Thursday, August 23, 2007

A case of cause or effect

From the Washington Post:

Bush Compares Iraq to Vietnam
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 22 -- President Bush defended his ongoing military commitment in Iraq by linking the conflict there to the Vietnam War, arguing Wednesday that withdrawing U.S. troops would lead to widespread death and suffering as it did in Southeast Asia three decades ago....

EXCUUUUSE ME.... It's sending troops in for a STUPID POINTLESS WAR that leads to widespread death and suffering. Yeah, just like Vietnam. That's what I said when Bush sent our troops in, to get killed. Deja vu, only sand instead of jungle.

Get our troops out and stop the insanity!

Is Bush dumber than we think?

Oy! IMPEACH the bastid. And he's still trying to make the Al Queda-Iraq-911 connection. Well, they have anti-American terrorists in Iraq now, that's for sure.

What that man has done to our country and other countries like this is tragic. I've been hearing from travelers how much people in other countries hate Bush, and hate Americans, because of him.

End of rant, for now.
Signing off.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An example for Nigeria

Bigamist Ordered to Give Pig and Buffalo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A Malaysian villager who took a second wife has been ordered by a court to compensate his first wife and their children with a buffalo and a pig, an official said Wednesday.

The Native Court in Penampang district on Borneo island annulled the man's 10-year marriage to his first wife and granted her custody of their three children Tuesday, said District Native Court Chief Innocent Makajil, who presided over the panel deciding the case.

"It is a symbolic punishment because he violated his people's customs by marrying more than once," Makajil said by telephone.

The identities of the couple are not being revealed due to a request by the wife, Makajil said.

The man, a self-employed 30 year old, is from Borneo's Kadazan-Dusun indigenous community. His second wife, whom he married earlier this year, is a Muslim, and he converted from Christianity to Islam, Makajil said.

Polygamy is rare within the group, he added.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Another quiz

Uh-oh. Another quiz. Grandmere Mimi had this one posted, "What Kind of Liberal Are You?"

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Working Class Warrior, also known as a blue-collar Democrat. You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.

Actually, I'm an all-breeds type, I think. On most questions, I wanted to check "all of the above."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Some interesting information

One thing I did hear this past week was some third-hand talk, that Bishop Howe told someone 17 parishes in Central Florida want to leave the Episcopal Church. That's out of 88 or 89 parishes in the diocese -- hardly an overwhelming majority.

If true, and I would guess it is, that's only around 20 percent of parishes who have run out or silenced the moderates and progressives, and set up shop with the Network/AAC. Forgive me if I sound a little pissed -- but that's what happens.

Most parishes are a mixed bag of conservatives, moderates and progressives, most of whom don't want to leave the Episcopal church.

If you want to listen to the diocesan board try to overrule the bishop, break the constitution and canons, still find a way to take the property, and convince themselves 80 percent of the people in the diocese are with them, go to the AAC-Central Florida Chapter Web site and listen to the June 21 meeting.

One member put it forward that the diocese should consider itself a member of the the holy catholic church, not the Episcopal Church.

You'll hear people saying things like, "I just think we're being held hostage to the constitution and canons of a church that's walked away from everything I've been taught," with "priests who are Muslims," etc., etc.

"Not in this diocese," Bishop Howe said.

"I can't stay under this presiding bishop and what she teaches," the woman continued.

"You're free to go," Bishop Howe replied.

"I may have to," she demurred.

They're planning for a split in the Communion, if the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't go in their direction, with a task force in place that will make preliminary recommendations Nov. 1, for consideration at the Nov.15 meeting. The bishop said he'd like to appoint the members from the diocesan board and standing committee, and they must consult with the chancellors.

Don Curran made a motion for a special convention mid-November, citing the Sept. 30 deadline of the Dar Es Salaam communique and TEC's anticipated rejection of it. "If there's a need for a constitutional change," he said.

Any proposed amendments require a 60-day notice before the regular January convention Jan. 25-26.

