Daily Archives: November 9, 2011

Orthodox Christian iconographer in Boise is part of an ancient tradition

Matthew Garrett makes a living from the tip of his paintbrush.

The 34-year-old paints nearly every day, re-creating scenes from the Bible and heavenly images of the risen Jesus, Christian saints and angels on wood and canvas. He carries forward the ancient tradition of Orthodox Christian iconography in a modest West Boise, Idaho, house that he shares with his wife, Lisa, and her cat, Cecelia.

Garrett has been commissioned by individuals and churches all over the country over the past 17 years, finding jobs through old-fashioned word-of-mouth and through his website. His work is in several churches, among them, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Boise.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Art, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

(RNS) Evangelicals call for nuclear cutbacks

The National Association of Evangelicals on Tuesday (Nov. 8) called for greater precautions with nuclear weapons and a renewed effort toward disarmament.

“The rules have changed in the past 25 years,” NAE President Leith Anderson said. “Nuclear weapons don’t serve as a deterrent to the dangers of our post-Cold War era, which include rogue nations and terrorist groups.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Globe and Mail) Americans in Canada driven to divorce from their country

The U.S. citizenship ceremony is an iconic rite of passage for immigrants.

Would-be Americans gather to pledge allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. There are cheers and often tears, patriotic speeches, sometimes music, and plenty of flag waving.

Now, a small but growing band of Americans in Canada is doing it in reverse ”“ gathering en masse to begin the process of becoming un-American.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Psychology

Crisis in Italy Deepens, as Bond Yields Hit Record Highs

Italy’s financial crisis deepened on Wednesday despite a pledge by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to resign once Parliament passes austerity measures demanded by the European Union.

The move failed to convince investors, propelling Italy’s borrowing costs through a key financial and psychological barrier of 7 percent, close to levels that have required other euro zone countries to seek bailouts.

Mr. Berlusconi, cornered by world markets and humiliated by a parliamentary setback, appeared to have become the most prominent victim of the broader European debt crisis. But his decision did not remove wide uncertainty about Italy’s ability to tackle the crisis, and some analysts said the prospect of a protracted period of political wrangling could exert further pressure for a quicker exit from the impasse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Italy, The Banking System/Sector

(Independent on Sunday) Women and Islam: The rise and rise of the convert

In the past 10 years some 100,000 British people have converted to Islam, of whom some three-quarters are women, according to the latest statistics. This is a significant increase on the 60,000 Britons in the previous decade, according to researchers based at Swansea University.

While the number of UK converts accelerates, many of the British women who adopt Islam say they have a daily struggle to assimilate their new beliefs within a wider culture that both implicitly and explicitly positions them as outsiders, regardless of their Western upbringing.

More than three-quarters told researchers they had experienced high levels of confusion after conversion, due to the conflicting ways Islam was presented to them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Women

(Der Spiegel) Euro Zone Considers Solution of Last Resort

Obama, at any rate, felt that they would have little value. Instead, he confronted the Germans in Cannes with a suggestion so radical that it alarmed both Merkel and Schäuble. To save the common currency, Obama proposed that the Europeans follow the example of the American Federal Reserve, which buys up almost unlimited amounts of US treasury bonds when necessary.

The Germans pointed out feebly that the ECB operates within a completely different tradition than the Fed, and that it also pursues a different mission. But it is becoming increasingly clear to Merkel and her finance minister that, in the end, only the ECB will be able to save the euro if the crisis continues to escalate. It is the only European fiscal policy institution capable of taking action, and it also comes equipped with unlimited firepower. It can never run out of money, because it can simply print new money when needed.

This is an approach Germany’s representatives in the ECB council have strongly resisted….But how long can the Germans resist the pressure from other members?

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Telegraph) Church of England 'must curb its attacks on the City'

Mr [Ken] Costa, the chairman of the St Paul’s Initiative, established by the Church to open up a debate on ethical capitalism, said the clergy’s response to the ongoing protests outside St Paul’s Cathedral must not turn into a “reheated Faith in the City”.

In his first public comments since his appointment, Mr Costa insisted that a flourishing banking sector was “essential to any successful economy” and that financial incentives are “both valid and effective”.

He also said that stiffer regulation of financial services was not necessarily the solution to the global economic crisis, saying, “you cannot regulate into existence a culture of honesty, integrity, truthfulness and responsibility”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector

(First Things On the Square Blog) Elizabeth Scalia–American Optimism is a Strange God

Last week Mark Steyn wrote, “America is seizing up before our eyes,” and that is a spot-on image. She is like a brilliantly conceived machine that, poorly maintained for more years than any of us cares to admit, has gone too long untuned; the oil of her invention has thinned out and broken down and now bit-by-bit, gear-by-gear””economically, socially, spiritually””she is making an ungodly noise and grinding to a halt.

And yet people want optimism. They crave it, especially when a president is telling one half of the country that it is “time to eat your peas” while simultaneously encouraging another half to take to the streets and demand more dessert. “Where is our Ronald Reagan,” is a phrase that rises with alarming frequency, in some comboxes, and it always unsettles me to see it, because it seems so determinedly obtuse; if we can just find someone exactly like the president from thirty years ago, we will be alright. If only someone will smile and tell us it is morning in America, again, and the city has not slid down the hill!

Read it all.

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

(USA Today) Few Pentagon 'mentors' remain

The Pentagon’s use of retired generals and admirals as paid advisers has virtually ceased, plummeting from 355 “senior mentors” in 2010 to four today, according to a report released by the Defense Department’s inspector general.

Requirements to disclose their business ties, a cap on pay of $179,700 per year and limits on working for private firms were the reasons the generals and admirals gave for quitting the program, the report said.

Retired officers from several services told investigators they quit because they did not want to disclose their finances publicly. Others pointed to the pay of $86.10 per hour, with a maximum of $179,900, as too low.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Education, Psychology, Young Adults

David Weigel–Clinton and Gingrich Agree: We Miss Glass Steagall

An interesting retrospective so to speak–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Pushing China’s Limits on the Web, if Not on Paper

When the novelist Murong Xuecun showed up at a ceremony here late last year to collect his first literary prize, he clutched a sheet of paper with some of the most incendiary words he had ever written.

It was a meditation on the malaise brought on by censorship. “Chinese writing exhibits symptoms of a mental disorder,” he planned to say. “This is castrated writing. I am a proactive eunuch, I castrate myself even before the surgeon raises his scalpel.”

The ceremony’s organizers forbade him to deliver the speech. On stage, Mr. Murong made a zipping motion across his mouth and left without a word. He then did with the speech what he had done with three of his best-selling novels, all of which had gone through a harsh censorship process: He posted the unexpurgated text on the Internet. Fans flocked to it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Books, China, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(Reuters) Retirement Crisis Closes In on Baby Boomers

Like many middle-class American baby boomers, Linda Carmona-Sanchez is anxious about slipping into poverty and says whatever dreams she once had about retirement in her “golden years” have turned into nightmares.

“We don’t value people here in this country, and we value you less if you’re not healthy and strong,” Carmona-Sanchez, 55, said.

“To me it would almost be a welcome blessing to know that I would die rather than to be old and have to live in poverty,” she said.

Her anxiety is widespread….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Middle Age, Pensions, Personal Finance

(RNS) At Religious Campuses, Atheist Groups Operate Underground

“A religious campus can be a lonely place for someone who doesn’t subscribe to faith,” said King, now 23 and a graduate student in biology. “We want to reach out to these people.”

The [University of] Dayton students are not alone. The Secular Student Alliance, a national organization of nontheistic students with 320 campus chapters, reports at least two other religious universities””Notre Dame and Baylor””have rejected clubs for atheist, agnostic, humanist and other nontheistic students. Students at Duquesne, a Catholic school, say they have little hope of approval on their first application this year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant us, O Lord, so to enter on the service of our Christian warfare, that, putting on the whole armour of God, we may endure hardness and fight against the spiritual powers of darkness, and be more than conquerors through him that loved us, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Leonine Sacramentary

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

I do not turn aside from thy ordinances,
for thou hast taught me.
How sweet are thy words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through thy precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
Thy word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.

–Psalm 119:102-105

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

U.N. Finds Signs of Work by Iran Toward Nuclear Device

United Nations weapons inspectors have amassed a trove of new evidence that they say makes a “credible” case that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,” and that the project may still be under way.

The long-awaited report, released by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday, represents the strongest judgment the agency has issued in its decade-long struggle to pierce the secrecy surrounding the Iranian program. The findings, drawn from evidence of far greater scope and depth than the agency has previously made public, have already rekindled a debate among the Western allies and Israel about whether increased diplomatic pressure, sanctions, sabotage or military action could stop Iran’s program.

Knowing that their findings would be compared with the flawed Iraq intelligence that preceded the 2003 invasion ”” and has complicated American moves on Iran ”” the inspectors devoted a section of the report to “credibility of information.” The information was from a range of independent sources, they said; some was backed up by interviews with foreigners who had helped Iran.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Globalization, Iran, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

8 year old in our Town Here named a Finalist in America's “most beautiful eyes” contest

You have to love the picture–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Rural/Town Life

Voter turnout mixed for Election Day 2011 in the South Carolina Lowcountry

Read it all. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is running to serve for his tenth term. You can take it to the bank that he will win–KSH.

Update: You may find nine election day photos here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Politics in General

(WaPo on Faith blog) Michelle Boorstein–Sex abuse coverup in religion vs in sports: Any difference?

A major child sex abuse cover-up case ”“ that does not involve the Catholic Church.

When the case unfolding at Penn State blew up last week, I have to admit the first people I thought I would hear from those in the Catholic Church who believe their faith gets unfairly tarred on this subject. As so many high-level cases around the world have unfolded in the past decade, these Catholics often ask, rightly: What is the rate of sex abuse in other institutions?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sports, Teens / Youth

(NY Times) Penn State Said to Be Planning Paterno Exit Amid Scandal

Mr. Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator under Mr. Paterno, has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys across a 15-year period, and Mr. Paterno has been widely criticized for failing to involve the police when he learned of the allegation of the assault of the young boy in 2002.

Additionally, two top university officials ”” Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business, and Tim Curley, the athletic director ”” were charged with perjury and failure to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations, as required by state law.

Since Mr. Sandusky’s arrest Saturday, officials at Penn State ”” notably its president, Graham B. Spanier, and Mr. Paterno ”” have come under withering criticism for a failure to act adequately after learning, at different points over the years, that Mr. Sandusky might have been abusing children. Newspapers have called for their resignations; prosecutors have suggested their inaction led to more children being harmed by Mr. Sandusky; and students and faculty at the university have expressed a mix of disgust and confusion, and a hope that much of what prosecutors have charged is not true.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Sexuality, Sports, Theology, Young Adults

(FT) Berlusconi signals intention to resign

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s embattled prime minister, signalled on Tuesday night that he would resign after parliament passes a new financial stability law that will implement fresh austerity measures demanded by the European Union.

Giorgio Napolitano, head of state, said Mr Berlusconi had expressed his recognition of the “urgent need” to respond quickly to the expectations of Europe through the approval of the stability law, which would be amended in light of the most recent recommendations of the European Commission.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Italy, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--