Friday, November 04, 2011

Outpost: Russian documentary film


Форпост from Yordan Vasilev on Vimeo.
November 04, 2011
Touchstone

Called the Outpost, this film, which is not in English, is free at YouTube, and even without knowing the language I found the images of community and compassion startlingly countercultural. What do the secular materialists have to say about these people who say they know a higher reality? (HT: Stuart K) I think anyone who spent a week here would be changed.

This is a Russian documentary film which has won major awards at several international film festivals.

In the name of the movie — Outpost — is its main idea: a monastery serving orphans and disabled children on the frontier between two countries, a symbol of a modern fortress of mercy and love.

Holy Ascension Monastery is located in Ukraine, a few kilometers from the border with Romania. It is perched on a hill as a strong fortress outpost. Founded in 1994 by Abbot Fr. Michael Zhar and four monks, the monastery serves 140 orphans.

The film’s protagonist is Fr. Michael, who has adopted several of the children, and who has been awarded the title “Hero of Ukraine.”  Found here

Murmuration: Nature's greatest and most fleeting phenomena.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.


Story: Chance Encounter Captures Stunning Phenomenon Of Starlings

Planned Parenthood Accused of Massive Medicaid Fraud in Texas

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com
11/3/11

The Planned Parenthood abortion business in yet another state is facing accusations of massive Medicaid fraud related to billing for abortions and birth control — at a time when Congress is launching an investigation.

According to pro-life blogger Jill Stanek, a former employee of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast has filed a whistleblower’s complaint with the Attorney General of Texas and the U.S. Department of Justice. The PPGC employee alleges that the abortion business engaged in an elaborate Medicaid fraud scheme. the rest

Contraceptive mandate designed to impact Catholics, CEO tells Congress

By Kevin J. Jones
Nov 4, 2011

The federal government’s new contraceptive and sterilization insurance coverage mandate includes a religious exemption whose language was designed specifically to counter Catholic institutions’ conscience protections, one Catholic health care leader told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee Nov. 2.

The exemption’s “highly flawed” definition originated in a California debate about a state-level contraception mandate, William J. Cox, president and CEO of the California-based Alliance of Catholic Health Care, told a Nov. 2 hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

The definition was “painstakingly crafted by the American Civil Liberties Union to specifically exclude religious institutional missions like health care providers, universities and social service agencies,” Cox stated.

During the debate, the then-head of Planned Parenthood in California said the wording was designed to close the “Catholic gap” in contraceptive coverage.  the rest

The Churches of Cain and Obama

Theological differences between the two yield different understandings of the path to economic advancement.
November 4, 2011

By HARRY JACKSON When Herman Cain began singing "Amazing Grace" at the National Press Club on Monday, some believed he was trying to distract attention from the sexual harassment charges that had surfaced against him. But, as he explained, "My faith is a big part of who Herman Cain is." In fact, though he's decided to campaign on his background in business, Mr. Cain is an ordained minister and deeply religious man.

Like President Obama, Mr. Cain belongs to a mostly black congregation with a black pastor. But that is where the similarities end. Stark differences between the political philosophies of these two men may be rooted in their profoundly different theological heritages. The churches both men are (or in the case of Mr. Obama, were) longtime members of are known for liberal activism, but with notable differences in their views of scripture.

Mr. Cain's church, Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, Ga., is theologically conservative, affirming the inerrancy of scripture and historic Christian creeds as literally true. It was founded in 1877 as eight freed slaves banded together in prayer. During its 134 years, it has hosted many civil-rights activists, and today it has 14,000 members.

The Chicago church where President Obama belonged for 20 years, Trinity United Church of Christ, is theologically liberal, eschewing scriptural inerrancy and taking apostolic creeds as "testimonies" of faith, rather than literally, unchangeably true. The scriptures are seen more as "living documents" than permanent anchors and pillars of faith. the rest

#OccupyWallStreet: The Rap Sheet, So Far

by John Nolte
11/3/2011

One of the secret weapons the corrupt mainstream media uses in their never-ending quest to Palace Guard for the left is context. For example, when it came to the Tea Party, the MSM was notorious for amplifying a single incident (that was usually a lie) and using it to attempt to smear and define an entire movement. This is what you do when you want to quickly take out a political enemy.

The MSM’s contextual game changes, however, when their desire is to strengthen a movement and give it credibility and room to grow. By dutifully reporting individual incidents but not reporting on the growing scope and size of Occupy Wall Street lawlessness, the MSM is willfully covering up the violence, vandalism, and anti-Semitism that truly does define this movement...

...What I’ve collected below is far from comprehensive but still shows over 75 incidents of sexual assault, violence, vandalism, anti-Semitism, extortion, perversion, and lawlessness. the rest

Occupiers Attack Police with High-Tech Intimidation

The Lawless Heart of OWS

NRO: Is the Tide Turning for OWS?

Episcopal bishop withholds approval to form new diocese

Nov. 3, 2011

APPLETON — After consultation with diocesan leadership, the Rt. Rev. Russell E. Jacobus, bishop of Fond du Lac, has announced he will withhold his approval to form a new diocese.

Separate conventions of the Dioceses of Fond du Lac and Eau Claire, meeting in October, had mutually agreed to form a new diocese pending consent of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

Church law also requires approval by the bishop of each diocese.

The vote to junction in the Diocese of Fond du Lac is now in question.
the rest

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Anglican Perspective: The Battle for Anglicanism


November 2, 2011

Biblical revisionism is threatening to engulf the Anglican Communion. The American Anglican Council is working to keep this third largest branch of Christianity faithful to the Gospel. This week, Canon Ashey talks about some of his recent work with the leaders of the Global Anglican Future Conference and what he calls the "battle for the soul of the Anglican Communion." Key scripture. 2 Timothy 4

Anglican Unscripted Episode 16: 11/03/2011

Personhood For Embryos and Fetuses Vote Pending in Mississippi


Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Wesley J. Smith

Next week, Mississippi voters will decide whether to convey legal personhood on human beings from inception of the embryo after the completion of fertilization. From the NPR story:
Next week Mississippi voters will decide whether to pass a constitutional amendment that redefines a person. Under the proposal, fertilized human eggs would be considered human beings, which would ban all abortions in the state. But abortion-rights activists say it would also limit contraception and threaten fertility treatments.
Well, embryos and fetuses are unquestionably human beings biologically. The real question is whether unborn lives are to be considered part of the moral community, which is the meaning of “human being” as used in the story. And I am not sure this measure would “redefine” personhood, so much as define it. the rest

Occupy protesters attempt to occupy Vancouver cathedral as attacks on Christianity mount

by Thaddeus Baklinski
Wed Nov 02, 2011

(LifeSiteNews.com) - On Sunday morning a break-away faction of the Occupy Vancouver movement tried to occupy the city’s Holy Rosary Cathedral during morning Mass.

Several dozen protesters, calling themselves ‘Occupy the Vatican’, were halted when Archbishop Michael Miller requested a police presence, and were stopped again later in the day by police and members of the Knights of Columbus.

The incident highlights a trend by some in the anti-corporate protest movement to use it as a launching pad for attacks on Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular. the rest

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

National Cathedral announces first event since earthquake

By Michelle Boorstein
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday announced its first event since an earthquake rocked the prominent Episcopal church in late August, sending spires toppling hundreds of feet to the ground.

The city landmark has been closed to the public but will host a private service Sunday Nov. 12 to install a new bishop of the Washington Episcopal Diocese. The Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the first woman elected to oversee the diocese, replaces John Bryson Chane.

That day’s events are private but the cathedral will be open to the public the next day, when Budde preaches her first sermon as bishop. That will be the first Sunday service there since the quake; the cathedral has been holding services at a local synagogue in the meantime.  the rest

College College Bobollege

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Joseph Knippenberg

That was the name game. Now we’re playing (and have been for quite some time) the blame game. The Occupiers, with some encouragement from Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House, have been blaming the financial industry for their woes.

There’s more than enough blame to go around. Consider, for example, Congress’ role in pumping air into the subprime bubble, whose bursting was one of the principal causes of our economic downturn.
But today, I want to talk about higher education, where the long and steep upward climb of tuition offers at least prima facie evidence of yet another bubble. We’ve been willing to pay more and more for our “higher” education because it was supposed to be the guarantee of a good job upon graduation (hence a good investment of time and money) and because the government’s willingness to subsidize it (thorough grants and guaranteed loans) would help insulate us from the real costs. the rest
With all this money and indebtedness floating around, it is difficult to talk about the real purposes of higher education. On the one hand are those who speak of the marketplace, which makes students consumers. This is a fundamental distortion of the teacher-student relationship and requires the illusion that students know what it is they need. At best, you get more or less sophisticated vocational education out of this. At worst, you get edutainment. On the other hand are those who would respond to these abuses by regulation, so that we educators give students what those who purport to speak for the taxpayers think they need. Again, the best possible result is more or less sophisticated vocational education. The worst is some sort of standardization and indoctrination.

A living bridge



Beautiful!

A.S. Haley: The Bede Parry Case in a Nutshell

Monday, October 31, 2011

Since there is such a raft of material on the Web about the Bede Parry case (for an introduction and links, see my earlier posts here and here), I thought I would boil the concerns down into an easily readable form. At the end of this post is a link to my straight-line chronology of the affair, which puts all of the various sources together into a single timeline. (Make sure you download the latest version, updated and corrected with more information as of 10:28 a.m. on 1 November 2011.) By perusing that chronology, a reader should be able to see that the following account sums up the matter in a nutshell (the account assumes you are familiar with the facts in the chronology):  the rest

Another study showing a strong link between abortion and mental health problems

Tuesday, 1 November 2011
by Peter Saunders

Excerpt:

• The results revealed statistically significant associations between abortion history and a wide range of mental health problems after controlling for the experience of interpersonal violence and demographic variables.

• When compared to women without a history of abortion, those who had an abortion had a 61% increased risk for Mood Disorders. Social Phobia was linked with a 61% increased risk and suicide ideation with a 59% increased risk.

• In the area of substance abuse, the increased risk for alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, drug abuse, drug dependence, and any substance use disorder were equal to 261%, 142%, 313%, 287%, and 280% respectively.

• Between 5.8% and 24.7% of the national prevalence of all the above disorders was determined to be related to abortion.

The forces of mainstream psychology are bent on proving that abortion is a benign psychological experience for most women. The American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force report of 2008 is a classic example of this agenda (See AAPLOG critique)

This Canadian report represents the latest in a series of articles from across the globe (US, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, and South Africa) published in recent years directly contradicting the findings of the APA Task Force report.

Large scale, well-controlled studies using sophisticated data analysis methodologies consistently confirm a relationship between abortion and psychological distress that the national professional organization has dismissed. the rest

The 99%: Official list of Occupy Wall Street’s supporters, sponsors and sympathizers

More here

Communist Party USA

      Sources:
Communist Party USA, OWS speech, The Daily Caller

American Nazi Party

      Sources:
Media Matters, American Nazi Party, White Honor,
 Sunshine State News

Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran

      Sources:
The Guardian, Tehran Times, CBS News

Barack Obama

      Sources:
ABC News, CBS News, ForexTV, NBC New York

The government of North Korea

      Sources:
Korean Central News Agency (North Korean state-controlled news)

NYC arrest records: Many Occupy Wall Street protesters live in luxury
...Among addresses for which information is available, single-family homes listed on those police intake forms have a median value of $305,000 — a far higher number than the $185,400 median value of owner-occupied housing units in the United States...

Government Has Proper Role in Ensuring Manufacture of Needed Drugs

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Wesley J. Smith

President Obama has signed an executive order intended to promote sufficient supplies of neccessary, but unprofitable, medications–such as some chemotherapy drugs. That’s good. But from what I could read, the order does not get to the bottom-line cause of the problem.

From the ABC story:
Limited manufacturing, lagging production time, and lack of profits from these drugs contribute to the shortages. The production costs for some drugs can outweigh the money that companies can make from them, since many drugs now have cheaper generic alternatives. So manufacturers stop making the drugs…But while the FDA can oversee imports of drugs that are in short supply, it cannot regulate how much a company can make. In fact, manufacturers are not required to report shortages to the FDA. The amount of a drug made available within a hospital is set by an agreement between the hospital and the manufacturer.
the rest

Chaput: Ministry work could lose Catholic identity

Mary Garrigan
Saturday, October 29, 2011

Archbishop Charles Chaput painted a stark picture for the future of Catholic social ministry work in America while accepting an award from Catholic Social Services in Rapid City on Tuesday...

...Speaking to about 600 people at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Chaput delivered the same theologically conservative message that he has given numerous times before to Catholic social service agencies, hospitals and universities on the dangers of losing their Catholic identity through accommodation of government-imposed requirements on issues such as civil unions, health insurance coverage requirements and contraception.

Warning that the Obama administration is "unfriendly" to religion, he predicted that "we'll see more attempts by the state to interfere with the church's ministry." the rest

Four Legacies of Feminism

Dennis Prager
Nov 01, 2011

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan's feminist magnum opus, "The Feminine Mystique," we can have a perspective on feminism that was largely unavailable heretofore.

And that perspective doesn't make feminism look good. Yes, women have more opportunities to achieve career success; they are now members of most Jewish and Christian clergy; women's college sports teams are given huge amounts of money; and there are far more women in political positions of power. But the prices paid for these changes -- four in particular -- have been great, and they outweigh the gains for women, let alone for men and for society. the rest
In sum, thanks to feminism, very many women slept with too many men for their own happiness; posponed marriage too long to find the right man to marry; are having hired hands do much of the raising of their children; and now find they are dating boy-men because manly men are so rare.
Feminism exemplifies the truth of the saying, "Be careful what you wish for -- you may get it."

For abortion foes, an ultrasound is worth 1,000 words

By Cal Thomas
November 1, 2011

U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles last Tuesday granted a request for a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks a provision in North Carolina's new abortion-restriction law that would require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound image of their womb within four hours of the procedure.

In her decision to suspend this one requirement, while upholding other provisions in the law pending resolution of the lawsuit by several plaintiffs, Judge Eagles said the ultrasound requirement likely violates patients' First Amendment rights. Come again?

Various "rights groups" argued that requiring women to see what they are about to abort amounts to using women's bodies as "virtual billboards" to promote an ideology mandated by government. the rest
With studies and stats showing large numbers of women choosing to give birth after viewing an ultrasound of their baby and learning about the consequences of abortion -- along with positive alternatives -- refusing to empower women in this manner makes "pro-choicers" censors and an enemy of women, as well as the enemy of another generation of babies who are not being born. This has consequences for society and corrodes culture. It also darkens our souls and harms the common good.

Planned Parenthood completely defunded in Tennessee

by John Jalsevac
Tue Nov 01, 2011

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life advocates in Tennessee can breathe a sigh of relief, now that their years-long battle to defund Planned Parenthood in the state has reached its conclusion.

Late last month, Shelby County, the final county in the state where Planned Parenthood was still receiving taxpayer dollars, announced that it was awarding a nearly $400,000 contract to Christ Community Health Services (CCHS), instead of Planned Parenthood. This is reportedly the first time in 35 years where Planned Parenthood has not received the contract in the county. the rest

Algeria Detains Christians For ‘Illegal’ Worship

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
ALGIERS, ALGERIA

(BosNewsLife)-- Five Algerian Christians remained jailed in north-eastern Algeria Tuesday, November 1, after they were reportedly detained this weekend for "worshiping in an unregistered location."

Another Christian, a minor, was released and placed on probation following Saturday's raid in a village near the town of Bougous in north-eastern El Tarf province bordering Tunisia, news reports said.

International Christian Concern (ICC), an advocacy group investigating the case, told BosNewsLife that the five Christians still being held are charged with "proselytizing", a word used for evangelism,"unauthorized worship", and "insulting Islam." the rest

Egypt's Massacre of Christians: What the Media Does Not Want You To Know
Western media coverage of the recent massacre of Coptic Christians in Cairo, Egypt—in which the military killed dozens of Christians and injured some 300—was, as discussed earlier, deplorable. It merely repeated the false propaganda of the complicit state-run media, without checking facts. Since then, further proofs of the lies and brutality surrounding the massacre have emerged; they are compiled in the following report which consists of documented facts and videos from Arabic sources—many of which have not appeared in the Western media...

UK: Gay couples allowed to host civil ceremonies in church

2 November 2011

Same-sex couples are to be allowed to hold civil partnership ceremonies in churches and other places of worship in England and Wales.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said no religious group would be forced to host them, but those who wished to could apply by the end of the year. the rest
A Church of England spokesman said it had no intention of allowing civil partnerships to be registered in its churches.

Archdiocese of Baltimore welcomes new order of nuns

All Saints' Sisters of the Poor left the Episcopal Church two years ago
By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun
November 1, 2011


The Archdiocese of Baltimore added a new religious order of nuns Tuesday, its first in decades and one that began as an Anglican community.

The All Saints' Sisters of the Poor left the Episcopal Church for the Roman Catholic Church two years ago. By a decree from the Vatican, they are now an official diocesan priory, or order, the same designation carried by the School Sisters of Notre Dame or the Daughters of Charity.

"We feel we have broken ground," said Mother Christina Christie, leader of the community and a nun since 1966.

Yesterday, All Saints' Day, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, all 10 members of the Catonsville convent individually professed perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience "for the rest of my life in this world." Then each signed her profession at the altar before nearly two dozen priests and bishops.  the rest

New social network is built for people sick of Facebook 'spying'

2nd November 2011

Social network Unthink aims to be a fresh take on social networks, freeing users from the 'spying' of sites such as Facebook - and it's certainly the angriest such launch in some time.

The site has already signed up 100,000 users in its first weeks - billing itself as an alternative for people sick of Facebook's 'spying', unnecessary redesigns and greed.

'All you greedy giants fighting over my turf - the gig is up. I am not going to live under your tyranny,' says the promotional video for the site. 
the rest

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Canon Phil Ashey reports from London

October 29, 2011

In his weekly report, Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council writes from London –

“Dear Friends in Christ,

I have been working this week from London in meetings of the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), which has just opened an office here under the able leadership of Bishop Martyn Minns. Next year, there will be a conference of about 200 leaders from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans held in London in the spring.

The theme of the gathering will be “Jesus Christ: Unique and Supreme,” based on Colossians 1:15-20 –

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation…And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Colossians 1:15, 18

The structures of the Anglican Communion have continued to deteriorate since the 2008 Lambeth Conference. That same year, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) took place in Jerusalem, which gave birth to the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, a global movement committed to the renewal and reformation of the Anglican Communion around a common confession (The Jerusalem Declaration). GAFCON was not just a moment; it is a movement. The purpose of the 2012 leadership conference will be to gather existing and emerging FCA leaders – laity, clergy, theologians, youth, bishops, women and men – to promote the ongoing renewal and reformation of the Anglican Communion. These leaders will truly represent this global movement of Anglicans all over the world. We hope and pray this will set the stage for a larger “GAFCON II” meeting to be held in 2013.

The American Anglican Council will be helping the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans develop this conference. We are committed to supporting this global movement of biblical Anglicans and to the renewal and reformation of the Anglican Communion around a common confession. Be sure to monitor our website and emails for more news on these exciting events.  the rest

Toyota Shows Machines to Help Sick, Elderly Move

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
By YURI KAGEYAMA
AP Business Writer
November 1, 2011

Toyota unveiled its ambitions for high-tech health care Tuesday, displaying experimental robots that the auto giant says can lift disabled patients from their hospital beds or help them walk.

The company aims to commercialize products such as its "independent walk assist" device sometime after 2013 — seeking to position itself in an industry with great potential in Japan, one of the world's most rapidly aging nations. the rest

The Virtual Nurse Will See You Now

In the hectic world of a hospital, a computer-simulated nurse can be surprisingly comforting.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
By Emily Singer

Researchers at Northeastern University have developed a virtual nurse and exercise coach that are surprisingly likable and effective—even if they're not quite as affable as the medical hologram on Star Trek. In fact, patients who interacted with a virtual nurse named Elizabeth said they preferred the computer simulation to an actual doctor or nurse because they didn't feel rushed or talked down to.

A recent clinical trial of the technology found that Elizabeth also appears to have a beneficial effect on care. A month after discharge, people who interacted with the virtual nurse were more likely to know their diagnosis and to make a follow-up appointment with their primary-care doctor. The results of the study are currently under review for publication.

"We try to present something that is not just an information exchange but is a social exchange," says Timothy Bickmore, associate professor in Northeastern's College of Computer and Information Science. Bickmore led the research. "It expresses empathy if the patient is having problems, and patients seem to resonate with that."  the rest

The End of College Admissions As We Know It

Everything you’ve heard about getting in is about to go out the window.
By Kevin Carey
posted November 1, 2011

Excerpt:
As a result, the odds appear to be against Jameel, who attends a 1,600-student public high school where the large majority of children qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program and the staff of three guidance counselors was cut to two last year. Determination can take you only so far if there’s no one to help you find your way.

But Jameel’s local school system has made one recent move that might work significantly in his favor. A few days after returning from the college fair, Jameel logged on to a new Web site that is the result of a contract between the Miami-Dade County school system and a Boston-based company called ConnectEDU. The site offered Jameel loads of information about different colleges and universities, along with strategies for filling out college applications and getting scholarships and financial aid. It was also a vessel for information about Jameel himself—his grades, courses, and activities, along with short animated quizzes designed to identify his strengths and goals. There were checklists and schedules and friendly reminders, all tailored to the personal aspirations the site had gleaned from Jameel, all focused on identifying the colleges that might meet them.

This is the future of college admissions. The market for matching colleges and students is about to undergo a wholesale transformation to electronic form. When the time comes for Jameel to apply to colleges, ConnectEDU will take all of the information it has gathered and use sophisticated algorithms to find the best colleges likely to accept him—to find a match for Jameel in the same way that Amazon uses millions of sales records to advise customers about what books they might like to buy and Match.com helps the lovelorn find a compatible date. At the same time, on the other side of the looking glass, college admissions officers will be peering into ConnectEDU’s trove of data to search for the right mix of students.

This won’t just help the brightest, most driven kids. Bad matching is a problem throughout higher education, from top to bottom. Among all students who enroll in college, most will either transfer or drop out. For African American students and those whose parents never went to college, the transfer/dropout rate is closer to two-thirds. Most students don’t live in the resource-rich, intensely college-focused environment that upper-middle-class students take for granted. So they often default to whatever college is cheapest and closest to home. Tools like ConnectEDU will give them a way to find something better. the rest

Newark flight makes emergency landing in Poland



Story

NY Sen. Gillibrand bill encourages LGBT adoption

Calls on agencies not to discriminate
By Cheryl Wetzstein
Monday, October 31, 2011

For the first time in Senate history, a bill has been introduced to encourage agencies not to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples seeking to adopt.

“As more and more LGBT couples are getting married and starting families, we have a great opportunity to place children without a family into happy homes,” said Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, New York Democrat and lead sponsor of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, Monday at the Huffington Post. the rest
Part of the reason child-welfare and health associations support gay adoption is because advocates say research indicates that children raised in gay homes do as well as, or even better than, children raised by heterosexual couples.

However, a new in-depth review of 59 studies on gay parenting has concluded that such “strong assertions” about gay parenting are “not empirically warranted.”

Tenure Bedevils the University

The tenure system sustains many of the problems in contemporary higher ed.
by Matthew J. Franck
November 1, 2011

What ails the modern university? Well, where should one start to catalogue its ills? Too many colleges and universities fail to provide their students with a liberal education in any meaningful sense—that is, an education that enables them to liberate themselves from error and baseness. Too many faculty, particularly in the “softer” disciplines, pursue “research agendas” of dubious worth, and build high the silos they inhabit so that they have nothing much of interest to say to many of their colleagues, let alone to their students.

Yet alongside this extreme heterogeneity due to faculty specialization, an almost equally extreme homogeneity prevails among the faculty politically. The social sciences and humanities display more ideological conformity than one is apt to find in almost any other workforce in the economy. This ideological unity produces a range of narrow, specialized courses, too many of which ring the familiar changes of “progressive” grievances regarding race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Throw in a commitment to “diversity” that is only skin-deep, and it is increasingly hard to take university faculty—as a group—very seriously as disinterested pursuers of truth.

Turn the university to another angle, and one sees another set of problems: administrative bloat, increasing use of poorly paid adjunct faculty, and empty “mission statements” about “excellence” while instructional quality suffers. Turn it a few more degrees and see over-reliance on student evaluations, rampant grade inflation and pressure to raise graduation rates, plus appeasement of students as “customers” and fierce competition to attract them with increasingly posh residence halls, food courts, recreational facilities, and entertainment opportunities. Turn it yet again and watch costs rising much faster than inflation for those students and their parents, coupled with opaque admission and financial aid systems, and cumbersome bureaucracies that teach unintentional lessons in caprice and contradiction. One more turn to a new angle: now one glimpses the alcohol-fueled “hook-up” culture, a joyless pursuit of joy with hearts and souls in the balance while faculty and administrators ignore what’s going on under their noses, as student affairs staff piously preach a faith consisting of two moral doctrines of surpassing inadequacy, “consent” and “safe sex.” the rest

EU ruling on stem cells hailed as triumph of ethics

Tue, 1 Nov 2011

Scientists will no longer be able to patent stem cell work which involves the destruction of human embryos after a landmark ruling last month.

Commentators welcomed the ruling, with one bioethics group saying it was a “triumph of ethical standards over commercial interest”.

The decision, from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), now means scientists may be encouraged to divert their attention to adult stem cells.

Techniques involving adult stem cells do not involve the destruction of human embryos and have already been used in more than 100 treatments or clinical trials. the rest

The ECJ also looked at the concept of the human embryo and said that it “must be understood in a wide sense”.

Bandit vs. Ice

Who are these arrayed in white?

Who are these arrayed in white,
Brighter than the noon-day sun?
Foremost of the sons of light;
Nearest the eternal throne?
These are they that bore the cross,
Nobly for their Master stood;
Sufferers in His righteous cause,
Followers of the dying God.

Out of great distress they came,
Washed their robes by faith below,
In the blood of yonder Lamb,
Blood that washes white as snow:
Therefore are they next the throne,
Serve their Maker day and night:
God resides among His own,
God doth in His saints delight.

More than conquerors at last,
Here they find their trials o’er;
They have all their sufferings past,
Hunger now and thirst no more:
No excessive heat they feel
From the sun’s directer ray;
In a milder clime they dwell,
Region of eternal day.

He that on the throne doth reign,
Them the Lamb shall always feed,
With the tree of life sustain,
To the living fountains lead;
He shall all their sorrows chase,
All their wants at once remove,
Wipe the tears from every face,
Fill up every soul with love.
...Charles Wesley image

The Hard Business Problems Facing U.S. Law Faculty

By William Henderson
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
October 31, 2011

U.S. Legal Education is in the midst of a large, structural transformation. This structural shift is driven by a confluence of factors, which includes three significant trends:

1.The decline, or plateau, of the traditional time and materials legal services model
2.The politics of law school finance
3.A new generation of legal entrepenuers that are turning some aspects of law into process-driven products and services.

The trends above are going to require law schools to change. In what way? We can lower our cost structure, but that would only address some of the challenges. The only viable strategy is to retool. This entails rethinking what we teach and how we teach so that the value of the legal education--for students, employers, alumni and the public at large--is commensurate with our operating costs.

Institutional change is extraordinarily difficult. But I think it is extra hard for law schools. Law faculty have little or no experience making high stakes business decisions, yet we control curriculum and appointments, which are the areas that need major rethinking. Talk is cheap--and we specialize in talk. Like any other industry undergoing structural change, we need to objectively assess our situation and be prepared to take decisive action despite painful tradeoffs and imperfect information. For law faculty, our biggest risk factors are indecision and denial.

As I write these words, I can practically hear the skeptical sighs of my fellow professors. I am describing the world as I find it, not as I wish it to be. This is about making sound business decisions, not winning a debate. Here are the basic facts and analysis that we ignore at our peril. the rest

German Bishops caught in massive porn scandal - why didn’t they listen to the faithful?

by John-Henry Westen
Mon Oct 31, 2011

 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After ten years of being internally warned by faithful Catholics, including in a 70-page dossier sent to all of Germany’s main bishops, the scandal of the German bishops ownership of a publishing company that sells a large volume of porn has hit the mainstream media.

Last week the mainstream media outed the fact that the German bishops are 100% owners in one of the most profitable book companies in Germany. The huge company, in addition to offering many religious and other ethical books and items, also peddles 2500 porn titles and additional books highly offensive to Christian principles.

A spokesman for the bishops promised immediate corrective action. However, the false pretense of ignorance about the situation has only served to add to the scandal especially for faithful Catholics who were treated with silence and even disdain when they repeatedly attempted for years to bring the scandal to an end out of public view. the rest

Don't sleep with your smart phone nearby

By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor
Tue November 1, 2011

Excerpt:
We have learned to celebrate, even revere, the wireless gadgets we carry around and the inventors who bring them to us; the response to the death of Steve Jobs this month was emblematic of how important our do-it-all phones, our computers, our tablets and related digital devices have become. We say that the technology has changed life as we used to know it.

But how much is too much?

And, more to the point: How many of us have the nagging feeling that we are somehow unable to disconnect -- that the electronic devices we own have begun to own us?...

...So the addiction question is often one that people silently ask themselves. Shouldn't we be spending less time checking and rechecking our many screens, large and small, and more time taking part in what used to be regarded as real life? Is there something inherently wrong when people being separated from their phones, computers and tablets makes them feel nervous, irritable, tense -- in other words, when they begin to exhibit classic withdrawal symptoms?   the rest image

FCC cracks down on religious broadcasters

By BROOKS BOLIEK
10/31/11

If a church broadcasts the word of God on TV without closed captions, it risks incurring the wrath of the FCC.

Some 300 small- to medium-sized churches can expect letters from the commission within the next few days explaining why their closed captioning exemptions were lifted for TV shows like “Power in the Word” and “Producing Kingdom Citizens.”

The FCC has been mailing the letters for the past few days to churches from Maine to California, explaining that the hundreds of exemptions are now rescinded and giving the programmers 90 days to reapply.

The churches were granted FCC exemptions from the closed captioning requirement under a 2006 commission decision known as the “Anglers Order” for the Anglers for Christ Ministries program that had argued for exemption from the rules. the rest

Pope won’t take part in common prayers

Monday, October 31, 2011

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has invited Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims to a pilgrimage at the Umbrian hilltop town of Assisi, but the leaders won’t take part in common prayers as they did when summoned for a daylong prayer for peace by Pope John Paul II 25 years ago.

Instead, Benedict held a pre-trip prayer service for Catholics at the Vatican on Wednesday, since Thursday’s Assisi event — unlike the 1986 edition — will only feature time for individual prayer and reflection.

Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger didn’t attend the 1986 event and disapproved of members of different faiths praying in the presence of one another. As a result, the 25th anniversary edition won’t involve any communal prayer: The estimated 300 participants will be given time to pray silently in individual rooms assigned to each one after lunch.
 the rest

Episcopal Church in Minn. passes resolution opposing marriage amendment

by Rose French
October 31, 2011

Members of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, which held its annual convention over the weekend in Minneapolis, passed a resolution opposing the marriage amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage.

The church is joining other denominations and non-profit organizations in signing the “Resolution against the Constitutional Amendment to Ban Marriage for Same-Sex Couples” as prepared and presented by Minnesotans United for All Families.

That group is trying to defeat the amendment set for a vote on the November 2012 ballot, which would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
“The Episcopal Church in Minnesota has always stood with the marginalized,” said Bishop Brian N. Prior, IX Bishop of Minnesota, said in a released statement. “Regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender orientation or immigrant status, Episcopalians in Minnesota have always embraced both the Gospel mandate of love of neighbor and the Baptismal Covenant imperative to respect the dignity of every human being.”

Episcopalians (which number about 22,000 members in Minnesota) join other faith-based groups already gearing up for the heated political battle ahead this year. the rest

Monday, October 31, 2011

Devotional: Just as soon as we turn toward Him...

Just as soon as we turn toward Him with loving confidence, and say, "Thy will be done," whatever chills or cripples or enslaves our spirits, clogs their powers, or hinders their development, melts away in the sunshine of His sympathy. He does not free us from the pain, but from its power to dull the sensibilities; not from poverty and care, but from their tendency to narrow and harden; not from calumny, but from the maddening poison in its sting; not from disappointment, but from the hopelessness and bitterness of thought which it so often engenders. We attain unto this perfect liberty when we rise superior to untoward circumstances, triumph over the pain and weakness of disease, over unjust criticism, the wreck of earthly hopes, over promptings to envy, every sordid and selfish desire, every unhallowed longing, every doubt of God's wisdom and love and kindly care, when we rise into an atmosphere of undaunted moral courage, of restful content, of child-like trust, of holy, all-conquering calm. ...William W. Kinsley image

Huge numbers of Irish Catholic priests call for reform

Over 500 priests want celibacy replaced, women priests allowed
By ANTOINETTE KELLY,
Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests is pushing for reform in the Catholic Church, calling for the ordination of women and an end to mandatory celibacy at a meeting held in Dublin early this month.

The liberal group has only been in existence for one year, but the growth of the association has been rapid with 540 Irish priests opting for membership. In its first year, the group opposed the new translation of the Roman Missal and appealed to the Irish bishops' conference to delay the introduction of the changes. The hierarchy dismissed the concerns.

At the Oct 4-5 meeting, Fr. Kevin Hegarty, a member of the association’s leadership team, said what was needed was a church that would open its doors to "married priests and women priests." the rest

Overpopulation Isn't The Problem: It's Too Few Babies

by Joel Kotkin
10/27/2011

The world’s population recently passed the 7 billion mark, and, of course, the news was greeted with hysteria and consternation in the media. “It’s not hard to be alarmed,” intoned National Geographic. “We should all be afraid, very afraid,” warned the Guardian.

To be sure, continued population increases, particularly in very poor countries, do threaten the world economy and environment — not to mention these countries’ own people. But overall the biggest demographic problem stems not from too many people but from too few babies.

This is no longer just a phenomenon in advanced countries. The global “birth dearth” has spread to developing nations as well. Nearly one-third of the 59 countries with “sub-replacement” fertility rates — those under 2.1 per woman — come from the ranks of developing countries. Several large and important emerging countries, including Iran, Brazil and China, have birthrates lower than the U.S.

In the short run this is good news. It gives these countries an opportunity to leverage their large, youthful workforce and declining percentage of children to drive economic growth. But over the next two or three decades — by 2030 in China’s case – these economies will be forced to care for growing numbers of elderly and shrinking workforces. For the next generation of Chinese leaders, Deng Xiaoping’s rightful concern about overpopulation at the end of the Mao era will shift into a future of eldercare costs, shrinking domestic markets and labor shortages. the rest
Of course, there have always been unmarried people and childless people; some by necessity or health reasons, others by choice. But now a growing proportion of young child-bearing age women in countries as diverse as Italy, Japan and Taiwan are claiming no intention of having even one child. One-third of Japanese women in their 30s are unmarried, and similar trends are developing in other Asian countries.

Glowing ripples in the electromagnetic field of planet Earth.

Coptic Christian Student Murdered By Classmates for Wearing a Cross

October 31, 2011

In mid-October Egyptian media published news of an altercation between Muslim and Christian students over a classroom seat at a school in Mallawi, Minya province. The altercation lead to the murder of a Christian student. The media portrayed the incident as non-sectarian. However, Copts Without Borders, a Coptic news website, refuted this version and was first to report that the Christian student was murdered because he was wearing a crucifix.

“We wanted to believe the official version,” said activist Mark Ebeid, “because the Coptic version was a catastrophe, as it would take persecution of Christians also to schools.” He blamed the church in Mallawi for keeping quiet about the incident.

Today the parents of the 17-year-old Christian student Ayman Nabil Labib, broke their silence, confirming that their son was murdered on October 16, in “cold blood because he refused to take off his crucifix as ordered by his Muslim teacher.” Nabil Labib, the father, said in a taped video interview with Copts United NGO, that his son had a cross tattooed on his wrist as per Coptic tradition, as well as another cross which he wore under his clothes. the rest
The father said that everyone in Mallawi knew how the event took place, but not one of the students’ parents was prepared to let their children come forward and give a statement to the police. “They are afraid of the school administration, which has lots of ways to harass the students, as well as being afraid of the families of the two Muslim killers.”

Hospital Tells Nurses: Assist Abortions or Be Fired

October 31, 2011
By Todd Starnes

Lorna Jose Mendoza has been given a choice. She can either assist in an abortion this week at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, or she could refuse and risk losing her job.

Mendoza is one of a dozen nurses who filed suit today against the hospital – accusing them of violating federal and state law by forcing them to assist in abortions against their religious and moral objections.

“The hospital told the nurses they have no regard for their religious beliefs,” said Matthew Bowman, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund. “They were going to be assigned these abortions or they would be terminated.” Here

Cult of Global Warming Is Losing Influence

By Michael Barone
October 24, 2011

Religious faith is a source of strength in many people's lives. But religious faith when taken too far can prove ludicrous -- or disastrous...

...A similar but more peaceable fate is befalling believers in what I think can be called the religion of the global warming alarmists.

They have an unshakeable faith that manmade carbon emissions will produce a hotter climate, causing multiple natural disasters. Their insistence that we can be absolutely certain this will come to pass is based not on science -- which is never fully settled, witness the recent experiments that may undermine Albert Einstein's theory of relativity -- but on something very much like religious faith.

All the trappings of religion are there. Original sin: Mankind is responsible for these prophesied disasters, especially those slobs who live on suburban cul-de-sacs and drive their SUVs to strip malls and tacky chain restaurants.

The need for atonement and repentance: We must impose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, which will increase the cost of everything and stunt economic growth.

Ritual, from the annual Earth Day to weekly recycling. the rest

Burma: Local Authorities Issue New Order Regulating Bible Study, Sunday School, Fasting And Prayer

London, 01 November
Asiantribune.com

Burmese authorities are imposing new restrictions on religious activities in Kachin State. On 14 October, 2011 the Chairman of Maw Wan Ward in Phakant Township, Kachin State sent a letter to local churches, titled “Concerning Christians conducting cultural training”.

The letter refers to an order by the General Township Administration Department requiring Christians in Phakant Township to submit a request at least 15 days in advance for permission to conduct “short-term Bible study, Bible study, Sunday school, reading the Bible, fasting prayer, Seasonal Bible study and Rosary of the Virgin Mary Prayer”. A request for permission must be accompanied by recommendations from other departments, and must be submitted to the Township Administration Office.

According to a press release by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) obtained a copy of the document in Burmese, and a translation, last week. Churches in Burma are already required to obtain permission for any events other than Sunday services, but this new regulation imposes further severe restrictions. the rest

Church of England threatening to withdraw millions invested in ISPs over rise of internet porn

By Chris Greenwood
31st October 2011

The Church of England is threatening to use its financial power to stem the tide of internet pornography.

It is considering withdrawing the millions it has invested in Internet Service Providers (ISPs) unless they take action.

Concern over the easy availability of vile images which demean women and corrupt the young has intensified following the disclosure that Jo Yeates’s killer Vincent Tabak was obsessed with websites showing sexual violence, bondage and strangulation. the rest

Here's How The Catholic Church Is Profiting In The German Erotic Novel Industry

Sunday, October 30, 2011

UK: Paedophilia: Lay official put on trial in Diocece of Plymouth

The Catholic Church has ordered an urgent review of its policy on child protection
10/28/2011
Rome

Temperatures are raised in England’s paedophile priest scandal. The Catholic Church has ordered an urgent review of its policy on the protection of children, after a lay official it had put in charge of investigating into some sexual abuse cases in the Diocese of Plymouth, was incriminated of having 4.000 paedopornographic images in his possession.

At the time of his arrest, Chris Jarvis – this is the name of the former child safety co-ordinator in question, - was in charge of an investigation into the accusations of sexual violence in Buckfast Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Devon. This is not the first Benedictine institute to be placed under investigation: just this week, the Vatican ordered an Apostolic visit to Ealing Abbey in west London, where abuse against children was allegedly carried out in St. Benedict’s school, which is adjacent to the abbey, in the period between the 60’s and 2009.

The fact that the church employed a paedophile to investigate into child protection, will definitely add to the sense of crisis already felt within the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Jarvis had been in charge of child protection policies in 120 churches in the Diocese of Plymouth, for nine years. the rest

Shortage of women due to sex-selective abortion in India giving rise to ‘wife-sharing’

by Thaddeus Baklinski
Fri Oct 28, 2011

 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Reports from some northern Indian states that have the worst gender imbalance in the country due to sex-selective abortion say that “wife-sharing” among brothers is becoming a common occurrence.

“In every village, there are at least five or six bachelors who can’t find a wife. In some, there are up to three or four unmarried men in one family. It’s a serious problem,” said retired police constable Shri Chand, 75, in a Reuters report.

“Everything is hush, hush. No one openly admits it, but we all know what is going on. Some families buy brides from other parts of the country, while others have one daughter-in-law living with many unwedded brothers.” the rest