They also moved for a special convention in mid-March, presumably to withdraw from the Episcopal Church -- just in case.

The recording of the May 24 joint board-diocesan committee meeting, of which I transcribed parts earlier, is also on the Web site.

I haven't heard anything else of interest. It's been quiet, at least on the surface.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


It's been a wild and weird week, and an exhausting one. I don't know what's been going on TEC and AC-wise.

I covered a trial this week. A young man was charged with manslaughter with a firearm. That may be a more everyday trial in bigger cities, but this is a small town, and the victim was a well-loved member of the downtown community.

He was hit by a hollow-point bullet fired from a 9mm gun aimed down the sidewalk. The young man who fired the gun apparently always carried it with him. He had a concealed weapon permit.

What 22-year-old student needs to carry such a weapon with him? In my mind, drug dealers and gangsters carry around such weapons.

An argument started between this young man's cousin and another man in a bar, at a
pool table. The argument was aggravated by racial slurs hurled by the (white) cousin against the (black) men the cousin was arguing with.

Outside, the verbal threats and insults became more physical.

According to whose account you would believe, the fight consisted more of pushing and shoving (the version I believe), or the cousin was being beaten and his life was in danger, causing the young man on trial to whip out his 9mm and shoot down the sidewalk at one of the men in the other party.

The guys involved in the confrontation were about 15 feet away from the 22-year old shooter, who told police he saw one of the men's arm come down in a motion that made him think he had a knife.

People hearing the shouting had come outside a restaurant and were standing on the sidewalk, on the other side of the fight from the shooter. One of these bystanders was hit by the young man's bullet and died pretty much instantly on the scene, both lungs and his aorta pierced by the 9mm hollow-point bullet.

No one saw any weapon, until they saw this man's gun still pointing down the sidewalk, after he discharged it.

The defense was that the young man had the right to defend his cousin's life, as he would have the right to defend his own, making the accidental death justifiable.

The prosecutor argued, when one is the aggressor, the aggressor has to back down, and can't claim self-defense, so this variation of self-defense doesn't transfer to defending to someone who is acting as the aggressor. The cousin pulled his shirt off in the "let's fight" signal, and said he was gonna whup the other party (I'm using mild language; his was full of "F" words and "N" words), and after being wrestled into the car by the shooting cousin's car to leave at one point, got out and broke loose to go fight. "Confrontational" and "aggressive" and "wanting to fight" were the words witnesses used to describe him.

The prosecutor said firing down that sidewalk was reckless disregard for human life, and the taped police interview of the young shooter bore that out.

That disregard is what I find most disturbing about the shooting. He never showed the least feeling about taking the life of another. He never expressed any sorrow or dismay - absolutely nothing. He talked about thinking his cousin's life was in danger (which I might give him the benefit of the doubt on - maybe that was so in his perception) and telling the investigators what a good shot he was, and didn't need to use his sights as much as other people might.

When investigators asked him if he hadn't thought about the other people on the sidewalk, he said yes, but, “I thought the safety of my cousin’s life was more important.”

Even when the young man took the stand during the trial, he expressed no feeling about killing this man. The shooter said he hadn't known he'd shot and killed his victim when police interviewed him. This was a blatant lie; one witness testified to shouting, "You shot him! You killed him!" after the shooter fired.

The young shooter did dial 911 on his cell phone afterward. Too bad he didn't do that instead of shooting.

I heard something the jurors didn't, and that was the 911 tape from the incident. People filled the street after the shooting, and were screaming hysterically in the background about the victim being shot. The shooter was there on the scene as medics attended to the dead victim.

I don't know if jury reacted the same way I did to the tape, but they found the shooter guilty of manslaughter with a firearm.

They could have found him guilty of simple manslaughter or culpable negligence, both lesser charges, or innocent. Manslaughter with a firearm carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison. The judge may not impose the maximum, given the shooter's youth and lack of criminal history; the won't hold that hearing until he gets the results of the pre-sentencing investigation.

Many people who used to feel safe going out in our neat little downtown don't any more. That's too bad.

I keep asking myself why. Why this young man, who described himself as a student who didn't go out to bars much, who didn't even drink because of medical problems, carried that gun with him everywhere.

If he hadn't been carrying it, no one would have died. A few people might have been arrested for disturbing the peace, and finished the night in jail.

If he hadn't fired that gun down the sidewalk, nobody would be dead. Wouldn't have firing the gun into the air put an effective stop to the brawl, if all he wanted to do was protect his cousin? Yet, he chose to shoot down the sidewalk, which had a number of people on it, including his cousin.

If he had shouted, "Stop! Or I'll shoot," and shown the gun,wouldn't that have put an end to it? He didn't. He seemed to want to shoot somebody.

Now, he's taken a life, ruined his life and the lives of his parents, who were there throughout the trial and wept at the verdict, and damaged all the people who cared about the victim, for whom he showed no regard.

He told police during the interview, "I'm a pretty smart kid."

I'd disagree with that assessment.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove to resign

Is there something about this in the Book of Revelation?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Now I'm Spain

Uh-oh. I took the latest personality quiz. I picked this one up from Wormwood's Doxy, who picked it up from Eileen.

I also took the "What Kind of Animal Are You" quiz last week at Sharecropper's, and this is what I found: It told me I'm a deer, a little paranoid about hunters and rifles and stuff, but I should stay away from hunting lodges and headlights.

Good advice, probably :)

So anyway, now, I'm Spain:

You're Spain!

You like rain on the plain, as well as interesting architecture and
a diverse number of races and religions.  You like to explore a lot, but sailing,
especially in large groups, never really seems to work out for you.  Beware of pirates
and dictators bearing bombs.  And for heavens' sake, stop running around bulls!
 It's just not safe!

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The feast day of St. Clare

Today (Aug. 11) is the day we celebrate St. Clare. See the bio posted a couple of entries below.

Thank you, Clare, for your shining example of humility, courage and determination to serve Christ. You denied yourself, giving up a life of wealth and privilege, to take care of His sheep.

You remind us our joy is in the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Just a thought: Be all God meant you to be

I've been thinking about those 21 priests Bishop Lee of Virginia released from ordination. Poor guys, what will they do now?

I had a Google-search inspired vision: They can join the Progressive Universal Life Church (PULC).

The PULChritudinous Web site promises,

We want to help you reach your full potential in life. We want to help you become all that God meant you to be! The PULC offers ordination, degree & diploma programs to help you in your spiritual journey. Order our ministerial certificate now and become a legally ordained minister with the right to use the title "Reverend".
The Progressive Universal Life Church welcomes all individuals, regardless of race, creed or ethnic background. Our members are from all religious faiths and All Parts of the World. We Pray You Will Join Us! God Bless You!

Bring your concerns to PULC and leave with the confidence
that God will see to your every need.

Why a Doctoral Degree from PULC?

Religion, Theology, Divinity,
Counseling, Metaphysics,
Hypnotherapy, Parapsychology,
Holistic, Healing, Wellness,
New Age, Motivation & More!

And the church promises there's pretty good money in it.

Become an ordained minister and enjoy a new outlook on life! As a P.U.L.C. Minister (with the legal right to use the title "Reverend") you will be free to preach and teach according to the dictates of your heart.
OF THE MINISTRY including marriages, baptisms, funerals, services, etc. As a point of passing, thousands of Ministers
have become enormously wealthy performing simple religious ceremonies.

(Note: For a serious discussion of the matter, read Mark Harris' PRELUDIUM: Deposition and Recognition: A wee shell game..)

Saint Clare of Assisi

Imagine. Your well-to-do parents are arranging your marriage to a wealthy man. Your mother is a pious woman, who has pilgrimmed to the Holy Land.

Life is good.

Then, you're taken with this preacher who's taken a vow of poverty. Gossip around town is he runs through the streets naked. He's a crazy man. Your parents lock you up to protect you, like his parents had tried with him.

You leave home to follow him. You let him cut off your hair as a sign of the life of poverty and chastity to which you've sworn.

I wonder, Saint Clare, how much your heart burned with love for that man, known as Saint Francis of Assisi, for whom you cared tenderly through his life. You cared for all the poor, the sick, the needy, throughout your own life, and founded an order dedicated to that cause.

Clare's story is more dramatic than any fiction. Here's the official bio, by James Kiefer:

11 August 1253
Clare Offreduccio, born in 1194, was the daughter of a wealthy family in Assisi. When she was eighteen years old, she heard a sermon by Francis of Assisi, and was moved by it to follow the example of the Franciscan brothers and vow herself to a life of poverty. Her family was horrified, and brought her back home by force; but one night, in a gesture both tactical and symbolic, she slipped out of her house through "the door of the dead" (a small side door that was traditionally opened only to carry out a corpse) and returned to the house of the Franciscans. Francis cut off her hair, and placed her in a nearby convent. Later a house was found for her, and she was eventually joined by two of her sisters, her widowed mother, and several members of the wealthy Ubaldini family of Florence. Clare's best friend, Pacifica, could not resist, and joined them, too.

The sisters of her order came to be known informally as Minoresses (Franciscan brothers are Friars Minor = "lesser brothers") or as Poor Clares. When the order was formed, Francis suggested Clare for the Superior. But she refused the position until she turned twenty-one. They devoted themselves to prayer, nursing the sick, and works of mercy for the poor and neglected.

They adopted a rule of life of extreme austerity (more so than of any other order of women up to that time) and of absolute poverty, both individually and collectively. They had no beds. They slept on twigs with patched hemp for blankets. Wind and rain seeped through cracks in the ceilings. They ate very little, with no meat at all. Whatever they ate was food they begged for. Clare made sure she fasted more than anyone else. Despite this way of life, or perhaps because of it, the followers of Clare were the most beautiful young girls from the best families of Assisi.

The community of Poor Clares continues to this day, both in the Roman and in the Anglican communions.

PRAYER (contemporary language)

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty Might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Clare, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A meeting with African bishops

This letter from Bishop Kirk Smith of the Diocese of Arizona came to me across the listserv. It's an inspiration we all need right now.

Thank you, Bishop Smith.

July 27 E-Pistle

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For the past week I have been in Spain for an informal meeting between American and African bishops. Unlike most conferences, there was no communique or statement issued at the end of this gathering. That is because we did not come together to solve the problems of the Anglican Communion, but simply to get to know one another better. The "consultation" was sponsored by Trinity Church , Wall Street, and invitations were sent to every American parish which had a Companionship relationship with an African Diocese as well as any others who wished to attend. About 120 did so.

I believe that we all left our retreat center at El Escorial outside of Madrid with renewed hope for the future of our communion. It seemed clear to me that what unites us is far greater than any divisions we might have. I came away with the strong feeling that we are family and we are not going to allow anyone or anything to break that bond.

The other positive outcome was the strengthening of our common commitment to mission. Many of us were able to spend significant time together and learn about what is happening in our respective dioceses. Many new and deep friendships were made as we worshipped and did Bible study together. I got to know many new African bishops, and to bring greetings back from several Sudanese bishops to our own St Paul 's mission.

One thing became especially clear to me. Our African brothers and sisters want us to come and see them! When I suggested in one meeting that the money spent on plane tickets might be better spent on funding various projects, I was quickly reminded that "God created people before God created money!" Another way of saying that relationships are far more important than bank accounts. Our time together gave me some good ideas for ways we might do this which I will share with you at our upcoming convention.

One speaker summed up our time together well: "Jesus did not say, 'Be right as I am right'. He said, Love one another". I felt that love this past week. It is not limited by borders, cultures, or theology. It is what makes us Christ's family.