Friday, September 23, 2011

Popular 'I Am Second' Site Urges Putting God First

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The "I am Second" website is taking the phrase 'I surrender all' to heart, encouraging believers from all walks of life to put Christ first in their lives.

"I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others -- actors, athletes, musicians, business leaders, drug addicts, your next-door neighbor, people like you," the website states.

The site was launched in December 2008 in the Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas area by businessman Norm Miller, with the help of e3 Partners, a world missions organization.

As of Monday, 5 million people have visited the website, according to The Christian Post. the rest

The AFL-CIO Defends Union Violence As A ‘Legitimate’ Union Activity…

NLRB Chairman’s Former Law Partner Defends Union Violence
by LaborUnionReport

A little over a month ago, in a case that drew national attention, a man was targeted at his home, shot and injured, all because he dared to run union free business. Now, in Buffalo, New York, a case involving outrageous allegations of labor-racketeering and union violence aimed at non-union construction workers and company owners is proceeding through the judicial process. Its outcome, however, may have wide-ranging ramifications on a national level.

Forget for a moment that a man was stabbed in the throat, hot coffee thrown on non-union workers, sand put into gas tanks and a woman threatened with sexual assault. Forget the fact that the judge presiding over the federal racketeering case against Operating Engineers, Local 22, in Buffalo, NY ultimately rejected the AFL-CIO’s attempt to file a amicus brief, the sheer fact that the national AFL-CIO even attempted to intervene speaks volumes:

“We’re not condoning the allegations or arguing that union officials are completely immune from prosecution,” said Jonathan D. Newman, a lawyer for the AFL-CIO. “Instead, we simply want to make sure that the [federal law] is not interpreted in a way that could have a chilling effect on legitimate union activity.”

The union violence as a ‘legitimate union activity’ that the AFL-CIO’s Newman is referring to is a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case called United States vs. Enmons, in which the Supremes upheld a District Court ruling determining that unions could not be found in violation of an anti-racketeering law called the Hobbs Act if the violence was in pursuit of legitimate union objectives. the rest

In Phoenix, unions fleecing the taxpayers
...So how much “release time” are we talking? As Flatten discovered, top level union bosses are authorized 2,080 hours per year. For those who left their calculators at home today, that works out to 52 weeks at 40 hours per week. In other words, they are being paid a full time salary out of the public coffers without ever having to put in a single day of work for the city...

Bishops Take Different Paths in Recalling 9/11

The leaders of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America showed their true -- and very different -- colors in their responses to 9/11.
Jeff Walton
September 21, 2011

Here's a quick test for you. On the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the senior bishops of the two Anglican provinces in the United States gave sermons commemorating the events of that fateful day. See whether you can identify who made the following statements—
a) Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori or
 b) Anglican Church in North America Archbishop Robert Duncan.

Here

Episcopal Church Insurance Fund VP Says TEC Is Losing a Diocese a Year

Average Sunday Attendance, Easter Attendance, Child Baptisms all down
By David W. Virtue
September 22, 2011

A Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Church Insurance Companies of The Episcopal Church says that TEC has 6,900 parishes and missions worth $20 billion, but average Sunday Attendance (ASA) and all other indicators are down. Church leaders will need to close entities to make the church more mission viable in the future.

Rod Webster said in a video on the state of the church that while TEC's properties are sometimes as large as denominations twice TEC's size, to stay efficient an organization needs to build new sites and close ones that are not working.

"The issue we have is the shrinking size of the church, and the fact that closing churches outnumber new churches by two point five to one (2.5 to 1). For every new church that has opened over the last 10 years 2.5 of them have closed. Just over 40 churches each year are closing, based on the data we collect and the data we have managed very carefully over the last 39 months. The number of churches closing are about the size of a very small - admittedly - Episcopal diocese each year."

Webster said the large number of closings was going on everywhere in all regions of the country. "We're talking about 40 to 50 closings in a year, averaged over a 10 year period, continuing into the current time." the rest

Our Lack of Moral Vocabulary

By Peter Wehner
Friday, September 16, 2011

Earlier this week, David Brooks wrote a fascinating column on young people's moral lives, basing it on hundreds of in-depth interviews with young adults across America conducted by the eminent Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith and his team.

The results, according to Brooks, were "depressing"—not so much because of how they lived but because of "how bad they are at thinking and talking about moral issues." Asked open-ended questions about right and wrong, moral dilemmas and the meaning of life, what we find is "young people groping to say anything sensible on these matters. But they just don't have the categories or vocabulary to do so." What Smith and his team found is an atmosphere of "extreme moral individualism—of relativism and nonjudgmentalism." The reason, in part, is because they have not been given the resources—by schools, institutions and families—to "cultivate their moral intuitions, to think more broadly about moral obligations, to check behaviors that may be degrading." the rest

Canada: Elderly priest suspended for denouncing abortion, homosexual behavior

by Patrick B. Craine
Thu Sep 22, 2011

BATHURST, New Brunswick, September 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick has removed an elderly priest from active ministry after he caused a storm of controversy by denouncing homosexuality, cohabitation, and abortion in an August homily.

85-year-old Fr. Donat Gionet had retired to his home town of Caraquet in June to serve palliative care patients, and now laments that in his declining years he is being forced to celebrate Mass “in secret.”

Fr. Wesley Wade, the diocese’s vicar general, told Radio-Canada that Fr. Gionet’s comments were consistent with Church teaching, but lacked the proper “pastoral” sensitivity. the rest


El Paso diocese backs away from priest's stance against homosexuality

Bishop: Priests may participate in 40 Days for Life
...Wow. If priests support 40 DFL (which is endorsed by the USCCB) they are not "considered disobedient to their ordinary". Feel the enthusiasm!...

Texas School Punishes Boy for Opposing Homosexuality

By Todd Starnes
September 22, 2011

An honors student in Fort Worth, Texas, was sent to the principal’s office and punished for telling a classmate that he believes homosexuality is wrong.

Holly Pope said she was “absolutely stunned” when she received a telephone call from an assistant principal at Western Hills High School informing her that her son, Dakota Ary, had been sent to in-school suspension.

“Dakota is a very well-grounded 14-year-old,” she told Fox News Radio noting that her son is an honors student, plays on the football team and is active in his church youth group. “He’s been in church his whole life and he’s been taught to stand up for what he believes.”

And that’s what got him in trouble.  the rest

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Recession yields a lost generation of workers

New 2010 census data show wrenching impact of economic downturn on young adults
By HOPE YEN
9/22/2011

 Call it the recession's lost generation.

In record-setting numbers, young adults struggling to find work are shunning long-distance moves to live with Mom and Dad, delaying marriage and buying fewer homes, often raising kids out of wedlock. They suffer from the highest unemployment since World War II and risk living in poverty more than others — nearly 1 in 5.

New 2010 census data released Thursday show the wrenching impact of a recession that officially ended in mid-2009. It highlights the missed opportunities and dim prospects for a generation of mostly 20-somethings and 30-somethings coming of age in a prolonged slump with high unemployment.

"We have a monster jobs problem, and young people are the biggest losers," said Andrew Sum, an economist and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. He noted that for recent college grads now getting by with waitressing, bartending and odd jobs, they will have to compete with new graduates for entry-level career positions when the job market eventually does improve.

"Their really high levels of underemployment and unemployment will haunt young people for at least another decade," Sum said. the rest

Without work, young adults aren't starting careers and lives in new cities, instead hanging out with their parents.

Failing Churches Find New Life as Outposts for Megachurches

By Greg Garrison
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

PELHAM, Ala. (RNS) Five years ago, Living Word Church had dwindled to 40 members, had lost its founding pastor and was unable to pack more than about 80 people into its 280-seat sanctuary and unsure of the future.

Now, it’s part of one of the nation’s largest megachurches—and could serve as a model for the thousands of small U.S. churches that are closed every year.

“The story’s pretty amazing,” said the Rev. Layne Schranz, associate pastor at Church of the Highlands, a Birmingham megachurch that attracts an average of more than 13,500 across its six campuses.

After the merger, teams from Church of the Highlands spent six weeks renovating the building, expanding parking and adding technology for its heavy emphasis on video feeds. Highlands then sent a worship team to lead weekly services at what was now the megachurch’s Riverchase campus. the rest

Largest Anglican Church Congregation in Canada Leaves Buildings, Puts Faith into Action

September 22nd, 2011
Anglican Mainstream

St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church, the largest Anglican congregation in Canada, will begin Sunday services at a new location after moving from its historic location on Granville Street and Nanton Avenue. The congregation, through a lengthy legal action, chose to leave their buildings rather than compromise their beliefs.

St. John's Vancouver, which had been meeting at the Granville Street location for almost 100 years, will begin Sunday services on September 25 at Oakridge Adventist Church, at West 37th Avenue and Baillie Street in Vancouver...

...“It is remarkable to be part of a Christian community which is putting faith into action in a way that seems inexplicable to those who love the world,” explained Canon David Short, Rector of St. John’s Vancouver. “We are doing something countercultural and counterintuitive for the truth of God’s word, losing something very valuable for the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ, holding the unity of faith by acting together as one, and joyfully accepting the confiscation of our property.”  the rest

San Juan Capistrano Fines Family for Reading Bible without Permit

Tim Cavanaugh
September 21, 2011

The city of San Juan Capistrano, California is laying heavy fines on a local couple for hosting semi-regular bible readings in their home. From the Los Angeles CBS affiliate:

Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called “a regular gathering of more than three people”.

That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple’s legal representation.

The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further “religious gatherings” in their home, according to PJI… the rest
Pacific Justice Institute president Brad Dacus notes the irony of the city’s violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious expression in a city that was founded as a mission by Junipero Serra and is best known for a quasi-religious legend about cliff swallows. “In a city so rich with religious history and tradition, this is particularly egregious,” Dacus says in a PJI statement.  “An informal gathering in a home cannot be treated with suspicion by the government, or worse than any other gathering of friends, just because it is religious. We cannot allow this to happen in America, and we will fight as long and as hard as it takes to restore this group’s religious freedom.”

OC Couple Threatened With $500-Per-Meeting Fines For Home Bible Study.

Also here.

An abortion worker’s ‘ah-ha’ moment...

...An abortion worker’s ‘ah-ha’ moment
by Jewels Green
Tue Sep 20, 2011

Excerpt:
Well, then she went on to describe a woman in her surrogacy support group who underwent prenatal genetic testing on the tiny, helpless, not-genetically-related, innocent baby growing in her body (I think you can guess where this is going.) Down syndrome. I followed the daily posts with increasing horror as she related the story of this surrogate mother who accepted “payment of her contract in full” to abort rather than to carry this baby to term and give birth. One among us pleaded with our friend to tell her about Reece’s Rainbow, that if the genetic parents didn’t want their child, he or she could have a chance of finding an adoptive home through this amazing organization that helps match children with Down syndrome with loving families, and in many cases helps defray the costs of adoption. Nope.

This was my Ah-HA moment: This woman was paid to kill the child. And she did. This is murder. Abortion is murder. I cried. I cried for that (now dead) baby. Then I cried for all of the little cold souls in the IVF freezers around the world. Then, only then, could I cry for all of the babies murdered at the clinic where I worked for so long. How many tissue boxes my small counseling office went through and I walked that pregnant mother back to the procedure room and smiled as I held the door open for her to enter the chamber of death. “You’ll be alright, I’ll come visit you in the recovery room.” My God. What had I done? No, I did not pull the trigger; but I cleaned the gun, readied the ammunition, and loaded it. Sure as the guilt of the killer himself, I was sure of my own guilt as well. The wave of remorse and regret was overwhelming. I prayed. I prayed for peace for the babies. I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed for the strength to become a better person. the rest

The Muslim "Overtaking" of France: as Mosques and as Faithful

Disclosure of the results of a study by the Hudson Institute, which provides a framework certainly unprecedented in the country's religious landscape
Marco Tosatti
08/26/2011

In France there are more Islamic mosques being built, and more frequently, than Catholic churches, and there are more practicing Muslims than practicing Catholics in the country.
Nearly 150 new mosques are currently being built in France, home to the largest Islamic community in Europe. The projects are in various stages of completion, according to Moahmmed Moussaoui, President of the Muslim Council of France, who provided this data in an interview on August 2 with RTL radio.

The total number of mosques in France has already doubled to exceed 2,000 in the last ten years, according to a research entitled: "Building mosques: the government of Islam in France and Holland." The best known French Islamic leader, Dalil Boubakeur, Rector of Great Mosque of Paris recently suggested that the total number of mosques should double, to 4,000, to meet the growing demand.

Instead, the Catholic Church in France has only twenty new churches built in the last ten years, and formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which could become mosques, according to research conducted by the French Catholic daily La Croix. the rest

Same-sex marriage is really an assault on the church

Wed, 21 Sep 2011

The furious reaction to church leaders defending marriage show that same-sex marriage is not about gay rights, it is about attacking the church, an editor of a Scottish national newspaper says.

Kevin McKenna says he has been shocked by the vitriolic reaction to Roman Catholic church leaders who have simply defended the traditional definition of marriage.

Mr McKenna was assistant editor of the Herald newspaper in Glasgow before becoming executive editor at the Scottish Daily Mail. the rest

Amoral bullying at its best

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
  The Bandera Bulletin


One of the most disgustingly reprehensible of all Left Wing Bully Organizations is unquestionably the American Civil Liberties Union. Every time I read of yet another insane “cause” of these pseudo-intellectual bottom-feeders, my blood pressure rises and my head feels like it will explode.

The ACLU’s latest debacle is under the guise of protecting children’s constitutional rights to unfettered access to websites advocating homosexual behavior. The ACLU’s all in a twitter because (according to them) denying children access to those sites violates their constitutionally protected rights. Well, cry me a river!

The “Don’t Filter Me” initiative launched by the ACLU is to counter (what they consider) those freedom-killing schools which have the gall to block students’ access to sexually explicit material. Under this initiative the ACLU threatens to sue seven school districts across the country unless they deactivate the Web filters on their classroom and library computers that now make it impossible for kids to use school property to access the objectionable material.

According to David Cortman, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, “School districts shouldn’t be bullied into exposing students to sexually explicit materials.” Cortman says, “The ‘Don’t Filter Me Initiative’ would be better named the ‘Public School Porn Initiative.’ The ACLU is pushing its radical sexual agenda on children by intimidating school districts with a long string of scare tactics disguised as a concern over censorship. In truth, these school districts have no obligation to cave to the ACLU’s unwarranted demands. Our children come first.” (NOTE: The ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and organizations that defend the constitutional rights of people to freely live out their faith.) the rest

Facebook, Google, social media sites ‘actively’ censor Christian content: study

by Jeremy Kryn
Wed Sep 21, 2011

(LifeSiteNews.com) – A new study has found that Google and other major social media sites such as Facebook have “actively” censored Christian and conservative viewpoints.

The report, conducted by National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) and the American Center for Law and Justice, examined the policies and practices of several major Internet-interactive “new media” communications platforms and service providers, including Apple and its iTunes App Store, Facebook, Google, and others.

The study found that some of the new media technology companies have outright banned Christian content, and that all social media sites, except Twitter, have speech policies more restrictive than the free speech rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

According to the study, seven of the major social media sites have banned “hate speech,” a term that the study authors point out “is often applied in the culture to stifle Christian communicators.”  the rest

Southern Baptist Convention considers name change

Kate Shellnutt
September 20, 2011

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the second-largest church in America, announced today that come next year, they might not be the Southern Baptist Convention anymore.

President Bryant Wright said the “Southern” part of their name might need to go since it implies a regional focus, and he’s launched a task force to consider new options for the 166-year-old body, Baptist News reported.

Their findings will be shared with SBC leaders in February, and any change would have to be approved by delegates at its annual meetings.

Across the Baptist blogosphere, Southern Baptists seem to be thinking that Wright may be right, supporting his claim that without the regional modifier, Southern Baptists may have further reach across the continent.  the rest

The selling of school choice

Walmart family heirs and others are changing the face of education in Wisconsin
September 18, 2011
by Sarah Karon

Excerpt:
Across the nation, proponents of school choice are sensing opportunity. The National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan policy group, reports that so far this year bills to create voucher programs have been introduced in at least 30 states, and tax credits to those paying private school tuition or giving to private school scholarship funds have been proposed in at least 28 states.

A dozen states and the District of Columbia have school choice programs in place, according to the American Federation for Children, a national school choice advocacy group. (Click here for a state-by-state map.)

And Wisconsin, home of the nation’s first and largest school choice voucher program, in Milwaukee, is a key battleground.

“Wisconsin has a high level of value to the movement as a whole,” says Robert Enlow, president of the Indianapolis-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, a nonprofit group that advocates for school choice. The state, he says, is notable for “the high level of scholarship amounts that families can get.” And he’s pleased that Wisconsin is “catching up with the rest of the country” in expanding choice options to other communities, such as Racine. the rest

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Devotional: The open door...


The open door
does not necessarily mean the easy pathway.
...G. Campbell Morgan image by Steve Snodgrass

Watermelon skin carving

Reading Is Elemental

How to preserve the humanities
by Helen Vendler
September-October 2011

Excerpt:
I’d propose a different concatenation for the humanities: without reading, there can be no learning; without learning, there can be no sense of a larger world; without the sense of a larger world, there can be no ardor to find it; without ardor, where is joy?

Without reading, there can be no learning. The humanities are essentially a reading practice. It is no accident that we say we “read” music, or that we “read” visual import. The arts (music, art, literature, theater), because they offer themselves to be “read,” generate many of the humanities—musicology, art history, literary commentary, dramatic interpretation. Through language, spoken or written, we investigate, describe, and interpret the world. The arts are, in their own realm, silent with respect to language; amply showing forth their being, they are nonetheless not self-descriptive or self-interpreting. There can be no future for the humanities—and I include philosophy and history—if there are no human beings acquainted with reading in its emotionally deepest and intellectually most extensive forms. And learning depends on reading as a practice of immersion in thought and feeling. We know that our elementary-school students cannot read with ease and enjoyment, and the same defect unsurprisingly manifests itself at every level, even in college. Without a base in alert, intense, pleasurable reading, intellectual yearning flags...

...Here are 14 daily such periods of “reading,” each divisible into two 10-minute periods, or extended to a half-hour, as seems most practical to teachers in different grades. Many such periods can be spent outside, to break up the tedium of long sitting for young children. The pupils would:

1. engage in choral singing of traditional melodic song (folk songs, country songs, rounds);
2. be read to from poems and stories beyond their own current ability to read;
3. mount short plays—learning roles, rehearsing, and eventually performing;
4. march or dance to counting rhymes, poems, or music, “reading” rhythms and sentences with their bodies;
5. read aloud, chorally, to the teacher;
6. read aloud singly to the teacher, and recite memorized poems either chorally or singly;
7. notice, and describe aloud, the reproduced images of powerful works of art, with the accompanying story told by the teacher (Orpheus, the three kings at Bethlehem, etc.);
8. read silently, and retell in their own words, for discussion, the story they have read;
9. expand their vocabulary to specialized registers through walks where they would learn the names of trees, plants, flowers, and fruits;
10. visit museums of art and natural history to learn to name exotic or extinct things, or visit an orchestra to discover the names and sounds of orchestral instruments;
11. learn conjoined prefixes, suffixes, and roots as they learn new words;
12. tell stories of their own devising;
13. compose words to be sung to tunes they already know; and
14. if they are studying a foreign language, carry out these practices for it as well.
  the rest image

Attack of the Euthanasia Organ Harvesters

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Wesley J. Smith

In my first article against euthanasia/assisted suicide–published in Newsweek in 1993–that legalization would inevitably lead to organ harvesting “as a plum to society.” As I have reported here and elsewhere, the harvest is now being reaped in Belgium–and doctors there have even been rallying support for the policy with a Power Point presentation given at symposia and by publishing reports in medical journals.

The Belgians have ramped up their organ harvesting campaign from euthanasia cases in Applied Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology (15: 38-48, 2011) to discuss the harvesting of lungs. I reported on this before, but there is more to add.

Note that one of the four killed and harvested had a mental illness, described in the paper as self mutilation. The others had neuro or muscular diseases or disablities–such as multiple sclerosis–the group previously targeted by the euthanasia harvesters because of the good quality of their organs . the rest

So, let’s be clear: Mentally ill and disabled people are being euthanized and harvested in Belgium!

Planned Parenthood: 38.4% of Its Income Comes From Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
9/20/11

Although Planned Parenthood officials like to talk about how a small percentage of the “services” it provides women are abortion-related, an analysis from Live Action indicates 38.4 percent of its income is derived from abortions.

Live Action spokesman David Schmidt says Planned Parenthood is misleading the public when it talks about how important and influential its abortion business is to its overall bottom line.

“Planned Parenthood likes to talk about how only 3% of their services are abortion,” he writes at the Live Action blog. “A simple example of how they come to this calculation would be Planned Parenthood aborting 3 children and giving out 97 condoms. They would say that out of 100 services, 3 or 3% were abortion when in reality the significance and cost of the 3 abortions is much higher than 3% of their efforts.” the rest

Gay activists get LifeSiteNews translator cut off by PayPal

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Mon Sep 19, 2011

Click here to sign a petition to PayPal to protest against persecution of Pro-Family Christians

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Under pressure from homosexual activists, PayPal has decided to deny service to famed Brazilian pro-life and pro-family Christian activist Julio Severo.

In additon, at least two Christian organizations targeted by the same activists remain under investigation by PayPal and may also lose use of the service.

Severo, an Evangelical essayist who also translates for LifeSiteNews, maintains a highly influential blog in Portuguese that is read and commented on by politicians in Brazil’s federal government. He is also the author of several books, including a work on the homosexual movement in Brazil. (See his blog in Portuguese here and his blog in English here.)

Severo’s use of PayPal has been targeted in recent weeks by the homosexual group “All Out,” which has created an online petition to urge PayPal to dump Severo and nine other PayPal users as purveyors of “hate” and “extremism.” Severo’s site expresses love of homosexuals and a concern that homosexual behavior is destructive to those who participate in it. the rest

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Germany reaps rewards of entitlement cuts

By Michael Birnbaum
September 19, 2011

BERLIN — The financial crisis has turned Europe topsy-turvy, with governments freezing pensions, unions voting away privileges and a thick web of safety nets disappearing one strand at a time.

But as the role of the state is being reexamined, one country stands apart: Germany, where reforms a decade ago made the country less generous than some of its peers but also helped ease the blow when the rest of the world stopped snapping up BMWs and Bosch washing machines.

Now, as its neighbors are being forced to retrench, and the future of the euro appears imperiled, Germany’s social services are running surpluses, helped by taxes that are among the highest in Europe and difficult sacrifices its citizens have made to jump-start their economy.

Many Germans are peering across their borders and wondering why others can’t do the same, putting intense political pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel not to appear too generous with bailouts. Other countries point out that Germany’s wealth depends at least in part on outsiders spending for German exports. the rest

U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years

September 19, 2011

In just three weeks, online gamers deciphered the structure of a retrovirus protein that has stumped scientists for over a decade, and a study out Sunday says their breakthrough opens doors for a new AIDS drug design.

The protein, called a protease, plays a critical role in how some viruses, including HIV, multiply. Intensive research has been underway to find AIDS drugs that can deactivate proteases, but scientists were hampered by their inability to crack the enzyme's structure.

Looking for a solution, researchers at the University of Washington turned to Foldit, a program created by the university a few years ago that transforms problems of science into competitive computer games, and challenged players to use their three-dimensional problem-solving skills to build accurate models of the protein.

With days, the gamers generated models good enough for the researchers to refine into an accurate portrayal of the enzyme's structure. What's more, the scientists identified parts of the molecule that are likely targets for drugs to block the enzyme.  the rest image

Adult Stem Cell Researchers Ask Federal Court to Reverse Ruling...

...That Existing Federal Law Does Not Ban Federal Funding of Illegal, Unnecessary, and Unethical 'Research' in Which Human Embryos are 'Knowingly Subjected to Risk of Injury or Death'
WASHINGTON
  Sept. 19, 2011

Christian Newswire-- Today, on behalf of the adult stem researchers it represents, the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project and their co-counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, filed their Notice of Appeal asking the United States Court of Appeals to reinstate their case dismissed by United States District Court for the District of Columbia in its July 27 decision based upon the district court's interpretation of the Court of Appeal's April 29 ruling vacating the district court's August 23, 2010 preliminary injunction of the National Institute of Health's regulations that Obama administration promulgated to permit the federal funding of "research in which" human embryos are "knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death." While again affirming the standing of adult stem cell researchers to challenge these regulations, the federal district court dismissed the case saying that it had no choice under the "mandate rule" but to follow the Court of Appeal's April 29 ruling that Congress' ban on human embryonic research was written in a sufficiently "ambiguous" fashion to ban the use of federal funds that risked the "injury or death" of human embryos, but not the use of federal funds to do research on the embryonic stem cells that were derived from such injury or destruction. In the words of U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth explaining his July 27 decision: "While it may be true that by following the Court of Appeals' conclusion as to the ambiguity of 'research', the Court has become a grudging partner in a bout of 'linguistic jujitsu', Sherley, 2011 WL 1599685, at 22 (Henderson, J. dissenting), such is life for an antepenultimate court."  the rest

Most U.S. Planned Parenthoods located in minority communities

by Kathleen Gilbert
Mon Sep 19, 2011

 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A survey of all U.S. ZIP codes where Planned Parenthood clinics are located in the United States has found that most are located in areas with a minority population significantly higher than the state average.

Authored by Life Dynamics president Mark Crutcher with the help of researcher Carole Novielli and production assistant Renee Hobbs, the report, “Racial Targeting and Population Control,” aims to bolster the group’s claims made in its 2009 documentary Maafa 21. The film outlined how the family planning movement is rooted in 20th-century eugenicism that aimed at reducing minority populations, a goal Planned Parenthood’s business strategy reflects to the present day.

In the abstract, Crutcher writes that the film’s findings had been battled back by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), a research institution financially affiliated with Planned Parenthood, which claimed that only one in 10 Planned Parenthood clinics was located in a minority area...
...Using data from Planned Parenthood’s website and the 2000 U.S. Census, Crutcher’s team broke down by zip code each Planned Parenthood clinic as well as each non-Planned Parenthood abortion clinic affiliated with the National Abortion Federation or the National Coalition of Abortion Providers.

The data shows a large proportion of both clinic types located in disproportionately minority neighborhoods, including 51% of all Planned Parenthood clinics located in areas at or above 125% of the state minority average. the rest

Monday, September 19, 2011

A.S. Haley: New Signs of Trouble for the Dennis Canon

Sunday, September 18, 2011

As readers of this blog are aware, your Curmudgeon is no fan of the Dennis Canon, which I like to call the Episcopal Church (USA)'s Trojan Horse. It has spawned a disproportionate amount of Church property litigation, because it operates by stealth, and springs onto the back of a parish just at the time when it is most vulnerable, having decided to take the final step to disaffiliate from ECUSA. All of a sudden, the Bishop of the Diocese swoops down with his attorneys, and orders the congregation to vacate its building, and leave everything behind, from the altar candlesticks to the bank accounts and pew cushions. "Because you no longer are operating within the Episcopal Church," he says, "Canon I.7.4 [the Dennis Canon] declares that all of your property is now forfeit to the Diocese, since it was always held in trust for this Diocese and the Church."

Such a claimed operation for the Canon comes as a surprise to many congregations who thought that their years of paying for the acquisition, construction and maintenance of their building, plus a deed in their name, meant that they owned it. Furthermore, every State in the United States has a law which says that trusts in real property can be created only by a writing signed by the owner of the property. The Dennis Canon operates in reverse: it purports to create a trust in church property without the owner's signature, and just on the authority of ECUSA's General Convention. As I noted elsewhere, it purports to operate as though, upon you and your spouse's joining the Democratic Party, your house and all your worldly goods become forfeit to the Party should you ever decide to become a Republican.

States such as California and New York are lost causes, however. Although they have the same statute regarding how trusts are created as does every other State, they also have statutes which create special exceptions to that rule for national churches like ECUSA. The exception allows such national churches to create trusts in parish properties unilaterally, without the individual parishes' consent, by providing for such trusts in their governing documents. The highest courts in California and New York have accordingly upheld the validity of Dennis Canon trusts against individual parishes who decided to leave the Episcopal Church (USA).  the rest

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

By PAUL TOUGH
September 14, 2011

Excerpt:
As Levin watched the progress of those KIPP alumni, he noticed something curious: the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class. Those skills weren’t enough on their own to earn students a B.A., Levin knew. But for young people without the benefit of a lot of family resources, without the kind of safety net that their wealthier peers enjoyed, they seemed an indispensable part of making it to graduation day. the rest image
“The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure,” Randolph explained. “And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.”

How a Virus Changes the World


Contagion :: How a Virus Changes the World from TakePart on Vimeo.

UN’s High Fertility Projections Still Show Rapid Global Aging


by Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.
Sep 17, 2011

Even with its highly optimistic fertility projections, the new UN population forecast predicts a grayer world than the one imagined by its 2009 report which used much lower fertility estimates.

Perhaps most significant is the steep rise in society’s proportion of the old (65 years or older) and very old (80 years and older). By 2050, these groups will be 2 percent more of the population in Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US than previously estimated.

Whereas just 7.6 percent of Chinese were old in 2005, more than a quarter of the population will be over 65 in 2050, up from a projected 20 percent in the UN’s 2009 medium variant calculation in its bi-annual population figures. In Russia and the UK, the expected percentage of elderly in 2050 has jumped from 20 to 23 percent since the last report, up from 14 percent in Russia and 16 percent in the UK in 2005. Britain’s proportion of very old is now projected to have doubled from 2005 to 2050 and reach 9 percent, up from a projected 7.7 percent in the 2009 report. the rest image by Francisco Osorio

Active Camouflage for Vehicles Gets Real


September 19, 2011
By David Crane

And, speaking of BAE Systems, they're currently developing a thermal/IR (infrared) adaptive camouflage/"invisibility cloak" technology/sytem called ADAPTIV. Catchy. Adaptiv is comprised of sheets of hexagonal "pixels"/panels that "can change temperature very rapidly". ADAPTIV (as in "adaptive camouflage") would appear to work in a similar fashion as ELTICS Black Fox active/adaptive thermal/IR camo tech, which DefenseReview (DR) reported on back in April (2011).

Like Black Fox, the Adaptiv thermal/IR adaptive camo system uses on-board cameras to capture the background and surrounding scenery and display the corresponding thermal/IR image on on the vehicle's Adaptiv pixelated/paneled skin. The Adaptiv hexagonal pixel/panel matrix can also mimic another vehicle's thermal/IR signature for the purpose of misdirection and subterfuge, as well as display identification tags to reduce the chance of fratricide (friendly fire casualties). the rest

Albert Mohler: Thrown Over the Fence — Infanticide, Canadian Style

If we will not defend life in the womb, eventually the dignity of every single human life is thrown over the fence.
Friday, September 16, 2011

Mark Steyn hit the nail on the head when he accused a Canadian appeals court of allowing for a “fourth-trimester abortion” — that’s right, the killing of a baby that is already born.

The case emerged from the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta, where a judge faced the fact that a woman had been convicted of strangling her newborn son and then throwing the baby’s body over the fence into her neighbor’s yard.

As CBC News reported, the woman was given a three-year suspended sentence and will spend no time in jail for the killing of her baby. Katrina Efferts “will have to abide by conditions for the next three years but she won’t spend time behind bars for strangling her own son." the rest
Now, this judge has simply extended the logic of abortion, and catastrophically so. If the “onerous demands” of parenthood justify killing one’s own child, there is no logical reason to confine permissive infanticide to newborns, or even to younger children.


We have seen this coming. As far back as 1993, ethicist Peter Singer was arguing openly that babies “are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons.” He went on to argue that “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.” Singer, to our shame, now holds an honored chair in ethics at Princeton University.

Church of England is struggling to counter the image of atheism as "the new cool thing".

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones,
Religious Affairs Correspondent
19 Sep 2011

Dr Rowan Williams argued it has become difficult for the Church to convey its message because of the popularity of non-believers such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

He said attempts to reverse the decline in worshippers had begun but that there will be "no quick fix".

His remarks came despite new research, released by the Roman Catholic Church, suggesting that the Pope's visit to Britain a year ago has brought a lasting rise in the level of spiritual and religious feeling in the country.

Speaking at Canterbury Cathedral in a public conversation with Frank Skinner, the comedian, Dr Williams argued that the growing popularity of atheism had not necessarily led to a fall in the number of people who believe in God.

"I'd want to know how many atheists [Richard Dawkins' book] The God Delusion created," he said. the rest

Study Shows Social Media Sites Censor Christian Views

by Dave Bohon
Sunday, 18 September 2011

The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), the official organization representing the interests of Christian broadcasters and ministries, has released a report showing that social media websites are actively censoring Christian viewpoints. According to an NRB press release, the group’s study examined “the practices of Apple and its iTunes App Store, Google, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, as well as Internet service providers AT&T, Comcast and Verizon,” The findings, said the NRB’s senior vice president and general counsel, Craig Parshall, were “ominous.”

Commenting on the report, the NRB’s president and CEO, Dr. Frank Wright, noted that nearly 70 years ago “NRB was founded in the fires of adversity when government regulations, combined with policy decisions by major networks, made it virtually impossible for evangelical ministers to buy radio airtime.” In today’s world, he said, “millions of individuals use radio, television, and the Internet to listen to the broadcasts, live web streaming, and podcasts of NRB member organizations.” If the viewpoints and content of Christian groups continue to be targeted for censorship by new media companies, warned Wright, the message of the Christian faith “could become one more casualty of institutionalized religious discrimination.” the rest
The NRB found that among the major players in new media, only Twitter had shown fairness toward Christian opinions. “There’s actually a pattern of anti-Christian censorship that’s already occurred among several of them,” said Parshall. “And, then, when we looked farther, looked at their written policies, we found that [anti-Christian policy with] everyone of them, except for Twitter.” He added that Twitter received an “A+” from the religious broadcast group. “The rest of them get failing grades.”

Internet gatekeepers censoring Christian content?


Google Do-Gooder Discount Leaves Churches to Beg: Stephen Carter

Anglican Unscripted for September 17th, 2011



Is the Archbishop of Canterbury preparing to move onto something else... perhaps move back into academia? In Episode 10, Kevin and Peter Ould discuss the rumors and facts surrounding this significant story from Lambeth. Today in history is another "where were you moments" in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Unscripted Hosts Kevin and George discuss September 16th, 1976 with the vote to permit women clergy and bishops in the Episcopal Church. They also hold Pat Robertson accountable on his marriage and Alzheimer's proclamation. Allan Haley brings new revelations from his Investigative reporting on the Episcopal Church borrowing against money it already has... Yeah -- you are going to have to watch to understand. Please email your questions and comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com and visit us at http://Anglican.tv .

Jason and Jen's Wedding

Blogging has been on hold this past weekend as our family celebrated the wedding of my nephew Jason and his lovely bride Jennifer! -PD
Jason and Jen's Wedding

Greeting wedding guests

Jason's Ukrainian grandmother brought this beautiful, traditional Wedding Cake in honor of the day.

Found this online:
The Korovai is elaborately decorated multi-tier bread, which is not consumed, but rather a decoration and a gift from the parents to the newlyweds. This bread symbolizes community and the circle of life. One of the most prominent embellishments on the Korovai are very intricately formed dough doves and other birds, which symbolize the married couple, their family and friends, and fertility. Wishing the bride and groom future family growth, and healthy children...