Daily Archives: June 19, 2012

Simulator shows young drivers the risks of distraction

One Simple Decision, created by Virtual Driver Interactive Inc. (VDI), one of the nation’s largest driving simulator manufacturers, seeks to modify driver behavior by showing drivers what can happen if they have a crash while driving under the influence or texting while driving. It combines simulated driving and interactions with police, judges and emergency medical personnel in an intense, 20-minute experience featuring a real judge, actual sheriff’s deputies and EMTs.

Harry Mochel, now 19, of Rye, N.Y., experienced One Simple Decison about a year ago at a private driver’s education school in Rye. “I’d been driving for a little while already,” he says. “My parents had heard about it and said you should try it.”

He says he was “driving” along on the simulator. “It tells you to start texting, so I took out my phone and started texting,” he says. “I ended up crashing into a stop sign and got into a head-on collision. It’s crazy to see how easy it was.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Psychology, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Travel

Rowan Williams' Magna Carta Lecture–Sovereignty, Democracy, Justice: elements of a good society?

I shall be suggesting that if every complex society needs systems of representation, we have to come to terms with the fact that legitimacy is never a matter of electoral majorities alone. Good, “legitimate” government involves both direct election and mechanisms for representing:

–concerns that are of longer-term importance than electoral cycles allow;
–minority interests that can be silenced by large electoral majorities;
–groups with conscientious reservations about aspects of public policy; and
–the expertise of professional and civil society agents that will not necessarily be engaged in party political elections.

In a word, I believe that if there is a “democratic deficit” in our governance in the UK, it is best addressed by taking all of these issues together and looking at what most strengthens civil society groups and local democratic mechanisms, rather than seeking a solution primarily at the level of national electoral systems.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WSJ) The Federal Reserve Wrestles With How Best to Bridge U.S. Credit Divide

The U.S. recovery is hobbled by an economic divide that separates Americans not by income or wealth but by their access to credit….

Last year, nearly 90% of all new mortgages originated went to households with high credit scores; before the financial crisis, it was about half, according to Moody’s Analytics and Equifax Inc., a credit monitoring service.

Shrunken access among credit have-nots is triggering more than personal plight. It has weakened the influence of the Fed””one of the best hopes for spurring stronger economic growth””and raised doubts within the central bank about whether it is doing much to reduce unemployment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(CS Monitor) Bachelor's degree: Has it lost its edge and its value?

The children of white middle-class, college-educated parents, Hugh Green and Turner Jenkins are just the kind of kids everyone would expect to be stepping out into the world one sunny June day, bachelor’s degrees in hand. But they both veered from the traditional American educational route.

One decided that a bachelor’s was never going to be enough, while the other concluded it was unnecessary….

Once the hallmark of an educated and readily employable adult, the bachelor’s degree is losing its edge. Quicker, cheaper programs offer attractive career route alternatives while the more prestigious master’s is trumping it, making it a mere steppingstone.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Education, Globalization, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(USA Today) Analysts warn of new political crisis brewing in Egypt

As Egyptians celebrated the apparent victory of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir Square, the nation’s military power issued an addition to its constitutional declaration that limits the president’s powers in overseeing the military and puts legislative affairs in the generals’ hands.

“The military is clearly trying to turn the clock back to what existed under the Mubarak regime,” said Marina Ottaway, a Middle East analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “What is clear more and more is that the military sacrificed (Hosni) Mubarak to maintain the power of the old establishment.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Foreign Relations, History, Middle East, Politics in General

After the Great Recession, Many American Workers Are Underemployed and Underpaid

These are anxious days for American workers. Many, like Ms. [Sherry] Woods, are underemployed. Others find pay that is simply not keeping up with their expenses: adjusted for inflation, the median hourly wage was lower in 2011 than it was a decade earlier, according to data from a forthcoming book by the Economic Policy Institute, “The State of Working America, 12th Edition.” Good benefits are harder to come by, and people are staying longer in jobs that they want to leave, afraid that they will not be able to find something better. Only 2.1 million people quit their jobs in March, down from the 2.9 million people who quit in December 2007, the first month of the recession.

“Unfortunately, the wage problems brought on by the recession pile on top of a three-decade stagnation of wages for low- and middle-wage workers,” said Lawrence Mishel, the president of the Economic Policy Institute, a research group in Washington that studies the labor market. “In the aftermath of the financial crisis, there has been persistent high unemployment as households reduced debt and scaled back purchases. The consequence for wages has been substantially slower growth across the board, including white-collar and college-educated workers.”

Now, with the economy shaping up as the central issue of the presidential election, both President Obama and Mitt Romney have been relentlessly trying to make the case that their policies would bring prosperity back. The unease of voters is striking: in a New York Times/CBS News poll in April, half of the respondents said they thought the next generation of Americans would be worse off, while only about a quarter said it would have a better future.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Stress, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Stanley Hauerwas' Wheeler Lecture–The politics of the church and the humanity of God

One of the challenges Christians confront is how the politics we helped create has made it difficult to sustain the material practices constitutive of an ecclesial culture to produce Christians.

The character of much of modern theology exemplifies this development. In the attempt to make Christianity intelligible within the epistemological conceits of modernity, theologians have been intent on showing that what we believe as Christians is not that different than what those who are not Christians believe. Thus Alasdair MacIntyre’s wry observation that the project of modern theology to distinguish the kernel of the Christian faith from the outmoded husk has resulted in offering atheists less and less in which to disbelieve….

[Against this background], I hope to convince Christians that the church is a material reality that must resist the domestication of our faith in the interest of societal peace.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

(Bloomberg) Euro Crisis Shifts To Spain As Merkel Faces G-20 Pressure

Group of 20 leaders focused their response to Europe’s financial crisis on stabilizing the region’s banks, raising pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to expand rescue measures as contagion engulfed Spain.

As U.S. President Barack Obama called after-dinner talks with euro-area leaders at the G-20 summit in Mexico, the Treasury department’s top international negotiator, Lael Brainard, said Europe is making an effort to “break the feedback loop” between banks and government debt, the link that is worsening Spain’s woes.

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, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, G20, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Evening Standard interview with Archbishop Rowan Williams

“We are haunted by Christianity in this country; there’s a bit of can’t live with it, can’t live without it in some people’s approaches. Even with Dawkins, the sense that he can’t leave it alone is fascinating. It does mean that it’s a more complex phenomenon than it looks at first; it’s not as if everyone on that side wants to sweep things away and start from day one. I’m interested in how much scope that still gives for mutual understanding.”

I think we will come to miss Williams in national life. He functions in the exact opposite way to a politician, looking for mutual understanding, while embracing doubt. If there is a consistence to his inconsistency, it is to suggest that perhaps religion’s role is not to provide easy answers but to pose difficult questions; that complexity and paradox may be worth considering too. “That is hard in a short-term media age.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

Father John Flynn–De-Bunking Myths About Christianity

“Christianity is the main, central, most common, and most thoroughly and purposefully marginalized, obscured and publicly and privately misrepresented belief system in the final decades of the 20th century and the opening years of the 21st.”

These words come from the introduction to UK-born, and now Canadian resident Michael Coren’s new book “Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity,” (Signal).

The book covers topics ranging from the historical foundations of Christianity, to slavery, science and Hitler….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, Books, Religion & Culture, Theology

In the Facebook Era, Reminders of Loss After Families Fracture

Not long ago, estrangements between family members, for all the anguish they can cause, could mean a fairly clean break. People would cut off contact, never to be heard from again unless they reconciled.

But in a social network world, estrangement is being redefined, with new complications. Relatives can get vivid glimpses of one another’s lives through Facebook updates, Twitter feeds and Instagram pictures of a grandchild or a wedding rehearsal dinner. And those glimpses are often painful reminders of what they have lost.

“I frequently hear, ”˜I heard from somebody else who read it on Facebook that my son just got married,’ or, ”˜My daughter just had a child, and I didn’t even know she was pregnant,’ ” said Joshua Coleman, a psychologist in the Bay Area who wrote a book about estrangement, “When Parents Hurt.”

“There are things that parents assume all their lives they’d be there for, then they hear in a very public third-hand way about it, and it adds a layer of hurt and humiliation,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

A Prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori to the Holy Spirit to begin the Day

Most Holy Spirit,
the Paraclete, Father of the poor,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Light of hearts, Sanctifier of souls;
behold me prostrate in Thy presence.

I adore Thee with profoundest homage:
I bless Thee a thousand times
and with the Seraphim who stand before Thy throne,
I also say: “Holy, holy, holy.”

I firmly believe that Thou art eternal,
consubstantial with the Father and the Divine Son.

I hope in Thy goodness
that Thou wilt deign to save and sanctify my soul.

–Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
I love Thee, O Divine Love,
with all my affections
above all the things of this world,
because Thou art Infinite Goodness,
alone worthy of all love.

And since in my ingratitude and blindness
to Thy holy inspirations,
I have so often offended Thee by my sins,
with tears in my eyes
I beg Thy pardon a thousand times,
and am more sorry for having offended Thee,
the Sovereign Good, than for any other evil.

I offer Thee this most cold heart of mine,
and I pray Thee
to pierce it with a ray of Thy light,
and with a spark of Thy fire,
which shall melt the hard ice of my iniquities.

Thou who didst fill the soul
of the most holy Mary with immense graces,
and didst inflame the hearts of the Apostles
with holy zeal, inflame, I beseech Thee,
my heart also with Thy love.

Thou art the Divine Spirit:
give me courage against all evil spirits.

Thou art Fire:
enkindle in me Thy love.
Thou art Light:
enlighten my mind with the knowledge of eternal things.
Thou art the Dove:
give me innocence of life.
Thou art the gentle Breeze:
disperse the storms of my passions.
Thou art the Tongue:
teach me how to bless Thee always.
Thou art the Cloud:
shelter me under the shadow of Thy protection.
And lastly, Thou art the Giver of all heavenly gifts:
animate me, I beseech Thee, with Thy grace;
sanctify me with Thy charity;
enlighten me with Thy wisdom;
adopt me by Thy goodness as Thy son,
and save me in Thy infinite mercy;
so that I may ever bless Thee, praise Thee, and love Thee;
first during this life on earth,
and then in heaven for all eternity. Amen.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes; and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Then the people cried to Moses; and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire abated. So the name of that place was called Tab’erah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them. Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving; and the people of Israel also wept again, and said, “O that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. The people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, and boiled it in pots, and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it. Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, every man at the door of his tent; and the anger of the LORD blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased. Moses said to the LORD, “Why hast thou dealt ill with thy servant? And why have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou dost lay the burden of all this people upon me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I bring them forth, that thou shouldst say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries the sucking child, to the land which thou didst swear to give their fathers?’ Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, the burden is too heavy for me. If thou wilt deal thus with me, kill me at once, if I find favor in thy sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit which is upon you and put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone. And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall not eat one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you, and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come forth out of Egypt?”‘” But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot; and thou hast said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to suffice them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?” And the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

–Numbers 11:1-23

Posted in Uncategorized

Upcoming Service in Maryland will bring Christ the King Anglican parishioners into Catholic Church

A Towson area church will make a faithful transition this weekend as its rector is ordained ”” and its congregation confirmed ”” into the Catholic Church.

Anglican priest Father Edward Meeks ”” of the Christ the King Anglican Parish in Towson ”” will be ordained a Catholic priest by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, on June 23, during a ceremony in Washington D.C.

The next day, Sunday, June 24, some 120 of Meek’s parishioners are expected to be received into the Catholic Church during a Mass of Confirmation and Reception at Christ the King, located at 1102 Hart Road.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Alan Haley–The Supreme Court Denies Review in Two Episcopal Church Property Cases

The list of orders from their June 14 conference is now online, and it shows that less than four of the Supreme Court’s Justices were interested in reviewing the two petitions from parishes who lost their properties in the courts below. It takes a vote of at least four Justices to grant review, and the two cases (the Timberridge case from Georgia, No. 11-1101, and the Bishop Seabury case from Connecticut, No. 11-1139) are shown as having review denied. (The latter case appears on p. 6 of the orders list, because it also required a ruling on a pending motion to allow the amicus brief by St. James Newport Beach, et al., to be filed.)

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts