Daily Archives: May 3, 2014

(Wired) How Netflix Is Transforming the Economics of the Web

Netflix is now paying two major internet providers for a more direct path into the homes of all those people watching movies and TV shows on its popular video streaming service.

This week, the company announced it has reached an agreement with Verizon to connect its service directly to the ISP’s network, a deal similar to the one Netflix reached with Comcast in February. In the past, Netflix delivered its service into Comcast and Verizon through middlemen networks ”” “transit networks” that provide the backbone for the internet. But in order to ensure that its video streams arrive in homes without too many hiccups, it’s following in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, building a straighter path into ISPs.

The rub is that Netflix doesn’t want to pay. Netflix has been loudly complaining about this sort of deal, saying that Comcast unfairly forced the agreement after allowing transmit network links to “clog up.” Comcast, Netflix says, is setting itself up as a gatekeeper that can charge whatever it likes for access to American homes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Science & Technology, Theology

Neil Irwin–The April Jobs Report Isn’t as Good as It Looks

A dynamic that seemed ”” maybe, possibly ”” to be taking shape for 2014 was that of some of the millions of people who had given up on even looking for a job during the recession and the slow recovery were finally returning. That trend might have acted as a floor underneath the overall unemployment rate. People returning to the work force might not find a job immediately, joining the rolls of the unemployed, but it would be good news for the long-term prosperity of the American economy.

The details of the April job report, though, threw serious cold water on that proposition. The number of people in the labor force fell by a whopping 806,000, wiping out the February and March gains and a bit of January as well. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 62.8 percent, returning to its December level.

And the number of people reporting they were unemployed fell by 733,000, which sounds good on its surface, but paired with the similar-sized decline in the labor force points to job seekers giving up looking rather than finding new employment.

Read it all. Mike “Mish” Shedlock says in his post on the jobs numbers: ” All things considered, this was not a good report.”

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

In Connecticut, Trinity Episcopal Marks 200 Years On The Green

In December 1812, the theocracy that was still New Haven for the first time voted to let a church of another denomination ”“ the Episcopalians, descendants of the dreaded and reviled Anglican Church of England ”“ build a house of worship on the Green. And that’s how the Constitutionally guaranteed separation of church and state began to come to pass in our now (most of the time) religiously tolerant state and burg.

That’s at the heart of the story that Elizabeth DePiero, Peg Chambers (pictured) and their fellow parishioners at Trinity Episcopal Church want to tell on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone for their beautiful Ithiel Town-designed church at Temple and Chapel streets.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

A Play’s View of a Bigoted Past Holds a Mirror to a Violent Present

Kate Haugan was standing backstage early that afternoon about three weeks ago, waiting to be fitted with a wireless microphone. In less than an hour, she and the rest of the cast members would take the stage at the Jewish Community Center here for the final performance of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The play was adapted, of course, from Harper Lee’s classic novel about the confrontation between bigotry and tolerance in 1930s Alabama, and it fit into this particular Jewish Community Center’s taste for drama with a conscience: “The Laramie Project,” “Next to Normal,” “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Even more than the others, “To Kill a Mockingbird” had proved a roaring success, nearly selling out the five previous shows.

Just then, the stage manager, Jayson Chandley, raced past Ms. Haugan, shouting: “There’s a shooter out front! Stay out of the hallways!”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Theology, Violence

TEC Presiding Bishop in S.C. to speak to members of new TEC Diocese in S.C.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, Theology

The New Diocese of West Yorkshire+ the Dales' Website

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Elissa Strauss–A Jewish Reckoning With Infertility

This past week was 25th National Infertility Awareness Week, an effort by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association to raise awareness of the condition experienced by one in eight U.S. couples of childbearing age. Since they began this campaign much has changed in the way we discuss fertility, and more men and women now feel free to speak openly about their reproductive challenges and know how to find help. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been matched by more affordable treatment options or more supportive public policies.

Something very similar has occurred in the Jewish community. Men and women have begun to address infertility, sharing their own stories and those of their congregants, stripping the stigma away from infertility and making what was once a very private ache a communal one. And yet no large donor or organization has risen up and offered this growing chorus support.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Judaism, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(Anglican Journal) Canadian Anglican Bishops spend week in retreat

At its spring meeting, the House of Bishops departed from its usual agenda, packed with briefings and program updates, to days spent on a retreat that combined eucharists, Bible studies, moments of reflection, quiet walks and group conversations.

“Bishops are always encouraging clergy, ”˜Take your retreat.’ Every once in a while when it comes to that counsel, we need to lead by example,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, in an interview. “The time has come for us to follow our Lord’s advice to ”˜come apart and rest a while.’ ”

Read it all.

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

(Achbp David Moxon) A pontificate that is stirring the hearts of all Christians

Unexpectedly, and unforgettably, the Pope took the Metropolitan and myself, alone, down to the tomb of St Paul which is in the centre of the basilica. He held us by the elbows as he beckoned us to approach the grave, and then he indicated that we should bow, which we did for some minutes, the three of us, in that sacred space. Then we continued with Vespers.

At the end he took the two of us with him again and we greeted all the other Church representatives. After we had recessed together he embraced and kissed the two of us with a holy kiss. These actions of his were said to be unprecedented in recent memory in that liturgy and left a deep impression on the two of us. Surely these dramatic demonstrations of unexpected love are at the heart of the quest for unity.

Read it all (from March but still of interest).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Europe, Italy, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(HP) Los Angeles TEC Deacon Ordained In Laundromat As Part Of Street-Based Ministry

[Scott] Claassen serves in a street-focused…[Episcopal] community in Los Angeles called Thad’s, which refers to the often-forgotten disciple Thaddeus, Claassen said. He described the community as “not your grandmother’s Episcopal church,” which is not to say the church is radical, he said, but that it is “not what you’d expect from an Episcopal church… We prioritize seeking to make a love-spreading difference while living in authentic community with one another.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) Does ”˜Sperm Donor’ Mean ”˜Dad’?

He is a movie star who shot to fame on a motorcycle in “The Lost Boys.” She is a California massage therapist from a prominent East Coast family. Four years ago, with his sperm, her eggs and the wonder of in vitro fertilization, they produced a child.

From there, the tale gets very, very messy.

For the last two years, Jason Patric and Danielle Schreiber have been waging what has become one of the highest-profile custody fights in the country ”” one that scrambles a gender stereotype, raises the question of who should be considered a legal parent and challenges state laws that try to bring order to the Wild West of nonanonymous sperm donations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Men, Science & Technology, Theology, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who by triumphing over the power of darkness, didst Prepare our place in the New Jerusalem: Grant us, who are in this season giving thanks for thy resurrection, to praise thee in that city whereof thou art the light; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou livest and reignest, world without end.

–William Bright

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers. Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker; yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

“If the righteous man is scarcely saved,
where will the impious and sinner appear?”

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.

–1 Peter 4:7-19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Crisis) Randall Smith–Logic: What’s Missing from Public Discourse

What often passes for public discourse in contemporary society is really just a simulacrum, an imitation, of real “discourse” in the sense of a “reasoned exchange of ideas.” One realizes before long how much we are suffering from the current lack of that key ingredient within all older forms of liberal arts education: namely, logic.

Some people think of logic as the sort of things computers do””cold, calculating, and unemotional””and reject it for that reason. But computers in and of themselves aren’t “logical” at all any more than a train switching station is “logical” in and of itself. Computers (when they’re at their best) do what they’re told to do, no more, no less. Someone has to build whatever “logic” they have into them. Usually the sort of thing you can get into a computer is essentially mathematical””which is to say, if you can’t reduce the thing in question to some sort of mathematical equation, you can’t get it into the computer at all””and math, as we all know, is cold and calculating. Printed circuits are not “cold,” but they can under the right circumstances “calculate,” and they are absolutely unemotional.

Logic, on the other hand, is the glue that holds human discourse together. Logic is what keeps us “on track” in a conversation and helps us to keep checking back to make sure both of us are talking about the same thing in the same respect.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology