Monthly Archives: May 2008

It takes a (volunteer) village

Watch the whole very encouraging story.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Hurricane Katrina

As Oil Prices Soar, Restaurant Grease Thefts Rise

The bandit pulled his truck to the back of a Burger King in Northern California one afternoon last month armed with a hose and a tank. After rummaging around assorted restaurant rubbish, he dunked a tube into a smelly storage bin and, the police said, vacuumed out about 300 gallons of grease.

The man was caught before he could slip away. In his truck, the police found 2,500 gallons of used fryer grease, indicating that the Burger King had not been his first fast-food craving of the day.

Outside Seattle, cooking oil rustling has become such a problem that the owners of the Olympia Pizza and Pasta Restaurant in Arlington, Wash., are considering using a surveillance camera to keep watch on its 50-gallon grease barrel. Nick Damianidis, an owner, said the barrel had been hit seven or eight times since last summer by siphoners who strike in the night.

“Fryer grease has become gold,” Mr. Damianidis said. “And just over a year ago, I had to pay someone to take it away.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources

An interesting look Back to 2007: Thomas Woodward Respoonds to Yours Truly

Canon Harmon’s allegations echo old and tired charges against the Episcopal Church. However, contrary to his allegations, this is the hard reality: The Bible is being taken more, not less seriously by the mainstream of the Episcopal Church. This is a truth that Canon Harmon and others in the Network/CANA/AMiA/WhatHaveYa group are unwilling to acknowledge or address.

Biblical scholarship did not end in the nineteenth century, though that is the impression left by those who claim to be the Biblically orthodox. Modern Biblical scholarship seems to contradict nearly every assertion made by those who are charging that the leadership of the Episcopal Church has abandoned the Bible. For instance, nearly every New Testament scholar notes that what once were considered gentle parables of growth (Leaven, Mustard Seed, etc.) have a quite different message ”“ including biting attacks by Jesus on the purity code. It was upon that purity code that Paul based his rejection of homosexual behavior.

When you have Jesus undermining the Biblical basis for Paul’s condemnations, what you have left are Paul’s personal prejudices and beliefs. Was Paul right to condemn promiscuous sex, temple prostitution, and sexual exploitation? Of course he was! However, the evil inherent in those activities has nothing to do with human relationships built on love, mutual caring, and sacramental fidelity. Jesus, apparently, was well aware of the damage done when you impose a purity code onto human relationships filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul, however, must have been out with a cold during that lesson! [Pardon the anachronism.]

Paul corrects his misunderstanding of the continuing authority of the purity code in his long discussions of law and grace in his letters to the Romans and Galatians. However, for a few verses in Romans he seems to forget his own theology ”“ and that lapse has led to the continuing use of ancient rules rejected by Jesus. Worse, Paul’s blunder has been used as a weapon to batter and to exclude those we do not understand, as well as to crucify any church that recognizes their full humanity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Mark McCall: A Reply to Bishop Sauls

After all arguments are made that can be made, it remains clear that a “majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote” does indeed mean what it says: a majority of bishops with voting rights in the House of Bishops. The legislative history to which Bishop Sauls points demonstrates that the canon has always had this meaning, and it has never changed.

First, it must be noted that Bishop Sauls does not address at all the numerous other canonical violations of the Presiding Bishop in her handling of the matters involving Bishops Cox, Schofield and Duncan and the Diocese of San Joaquin. He assures us that Canon IV.9 contains procedural safeguards, but does not mention that Bishop Cox was denied those very safeguards. He points out that the Presiding Bishop must present the matter of certification of abandonment to the House of Bishops at its next meeting, but does not acknowledge that this was not done in the Cox case. He emphasizes the procedural protections afforded by the role of the three senior bishops, but does not acknowledge that they were never consulted about Bishop Cox. There is scant protection in procedural safeguards that are ignored.

Second, notwithstanding his scrutiny of the nineteenth century forerunners of Canon IV.9, Bishop Sauls does not address the fact that the language in the current canon is found elsewhere in TEC’s current Constitution, in Article XII concerning constitutional amendments: such amendments are adopted by “a majority of all Bishops, excluding retired Bishops not present, of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote in the House of Bishops.” It is absolutely clear in this provision that active bishops not present are counted for purposes of determining the required majority when the phrase “whole number of bishops entitled to vote” is used. Bishop Sauls never mentions this provision.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

The Economist on Oil: Painful though it is, this oil shock will eventually spur huge change

If the speculators are not to blame, what about the oil companies, which have failed to increase output in spite of record profits? Profiteering, say some. However, that accusation doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny either. The oil price is set in a market. For Shell, Exxon et al to hoard oil underground would be to leave billions of dollars of investment languishing unused. Others fear that oil is pricey because it is running out. But there is little evidence to support the doctrine of “peak oil” in its extreme form. The Middle East still seems to contain a sea of the stuff. Even if new finds elsewhere have been rarer and less accessible than in the past, vast quantities of oil could now be profitably stripped from tar sands and shale.

The truth is more prosaic. Finding and developing new oil fields is an expensive and time-consuming business. The giant new fields in the deep water off Brazil are unlikely to produce oil for a decade or more. Furthermore, oil is perverse. When prices are low, oil-rich countries welcome the low-cost, high-tech and well-capitalised oil firms. When prices are high, countries like Russia and Venezuela kick them out again. Likewise the engineers, survey ships and seismic rigs that oil firms need to find and produce new deposits are expensive right now. The costs of finding oil have, temporarily, doubled precisely because everybody wants to give them work.

So the oil shock will take time to abate. Some greens may welcome that, seeing three-figure oil as a way of limiting greenhouse emissions. Conservation will indeed increase. But everything high prices achieve could be done better by sensible carbon taxes. As well as curbing oil use, high prices have put tar sands in business which create far more carbon dioxide than conventional oil. Profits are going to ugly oil-fed regimes, not Western exchequers. And the wild unpredictability of prices will blunt the effect of dear oil on people’s behaviour.

From this perspective, governments should speed up the adjustment””or at least stop delaying it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources

In China, an Evolving Effort to Establish a Place on World Stage

MARGARET WARNER: But this is a change for China. China used to regard, used to resist any kind of foreign engagement, certainly on the ground in China’s borders. What explains the change?

HE YAFEI: The relationship between China and the world has changed fundamentally or historically. There is a historical change to that, meaning that China cannot develop itself without it getting involved with the world or without the support of international community.

And the international community, its peace, stability of the world cannot be achieved without the participation and contribution of China. So, naturally, there is an openness. You cannot close your doors anymore.

MARGARET WARNER: Do you think part of the reason the world has reacted and seen China in a new way as a result of this is because you’ve allowed open foreign media coverage in the region and people could see for themselves?

HE YAFEI: You can see, you know, China is open to media. Of course, any journalist, foreign or domestic, has to abide by Chinese laws and regulations from what you can see, reporting on the natural disaster now, it happened in Sichuan. There were virtually no limitations. People are free to report what they like to report.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, China

And the Best Record in Baseball Belongs to….

Go Cubs go! It is a long season but one is entitled to hope…..

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Victor Davis Hanson: The baby boomers’ perpetual adolescence is still hurting America

There is a pattern in all these dilemmas. And it is not conservative-versus-liberal politics, but generational chaos. Those who came of age in the 1960s now hold the reins of power and influence ”” and we are starting to see why their values have worried almost everyone for nearly a half-century.

History has seen something like them before in the “blame them” years of Demosthenes’ Athens, the self-indulgence of Julio-Claudian Rome, the “after me, the deluge” generation of late 18th-century France, the Gilded Age, and the Roaring Twenties.

What are the baby boomers’ collective traits? Like all perpetual adolescents who suffer arrested development, we always want things both ways: Don’t drill or explore for more energy, but nevertheless demand ever more fuel from other suppliers.

There are never bad and worse choices, but only a Never Never Land of good and even-better alternatives. Housing not only has to stay affordable for buyers, but also must appreciate in value to give instant equity to those who have just become owners.

When things don’t go well, we always blame someone else. Why drill off Santa Barbara or Alaska when we can sue those terrible Saudis for not putting more oil platforms in their Persian Gulf?

And why accept that the conduct of all wars is flawed and victory goes usually to those who persevere in making the needed adjustments when we can just keep pointing fingers at the official who disbanded the Iraqi army or sent too few troops after the invasion?

Read it all.

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

Archbishop unveils plans for London event to challenge global governments to Tackle Poverty

The Archbishop will be joined by approximately 600 other archbishops and bishops, and their spouses, alongside other UK faith leaders for the high-profile symbol of commitment to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ”“ eight promises made by world leaders to halve world poverty by 2015. Taking place on Thursday 24th July, the event will culminate in a rally in the grounds of Lambeth Palace, the London home and office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The event is being organised in partnership with Micah Challenge UK, part of the international Micah Challenge movement dedicated to uniting Christians to work together for an end to world poverty.

The bishops will walk through the heart of the capital, including Parliament Square, in a vivid demonstration of the diversity of the Anglican Communion and a witness to the work already being conducted by Churches and other faith groups to work towards the MDGs ”“ and a public pledge to work even harder to make sure they are delivered. The faith leaders will also commit to putting more pressure on their respective governments to ensure that funding promises are met, and the right policies put in place, to make a real difference to local communities across the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Poverty

ACN Chancellor Responds to Property Task Force Memo on Deposing Bishops

The Memo is a regrettable effort to justify the unjustifiable. No right thinking person will be taken in by it. Perhaps the Task Force could redeem its work, however, by turning the Memo into a polemic for the amendment at General Convention 2009 of Canon IV.9.2 to require only a mere majority of those present and voting to consent to the deposition of a Bishop of TEC. On the other hand, simplifying the process of deposition for Bishops who disagree with the agenda of those in power may not be in the best interest of the members of the Task Force. After all, tomorrow”¦.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Communion Network, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

In Illinois 'Moment' in schools banned for now

The morning routine at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire will be 10 seconds shorter Friday after a federal judge banned the moment of silence mandated in public schools in Illinois.

Like many of their counterparts, Stevenson students have been asked to reflect or pray at the same time each day since last October, when Illinois passed the law. On Thursday a judge halted that requirement while he figures out if the law passes constitutional muster.

Not all Illinois schools heeded the law. Administrators for districts that did comply said they didn’t foresee much impact from dropping the moment in the school year’s waning days.

Stevenson junior Aliya de Grazia welcomed the change, saying she looked forward to a moment-free start of the day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Colorado Bishop Seeks to Remove Previously Transferred Priests

The Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill, Bishop of Colorado, is seeking to remove from the ministry more than a dozen priests that his predecessor lawfully transferred to another Anglican province after they joined the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) more than seven years ago.

The initial list included at least one priest, the Rev. Robert John Bryan, who claims not to have received any communication on the matter. He expressed surprise at the news of his inhibition when contacted by The Living Church, and said he had not received any communication from anyone in the Diocese of Colorado since receiving a copy of his letter of transfer nearly eight years ago.

The Rev. Canon Colin Kelly, president of the Diocese of the Rio Grande’s standing committee, confirmed that Fr. Bryan has been a canonically resident priest in good standing of that diocese since 2002. According to several priests in the Rio Grande who spoke with The Living Church, he served with distinction and loyalty as priest-in-charge at St. Matthew’s, Las Lunas, M.M., for about five years. He decided to retire from the active ministry and moved back to Colorado to be nearer to family last year.

In 2000, 17 priests from the Diocese of Colorado, including Fr. Bryan, sought to leave The Episcopal Church after the formation of the AMiA that year. The Rt. Rev. Jerry Winterrowd, who was Bishop of Colorado from 1991-2004, signed and sent letters dimissory for all the priests to the “Ecclesiastical Authority of the Church of the Province of Southeast Asia.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado

Computer trained to "read" mind images of words

A computer has been trained to “read” people’s minds by looking at scans of their brains as they thought about specific words, researchers said on Thursday.

They hope their study, published in the journal Science, might lead to better understanding of how and where the brain stores information.

This might lead to better treatments for language disorders and learning disabilities, said Tom Mitchell of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who helped lead the study.

“The question we are trying to get at is one people have been thinking about for centuries, which is: How does the brain organize knowledge?” Mitchell said in a telephone interview.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Thomas Barnett: The Pentagon's new map for war and peace

Very interesting stuff.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

On a Personal Note: Made it Through the Colonoscopy

Even though I am under 50, my mom had polyps in her colon and so I had this done as a precaution. The preparation was ghastly, and I had to go through it twice over two days. I am dizzy and wan but the doctor gave a good report. How do you spell relief–KSH.

Update: Read what Dave Barry wrote about having a colonoscopy as provided by one of our commenters.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine