Monthly Archives: August 2008

David Duchovny's sex disorder likened to alcoholism

Did life imitate art when David Duchovny, who plays a sex-mad writer on the hit US TV show “Californication,” seek treatment for sex addiction?

Or was it case of art imitating life for the “X-Files” actor — regarded as one of the hottest men in Hollywood and whose off-screen romances have long been a talking point.

Duchovny’s announcement on Thursday that he was voluntarily going into rehab for sex addiction after years of denying he had a problem, threw a spotlight on a disorder that few celebrities, and even fewer ordinary men and women, admit to.

Often likened to alcoholism, drug addiction or gambling, sex addiction is a form of compulsive behavior which is sending growing numbers of people into therapy but which is not formally recognized as a “diagnosable disorder” by the American Psychiatric Association.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Dead Sea Scrolls to go digital on Internet

Scientists in Israel are taking digital photographs of the Dead Sea Scrolls with the aim of making the 2,000-year-old documents available to the public and researchers on the Internet.

Israel Antiquities Authority, the custodian of the scrolls that shed light on the life of Jews and early Christians at the time of Jesus, said on Wednesday it would take more than two years to complete the project.

For many years after Bedouin shepherds first came upon the scrolls in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947, only a small number of scholars were allowed to view the fragments.

But access has since been widened and they were published in their entirety seven years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Obama’s speech is TV ratings home run

Mockery is the sincerest form of flattery. That’s not how the saying goes, but the Obama campaign can take it that way.

Although the stage in which the Democratic nominee gave his acceptance speech on Thursday was ridiculed as the “Temple of Obama,” for its elaborate columned look drawing comparisons to an ancient Greek temple, it provided the backdrop for a television ratings success.

It was an elaborate setting. Some called it garish. But in this football stadium which houses the most loyal fan base in the NFL (based simply on the number of consecutive sold-out games), Barack Obama hit a home run, or more appropriately threw a touchdown. Perhaps even scored a hat-trick. At least in terms of television ratings.

At least 40 million people watched Obama’s acceptance speech. Giving this number some context, it topped the most watched night of the Beijing Olympics (roughly 35 million) and this year’s Oscars (32 million).

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Violence erupts between Christians and Muslims in Tanzania

On Aug 17 fighting broke out in the small town of Nguruka in the diocese of Western Tanganyika near Lake Victoria after Muslim evangelists accused an Anglican evangelist of blaspheming Islam.

According to press accounts, the fighting erupted after Muslims took offence to the preaching of an Anglican evangelist. The Citizen newspaper in Dar es Salaam denounced the violence saying it deserved the “condemnation of all people who aspire for religious harmony in Tanzania.”

“If the Muslims were offended by the preaching of the Anglican evangelist, as the reports say, the proper procedure was to report their grievances to the police, who, in our view, would have dealt with the issue in accordance with the law,” The Citizen argued, adding that freedom of religion should not be construed to mean carte blanche to attack other faiths.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths

Anglican Church moves to evict B.C. clergy who hold to traditional sexual ethics

The Bible battle that has been dividing Anglicans in Canada for more than a decade is moving into new territory, with a third court battle looming in a Vancouver court.

The battle over same-sex blessings specifically, and interpretation of the Bible generally, is splitting liberal and conservative Anglicans and the fight over church property ownership has already resulted in two interim court rulings ”“ one in Ontario and one in British Columbia.

Now the Diocese of New Westminster has invoked a church bylaw to essentially fire the clergy at two other Vancouver-area churches and order them to leave the premises.

“We are faced with the situation of clergy in both parishes who have expressly rejected the Anglican Church of Canada as their home and have left the church, yet continue to occupy church buildings that are set aside for use by parishes in the Anglican Church of Canada,” says George Cadman, chancellor, or chief legal officer, for the diocese.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Palin electrifies conservative base

The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate has electrified conservative activists, providing a boost of energy to the GOP nominee-in-waiting from a key constituency that previously had been lukewarm ”” at best ”” about him.

By tapping the anti-abortion and pro-gun Alaska governor just ahead of his convention, which is set to start here Monday, McCain hasn’t just won approval from a skeptical Republican base ”” he’s ignited a wave of elation and emotion that has led some grass-roots activists to weep with joy.

