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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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