do on Amazon. What I saw made my heart sink: the package had not only been shipped, it had been delivered to my apartment building days earlier and signed for by one of my neighbors. I knocked on my neighbor’s door, and asked if she still had the PlayStation. No, she said; after signing for it, she had put it downstairs in the hallway.

Now I was nearly distraught. In all likelihood, the reason I hadn’t seen the package earlier in the week is because it had been stolen, probably by someone delivering something else to the building. Even if that wasn’t the case, the one thing I knew for sure was that it was gone ”” for which I could hardly blame Amazon.

Nonetheless, I got on the phone with an Amazon customer service representative, and explained what had happened: the PlayStation had been shipped, delivered and signed for. It just didn’t wind up in my hands. Would Amazon send me a replacement? In my heart of hearts, I knew I didn’t have a leg to stand on. I was pleading for mercy.

I shudder to think how this entreaty would have gone over at, say, Apple, where customer service is an oxymoron. But the Amazon customer service guy didn’t blink. After assuring himself that I had never actually touched or seen the PlayStation, he had a replacement on the way before the day was out. It arrived on Christmas Eve. Amazon didn’t even charge me for the shipping. My son was very happy. So, of course, was I.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Religion and the Iowa Caucuses

BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: This week: the Iowa caucuses. The two winners, Illinois senator Barack Obama and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, both talked openly about their faith, and our managing editor Kim Lawton says both men had an active faith-based outreach strategy.

Kim, welcome. Let’s start with Obama. To what extent did religion play a role in his campaign?

KIM LAWTON: It played a huge role and one that I think is not widely acknowledged. He had a very active effort to court people of faith, including some of those evangelical voters. He held a series of faith forums across Iowa. A lot of times he didn’t personally show up. His campaign had these meetings for people of faith, so it was under the radar partly because he wasn’t there, but he brought people together to talk about social justice and moral issues. His campaign, actually on the Web site, had a phone number that the week before the Iowa caucuses every day people could call at 8:30 in the morning and pray for Barack Obama’s campaign there. So it was very intense and very targeted.

ABERNETHY: And Huckabee got a big amount of support from evangelicals. Let me ask you this: when an evangelical Christian goes to a caucus and votes for, stands up for Huckabee, thinks about voting for Huckabee, what does that person see in him?

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

The 2008 Mere Anglicanism Conference


The twenty-first century crisis in Anglicanism has arisen out of more than two hundred years of growing
hermeneutical suspicion about the eternal trustworthiness of God’s Word Written. This crisis can be resolved
only through a faithful reclaiming by the Church of such trust. Analysis and reflection around this issue will
constitute the program of this coming year’s conference, led by a roster of internationally renowned speakers.

Dr. Jerry Root — with a focus on C. S. Lewis
Bishop Robert Duncan ”“ with a focus on developments in the Anglican Communion
Canon Robert Crouse ”“ with a focus on sacramentalism in the Church Fathers and the English Reformers
Bishop (God willing) Mark Lawrence ”“ with a focus on the life and leadership of Charles Henry Brent
Canon Ashley Null ”“ with a focus on Thomas Cranmer for Today
Dr. Paul Moser ”“ with a focus on Jesus as God’s Trustworthy Word
Canon Michael Green ”“ with a focus on “marching orders” for Anglicanism in a New Reformation

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Identity, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Peter Ould: Deciphering Archbishop Greg Venables

The problem is Canterbury and the trust is running out. While Rowan sends out seemingly positive messages of conversation and dialogue he is in actuality inert and dangerously passive. As one leading organiser of GAFCON pointed out to me this afternoon, the Windsor Report clearly stated that those who caused the tears in the Communion to take place (the consecrators of Gene Robinson) should not be permitted representative functions in the instruments of unity. Yet that is exactly what an invite to Lambeth 2008 is – it is a representative voting role for a Bishop. Even Tom Wright agrees that that’s what the Windsor Report asked for, so in which case why is Rowan issuing invites to people that the Windsor Report says shouldn’t be coming?

This is the issue – Rowan, like it or not, is not doing his job. Furthermore, leading members of his team are telling TEC that it’s perfectly OK for them to carry on regardless with same-sex blessings and other ACO officials are resident clergy at churches where controversial gay communions take place. These key staff members are not censured nor is there a public retraction. Why should the orthodox leaders believe that Rowan will act positively when he lets his staff say exactly the opposite?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]

Ministers Who Supported Huckabee in Iowa Received Anonymous Warning Letters

Iowa pastors who support Republican Mike Huckabee for president have received letters warning them that getting involved in politics could endanger the tax-exempt status of their churches.

Several pastors who have publicly backed Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister who has support from many evangelicals, said they have received the letters, which have no return address. They have arrived in the weeks leading to Thursday’s precinct caucuses.

Two letters were sent to the Rev. Brad Sherman, of Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville. The first arrived a couple weeks ago and warned that he could be prosecuted for his support of Huckabee.

“I just laughed. No one lands in jail for this,” Sherman said. “Somebody is trying to intimidate Christians from getting involved.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

`In God We Trust' will move from edge of new coins

The national motto “In God We Trust” will move from the edge of new dollar coins honoring U.S. presidents to the front or back of the currency.

A provision in the $555 billion domestic spending bill for 2008, which President Bush signed into law on Dec. 26, calls for the change to take place “as soon as is practicable.” Greg Hernandez, a spokesman for the U.S. Mint, said the change will occur in 2009.

The Mint began producing presidential one-dollar coins in 2007, honoring George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the first four presidents. The words “In God We Trust” were placed along the edge of the coins, as instructed by Congress, Hernandez said.

“It wasn’t the Mint’s decision to move the motto (to the edge); it was according to law,” he said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

High court to weigh in on lethal injection

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday on whether a common lethal injection method is unconstitutional. The case, which has prompted a temporary halt in executions, comes at a crucial time for capital punishment nationwide.
The dispute from Kentucky tests standards for when a method of execution is cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Although the basic constitutionality of capital punishment is not at issue, the case has galvanized larger questions about the death penalty.

Executions in 2007 dropped to a 13-year low of 42, largely because states began putting executions on hold soon after the justices announced they would hear the Kentucky case. Thirty-five of the 36 states that permit capital punishment carry out executions with a lethal drug combination.

In 2007, 110 defendants were sentenced to die, the lowest number since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. At the end of 2007, New Jersey became the first state to pass a law abolishing the death penalty in more than 40 years

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Capital Punishment

In SW Florida Trinity Anglican gets ready to mark a year in existence

Though it was founded a mere 12 months ago, the traditions and beliefs of Trinity Anglican Church of Port Charlotte are steeped in religious history.

Margo Lang, whose late husband served as rector at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, joined forces with Ed and Joy Robedee to found the new church on Jan. 14, 2007, after the membership of St. Paul’s had dwindled, and the church disbanded.

The retired Rt. Rev. Stanley Lazarczyk, bishop ordinary, agreed to lead the fledgling church, which meets at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County on Sundays and holy days.

Lazarczyk made it clear that Anglican Catholic Church is not to be confused with the Episcopal Church

“There’s a number of reasons,” he said. “Number one is the ordination of women. We believe it is against Holy Scripture. The Bible to us is the most important book. Everything that is contained in it is necessary for salvation and we don’t deviate from it. The second reason is the change of the 1928 prayer and the 1940 hymnal.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Continuum, Other Churches