Serious questions remain about McCain’s pick ”” exactly how much he knows about her and her positions, past and present, on key issues. But for the worker bee core of the party that is essential to any Republican victory, there are no doubts.

“I woke up and my e-mail was just going crazy,” said Charmaine Yoest, head of the legislative arm of Americans United for Life and a former top official in Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign. “And then when it was announced ”” it was like you couldn’t breathe.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop to preach at Canadian bishop's New Zealand installation

Saturday, Aug. 30, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald…[preached] at the installation service of Victoria Matthews as diocesan bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand. Bishop MacDonald and Bishop Matthews are friends and former colleagues in the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishop Matthews served as bishop of Edmonton for ten years and was a candidate for Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada at General Synod 2007. She was named the eighth bishop of Christchurch in March 2008.

Indigenous culture and faith will be an important part of the Aug. 30 installation service, explained Bishop MacDonald in an email. The structure of the Anglican Church in New Zealand recognizes three “tikanga” (cultures or strands): the Maori, Pakeha (European) and Pasifika (Pacific). A formal Maori welcome will be extended to Bishop Matthews during the service.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Internet Traffic Begins to Bypass the U.S.

The era of the American Internet is ending.

Invented by American computer scientists during the 1970s, the Internet has been embraced around the globe. During the network’s first three decades, most Internet traffic flowed through the United States. In many cases, data sent between two locations within a given country also passed through the United States.

Engineers who help run the Internet said that it would have been impossible for the United States to maintain its hegemony over the long run because of the very nature of the Internet; it has no central point of control.

And now, the balance of power is shifting. Data is increasingly flowing around the United States, which may have intelligence ”” and conceivably military ”” consequences.

American intelligence officials have warned about this shift. “Because of the nature of global telecommunications, we are playing with a tremendous home-field advantage, and we need to exploit that edge,” Michael V. Hayden, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2006. “We also need to protect that edge, and we need to protect those who provide it to us.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization

Zogby Poll: Equilibrium in the Presidential Race

McCain and Palin at 47%, Obama and Biden 45%. Read it all

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Campaigns Shift as McCain Choice Alters the Race

Mr. Obama’s advisers said that compared with the mountains of data they had gathered on Mr. Pawlenty and Mr. Romney, they had far less information on Ms. Palin. Their dossier consisted of a thin document based mainly on her run for governor and newspaper clips about an investigation into whether she was involved in pressing a top state law enforcement official to dismiss her sister’s former husband from the state police. And, they said, given her short time in high office, there is relatively little video of her readily available.

Aides said the party was sending staff members and allies in Alaska to sort through public documents relating to Ms. Palin’s time in the governor’s mansion, her two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, and her two terms as a member of the Wasilla City Council.

Democrats were not the only ones doing some fast regrouping. Republican organizers said the convention aides in charge of reviewing every speech delivered from the lectern are now on the watch for blunt attacks on Mr. Obama’s readiness to lead. They are aware that such criticism in a high-profile setting would provide an opportunity for Democrats to make the same charge against Ms. Palin, who has almost no foreign policy experience and has been governor for just 20 months.

Several Republican delegates said they too were shocked by the selection of Ms. Palin and, while they wished her well, were deeply concerned that she did not have the experience in foreign policy or national security to be commander in chief.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Rasmussen–Palin Makes Good First Impression: Is Viewed More Favorably than Biden

Sarah Palin has made a good first impression. Before being named as John McCain’s running mate, 67% of voters didn’t know enough about the Alaska governor to have an opinion. After her debut in Dayton and a rush of media coverage, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 53% now have a favorable opinion of Palin while just 26% offer a less flattering assessment.

Palin earns positive reviews from 78% of Republicans, 26% of Democrats and 63% of unaffiliated voters. Obviously, these numbers will be subject to change as voters learn more about her in the coming weeks. Among all voters, 29% have a Very Favorable opinion of Palin while 9% hold a Very Unfavorable view.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

And Here is the Latest From Intrade

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Gallup Daily: Obama Continues to Lead 49% to 41%

Check it out.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Michael Gerson: The Gospel of Chaplain John (McCain)

When John McCain was chosen as one of three chaplains during his Vietnam captivity, it seemed slightly ridiculous, especially to him. He had been a wild child at the Naval Academy and was prone to defying his captors by “uplifting his center finger” and uttering “the oath that is commonly associated with that gesture,” as one observer has delicately related.

