Tuesday, April 30, 2013

From here.

God Save The King

AMSTERDAM — To the cheers of tens of thousands of people crammed shoulder to shoulder outside the royal palace, Willem-Alexander of the House of Orange-Nassau became the Netherlands’ first king in 123 years on Tuesday as his mother, Queen Beatrix, ended a 33-year reign with the stroke of a pen, signing the act of abdication in a chandeliered chamber at the royal palace. 
Read the rest here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Preparation For The Blessing of the Chrism?

This is an unusual service that I have never seen before. I believe that it is preparatory to the blessing of the Holy Chrism usually done on Great and Holy Thursday. Anyone more familiar is encouraged to offer insights or corrections to my understanding in the comments.

Update: The video was reposted and I have corrected the html.

Great & Holy Monday: The Bridegroom Comes

Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight,
And blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching,
And again unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep,
Lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom.
But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, are You, O our God!
Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Bankrupt Greece Does The Unthinkable

Pushed by its European creditors amid its crippling economic crisis, Greece began this week to do something it hasn't done in more than 100 years: fire public-sector workers en masse.

Following weeks of tough negotiations with its lenders – the "troika" of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the European Central Bank – the Greek government started laying off public-sector workers in an effort to implement the austerity that the troika has demanded. The first two civil servants were let go on Wednesday under a new law that speeds up the process – one, a policeman, for stealing debit cards, and the other for 110 days of unexcused absence.
Read the rest here.

America is not the only country with lunatic judges

A judge's decision to allow a convicted drug dealer who abandoned his children the right to stay in Britain over his “human rights” is at the centre of mounting political protest.

Hesham Mohammed Ali won an appeal against moves by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to deport him because of his crimes.

He convinced a judge he had a “family life” which had to be respected because he had a “genuine” relationship with a British woman – despite already having two children by different women with whom he now has no contact.

Ali also mounted an extraordinary claim that his life would be in danger in his native Iraq because he was covered in tattoos, including a half-naked Western woman – a claim which was only dismissed after exhaustive legal examination.

In his decision to let Ali stay, the immigration judge said he was not taking into account new guidelines introduced by the Home Secretary last week, in an attempt to stop spurious human rights cases being brought by criminals to prevent their deportation.
Read the rest here.

Pope (E) Benedict expected to quietly return to the Vatican

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is expected to return from Castel Gandolfo to Vatican City in the next few days.

The Emeritus Pope — creating a situation unique in the history of the Church where a former Pope and a reigning Bishop of Rome will be both living inside the Vatican at the same time — will return to the Vatican “between the end of April and the first days of May, as planned,” Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Vatican Press Office, said yesterday at the offices of the Foreign Press Club in Rome, as reported by Isabella Piro of Vatican Radio.

Some had speculated in recent days that Benedict might change his mind and not come back to the Vatican for many months, or perhaps even not at all, remaining instead at Castel Gandolfo. This news ends that speculation.

Father Lombardi also told the journalists that the only foreign trip Pope Francis will make this year will be to Brazil from July 23 to 28 for World Youth Day. It had been rumored that Francis might travel to Argentina in December in connection with his December 17 birthday. “I invite you not to expect other foreign trips during this year,” Father Lombardi said. (“Vi invito a non aspettarvi altri viaggi all’estero per quest’anno.”)

So Pope Francis will be traveling abroad only once during his first year as Pope. This seems to emphasize that his focus is on Rome and on the Vatican. He is acting and functioning less as a “supreme pontiff” of the global Church and more as the bishop of his diocese, Rome, and, in a sense, as seen in his daily homilies in the chapel of the Domus Santa Marta, as the parish priest of Vatican City.
Read the rest here.

Courts and Congress give Obama adult supervision

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), chairman of the Financial Services Committee, has told Richard Cordray not to bother. This is part of the recent evidence that government is getting some adult supervision.

Barack Obama used a recess appointment to make Cordray director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But a federal circuit court has declared unconstitutional three other recess appointments made the same day because the Senate was not in recess. So Hensarling has told Cordray not to testify before his committee: “Absent contrary guidance from the United States Supreme Court, you do not meet the statutory requirements of a validly serving director of the CFPB, and cannot be recognized as such.”
Read the rest here.

Good News From Germany

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in support for a restored monarchy in Germany. The most recent poll indicates that support has risen to near 20% among the general population and fully a third(!) of young Germans (< 24) want a monarch for their head of state.

See the Radical Royalist for details.

The End Is Near

Lent, though not yet the fast, ends tonight. As per my custom, with the arrival of Great and Holy Week we will be gradually down-shifting on the blog. Posting will be infrequent between now and Easter/Pascha. A blessed Holy Week to everyone.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A High Quality Problem

Most parishes don't suffer from this problem. The reverse is more likely. But what do you do when you discover that courtesy of Queen Anne (r1702-1714), your parish's rainy day fund comes to around $2,000,000,000 give or take a little depending on market conditions?

For the record I am not opposed to a church having some money in the bank or even investments. Such is prudent stewardship. But $2 billion? That is very hard from my perspective to morally justify. If your “parish” has more money than most Wall Street hedge funds then you have a problem.

Of course we are talking about the Episcopal Organization here. So that adds all kinds of twists. The Democratic Party At Prayer is long on preaching egalitarianism and wealth redistribution but when it comes down to actually parting with any of their own silver plate they tend to get very testy as innumerable recent lawsuits have amply demonstrated. My guess is that even if the parish in question, already generally recognized as the richest of any denomination in the country, wanted to give a significant amount of that away, the pointy hats at 815 would put the breaks on any such move. At the rate things are going Ms. Schori may need that money to pay all their lawyers fees for the lawsuits she is filing against fleeing parishes and dioceses.

Somehow though I don't think that will be an issue. In a parish where the rector has a salary of $475,000 with a total annual compensation of around $1.3 million and who resides in a $5.5 million town house in tony SOHO, I just don't see a a couple of billion dollar checks going out anytime soon to the Salvation Army and Habitat For Humanity. Wealth redispution should only apply to the evil 1% who inhabit Wall Street.

Oh wait. Trinity Church is on Wall Street.

HT: T-19

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Feds drop charges in poison mail case (Ooops!)

Charges were dropped Tuesday against the Mississippi man suspected of mailing ricin-laced letters to President Obama and other public officials — as authorities searched the home of another man hoping to find clues in the expanding investigation.

