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

Ah, ah, ah--you need to guess before you look. Check it out from Forbes.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe U.S. GovernmentCensus/Census DataPolitics in GeneralCity Government

0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

They are Jewish, and they want it gone.

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A big-hearted restaurant owner known as "Momma" leads a group in Arlington, Washington called the Soup Ladies who for 10 years have been dishing up meals for first responders. They are feeding hot meals to search and rescue workers at the site of a tragic mudslide roughly 70 miles away in Oso.

Watch the whole thing from NBC.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsDieting/Food/NutritionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 3:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The referendum will have done nothing to have diminished the risk of inter-ethnic violence.

Against this uncertain and volatile background, the Christian churches of Europe, through the Conference of European Churches, have been in contact with the All Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations, a body that includes Jewish and Muslim representatives as well as Christian churches. A letter signed by the present CEC president, known to many Members of your Lordships’ House as the recently retired Bishop of Guildford, expresses solidarity and support, urges an end to further polarisation in Ukrainian society and assures them that churches elsewhere in Europe are urging a democratic and diplomatic solution to the problems facing Ukraine. I know that Bishop Christopher Hill will be talking later this week to other European church leaders about how this solidarity and support can be given more tangible shape through the Conference of European Churches.

Even if this crisis has cast a Cold War shadow over Europe, it is important that we remain in dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church. That is not always an easy task given the Russian orthodox world view. I am encouraged that only last month the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London met representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to discuss the theological education of students from the Russian Orthodox Church here in the UK. However this crisis plays out, and I pray as I am sure many of us do for a speedy and peaceful resolution, it is important that we do not sanction measures that put such dialogue at risk.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeRussiaUkraine* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

2 Comments
Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Residents in a remote village who have been left without a church should be the ones to benefit from a sale of the listed building, claims a local councillor.

After parishioners in Rookhope, County Durham, learned just over a week ago that their Sunday service at the 110-year-old St John The Evangelist C of E Church was to be the last, councillor and resident John Shuttleworth is demanding recompense.

The attractive stone-built church was actually paid for and constructed by villagers so he says it’s the community who should benefit from any sale. “I think it’s fair that the money from the sale should go back to the village,” said Coun Shuttleworth who aired his views in a letter to the Diocese of Durham.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:30 am [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

New York City is moving to close school for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year — but Mayor de Blasio isn’t so sure about the Hindu festival Diwali.

Appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t taken a position on whether Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India and other South Asian countries, should be a day off from school.

But he said he’d move forward with closing schools for Lunar New Year and for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslim holy days.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted February 5, 2014 at 7:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Christian family in Algeria has been refused permission to bury their son in the local public cemetery because he was not a Muslim.

“The leaders of the mosque demanded that I would have to follow Islamic burial rites if I was to bury my son in the cemetery,” said the father of 24-year-old Lahlou Naraoui, a University student.

Naraoui’s family, who live in Chemini in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria, said they could not follow the Muslim leaders’ demands and instead chose to bury their son on private land.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAfricaAlgeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:29 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

America, you may have a new Sodom and Gomorrah.

The two least “Bible-minded” cities in the United States are the adjacent metros of Providence, R.I., and New Bedford, Mass., according to a study out Wednesday from the American Bible Society.

The study defines “Bible-mindedness” as a combination of how often respondents read the Bible and how accurate they think the Bible is. “Respondents who report reading the bible within the past seven days and who agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible are classified as ‘Bible Minded,’” says the study’s methodology.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1973, Evelyn Wynn-Dixon was standing at the Pryor Street Bridge overlooking Atlanta’s I-75, preparing to jump. She had four babies, no husband, no job and no self-esteem. At the time, she never would have believed what her life would become decades later.

If she killed herself, she thought, her children “would be rich” from her insurance policy. “I saw a tractor-trailer comin’. I said, ‘I am not gonna be able to do that.’ So I went home and I had a .22. It had no bullets.”

She also tried over-dosing on aspirin and cutting her wrist, without success. After those suicide attempts, she says she heard her late mother’s voice telling her, “School is the answer.”

Read it all (also the video report is highly recommended).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPovertyWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

0 Comments
Posted January 19, 2014 at 11:44 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

The Charleston Police Department is seeking to set up a family violence squad to combat often hidden crimes that scar families, turn children into tomorrow's criminals and contribute to the state's dubious distinction as the nation's No. 1 place for women killed by men.

The 433-officer police department is applying for a nearly $150,000 federal grand to hire, train and equip a full-time investigator to handle criminal domestic dispute cases as the first step toward what Chief Greg Mullen envisions as establishing a special family violence squad.

Mullen said the plan is to focus exclusively on family violence so police can investigate better, prepare for more effective prosecutions, be more supportive of victims and possibly head off more violence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2014 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Texas has seen the future of the public library, and it looks a lot like an Apple Store: Rows of glossy iMacs beckon. iPads mounted on a tangerine-colored bar invite readers. And hundreds of other tablets stand ready for checkout to anyone with a borrowing card.

Even the librarians imitate Apple’s dress code, wearing matching shirts and that standard-bearer of geek-chic, the hoodie. But this $2.3 million library might be most notable for what it does not have – any actual books.

That makes Bexar County’s BibiloTech the nation’s only bookless public library, a distinction that has attracted scores of digital bookworms, plus emissaries from as far away as Hong Kong who want to learn about the idea and possibly take it home.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingBooksEducationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted January 8, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Prince of Wales’s powerful intervention last week on the persecution of Christians is a reminder that ancient Christian communities, pre-dating Islam, are on the verge of disappearing from their homelands in the Middle East.

After years of bringing together Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders in dialogue, Prince Charles admitted that in spite of many such efforts, “fundamentalist Islamist militants” were “deliberately” targeting Christians.

This is something that Western governments have been strangely and inexplicably reluctant to confront. In a recent House of Commons debate on the issue, the Government response was full of denial that this was a problem uniquely affecting Christian communities. But, then, successive governments have done little to speak up for Christians facing human rights abuses in Africa and the Middle East.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 24, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please note the headline above is from the Internet edition of the story, the print edition uses "Hundreds hungry, homeless in city" as its headline--KSH)>

"One hundred and fifty-six people slept here last night," said Amy Zeigler, vice president for development at the Crisis Ministries shelter on Meeting Street. "And the reality is that 156 people will be sleeping here tonight...."

In terms of providing meals to the hungry in Charleston, access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food still remains a factor. And the Lowcountry Food Bank reported that difficulties in food delivery could arise even further as the climate of federal cutbacks continues to be fought in Washington.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP and formerly known as the federal food stamp program, is part of the philosophical battleground.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 12, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A federal bankruptcy judge granted Detroit unprecedented powers Tuesday to shed billions of dollars in debt, including the ability to slash city employee pensions despite a state constitutional provision protecting them.

In approving the nation’s ­largest-ever municipal filing, Judge Steven Rhodes cleared the way for Detroit’s emergency manager to develop a plan to reorganize the city’s estimated $18 billion in debt. Beyond cutting worker pensions and retiree health benefits, the city could stiff bondholders and sell city assets such as its water and sewer authority and its priceless art collection.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to ban the manufacturing of guns by 3-D printers, making Philly the first city to do so. Which is interesting, because the author of the bill, Kenyatta Johnson, isn’t aware of of any local gun-printing 3-D printers. ”It’s all pre-emptive,” says Johnson’s director of legislation Steve Cobb. “It’s just based upon internet stuff out there.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesScience & TechnologyUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Imagine you are an entrepreneur in Greece, a town of 96,000 in upstate New York, wanting to open a restaurant inside a billiard parlour. Before you pitch the idea at a public hearing, hoping to win a special-use permit, a Catholic priest delivers a prayer, a tradition in Greece since 1999. Suppose you’re not a believer. Do you bow your head with everyone else? Glare? Walk out?

In Town of Greece v Galloway, the Supreme Court is considering whether Greece’s brand of public prayer violates the constitution’s ban on the establishment of religion. It is 30 years since, in Marsh v Chambers, the court upheld the Nebraska legislature’s right to a chaplaincy. If religious invocations in legislative bodies were acceptable to the men who drafted the first amendment, the court reasoned in Marsh, they are all right now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

3 Comments
Posted November 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“This case is about Christians aggressively imposing themselves upon their fellow citizens with the power of government,” says plaintiff lawyer Douglas Laycock. But defense attorney Tom Hungar warned that the case could lead to “government regulating the theological content of prayers, prescribing what is orthodox and what is not in religion.”

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The local option sales tax proposal was defeated again Tuesday in Dorchester County, ending a bruising campaign marked by short tempers and personal attacks.

More than 65 percent of voters cast ballots against the proposal, according to unofficial election results.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted November 6, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group of experts in medicine, law and ethics has issued a blistering report that accuses the United States government of directing doctors, nurses and psychologists, among others, to ignore their professional codes of ethics and participate in the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The report was published Monday by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, an ethics group based at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Open Society Foundations, a pro-democracy network founded by the billionaire George Soros.

The authors were part of a 19-member task force that based its findings on a two-year review of public information. The sources included documents released by the government, news reports, and books and articles from professional journals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled for the plaintiffs. While prayers before legislative sessions do not necessarily violate the Constitution, the court said, the “overwhelming predominance” of the prayers was explicitly Christian, leading a reasonable observer to understand the town to be endorsing that religion over others, regardless of the town’s intent. (After the suit was filed, the board invited representatives of other religions, including Judaism, the Baha’i faith and Wicca, to deliver the prayer, but after four months the prayers were almost exclusively Christian again.)

Defenders of the board’s practice rely on a 1983 Supreme Court case that upheld prayers before legislative sessions — including those of Congress — because they are “deeply embedded” in American history. The prayers in Greece are constitutional, the defenders say, because they may be delivered by anyone, and the town does not compel citizens to pray.

But compulsion is not the only issue. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in a 1984 case, when a government appears to endorse one religion, it “sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community.” After the Greece lawsuit was filed, one of the plaintiffs received a letter, signed “666,” that read, “If you feel ‘unwanted’ at the Town of Greece meetings, it’s probably because you are.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & CultureRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 4, 2013 at 3:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anne Stoehr, a one-time resident of Detroit who now lives in nearby Grosse Pointe Woods, is tired of the doom and gloom she keeps reading about Detroit. “Keep telling people that it’s hopeless, they’re going to believe it,” she says. “It’s not true; not if we just pull together.”

Indeed, not all the news from Detroit is bleak. Local corporations have joined in an $8 million campaign to provide 23 new emergency medical service vehicles and up to 100 new police cars to replace the city’s aging and poorly maintained municipal fleet. Quicken Loans brought its headquarters and 7,000 jobs to downtown Detroit in 2010, inspiring a rush of tech start-ups to join in. Cafes and restaurants are opening. New jobs are being created by entrepreneurs attracted to the city by its low overhead.

Mrs. Stoehr is volunteering along with some friends on a Tuesday morning at On the Rise, a bakery sponsored by the Capuchins. The business provides its east side community with wholesome fare that would otherwise be completely lacking and offers its employees, one-time inmates of Michigan’s jails and prisons, steady work and new, marketable skills.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If Dorchester County passes a local-option sales tax next week, the people most apt to be hurt are renters. The reason: Property owners who rent to them don’t always use their tax savings to cut rental rates, officials say.

But based on what has happened in Berkeley and Charleston counties where they have approved the tax, paying an extra one-percent sales tax doesn’t sting for many owners when compared with the benefits of the property tax credit they get.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketTaxesPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted October 30, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Many voters]... are angry that their County Council has scheduled its fourth attempt to pass LOST in a special election on Nov. 5, 2013, when they know that low voter turnout and $33,000+ special costs are assured, rather than in a regularly scheduled, no extra cost election in, say, Nov. 2014. They also are angry about Council’s misinformation (until corrected by citizens) that LOST would not tax groceries (it does) and its annual costs would be much lower than they are; some Councilmen’s expressing disdain for opposition to LOST, denouncing citizen statements as false but refusing to give corrections, refusing to provide evidence of Councilmen’s claims, and not understanding the consequences of LOST; and one Councilman at a public meeting uncivilly tossing away two anti-LOST flyers on a nearby table, yelling they were all “lies” and wagging his finger at a LOST opponent as he derisively challenged that opponent to a debate at which the Councilman declared he would “shred” the opponent.

Citizens are angry to realize that, while LOST would give property tax relief to some, large numbers of citizens essentially would not benefit at all; most would pay more sales tax than they would save in property tax; most benefits would go to a wealthy few who need them the least; the costs of getting LOST tax benefits would be exorbitant; and the LOST tax would grow government by increasing government spending.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted October 27, 2013 at 8:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It would be nice if more Christians understood that our faith always has local implications, including our life in public, which is in the polis, and therefore our faith has local political ramifications. The are derivative, yes, they are always penultimate, but they do matter.

This whole campaign makes me sad. It is a pitch to lessen property taxes by raising sales taxes. Allegedly.

It is immoral in all sorts of ways but here are two principle reasons why I will vote no. First, it is a regressive tax. Those least able to will have to pay more tax (and yes it goes on groceries!). And secondly, the other argument I hear all over is all the other counties are doing it so we should to, otherwise we will lose business etc. to nearby counties which already have the (dumb, immoral) tax. This is right out if 1 Samuel where Israel asks for a King since all the other nations have one.

Now this may cause property taxes to be slightly higher, and since we own our home, that will involve us. I don't know anyone who likes higher taxes, but if this is the implication of my vote this coming November, so be it.

County Leaders should be ashamed of themselves (especially since this is the fourth time they have tried this)--KSH
.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Culture-WatchRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceTaxesPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

9 Comments
Posted October 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Larry Hargett might be right: Dorchester County residents might not know enough about a local option sales tax yet to vote on it.

If the county councilman is, that's not good news for leaders pushing the Nov. 5 referendum.

Earlier this year, County Council unanimously approved a referendum for the local election Nov. 5. Now they are visibly frustrated by the sometimes hostile opposition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceTaxesPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Herewith the question as it will read on the ballot November 5.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceTaxesPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted October 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A push to forge community partnerships and attack lawlessness at its roots helped Charleston buck a national trend and post substantial declines in violent crime and property offenses last year, according to FBI statistics released Monday.

Charleston saw a 26 percent drop in violent crime in 2012, despite having one more killing than in the previous year. Driving the decline were noticeably fewer rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults than in 2011, the FBI numbers show.

The total number of property crimes such as burglaries and car thefts in the city also dropped, by 10 percent, during the same time period.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 18, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Down the block, we spotted my friend Pastor Steve, the proprietor of a storefront church on an otherwise entirely abandoned block. Driving by, I’d noticed the motley assortment of characters hanging out front and an unruly garden taking up much of the vacant corner lot next door, and eventually I stopped by and introduced myself. It turned out that most of the folks out front were struggling addicts and prostitutes and criminals from the neighbourhood.

Pastor Steve had gone through his own period of felonious hard living – heroin, pills, booze, glue-sniffing, bank-robbing, you name it – before being saved and then called to the ministry. A rangy white guy in his early sixties, Pastor Steve had an obvious love for a certain era of countercultural accoutrement which had somehow managed to survive this spiritual journey intact. He had a bushy handlebar moustache and flowing grey hair, the curly ends of which spilled to his chest, and favoured cowboy boots, earrings with topaz beads, and the sorts of silver rings you might buy at a Native American souvenir stand. On his motorcycle, a parishioner had painted a picture of Chief Joseph, “who was one of the main, awesome Indians”, in Pastor Steve’s words. He continued, “After we’d been here a while, I got stories coming back to me that people in the neighbourhood thought we were a motorcycle gang. They saw me, saw the Harley, and they thought the building was filled with weapons and we were here to take over.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted August 12, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Right now the remains of about 100 people are lined up neatly in small white boxes, waiting for their turn to be buried. Finegan says it's basic, but it helps to keep costs down, allowing his funeral home and the county to afford the things they think are far more important, like the grave site and the memorial service. This is something Pamela Hirst, who couldn't pay for a friend's burial, says she doesn't take for granted.

"It is a great burden when you can't properly do what you want to do in your heart for someone that you've loved so much," she says.

For Hirst, that someone was Joe Speer. He was a poet who lived his life performing and traveling the country in a green Volkswagen van. Hirst still has trouble talking about Speer. Two years ago, he died from pancreatic cancer. And for a while, Hirst says she carried around a lot of guilt because she couldn't afford to give him a proper burial.

Read or listen to it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 9, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the worldwide battle to get dog owners to clean up after their pets, enter Brunete, a middle-class suburb of Madrid fed up with dirty parks and sidewalks.

ome cities hand out steep fines. But in these tough economic times, the mayor here, Borja Gutiérrez, did not much like that idea. Instead, this town engaged a small army of volunteers to bag it, box it and send it back to its owners.

“It’s your dog, it’s your dog poop,” Mr. Gutiérrez said. “We are just returning it to you.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* General InterestAnimals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Greece ran into financial trouble three years ago, the problem soon spread. Many observers were mystified. How could such a little country set off a continental crisis? The Greeks were stereotyped as a nation of tax-dodgers who had been living high on borrowed money for years. The Portuguese, Italians and Spanish insisted that their finances were fundamentally sound. The Germans wondered what it had to do with them at all. But the contagion was powerful, and Europe’s economy has yet to recover.