“I would like to tell you that I was selected to be room chaplain because I had an abundance of religiosity,” McCain explained in an interview last year with Beliefnet. He was chosen instead because he had attended an Episcopal high school and knew the Christian liturgy by heart. “So I had an ability to lead a church service.”

But it turned out to be a formative experience for McCain: “I’ll never forget that first Christmas when I ”¦ read from the Nativity story ”¦ And I looked in that room around and there were guys who had already been there for seven years and tears were streaming down their face, not out of sorrow, but out of joy that for the first time in all that captivity, we could celebrate the birth of Christ together.”

Read it all.

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

The Colbert Report on Sarah Palin for Vice President

Update: Here is a song for the occasion also.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

The Daily Show's Video–Barack Obama: He Completes Us

It really does help to laugh.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Hurricane Gustav is up to a Category 4


Posted in * General Interest, Weather

An LA Times Editorial: McCain's gamble on Palin

o be fair, this is hardly the first time a presidential candidate has elevated electoral considerations above experience in choosing a potential vice president. Mondale did so when he chose Ferraro. An even better example is George H.W. Bush’s choice of Dan Quayle in 1988. That selection, like McCain’s, was designed partly to placate restive Republican conservatives. Those are not persuasive precedents. In one respect, McCain is in even less of a position to gamble than were Mondale and Bush. His age makes it especially important that his running mate be prepared to assume the presidency at a moment’s notice.

Palin might surprise us. Unlike Quayle at his unveiling, she was eloquent and self-assured at Friday’s event in Dayton, Ohio. She may prove to be a quick study in national security affairs, though it’s hard to imagine her piecing together a foreign policy portfolio comparable to Joe Biden’s by Nov. 4. Let’s be honest: The learning curve that confronts Palin is the steepest facing a vice presidential candidate in recent memory. That McCain was willing to take this gamble may not be a sign of desperation, but it gives a new and unsettling meaning to his claim to be a maverick.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Katrina kids: Where are they now?

Watch it all. I kept thinking of what happened three years ago and those involved in terms of the Shakespeare quote posted below. The collateral damage from one of these major storms is hard fully to describe, and can only be partly understood by those who have lived through them–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Hurricane Katrina

Notable and Quotable

How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?

–William Shakespeare, Othello

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

New York Times: Choice of Palin Is Bold Move by McCain, With Risks

“The question is,” Mr. [Ed] Rogers continued, “what does it do to the argument that Obama’s not ready?”

The question is particularly acute for Mr. McCain, who turned 72 on Friday and would be the oldest person elected to a first term as president if he won in November. His campaign now needs to convince the public that it can imagine in the Oval Office a candidate who has spent just two years as governor of a state with a quarter of the population of Brooklyn.

But Ms. Palin, 44, brings clear assets to the ticket. The “gun-packing, hockey-playing woman,” as the Republican strategist Karl Rove described her, instantly bolstered Mr. McCain’s wobbly conservative base, which rejoiced over the selection of an anti-abortion evangelical Christian.

Her reputation as a reformer who took on her state party over corruption and wasteful spending could reinforce Mr. McCain’s own maverick appeal.

Her personal narrative as a working mother raising five children, including an infant with Down syndrome, with a husband who belongs to a union, might prove attractive to working-class voters in swing states who have been suspicious of Mr. Obama. And her presence on the ticket will allow Republicans to argue that Mr. Obama would not be the only one to break barriers if elected.

“He’s chosen a Washington outsider who will be an ally for him in shaking up the way things are done,” said Ron Nehring, chairman of the California Republican Party. “This is someone with solid conservative credentials but solid credentials as a reformer. And it’s clear after watching today’s event, no one is going to push Sarah Palin around ”” not Barack Obama and not Joe Biden,” the Democratic vice-presidential candidate.