"I respect President Obama and love my country. I would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official," Kevin Paul Curtis said at a news conference Tuesday. 

Curtis was arrested last Wednesday at his home in Corinth, Miss. Two letters that initially tested positive for ricin, a poison, had been found earlier in the week -- one addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and one to President Obama.

"This past week has been a nightmare for myself and my family. My mother has suffered, as well as my children. I would like to get back to normal, which for me means being the best father I can to my children," he said.
Read the rest here.

Someone is owed one hell of an apology. This poor guy has just had his name splashed all over the news, and it will forever pop up in an internet search, that he was arrested for trying to assassinate the President of the United States.

The Retirement Gamble

Watch The Retirement Gamble Preview on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

This sounds like must see TV.

The Boston Bombing Suspect Should Be Tried For Treason

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
-The Constitution of the United States  Article III. Section 3. Clause 1.

First, he is an American citizen. He took the oath and we gave him his certificate of citizenship. That's that. He is entitled to all of the civil rights that anyone would be when accused of a heinous crime, including a lawyer and the right to a speedy trial before a jury.

With that out of the way the question has been much debated about what to charge him with and where to try him. There are a myriad of crimes he is alleged to have committed. But there is one charge that hasn't been mentioned that I think should get some serious consideration.

Why not charge him with treason?

Some uber-strict constructionists have attempted to argue that treason can only be charged if there is a formal state of war. But that is not the case. The very narrow constitutional definition refers to levying war against them (the United States), adhering to their enemies or providing them with aid and comfort. Surely Islamic terrorists are our enemies. And a formal declaration of war is not required to recognize that someone is levying war upon us. In any case Congress has passed resolutions that the courts have recognized as the functional equivalent to a war declaration. Further there have been instances of persons tried for treason for aiding and abetting insurrections which could not as a matter of international law involve a formal declaration of war.

I feel rather strongly that his case should include a charge of treason both as a matter of law and on principal. He came to this country as a refugee. We took him in, sheltered and educated him. Later he voluntarily took an oath of allegiance to our country. Then he allegedly goes and sets off bombs killing and maiming scores of people as part of a worldwide terrorist war against us.

If that's not treason we might as well just draw a line through that part of the Constitution.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Our tax dollars at work

Syrian hierarchs kidnapped, driver murdered by Syrian rebels...

A glimpse of a world gone by

The average man is judged by his appearance and his deportment in public. His dress, his bearing, his conduct toward women and his fellow-men, are telling characteristics.

In the street, when walking with a woman—the term "lady" being objectionable, except in case of distinction—every man should be on his mettle. Common sense, which is the basis of all etiquette, teaches him that he should be her protector. Therefore, under general circumstances, his place is on the street or outer side. Should there be a crowd on the inner side, should the walking be muddy or rough, or should there be a building in process of repair, or one or the other of the inconveniences of city life, then the man should take the side which will enable him to shield his fair companion from all annoyance. At night a man offers his arm to a woman. In the daytime etiquette allows this only when the sidewalk is very rough, when there are steps to climb, a crowd to be piloted through, or a street crossing to effect. In any one of these emergencies suggest, "I think you will find it better to take my arm." A man never walks bodkin—that is, sandwiched between two women.

It is the privilege of a woman to bow first. She may have reasons why she should not wish to continue an acquaintance, and a man should never take the initiative. Abroad, in many countries, the man bows first. When old friends meet, however, the bowing is simultaneous.

A man lifts his hat in acknowledgment of any salutation made to the woman with whom he is walking. It is his place, on such an occasion, to bow to a man friend, whether the latter enjoys or does not have the pleasure of the acquaintance of the woman. A man's failure to do this signifies that the woman does not wish to know him, or that her companion does not wish her to know the other man.

Hotel corridors and halls may be classed as semi-public places. A man meeting a woman in one of these, where by custom he is permitted to keep on his hat, must step aside and let her pass, raising his hat as he does so. This does not apply to theater corridors, theater or hotel lobbies, or offices. In such houses as the Waldorf in New York, where the hall is utilized as a general sitting room by both sexes, it is not good form for a man to keep on his hat. In London, however, the rule is not as strict.

Men in this country do not lift their hats to one another, except when they are introduced in the open or a public place. Civility is never wasted, and it is proper, as well as an act of reverence, to thus salute a clergyman or a venerable and distinguished gentleman.

A man always lifts his hat when offering a woman a service, such as picking up or restoring to her a dropped pocket handkerchief or other article, or when passing a fare in a public conveyance, or when rendering any trifling assistance. Should she be with a male escort, the latter should raise his hat and thank the person who has rendered the service. This bit of politeness is under no circumstances the prelude to an acquaintance with an unescorted woman, and no gentleman would take advantage of it. A man always raises his hat and remains uncovered when talking to a woman.

It is not good form to stop a woman on the street, even if the exchange of a few commonplace remarks be the excuse. A man never joins a woman on a thoroughfare unless she be one from whose friendship he is sure that he can claim this privilege.

A gentleman always assists a woman in and out of a carriage or a public conveyance. He opens the door of the vehicle for her, helps her in by a deft motion of the right arm, and with his left protects her skirts from any possible mud or dust on the wheel. As he leaves her he closes the door, and, if it be a private conveyance, gives directions to the driver. He lifts his hat in bidding her good-by. Even when there is a footman, a second man, or an attendant, it should be esteemed a favor to give this assistance.

In entering shops, theaters, or other buildings, where there are swinging doors, the escort goes ahead and holds one of them ajar, passing in last. A woman always precedes a man, except in one or two special cases. A man precedes a woman walking down the aisle of a theater, and it is better form that he should take the inside seat, especially if there is a man occupying the place next to the vacant one. A man precedes a woman up a narrow staircase in a public building, but in a private house, in ascending or descending a stairway, he should always allow the woman to precede him. In entering a theater box a man follows the usher, preceding the woman down the theater corridor to the door of the box. He then holds this open, and the women precede him, he following them. In a church, in going down a narrow aisle, the woman precedes the man.

The lift or elevator, as well as the corridors and lobbies of a public building, the office of a hotel, and the vestibule of a theater, are public highways. In these places a man keeps on his hat, his deportment being the same as he would observe in the street. But when the lift or elevator is fitted up as a drawing room, such as is used in hotels and other semi-public buildings, a man removes his hat when the other sex is of the number of its passengers.

When escorting a woman to a house where she is to make a visit, always mount the stoop or steps with her, ring the bell, and remain there until the servant comes to the door. Then, if you are not going in, take off your hat and leave her. Restaurants, the dining rooms of hotels, roof gardens, and places of amusement in the open air, where refreshments are served, are semi-public.

A man always rises from the table at which he is sitting when a woman bows to him and immediately returns the salutation. Should the place be in the open, he doffs his hat, which under such circumstances he is obliged to wear. When he is in a party and a lady and her escort chance to stop at his table to exchange greetings with his friends, he should rise and remain standing during the conversation. If a man is introduced to him, unattended by a woman, and he is with a stag party, politeness bids him also rise.

A gentleman will never be seen in public with characters whom he could not introduce to his mother or his sister. A man when he is with a lady should be very careful, especially at roof gardens and such places in midsummer, about recognizing male acquaintances who seem to be in rather doubtful company.
From here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Danes Rethink a Welfare State Ample to a Fault

COPENHAGEN — It began as a stunt intended to prove that hardship and poverty still existed in this small, wealthy country, but it backfired badly. Visit a single mother of two on welfare, a liberal member of Parliament goaded a skeptical political opponent, see for yourself how hard it is.

It turned out, however, that life on welfare was not so hard. The 36-year-old single mother, given the pseudonym “Carina” in the news media, had more money to spend than many of the country’s full-time workers. All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16.

In past years, Danes might have shrugged off the case, finding Carina more pitiable than anything else. But even before her story was in the headlines 16 months ago, they were deeply engaged in a debate about whether their beloved welfare state, perhaps Europe’s most generous, had become too rich, undermining the country’s work ethic. Carina helped tip the scales.
Read the rest here.

A Texas Town Mourns the First Responders Who Paid With Their Lives

WEST, Tex. — Three-tenths of a mile from this town’s own ground zero, barely more than 24 hours after an explosion at a fertilizer plant tore through people’s houses and hearts, dozens of firefighters and emergency responders stood at attention.

Their hands raised to their brows in salute, they faced one another in two lines in the parking lot of a school, forming two walls of blue as the body of a fellow firefighter was escorted between them in the night. A bagpiper blew “Amazing Grace” as the remains, draped in an American flag, were placed in a vehicle.

It was a ritual they performed over and over — once for every person discovered in the wreckage who had been affiliated with a fire department. The scale of the disaster could be measured by the length of the ceremony; the firefighters and responders stood in the cold for about two hours, forming an honor guard 12 times for 12 bodies.

“We’re family,” said Joe Ondrasek, 46, a fire official from Brazos County who stood in salute that night and had traveled here to represent the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas. “It’s like losing your family. It’s like six members of your family got killed in a car wreck. That’s what it is, at that level.”
Read the rest here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

O Lord Save Thy People


Events

Obviously things are moving at a very fast pace. Bombs, poison letters, people have been shot. There is a manhunt going on. And also let's not forget that a small town in Texas has been nearly leveled in an aggro-industrial explosion. A large percentage of their fire department, all volunteers, have been killed along with many other people.

This is a time for prayer.

No blogging for a while.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Supreme Court limits warrantless blood tests for drunken driving suspects

Police officers generally must try to get a warrant before forcing uncooperative drunken-driving suspects to submit to a blood test, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The natural dissipation of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream does not justify an exception to the general constitutional requirements of a warrant, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the majority.

She said such emergencies must be determined by the circumstances in a case-by-case examination and rejected the notion that officers face a “now or never” situation in obtaining blood alcohol tests.

“In those drunk-driving investigations where police officers can reasonably obtain a warrant before a blood sample can be drawn without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search, the Fourth Amendment mandates that they do so,” Sotomayor wrote.
Read the rest here.

Britain France accuse Syria of using chemical weapons

UNITED NATIONS — Britain and France have informed the United Nations that there is credible evidence that Syria used chemical weapons on more than one occasion since December, according to senior diplomats and officials briefed on the accounts.

In letters to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the two European powers said soil samples, witness interviews and opposition sources support charges that nerve agents were used in and around the cities of Aleppo, Homs and possibly Damascus, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Read the rest here.

I feel badly for the people of Syria. But ultimately this is none of our business.

Wanted by the FBI

The FBI has released photos and film footage of two persons identified as suspects in Monday's bomb attack on the Boston Marathon. Click here to see the story and photos. They are asking for the public's help in identifying them. The FBI also warned that the men are presumed to be armed and dangerous.

Texas: Massive Explosion - Hundreds Injured

A large fertilizer plant explosion rocked a small Texas town Wednesday night, injuring "hundreds" of people and leaving dozens of homes destroyed.

It is the “most devastating thing that’s happened to this community,” West Mayor Tommy Muska said at an news conference, late Wednesday.

"We need your prayers," Muska said. "There’s a lot of people that are hurt. And there’s a lot of people that I’m sure are not going to be here tomorrow."

Multiple officials confirmed that there were fatalities in the explosion but wouldn't give any early numbers
Read the rest here.

Good grief! This has been a week of unrelenting bad news. Prayers for all concerned.

Boston: Doctors Saved Lives, if Not Legs

Caution: Graphic content.
BOSTON — So many patients arrived at once, with variations of the same gruesome leg injuries. Shattered bones, shredded tissue, nails burrowed deep beneath the flesh. The decision had to be made, over and over, with little time to deliberate. Should this leg be amputated? What about this one?

“As an orthopedic surgeon, we see patients like this, with mangled extremities, but we don’t see 16 of them at the same time, and we don’t see patients from blast injuries,” Dr. Peter Burke, the trauma surgery chief at Boston Medical Center, said.

The toll from the bombs Monday at the Boston Marathon, which killed at least three and injured more than 170, will long be felt by anyone involved with the city’s iconic sporting event. For the victims, the physical legacy could be an especially cruel one for a group that was involved in the marathon: severe leg trauma and amputations.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Senate Votes Down Background Checks For Guns

As the Senate began voting Wednesday on nine proposed changes to a gun control bill, the centerpiece proposal on background checks quickly failed to win enough support, despite broad public backing.

The vote on the so-called Manchin-Toomey amendment was 54 in favor, 46 against — failing to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to move ahead. Four Republicans supported it, and four Democrats voted no.

A controversial Democratic plan to ban dozens of military-style assault weapons was also defeated by a vote of 40 to 60.

The votes were a setback for President Obama, who angrily blasted Republicans for defeating the background check compromise, saying, “The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill.”

“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” Obama said, promising that “this effort is not over.”
Read the rest here.

CNN: Arrest has been made in Boston Bombings

Just reported on CNN.

There are contradictory reports on this. 

Update: Law enforcement people are denying any arrests have been made.

Terrorism - Crime Updates

The blog is starting to look like a daily police blotter...

CNN is reporting that significant progress has been made in the Boston bombings.  A department store surveillance camera may have recorded the man who planted one of the bombs.

The wife of a former Justice of the Peace who was prosecuted and removed from office has been charged with three counts of murder in the assassinations of two District Attorneys. The wife of one of the DAs was also murdered.

Poison letters addressed to the President of the United States and a US Senator have been intercepted by Federal authorities.

Is it just me or does it seem like the world has become a bit more unhinged than usual over the last few days?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

France Drowns Itself In Regulation

ALBARET-SAINTE-MARIE, FRANCE — Although he is rich with 25 years of experience as mayor of this little town in the wooded hills of central France, Michel Therond gets advice from the bureaucrats in Paris almost every time he opens the mail.

One day’s delivery brings a directive stipulating that the sidewalks must be widened to permit two wheelchairs to cross paths without bumping. Another says the school cafeteria must be made accessible by elevator. Trees must be trimmed of branches six feet up their trunks, the orders go, and only government-certified technicians can change a light bulb on city property.

“We are being strangled,” Therond complained, sifting through a pile of rules and regulations on his desk that he largely ignores — and many of which he does not even understand.
Read the rest here.

Russia puts opposition blogger on trial

KIROV, Russia — The Russian opposition’s most charismatic leader goes on trial here Wednesday, a confrontation with the potential to weaken the democracy movement for years to come — or inject it with new energy and purpose.

The embezzlement case against Alexei Navalny, the 36-year-old lawyer who won a following as an anti-corruption blogger and became a hero of last year’s street protests, is widely considered a test of how harshly President Vladimir Putin intends to crack down on dissent.

Even Navalny, who calls the charges ridiculous, expects a guilty verdict. The case was opened by high-level officials in Moscow 600 miles away and Russia’s judicial system listens to orders from above at the expense of legal arguments, he said.

Navalny predicts a suspended sentence and, as a convict, he would be prevented from running for office, while being kept on a short leash with the threat of prison. Putting him behind bars — Navalny could get up to 10 years in prison — might provoke the opposition too far. Whatever the outcome, he said, it all comes down to Putin.

“If Putin decides I will be in jail,” Navalny said in an interview with four reporters at his Moscow office Monday, “then I will be in jail no matter what.”
Read the rest here.

Don't underestimate Germany's new anti-euro party

(Reuters) - The political establishment has dismissed Germany's new anti-euro party as a fear-mongering populist aberration that could implode even before a looming federal election.

But the first congress of the "Alternative for Germany" (AfD) showed that the movement, launched only a few months ago by a group of renegade academics, journalists and businessmen, is striking a chord with voters and may prove an influential force come September.

Over 1,500 AfD supporters from across Germany packed into the Intercontinental Hotel in central Berlin on Sunday to elect the party leadership and formally approve a policy program that has one objective above all: an end to the euro and return of the deutsche mark.
Read the rest here.

Abortion debate inflamed by horrific details in trial of Philadelphia doctor

Note to blog readers: I generally don't like posting on lurid crime stories unless they have some relevance to broader society or the country. But the trial of Kermit Gosnell certainly falls into that category. And so from time to time I will be posting updates. That said I must again caution that the nature of the alleged crimes is exceptionally horrific. Some may wish to pass over these updates.
PHILADELPHIA — The trial resumed just before 11:30 a.m. Monday in a downtown courtroom, as Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart entered Courtroom 304.

“It’s come to my attention that media coverage of this case has increased,” Minehart told the jurors, who could see for themselves how right he was.

Reporters from the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News had settled in alongside a handful of local and wire service reporters to hear the latest testimony regarding the case of Kermit Gosnell, a 72-year-old abortion provider who faces charges of murdering seven infants whose spines he allegedly snipped with scissors when they were born after induced labor at his West Philadelphia clinic.

Gosnell also faces a third-degree murder charge in the death of a Virginia woman who died after allegedly receiving too much anesthesia under his care during a 2009 abortion. He could receive the death penalty if convicted.
Read the rest here.

The Gold Meltdown


Gold prices tumbled 9 percent on Monday, the sharpest drop in 30 years, heightening fears that investors’ faith in the safe haven has been shattered.

The steep fall in gold, after a slump on Friday, led a broader sell-off in commodities and stock markets. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index declined 2.3 percent — its sharpest one-day decline since early November. Crude oil prices fell to under $90 a barrel, and copper dropped to a 17-month low.

The catalyst was disappointment over Chinese growth, which has been a bright spot in a global economy marred by uneven recoveries and Europe’s persistent debt problems.
Read the rest here.

Boston Marathon Bombs Kill 3 Injure More than 100

BOSTON — Two powerful bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, killing at least three people, including a child, and injuring at least 100 as one of this city’s most cherished rites of spring was transformed from a scene of cheers and sweaty triumph to one of screams, bloody carnage and death.
Read the rest here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Coordinated Terrorist Attacks May Be Underway (Update)

Two bombs have exploded in Boston and a third at the John F Kennedy Presidential Library. There are reports that police have discovered other bombs. Something close to a Red Alert appears to be underway throughout the country as security is being ramped up across the board and at all government buildings and transportation hubs.

Update: The police are now saying that fire at the JFK Library which occurred at the same time as the bombings in Boston appears to have been accidental.

Two Explosions Reported at Boston Marathon (Update: It was bombs)

This is breaking news. But there are multiple casualties. Urgent prayers for all concerned.

Wall Street Sees Red

Bad economic data from China has lead to a sell off in global stock markets with all of the major indices down sharply today. Commodities took the biggest hit with oil dropping almost 3% currently at $88.64 a barrel. But by far the hardest hit is in the precious metals market where gold and silver have been hammered. Gold has plunged more than 7% today and near 13% since Thursday. Silver is down almost 9% on the day. The announcement that the EU and IMF are going to force Cyprus to sell off most of the nation's gold reserves as a condition for their bailout has investors worried that Spain, Italy and Portugal may be ordered to do the same thing. Additionally inflation estimates from several EU countries have come in lower than expected.

US Treasury securities have been rallying with the yield on the ten year bond falling to 1.7%.

The Media and the Gosnell Trial

Across the mainstream media and press over the last few days there has been something of an admission that they dropped the ball on what is one of the most important criminal trials in years. The explanations have been varied. The NY Times today basically admitted that the story warranted more coverage but denied liberal bias as the reason for their failure. The Washington Post did not address motives but in a short statement their editor acknowledged they had blown it and announced they would have a reporter assigned to the story starting today. Other columnists on the left have openly conceded, with some embarrassment, that the story's implications for the abortion debate had made them uncomfortable. And in fairness it must be noted that even among news sources with a more conservative editorial position coverage has been spotty. Some have been on top of it consistently. Others however have given it only marginally better coverage than the left leaning press.

But the bottom line is that it looks like the trial of a man who may be one of the greatest mass murderers in American History is finally going to be getting some real attention in the press and media.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pope Francis takes first steps towards broad reform of the Vatican and church governance

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named eight cardinals from around the globe Saturday to advise him on running the Catholic Church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, marking his first month as pope with a major initiative to reflect the universal nature of the church in key governing decisions.

The advisory panel includes only one current Vatican official. The rest are cardinals from North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. Many have been outspoken in calling for a shake-up of the Vatican bureaucracy, which was last reformed 25 years ago, while others have tried to clean up the church from sexually abusive priests.
Read the rest here.

Why the Gosnell trial is important

Caution: These stories deal with allegations and sometimes graphic descriptions of exceptionally horrific crimes.
In what can only be described as a “house of horrors,” abortion provider Kermit Gosnell stands trial in Philadelphia, charged with the grotesque murder of at least seven infants, allegedly born alive after botched abortions only to be brutally killed moments later.

As this nearly month-long trial continues, it paints the stark and unmistakably abhorrent reality of abortion. While the national mainstream media has been all but silent about this trial, the headlines coming from local media coverage have been morbidly graphic. Babies born alive and then allegedly killed in truly barbaric ways.
Read the rest here.

See also this related story about the media's deafening silence.
P.S.: See also this excellent story from The Atlantic.
HT: T-19

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bitcoin is ludicrous, but it says something important about money

There was a great piece in the satirical news source The Onion a few years ago in which it “reported” that Fed chairman Ben Bernanke experienced a moment of existential panic during a congressional hearing as he paused, shook his head, and said, “It’s just an illusion . . . Just look at it: meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless.”

Sayeth the Onion headline: “U.S. Economy Grinds to Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion.”

Which brings us to bitcoin. It is a digital currency, which a certain variety of techno-utopian futurist crowd views as a form of money unencumbered by the shackles of privacy-reducing international anti-money laundering laws and inflation-tolerant central banks. Its value has been extraordinarily volatile over the last several weeks, rising from $20 a couple of months back, to over $250, to around $60 on Friday, with a couple of trading halts in between.

Bitcoin really is a tiny market in the scheme of things, and its recent gyrations mean that the dollar, euro and yen have nothing to fear from the competition. If a currency can lose 75 percent of its buying power in two days, it may not be the best store of value. But it also an important window into the strange and uncomfortable mystery of “What is money,” which is a harder question to answer than one might think.
Read the rest here.

Virginia board approves strict abortion clinic rules

RICHMOND — The Virginia Board of Health voted Friday to require clinics that perform abortions to meet strict, hospital-style building codes that operators say could put many of them out of business.

The 11 to 2 vote represented the board’s final say on the matter, which has taken unexpected twists and turns since the General Assembly voted in 2011 to regulate abortion clinics like outpatient surgical centers. The regulations went straight to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R), who quickly certified them. They now go to two state agencies and Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), who is expected to sign off on them.

Always a politically charged issue in the commonwealth, abortion is likely to take on an even greater presence in this year’s governor’s race because of the new clinic rules. The race features two candidates who seem to be polar opposites on the issue: Cuccinelli, an opponent of abortion, and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a supporter of abortion rights.
Read the rest here.

14 year old makes the cut at the Masters (wow)

Teenager Guan Tianlang was penalised for slow play at Augusta, but his overall score of four over was still enough to see him become the youngest golfer to make the cut at a major.

Guan, 14, was given the one-stroke penalty after making par on the 17th, having earlier been warned for slow play during the Masters second round.

The Chinese player said he respected the decision.
Read the rest here.

I bet I know what the topic will be when he is told to write a one page paper on "what I did over my Spring break."

NY Yankees Alex Rodriguez Implicated In Possible Doping Cover-Up

Investigators for Major League Baseball have uncovered what they believe is evidence that a representative of Alex Rodriguez purchased medical records from a person connected to a South Florida anti-aging clinic that is suspected of providing performance-enhancing drugs to a number of major leaguers, according to two people briefed on the matter.

The New York Times reported online Thursday that Major League Baseball had purchased documents from a former employee at the clinic, which operated under the name Biogenesis of America and is now closed, in an effort to uncover evidence that would link the clinic to the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs. The article also stated that one major league player had also purchased clinic documents from a former clinic employee so that they could be destroyed. That player was not identified until Friday, when the two people said it was Rodriguez, the 37-year-old Yankees third baseman currently rehabilitating from off-season hip surgery.

A spokesman for Rodriguez flatly denied the accusation Friday.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


After attack on cathedral, Copts doubt future in Egypt

(Reuters) - When Egyptian Christian Kerollos Maher watched on television as petrol bombs and rocks rained on Cairo's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral he had only one thought - emigration.

"Egypt is no longer my country," said the 24-year-old construction worker, standing in the courtyard of the country's largest cathedral where one Copt and one Muslim died in sectarian clashes this week.

"The situation of Christians is worsening from day to day. I've given up hope that things will improve," he said.
Read the rest here.

Roma locuta est, causa finita est...

In [its amicus brief] the Holy See has spoken, laying to rest any previous doubts: Fuller has not been a member of any Catholic religious order for more than 30 years. Period. The district judge has no authority to question that ruling. A jury has no authority to question it. We have no authority to question it.
-Justice Posner writing for a unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in McCarthy v Fuller (10 April 2013)

China may be growing weary of their 'enfant terrible'

BEIJING -- There was confusion at the China-North Korea border Thursday after Chinese tour operators halted trips into the North.