America seems in a similar state of denial about Detroit filing for bankruptcy.... Many people think Motown is such an exceptional case that it holds few lessons for other places. What was once the country’s fourth-most-populous city grew rich thanks largely to a single industry. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler once made nearly all the cars sold in America; now, thanks to competition from foreign brands built in non-union states, they sell less than half. Detroit’s population has fallen by 60% since 1950. The murder rate is 11 times the national average. The previous mayor is in prison. Shrubs, weeds and raccoons have reclaimed empty neighbourhoods. The debts racked up when Detroit was big and rich are unpayable now that it is smaller and poor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the thirty or so years that I have been following EU affairs – or is it nearer 35 years now since I studied in French literature in Paris, and German philosophy in Mainz – I have never seen ties between Europe’s two great land states reduced so low.

The French Socialist Party crossed a line by lashing out at Chancellor Angela Merkel in person. It is one thing to protest “German austerity”, it is quite another to rebuke the “selfish intransigence of Mrs Merkel, who thinks of nothing but the deposits of German savers, the trade balance recorded by Berlin and her electoral future”.

There is no justification for such an ad hominem attack. German policy is indeed destructive, but that is structural. It is built into the mechanisms of EMU and the anthropological make-up of the enterprise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEuropeFranceGermany

1 Comments
Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After four years of increasing tensions between some Christian missionaries and local Muslims, the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn is being moved from a street that has open access to a public park that could restrict admission to paid attendees.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly said Friday that the city plans to shift the festival — the biggest annual outdoor gathering of Arab Americans in the U.S. — from Warren Avenue to Ford Woods Park, near the corner of Ford and Greenfield roads. One of the reasons for the move is liability concerns; the city has been hit with lawsuits from some Christian missionaries alleging their free speech rights were curtailed at the festival.

“Considering everything we’ve been through and what happened in the past,” said O’Reilly, the city wanted a place “where you can have a controlled site.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

2 Comments
Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The security planning for last week's Boston Marathon, where two bombs went off killing three people and wounding 264, included preparation for such an emergency, a top Massachusetts public safety official said on Wednesday.

"We spend months planning for the marathon. We did a tabletop exercise the week before that included a bombing scenario in it," Kurt Schwartz, the state's undersecretary for homeland security, told a panel at Harvard University.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSportsUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentTerrorism

1 Comments
Posted April 24, 2013 at 6:45 pm [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

The search for one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects -- the man seen wearing a white baseball cap -- this morning led to the sudden shutdown of the MBTA’s entire network of commuter rail, bus, and subway services.

State authorities also asked people who live in Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Cambridge, and Allston-Brighton to stay home and for businesses in those cities and towns to stay closed.

“We are asking you to stay indoors, to stay in your homes for the time being,’’ Kurt Schwartz, who leads the state’s homeland security department, said at a 6 a.m. press conference today. “We are asking business in those areas to cooperate and not open today until we can provide further guidance.’’

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 19, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Planning Commission will consider the general development plan for Christ Church Anglican’s proposed new sanctuary and parish house with meeting and education facilities at the northeast corner of Drayton and 37th streets.

It’s a proposal that raises many interesting questions about the role of large-scale institutional development in a mixed-use area where narrower lots are common.

Of course, the Thomas Square neighborhood is already home to a significant number of large churches and institutions, as Christ Church Anglican’s proposal details. Similarly sized structures nearby include the Bull Street Library, New Covenant Church, the Christian Revival Center, Sisters Court Apartments and SCAD’s Wallin and Arnold halls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 3, 2013 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On top of the possible employment losses, what messages are we sending when the government penalizes marriage at any level? One message is clear. The decision by Congress to impose a marriage penalty only discourages couples from getting married and subsidizes cohabiting households. The Marriage and Religion Research Institute studies the social science data and research on the impacts of marriage and religious practice on the lives of children and the future of the nation. Statistics show that homes headed by married couples are less likely to need government assistance. Analyzing the data, they have found that children in homes headed by married couples are more likely to be higher-achieving students and better citizens, and are less likely to become dependent on the failing government subsidy system.