In picking a running mate without deep experience but who would make history, Mr. McCain chose someone who in some ways resembles Mr. Obama. At the same time, by choosing Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware as his running mate, Mr. Obama tapped a longtime Washington hand with even more time in the Senate than Mr. McCain. Just as it might be harder for Mr. McCain to attack his opponent over his level of experience, it might be tougher for Mr. Obama to paint his rival as a creature of the capital.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Ramesh Ponnuru: Cold Water on Palin

Inexperience. Palin has been governor for about two minutes. Thanks to McCain’s decision, Palin could be commander-in-chief next year. That may strike people as a reckless choice; it strikes me that way. And McCain’s age raised the stakes on this issue.

As a political matter, it undercuts the case against Obama. Conservatives are pointing out that it is tricky for the Obama campaign to raise the issue of her inexperience given his own, and note that the presidency matters more than the vice-presidency. But that gets things backward. To the extent the experience, qualifications, and national-security arguments are taken off the table, Obama wins.

And it’s not just foreign policy. Palin has no experience dealing with national domestic issues, either. (On the other hand, as Kate O’Beirne just told me, we know that Palin will be ready for that 3 a.m. phone call: She’ll already be up with her baby.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Victor Davis Hanson: A Maverick Choice

7. Obama’s “change” mantra and sermons on Washington insiders are suddenly null and void due to both VP picks: McCain went for an outsider, Obama went for the classical Uber-insider.

8. As any one who has met her can attest, Palin has a charismatic presence and winning personality that could help whittle away at Obamania.

9. Much of the arsenal of the left-twing critique of the last eight hate-Bush years is starting to evaporate. Both McCain and Palin have or will have sons in Iraq; both are not easily identified as hard-core insensitive Republicans; McCain’s eroding maverick status is rejuvenated with this running-mate pick.

10. Let us hope that energy now becomes the key issue. Given Obama’s sorta sorta not references to gas, nuclear, and coal ”” and not much about drilling, McCain-Palin can really hit hard on natural gas, oil, nuclear, and coal as the perfect U.S.-dominated, at-home transition to alternative fuels that save the treasury and our national security ”” all much more appealing than Obama’s quixotic windmill and solar-panel melodramas.

For today, the timing and choice were inspired; now we await how Gov. Palin fares when the “new,” “transcendent” ”” and vicious ”” leftwing political attacks come.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

An Anchorage Daily News Editorial: A great day for the Alaska, but for the country?

Selecting Palin may prove to be a brilliant political stroke for McCain. Like him, she’s an independent who bucked her party establishment and has worked with liberal Democrats. She’s an ethics-reforming outsider who will help blunt Barack Obama’s claim to be the candidate of change in Washington.

Like McCain, Palin doesn’t mind using government to dictate individuals’ personal choices. She staunchly opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, which will help energize the religious Republican base.

But as governor, she has downplayed those hot-button social issues. Soft-pedaling her convictions in those areas may help her appeal to women disillusioned by Hillary Clinton’s absence from the Democratic ticket.

Palin’s husband is a blue-collar union worker, which may help the ticket appeal to economically anxious Americans who have lost ground after eight years of George Bush.

Palin is comfortable around guns and snowmachines and fishing boats. She has a son in the military, soon to be deployed to Iraq. Those nontraditional female credentials help communicate the toughness that Republicans want to project in their campaign. Her youth and good looks are a handy complement to McCain, who is the oldest first-time presidential candidate in U.S. history.

McCain’s choice of Palin was somewhat surprising because she most definitely is not a standard-issue Republican. She worked with liberal Democrats in the Legislature to pass a multi-billion-dollar tax increase on Alaska’s oil industry. She went back to Democrats again to win approval of her natural gas pipeline deal, which bypasses Alaska’s major oil companies in favor of a Canadian company.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Sarah Palin steps onto national stage

McCain’s choice seemed to stun the country and took Alaska completely by surprise. Palin had been mentioned in the list of potential vice president picks, but got serious attention mostly on Internet blogs.

Hardly anyone in Alaska even knew Palin was out of the state. Unnoticed, the governor flew to Flagstaff, Ariz., Wednesday night and met with McCain Thursday, according to a McCain campaign spokesman. Later, she flew to Ohio and was checked into a hotel under a false name. Rumors that Palin would be the pick began to leak early Friday morning, and national news media began to scramble to describe and define her.

Looking on the scene as Palin joined McCain, New York Times blogger Katharine Q. Seelye wrote: “Mrs. Palin comes out, striding confidently to uplifting trumpets, with her family in tow. She looks a little like Tina Fey,” a television actress known for performances on “Saturday Night Live” and the comedy “30 Rock.”

Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza called her “the most unknown vice presidential pick in modern political history.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Governor Palin's Statement to Alaskans

“It is the honor of my life to represent you as your governor, and over the next two months I will continue to do so. As the mother of five, I know how to multitask, and I will continue to promote the path of reform that we set out on together in the state of Alaska.

“It is a great privilege to be John McCain’s running mate and to be considered by the American people for the vice presidency. This honor is a testament to the reforms and progress we have made together in Alaska. Now is the time to take that spirit of reform to Washington.”

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Alaskans blown away by the early-morning Palin news

Around Anchorage and the state, people watched 24-hour news channels, switched the dials on their radios and hit refresh on their computers to keep abreast of the national buzz.

Nearly everyone had an opinion.

Some praised Palin’s ability as an effective leader, a popular governor who fought big oil and finally made progress on a gas pipeline project. Others said she doesn’t have the needed experience or knowledge on national issues, particularly foreign policy and the economy.

Outside Costco in East Anchorage, Dr. Thomas Green and his wife, Irene, loaded groceries into the back of a pickup. “We are very happy with Governor Palin,” said Green, who also happened to be the military doctor who examined Palin’s son, Track, now 19, for his entrance into the Army last year.

“She may help sway Hillary’s lady folk,” he said. “And, this stuff about being inexperienced, they can’t knock Sarah that way, not from the Obama campaign.”

Several spaces away from him in the parking lot, Mike Bonito was getting out of a truck on his way into the store. Bonito is brother-in-law to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, who on Tuesday won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

“It’s going to be great for Alaska,” he said of the Palin pick. “If she does get in there, I’m sure she’s going to be pushing for a lot of issues that are really important for us Alaskans.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Anchorage Daily News–Governor Sarah Palin: A biography

Sarah Palin was a hockey mom, small-town mayor and rising young Republican star in Alaska in 2003 when she ran afoul of her party’s establishment as a whistleblower and was cast into the political wilderness.

But she came charging back as an ethics crusader to win the governor’s office in 2006 (including a landslide primary victory over incumbent Republican governor Frank Murkowski) and has remained one of the most popular local politicians in America even as she continued to take on such powerful figures as the oil companies and the leaders of her own state party.

Palin, 44, has been the Joan of Arc of Alaska politics, marching into battle against long odds on such big local issues as oil taxes and construction of a natural gas pipeline only to see her opposition crumble. Days after her 2006 primary victory, an FBI investigation into political corruption involving the oil industry and Republican legislators burst into view with surprise raids of legislative offices. Criminal indictments and convictions followed, often just in time for the headlines to help her win another contest in Juneau.

Though fearless in choosing the outsider’s path in politics, she remains relatively untested as a campaigner, a politician and as a governor who has held office less than two years. And even as she drew increasing attention nationally as a potential vice presidential nominee in recent months, she has come under withering criticism at home from business-minded Republicans who consider her a misguided populist and an intellectual lightweight.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

From the NYTimes The Caucus Blog: Obama Calling

Hey, I like this:

From his campaign bus in western Pennsylvania, Senator Barack Obama called Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska late Friday afternoon, offering his congratulations on her selection to the Republican ticket. In a conversation that lasted several minutes, aides said, Mr. Obama told her that she would be a terrific candidate and he looked forward to seeing her on the campaign trail.

“He also wished her good luck, but not too much luck,” said Robert Gibbs, a senior strategist to Mr. Obama.

Update: But did the Obama Campaign send mixed messages?

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Jeff Weiss: Religion and Sarah Palin — her history

Apparently, her denominational affiliation is Assemblies of God, which is Pentecostal (as was John Ashcroft). This is from an recent Alaska Assemblies of God newsletter:

Superintendent Ted Boatsman, who was Palin’s junior high pastor at Wasilla Assembly of God, along with Pastor Mike Rose of Juneau Christian Center, where Palin presently attends church when in Juneau, laid hands on the Governor and led the Council in prayer.

Would that make her the first Pentecostal to be on any major party ticket?….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008