It wasn't clear whether the instruction to do so came from the Chinese authorities, the North Koreans, or was made by the nervous operators themselves.

But it mirrored a wider confusion over Chinese policy toward Pyongyang, which depends on Beijing for food and fuel, as well as diplomatic support.

As North Korea readies what is thought to be a missile test, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei has spent most of the week deflecting questions with the official line that "all sides" should show restraint and begin dialogue, and that peace and stability are a "shared responsibility."

But in an interview with NBC News he was more forthright about China's growing concern. "We do not want to see chaos and conflict on China's doorstep," he said.
Read the rest here.

NY Times: Gold Loses Its Luster

Below the streets of Lower Manhattan, in the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the world’s largest trove of gold — half a million bars — has lost about $75 billion of its value. In Fort Knox, Ky., at the United States Bullion Depository, the damage totals $50 billion.

And in Pocatello, Idaho, the tiny golden treasure of Jon Norstog has dwindled, too. A $29,000 investment that Mr. Norstog made in 2011 is now worth about $17,000, a loss of 42 percent.

“I thought if worst came to worst and the government brought down the world economy, I would still have something that was worth something,” Mr. Norstog, 67, says of his foray into gold.
Read the rest here.

As longtime readers will already know I am a proponent of the Permanent Portfolio and as such, despite my occasional prognostications on future events, my only actual investment advice has been to maintain an agnostic approach towards the future and be prepared for any eventuality. To which end the PP's radical diversification is the best vehicle that I have so far found. If gold is indeed entering a secular bear market (of which I am far from convinced) that would be good news for the broader economy. And in a Permanent Portfolio one accepts that at any given time at least one of the asset classes you are holding will be a stinker. That's the price you pay for not trying to outsmart the markets with all of the attendant risks. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Fred Reed: Screwing the troops

For a country always at war, the United States is remarkably not interested in taking care of soldiers it has broken in its wars. Having bankrupted the country, Washington sinks every available penny into the two purposes of the military: funneling money into the arms industry, and fueling imperial ambitions, in large part of pasty fern-bar Napoleons at National Review and Commentary. The Veterans Administration is way back in the chow line. It doesn’t work very well. As best I can tell, nobody cares.
Read the rest here.
Caution: Language

Monday, April 08, 2013

Remembering the Iron Lady

An amusing story, possibly apocryphal but it's making the rounds...

Prime Minister Thatcher back in the 80's was invited by the leaders of the opposition (the Labor Party) to dine with with them. She showed up at the restaurant and took her seat with the members of the so called shadow cabinet. Drinks were served and as she sipped, she also listened quietly as the lefties berated her for her cruel and backward economic policies.

In due course the waiter appeared and asked Thatcher what she wanted for dinner...

"I shall have the roast beef" she replied.
 "Very good maam. And for the vegetables?"
"They shall have the roast beef as well."

There will be a hot time in the old town tonight

Jazz Age Great Bessie Smith

Good News For Lent

Well if your like me that early enthusiasm for the Great Fast has begone to wane and it's starting to get old. This however should cheer you up and add new vigor to your fast.

Red meat is a killer. Seriously. That cheeseburger you are craving will shorten your life. So says a new study which concluded that red meat IN ANY QUANTITY is dangerous to your health. It's getting so bad I'm starting to think that no matter what I do I might die one day.

Read about it here and please pass the rice and beans.

Optina Monastery: Scenes from the first week of Lent


Memory Eternal

Margaret Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven

Excepting Churchill, she was Britain's greatest political leader since Disraeli.

Vigil for the Annunciation and the Life Giving Cross


Sunday, April 07, 2013

SOS: America's flagship is in danger

Philadelphia (CNN) -- For me, touring the SS United States felt kind of like I was exploring my grandmother's attic for the first time, not knowing what I'd find.

The ship offers lots of room for surprises. It stretches the length of New York's Chrysler Building and is 100 feet longer than the Titanic.

Its legendary decks were the site of untold stories, where movie stars rubbed shoulders with famous musicians and kings.

And it's fast. On its first voyage, the SS United States set a trans-Atlantic speed record -- three days, 10 hours and 42 minutes -- a feat that has never been surpassed.
Read the rest here.

The last and only truly American transatlantic super ocean liner may be heading for the scrap yard.


Egypt: Muslims Again Attack Coptic Christians

CAIRO — Police firing tear gas joined with a rock-throwing crowd fighting a group of Christian mourners Sunday in a battle that escalated into an attack on Egypt’s main Coptic Christian Cathedral that lasted for hours.

It was the third day of an outburst of sectarian violence that is testing the pledges of Egypt’s Islamist president to protect the country’s Christian minority, and by nightfall Sunday at least one person had died from the day’s clashes, bringing the weekend’s death toll to six.
Read the rest here.

The Queen gets a raise (and it's about time)


The biggest financial blunder in royal history was made by mad old George III when he came to the throne in 1760. Because his grandfather, George II, hadn’t managed to pay for civil government, as he was obliged to, the new king cut a disastrous deal: he gave up the hereditary revenues from his Crown Estate in return for Parliament paying the civil government bill, and giving him money from the Civil List.

Today, the Crown Estate has a property portfolio worth £7.6 billion – including 356,000 acres of farmland and forest, and a chunk of the smartest bits of London – and an annual profit of £240.2 million, in 2011/12. Meanwhile, until this year, the Civil List was paying the Queen only £7.9 million a year. You do the maths – George III was no accountant.

Last week, all that changed as, for the first time in 250 years, the monarch got their hands back on the Crown Estate – or a small, but extremely valuable, chunk of it.

After the Coalition’s 2010 Spending Review, George Osborne announced that, from this year, the Civil List would be replaced by a new Sovereign Support Grant – paid for by 15 per cent of the Crown Estate revenue...

...The monarchy remains astonishingly good value – at under 58p [that's pennies A/O] per head of the British population, or around 0.005 per cent of total public spending. That’s not much to pay, in return for secure constitutional government, a dose of national pleasure and incalculable billions in tourism income and national branding value for UK plc.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

A Quick Reminder

Comments on blog posts that are more than ten days old are moderated. With rare exceptions I usually don't allow comments on long ago posts especially if they are controversial. Those kind of comments can be unfair when put on posts where the original discussion has died. So if the post has fallen off the front page of the blog chances are I consider the comments to be closed.

Germans are shocked by a private glimpse of their leader

BERLIN — The photos were splashed across the top-circulating tabloid in Germany this week — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “secret family life” uncovered for all to see.

The secret? That she has a private life.

Unlike their counterparts in the United States, many European leaders keep their personal lives out of sight, and Merkel may be the most intensely private of them all. Her husband, a chemist, skipped her first inauguration in 2005 and rarely appears with her in public. Her political friends have never visited her at home. And she is rarely photographed wearing anything other than a suit.

Merkel’s deep-cover privacy is aided and abetted by a high-minded German mainstream media that rarely deign to report on anything they deems outside the realm of her political decision-making. But with Germany increasingly calling the shots in Europe because of the economic crisis in the 17-nation euro zone, more people are hungry for a glimpse of what makes Merkel tick.
Read the rest here.

I have long thought that our presidents have ceded a bit too much ground to the press in terms of the often intrusive coverage.

Msgr Charles Pope Takes on the Episcopal Bishop [sic] of DC

It was sad to read the public comments of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington denying the importance, or need for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead,  going so far as to imply this teaching was “outlandish. ” More on that in a moment, but first some background.

Some time ago I brought a former Episcopalian into the Catholic Church who, after the Rite of Reception gave a great sigh of relief and said, “I know the Catholic Church is not without problems, but at least I know the Bishops actually hold the Christian faith. It is such a relief to be in the harbor of truth.”

I remember at the time wondering with him if that wasn’t a bit of an exaggeration of how bad things were in the Episcopalian denomination (this was about 1990). But he showed me a scrapbook of article after article of dozens of Episcopal “Bishops” denying quite publicly the divinity of Christ, the Virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, that there was any inherent conflict between Christianity and Unitarianism, etc., not to mention a plethora aberrant moral stances.

Most notable among them, but not at all alone, is now retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong who still freely roams the halls of Episcopal parishes and openly calling the Nicene Creed “a radical distortion of the Gospel of John” and declaring that Jesus Christ did not die to redeem humanity from its sins, even going so far to say that we are not sinners at all [*], in outright contradiction to Scripture (e.g. 1 John 1:10) and, frankly, common sense.

The scrapbook was quite thick with painful articles of Episcopal bishops and clergy saying and doing the most incredible things, outright denying basic dogmas. Indeed, when a Christian leader publicly denies the divinity of Christ, or the Trinity, of the redemptive power of Jesus’ death he/she is no longer a Christian at all.
Read the rest here.
HT: A blog reader.

Friday, April 05, 2013

North Korea Urges Foreign Embassies to Consider Evacuating

MOSCOW — North Korea has advised foreign diplomats to consider evacuating their embassies in Pyongyang in light of increasing tensions in the region, Russian and British diplomats said Friday.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, told reporters traveling with him in Uzbekistan on Friday afternoon that Moscow was seeking more details about the North Korean statement before making a decision about whether to evacuate.
Read the rest here.

OK. Am I the only one getting tired of this overweight guttersnipe's endless BS? Seriously. As we used to say in the Navy, $#!t or get off the pot. But I suspect that even this delusional narcissistic clown  grasps that if he actually does lob a Nuke, at anyone, that his country will be turned into a glow in the dark parking lot in the space of about 20 minutes.

On which subject it might not be a bad idea to make that point to China since they are...
a) The delusional narcissistic clown's chief benefactor and...
b) They share a common border with the future glow in the dark parking lot and...
c) Radioactive fallout can be damned indiscriminate as to where it drifts.

Quote of the day...

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.

-President Grover Cleveland in a message to Congress explaining his veto of a $10,000 appropriation for the relief of drought stricken farmers in Texas

80 Years Ago Today

The greatest act of criminal larceny in the history of the United States...


HT: Wilson Revolution Unplugged

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Remembering the Martini Nazi

RIP: Roger Ebert

Famed film critic Roger Ebert has died of cancer at 70. He was a class act. Sadly his longtime TV partner Gene Siskel also died of cancer in 1999. Memory eternal.

New York: Fast Food Workers Strike

They work for some of the biggest businesses in the United States, yet they are among the country's lowest-paid workers.

On Thursday, fast-food workers staged walkouts at McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell and other restaurants in New York City to call attention to their plight. Organizers scheduled the job actions to commemorate the day Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 45 years ago in Memphis, where he was supporting a strike by sanitation workers.

"It's not enough," Elba Godoy, a crew member at a McDonald's just a few blocks from Times Square, said of her $7.25-per-hour minimum wage, which helps support her extended family of seven. "They don't like [that we're out here], but we have to do it. We cannot survive on $7.25."

Godoy and her colleagues are seeking a raise to $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. The walkout is part of a national movement by low-wage workers to raise wages and gain rights.
Read the rest here.

I think this is a great example of a libertarian response to abusive behavior by employers. The employers are clearly taking advantage of their workers. I mean come on! 7.25 hr in New York City is scandalous. What's more is that the employers know that most of their employees are paid so poorly they qualify for welfare and food stamps. In effect this is a tax payer funded subsidy for greedy corporations. Liberals argue that the answer is to raise the minimum wage. But that's a lousy idea because while $7.25 hr is outrageous in New York City there are some places in this country where it's an acceptable albeit low paying wage and raising the minimum wage might kill the jobs in question.

The correct answer is that workers, being the free agents of their own labor should have the right to get together and collectively tell their employers to cough up or go without their services. The article suggests they are shooting for an unreasonable wage ($15 hr) but that is probably just a bargaining ploy. In any case McDonald's etc. should be ashamed of paying people in that area such a low wage. I wish the employees luck in their battle and would boycott fast food in support except of course Lent kinda covers that. And in any case I swore off fast food over a year ago for health reasons.

Japan Launches Massive Money Printing

TOKYO — In its first policy steps under its new governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, the Bank of Japan announced Thursday it would seek to double the amount of money in circulation over two years, initiating a bold bid to end years of falling prices and dispelling market fears that Mr. Kuroda might fail to follow up his recent tough talk with concrete action.

The central bank said it would aggressively buy longer-term bonds and double its holdings of government bonds in two years, in effect doubling the money in circulation in the process. The bank will aim for a robust 2 percent rate of inflation “at the earliest possible time,” it said.

“This is monetary easing in an entirely new dimension,” Mr. Kuroda said following the bank’s decision.
Read the rest here.

Dems Revel in Mark Sanford's Win

"Hey boss, you're not gonna believe who those idiots  nominated this time!"
Democrats are relishing in a surprising opportunity to possibly pick up a House seat in a solidly Republican district in South Carolina, where Mark Sanford is hoping to stage a political comeback next month.

Sanford, the embattled former governor who left office in 2011 under a cloud of scandal following an extramarital affair that publicly wrecked his marriage, officially won the Republican nomination for the May 7 special election to fill the vacancy in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district. He beat rival Republican Curtis Bostic in a runoff election with about 57 percent of the vote.

Though Sanford represented this reliably GOP district for three terms in the 1990s, he faces a tougher-than-expected challenge from Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, a Clemson University administrator and the sister of Comedy Central personality Stephen Colbert.

For Sanford, a onetime conservative rock star who had once flirted with the possibility of seeking the Republican presidential nomination, next month’s special election is a shot at redemption, both personal and political. His 2009 admission of an affair with an Argentinian woman, María Belén Chapur, and bizarre subsequent explanations of his absence to pursue that affair, nearly ruined his career and left a lasting negative impression with voters that could help Colbert-Busch score an unlikely victory.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Speaking of Womyn Priestesses

Do read this hysterical post over at MCJ. (Caution language)

Memo to my Anglican readers: Doctrine Matters

Less than a month after sponsoring an event for Virginia Episcopal clergy featuring a speaker who denies both the afterlife and unique divinity of Christ, Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has presided over a service featuring a similarly controversial figure.

In a Good Friday service at historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, retired Bishop John Shelby Spong decried the Nicene Creed as “a radical distortion of the Gospel of John,” asserted that several of the apostles were “mythological” and declared that Jesus Christ did not die to redeem humanity from its sins.

The three hour service featured a series of six meditations by the retired Newark bishop interspersed with prayers led by Johnston and a hymn promoted by the Center for Progressive Christianity entitled “Welcome doubt: Refine our thinking.” Johnston’s promotion of Spong, whose Newark diocese famously declined by 40 percent during his tenure, further undercuts the Virginia bishop’s claim to be creedal and orthodox.
Read the rest here.
HT: T-19

(I am posting this here instead of T-19 out of deference to their house rules. They get a bit touchy over comments critical of Anglicanism.)

Why is anyone even remotely surprised? Seriously. This is the perfectly logical devolution of a "church" (or communion if you prefer) that at its inception tried to wedge St. Athanasius and Calvin into the same pew and still visualizes them communing from the same chalice. Of course any "church" that attempts such is a fraud. But even now we have Piskies obsessing over the whole gay thing but who were/are totally unconcerned about women's ordination and even more serious doctrinal issues. That's why Mr. Spong is the poster child for what Anglicanism is all about.

Because when you boil it all down Anglicanism is just one endless series of theological and doctrinal compromises made by people for whom the only real heresy is dogmatism and intolerance of endless dialogue. The fact that an overt apostate like Jack Spong is called a "bishop" by the Episcopal Organization is just further evidence that it has devolved into little more than liturgical Unitarianism. Some of the other branches of the Anglican tree are not as advanced in their own decay. But the seeds of their destruction are already planted. They were sown more than 500 years ago.

Virginia Candidate for Governor Defends Law Criminalizing Sodomy

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is urging a federal appeals court to overturn a three-judge panel's decision to declare an anti-sodomy law unconstitutional.

The Washington Blade reports that Cuccinelli filed a formal "petition with the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond asking the full 15-judge court to reconsider a decision by a three-judge panel last month that overturned the state's sodomy law. The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 on March 12 that a section of Virginia's 'Crimes Against Nature' statute that outlaws sodomy between consenting adults, gay or straight, is unconstitutional based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2003 known as Lawrence v. Texas."

Cuccinelli will be formally nominated as the Republican nominee in this year's governor's race by the state party at its convention May 18.

The move could potentially have repercussions for his gubernatorial bid in a state Barack Obama won in both 2008 and 2012. It also comes just as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering two cases dealing with gay rights, after the national party has urged Republicans to accept gays and lesbians, and as Senate Republicans like Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois have announced their support for same-sex marriage.
Read the rest here.

More threats from North Korea as tenions stay high

North Korea escalated its provocative rhetoric on Thursday, warning that its military is authorized to wage "cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear strikes to protect against the United States.

"The moment of explosion is approaching fast. No one can say a war will break out in Korea or not and whether it will break out today or tomorrow," read the statement of an unnamed military spokesman.

The statement was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that North Korea's latest provocations are "a real and clear danger and threat" to U.S. interests and Washington is taking them seriously.
Read the rest here.

A Sad Note

A beloved family pet, my mom's standard poodle Rusty died today at the very respectable age of 13. Of the many pets we have had over the years he was by far the most affectionate, and he is already greatly missed. Needless to say mom is pretty broken up. Those of you who have experienced the loss of a family pet will know the pain of which I write.

Monday, April 01, 2013

It's Baseball Season And All Is Right In The World

The Mets are tied for first place and the Yankees are tied for last.

An Indictment of Orthodox Participation in the National Council of Churches

I just hate it when Protestants make highly pointed criticisms of the Orthodox Church... that are completely fair and correct. Read it here.

Judge Clears Stockton for Bankruptcy

A U.S. bankruptcy judge’s decision Monday cleared the way for indebted Stockton, Calif., to seek relief through Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Experts say the precedent-setting case has implications for other financially struggling cities such as Detroit, as well as municipal bondholders, public workers and retirees.

“The fact of the matter is, the city can’t pay its bills,” said Marc Levinson, lead bankruptcy counsel for the city of Stockton. With the judge’s ruling, “We have a forum to try to discuss the city’s debts.”
Read the rest here.

Fears High After Second Texas Prosecutor Assassinated

KAUFMAN, Texas — Deputies escorted some Kaufman County employees into the courthouse Monday, two days after the district attorney and his wife were found shot to death in their home in an attack that stirred fears that other public employees could be targeted by assassins.

Law enforcement officers were seen patrolling one side of the courthouse, one holding a semi-automatic weapon, while others walked around inside.
Read the rest here.