Posted by Kendall Harmon

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered a curfew Saturday in the city of Ferguson and declared a state of emergency after fresh violence erupted overnight amid public anger over the shooting death of an unarmed young black man by a white police officer.

The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m., starting Saturday night.

“This is a test,” Nixon said at a news conference, saying “the eyes of the world” are watching to see how the city handles the aftermath of the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, 18.

The announcement comes after community activists had taken to the streets and social media Saturday in hopes of preventing another night of looting and violence in Ferguson after at least three businesses fell victim to a predawn rampage by young men who targeted local stores as others tried desperately to stop them.

Read it all and join us in praying for all invovled.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyRace/Race RelationsViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On a fall day in 2008, the kitchen phone rang inside the Arnetts’ ranch home in Southwick. It was a state social worker, asking if they would consider taking in a “foster child with disabilities.”

The couple didn’t hesitate. They had completed foster-care training two years before, already had cared for a handful of children, and refused to turn away anyone in need.

As devout Christians, they believed God’s work requires sacrifices, including from busy families like theirs raising three boys.

But the social worker didn’t want a quick answer over the phone, insisting instead on a face-to-face visit. A week later, when she and two supervisors showed up at the Arnetts’ house, carrying files and a videotape, they wasted little time before asking, “Have you heard of Haleigh Poutre?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thousands of South Carolina residents who filed for Medicaid between October and mid-July are still waiting to find out if they qualify for the government's low-income health insurance program.

While most Medicaid applications are typically approved or denied within six days, the state agency responsible for processing the paperwork hasn't been able to keep pace with an influx from HealthCare.gov.

More than 43,000 South Carolina Medicaid applications were submitted through the new federal health insurance marketplace between Oct. 1 and July 13, but the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services has only managed to make its way through 25 percent of them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentMedicaidPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

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Posted July 29, 2014 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

Read it all from this past weekend.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 29, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Earlier this month, when Ellen Epstein arrived at the Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colo., for the wedding of her friends Lauren Meisels and Bradley Melshenker, she, like the other guests, found a gift bag waiting for her in her hotel room. But rather than a guide to activities in the area or a jar of locally made honey, the canvas bag contained a rolled joint, a lighter and lip balm infused with mango butter and cannabis, along with this note: “We wanted to show you some of the things we love the best.”

She knew then that the wedding of her fellow Boulder residents would be just a little different from the ones she had attended in the past.

The Meisels and Melshenker nuptials looked as if their inspiration had come not from the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings but from High Times. All of the floral arrangements, including the bride’s bouquet, contained a variety of white flowers mixed with marijuana buds and leaves. Mr. Melshenker and his groomsmen wore boutonnieres crafted out of twine and marijuana buds, and Mr. Melshenker’s three dogs, who were also in attendance, wore collars made of cannabis buds, eucalyptus leaves and pink ribbons.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Carolina's legislative session this year was rife with controversy and a lack of progress on key issues, likely contributing to voters' general disapproval of the Legislature as a whole, according to experts and a new Palmetto Politics poll.

The poll, commissioned by The Post and Courier and three television stations, showed that 45 percent of 1,000 likely voters surveyed disapproved of the job the state Legislature has done. On the other hand, 22 percent approved of the Legislature's performance and 33 percent were undecided. At the same time, the voters polled were split on the direction South Carolina is heading. While 44 percent believe the state is heading in the right direction, 41 percent say it is on the wrong track and 14 percent were undecided. The poll has a margin of error of about 4 percent.

Despite the numbers, experts say that just as with the low approval ratings for Congress, few feel strongly enough to make a change of their own representative. Members of the House of Representatives are up for election this November.

Read it all from the front page of yesterday's local paper.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thirty years after federal legislation established 21 as a uniform minimum age to drink alcohol in all states, Americans are widely opposed to lowering the legal drinking age to 18. Seventy-four percent say they would oppose such legislation, while 25% would favor it. The level of opposition is similar to what Gallup has measured in the past....

Despite the progress made in reducing traffic deaths involving alcohol, drunk driving remains a factor in many automobile fatalities. Also, one of the major concerns with alcohol today is binge drinking among young adults, and it is not clear that having a higher drinking age helps in that regard. Rather, some experts suggest lowering the drinking age, and teaching teens and young adults to drink responsibly at a younger age, would help to reduce the allure of alcohol to those forbidden by law to possess it.

But Americans are either not aware of or not persuaded by such arguments, given that public support for a minimum drinking age of 21 seems pretty solid and consistent over the past three decades.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingLaw & Legal IssuesTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shaw Air Force Base was spared in this round of the Air Force’s budget cuts, losing no jobs, but Joint Base Charleston will have 19 positions eliminated.

The announced cuts were the first permanent jobs lost in South Carolina in what is expected to to be a deep reduction in the military following 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. State leaders are preparing to fight for the state’s seven installations, based mostly in Columbia, Charleston and Beaufort.

The installations and their missions, as well as a large National Guard, numerous defense contractors in the Upstate and a high number of retirees, especially on the coast, pump nearly $16 billion a year into the state’s economy, according to a study by the S.C. Department of Commerce.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

William "Jackrabbit" Large pulls his SUV onto the side of a downtown Seattle street, parking behind an Amazon Fresh delivery truck and carrying a product the online retailer doesn't offer: marijuana.

The thin, bespectacled Large is a delivery man for Winterlife, a Seattle company that is among a group of new businesses pushing the limits of Washington state's recreational pot industry by offering to bring marijuana to almost any doorstep.

"It's an opportunity that should not be missed," Large says with the kind of fast-talking voice meant for radio.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have also decided to name a (Special) Legislative Committee on Marriage for this General Convention to ensure that the work of the Task Force on Marriage and resolutions related to the rapidly shifting contexts of civil marriage in the United States and in several other parts of the world can be given appropriate consideration. This will also make it possible for the Prayer Book, Liturgy & Music legislative committee to give full consideration to the other business that will come before it.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted July 10, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two years after the Episcopal Church opened the door to same-sex blessings, a local advisory board is urging Bishop Steven A. Miller to allow their use in the Diocese of Milwaukee, saying a majority of area parishes favor allowing them.

Miller said last week that he is reviewing the recommendation of his Standing Committee and will respond later this summer. But he reiterated his reservations, saying the blessing falls short of a marriage rite and as such treats same-sex couples inequitably in the eyes of the church.

"My concern about the rite is that it looks like marriage but says it's not," said Miller, who has voiced support for same-sex civil marriages.

"A blessing still keeps gay and lesbian people in a second-tier status," Miller said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted July 9, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 7, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I just don’t think the evidence is there for these long lists,” said Dr. Molly Cooke, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who helped research a position paper on cannabis for the American College of Physicians. “It’s been so hard to study marijuana. Policy makers are responding to thin data.”

Even some advocates of medical marijuana acknowledge that the state laws legalizing it did not result from careful reviews of the medical literature.

“I wish it were that rational,” said Mitch Earleywine, chairman of the executive board of directors for Norml, a national marijuana advocacy group. Dr. Earleywine said state lawmakers more often ask themselves, “What disease does the person in a wheelchair in my office have?”

Read it all from the front page of today's NY Times paper copy.

Also, make sure you did not miss this post earlier this week on the same topic featuring Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentHouse of RepresentativesSenateState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those who argue that marijuana is no more dangerous than tobacco and alcohol, [Nora] Volkow has two main answers: We don’t entirely know , and, simultaneously, that is precisely the point .

“Look at the evidence,” Volkow said in an interview on the National Institutes of Health campus, pointing to the harms already inflicted by tobacco and alcohol. “It’s not subtle — it’s huge. Legal drugs are the main problem that we have in our country as it relates to morbidity and mortality. By far. Many more people die of tobacco than all of the drugs together. Many more people die of alcohol than all of the illicit drugs together.

“And it’s not because they are more dangerous or addictive. Not at all — they are less dangerous. It’s because they are legal. . . . The legalization process generates a much greater exposure of people and hence of negative consequences that will emerge. And that’s why I always say, ‘Can we as a country afford to have a third legal drug? Can we?’ We know the costs already on health care, we know the costs on accidents, on lost productivity. I let the numbers speak for themselves.”

Read it all from Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted June 25, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The nanny state may have drained civil society, but simply removing the nanny state will not restore it. There have to be programs that encourage local paternalism: early education programs with wraparound services to reinforce parenting skills, social entrepreneurship funds to reweave community, paternalistic welfare rules to encourage work.

Second, conservatives should not be naïve about sin. We are moving from a world dominated by big cross-class organizations, like public bureaucracies, corporations and unions, toward a world dominated by clusters of networked power. These clusters — Wall Street, Washington, big agriculture, big energy, big universities — are dominated by interlocking elites who create self-serving arrangements for themselves. Society is split between those bred into these networks and those who are not. Moreover, the U.S. economy is increasingly competing against autocratic economies, which play by their own self-serving rules.

Sometimes government is going to have to be active to disrupt local oligarchies and global autocracies by fomenting creative destruction — by insisting on dynamic immigration policies, by pumping money into research, by creating urban environments that nurture innovation, by spending money to give those outside the clusters new paths to rise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 10, 2014 at 5:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A bill that would have established the Lowcountry's first comprehensive research university may have lost its best chance of passing Wednesday when some of the S.C. Senate's most powerful voices put up a significant roadblock to the measure.

The lengthy Senate debate also featured an emotional plea from Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, the Senate majority leader, who lamented the aggressive, often personal politics that he said Charleston legislators employed to see the bill passed.

While the bill is not entirely dead, Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Charleston, who has fought for the measure, worries that a failure to get a vote on the bill with just one full day left in this year's legislative session means the Senate may have lost its best chance to pass it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationUrban/City Life and IssuesYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With five months to go until the Affordable Care Act’s 2015 open enrollment season, states that had troubled exchanges during the inaugural sign-up period are scrambling to either upgrade their sites or transition to the federal exchange—all on the taxpayer’s dime.

A new analysis from the Wall Street Journal finds that the cost for Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon to overhaul their exchanges or transition to healthcare.gov will be as high as $240 million in total.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ban on texting while driving is expected to come up for a vote at the Legislature on Wednesday, after members of both bodies reached a compromise.

Three members from the House and three from the Senate met on Tuesday to discuss what versions of the texting while driving ban they will agree on to send back to the bodies for a final vote. They agreed on leaning toward the House's version, which applies to all drivers; the Senate's was geared toward those with beginner's permits.

But there is a holdup as lawmakers work on clearing up a technicality. Once that's done, the bill will go back to both bodies for a vote.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal IssuesScience & TechnologyTravel* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 4, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Five months after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, the battle over legalization is still raging.

Law enforcement officers in Colorado and neighboring states, emergency room doctors and legalization opponents increasingly are highlighting a series of recent problems as cautionary lessons for other states flirting with loosening marijuana laws.

There is the Denver man who, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused Karma Kandy from one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana shops, began raving about the end of the world and then pulled a handgun from the family safe and killed his wife, the authorities say. Some hospital officials say they are treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana. Sheriffs in neighboring states complain about stoned drivers streaming out of Colorado and through their towns.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Catholic Church teaches that all people are made in the image of God and that everyone has inherent dignity. No one should face unjust discrimination. But human experience, considerable social data, as well as our religious convictions, lead us to see clearly that children thrive best in a stable family grounded on the marital union of one man and one woman. Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage is not a statement about the worth of human beings who experience same-sex attraction, but a statement about the nature of marriage itself.

Pope Francis recently said, “The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together. This is the image of God: love, God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful!” Marriage is beautiful indeed, and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference does not support this judge’s redefinition of this fundamental human institution. The PCC will further study the judge’s decision and is hopeful that an appeal will promptly be made.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted May 20, 2014 at 4:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In contrast to the widening cultural mainstream, most practicing Christians oppose legalization. Even mainline Protestants, who often trend more liberal on social issues than their Catholic and non-mainline brethren, are less likely (45%) than the national average to say pot should be legal in the U.S. Non-mainline Protestants (32%) and Catholics (39%) are far less likely to favor legalization than the general American population.

Those who favor legalization and those who do not each have good reasons for their position. Among those in favor of legal pot, one in seven (14%) say it is not any worse than alcohol or tobacco (which are both legal), or at least not as bad as other drugs (9%). Another one in seven (14%) say legalization could be good for the economy. A smaller percentage cites possible medical benefits (13%) or the fact that people will use it regardless of its legality (8%).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSociology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 19, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some churches are advising members not to pack heat, after Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law sweeping gun legislation that the NRA called "the most comprehensive pro-gun bill in state history" but which critics decry as the "guns everywhere" law

Robert Wright, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, sent an open letter last week to the 56,000 members that make up the dozens of Episcopal churches throughout north Georgia with a simple message: Don’t bring guns into the house of God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

8 Comments
Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Three months after a state judge issued a scathing report on the treatment of mentally ill prisoners, a national report is reaching a similar conclusion.

A report by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriff’s Association issued Thursday ranks South Carolina “near the bottom” in the treatment of mentally ill inmates.

The report found the state ranked near the bottom in the availability of public psychiatric beds, efforts to divert mentally ill from imprisonment, per capita spending on mental health “and almost every other measure of treatment for mentally ill individuals.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyMental Illness* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

2 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s said that nobody ever died from a marijuana overdose. Nobody ever died from a tobacco overdose either, but that doesn’t prove tobacco safe. Of all the dangers connected to marijuana, the most lethal is the risk of automobile accident. Marijuana-related fatal car crashes have nearly tripled across the United States in the past decade.Marijuana legalizers may counter: Can’t we just extend laws against drunk driving to stoned driving?

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. What exactly defines marijuana impairment remains fiercely contested by an increasingly assertive marijuana industry. It took Colorado four tries to enact a legal definition of marijuana impairment: five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Yet even once enacted, the standard remains very difficult to enforce. Alcohol impairment can be detected with a Breathalyzer. Marijuana impairment is revealed only by a blood test, and long-established law requires police to obtain a search warrant before a blood test is administered.

More important than catching impaired drivers after the fact is deterring them before they get behind the wheel. In the absence of a blood-testing kit, marijuana users themselves will find it difficult to know how much is too much.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(For those interested in these sorts of things, the newspaper headline is "Puff by puff, a puritan land is learning not all drugs are evil"--KSH.

I got a text the other day from a close friend. He was excited. “I just bought legal weed in Colorado! A small step for me but a giant leap for mankind. They had a huge line. All dudes. Busy all day every day, the women behind the counter said.”

And here’s the thing. My friend is not a slacker. He’s a father of two, a hugely successful media entrepreneur with a constant stream of ideas, arguments and facts. He’s hard to keep up with on most days we spend together, and he’s a near fanatic on the need to legalise cannabis across the US.

He represents in one small way a seismic social shift in America on the status and use of some recreational drugs. To give you a simple example, the Pew Research Centre just released an extensive study of attitudes toward drugs and found the following statistic: 67% of Americans favour treatment rather than prison for users of hard drugs. In 2001, the country was evenly divided, 47% versus 45%, on the question of harsh minimum sentences for drug offenders. Today, we’re in a different universe.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even those who advocate most strongly for the legalization of marijuana concede the impaired functioning that research has shown. One such site acknowledges,

The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of the intoxication. There is no convincing evidence that heavy long-term marijuana use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.

Other studies suggest that the effect on diminished brain function is more lasting, especially for teenagers.

Thus, unlike caffeine, marijuana is not generally thought of as an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee. Rather, for most users, it is a recreational escape, which produces diminished accuracy of observation, memory, and reasoning. And it may have lasting negative effects on the mind’s ability to do what God created it to do.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Carolina's unemployment rate plummeted to 5.7 percent in February from 6.4 percent in January, the largest one-month decrease since the state starting tracking jobless numbers in 1976, the Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday.

It was the ninth consecutive month the figure has declined.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....with less than 10 days left in the 2014 window to apply for coverage with policies through the federal marketplace, lots of people still don’t understand the penalties. Who pays? Who doesn’t? How do you pay? How do you avoid paying?

Toni McKinnon of Columbia stopped by Richland Library’s main branch on Assembly Street last week to find out about the health insurance marketplace because she was worried about having to pay a penalty.

“When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you can’t afford insurance,” McKinnon said, “and you sure can’t afford to pay some kind of penalty.”

She left the library slightly confused and very disappointed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A proposed law to allow Connecticut physicians to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives has opened a debate about the nature of sin, what constitutes an invasion of privacy, even the definition of suicide.

The bill has struck a chord with people such as Sara Myers, 59 years old, of Kent, Conn., who said she supported the concept even before she was diagnosed three years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. She said she was unsure whether she would ever opt to end her life but would like the right to seek a doctor's help if she decided to do so.

"The emotional comfort of knowing that if I got to the point where I didn't want to go on—that I could do it in a loving and peaceful way and not put anybody in legal jeopardy—would just let me rest a whole lot easier," Ms. Myers told lawmakers on Monday at a legislative hearing on the bill.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A long-simmering movement to scale back the use of standardized tests in K-12 education is beginning to see results, with policy makers and politicians in several states limiting—or trying to limit—the time used for assessments, or delaying the consequences tied to them.

In recent months, officials in Missouri have cut back on allocated testing time while New York capped it. Connecticut agreed to let districts delay, for a year, linking teacher evaluations to state test scores. Tennessee officials rescinded a plan to deny teacher licenses based, in part, on their students' growth on state tests.

Meanwhile, 179 bills related to K-12 testing—a number of them seeking to curb it—have been introduced in statehouses nationwide this legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which hadn't tracked such bills so comprehensively until this year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducation* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For healthcare reform to mature unimpeded, the debates surrounding the Affordable Care Act require concentrated, nonpartisan attention. And for reform to succeed, we also need hospitals to flourish, especially in places with few options.

Every hospital has a story to tell. Lower Oconee Community Hospital will not keep the nation's attention for long, but its absence and that of other hospitals that close will certainly leave profound voids throughout their communities. Rather than ignore these continuing cracks in the foundation of our evolving healthcare system, there is much to be learned from these now-defunct facilities. We would do well to address the underlying problems behind the closures.

As any medical practitioner will tell you, it is wiser to treat the cause today than alleviate the symptoms tomorrow.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 6:01 am [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

Two months ago, an escaped mentally ill inmate was walking down the street, blocking traffic. I stopped, and the next thing I knew he started accusing me of killing his mother. Then he attacked me. Fortunately, I was able to subdue him, and we returned him to prison.

Mental illness is not a crime, and the vast majority of people with mental illness are not dangerous. People whose mental illness goes untreated, however, may become dangerous. Tragic headlines around the country too often provide evidence of that fact.

It is against this background that S.C. Circuit Judge Michael Baxley recently found that mentally ill inmates in S.C. prisons receive grossly inadequate treatment. His 45-page order sets forth in shocking detail the deficiencies in the Department of Corrections’ mental health system.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyMental Illness* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

All day long, customers at LoDo Wellness Center, one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana stores, reach into the refrigerator and pull out tasty ways to get high. They buy sparkling peach and mandarin elixirs, watermelon Dew Drops, and sleek silver bags of chocolate truffles, each one packed with marijuana’s potent punch.

“The stuff just flies off the shelves,” said Linda Andrews, the store’s owner.

As marijuana tiptoes further toward the legal mainstream, marijuana-infused snacks have become a booming business, with varieties ranging from chocolate-peppermint Mile High Bars to peanut butter candies infused with hash oil.

Read it all from the front page of the national edition of the printed copy of the paper..

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDieting/Food/NutritionDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Moves across the US to legalise marijuana have been greeted by reformers as heralding the end of the "war on drugs". But what happens to people convicted of offences that no longer exist? And will the records of those arrested now be wiped clean?

This is a big year for American pot smokers. Business has been brisk at shops in Colorado where, for the first time, people can buy marijuana to smoke purely for pleasure. Stores in Washington state are set to open in a few months and others may follow, as authorities eye a new source of tax dollars from a policy that now has broad popular support.

Yet as the momentum for reform has gathered pace, one issue has largely been brushed aside - the fate of those arrested in the past.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHistoryLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

4 Comments
Posted January 30, 2014 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“This is not about the adult being able to smoke a joint,” said Mr. Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “It’s about widespread access, it’s about changing the landscape of a neighborhood, it’s about widespread promotion and advertising, and it’s about youth access.”

Supporters of legalization say that because voters statewide approved a system guaranteeing adults access to legal marijuana, they will push state regulators and lawmakers to meet that mandate, possibly by pushing for penalties against local governments that enact bans.

But Dave Ettl, a Yakima City Council member who voted for the ban, said he was willing to risk penalties, saying he considered the promised tax revenues from marijuana sales tainted.

“There’s some money that’s not worth getting,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted January 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Eastside Catholic prides itself on teaching acceptance. At the end of Crusader Way, by the school’s entrance, banners hang celebrating “relationships” and exhorting passers-by to “remember to take care of each other.” Students use a sign-language gesture to remind one another of the school’s emphasis on unconditional love.

But now the school is unexpectedly grappling with how it defines both love and acceptance. Last month, a well-regarded vice principal was forced to leave his job as soon as administrators became aware that he had married a man; in the weeks since, the suburban Seattle school has been roiled, first by protests in support of the vice principal, and then by the resignations of those who sought his departure. The chairman of the school’s board resigned last month, and on Tuesday, Eastside, a middle and high school with about 900 students, announced the resignation of its president.

The ouster of Mr. Z, as the former vice principal, Mark Zmuda, is known, comes amid a wave of firings and forced resignations of gay men and lesbians from Roman Catholic institutions across the country, in most cases prompted not directly by the employees’ sexuality, but by their decisions to marry as same-sex marriage becomes legal in an increasing number of states.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Early childhood education advocates called out state lawmakers Wednesday to put aside their differences and reach a bipartisan compromise that invests in pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk children.

The call was made in the lobby of the Statehouse, where the heads of three organizations met to urge lawmakers to implement a statewide policy to measure the progress of children participating in early childhood education programs. More than a dozen organizations, including the United Way and Institute for Child Success, joined the effort dubbed South Carolina's Early Childhood Common Agenda.

"We're spending hundreds of millions of dollars in this state on early childhood education, and we haven't been able to prove that the way we're doing is effective in every case," said Tim Ervolina, president of the United Way, during the conference. "We're just asking the people upstairs spend the money smartly."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the euthanasia front, legalization of assisting suicide is under consideration in New Jersey, while the Minnesota Supreme Court is set to hear an important related case.

In New Jersey, the so-called “Death With Dignity Act,” A3328, has been voted out of committee and awaits floor consideration. Along with its companion Senate Bill, S2259, it could be considered by the legislature at any time until the end of the year.

Minnesota is facing a different problem. In Minnesota, the “Final Exit Network” has been in legal trouble because of its roll in several suicides. The Final Exit Network is a network of volunteer activists that assist in people’s suicides using counseling, guidance, and information on suicide techniques.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 19, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...a new program initiated five years ago in Georgia suggests, these hurdles aren’t insurmountable. The nonprofit FaithBridge was started by Bill Hancock, a director of counseling programs who had lived on the streets as a teenager, and Rick Jackson, an Atlanta businessman who had spent time in the foster-care system.

Hancock wondered why churches weren’t more involved in finding solutions. He said he noticed that in Cobb County, Georgia, there were 1,100 churches and 300 children in foster care. He liked the odds. Plenty of people he knew had an extra bedroom and understood the needs of children. He began to break down the problem.

He would find out the number of children in a particular zip code in need of a foster home, go to a church in the area to present their stories without using their names, and see what happened. He announced at one church that there were 11 kids in his own zip code, representing four sibling groups. Four dozen people showed up at a meeting to volunteer. Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsChildrenReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 18, 2014 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Legalisation is just the first step. Pot must also be regulated. Because it is more dangerous than chocolate or chips, it needs to be subject to more stringent safety checks than food. As with alcohol, anybody who wants to produce it for sale, or sell it, should be licensed, as they will be in Colorado. It should carry clear labels showing its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, just as cans of beer display their alcoholic strength—consumers should know what they are smoking. Colorado seems to be handling this well: labels are clear, safety rules stringent.

Deciding how to tax the stuff means asking some fundamental questions. Where governments want to raise revenue without distorting markets, the best approach is to charge businesses a flat fee, like a cab licence. Firms then have an incentive to do as much business as they can. But where governments want to discourage consumption—as with cigarettes and alcohol—they should tax each unit sold.

Although marijuana does not harm people as reliably as cigarettes do, nor—as alcohol does—incite citizens to kill each other, it is not good for you. And although too little research has been done on the extent of the harm it can do, it is thought to raise the risk of schizophrenia and undermine motivation. This argues for a consumption tax, and a fairly stiff one at that.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Governor [Peter] Shumlin hauled out his own list of grim statistics. In Vermont, treatment for opiate abuse has risen 770 percent since 2000. In just the past year, treatment for heroin addiction has risen a dramatic 40 percent, and deaths from heroin overdoses have doubled. Nearly 80 percent of those jailed in Vermont, he said, are now or have been drug addicts.

Perhaps even more sobering were the stories he told of lives ruined by drug addiction. One Vermont teen started using Oxycontin in the 10th grade and was soon addicted to a $500-a-day habit. He stole $20,000 in farm equipment from his own family to pay for his drugs. And not long ago another young man, an undergraduate at the University of Vermont who was a science major and member of the school’s ski team, died of a heroin overdose. Because the quality and potency of each batch of black-market heroin varies widely, even those who think they are cautious users can accidentally and suddenly overdose at any time.

Both stories sought to shatter perceptions that heroin addiction is a problem only for large urban areas. In fact, Vermont represents a particularly lucrative market for heroin dealers, the governor said, who find that they can sell a bag of heroin that would fetch $6 on the streets of New York City for $30 or more there. Each Vermont addict yields five times the income from the same amount of “product.”

Read it all and you call find the full text of Governor Peter Shumlin's 2014 State of the State Address there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A gleaming white Apple store of weed is how Andy Williams sees his new Denver marijuana dispensary.

Two floors of pot-growing rooms will have windows showing the shopping public how the mind-altering plant is grown. Shoppers will be able to peruse drying marijuana buds and see pot trimmers at work separating the valuable flowers from the less-prized stems and leaves.

“It’s going to be all white and beautiful,” the 45-year-old ex-industrial engineer explains, excitedly gesturing around what just a few weeks ago was an empty warehouse space that will eventually house 40,000 square feet of cannabis strains.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

11 Comments
Posted January 2, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and take the time to read the court document also.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 23, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The campaign to stop compulsory labelling of genetically modified (GM) food in Washington broke state records for fund-raising. The campaign to force labelling must have come close to breaking state records for squandering poll leads. In September 66% of Washington's voters said they intended to vote for Initiative 522, which would have placed a conspicuous label on most foods containing GM ingredients sold in retail outlets. Final results are not yet in (and the "yes" campaign has not conceded), but the measure appears to have lost by about ten percentage points.

Those who decry the influence of money in politics will find a lot to chew over here. Proponents of the measure could stake a reasonable claim to have run a grassroots campaign. They raised about $8.4m; this included large donations from such august bodies as Dr Bronner's Magic Soaps of California, but also 13,000 individual contributions (median contribution: $25). In outraising them by about three to one, meanwhile, their opponents relied heavily on contributions from food companies and biotech firms (and broke campaign-finance laws, according to the state's attorney-general). They raised money from just four individuals. (All figures date from late October.)

All that money paid for a slick, well-run campaign and a lot of television ads, focused on the costs and inconsistencies of I-522....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Grocery aisles in Washington state could look a little different in 2015 if voters approve a ballot measure on Tuesday (Nov. 5) to require product labels to disclose when genetically modified crops are included.

Most of the processed foods and beverages that dominate the shelves are made with some sort of genetically modified crop, like soy or corn.

Campbell Soup Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Kellogg Co. are among the companies pumping money into the fight against the referendum, known as Initiative 522, claiming the measure is misleading, would hurt farmers and raise grocery costs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted November 5, 2013 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
On November 5th, New York voters will be presented with Proposal 1, the New York Casino Gambling Amendment, which would allow the legislature to authorize up to seven new casinos in the state. The stated purposes of this constitutional amendment are to promote job growth, increase funding to schools, and permit local governments to lower property taxes. These are more than reasonable goals, but what is not said is that in places where casino gambling has been introduced, almost all gains have come at the high social cost of addiction and family disintegration, and deepening poverty. Some of these casinos are targeted for regions in New York, including in our diocese, characterized by entrenched poverty. The infusion of such false hopes into communities of economic desperation will, we are convinced, prove ruinous to people and families who will turn to the empty promises of casino gambling. There are no quick fixes to the challenges of struggling cities and towns, and we call on our elected leaders instead to focus on the kind of investment and hard work that build sound, long-term economic health and the self-sufficiency of communities. The Episcopal Church has long opposed casino gambling for all of these reasons, and so we stand in opposition to Proposal 1.

The Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche
Bishop of New York


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchGamblingReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted November 4, 2013 at 5:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The state lottery functions as a voluntary tax with a disproportionate burden on the poor.

This is especially onerous in Florida, which is one of the most regressive tax states in the nation, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Because Florida relies on raising money from sales tax and excise taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and gasoline instead of a progressive income tax, the poorest 20 percent of the population pay about 13.5 percent of their income in taxes, while the middle 60 percent pay 7.8 percent and the top 1 percent pay 2.6 percent, the institute found in a 2009 study.

The lottery makes that regressive tax burden even worse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGamblingPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

13 Comments
Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite President Barack Obama’s promise that those who like their health plans will be able to keep it, residents across the country are being notified they must switch to a more comprehensive, and often more expensive, policy that complies with the federal law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted October 28, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai‘i on Saturday voted to encourage the state Legislature to pass marriage equality, the largest denomination to announce its support of an issue that has divided people of faith.

A resolution was approved by acclamation of the 180 Episcopalians who attended the diocese's annual convention at the Cathedral of St. Andrew, including 44 clergy. The diocese has 40 worshipping sites and about 9,000 parishioners statewide.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Disney, a powerhouse in Florida because of its financial might and its sway over the tourism industry, has long led the fight against the expansion of casinos in the state, arguing successfully that gambling tarnishes Florida’s coveted family-friendly brand.

This year is no exception. For the second time in two years, state lawmakers are preparing to decide whether Las Vegas-style resort casinos should be allowed to open in Florida, a move that Disney hopes to thwart again. The company is so opposed to gambling that not even Disney cruise ships offer casinos, a mainstay of major cruise liners.

But in a nation increasingly awash in various forms of gambling, Disney is finding that keeping a constantly growing entertainment conglomerate completely removed from gambling is far more challenging than it used to be.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGambling* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fifth-graders’ desks in Vicki Robertson’s class are arranged in clusters for two reasons: It’s easier for students to do group work, and it gives her 29 students more space to move around the room.

That’s one of the adjustments the Pinckney Elementary teacher has made to accommodate her large classes. She has 30 students in one English lesson, which is the maximum allowed by state regulation.

So what does Robertson think about the state potentially eliminating the cap on the size of some classes statewide?

“Oh wow! I’m making it work with the space I have,” she said. “But when you have more students, they have more needs and challenges.”

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducation* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted October 6, 2013 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The next big movement in Massachusetts health care may come not from the state’s world-famous hospitals or its cutting-edge research labs, but from houses of worship.

Stepping up pressure on the health care industry to control spiraling costs, which are crimping family and government budgets, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization will host a forum next Tuesday at Temple Israel in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area to grill hospital and insurance leaders about the affordability of medical care.

Top executives of major hospital groups, such as Partners HealthCare System, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Steward Health Care System, and leading insurers, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Tufts Health Plan, have accepted invitations to the event, which is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted September 13, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anyone who still doubts that the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage will represent a seismic shift in the culture at large needs only to look to New Mexico to see that nothing less than religious liberty is now under threat—and in a big way....The court’s ruling sets a very dangerous precedent: “If a commercial photography business believes that the [New Mexico Human Rights Act] stifles its creativity, it can remain in business, but it can cease to offer its services to the public at large. Elane Photography’s choice to offer its services to the public is a business decision, not a decision about its freedom of speech.”

A business decision, but not a decision about freedom of speech? The New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling points to the comprehensive scope of the moral and legal realignment likely required by same-sex marriage—and eagerly demanded by its proponents. The addition of sexual orientation as a denominator of a protected class was sufficient to drag the Huguenins before a court in a state that itself does not legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

8 Comments
Posted August 28, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Carolina has, once again, landed near the top of a new list of fattest states.

But here’s a silver lining: Other Southern states have shown ways to improve childhood obesity in just a few years.

“The signs of progress that we’re seeing around the country are very, very encouraging,” said Dwayne Proctor, director of childhood obesity programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

3 Comments
Posted August 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The report, by Michael Tanner and Charles Hughes, is a follow-up to Cato’s 1995 study of the subject, which found that packages of welfare benefits for a typical recipient in the 50 states and the District of Columbia not only was well above the poverty level, but also more than a recipient’s annual wages from an entry-level job.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 20, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In rejecting the bill Aug. 13, Brown, a Democrat, expressed concerns about the potential risks to women who undergo invasive techniques for their eggs to be harvested.

"Not everything in life is for sale nor should it be," Brown said in his veto message.

"In medical procedures of this kind, genuinely informed consent is difficult because the long-term risks are not adequately known," he wrote. "Putting thousands of dollars on the table only compounds the problem."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 17, 2013 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have made his state the seventh in the nation to prohibit judges from considering Shari'ah, or Islamic law, and other “foreign laws” in their decisions.

But rather than citing the usual arguments about anti-Muslim discrimination and the freedom of religion, Nixon introduced a new argument against such legislation, asserting it would make it harder for Missouri families to adopt children from overseas.

Nixon said if state judges would not be able to consider foreign decrees that are sometimes required to finalize adoptions, adoptive families and children would be left stranded.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 5, 2013 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The way some schools in Nevada teach sex education could be changing.

A bill moving its way through the Nevada Legislature would require all districts to provide uniform, medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education lessons. Topics would include abstinence, abortion, contraceptives, domestic violence and sex trafficking. Students would be automatically enrolled in sex education classes under the proposed law, and parents would need to sign a document for their children to opt out of the instruction.

