Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Black Friday Revealed How Poor Americans Really Are


From here:
Black Friday sales plummeted this year, leaving retailers completely stumped.

After weeks of declining gas prices, many analysts predicted the biggest holiday season ever. Industry groups like the National Retail Federation reasoned that Americans would use their fuel savings on gifts.

Despite encouraging forecasts, Black Friday weekend sales were down 11%. Cyber Monday sales rose 8%, falling short of many predictions.

So where are the customers? They're probably broke, according to some analysts and executives.
Then, after reporting that the only stores that did well on Black Friday were deep discounters, like Kohl's and Family Dollar stores, comes the "take-away" line from this story:

"Health insurance premiums have increased between 39% and 56% since early 2013, meaning additional costs of $230 per month for the average family."  

Yeah, that's certainly been my experience.  When you're paying 39% to 56% more for health insurance than you were in 2013 (before Obamacare kicked in) it makes it hard for Christmas to be like it once was.

So what was that about the "Affordable Care Act"??? 
 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving

Of all the things one could give thanks for on this special day, it seems that this one is the first and greatest:




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Oregon immigration vote is a warning for Obama

From here:
The fate of a little-noticed ballot measure in strongly Democratic Oregon serves as a warning to President Barack Obama and his party about the political perils of immigration policy.

Even as Oregon voters were legalizing recreational marijuana and expanding Democratic majorities in state government, they decided by a margin of 66-34 to cancel a new state law that would have provided driver's licenses to people who are in the United States illegally.

Obama is considering acting on his own, as early as this week, to possibly shield from deportation up to 5 million immigrants now living illegally in the country. Some Republicans in Congress are threatening a government shutdown if the president follows through.

"The Oregon measure tells you these measures are not easy or simple," said Muzaffar Chishti of the Migration Policy Institute. "The political cost may be significant, even in blue states."
Read it all.
 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Regular pot smokers have shrunken brains, study says

From here:
Experimental mice have been telling us this for years, but pot-smoking humans didn't want to believe it could happen to them: Compared with a person who never smoked marijuana, someone who uses marijuana regularly has, on average, less gray matter in his orbital frontal cortex, a region that is a key node in the brain's reward, motivation, decision-making and addictive behaviors network.

[...]

Researchers noted that the IQ of the marijuana-using group was significantly lower than that of the non-using group — not a finding of the study, but an incidental factor that might be indirectly linked to marijuana use.
Read it all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

KENYA: Realignment of Anglican Communion is Done Deal Says Archbishop Wabukala

From here:
Recent news that Lambeth 2018 has been postponed, perhaps indefinitely, is the latest sign that the old institutions of the Communion no longer command confidence, according to Kenyan Archbishop Eliud Wabukala.  "We must remember that the fundamental reason for this is doctrinal.  We are divided because the Faith is threatened by unbiblical teaching," he added.

"In contrast, GAFCON 2 demonstrated that we were emerging as a new and effective 'instrument of unity' for the Anglican Communion."

The Kenya Primate noted that reality was underlined at the investiture of Archbishop Foley Beach as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America by the Primates gathered in Atlanta, representing GAFCON and the Anglican Global South, receiving him as a Primate of the Anglican Communion.

"It is a sign of great hope for the Gospel in the world.  It is not a small thing that has happened.  There was no need for us to be reminded of the reasons why GAFCON had called the Anglican Church in North America into being five years ago because the investiture demonstrated that the realignment of the Anglican Communion is now established and unstoppable.
Read it all

 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Iron Man vs. ISIS?

No, not really, of course.  But it was a good excuse to post one of my all-time favorite action movie rescue scenes:


Thursday, October 23, 2014

In the West, a Growing List of Attacks Linked to Islamic Extremism

When I first read this article from the New York Times, my first reaction was, "Well, Duh?"  It seems that one cannot go very long these days without hearing of yet another attack by someone who has embraced militant Islam—like the attack at the Canadian Parliament building yesterday.  However, what is significant is that the New York Times is commenting on it and providing a catalog of the events that have happened in the past couple of years, in an apparent break from our "Community Organizer-in-Chief" who continues to deny that these attacks have any connection to Islam, to maintain that they are not acts of terrorism, and to describe the attacks as "workplace violence."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

ACNA Archbishop Recognized as Primate in the Anglican Communion

http://www.virtueonline.org/sites/default/files/styles/news-large/public/IMG_2701_0.jpg?itok=Vimv9y1K

Archbishop Foley Beach was proclaimed a "Primate in the Anglican Communion" at his Investiture as Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America before a congregation of more than 2,000 on Thursday night at the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Seven archbishops and primates of the Anglican Communion, representing more than 50 million Anglicans, laid hands on him and announced, "Foley Beach, we welcome you as Archbishop and Primate in the Anglican Communion."

