Posted by Kendall Harmon

Given what we’ve seen in Ukraine, the US and the EU need to work much more closely together on policy vis a vis the non-Russian former Soviet states. This policy can’t be seen as simply legalistic or commercial, expanding free trade zones or supporting the rule of law and the development of institutions; security issues are also involved.

More, Europe’s failure to develop coherent energy policy is clearly a contributing factor to Putin’s transparent contempt for the bloc as well as to Europe’s continuing vulnerability to Russian pressure. Europe’s countries have many voices when it comes to energy policy; the United States needs to play a larger and more constructive role in the continent’s musings over energy policy, and the new American reserves now coming on line could be part of a long term strategy to reduce Europe’s vulnerability to energy blackmail.

The US may also need to consider how it can play a more useful role in Europe’s internal debates over economic policy. Europe’s weakness before Russian pressure is both directly and indirectly attributable in part to the fallout from the euro disaster. Economic pain has divided the union, alienated many voters both from Brussels and their national authorities, reduced Europe’s energy and resources for external policy ventures, contributed to the bitterness over immigration and fueled the rise of the extreme right wing parties Putin now seeks to mobilize. Important American interests have been seriously harmed by the monetary muddle in Europe, and Washington needs to think more carefully about how it can play a more consequential and constructive role.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyEnergy, Natural ResourcesForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Around 100 girls are thought to have been abducted in an attack on a school in north-east Nigeria, officials say.

Gunmen reportedly arrived at the school in Chibok, Borno state, late last night, and ordered the hostel's teenage residents on to lorries.

The attackers are believed to be from the Islamist group, Boko Haram, whose militants frequently target schools.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, has been given until Tuesday to propose measures in response to the ongoing presence of Russian troops along the border with eastern Ukraine

NATO troops, including Americans, could be deployed to Eastern Europe in an effort to shore up defenses in allied countries that share a border with Russia, a top U.S. military official said Wednesday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--Eastern EuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 10, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A true story: This chimney, planted like a limbless live oak on a residential street, was built by imprisoned German soldiers during the final year of World War II.

City officials and preservationists want to protect the chimney as a piece of a forgotten America. But the property’s owners, members of a prominent Charleston family, see it as more than just an obstacle to their development plans.

They are Jewish, and they want it gone.

“Every time I see the structure, it makes me think about the ovens,” says Mary Ann Pearlstine Aberman, 79, who co-owns the land. “I don’t see any reason to make a shrine to Nazis.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Will Ross reports on the challenge of fighting Boko Haram, and watches rare footage filmed by the group of a recent attack.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



More than half of the 2.6 million Americans dispatched to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with physical or mental health problems stemming from their service, feel disconnected from civilian life and believe the government is failing to meet the needs of this generation’s veterans, according to a poll conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The long conflicts, which have required many troops to deploy multiple times and operate under an almost constant threat of attack, have exacted a far more widespread emotional toll than previously recognized by most government studies and independent assessments: One in two say they know a fellow service member who has attempted or committed suicide, and more than 1 million suffer from relationship problems and experience outbursts of anger — two key indicators of post-traumatic stress.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryIraq WarWar in Afghanistan

0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

US Secretary of State John Kerry has diverted his homebound flight at the last minute, for hastily arranged talks on the Ukraine crisis with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The decision came after President Vladimir Putin spoke to President Barack Obama by phone late on Friday.

Mr Obama has called on Russia to pull its troops back from Ukraine's border.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine

2 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nicholas Orogodo Okoh, believes strongly that the on-going National Conference must not fail, saying it is a great opportunity to resolve the challenges faced by Nigeria. He also speaks on the Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed many lives and affected the Church in the North-east and the controversial anti-gay law.

Excerpts from interview:
There are allegations lately that corruption has crept into Christianity with some men of God accused of sharp practices. How do you react to this?
I think you used an omnibus word ‘sharp practices’. I don’t know what it means because it could mean so many things. Can you be more specific?
Corruption has one definition, unethical practice. That is exactly what I am talking about.

Read it all (from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Responding to a public question following his talk at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus this week, Lord Williams said Russia had behaved “unlawfully” by moving troops into the region of Crimea, which is part of the sovereign state of Ukraine.

He said: “The annexation of Crimea is a legally pretty dubious venture. To have a plebiscite in a certain region of another sovereign state and declare that therefore you can annexe it seems to me a deeply worrying re-run of the 1930s.

“I’m wary of any military action to defend Ukraine against Russia. I’m looking hard to see what further diplomatic as well as sanction-based initiatives may follow because I don’t think it is simply a case of ‘wicked aggressive Russia and plucky little Ukraine’.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two women who were abducted by Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria have given a rare account of life as captives of the Islamist militants.

"They asked me if I am Christian or Muslim. I said I am Christian," said 23-year-old Liatu, as she recalled her ordeal in the hands of Boko Haram.

"On the 11th day [in captivity], they brought a man to me and said that he liked me and I should convert to Islam so that he can marry me."

She was stopped at a roadblock set up last year by the Islamist militant group. She said any Muslims employed by the government were killed on the spot, as Boko Haram had earlier warned them to leave their work.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A shell of a church in Liverpool struck by a bomb in World War Two could be sold, according to the city's mayor.

Talks about the future of St Luke's Church, which was destroyed by a bomb in 1941, were ongoing Joe Anderson said.

He added it would only be sold if the buyer protected it as a tribute to those who died in World War Two.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For decades a school of American strategists has bewailed what they call the nation's military "overreach" and urged a radical reduction in defense spending as good for world peace.

We are about to find out if they were right.

On the other side of the argument, proponents of a strong military noted that it is the U.S. military's presence abroad, backed by strong reinforcements, that has put a lid on regional wars and kept the sea lanes open.

And that, in turn, has created peaceful conditions necessary for an historic expansion of world trade that has lifted billions out of poverty and kept the United States the world's strongest economy.

We are also about to find out if they were wrong.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted March 19, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 130,000 people are said to have died in Syria’s civil war. United Nations reports of atrocities, Internet images of attacks on civilians, and accounts of suffering refugees rend our hearts. But what is to be done – and by whom?

Recently, the Canadian scholar-politician Michael Ignatieff urged US President Barack Obama to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, despite the near-certainty that Russia would veto the United Nations Security Council resolution needed to legalize such a move. In Ignatieff’s view, if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is allowed to prevail, his forces will obliterate the remaining Sunni insurgents – at least for now; with hatreds inflamed, blood eventually will flow again.

In an adjoining article, the columnist Thomas Friedman drew some lessons from the United States’ recent experience in the Middle East. First, Americans understand little about the social and political complexities of the countries there. Second, the US can stop bad things from happening (at considerable cost), but it cannot make good things happen by itself. And, third, when America tries to make good things happen in these countries, it runs the risk of assuming responsibility for solving their problems.

