Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jeeves & Bunter It Ain't

Via Life in Wartime Progressive Gold 30 September 2007 -

Independent On Sunday: Super-rich vie for £100,000 butlers trained by the Palace.
The art of “butling” is enjoying an unprecedented renaissance. Not since the days of the landed gentry have butlers been such hot property, providing the ultimate bling in the Beckham household as well as offering media-shy dotcom millionaires and Russian oligarchs that extra bit of personal service.
[…]
An assortment of wealthy private-equity executives, hedge-fund dealers, entrepreneurs and celebrities, with personal fortunes to match their desire for the ultimate personal assistant, are fuelling the trend.

In response to the rocketing demand, City & Guilds is launching Britain's first accredited qualification for butlers in conjunction with Buckingham Palace. Graduates can look forward to a starting salary of around £30,000, although for the best that wage will rise rapidly to £100,000 or more.

Ivor Spencer, from the International School for Butler Administrators, who recently sent one of his butlers to Prince Charles's official residence at Clarence House, said: "In the old days, butlers didn't get paid very much and they didn't have much to do.

"Today, we call them a butler, administrator, personal assistant or estate manager. Some clients have a bigger budget than some small businesses. Russian and Chinese millionaires have come to London and other parts of the country and they've no time. They like our butlers because of our heritage."
[…]
A butler has to anticipate his master’s every whim. The American rapper Sean “Puffy” Coombs would make his butler, Farnsworth Bentley, follow him around during hot spells with a parasol to shade him. One whim Farnsworth failed to predict saw him having to jump straight back on a plane to New York from the Côte d’Azur after failing to pack the rap star’s favourite ties.

COMMENT: From 1 Timothy 6:6-19, one of the readings appointed for today, the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

PETITION CALL IN SENATE TO FILIBUSTER FOR END OF WAR


Please ask both of your U.S. Senators to demonstrate the courage of Senator Smith.

Letter Sent to the New York Times --

From: John Walsh
Date: September 16, 2007 9:49:05 AM EDT
To: letters@nytimes.com
Subject: Frank Rich's column

To the editor:

In an otherwise excellent column today (9/16/2007) Frank Rich perpetuates the myth that the Democrats do not have the power to end the war because of an inevitable veto from Bush.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The war demands funding, and a new supplemental funding will soon appear before Congress. That can be filibustered in the Senate, with only the 41 votes or abstentions required to sustain a filibuster. At that moment the legislation is dead. There is nothing to veto so Bush must come back with an acceptable bill. At the same time the Democrats could submit legislation to bring the occupying troops home quickly and safely. Let Bush veto that if he dares. There is already a national petition drive for this at FilibusterForPeace.org and every Senator has received a copy of it.

In the House one person Nancy Pelosi can accomplish the same thing. She can simply refuse to bring Bush's supplemental requests to the floor. In this she has veto power as surely as the president does.

So let us not hear from the Democrats that they do not have the power to end the war. Clearly they do. One must conclude that the Democrats support it. They pay for it and so they own it.

Sincerely,

John V. Walsh, MD
Professor of Physiology
University of Massachusetts Medical School
john.walsh@umassmed.edu



(With thanks to Undernews and Counterpunch.)

The Breeze at Dawn

It's the birthday of the Sufi poet known as Rumi, so here's one of his delightful poems --

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don't go back to sleep.

-- Jelal'uddin Rumi, 13th century mystic poet

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New Member Blog on Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus

On the sidebar are listed member blogs of the Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus.

Please pop over and visit our newest members --

My Buffalo River Home
The News Hoggers
San Francisco Impeach Now!

Cheers!

The OOIBC is intended to be a roll of bloggers that are:
1) Opposed to Iraq Supplemental Appropriations Bill.
2) Opposed to funding Bush's Iraq Occupation Debacle.
3) Committed to getting the troops home as soon as possible.
4) Determined to end George W. Bush's Iraq and Mid-East Debacle as quickly as possible.
5) Determined to restore some sanity to the world.

To join OOIBC see: Join OOIBC (FAQ)

The real Soldier of Orange


He was perhaps the most well-known resistance hero of the 1939-45 war in the Netherlands: Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema. People know of him primarily from the book, Soldier of Orange, and the film of the same name, which was directed by Paul Verhoeven and starred Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbé. The book and film described how a motley group of university students fought against (in some cases, for) the German occupation. He died last Wednesday in Hawaii, where he had lived for the past 30 years.

Obituary (in Dutch)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost (Sunday in the Octave of the Feast of St Michael and All Angels)

Here are the readings (Proper 21, Year C, RCL) appointed for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost. (It is also the Sunday in the Octave of the Feast of St Michael and All Angels.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Iraq est omnis divisa in partes tres

The Senate has voted overwhelmingly to split Iraq in three. lenin at The Tomb warned us repeatedly of the plan.

Two comments made on his post --
The structual weakening of Iraq was part of the purpose of the invasion, a weakened 'confederation' or division has been an American/Israeli goal since the beginning. They are achieving that. The ethnic cleansing is, and has been, a part of the acceptable.

The loose confederation model will also be an option bruited for Iran.

The weakened Lebanon is as they like it.

The long-term difficulties are Saudia Arabia and Egypt, which have totalitarian regimes supported by Israel-America, and which endorse the most regressive of Arab misfortunes.

Prognosis. Years of pain and bloodshed as America "holds on" as an occupier seeking the appropriate petty tyrants for the diminshed Arab states, the loss of Palestine as anything other than a sad joke, a bombed Iran. Repression in Egypt and Saudia Arabia.

If Giulliani gets in as President, you will know that America has lost even the pretense of democracy.
Castellio 27 Sep, 20:40
---
So much for Iraq sovereignty. How can they pretend to be independent if we keep making their decisions for them (like that Blackwater thing)?

Much of what the Bush Administration has done is to destabilize the region, thereby making it much more susceptible to Iranian influence. So the hubbub toward Iran and its president seems more of the lady doth protest too much than real sabre rattling. And does this means Turkey gets to invade Kurdestan?
Madame X 27 Sep, 21:55

Symbols & Their Associations


NEW YORK TIMES -
The Navy plans to spend $600,000 for “camouflage” landscaping and rooftop adjustments so that 1960s-era barracks at the Naval Base Coronado near San Diego will no longer look like a Nazi swastika from the air.

The resemblance went unnoticed by the public for decades until it was spotted in aerial views on Google Earth.

But Navy officials said they became aware of it shortly after the 1967 groundbreaking, and had decided not to do anything.

“There was no reason to redo the buildings because they were in use,” a spokeswoman for the base, Angelic Dolan, said. She added that the buildings were in a no-fly zone that is off limits to commercial airlines, so most people would not see them from the air.

“You have to realize back in the ’60s we did not have the Internet,” Ms. Dolan said. “We don’t want to offend anyone, and we don’t want to be associated with the symbol.”

COMMENT: A despicable symbol, sure, with many associations. What lame excuses! Incompetence. Never should have happened in the first place. Yeah, right, blame it on the Internet. “We don’t want to offend anyone, and we don’t want to be associated with the symbol." Our government and armed forces already are associated by default, with their actions around the world.

Full story

Typical Dutch/Typisch Nederlands?

Call it navel-gazing. Lengthy discussion on the BRMB about a speech (Dutch link) given by Princess Máxima of the Netherlands in response to a report of the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy on Dutch identity and what that means.

Background link (in English) on the report and speech.

Martin Wisse of Wis[s]e Words writes perceptively (link) --

No Dutch Identity

I never thought I would say this, but a member of the dutch royals actually said something yesterday I wholeheartedly agree with: that there is no such thing as a Dutch identity. Not surprisingly this was said by somebody who had married into the family, princess Maxima, daughter of an Argentinian junta leader, now wife to the heir to the Dutch throne. She said that during her seven years of integrating into Dutch society she never really saw what made the Dutch Dutch, which not entirely coincidently is also the outcome of a major scientific study commissioned by the government's science bureau. This said that the sole thing that could be thought of as a shared identity was a shared history.

Which is somewhat of a nobrainer. For any given country, trying to pin down a shared identity will either result in a list of vapid platitutes which any other country could subscribe too (We love freedom, we're tolerant of others, etc.) or else a list of lazy cliches based on some well out of date ideas of what Dutch people like (Andre Hazes, boerenkool, one cookie with the coffee and no more, clogs and bloody windmills). The whole idea of a national identity is reactionary, based on the idea that everybody is the same and out of place in a country that has always been a nation of immigrants (Hugenots, Spanish/Portuguese as well as Polish Jews, economic migrants from Germany, Chinese and Italians before the war, Morrocans and Turks after, Surinamers, not to mention a whole horde of other nationalities -- 172 different ones in Amsterdam, the most ethnically diverse city in the world), as well as a nation forged together from several very different regions. A Limburger is nothing like a Zeeuw is nothing like a Hollander is nothing like a Fries, though of course all have many more things in common than they differ on.

There are some on the left in various countries (One example) who are trying to reshape nationalism and the idea of a national identity into a more progressive form; I personally think this is a venture doomed to fail because of the above objections. Nationalism only works if you can bring yourself to believe your country is the best in the world, rather than remaking it into something simular to supporting your favourite football side.


Not so unrelatedly, snapping about Máxima's Spanish-accented Dutch is ridiculous and just another attempt to marginalise and classify people as "other." [Kon jij de prinses verstaan? Zij zat echt onverstaanbaar te mompelen tijdens de toespraak..." ("Could you hear what the princess was saying? She was mumbling really unintelligibly during the speech...")] They seem to be saying, "No matter how you try, princess, sweetie, you'll never be a 'real Dutchie'." I applaud her efforts wholeheartedly. She has defined her role, and acted upon it, to speak up for the marginalised. I've seen no official moves to put restraints on her. What I don't like are those xenophobes on the right who act in pure ignorance (and fear) in racist assaults on recent immigrants to NL. They just don't get it, and hallelujah! Máxima does!

More Evidence on Bush Impeachable Offenses

Juan Cole details it here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NAMASTE

MadPriest on the situation in Burma --

In everyday life, "namaste" is not consciously considered a religious gesture. However, many believe it has a spiritual basis, in recognizing a common divinity within the other person.


The military junta in Burma are making noises about cracking down on the (approximately) 100000 peace protesters. The last time this happened in 1988, at least, 3000 people were murdered by the military.

My friends, what is going down in Burma is the most important thing going down in world at this moment in time. If the bishops in New Orleans do not give a clear indication that gay people are to be regarded exactly the same as straight people in all matters then more gay people will die at the hands of bigots than they would if the Church acknowledged them as co-heirs of the Kingdom. We pray that the bishops will make righteous decisions. However, our prayers today must primarily be for the people of Burma because it is right that we pray for others before ourselves. In doing so the spiritual strength of the monks will become our strength through the transforming power of our common divinity.

Link

What happens to a dream deferred?

pauly (check out his blog) has made a powerful comment on lenin's wise and perceptive post, White supremacy is... (re: Jena 6 & inherent, systemic American racism) --
... Liberation for oppressed peoples won't be found by using the very categories which keep them oppressed as a starting point. Since when is it the task of radicals to use a patently oppressive legal system to adjudicate who is deserving of our sympathy?

Th[at] brings me to my second point, which is that we don't judge victims of oppression by their conduct; we judge oppression by what the oppressor does. Black folks in the freedom movement of the 60s had tons of backwards ideas about homosexuality, abortion, etc, but that doesn't mean they weren't oppressed. Nor does it mean any leftist worth her salt shouldn't have stood resolutely on their side against the cops and klansmen. The same is true today. Whether they beat up Justin Barker or not, they are victims of a racist legal system, which by its very nature can never give justice to black folks.

Any denial that black folks in Jena (indeed, anywhere in America) are oppressed is sheer denial. This is a county that voted overwhelmingly for Klansman David Duke. This is a town where Brown v. Board is still reaching "with all deliberate speed," as evidenced by the existence of "a white tree." This is a county where, when Black folks drove into town, they were greeted with a pickup truck with a noose hanging out the back. We are in no position to judge the behavior of black kids growing up in this town.
He ends with words by the great African-American poet, Langston Hughes --
What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Blasting at the Carrara Quarry in Clarendon

Vermonters for a Clean Environment Blog, Annette Smith 24 September 2007 --
J.P. Carrara and Sons wants to blast this week at their aggregate quarry in Clarendon at levels never before experienced by the community. Last week, Neighbors filed an Emergency Stay Motion with the Vermont Supreme Court on Wednesday. Carrara, through their attorneys, replied on Thursday, and on Friday, Justice Burgess denied Neighbors' motion. The week before, on Friday, Environmental Court Judge Thomas Durkin, who previously ruled on the permit itself and gave the Carraras everything they wanted while taking away protections for Neighbors, denied Neighbors' Motion for a Stay.

Carraras notified some, but not all, Neighbors last week that they intended to blast on Friday. Because of the Emergency Stay Motion, they did not blast on Friday. Now it is anticipated that Carraras will once again begin blasting.

Throughout the Environmental Court proceedings and since then, it has become clear that Carraras could and should do more to communicate in a friendly way with their Neighbors. So far, the Carraras have shown a lack of respect for their Neighbors, a denial of any responsibility for damage to neighboring properties, and a failure to understand the value of being a good neighbor. We hope that somehow J.P. Carrara and Sons will recognize the importance of showing respect to the community in which they are operating.

Neighbors have appealed the issuance of the permit allowing the Carraras to expand the quarry to the Vermont Supreme Court. The appeal is pending and the Neighbors wish the Carraras would hold off on the expansion until after the Vermont Supreme Court has ruled on the issues before them in the appeal.

Link

Demonising Ahmadinejad

Juan Cole Informed Comment 24 September 2007 -
Demonizing the Iranian president and making his visit [he was at Columbia University yesterday] to New York seem controversial are all part of the neoconservative push for yet another war." Excerpt:
'Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly has become a media circus. But the controversy does not stem from the reasons usually cited.

The media has focused on debating whether he should be allowed to speak at Columbia University on Monday, or whether his request to visit Ground Zero, the site of the Sept. 11 attack in lower Manhattan, should have been honored. His request was rejected, even though Iran expressed sympathy with the United States in the aftermath of those attacks and Iranians held candlelight vigils for the victims. Iran felt that it and other Shiite populations had also suffered at the hands of al-Qaida, and that there might now be an opportunity for a new opening to the United States.

Instead, the U.S. State Department denounced Ahmadinejad as himself little more than a terrorist. Critics have also cited his statements about the Holocaust or his hopes that the Israeli state will collapse. He has been depicted as a Hitler figure intent on killing Israeli Jews, even though he is not commander in chief of the Iranian armed forces, has never invaded any other country, denies he is an anti-Semite, has never called for any Israeli civilians to be killed, and allows Iran's 20,000 Jews to have representation in Parliament. . .

The real reason his visit is controversial is that the American right has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran. Ahmadinejad is therefore being configured as an enemy head of state. '

Real all of Juan Cole's Salon piece on Common Dreams.

Snarky Boy Reincarnated!

Cathy Resmer tells us this morning that the Snark has a new site! Yippppeeee! Now go read that while sipping your maple latte!

Monday, September 24, 2007

All Saints Church, Pasadena demands IRS apology after agency drops investigation

Episcopal News Service
After receiving a letter announcing the closing of a two-year old Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examination, All Saints Church, Pasadena, California, announced September 23 that it has referred what it called "the numerous procedural and legal errors of the exam" to the agency's commissioner and demanded more information about its decision.

The parish received an IRS letter September 10 saying the federal tax-collection agency had closed its examination without challenging the parish's tax-exempt status and without a threatened audit ever taking place, according to a news release posted on the parish's website.

However, the letter said without explanation that the IRS had concluded that a sermon preached in October 2004 constituted intervention in the 2004 presidential election.

"While we are pleased that the IRS examination is finally over, the IRS has failed to explain its conclusion regarding the single sermon at issue," the Rev. J. Edwin Bacon Jr., All Saints' rector, said in the release. "Synagogues, mosques, and churches across America have no more guidance about the IRS rules now than when we started this process over two long years ago. The impact of this letter leaves a chilling effect cast over the freedom of America's pulpits to preach core moral values. We have no choice but to demand clarification on this matter with the IRS."

Read the full ENS story.

Holland's Global Warning

A short animation done by four Dutch secondary school students.

More about the video.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cynthia McKinney Statement in Solidarity with the Jena 6

Cynthia McKinney
Jena 6 Solidarity Statement
Atlanta, Georgia
September 20, 2007

I stand in solidarity with brothers and sisters across the United States who are outraged at a whole host of indignities being visited upon the American people today, the case of the Jena 6 being one of the most recent, but by far, not the only one.

A black woman is kidnapped, tortured, and raped while racial epithets are hurled at her and the federal government finds no hate crime committed.

A dedicated couple, both black attorneys, witness the police beating a handcuffed young Latino man. The attorneys write down the license plate numbers of the police cars and yell to the police that they don't have to beat him. In retaliation, the police pull the husband from the car, proceed to beat him and then attack the wife. The attorneys have been charged with a crime!

Eight young men become active in their community to make our country better. As a result, they are targeted by their government, arrested, and tortured. When the justice system recognizes that confessions under torture should not be prosecuted they are released and set free. For 30 years they live as law-abiding citizens. One day, the same police officers who tortured them 30 years earlier, arrive on their doorsteps to arrest them again for being members of the Black Panther Party. They are now in Court, known as the San Francisco 8.

An Air Force reservist stands in line to hear General Petraeus in testimony that is open to the public. Reverend Lennox Yearwood is singled out by Capitol Hill police and told he can't go inside. When he dares to ask why, approximately 6 officers converge on him and take him to the floor, hurting him in the process. Reverend Yearwood, in what he calls "Democracy while Black," now faces criminal charges.

While Blackwater mercenaries patrol the streets of New Orleans and Katrina survivors are denied the right to return home, our political system has totally collapsed under the weight of insider deals; special interest money; and a corrupted two-party system that relies on the use or misuse of the black vote and the marginalization of the interests of people of color.

Our government failed to protect us on September 11th, lied to us and put our country at war, spied on us despite the Constitution, and assaults our rights. The Democratic majority has become complicit by its failure to pursue impeachment, repeal the Patriot Act, the Secret Evidence Act, the Military Tribunals Act, and by its continued funding of an illegal war. This war machine is not a rolling tide -- we can stop it!

Already in Cuba and Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia, Nicaragua and Equador, Haiti and Spain, the people took back their governments through the power of the vote. We can do that, too.

I predict that we are now ready to do some things we've never done before in order to have two things we need now more than ever: peace and justice. At home and abroad.

Thank you.

Link.

Jena: the next step

Gary Younge Guardian 21 September 2007 -
Yesterday's demonstration in Jena was a great success on many fronts, but still has two important goals to achieve.

First the successes. It brought the argument to the people who needed to hear it. I'm sure it convinced very few white people in Jena that hanging nooses is more than a prank or that the judicial system is weighted against African-Americans. From most of the quotes I've seen they are still in denial. But I'm equally sure that it made any administrator, legislator, judge or attorney there realise that much of the world does not share their standards. This message reverberates beyond Jena. The notion that what happens in small towns stays in small towns no longer holds. No local official wants a "Jena" on their hands.

Second, it was huge and managed to galvanise a new generation of activists. One of the noteworthy aspects of this demonstration - in contrast to many - is that it appears to have been multi-generational. With nooses and jail time the issues it raised linked the old Jim Crow and new quite effectively.

Third, it revealed a new network of bloggers and radio hosts (similar to the immigrant rallies) that can kept this issue alive when others would have allowed it to die or could not keep it going.

Fourth, it was peaceful. Nothing would have been gained by violence in Jena. The fact that none occurred left locals who had shuttered up the town, in fear of black hordes arriving to ransack the place, with nothing to talk about but the issues.

Now the hard part. The Jena Six remain either in jail or awaiting trial. The demonstration did a great job of highlighting their plight. The judicial system knows the world is watching. Now it is down to the lawyers to get them a fair shake. That means a proportionate punishment for the alleged crime.

And last but by no means least the activists must leverage the attention that has been given to the Jena 6 to raise the broader issues of social justice and racism in the penal and judicial systems in the US. In its details what took place in Jena is very particular to this small town. In its substance - overbearing prosecutors, disproportionate sentencing and racial inequality - it is not aberrant but consistent with the what is taking place elsewhere in the US.

Link.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mutual Caring: Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

Here are the readings (Proper 20: Year C, RCL) appointed for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost.
Luke 16:1-13
Jesus said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, `What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.' Then the manager said to himself, `What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.' So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he asked the first, `How much do you owe my master?' He answered, `A hundred jugs of olive oil.' He said to him, `Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.' Then he asked another, `And how much do you owe?' He replied, `A hundred containers of wheat.' He said to him, `Take your bill and make it eighty.' And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

"Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jena 6 Demonstrations

Jena is not alone. It is merely the current example.

LarryE, Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time, September 20, 2007 --

---
AP also reported that state police estimated the crowd at 15,000-20,000 while organizers said it might be as many as 50,000. My own experience has been that in such cases a reasonable estimate can be obtained by averaging the claims and shading it some toward the organizers' figure (i.e., officials tend to undercount somewhat more than organizers tend to overcount). By that method, the crowd numbered in the range of 35,000-38,000. By any count, even the police figure, a whole lotta people that at least met the organizers' hopes.

What's more, there were protests elsewhere, in at least New York, Washington, Oklahoma City, and Baltimore, each drawing some hundreds of people.

A fair amount of the coverage compared the march to the civil rights marches of the '50s and while such comparisons are often either flip or a lazy way to have a hook, there were echoes not only in the fact of, and reasons for, the march but also in the reactions of those criticized, up to and including the insistence that there really isn't a problem even as the evidence says otherwise.

Read all of LarryE's post.

I read Larry's Lotus blog frequently; good stuff. Thanks to tim at Green Left Infoasis.

Sanders does a switcheroo on same-sex marriage

No, not our independent junior Senator, but Jerry Sanders, the Republican Mayor of San Diego, who has reversed his stand on same-sex unions; he wanted his adult daughter, Lisa, and other gay people he knows to have their relationships protected equally under state laws.
"In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships — their very lives — were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana," Sanders said.


COMMENT: I still believe it's the stories we share and the one-on-one relationships with those we know and love that will transform hearts and minds.

Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, 21 September NT

Here are the appointed readings for use on the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

SPEAKING TO THE SOUL - When we reach out across ninety-nine generations to hold the hand that Matthew offers, we, too, receive his mandate to honor the tradition and “keep the faith.” It is the right mandate as well as a radiant heart. For if we are to be the ekklesia, those whom God calls out, we must be trained like the scribe who was trained for the kingdom of heaven—the one who is “like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” The hand offered by the “one to teach” is a wise hand to hold, indeed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The accent transplant: Brain surgery leaves Yorkshire boy speaking like the Queen


One look at the lil tyke's photo should explain everything.
Medical science made him the way it was intended.

Dying Languages

NY TIMES - Of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, linguists say, nearly half are in danger of extinction and likely to disappear in this century. In fact, one falls out of use about every two weeks.

Some languages vanish in an instant, at the death of the sole surviving speaker. Others are lost gradually in bilingual cultures, as indigenous tongues are overwhelmed by the dominant language at school, in the marketplace and on television.

New research, reported yesterday, has found the five regions where languages are disappearing most rapidly: northern Australia, central South America, North America’s upper Pacific coastal zone, eastern Siberia, and Oklahoma and the southwestern United States. All have indigenous people speaking diverse languages, in falling numbers.

The study was based on field research and data analysis supported by the National Geographic Society and the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.
---
Forty languages are still spoken in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, many of them originally used by Indian tribes and others introduced by Eastern tribes that were forced to resettle on reservations, mainly in Oklahoma. Several of the languages are moribund.

Another measure of the threat to many relatively unknown languages, Dr. Harrison said, is that 83 languages with “global” influence are spoken and written by 80 percent of the world population. Most of the others face extinction at a rate, the researchers said, that exceeds that of birds, mammals, fish and plants.

Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 19 September 690

Today is the Feast Day of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury.

1 Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures for ever.
4 They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered for ever.
7 They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures for ever;
their horn is exalted in honour.
-- Psalm 112:1-9 (One of the appointed readings for use on this day.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Student Tasered and Arrested at Kerry Speech


Thanks to Martin Wisse at Wis[s]e Words for alerting us about this story. Jeralyn Merritt also has a post about it at Talk Left.

OCALA.COM - Student Tasered at Kerry speech -

Toward the conclusion of Kerry's UF forum, Meyer approached an open microphone at the University Auditorium and demanded Kerry answer his questions. The student claimed that University Police Department officers had already threatened to arrest him, and then proceeded to question Kerry about why he didn't contest the 2004 presidential election and why there had been no moves to impeach President Bush.

A minute or so into what became a combative diatribe, Meyer's microphone was turned off and officers began trying to physically remove him from the auditorium. Meyer flailed his arms, yelling as police tried to restrain him.

He was then pushed to the ground by six officers, at which point Meyer yelled, "What have I done? What I have I done? Get away from me. Get off of me! What did I do? ... Help me! Help."

Police threatened to user a Taser on Meyer if he did not "comply," but he continued to resist being handcuffed. He was then Tased, which prompted him to scream and writhe in pain on the floor of the auditorium.

After the incident, Capt. Jeff Holcomb of the UPD said Meyer had been charged with disrupting a public event and placed in the Alachua County Jail. Holcomb said there would be an investigation into whether the officers used force appropriately, adding that employing a Taser gun would only be justified in a case where there was a threat of physical harm to officers.

As Meyer was escorted away, he was followed by several students, including Matthew Howland, 20. Howland, a UF senior who said he didn't know Meyer, said he was "appalled" by the way UPD officers handled the situation. Howland acknowledged that Meyer had acted inappropriately by "rushing" the microphone and forcing a question on Kerry.

Read and watch the video of the OCALA.COM news story in toto.

Amnesty faces ban in Northern Ireland's Catholic schools

The Catholic church in Northern Ireland has started to instruct schools to disband Amnesty International support groups because of the human rights organisation's pro-abortion stance.

A spokesman for the church in Ireland confirmed that one of its grammar schools in Greater Belfast had been advised to wind up its Amnesty group. He also revealed that the Irish bishops will meet next month to discuss the presence of Amnesty in all Catholic schools.

Amnesty's policy that rape and incest victims should be entitled to abortions has led to calls from senior members of the Catholic church in Britain and Rome for a withdrawal of support from the organisation.

The Guardian has the full story.

Prinsjesdag - 18 september 2007


Today, the queen has read out her "troonrede" ("speech from the throne") before the Dutch parliament in Den Haag. It's not exactly hers, but an outline of the government's plans for the coming year.

Prinsjesdag is somewhat analogous to the President's State of the Union speech (SOU is not required by our Constitution btw, just an address. George Washington and John Adams both delivered the address in person. It was deliberately modelled on the Speech from the Throne with which the framers of the constitution were familiar from their British heritage. Thomas Jefferson began the tradition of sending a written message because, as a staunch republican, he thought a speech was too monarchical. It was Wilson who delivered the first SOU before a joint session of Congress.)

Usually, reporters & other "talking heads" rip the SOU to shreds. Similar commentary and criticisms will happen today in the Netherlands.

Here's the 'gouden koets' (golden coach) en route to parliament.



Read more about Prinsjesdag on wikipedia.

Give me that ol' time religion to woo the voters

Richard Estes at American Leftists writes that John McCain...
has always been a man who celebrates the use of violence against defenseless people to achieve the imperial ends of the US. It is difficult, if not impossible, to name a prominent American political figure who has advocated the use of military force as frequently, and as intensely, as John McCain.
So it's not surprising to read this bullshit about Sen. McCain - Associated Press -
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has long identified himself as an Episcopalian, said this weekend that he is a Baptist and has been for years. Campaigning in this conservative, predominantly Baptist state, McCain called himself a Baptist when speaking to reporters Sunday and noted that he and his family have been members of the North Phoenix Baptist Church in his home state of Arizona for more than 15 years. "It's well known because I'm an active member of the church," the Arizona senator said. While McCain has long talked about his family's and his own attendance at the Arizona church, he appears to have consistently referred to himself as Episcopalian in media reports. In a June interview with McClatchy Newspapers, the senator said his wife and two of their children have been baptized in the Arizona Baptist church, but he had not. "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs," he said. He told McClatchy he found the Baptist church more fulfilling than the Episcopalian church, but still referred to himself as an Episcopalian.
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The Associated Press asked McCain on Saturday how his Episcopal faith plays a role in his campaign and life. McCain grew up Episcopalian and attended an Episcopal high school in Alexandria, Va.

"It plays a role in my life. By the way, I'm not Episcopalian. I'm Baptist," McCain said. "Do I advertise my faith? Do I talk about it all the time? No."

LET US PRAY: Almighty God, We beseech Thee to teach us to forgive the revolting hypocracy of these folks. It's getting harder every day. Amen

Keep in mind the law of unintended consequences

NY TIMES - Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy? - Many explanations have been offered to make sense of the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of medical wisdom — what we are advised with confidence one year is reversed the next — but the simplest one is that it is the natural rhythm of science. An observation leads to a hypothesis. The hypothesis (last year’s advice) is tested, and it fails this year’s test, which is always the most likely outcome in any scientific endeavor. There are, after all, an infinite number of wrong hypotheses for every right one, and so the odds are always against any particular hypothesis being true, no matter how obvious or vitally important it might seem.

Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, 18 September 1882

Today is the Feast of Edward Bouverie Pusey, one of the Oxford Tractarians in the church.
Here are the readings for today.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Brett Somers, R.I.P.


Brett Somers, actress, comedian, and game show panelist has died, aged 83. She will be remembered for her caustic and irreverent humour.
On “Match Game,” with Gene Rayburn as host, contestants would try to match answers to nonsense questions with a panel of celebrities, who offered racy quips and putdowns. Shows from its 1973-79 run, featuring regulars like Ms. Somers, Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly,

www.brettsomers.com

Netherlands Film Festival presents Dutch Film Canon

The Netherlands Film Festival has released its list of most important films in Dutch cinema.
The Canon consists of a list of important, significant Dutch films that reflect the multifaceted nature of Dutch cinema history, plus a list of key moments and events in this history.

Examples of subjects addressed are the role of film censorship, the significance of Film Factory Hollandia, the Polygoon newsreel and the arrival of the sound film.

In total, the commission selected 16 films: the earliest one from the dawn of the 20th century, the latest one on the verge of the 21st. They are feature films and documentaries; short and long films; in black-and-white and colour; live-action and animation; popular movies and experimental productions.

  • De mésaventure van een Fransch heertje zonder pantalon aan het strand te Zandvoort, Willy & Albert Mullens, 1905
  • Een Carmen van het noorden, Maurits Binger & Hans Nesna, 1919
  • Regen, Joris Ivens & Mannus Franken, 1929
  • De Jantjes, Jaap Speyer, 1934
  • Houen zo!, Herman van der Horst, 1952
  • Fanfare, Bert Haanstra, 1958
  • Als twee druppels water, Fons Rademakers, 1963
  • Blind kind, Johan van der Keuken,1964
  • Ik kom wat later naar Madra, Adriaan Ditvoorst, 1965
  • Living, Frans Zwartjes, 1971
  • Turks Fruit, Paul Verhoeven, 1973
  • Flodder, Dick Maas, 1986
  • Het Zakmes, Ben Sombogaart, 1992
  • De Noorderlingen, Alex van Warmerdam, 1992
  • Het is een schone dag geweest, Jos de Putter, 1993
  • Father & Daughter, Michael Dudok de Wit, 2000
Most of the films are unknown to me and unavailable either in VHS or DVD formats. On that list, I've seen only Turks Fruit, which I really didn't like.

Neither is Antonia's Line nor De Aanslag on the list. No mention of two other Verhoeven films, Soldaat van Oranje or Spetters, which I've seen and love.
Everyone has their reasons. - Jean Renoir

Thanks to 24oranges for the heads-up.

A Feather on the Breath of God: Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, and Mystic, 17 September 1179

Hildegard wrote explicitly about the natural world as God's creation, charged through and through with His beauty and His energy; entrusted to our care, to be used by us for our benefit, but not to be mangled or destroyed.

"Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around Him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honor. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God."

Here are the readings appointed for the Feast of Hildegard of Bingen.

More on Hildegard.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wi-Fi Radiation Action Needed

Europe's top environmental watchdog is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to radiation from Wi-Fi, mobile phones and their masts. It suggests that delay could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking and lead in petrol.

Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Here are the readings (Proper 19, Year C, RCL) appointed for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost.

Via Speaking to the Soul--

O eternal God,
Turn us into the arms and hands,
The legs and feet
Of your beloved Son, Jesus.
You gave birth to him in heaven
Before the creation of the earth.
You gave birth to us on earth,
To become his living body.
Make us worthy to be his limbs,
And so worthy to share
In his eternal bliss.


A prayer of Hildegard of Bingen, quoted in 2000 Years of Prayer, compiled by Michael Counsell. Copyright © 1999. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. www.morehousepublishing.com

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Missionary Position


THE LEAD: A group of young Mormons, out to counter their church's stodgy image have hit upon the idea of a beefcake calendar. As they explain it:

The 2008 Men on a Mission calendar features twelve handsome returned Mormon missionaries from across the United States who, for the first time ever, have dared to pose bare-chested in a steamy national calendar.

Usually seen riding their bicycles and preaching door-to-door, these hunky young men of faith explode with sexuality on each calendar page. Hand-selected for their striking appearances and powerful spiritual commitment, the "devout dozen" are stepping away from the Mormon traditions of modest dress, and "baring their testimony" to demonstrate that they can have strong faith and be proud of who they are, both with a sense of individualism and a sense of humor.

There's even a fan club to pick your secret missionary crush.

Time to Take a Stand on Democratic Flip Floppers

Paul Krugman pretty much lays it out on the table regarding the Petraeus dog and pony show and how the idiots in Washington respond. It was written a week ago, before the congressional hearings, but it hits the nail.
There are five things I hope Democrats in Congress will remember.

First, no independent assessment has concluded that violence in Iraq is down.
---
Second, Gen. Petraeus has a history of making wildly overoptimistic assessments of progress in Iraq that happen to be convenient for his political masters.
---
Third, any plan that depends on the White House recognizing reality is an idle fantasy.
---
Fourth, the lesson of the past six years is that Republicans will accuse Democrats of being unpatriotic no matter what the Democrats do.
---
Finally, the public hates this war and wants to see it ended. Voters are exasperated with the Democrats, not because they think Congressional leaders are too liberal, but because they don't see Congress doing anything to stop the war.



Friday, September 14, 2007

Time off to make babies at KLM


24oranges -- KLM international flight crews can now get 'ovulation leave.'

Conscious Choice


Although this new healthy eating scheme in the Netherlands pushes conventional brands, it does force people to think before they purchase food items.
Food which carries the ik kies bewust (conscious choice) sells better than products without, the AD newspaper reports on Friday.

Some 1,500 products claiming reduced levels of fat, sugar or salt, currently carry the logo which is aimed at encouraging healthy eating.

Branding & Sloganeering for btv

burlington has a new logo and slogan



"The West Coast of New England"



Well, they didn't ask me. I'll admit everyone is entitled to their opinion. I love design, but I think the process for this new look was uninspiring. Blah. No waterfront. A hint of mountains. The buildings on it push the Marketplace, but seem lifeless, a sort of generic Burlington greeting. But it lacks people.

No fan of CEDO, but when I was on the advisory board of the Community Justice Center, a part of the Center for Community and Neighborhoods, we helped choose this for the CCAN logo. A much better "alive" feel of the city. I wish the out-of-town design firm had incorporated some of the features of CCAN's into theirs.

Global Capitalism and Global Warming

Here's a snippet from an essay, Global Capitalism and Global Warming , by Dan DiMaggio and Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative, September 8, 2007
While some blame ordinary consumers for environmental problems, the reality is consumers do not control the resources or hold power in this system. A few hundred multinational corporations control the bulk of the world’s resources and make the most important decisions about what products will be produced and how. It is these huge corporations and their economic and political power, which is the main source of environmental damage.

Continue reading Global Capitalism and Global Warming...
Via GREEN LEFT INFOASIS- thanks.

Feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September

Here are the readings (RCL) for Holy Cross Day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr of Carthage, 13 September 258

Here are the readings appointed for the Feast of Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr of Carthage.


During the reign of the Emperor Valerian, Carthage suffered a severe plague epidemic. Cyprian organized a program of medical relief and nursing of the sick, available to all residents, but this did not prevent the masses from being convinced that the epidemic resulted from the wrath of the gods at the spread of Christianity. Another persecution arose, and this time Cyprian did not flee. He was arrested, tried, and finally beheaded on 14 September 258. (Because 14 is Holy Cross Day, he is usually commemorated on a nearby open day)... More

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dutch politician sets up Committee for ex-Muslims


Ehsan Jami, the eloquent, Persian-born, PVdA (Labour Party) polititican, committee founder, the Dutch male Hirsi Ali... much debated/debating rising star...best protected man in NL nowadays... who rejected Islam after the attack on the twin towers in 2001, has received death threats by Muslims, was physically attacked a few weeks ago and forced into hiding.
Mr Jami, 22, who has abandoned his studies as his political career has taken off, denied that the choice of September 11 was deliberately provocative towards the Islamic Establishment. “We chose the date because we want to make a clear statement that we no longer tolerate the intolerence of Islam, the terrorist attacks,” he said.

“In 1965 the Church in Holland made a declaration that freedom of conscience is above hanging on to religion, so you can choose whether you are going to be a Christian or not. What we are seeking is the same thing for Islam.”

But Maryam Namazie, chair of the Council of ex-Muslims in the UK who came to The Hague to sign a declaration of support for Ehsan Jami, doesn't see anything wrong with the date.
"If you're against the slaughter of people who were going about their daily business like New York and you're criticizing the movement that was responsible, what does that have to do with ordinary Muslims? I think that this is what political Islam often tries to do: equate themselves with all Muslims as a way of saying: 'If you criticise it, you're racist, you're attacking all Muslims'. That's not the case."

Steve Biko, the forgotten martyr, 12 September 1977

Thirty years ago today Steve Biko, the South African trade unionist, was murdered in police custody.
If the townships revolt undermined the myth of white omnipotence, Biko's death destroyed any claim the regime had to morality. Not only was he beaten unconscious while being detained without trial in Port Elizabeth, he was then carried nearly 1,000 miles in a police van, naked and in a coma, to Pretoria, where he died of a brain haemorrhage on 12 September, 1977.

John Henry Hobart, Bishop of New York, 12 September 1830

From a biography, written by Cynthia McFarland, Archivist and Historian, Diocese of Central New York:

Most bishops were content if they bestirred themselves for episcopal acts a hundred miles from home. Hobart had the energy of ten men: horses dropped under his exertions and he thought nothing of a winter visitation of 2,000 miles in western New York or 4,000 at a more seasonal time.

Early in his career he tackled publicly issues still dubious in the American mind: episcopacy and apostolic succession, arguably besting in print a redoubtable Presbyterian opponent.

He founded two institutions: a college in Geneva (later Hobart College) and General Theological Seminary in New York City, breaking his health to get both off the ground.

He not only looked after the Diocese of New York (46,000 square miles and virtual wilderness west and north of Albany) he served as rector of Trinity Parish, the wealthiest and most influential church in the country. Agreeing to oversee the diocese of Connecticut, since its high- and low-church party roils had prevented the election of a bishop, he covered its parishes more thoroughly than any bishop ever had. New Jersey, similarly bishopless, appealed to him, and he looked after it as well.
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His instinct for politics never overrode his principles. Once convinced of the rightness of his position, no wave of unpopularity would budge him. His friends adored him and even his enemies credited him with frankness and fearlessness. He held no grudges and played no games, two qualities that endeared him to many. In a turbulent New York State election for governor, a common saying was that only Hobart would have been easily elected.
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Early Sunday morning, September 12, 1830, John Henry Hobart died, aged 55. The funeral took place in New York City on September 16. The mourners included the governor of the state and the mayor of New York City, and the procession was estimated at nearly 3,000.

The third bishop of New York is buried under the chancel of Trinity Church, New York.


Here are the readings for the Feast of John Henry Hobart, Bishop of New York.

Monday, September 10, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Cynthia McKinney Withdraws Name From Consideration for Green Party Presidential Nomination

The announcement was posted on Cynthia McKinney's website at 13:31 today.

Although I was thrilled to meet Cynthia when she was in Vermont in August, she just had to have realised that the Greens, locally and nationally, are in such disarray. I'm not surprised at the decision she's taken. She's a smart cookie; the prospects would have been bleak for her to run as a Green. Right now, she's doing a speaking tour in the UK. There's a Draft McKinney 2008 site that's been up for a while, too. She's deffo left the Dems. Actually, there is some thought that she might run as an independent for US Senate. We could sure use her voice there!

General Petraeus speaks

Read lenin's "General Petraeus speaks" in toto over at The Tomb.

A Call for National Discource on Global Democratisation

US citizens make up only 5% of the world, and should really do a lot more sustained thinking about-- and listening to-- the views of the other 95% .

Lacking Vision

John Briggs wrote about the zoning rewrite saga in yesterday's Free Press. He describes it as a pro- vs anti-development thang.
On the pro-growth side in the debate are the council's four Progressives -- Knodell, Ashe, Clarence Davis, Ward 3, and Cheryl McDonough, Ward 2 -- and two Republicans, Wright and Decelles. They have introduced amendments that would allow high density building in outlying neighborhoods; eliminate or abbreviate the upper story setbacks on downtown buildings that allow "view corridors" to the lake; allow more on-street parking in the neighborhoods; and they are generally sympathetic to the arguments of the business community for a development-friendly city.

In opposition, though careful to acknowledge the need for development, are the council's Democrats -- Ellis, Ed Adrian, Ward 1, Bill Keogh and Joan Shannon, Ward 5, and Andy Montroll, Ward 6.

A number of councilors believe independent Sharon Bushor, Ward 1 -- who couldn't be reached for comment -- is sympathetic to the Democratic position, and have indicated independent Barbara Perry, Ward 6 -- also unavailable -- is more sympathetic to the Progressives/Republican coalition.


Surely, it's not that cut and dry, as I wrote in my LTE to the Free Press.

Briggs' article continues (and Freyne comments) --

Several councilors faulted Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss for his silence on the rewrite, with one observing that Kiss told the council at its last meeting about the hurricane damage to Burlington's Nicaraguan sister city, Puerto Cabezas, but said nothing about the rewrite.

"A weather report," said Keogh. "Why he's not there (on the rewrite), I don't know. If (former Mayor Peter) Clavelle were in there, he'd be leading the charge. The council's well ahead of Kiss on this. I think he's still catching up on his job description. I don't think he's exercised much leadership on this whole thing."

"He needs to communicate with councilors at the meeting," Gutchell said. "And he doesn't come across forcefully enough in saying we as a council aren't doing our job."

"I think there's a role for the mayor in making his vision known," said Montroll, adding he didn't understand Kiss' vision "completely, at this point."

Insectitude


Thanks to Ten Percent and Lenin's Tomb.
Nazi-style cartoon depicting Iranians as roaches fleeing a sewer, write your complaint to: gsheller@dispatch.com, michael.ramirez@investors.com

Racist pimpin' for an attack on Iran.

This is indeed reprehensible, but it's been done before.

Type 2 Ignorance

ANGLICANS ONLINE - In medical books, we note descriptions of two kinds of diabetes: Type 1, in which the victim's body does not produce enough insulin, and Type 2, in which the insulin is produced but the victim's body does not use it. In thinking about the relationship between ignorance and fear, we've thought for a while that perhaps there were two kinds of ignorance: Type 1 ignorance, in which the victim's brain does not receive enough knowledge, and Type 2 ignorance, in which the knowledge is delivered but the victim's brain does not use it. We're certain that, even in this modern world a full millennium past the end of the Dark Ages, that Type 2 ignorance has risen to meet the need for a breeding ground for bogeymen. Alas, there are generally medicines that one can take to remediate Type 2 diabetes; O that there could be a pill to control Type 2 ignorance!