Currently, sex education instruction varies by county, although all counties have sex education advisory boards by law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationSexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted May 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, like many others, I am profoundly disappointed that Rhode Island has approved legislation that seeks to legitimize “same-sex marriage.” The Catholic Church has fought very hard to oppose this immoral and unnecessary proposition, and we are most grateful to all those who have courageously joined us in this effort. When all is said and done, however, we know that God will be the final judge of our actions.

As I have emphasized consistently in the past, the Catholic Church has respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction. I sincerely pray for God’s blessings upon them, that they will enjoy much health, happiness and peace. We also offer our prayerful support to families, especially parents, who often struggle with this issue when it occurs in their own homes.

Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs. Indeed, as St. Paul urges us, we are required to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph 4:15)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted May 3, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A state House bill aimed at giving S.C. courts clearer guidelines on when to terminate parental rights, especially in cases where parents or guardians have a history of child or drug abuse, passed a key vote in the House Thursday.

The House voted 104-0 to give second reading to the bill, named Jaidon’s Law after a toddler who died from a drug overdose a week after the state returned him to his parents, who had prior drug charges.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted April 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This week, legislators here will consider excise and sales taxes on marijuana of up to 30 percent combined. The proposal emerged from a task force of health officials, representatives of the state’s rapidly developing marijuana industry and others that was commissioned last year to help develop rules for marijuana.

The goal, task force members and lawmakers say, is to set taxes high enough to finance the administration of new laws, but not so high that customers are driven back to the black market.

“We should see a financial benefit as a state that can help pay for enforcement and other fundamental issues,” said Christian Sederberg, a Denver lawyer on the panel whose firm helped draft Amendment 64, the measure legalizing recreational marijuana. “The other side is that if you tax something too high, then you simply crowd out the regulated market. We’re confident we’ll find the right balance.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeTaxesPolitics in GeneralState Government

1 Comments
Posted April 24, 2013 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Whatever struck you, provoked you, moved you; whatever part of it which you believe is most significant or worthy of further consideration. Remember the more specific you are, the more other blog reads can participate in what you say--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePsychologyReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussia* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted April 20, 2013 at 8:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the waning moments of daylight, police descended Friday on a shrouded boat in a Watertown backyard to capture the suspected terrorist who had eluded their enormous dragnet for a tumultuous day, ending a dark week in Boston that began with the bombing of the world’s most prestigious road race.

The arrest of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of Cambridge ended an unprecedented daylong siege of Greater Boston, after a frantic night of violence that left one MIT police officer dead, an MBTA Transit Police officer wounded, and an embattled public — rattled again by the touch of terrorism — huddled inside homes....

“It’s a proud day to be a Boston police officer,” Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis told his force over the radio moments after the arrest. “Thank you all.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted April 20, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thank you--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

1 Comments
Posted April 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The desperate 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon terror bombings ran over his own wounded brother as he fled police, officials said. Considered armed and dangerous and possibly wearing a suicide vest, he remains on the loose, sought by legions of heavily armed police as nearly a million residents of Boston hunker down behind locked doors, in an unprecedented security measure.

The search for Dzhokhor A. Tsarnaev of Cambridge comes after a chaotic, violent night in which his brother died in a firefight with police, and one police officer was killed and another was seriously wounded.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

0 Comments
Posted April 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, one of the health reform law's chief authors, says he’s worried about a “huge train wreck coming down” if the Obama administration doesn’t improve its public outreach about the legislation.

Baucus, a Montana Democrat who is up for reelection in 2014, sharply criticized the administration’s outreach efforts in a budget hearing on Wednesday. He told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that people and businesses “have no idea what to do, what to expect” from the law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentMedicarePolitics in GeneralSenateState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

13 Comments
Posted April 18, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Arizona bill that could leave many employees of religious schools and daycares ineligible for unemployment benefits is on the verge of becoming law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in GeneralState Government

2 Comments
Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On April 1, the Health Care Committee of the Washington State Senate held a two-hour hearing on what its proponents euphemistically call the “Reproductive Parity Act,” and its opponents describe as the “abortion insurance mandate.” If passed, EHB 1044 would require that if any health insurance plan provided coverage for maternity care, it “must also provide a covered person with substantially equivalent coverage to permit the voluntary termination of a pregnancy.”

The bill has already passed the Washington House of Representatives, 53-43, but in the Senate it may be a different matter. At the hearing one of the bill’s proponents claimed to have a written commitment from twenty-five senators (a bare majority) to vote for the bill, but from the comments of at least one committee member it appeared that the bill might have trouble making it out of committee. (There is a procedure for a bill to be brought to the floor even if it has died in committee, but such cases are rare.)

In his inaugural address (“The World Will Not Wait”), Jay Inslee, the state’s newly elected Democratic governor, surprised many by featuring the bill as one of his priorities.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Opponents of same-sex marriage resist it because it amounts to redefining marriage, but also because it will invite future redefinitions. If we embrace same-sex marriage, they argue, society will have surrendered any reasonable grounds on which to continue forbidding polygamy, for example.

In truth, proponents of same-sex marriage have never offered a very good response to this concern. This problem was highlighted at the Supreme Court last week in oral argument over California’s Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

Surprisingly, the polygamy problem that same-sex marriage presents was raised by an Obama appointee, the liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor interrupted the presentation of anti-Prop 8 litigator Theodore Olson to pose the following question: If marriage is a fundamental right in the way proponents of same-sex marriage contend, “what state restrictions could ever exist,” for example, “with respect to the number of people . . . that could get married?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two Rowan County lawmakers drew nationwide attention Wednesday for pushing a resolution that says North Carolina and its counties and towns have the right to establish an official religion.

Republican state Reps. Carl Ford and Harry Warren filed the measure this week as Rowan commissioners gear up to fight a lawsuit that seeks to end their habit of opening meetings with specifically Christian prayers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

5 Comments
Posted April 6, 2013 at 10:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Elementary School Teacher] Ms. Parks admitted to {Georgia state investigator] Mr. Hyde that she was one of seven teachers — nicknamed “the chosen” — who sat in a locked windowless room every afternoon during the week of state testing, raising students’ scores by erasing wrong answers and making them right. She then agreed to wear a hidden electronic wire to school, and for weeks she secretly recorded the conversations of her fellow teachers for Mr. Hyde.

In the two and a half years since, the state’s investigation reached from Ms. Parks’s third-grade classroom all the way to the district superintendent at the time, Beverly L. Hall, who was one of 35 Atlanta educators indicted Friday by a Fulton County grand jury.

Dr. Hall, who retired in 2011, was charged with racketeering, theft, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and making false statements. Prosecutors recommended a $7.5 million bond for her; she could face up to 45 years in prison....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new fight is brewing over health insurance companies letting millions of Americans renew their current coverage for another year — and thereby avoid changes under the federal healthcare law.

That may offer a short-term benefit for certain consumers and shield some of those individual policyholders from potentially steep rate increases. But critics say this maneuver could undermine government efforts to remake the insurance market next year and keep premiums affordable overall.

At issue is a little-known loophole in President Obama's landmark legislation that enables health insurers to extend existing policies for nearly all of 2014. This runs contrary to the widespread belief that all health insurance must immediately comply with new federal rules starting Jan. 1, when most provisions of the law take effect.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralState Government

2 Comments
Posted April 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The heads of the Catholic and Episcopal churches in south central Pennsylvania on Wednesday struck contrasting reactions to findings of a poll that shows voters would be in favor of approving gay marriage legislation.

The Rev. Joseph McFadden, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, decried the narrow favoring for gay marriage, while the Rev. Nathan Baxter, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania welcomed it as good news.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that Pennsylvanians narrowly favor gay marriage -- 47 percent of voters indicating they would approve gay marriage, and 43 percent opposing it. The poll found greater disparities along religious lines.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted January 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The proposal to legalize “same-sex marriage” in the State of Rhode Island is immoral and unnecessary. Despite enormous political pressure, the General Assembly should stand firm, resist the current fashionable trend, and continue to uphold its longstanding commitment to marriage as traditionally defined.

The multiple problems associated with “homosexual marriage” have been explained in this space on many occasions in the past.

The proposal to legalize same-sex marriage is an attempt to redefine the institution of marriage as it has existed in every culture from the very beginning of human history. Marriage between a man and a woman was designed by God for two specific purposes: to affirm the complementary roles of males and females in a loving relationship, and to provide a stable foundation for the procreation and raising of children. Homosexual relationships can achieve neither of those goals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

2 Comments
Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island, I support the bill before the General Assembly that would allow same-sex couples to marry in our state, not in spite of my Christian faith, but because of it.

Episcopalians are not unanimous in our views, but in the Episcopal Church we find our unity in common prayer, not in common opinion. Even so, through many years of prayerful discussion, the majority of Christians in the Episcopal Church have come to believe that it is possible, and even common, for two people of the same-sex to live covenanted, faithful lives together in service to God, just as people in traditional marriages do. We have also learned that it is possible to protect the consciences of those who disagree within our church and still live together in community.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

1 Comments
Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Citizens Against Casino Gaming and two area organizations are urging the City Council to pass a resolution to have a vote on the casino issue on the November municipal election ballot.

The Springfield-based anti-casino group was joined by The Council of Churches of Greater Springfield and the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts in seeking the November vote.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and the city’s chief development officer, Kevin E. Kennedy, have said that a casino vote is anticipated sometime between June and November.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchGamblingReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Indiana interfaith clergy group is repeatedly urging the state legislature to avoid any battle over gay marriage.

The Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination (ICON), which is based in Indianapolis, published a letter this week signed by more than 230 clergy and leaders of faith communities from throughout the state.

The letter asks the legislature to stop further action on the Marriage Discrimination Amendment, which was passed by the 2011 legislature and is eligible for consideration in the current biennium.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A long line of America's top chief executives have rotated through Washington in recent weeks, loudly urging lawmakers and the White House to reach a broad deal to fix the budget. They once sounded optimistic. Now many of them aren't talking, and if they are, they're gloomy.

Mark Bertolini, chief executive of health-insurance company Aetna Inc., called the state of play "pitiful and embarrassing," saying the chances are growing that a deal might not be reached by the end of the year to avert $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts.

"Set aside my interest as the CEO of a participant in the economy here—as an American, I'm embarrassed if that's where we end up," Mr. Bertolini said in an interview. "It feels like it's starting to fall apart."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaState Government

0 Comments
Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Plaintiffs are individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds who are in committed same-sex relationships. In 2010 they sued the State of Montana, complaining that they are unable to obtain protections and benefits that are available to similarly situated different-sex couples who marry under State law. Plaintiffs expressly do not challenge Montana law’s restriction of marriage to heterosexual couples, do not seek the opportunity to marry, and do not seek the designation of marriage for their relationships. They contend however that there is a “statutory structure” in Montana law that prohibits them from enjoying “significant relationship and family protections and obligations automatically provided to similarly-situated different-sex couples who marry.....”

You may find the whole ruling here (133 page pdf). For a couple of articles about it, check the Citizen link one here and the Huffington Post one there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a classic 1960 children's book, a baby bird toddles up to one critter after another asking, "Are you my mother?"

For some babies today, there's no simple answer — biologically or legally.

Advances in artificial reproductive technologies, mean a baby could have three "mothers" — the genetic mother, the birth mother and the intended parent, who may be a woman or a man.

Mother here may not be mother there. Mother now may not be mother later. Statutes on surrogacy, adoption, divorce and inheritance vary state by state, court by court, decision by decision. For non-traditional couples, the patchwork of laws makes it even more complex. New York allows gay marriage but forbids surrogacy, while Utah permits surrogacy but bans gay marriage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 12, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 200 school districts across California are taking a second look at the high price of the debt they've taken on using risky financial arrangements. Collectively, the districts have borrowed billions in loans that defer payments for years — leaving many districts owing far more than they borrowed.

In 2010, officials at the West Contra Costa School District, just east of San Francisco, were in a bind. The district needed $2.5 million to help secure a federally subsidized $25 million loan to build a badly needed elementary school.

Charles Ramsey, president of the school board, says he needed that $2.5 million upfront, but the district didn't have it.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, the Greenville archconservative, said today that he will resign from the Senate in January to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Gov. Nikki Haley will name DeMint’s successor who will serve until 2014, when a special election would be held to fill the final two years of Republican DeMint’s six-year term, the same time U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is up for re-election.

Immediate speculation turned to U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, who, like DeMint, is a Tea Party favorite. Scott also is the only Republican African-American in the U.S. House.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralSenateState Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How did we get here? From "say no" to "yes" votes in not one but two states?

The answer goes beyond society's evolving views, and growing acceptance, of marijuana as a drug of choice.

In Washington — and, advocates hope, coming soon to a state near you — there was a well-funded and cleverly orchestrated campaign that took advantage of deep-pocketed backers, a tweaked pro-pot message and improbable big-name supporters.

Good timing and a growing national weariness over failed drug laws didn't hurt, either.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

2 Comments
Posted December 4, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gov. Sam Brownback's newly formed task force on child poverty was told Monday that the increase in "non-marital births" was a leading cause of child poverty.

Ron Haskins, a senior fellow with The Brookings Institution, said that from a child's perspective, "They need a mom, they need a dad, they need consistency … if that occurs it has major impacts on development."

Haskins' comments were made during the first meeting of the Governor's Task Force on Reducing Childhood Poverty. Brownback appointed the group earlier this month.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tony Dokoupil..likes.the for-profit regulatory model in Colorado [going forward]...

"There's a ban on advertising," he explains. "There are cameras that track the marijuana from bloom to end-consumer, so the diversion into the black market is limited. There are extensive background checks on people who are part of the marketplace — so if you want to open a marijuana shop, you have to go through an extensive background check."

Once that model is in place, the consumer side of things might look a lot like Starbucks.

"I think you will have a variety of products at different levels of intensity, exactly like Starbucks," Dokoupil says. "You might be able to walk in there and in the case they'll have 12 different strains of cannabis. Behind the counter there might be hash. There might be edibles, like fizzy drinks or brownies. There could be a hot dog wheel turning. You could put THC in anything."

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted November 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Tennessee Court of Appeals is considering whether facilities that operate like businesses within a tax-exempted church should be subject to property taxes.

Advocates for a Nashville church argued in the state appeals court that a gym, a bookstore and a cafe on its property “fit the spiritual needs of a congregation,” and shouldn’t be taxed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted November 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This month, two US states voted to legalise, regulate and tax marijuana. From advertising and marketing to drugged-driving enforcement, we ask what's ahead.

The 6 November votes in Colorado and Washington left a lot of marijuana users happy and a lot of police officers nervous. And they set the two states up for a confrontation with the federal government, as marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the US. Legalisation advocates say the recent votes mark the beginning of the end of the drug's prohibition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amid the furor of the United States elections last week, one surprising story stood out. Against all odds and prognostications, the citizens of Massachusetts voted to reject physician assisted suicide. It seemed impossible – Massachusetts, the first state in the Union to allow homosexual marriage, with a media machine that was favorable to the referendum – appeared sure to win.

The “Dignity 2012” campaign proposed to allow physician-assisted suicide for those diagnosed with a terminal illness with six months or less to live. The American Medical Women's Association and the American medical Student’s Association both endorsed the act, the latter claiming that " that quality of life is an important part of health care” the statement then explained that they “adopted the position of supporting the choice of terminally-ill patients who wish to end their suffering. Death with Dignity encompasses this principle and we thoroughly support it."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 17, 2012 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heavenly Father we ask that you will have mercy on America today and bless us in spite of ourselves. We ask that you will give wisdom to all who go to the polls to cast their votes. Help us as we make difficult decisions on a variety of issues and as we seek to elect men and women who will hunger for righteousness and seek the common good to positions of authority in our towns and cities, in our states and in our nation. We pray against any voter fraud or any corruption of proper voter access and ask that justice be done in each and every election, whatever the locale. We also pray for peace and grace with one another as the results are received and digested, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns in glory everlasting, Amen--KSH.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateState GovernmentUS Presidential Election 2012* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 6, 2012 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the third day after Hurricane Sandy soaked Hoboken in several feet of water, leaving the city one of the most crippled in the region, those with the least found themselves suspended in the storm’s cold, dark aftermath. Late this week, Hoboken started to hum with generators and a taco truck.

The projects where [Grace] Rodriguez and her daughter, Jayleen Avalos, lived were still at the bottom of the world. The 25 or so buildings operated by the Hoboken Housing Authority were clustered together on 17 acres at the city’s southern edge. They were hemmed in by gentrification on one side — $600,000 lofts with same-day shirt service dry cleaners — and a steel fence in the back. Two feet of floodwater created a moat around the buildings. The National Guard brought water and MREs. The Red Cross brought bologna-and-cheese sandwiches.

But the one commodity residents were starved for was information, and the absence of it deepened their sense of isolation. The city government used social media to update citizens. Grace Rodriguez would have appreciated a bullhorn.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMedia* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

0 Comments
Posted November 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are opposed to Question 2 for these reasons:
The proposed safeguards against abuse are insufficient. Enforcement provisions, investigation authority, oversight, or data verification are not included in the act. A witness to the patient’s signed request could also be an heir.
Assisted suicide is not necessary to improve the quality of life at the end of life. Current law gives every patient the right to refuse lifesaving treatment, and to have adequate pain relief, including hospice and palliative sedation....
Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two states, Oregon and Washington, have legalized physician-assisted suicide through voter-approved ballot initiatives. Massachusetts will become the third if voters approve the so-called Death With Dignity ballot question. The measure would let terminally ill patients with six months or less to live get a lethal prescription. The outcome of that vote could change the landscape for legalized suicide nationwide.

When Dr. Marcia Angell was editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine back in the 1990s, she startled many of her colleagues by arguing that dying patients should have a legal right to kill themselves. She took that stance partly because of what her father did when he was in severe pain from prostate cancer.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At a Seattle synagogue, volunteers are running a phone bank urging voters to uphold Washington’s same-sex marriage law. In Maryland, Catholics are poised to preach from the pulpit opposing a similar initiative.

Voters in those states as well as Maine are less than two weeks from deciding whether to hand ballot-box victory to same- sex marriage proponents for the first time after more than a decade of defeat. Campaigns on both sides are targeting religious communities, where leaders holding on to centuries of opposition to homosexuality are often pitted against their congregants’ evolving attitudes toward gay nuptials.

“There has been some movement in recent years toward greater acceptance of same-sex marriage,” said David Masci, a researcher with the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington. “But the largest religious groups and the biggest churches remain opposed.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther Faiths

3 Comments
Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

State officials say someone hacked into the Department of Revenue, exposing about 3.6 million South Carolina tax returns.

Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday about 387,000 credit and debit card numbers were also exposed, and 16,000 of those were unencrypted. State officials are urging anyone who has filed a state tax return since 1998 to call a toll-free number to determine whether their information is affected.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyPersonal FinanceTaxesPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This has to be listened to--catch it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* General InterestAnimalsHumor / Trivia

6 Comments
Posted October 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchCapital PunishmentLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted October 11, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A potentially serious complication has arisen in California's latest effort to avoid billions in spending cuts, which threaten the state’s education and welfare systems.

Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 intends to forestall "draconian" budget cuts by temporarily raising taxes, including sales taxes and income taxes on the wealthy. The initiative could largely determine his legacy, as well as the state’s fiscal health for at least a decade. Moreover, if successful, Prop. 30 could begin to shift the national conversation on taxes after decades of extreme antitax sentiment across the country.

Polls show that a thin majority of state voters support Prop. 30. But that support could be undercut by another proposition that aims to raise taxes for public education. Molly Munger, the millionaire behind the rival initiative, has even suggested she might start airing comparison ads arguing why voters should vote for her proposition, not Governor Brown's Prop. 30.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeTaxesThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralState Government

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Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Support for Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for billions of dollars in tax hikes on the November ballot is slipping amid public anxiety about how politicians spend money, but voters still favor the proposal, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

The findings suggest that voters are leery of sending more cash to Sacramento in the wake of a financial scandal at the parks department, spiraling costs for a multibillion-dollar high-speed rail project to connect Northern and Southern California and ill-timed legislative pay raises.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralState Government

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Posted October 1, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

States saw little relief from poverty in the past year, especially among children, the unemployed and those in the lowest income brackets.

The latest Census figures show that 17 states had increases in the number of people living in poverty between 2010 and 2011. Only one state, Vermont, had a decrease; the other 32 showed no change.

Although the national poverty rate has been steady at 15.9%, the Census data show pockets of increases by geography and among demographic groups. The data reflect the economy's slow recovery and anemic job growth, policy analysts say.

"The problem is high unemployment," says Chuck Sheketoff, executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralState Government

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Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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