So what are a leader’s duties beyond borders?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group, Nigeria Arise Against Terror (NAAT), has called on the international community to help the federal government in the fight against terrorism.

NAAT stated this in support of the clarion call by the Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, for global effort to urgently end the orgy of terrorism ravaging the North-east region of the country.

In a statement issued by NAAT Publicity Secretary, Malam Abba Aliyu, at the weekend in Abuja, the interim National Coordinator of the group, Hon. Emeka Kanu-Nwapa, said NAAT had reasons to believe that most of the attacks in the region recently suggested that the war has gone beyond the Boko Haram insurgency and has now gone international.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Vladimir Putin put the annexation of Crimea on a fast track Tuesday morning, ordering the drafting of an accession agreement between Crimea and Russia.

Later in the day he will be making an unusual address to a joint session of the Russian parliament, where he will lay out his plans for the region.

The speech comes as a defiant Russia shows no sign of bending to American or European pressure over the Crimea crisis, which has turned into the sharpest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 18, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Monday, 105 lawmakers from both parties sent to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, urging him to change a relatively obscure uniform requirement for the U.S. armed forces that some argue infringes on religious beliefs.

People who observe religions that require specific hair or dress traditions have to seek an accommodation from a superior to break the Defense Department's uniform requirements.

Dr. Kamal Kalsi was the first observant Sikh to apply for the accommodation since the rule took effect in the 1980s. As a devout Sikh, Kalsi doesn't cut his hair. He wraps his hair up in a turban and doesn't shave his beard. Keeping his hair long is an obligatory article of his Sikh faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

0 Comments
Posted March 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Having failed to prevent a Russian-sponsored referendum in Crimea, the Obama administration and its European allies refocused their efforts Sunday on keeping Moscow from annexing the autonomous Ukrainian region and expanding its military moves into other parts of Ukraine.

In a telephone call to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — his third in two weeks — President Obama said that the referendum “would never be recognized by the United States and the international community” and that “we are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions,” the White House said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeRussiaUkraine

3 Comments
Posted March 16, 2014 at 9:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After years of heated public debate and political wrangling, Israel’s Parliament on Wednesday approved landmark legislation that will eventually eliminate exemptions from compulsory military service for many ultra-Orthodox students enrolled in seminaries.

The issue has become a social and political lightning rod in a country where most Jewish 18-year-olds are subjected to compulsory military service for up to three years. Many Israelis, who see conscription as part of a deeper culture war between the secular and modern Orthodox Jews and the ultra-Orthodox, have been demanding a more equitable sharing of the responsibilities of citizenship and voted in last year’s elections on that basis.

Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid, one of the parties that promoted the new legislation in the governing coalition, wrote on his Facebook page soon after the vote, “To the 543,458 citizens of Israel who elected Yesh Atid: Today you have passed the equal sharing of the burden.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments
Posted March 16, 2014 at 11:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Chair of the Commission, Bishop Stephen Platten said:

"It is hard to underestimate the significance of the First World War for our national life. The Liturgical Commission is conscious that people will wish to commemorate its centenary in a number of ways. There will of course be national events such as the planned Vigil Service in Westminster Abbey on the evening of Monday 4 August, but many will want to hold local commemorations in a range of contexts. It is with these in mind that the Commission has prepared these resources, specifically with parish clergy and other worship leaders in mind. It is timely to launch them on the eve of the official commemoration of the Revd Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy ('Woodbine Willie'), remembered for his outstanding service as a military chaplain in the First World War."

Read it all and follow the links.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed Forces* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted March 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The West is not about to go to war over Ukraine, nor should it. Not enough of its interests are at stake to risk a nuclear conflict. But the occupation of Crimea must be punished, and Mr Putin must be discouraged from invading anywhere else.

Mr Putin expects a slap on the wrist. Sanctions must exceed his expectations. Shunning the G8 summit, which he is due to host in June, is not enough. It is time to impose visa bans and asset freezes on regime-connected Russians (the craven parliamentarians who rubber-stamped their army’s deployment should be among the first batch); to stop arms sales and cut Kremlin-friendly financial firms from the global financial system; to prepare for an embargo on Russian oil and gas, in case Ukrainian troops are slaughtered in Crimea or Russia invades eastern Ukraine. And the West should strengthen its ability to resist the Kremlin’s revanchism: Europe should reduce its dependence on Russian gas (see article); America should bin restrictions on energy exports; NATO should be invigorated.

Ukraine needs aid, not only because it is bankrupt, but also because Russia can gravely harm its economy and will want to undermine any independent-minded government. America and the EU have found some billions in emergency funds, but Ukraine also needs the prospect, however distant, of EU membership and a big IMF package along with the technical assistance to meet its conditions. A vital start is a monitored election to replace today’s interim government and the parliament, which is for sale to the highest bidder.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine

0 Comments
Posted March 9, 2014 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

#WithSyria is a global coalition urging world leaders to end the violence and suffering of millions of Syrians. The Church of England has joined the campaign and opens the call to provinces across the Communion.

March 15th marks the third anniversary of the crisis. #WithSyria wants to make sure this year is the last. They said:

"After three years of violence, we must show our leaders that we will not give up on the people of Syria, that they must act to bring an end to the bloodshed and to get aid to all those who need it."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria

1 Comments
Posted March 6, 2014 at 11:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Russia has told the United Nations Security Council that it has occupied Crimea at the request of the ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, in order to protect civilians from armed extremists....

The American ambassador, Samantha Power, dismissed the Russian position. “Listening to the representative of Russia, one might think that Moscow had just become the rapid response arm of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” she said. “So many of the assertions made this afternoon by the Russian Federation are without basis in reality.

“It is a fact that Russian military forces have taken over Ukrainian border posts. It is a fact that Russia has taken over the ferry terminal in Kerch. It is a fact that Russian ships are moving in and around Sevastapol. It is a fact that Russian forces are blocking mobile telephone services in some areas. It is a fact that Russia has surrounded or taken over practically all Ukrainian military facilities in Crimea. It is a fact that today Russian jets entered Ukrainian airspace.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeRussiaUkraine

1 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Whatever course the Russian intervention may take, it is not an attempt to stop a fascist coup, since nothing of the kind has taken place. What has taken place is a popular revolution, with all of the messiness, confusion, and opposition that entails. The young leaders of the Maidan, some of them radical leftists, have risked their lives to oppose a regime that represented, at an extreme, the inequalities that we criticize at home. They have an experience of revolution that we do not. Part of that experience, unfortunately, is that Westerners are provincial, gullible, and reactionary.

Thus far the new Ukrainian authorities have reacted with remarkable calm. It is entirely possible that a Russian attack on Ukraine will provoke a strong nationalist reaction: indeed, it would be rather surprising if it did not, since invasions have a way of bringing out the worst in people. If this is what does happen, we should see events for what they are: an entirely unprovoked attack by one nation upon the sovereign territory of another.

Insofar as we have accepted the presentation of the revolution as a fascist coup, we have delayed policies that might have stopped the killing earlier, and helped prepare the way for war. Insofar as we wish for peace and democracy, we are going to have to begin by getting the story right.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMediaPsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. and its European allies can take steps to isolate Russia diplomatically, which would undermine Putin's claim that his country is again ascendant as a world leader. They can also take steps that would pinch the Russian elite, which relishes its access to Western Europe.

Some of the moves would sting. But none is likely to greatly change the behavior of Putin, experts say.

"Putin is prepared for this kind of international backlash," said Eugene Rumer of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who was the U.S. national intelligence officer for Russia until December. "In his mind, this won't be paying too much of a price."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeRussiaUkraine

8 Comments
Posted March 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the moment, Putin is doing very well in Ukraine. Clueless arrogance by both US and EU policymakers gave Putin a heaven-sent opportunity to block a worst-case scenario for Russia in Ukraine last fall. Then-President Yanukovych, a man of the east long associated with Russia, was moving toward signing an Association Agreement with the EU that offered a historic opportunity for a united Ukraine to move firmly west. But both Washington and the EU underestimated Putin’s determination to block that outcome and failed to ensure that Yanukovych went all the way. Putin seized the opportunity and with a combination of official and perhaps unofficial, more personal incentives, was able to keep Yanukovych from finalizing the deal.

Yanukovych’s obvious yielding to Moscow’s blandishments touched off the unrest that would ultimately bring him down and set the current crisis afoot. When pro-European street protesters overthrew Yanukovych, there were plenty of Western analysts (some, unfortunately, working for governments) who drew the comforting but deeply false conclusion that these events represented a triumph of the West. Instead, the revolution (Kiev’s third since 1990), unleashed the chaos that gave Putin his chance for his Crimean gambit. Now Putin seems to be seizing the most important military assets Russia holds in the country and can reasonably hope to increase Russia’s influence throughout the country as a weak government struggles with intractable problems.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeRussiaUkraine

0 Comments
Posted March 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

GCHQ, Britain’s electronic spying agency, intercepted and stored images of 1.8m Yahoo users taken from their personal webcams even though most of them were not suspected of wrongdoing, documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden show.

A secret programme called “Optic Nerve”, run in conjunction with the US National Security Agency, recorded millions of webcam images from ordinary internet users – as many as one in 10 of them sexually explicit – “in bulk”, the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday.

“Optic Nerve” tapped into Yahoo users’ accounts and took still images from their computer webcams every five minutes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ukraine's interior minister has accused Russian naval forces of occupying Sevastopol airport in the autonomous region of Crimea.

Arsen Avakov called their presence an "armed invasion".

But Russia's Black Sea Fleet has denied that Russian servicemen are taking part.

The other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, has also been occupied by armed men. The men are thought to be pro-Russia militia.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Unfortunately, in the eyes of many Central Asians, America’s interest does not extend beyond gas and oil. Washington’s decision to pull back from Afghanistan in 2014 will likely erode American influence at the very moment when it could do the most good — especially as rising prosperity increases pressure for governments to loosen their grip. Greater freedom presents great dangers, as the disillusions of the Arab Spring have so sadly demonstrated.

Yet it may be in Central Asia, rather than the Middle East, Pakistan or Indonesia, where the ideals that both Presidents Bush and Obama have espoused will be most actively pursued in coming years. This is not to suggest that Washington pay less attention to the Arab world, but perhaps it is time for us to listen to our own lectures on the possibilities of a peaceful and intellectually open version of Islam, and to back those societies that are trying most successfully to advance it today.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsia* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After herding the female students into a classroom, Islamist militants from the group Boko Haram fatally burned or shot dozens of male students in an attack late Monday on a state college in northeastern Nigeria, officials said on Tuesday. It was the fourth school assault attributed to the group in less than a year.

The assailants, who have vilified public education as blasphemous, then burned down dormitories and other buildings and shot at anyone trying to escape. None of the women were reported to have been harmed.

Abdulla Bego, a spokesman for the governor of Yobe State, where the attacks took place, said the killers had traveled in nine pickup trucks to the attack site, the Federal Government College Buni Yadi, about 45 miles from the state capital, Damaturu. They staged the ambush when soldiers in a military garrison assigned to protect the school were absent.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Carolina's military communities are bracing for an uncertain future after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday called for deep cuts to the Army in 2015.

While Fort Jackson in Columbia - where more than 45,000 recruits are trained annually - is the obvious target, Charleston's and other installations also may be in the cross hairs since Hagel also called for a new round of base-closure reviews in 2017.

Still, the decision on rekindling a Base Realignment and Closure Commission depends on Congress, which has delayed the assessments in recent years in the interest of protecting jobs at home.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRural/Town LifeUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted February 25, 2014 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Defense Department on Monday proposed cutting the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, slashing a class of attack jets and rolling back personnel costs in an effort to adjust a department buoyed by a decade of war to an era of leaner budgets.

The five-year budget blueprint outlined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reflects a willingness by the Pentagon to make deep cuts to personnel strength to invest in technology and equipment as it eases off a war footing.

“The development and proliferation of more advanced military technologies by other nations mean that we are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted,” Hagel told reporters at an afternoon news conference.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudget* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 25, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Niebuhr would ask, about drones: “given the resentments among local populations,...how many terrorists are we creating for every one we kill?” What sort of precedents are we creating with a program of “targeted assassinations?” “Will targeted assassinations ever eliminate or even reduce the causes of violent Islamic radicalism?”

So [Andrew] Bacevich thinks that Niebuhr would condemn the drone campaign as ill-conceivedand immoral.

Yes, after 9/11 "doing nothing may not be an option,” but is it the only option? Let the questioning and debate continue, with IRONY not only on our sweatshirts, but as a perspective on what has to be on the minds of the thoughtful. - See more at: http://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/niebuhrian-irony-and-drones-%E2%80%94-martin-e-marty#sthash.P1sXnXFg.dpuf

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsIraq WarPolitics in GeneralTerrorismWar in Afghanistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 25, 2014 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indications that the fight against the dreaded Boko Haram is far from being won as the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, yesterday in a new video threatened to kill more prominent Nigerians.

Shekau, whose acclaimed death is still being trailed by controversy, threatened to kill former Military Head of States, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari.

Other personalities on the list of Boko Haram are Kano State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and Alhaji Ado Bayero.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday and called on him to "pull back government forces" and "exercise maximum restraint" following deadly clashes in Kiev between police and protesters.

Biden "made clear" the United States condemns violence "by any side," but "that the government bears special responsibility to deescalate the situation," according to a summary of the telephone conversation released by the White House.