Archbishop Beach was anointed for his office by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, the Chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).  The Oaths he undertook were administered by Abp. Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, the Vice-Chairman of GAFCON.  Abp. Stanley Ntgali of Uganda, Abp. Onesiphore Rwaje of Rwanda, Abp. Stephen Than Myint Oo of Myanmar, Abp. Ezekiel Kondo of Sudan, Abp. Mouneer Hanna Anis Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Chairman of the Global South Primates, and Abp. Hector Zavala of the Southern Cone participated in laying hands on the new Archbishop.  Abp. Ben Kwashi and retired Abp. Greg Venables also took part.  The Primates of the Congo and Southeast Asia sent representatives.

The action comes amidst a controversy over who is and isn't a member of the Anglican Communion, —a controversy begun when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recently said in an interview with The Irish Gazette that there is little hope of the Anglican Church in North America becoming part of the Anglican Communion.  "It is not part of the Anglican Communion," he said.  He described the ACNA as a "separate church" and an "ecumenical partner." 

In an apparent response to Welby's statement, the Primates from the Global South who participated in Thursday evening's Investiture have made it abundantly clear where they stand.
 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Lambeth 2018: Cancelled or Not Called?

Several news sources are keeping us abreast of the developing story of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's cancellation of the Lambeth conference of Anglican bishops in 2018.  The news of the cancellation became public after Katharine Jefferts Schori announced it in response to a bishop's question at the recent TEC House of Bishops meeting in Taiwan.

For his part, Archbishop Welby is backtracking from the perception that the conference has been cancelled.  An Anglican Communion News Service article contained this quote:
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has responded to inaccurate media reports that the Lambeth Conference had been cancelled by saying, "As it hasn’t been called, it can’t have been cancelled."
These kinds of statements defy belief.  C'mon Justin, everyone knows that the Lambeth Conference of Bishops has met in the eighth year of each decade for more than 70 years.  Not to have it in 2018 is, for all intents and purposes, to cancel it.

Cancelling it, postponing it, not calling it—whatever—given the current climate in the Communion, is probably a wise thing to do.  More than 200 bishops declined to attend in 2008, following actions by the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada to depart from historic Christian faith and morals. 

Admittedly, all the positive rhetoric around the health of the Anglican Communion is what some leaders often believe is a necessity.  While being more candid (not to say honest) might be seen as too negative and terribly un-British, the spin regarding the situation of the Communion is so unbelievable as to be preposterous.  Consider this statement by Abp. Welby regarding his contact with the Primates:
"All the indications are that they want the Communion to flourish,” he said, “that they want to have meetings to discuss the issues that face us: How do we live as a Communion in a way that demonstrates very important differences over issues of sexuality?
Writing on Stand Firm, Sarah Hey rightly observes:
Well, no.  That is not the purpose of “meetings”—to decide how to live “as a Communion” while having “very important differences over issues of sexuality.”

The repeated statement by at least the Gafcon Primates, and many of the remaining Global South Primates is that the actions of The Episcopal Church are intrinsically communion-dividing.  It’s not a question of “how will the Communion divide”—that division, albeit internal, has already occurred.  The further question is not “how can we all live together in the midst of our profound disagreements” but is rather “what is to be done with the Provinces which have engaged in intrinsically communion-dividing actions?”

That is the question, to which an appropriate answer has already been provided by Scripture, tradition, reason, and 22 of the Anglican Communion Provinces. 
[Amen.  Amen.  Amen.]

Concurrently with this spin over the cancellation of the 2018 Lambeth conference comes a statement in an interview by Archbishop Welby that the Anglican Church in North America is not a part of the Anglican Communion.  Well, technically, if membership in the Communion is dependent on an invitation to a Lambeth Conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury, then no the ACNA is not a member.  Of course, Welby could change all that by simply inviting the ACNA bishops to the next Lambeth conference. 

In any event, there are two facts on the ground that Archbishop Welby needs to recognize: 

1.  The Anglican Communion is already divided, as A.S. Haley very ably documented.
2.  Twenty-two provinces (a majority of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion) already recognize the Anglican Church in North America (just as the Diocese of Northwest Australia did this past week).  These provinces also represent the overwhelming majority of the world's active, church-going Anglicans.

Imagine a Communion that embraced the vitality and orthodoxy of GAFCON and the Global South and that disciplined the decadent and heterodox churches of the West.  This could be a moment in which the Church of the 21st century stood proudly and boldly with the communion of saints down through the ages.  Instead, Archbishop Welby's failure to recognize the situation as it truly exists (and his worthless and inconsequential attempts at reconciliation) will only prolong the Anglican Communion's malaise.
 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Hillaire Belloc on Democrats?

Could Hillaire Belloc (1870-1953) have been writing about 21st century Democrats?  You be the judge:

The Barbarian hopes — and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too.  He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being.  Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marveling that civilization should have offended him with priests and soldiers ....  In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this, that he cannot make: that he can befog and destroy but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true.