Ethical Eating in a mad, mad, mad World: the Politics of Food

What is the best choice for food shoppers with good intentions? Can you change the world just by buying certain foods? Organic? Fair Trade? Local? Is ethical eating just a 'fad among the rich'? What is ethical? What is better? What about animal welfare? Is there an integrated balance? What about carbon labeling? Is localvore just protectionism marketed as green living? Sustainable living is not all that simple. Everyone has to decide what is important to them. Listen to a lively, informative debate on Radio Netherlands.

Alexander Crummell, Priest, Missionary, and Educator, 10 September 1898

Alexander Crummell was born in New York City in 1819, and wished to study for the priesthood, but received many rebuffs because he was black. He was ordained in the Diocese of Massachusets in 1844, when he was 25 years old, but was excluded from a meeting of priests of the diocese, and decided to go to England. After graduating from Cambridge, he went to Liberia, an African country founded under American asupices for the repatriation of freed slaves. Crummell hoped to see established in Liberia a black Christian republic, combining the best of European and African culture, and led by a Western-educated black bishop. He visited the United States and urged blacks to join him in Liberia and and swell the ranks of the Church there. His work in Liberia ran into opposition and indifference, and he returned to the United States, where he undertook the founding and strengthening of urban black congregations that would provide worship, education, and social services for their communities. When some bishops proposed a separate missionary district for black parishes, he organized a group, now known as the Union of Black Episcopalians, to fight the proposal. - written by James Kiefer, from the Episcopal Calendar--1994 addition

Here are the readings appointed for the Feast of Alexander Crummell, Priest, Missionary, and Educator, 10 September 1898.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Here are the readings (Proper 18, Year C, RCL) appointed for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Il Grande Maestro

Check out this post by Libby Purves in The Times: Farewell Pavarotti.

Study: Cell phone use in hospitals hazardous

Study: Cell phone use in hospitals hazardous: A Dutch study reported that the use of cell phones in hospitals is hazardous and causes electromagnetic interference in ventilators and pacemakers. Cell phones should be used at least one meter away from hospital beds and equipment, researchers suggested.

Nibbling on Morbier


I live in the neighbourhood, so around 9ish I hopped on over to the scene up and down Pine Street. The venues were more spread out than in past years; the crowds seemed sparse. Scènes de la Vie de Bohème?

Drew Matott was deep-frying books! The Free Press implied that was a "different" stunt. But I think they miss the point - to me it was truly "public art" and a talented artist's humourous commentary on our McArtish culture (Recyling the left-over oil for biofuel would have been OTT).

The Freeps headline lamented the "scant" sales, and the comments for that report complained about the challenge for artists to sell their products. Look at the BFP's constant consumerist cry: "Business, culture smart mix at Art Hop." Remove the comma, and you get the picture (or the sculpture, photo, etching, or ceramica). Scant mention of celebration of the arts. I ran into an artist friend, who was celebrating the art for the art's sake. But he had a sad look on his face: "It's all become so commercial," he sighed as he popped a morsel of Morbier into his mouth. I also spied Michael Monte, retiring director of CEDO, surrounded by his groupie fans. You know, there was even a fashion show!?! Shades of the Met's exhibits celebrating celebrities Diana Vreeland or Lagerfeld (buy me! buy me!) What's next? Fashion week in Burlington? Bertha Church négligées? I'm no critic, but to me a lot hanging on the walls was pure schlock - kitschy calendar art or stuff you'd see in an art school student exhibition. But these kinds of events do give a chance for new artists to show their work. Paradox.


A cursory glimpse, sometimes a quick in and out, inside the various galleries showed food and wine were being consumed, for sure. Trendy cheeses, tasty wines. Remember, the Art Hop's major sponsor is Ben and Jerry's. Feed your face, but what about feeding your heart and soul?

Starving artists? The Burlington Bourgeoisie's glamourous dreams: using their money to buy an investment as a shield from the world? Is the Art Hop no longer Counter-culture? What's happened to the South End Art Hop is the same thing that happened to Houston's Westheimer Arts Festival, when I lived in Texas. Commercialism abounded.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Madeleine L’Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time, R.I.P.

One stormy night a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and fantastic journey—a journey that will threaten their lives and our universe. -- A Wrinkle in Time


I was very fortunate to have met Madeleine L’Engle through mutual friends when I was a teen-aged boy, just as I had begun to read "Wrinkle." The acclaimed children's author has died, aged 88 years old, in New York.


“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.

“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”


Coincidentally, Madeleine L'Engle and my mother both attended Ashley Hall in Charleston, SC. Today would have been my mother's 94th birthday. And my mother gave me the copy of "Wrinkle," lo, those many years ago. Laudate!

Crème de la Crème!

Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.
You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.


Although I'm more a coq au vin sorta garçon, as soon as I saw chicken with cream sauce and the choices for a dream car, I knew the end result.




To toujoursdan at Culture choc: Merci bien!

We are not amused....


It happened a year ago; the story broke at the end of August. Everyone's not amused with Wiki, apparently, so why not a Royal Edit?

ASSOCIATED PRESS -
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A Dutch royal couple acknowledges altering a Wikipedia entry about a 2003 scandal that forced the prince to renounce his claim to the throne.

Prince Johan Friso, son of the reigning Queen Beatrix, and Princess Mabel of Oranje-Nassau are the latest to be embarrassed in a spate of discoveries of vanity changes to Wikipedia entries. Such self-serving amendments are frowned upon in the Web encyclopedia that "anyone can edit."

The original scandal broke in 2003 when Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende refused to support the prince's marriage to the princess, then known as Mabel Wisse Smit.

If you want to be amused: Dutch royals caught revising Wikipedia
by Toby Sterling, Associated Press Writer, 30 August 2007

Oh Mary!


I wonder if the Desert Fathers would have liked to experience this in their mystical moments... Mother Earth rising out of the desert?

GROUP NEWS BLOG - Virgin Galactic announced plans to build a gigantic vagina in the New Mexico desert.

Want to bust your cherry in space? Try Virgin.

Virgin straps its customers into a penis shaped space ship, gets them off thrusting and lifting their trembling separated legs and bodies hard against gravity all the way... Read all about it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

America's oldest worker is in Vermont!

Roy Jenkins is 101 and has worked at the Champlain Valley Expo since the 1970s.

Fanatical Fear and Loathing

COUNTERPUNCH The Politics of Blind Hatred Who Are the Fanatics? --
Americans would be astonished at the criticisms in the Israeli press of the Israeli government's policies toward the Palestinians and Arabs generally. In Israel facts are still part of the discussion. If the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, could replace Fox "News," CNN, New York Times and Washington Post, Americans would know the truth about US and Israeli policies in the MIddle East and their likely consequences.

On September 1, Haaretz reported that Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, which represents 900 Congregations and 1.5 million Jews, "accused American media, politicians and religious groups of demonizing Islam" and turning Muslims into "satanic figures."

Read the rest: Who are the Fanatics?
by Paul Craig Roberts Counterpunch 5 September 2007

New York & Philly Taxis on Strike

Here's a round-up about yesterday's stoppage. The strike is about the use of GPS technology in cabs, paying fares by credit card. Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of Gotham, claims that "consumers" will like it, and the use of GPS has nothing to do with the privacy rights of hacks or the customers who ride in the cabs. NPR, in it's reports I heard yesterday, just focused on the economics and profits; nowt about the potential misuse of these machines. What's next? CCTV cameras?

The "massive," imminent" German terrorist plot

Hardly , as Left I explains.

It's capitalism or a habitable planet - you can't have both

Via The Tomb - many thanks for this:

Guardian - It's capitalism or a habitable planet - you can't have both
There is no meaningful response to climate change without massive social change. A cap on this and a quota on the other won't do it. Tinker at the edges as we may, we cannot sustain earth's life-support systems within the present economic system.

Capitalism is not sustainable by its very nature.

In reality, power concentrates around wealth. Private ownership of trade and industry means that the decisive political force in the world is private power. The corporation will outflank every puny law and regulation that seeks to constrain its profitability. It therefore stands in the way of the functioning democracy needed to tackle climate change. Only by breaking up corporate power and bringing it under social control will we be able to overcome the global environmental crisis.

Read it all: It's capitalism or a habitable planet - you can't have both
By Robert Newman Guardian Thursday February 2, 2006

COMMENT: Let's apply the above to what's happening closer to home. We're all interconnected. (Earth to Vermont? Are you listening?) Burlington can't just operate in its own little bubble. Would that the profit-minded Reprogocrats on City Council keep this in mind in their deliberations on the draft zoning ordinance. Our representatives claim to have Burlington's future at heart, but are short-sighted in their rush to grab all development dollars they can consume.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Get rid of that Madonna

Faith Central/The Times - Pilgrims flying Vatican Airways have been forced to jettison Holy Water gathered on their pilgrimage because even blessed water is subject to the strict liquid ban on all flights. One man preferred to drink his Holy H20 than pour it down an airport drain but thousands of bottles in the shape of the Madonna have been left at security gates.

"Hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public". . .

Yes, we all know about fluoride, but a recent BBC report notes traces of Prozac in UK drinking water.

The Last Resort

I adore animals, but his story from RADIO NETHERLANDS shows to what ridiculously extreme lengths dog owners will go to pamper their pets -

De Telegraaf also has good news, at least for dogs. The newspaper has discovered that a luxury villa park for dogs will soon be built in the town of Gilze-Rijen. The five-star hotel called Dog Resort will accommodate dogs whose owners are on holiday. The resort will feature an Olympic-size swimming pool, a dog playground and super-deluxe villas with television and air-conditioning. Overweight dogs can participate in special classes to help rid them of their extra kilos.

2006 Lancet Study Co-Author Les Roberts on Iraqi War Deaths

Via (with thanks) Green Left Infoasis

By Suzi Weissman, Beneath the Surface, August 20, 2007

We begin with Les Roberts - who co-authored the Lancet study published in 2006 that scientifically estimated Iraqi deaths at 650,000 – and ask him about the methodology used, why it was dismissed by both media and the government and whether it can be extrapolated and updated for now.
- - -
Les Roberts, an epidemiologist at Columbia University's Mailman School of Health, became prominent in the news just before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, for his study estimating that 100,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed in the Iraq war, at a time when official U.S. government estimates were much lower. In October 2006, an expanded follow-up study was released that gave a point estimate of 651,000 deaths having occurred, within a 95 percent confidence interval from 300,000 to 900,000.

Go:listen to it all.

There's also an lengthy interview, about half-way in, with education reformer, Jonathan Kozol, which is also well worth your time.

Odd clothes and unorthodox views - why MI5 spied on Orwell for a decade

Guardian Books 4 September 2007
The extent to which Special Branch police monitored George Orwell as a suspected communist has been revealed in papers disclosed for the first time today at the National Archives in Kew.
The documents, which include details of surveillance between the 1920s and 60s, indicate not only the wide range of groups and individuals being watched by police but also officers' spectacular ability to misjudge what they saw. The obtuseness of some exasperated their superiors.

A Sergeant Ewing of Special Branch, monitoring Orwell's attempt to recruit Indians to work for the BBC's India service in January 1942, noted: "This man has advanced communist views ... He dresses in a bohemian fashion both at his office and in his leisure hours."

Read it all: Odd clothes and unorthodox views - why MI5 spied on Orwell for a decade
By Stephen Bates in The Guardian 4 September 2007

I'm filing this under "you can't make this stuff up," but they did.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The simple life

The simple life is the way to tackle climate change [emphasis mine]

Mary Grey: Credo

The events of this summer have finally changed awareness as to the potentially calamitous nature of climate change. British towns under water; British people without drinking water; half of Southern Europe roasting, many of its forests aflame. And that’s without factoring in the devastating floods of the southern hemisphere, with, on the horizon, hurricanes threatening.

But, sadly, changed awareness does not automatically lead to effective change: part of the tragic aspect of human nature is to recognise the truth but to balk at the obvious consequences for altered patterns of living. Cutting carbon emissions involves concepts such as simplicity, austerity, even sacrifice – concepts counter-cultural to a society that privileges excessive consumerism and celebrity lifestyles. Yet here’s where faith communities must take a lead, drawing on ancient traditions of disciplinary practice and ascetic living. If this sounds uninviting, let us put it in the context of the recovery of prophecy. Forget the stereotype of the bearded, angry figure denouncing society. Focus instead on groups and communities who embody an alternative way forward. Prophetic communities seek a more profound approach than, for example, carbon offsetting. Their ultimate aim is the transformation of society – all resistance and protest is for this deeper goal. There is more to it: prophetic communities seek to rebuild relationships with scientists, recognising that the historical divorce between religion and science has been damaging to both. Religion has tended to speak in abstractions, to be defensive, even negative, about scientific discovery, so that faith leaders – until very recently – have failed to give the necessary leadership in the context of the ecology crisis. Even worse, they have frequently delivered a privatising message, so that adherents have not acquired the tools to link cherished beliefs with public life. Science, on the other hand (with some exceptions), has been encouraged to develop instrumentally, with limited ethical concerns, frequently allowing the genie out of the bottle without the calculation of consequences.

Because religions also draw on traditions of compassion, they offer resources to rebuild and cultivate the broken links with communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. NGOs, women’s ecumenical groups, the Make Poverty History campaign and eco-feminist groups have been forging these links for some time. Awareness of how our lifestyles are creating death-dealing conditions for thousands can harness the energies of communities to act to transform relationships between rich and poor countries, and human and nonhuman forms of life.

This action is undergirded by the need to change ways of thinking, specifically to conceive of time differently. We need to think beyond “time between elections”, the time span of global capitalism, or even the time of our own life span. Healing the ravages of climate change needs people to think across several generations.

This brings me a full circle to our cultural resistance to simplicity and austerity. It may seem farfetched in these days when we are remembering the birth of India as an independent nation, to invoke the figure of Gandhi. He, a loyal Hindu, was fully aware of the potential of all faiths for creating a just society. But he was also aware of the need to live nonviolently, in a lifestyle of simplicity and austerity, for the wider vision of flourishing offered to the most vulnerable people of the earth. He would recall us to our religious roots today to discover ways our faith stories reveal nonviolent practices of living with the Earth, ultimately far more productive of happiness and wellbeing than the way humanity currently transcends nature’s limits.

Mary Grey is Professorial Research Fellow, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham. Her latest book is To Rwanda and Back: Liberation Spirituality and Reconciliation (Darton, Longman and Todd, £10.95)

The simple life is the way to tackle climate change
From The Times 1 September 2007

COMMENT: Here's the thing of it, however. Living in Vermont is not simple, nor is it affordable.