Read it all and join me in praying for the situation in the Ukraine.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was 50 years ago that the Rev. Wade Renn, the founder of Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH) decided that enough was enough.

The former Boeing and Atomic Energy Commission employee had spent the first part of his life helping to make weapons of mass destruction and participating in research that Renn would only describe as "nasty stuff." His two physics degrees and scientific track record had earned him a spot in a prestigious Johns Hopkins think tank, but none of it brought him satisfaction.

None of it brought him peace.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What a resource--check it out. One of the many I enjoyed was the Rules of Civility.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President

0 Comments
Posted February 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is Edward Snowden a hero for revealing government wrongdoing, or a traitor for leaking classified information? “I don’t think anybody acts and says to themselves, ‘What I’m doing is immoral, but I’m going to do it.’ People always rationalize,” according to former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow. Correspondent Lucky Severson reports on the debate over the morality of Snowden’s actions.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Robert Flemming saw it first.

He was standing bow watch on the USS Housatonic, scanning the water between his ship and the dark silhouette of the South Carolina coastline....

It was nearly 8:45 p.m. when Flemming spotted something on the water about 500 feet away. The object was about 22 feet long, he estimated, and only its ends were visible. He called out to a deck officer.

"There is something that looks like a log," Flemming said. "It looks very suspicious."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Persistent attacks by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s Borno State have forced dozens of clinics to shut down and hundreds of doctors to flee, leaving many residents to seek medical attention across the border in Cameroon, health professionals and residents told a United Nations agency, Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN).

Musa Babakura, a surgeon at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) in Maiduguri, told IRIN: “There is a growing health crisis in northern Borno, where most doctors and medical personnel have left the area due to security threat[s] from Boko Haram, forcing thousands to seek medical services across the border into Cameroon.

“The whole healthcare system in northern Borno has collapsed.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted February 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has seen thousands of different rulers in its 7,000-year history, including Alexander the Great, Saladin and Tammerlane. It also has seen dozens of sieges.

But no ruler and no siege have been more brutal than the present ones.

As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tries to drive rebels and their followers out of Aleppo, his army, with complete control of the nation's air space, has attacked the city's civilian areas with aircraft, missiles, artillery, mortars and, in a new twist, "barrel bombs" dropped from helicopters flying at 7,000 feet.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria

0 Comments
Posted February 11, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 10, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Skilled computer hackers, combined with weak law enforcement and a strong criminal underworld, creates a big problem in Russia.

Watch two reports from Richard Engel here and there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & TechnologySports* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussia* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to [Lindsey ] Graham, Kerry gave the clear impression that Syria is slipping out of control. He said Kerry told the delegation that, “the al-Qaeda threat is real, it is getting out of hand.” The secretary, he said, raised the threat of al-Qaeda unprompted. “He acknowledged that the chemical weapons [delivery] is being slow-rolled; the Russians continue to supply arms [and that] we are at a point now where we are going to have to change our strategy. He openly talked about supporting arming the rebels. He openly talked about forming a coalition against al-Qaeda because it’s a direct threat.”

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria

2 Comments
Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The alleged cheating may be the result of a great deal of pressure on nuclear missileers, which “is not a healthy environment,” James said.

“What I mean by that is although the standard on our test – a passing grade on these tests is 90 percent – the missileers are still driven to score 100 percent, all of the time.”

That’s because commanders there are using the test scores “to be a top differentiator, if not the sole differentiator, on who gets promoted,” she added. “So I believe that a very terrible irony in this whole situation is that these missileers didn’t cheat to pass. They cheated because they felt driven to get 100 percent. Getting 90 percent or 95 percent was considered a failure in their eyes.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 2, 2014 at 6:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World Watch Monitor is curating news coverage of the attacks on [this past] Sunday in north-eastern Nigeria. At least 22 worshippers died at a church in Yola, while 300 homes were burnt down in a village in neighbouring Borno state and at least 52 people were killed. Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out both attacks.

World Watch Monitor is using Storify to collect and organise the widespread news coverage. The Storify report appears below.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2014 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Arriving in the capital Juba, Archbishop Justin said: “All our prayers are with the people of South Sudan at this testing time for the young nation. I have come with my wife, Caroline, and my colleague Joanna Udal who has long experience here, bringing the greetings, love and encouragement of your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

“The South Sudanese Church is an example to us all in its consistent speaking with one voice for peace, for unity and to an ending to the violence so horrifically perpetrated against so many people. With the South Sudanese Church leaders, I urge political differences to be set aside for the sake of the urgent task of bringing healing and reconciliation.”

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchHistoryViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South SudanEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted January 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Through US Africa Command (AFRICOM), US Special Operations Command, Africa (SOCAFRICA), and the Office of Security Cooperation in the US Embassy in Abuja, the United States will be helping stand up the NASOC by providing training and a limited amount of equipment.

From the information I have, it sounds like NASOC will have a force up North to deal with Boko Haram, a force in the South to deal with security in the Niger Delta, a headquarters force to focus on hostage rescue, and an expeditionary force for external use – perhaps to contribute specialized capabilities for peacekeeping operations.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the precise size of NASOC or of its component forces.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed ForcesViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God may well be an equal opportunity deity, but that’s never stopped political leaders and clergy from claiming the Creator favors their side over the other in armed conflicts. Indeed, the use and abuse of God and religion were never more evident than during the “War to End All Wars,” World War I, which began 100 years ago in 1914.

In his 2010 book “Faith in the Fight: Religion and the American Soldier in the Great War,” University of Illinois professor Jonathan Ebel examines American soldiers’ many attempts to find religious meaning in the midst of a perplexing and catastrophic war.

America didn’t enter the fighting until 1917, but when Woodrow Wilson, the son of a Presbyterian minister, urged Congress to declare war on Germany, the president used traditional religious language: “The day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness … God helping her, she can do no other.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted January 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Pentagon took steps on Wednesday to give individual troops greater latitude to wear turbans, head scarfs, yarmulkes and other religious clothing with their uniforms, but advocacy groups said the new policy fell short of what they were seeking.

"The military departments will accommodate individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs (conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs) of service members" unless it might affect military readiness or unit cohesion, the updated policy on religious accommodation said.

The policy was mainly expected to affect Sikhs, Muslims, Jews and members of other groups that wear beards or articles of clothing as part of their religion. It also could affect Wiccans and others who may obtain tattoos or piercings for religious reasons.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

0 Comments
Posted January 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two protesters have been killed in clashes with police in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Prosecutors confirmed they had died from bullet wounds. They are the first fatalities since anti-government protests began in November.

Wednesday's clashes began after police moved in to dismantle a protest camp.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeUkraine

0 Comments
Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, yesterday, expressed dismay over the threat by the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, to drag the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika before the International Criminal Court, ICC, in Hague for alleged extra-judicial killings of some northerners.

He warned that the move could lead to a major crisis that would threaten the nation's corporate existence. Bishop Chukwuma, who addressed a press conference in Enugu, said any attempt at persecuting the former COAS on account of the actions that were taken while he was in office would be resisted by the Igbos, urging the northern leaders to be well guided and advised.

He said Igbo would resist any attempt to humiliate the respected military officer who had succeeded in checkmating the activities of northern insurgents and their sponsors. His words: "Northern elders should be warned or they will set up inter-tribal war in Nigeria. Is it because Ihejirika is an Igbo man.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it
there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Senior U.S. officials said Monday they expect the United Nations to rescind its invitation to Iran to attend an international conference on Syria this week, and said prospects for the talks in Switzerland now are uncertain.

The officials said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had discussed the issue of Iran's invitation with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over the weekend and was insistent that Tehran must publicly endorse terms set out for the Geneva conference more than 18 months ago.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIran

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When President Goodluck Jonathan announced new leaders for the defense department, the army, the navy and the air force on Thursday, he did not give a reason. But political consultant Fabian Ihekweme said it appears the president is trying a different approach to the security crisis.

“You may recall a few days ago that a new anti-terrorist outfit has been created out of the Nigerian military. So it is the same new strategy being developed by the president to tackle the Boko Haram menace,” said Hekweme.

Human Rights Watch said 40 people were killed and 50 were injured Tuesday when a car bomb exploded outside a post office in Maiduguri, the original home of the Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This week at the Vatican, Syria was at the top of the agenda. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences convened a panel of experts, including former Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, to search for ways to end Syria's nearly three-year civil war. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the crisis with Vatican Secretary of State and Cardinal-designate Pietro Parolin. And Pope Francis himself, in a speech to diplomats, renewed the call for peace in Syria that he made in September at a special prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square.

Few actions are more characteristic of the modern papacy than appeals for peace. Think of Pope Paul VI at the United Nations in 1965 calling for "No more war, war never again"; Pope John Paul II with leaders of other religions praying for peace at Assisi ; or popes giving annual Christmas and Easter addresses that highlight the most urgent crises around the world....

The pope as peacemaker is a role no more than a century old, and is the legacy of the man who held the office during World War I.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The shadowy steps your fingers take when you key in a password could be exposed through one of the slyest crimes in the digital playbook: "keystroke logging". Also called "keylogging", this is the remote, criminal act of recording which computer keys you press, through malware (malicious software).

"Keystroke logging malware is one of the biggest threats to the economic well-being of us all," says identity theft expert Steven Weisman, author of 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.

Worse, it seems, it is easy to fall prey to the malware. According to Weisman, the identity thieves are smart at their shtick - luring users into clicking insidious links promising free music or video games to younger people and pornography to older people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A car bomb has exploded in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing at least 17 people.

The Islamist group Boko Haram said it carried out the attack. A suspect has been arrested, the military says.

The bomb went off near a market, sending up a large plume of smoke. People were seen fleeing the scene covered in blood.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wars are violent, loud, and gruesome. But combat is fleeting, and for young troops, what remains is a lifetime of untangling the dense consequences of decisions and actions made (or not made) in uncompromising conditions. A single moment in combat can bring a soldier home with honor or send him back broken and ashamed, unprepared for what Washington Post staff writer David Finkel calls the “after-war.”

In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel exhaustively documents the course of the after-war for the members of an Army infantry battalion known as the 2-16 Rangers, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. In his first book, The Good Soldiers (2009), Finkel chronicled the battalion’s bloody 15-month tour in Iraq. He spent eight months embedded with the unit and was present for many of the pivotal moments described in the book; 2-16 was responsible for patrolling the area where two Reuters journalists and several Iraqis were killed by U.S. helicopter fire in an attack that was recorded in a video and released by WikiLeaks under the title Collateral Murder.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooks* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 4:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain and the US have warned they will rethink support for Syria's main opposition group if it fails to take part in peace talks next week, a Syrian source has told the BBC.

The official from the Syrian National Coalition said the UK and the US were adamant the group must go to Geneva.

The coalition will hold a vote on Friday on whether or not to attend.

Syria's opposition remains deeply divided nearly three years after the uprising began.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKMiddle EastSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There was a moment, sitting in the Oval Office with then-President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney when she asked herself: Am I really here?

It was 2007, and Nancy Pellegrini had spent many late nights preparing for the intelligence briefing, one of her duties as a senior Iraq military analyst for the CIA.

The president was gracious; Pellegrini conquered her nerves. And she did it all again during other briefings for the president and policymakers, highlights of her career as a CIA military analyst.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thousands of small satellite dish-based computer systems that transmit often-sensitive data from far flung locations worldwide – oil rigs, ships at sea, banks, and even power grid substations – are at high risk of being hacked, including many in the United States, a new cyber-security report has found.

Very-small-aperture terminals, or VSATs, are workhorses for the oil and gas industry, utilities, and even news media. Journalists send reports via VSAT from firebases in Afghanistan, energy companies gather production data from oil drilling operations, and retail outlets send sales data back to corporate headquarters every day. Banks use VSATs for transactions between branches and headquarters.

But at least 10,500 of those terminals globally are wide open to being hacked, including some used in critical US infrastructure systems, according to the new report by IntelCrawler, a Los Angeles-based cyber-security firm.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Iraq's Shiite-led government paused on Wednesday on the brink of a military assault against al Qaeda-linked Sunni militants that posed the risk of exacting a high civilian toll and plunging the country deeper into sectarian conflict.

Senior U.S. officials, including Vice President Joseph Biden, have urged Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to secure the support of local Sunni leaders before attacking to drive the extremists from Fallujah, which sits in the heartland of Iraq's Sunni minority. Many Sunni tribal leaders, alienated and angered by Mr. Maliki, have refused.

The standoff tests the U.S.'s remaining leverage in Iraq, which has declined since American forces fought alongside Iraqis to subdue Islamist fighters in Fallujah in two large battles during the nearly decadelong U.S.-led occupation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsIraq WarPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIraq* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 9, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Glenn] Greenwald was the first but not the only journalist that Snowden reached out to. The Post’s Barton Gellman had also connected with him. Now, collaborating with documentary filmmaker and Snowden confidante Laura Poitras, he was going to extend the story to Silicon Valley. Gellman wanted to be the first to expose a top-secret NSA program called Prism. Snowden’s files indicated that some of the biggest companies on the web had granted the NSA and FBI direct access to their servers, giving the agencies the ability to grab a person’s audio, video, photos, emails, and documents. The government urged Gellman not to identify the firms involved, but Gellman thought it was important. “Naming those companies is what would make it real to Americans,” he says. Now a team of Post reporters was reaching out to those companies for comment.

It would be the start of a chain reaction that threatened the foundations of the industry. The subject would dominate headlines for months and become the prime topic of conversation in tech circles. For years, the tech companies’ key policy issue had been negotiating the delicate balance between maintaining customers’ privacy and providing them benefits based on their personal data. It was new and contro­versial territory, sometimes eclipsing the substance of current law, but over time the companies had achieved a rough equilibrium that allowed them to push forward. The instant those phone calls from reporters came in, that balance was destabilized, as the tech world found itself ensnared in a fight far bigger than the ones involving oversharing on Facebook or ads on Gmail. Over the coming months, they would find themselves at war with their own government, in a fight for the very future of the Internet.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 7, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In much of the world this is a time of new beginnings. In Afghanistan, it is time to mark the beginning of an end: A dozen year commitment of foreign troops to fight the Taliban will wind down this year, meaning 51,000 American soldiers are poised to take their leave from a conflict that appears to be stumbling towards a stalemate, or worse.

The Afghanistan mission has been the longest military engagement in American history. For Canada, which saw 30,000 of its soldiers pass through the country over nine and a half years, it is the largest military operation since the Second World War. One hundred and fifty-eight Canadian soldiers and four civilians died, and by the end of 2010, a total of 1,859 military members had been wounded.

Those grim figures are just part of the reason why Afghanistan’s future should still matter – to Canada and its allies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistanCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just six months ago, 35-year-old Air Force veteran Robert Wright returned to the Charleston area with his wife and four children to face an uncertain future.

A large cyst on Wright's brain had resulted in his medical retirement from the service he joined in 1997, serving multiple deployments overseas. With a stent in his brain and unable to work, Wright would be staying at home with wife Bethany, 33, who home-schools their four children, two of whom have medical issues as well.

They never expected that home would be a new 5-bedroom house, fully furnished and mortgage-free, in the emerging McKewn subdivision in North Charleston.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* South Carolina

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Posted January 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Sudanese government officials and representatives of rebel groups agreed to face-to-face talks on a monitored ceasefire, with artillery fire in Juba's government district underlining the risk of all-out civil war.

The warring parties assured mediators they will strive to reach a political solution to the conflict that began in mid-December, Ethiopian envoy Seyoum Mesfin told reporters in Addis Ababa on Saturday.

There have been continued clashes between President Salva Kiir's SPLA government forces and rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar centred around the strategically located town of Bor. As delegates smiled in a luxury hotel in Ethiopia, heavy explosions from artillery fire were heard in a Juba district where most ministries, the presidential palace and the parliament are located.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We end this hour with a remembrance of a daring World War II flight that lifted the spirits of the French people and of the humble man who flew it. In 1944, American fighter pilot William Overstreet of the 357th Fighter Group was on a mission in Nazi-occupied territory. Flying his P-51 Mustang, Overstreet was escorting American bombers through France when a dogfight broke out. Overstreet broke away to pursue an enemy German plane.

PASTOR JEFF CLEMMONS: It started at 30,000 feet....This was a half-hour dogfight which would end up going through the streets of Paris and conclude itself through a pursuit through the Eiffel Tower where Bill shot down the German pilot.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeFrance

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Posted January 5, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES at his Abeokuta residence on Wednesday morning, shortly before he headed out to church for Christmas service, the retired primate of the Anglican Church said the gunmen pounced on him and his driver as he was leaving this foundation's office along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

He said the four-men gang blocked his car, and pulled him and his driver out at gun point. One of the bandits then took over the steering wheel while another member pinned down the cleric and his driver at the back.

Two other gang members followed behind in a Toyota Primera car they brought for the operation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A masked armed man blocked the road ahead before five more emerged from hiding and dragged Mamdouh Eskander Farid from his car.

“They tied my hands and gagged me to stop my screams. Then one hit me on the back of my head with the butt of his rifle and I lost consciousness,” said the 58-year-old Christian worker at a health clinic in Minya province, Upper Egypt. When he came to, he did not know where he was, but Mr Farid’s ordeal had just begun. His captors wanted £180,000 — an inordinate ransom for a man who supports a family of nine on just £120 a month.

Like many other Christians in Egypt, Mr Farid will be spending the festive season in fear — terrified of a spate of kidnappings that poses a new threat to their beleaguered minority, which makes up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s majority Muslim population. Dozens have been abducted and some tortured by armed gangs who have demanded ransoms of between £4,000 and £30,000.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

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Posted December 24, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Sudan's government said on Sunday rebels had seized the capital of a key oil-producing region and fears grew of all-out ethnic civil war in the world's newest country.

The U.N. announced it was trying to rush more peacekeeping forces to landlocked, impoverished South Sudan as foreign powers urged both sides to stop fighting, fearing for the stability of an already fragile region of Africa.

The South Sudan government said on its Twitter account it was no longer in control of Bentiu, the capital of Unity State.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Qatar’s royal family was looking for advice on charitable giving, it turned to a well-regarded professor named Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi. The 59-year-old educator had a stellar résumé that included extensive fundraising experience and years of work with international human rights groups.

But one apparent accomplishment was omitted from the list: According to U.S. officials, Nu’aymi also was working secretly as a financier for al-Qaeda, funneling millions of dollars to the terrorist group’s affiliates in Syria and Iraq even as he led campaigns in Europe for greater freedoms for Muslims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As interments of veterans and their dependents climb to a record level, the Department of Veterans Affairs is rushing to add burial space at the fastest rate since the Civil War.

The project is adding thousands of burial sites and vault spaces across the country. But a Nevada congresswoman is pressing the VA to add more national cemeteries, especially in Western states that now have few cemeteries but whose senior populations are growing.

"The prestige of being buried in a national cemetery is something every veteran is entitled to," said Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, who has been prodding the VA to open more such cemeteries in places like Nevada. It is among about a dozen U.S. states that lack a federally funded and operated national cemetery, and rely mostly on veterans' cemeteries run by states or Native American tribal governments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. Government* TheologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 23, 2013 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Asian continent has two majority-Christian nations. One, obviously, is the Philippines. Few nonspecialists would know the other example: East Timor. Lying between Australia and Indonesia, it is one of the world’s newest countries—in fact the first new nation of the present century. East Timor is also definitively Christian, with a reported Catholic population of 97 percent. Those bare-bones facts, though, conceal a heroic and often dreadful history, recalling one of the world’s worst atrocities of the late 20th century.

For centuries, East Timor was a Portuguese colony. (The word Timor simply means “east.”) In 1974, a leftist-led revolution in Portugal precipitated a global crisis at the height of the cold war. The Soviet Union and Cuba staged a massive move into Portugal’s African colonies, and the West feared that Timorese liberation forces might create a communist haven in the South Pacific. To prevent that disaster, the United States and its allies supported an Indonesian invasion of East Timor in late 1975.

Political takeovers can take many forms, but this was no simple case of a change of occupiers, with a set of new flags. During their occupation, from 1975 through 1999, the Indonesians ruled with hideous brutality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAsiaEast Timor

1 Comments
Posted December 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church in the West cannot intervene in conflicts in places such as Syria and Egypt - unless it is invited to do so, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

"We would be delighted to play a reconciliation role if there is one we can play. If someone in a viable position on both sides says, 'Come and help,' we'll be on the next flight."

But he ruled out any peace mission under present circumstances. "Nothing can be done until people are willing to let something happen. If people want to fight, they fight. When both sides think they can win, they will go on fighting."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 20, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the army went on the offensive in the north last May over 1,200 civilians have died in Boko Haram related violence up north. The number of Boko Haram attacks has diminished in the last few months but there is still violence, usually at least one major terrorist attack a week plus a lot of less spectacular violence. The Boko Haram sustain themselves by stealing from locals and because these border areas are so thinly populated there are not enough soldiers to guard all of it all the time.

The army is adapting more quickly to new Boko Haram tactics. For example, the army is now sending troops to guard border villages on those days when many local farmers bring in products for sale at the market place.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 19, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“There is not and never will be a ‘definitive’ interpretation of the coming of war: each writer can only offer a personal view”, Hastings contends. The three under review describe in ever more detail what it was like, but only consider in the most broad terms what the war was about and why Europe’s people engaged so wholeheartedly in it. After reading them, one despairs of ever being able to break the distorting lens of the Second World War that prevents our understanding the First. Churchill’s legacy in particular, both as Britain’s successful later war leader and as a contentious popular historian of the war in which he did conspicuously less well, remains pernicious.

The war’s course and outcomes were rooted in the events of 1914 – the French victory on the Marne, Serbia’s repulse of Austria’s invasion, Russia’s defeat at Tannenberg, the Royal Navy’s hold on the North Sea and the decision to expand the British army. There is much more to be said, although it remains to be seen what impact extensive historical revisionism on popular motivation and the military conduct of the war, which has been developing for several decades, will have on the history wars. It does not seem to be riding the crest of the first wave, and perhaps it will not be until the centenaries have passed that a more nuanced understanding of the war will be established. Should Great War historians despair? Boredom may set in, and publishers may feel they have done enough by 1918. Until then, the revisionist view will certainly vie for credibility and acceptance with the over-familiar story vividly retold here. Hastings and Mallinson both acknowledge its existence and dabble with it, but there is an obvious reluctance to waver from familiar paths.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEurope

1 Comments
Posted December 17, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cue the giant FedEx trailers rumbling onto military bases stateside; or planes landing in the Middle East, Afghanistan or Guam. Their cargo is a precious one this time of year: thousands of Christmas trees donated by 450 tree farms across the United States.

All help put the spirit of the holidays front and center, in spite of circumstance.

This massive effort is organized by Trees for Troops, an organization that has given out more than 139,000 trees in the eight years they've been in existence -- with FedEx traveling more than 475,000 miles to deliver them.

Read it all (Video highly recommended).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

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Posted December 17, 2013 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir says an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to his sacked former deputy Riek Machar has been put down.

It comes after heavy gunfire overnight in the capital, Juba.

Mr Kiir told reporters in the capital that the government was in full control and the culprits being pursued, and announced a night-time curfew.

Several people are reported wounded and hundreds of civilians have sought refuge at the UN mission in Juba.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is worth the time to look at them all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

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Posted December 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World War II pilot Henry Heim, now 92, says he can still hear the sounds of the attack on Pearl Harbor vividly.

Looking back on the fateful morning of December 7, 1941, when Japanese bombers pounded the U.S. Pacific fleet, Americans like Heim are marking the anniversary on Saturday with solemn public ceremonies and private moments of reflection.

The surprise Japanese air and naval assault on the Hawaiian island of Oahu claimed 2,390 American lives and drew the United States into World War II.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

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Posted December 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all (Hat tip: RH).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

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Posted December 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Which bill in Congress affects the deficit, abortion funding, gay rights, religious liberty, peace, nuclear arms, Israel, and even homeschooling? The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

We reviewed the lobbying activity of over 300 religious interest groups. Of the over 500 bills that these interest groups lobbied on over the past two years, the annual defense spending bills were, by far, the biggest target of their advocacy.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General

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Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr Powell said that Mr Mandela was a guide to him when he became the first black US secretary of state:

What I liked telling people was I was the first secretary of state who happened to be black, and I put that descriptor behind the title. We have to get beyond these labels depending upon your gender or your colour or your background. I'm proud of being black, and I'm proud of being an immigrant of British subjects, but at the same time I want to be seen as an American. And I think Nelson Mandela was able to create that kind of an image within South Africa. We are not black South Africans or white South Africans, we are South Africans who happen to be black or white. We are one family, one nation, one people.

Read it all and watch the whole video clip (approximately 3 1/4 minutes).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An attack by suspected Islamist militants on a Nigerian air force base indicates the Boko Haram group retains its military capacity even after a seven-month offensive by government forces.

“It is a big deal, it shows the capability of Boko Haram is growing,” Murtala Touray, senior Africa analyst at IHS Country Risk in London, said today by phone. “For Boko Haram to plan this attack, it shows they are a force to be reckoned with, they can take on the Nigerian army.”

The pre-dawn raid took place yesterday in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, about 860 kilometers (535 miles) northeast of the capital, Abuja. Two air force personnel were wounded, 24 attackers were killed and three military aircraft and two helicopters were damaged, military spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement e-mailed to journalists....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Intensifying sectarian and clan violence has presented new opportunities for jihadist groups across the Middle East and raised concerns among American intelligence and counterterrorism officials that militants aligned with Al Qaeda could establish a base in Syria capable of threatening Israel and Europe.

The new signs of an energized but fragmented jihadist threat, stretching from Mali and Libya in the west to Yemen in the east, have complicated the narrative of a weakened Al Qaeda that President Obama offered in May in a landmark speech heralding the end of the war on terrorism. The leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, raised warnings in an interview on CNN on Sunday when they said that Americans were “not safer” from terrorist attacks than in 2011.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria

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Posted December 4, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The interim accord with Iran that would limit its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief “is greatly preferable to military action, which could have unpredictable and negative repercussions for the region,” said the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a November 27 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Read it all by following the link to the full letter.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIran* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 2, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...one change, over time, could reverse the problems that have built up over the past few decades: We should mandate military service for all Americans, men and women alike, when they turn 18. The idea is radical, unlikely and impractical — but it just might work.

There is no better explanation for what has gone wrong in Washington in recent years than the tabulation done every two years of how many members of Congress served in the military.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted December 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For over three decades Iran and America have been blood enemies. Their hatred, like the hatred between the Palestinians and the Israelis, has framed the Middle East’s alliances and fuelled terror and war. The interim deal over Iran’s nuclear programme has not undone that—far from it. But through the keyhole it offers a tantalising glimpse of a different, better Middle East. It is a vision worth striving for.

Iran and six world powers, led by America, struck the six-month interim nuclear agreement in the early hours of November 24th.... Iran will cap its programme at more or less its capacity today, while the rest of the world will relax sanctions a little. But the deal matters mostly for what it heralds. If Iran shows restraint and the world rewards it, the negotiators might generate sufficient goodwill to reach a more durable and comprehensive agreement. And that would open up the possibility of America and Iran co-operating more, or at least feuding less, in the world’s most troubled region.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIran* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On November 14, R&E invited students and tutors from New York Avenue Presbyterian Church’s after-school tutoring program, Community Club, to recite the Gettysburg Address in honor of its 150th anniversary. The club meets at the church every week and provides dinner, academic tutoring, and mentorship to DC students ranging in age from 5 to 18. New York Avenue Presbyterian is also the church where President Lincoln rented a pew and sometimes attended services. The Gettysburg Address, described by historians as “the sacred scripture of the Civil War’s innermost spiritual meaning,” was delivered at Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

1 Comments
Posted December 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About sunset, it happened every Friday evening on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast. You could see an old man walking, white-haired, bushy eye-browed, slightly bent.

One gnarled hand would be gripping the handle of a pail, a large bucket filled with shrimp. There on a broken pier, reddened by the setting sun, the weekly ritual would be re-enacted.

At once, the silent twilight sky would become a mass of dancing dots...growing larger. In the distance, screeching calls would become louder.

They were seagulls, come from nowhere on the same pilgrimage… to meet an old man.

For half an hour or so, the gentleman would stand on the pier, surrounded by fluttering white, till his pail of shrimp was empty. But the gulls would linger for a while. Perhaps one would perch comfortably on the old man’s hat…and a certain day gone by would gently come to his mind.

Eventually, all the old man’s days were past. If the gulls still returned to that spot… perhaps on a Friday evening at sunset, it is not for food… but to pay homage to the secret they shared with a gentle stranger.

And that secret is THE REST OF THE STORY.

Anyone who remembers October of 1942 remembers the day it was reported that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was lost at sea.

Captain Eddie’s mission had been to deliver a message of the utmost importance to General Douglas MacArthur.

But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. . Somewhere over the South Pacific, the flying fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, and the men ditched their plane in the ocean.

The B-17 stayed afloat just long enough for all aboard to get out. . Then, slowly, the tail of the flying fortress swung up and poised for a split second… and the ship went down leaving eight men and three rafts… and the horizon.

For nearly a month, Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun.

They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. Their largest raft was nine by five… the biggest shark ten feet long.

But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.

In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.”
Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking… Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a seagull. I don’t know how I knew; I just knew.
“Everyone else knew, too. No one said a word. But peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at the gull. The gull meant food… if I could catch it.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten; its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.

You know that Captain Eddie made it.

And now you also know...that he never forgot.
Because every Friday evening, about sunset...on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast...you could see an old man walking...white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent.

His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls...to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle...like manna in the wilderness.

--Paul Harvey's the Rest of the Story (Bantam Books, 1997 Mass paperback ed. of the 1977 Doubleday original), pp. 170-172

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* General InterestAnimals* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The interim accord struck with Iran on Sunday interrupts the country’s nuclear progress for the first time in nearly a decade, but requires Iran to make only a modest down payment on the central problem.

The deal does not roll back the vast majority of the advances Iran has made in the past five years, which have drastically shortened what nuclear experts call its “dash time” to a bomb — the minimum time it would take to build a weapon if Iran’s supreme leader or military decided to pursue that path.

Lengthening that period, so that the United States and its allies would have time to react, is the ultimate goal of President Obama’s negotiating team. It is also a major source of friction between the White House and two allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, which have made no secret of their belief that they are being sold down the river.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIran

0 Comments
Posted November 24, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Iran and six major powers agreed early Sunday on a historic deal that freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions.

The agreement, sealed at a 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed the deal, which was reached after four days of hard bargaining, including an eleventh-hour intervention by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and foreign ministers from Europe, Russia and China.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKEuropeMiddle EastIran* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

7 Comments
Posted November 24, 2013 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Maiduguri, the prisoner tells journalists that foreign fighters from three neighboring countries were among the insurgents in the Islamist rebellion, fueling widespread fears of the violence spreading beyond Nigeria.

"We do have members of the group from Chad, Cameroon and Niger who actively participate in most of our attacks," he says.

Boko Haram boasts of links to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, adding to the fears of a nation already prone to deadly explosions of tribal and sectarian violence.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a parent, you spend your entire life trying to protect your children. You provide them with the very best you can; you hope they learn from your mistakes. It’s so easy when they are young and a simple “because I said so” is reason enough.

How, then, do you wrap your head around the fact that your 30-year-old, happily married son has taken his own life? After the initial shock, you review every single decision you ever made with regard to him. “If only” becomes your mantra. Then you look back at his life and remember that he was the most trusting, caring, creative and intelligent human being you’ve ever known.

You want to know what went wrong...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done." The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene." Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed ForcesPoetry & Literature* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* TheologyEschatology

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Posted November 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMusic* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

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Posted November 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The personal and the pastoral...both inform Ms. [Rita] Brock’s work. She writes about her father in her recent book “Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War.” Her co-author, Gabriella Lettini, is a theologian whose extended family includes veterans emotionally damaged by wartime experience. In the Soul Repair Center, Ms. Brock collaborates with the Rev. Herman Keizer Jr., who was an Army chaplain for 40 years.

Over the past three years, Ms. Brock and Ms. Lettini have spoken about moral injury and soul repair at the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting and at denominational gatherings of Presbyterians and Unitarian Universalists.

Now, with a $650,000 two-year grant from the Lilly Endowment and the formal support of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Soul Repair Center is beginning to teach congregational leaders how to address moral injury in veterans. The first such training session will take place in early February.

Read it all, a story worth revisiting today from January.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryIraq WarWar in Afghanistan* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first day of the British royals' visit to Mumbai was marked by gaiety, the second by solemnity. On Sunday, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attended Remembrance Day service for martyred soldiers at the Anglican Afghan Church in Colaba.

The prince's mother Queen Elizabeth is the supreme governor of the Church of England which is Anglican.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndiaEngland / UK

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Posted November 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shady dealing in militaria is nothing new, but the internet – in particular, special interest forums and the lawless so-called "darknet" – have opened up what used to be a tiny pursuit to a worldwide market, increasing demand.

In particular, with the centenary of the First World War coming up, its relics are rapidly rising in value. If you know where to look, you can find posts on websites hawking some of the most dangerous pieces – everything from poison gas canisters to live hand grenades – which the dealers handle with incredibly blasé contempt.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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