Add in the higher taxes (an average of $2,425 per employee) from the 2 percent tax increase in everyone’s paychecks to pay for Social Security and the myriad tax increases all families will pay thanks to the malady known as Obamacare, and it is likely that families will end this year with their own personal fiscal cliffs. If Congress is serious about tax reform, easing the burdens on all families should be at the center of any transformation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentOffice of the PresidentSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:00 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

Another day of loud booms and deadly weaponry plummeting from the sky wracked Israel and Gaza on Sunday, with fresh casualties reported on both sides of a conflict that international leaders scrambled to end.

Rescuers pulled the bloodied bodies of children from the wreckage of a Gaza home Sunday after an Israeli airstrike, which Israel said targeted a top Hamas militant. The Israelis initially said the operative was killed, but they later said he may have survived.

And about 120 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces reported. At least 38 were intercepted by Israel's "Iron Dome" missile-defense system, the IDF said -- but one struck a car in the Israeli town of Ofakim, injuring an unspecified number of people, while another hit a woman's carport while she was inside her house in Ashkelon. Fresh sirens sounded Sunday in Tel Aviv, but the IDF said it had intercepted at least two rockets headed for the city.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm [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

I come this morning very grateful for the chance to promote an initiative I consider crucial and promising for this city and state I am now proud to call my earthly home;

I come with deep admiration for the prophetic leadership of Chief Judge Lippman, encouraged by other esteemed jurists like Judge Gail Prudenti and Mr. Thomas More; as well as our own Catholic Lawyers Guild.

I come, hardly as a legal expert or politician…but only as a pastor, to heartily support an endeavor that I’m convinced will bring justice to people who, simply put, have nowhere else to go but to the courts, which enflesh the assurance of this great country that there is, indeed, “equal protection under the law.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPovertyReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted October 3, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please note that you can find a map of all New Jersey counties here. You may know that I grew up in Lawrenceville, which is in Mercer County--KSH).

Just 30 minutes outside Philadelphia, amid the rolling farmland that produces some of the nation's largest peach and bell pepper crops, more Gloucester County parents are seeking help to feed their children, while others live in tents in the wooded areas near major shopping centers.

From 2010 to 2011, the rate of child poverty in Gloucester County more than doubled, a shocking statistic in a county where the median income is more than $72,000, according to census data. In 2011, 7,395 children in Gloucester County were living in families earning about $22,000 a year or less, up from 4,687 children in 2010, according to census figures.

"Gloucester County is a distinctly middle-class place," said Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D., Gloucester). "When you see those kind of numbers, it's a reflection of what's happening with the national economy."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenDieting/Food/NutritionMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government

1 Comments
Posted September 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The York Fairness Commission will present its Final Report to the leaders of City of York Council on Thursday 27th September at an event at Bishopthorpe Palace.

The presentation of the report will be the culmination of months of work to see how inequality and unfairness can be tackled across York, in the face of a difficult economic situation nationally.

Whilst research shows two fifths of York residents are relatively well off, living in the best 20% of places in the country, around 13,000 residents in the City live in the most deprived 20% of the country. In addition , City of York Council must make £19.7m worth of savings over the next two years due to cuts imposed by central government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted September 24, 2012 at 11:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Entrepreneurs say their technology could smooth revolutionary reforms of medical care in the US, which spends $2.6tn a year on health, or 17 per cent of gross domestic product. As policy changes roll out over the next few years, insurance companies will be forced to limit their profits, and hospitals will face penalties if patients return to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. Doctors will no longer be paid for how many X-rays they take or laboratory tests they run but for how well their patients are doing.

However, while the entrepreneurs exude optimism about their ability to streamline the healthcare system, the sprawling industry proved resistant of reforms in the 1990s. It was difficult to translate the vision of a few bright technology experts to the massive healthcare administration sector.

Fears about the proposed technology revolution resonate in several other countries that have hit roadblocks when turning to technology to address healthcare problems. Doctors and other medical professionals around the world have historically been slow to adopt new technology, wary of the costs and the time needed to learn and adjust to new administrative procedures.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

1 Comments
Posted September 13, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new documentary, “Sanford: the Untold Story,” highlighting the racial reconciliation journey being experienced in Sanford, Fla., following the tragic death of Trayvon Martin in February, is being released on iTunes, YouTube, and aired nationwide around Labor Day weekend.

In this 30-minute film, CHARISMA founder and program host Steve Strang reveals how local pastors – including black, Hispanic and Caucasian--have taken the lead to confront the racial divide that spans generations in their city by regularly meeting, sharing and prayingtogether.

"I was genuinely moved to see how these pastors have passionately stood together and are now reaching out to help hurting people," Strang said. "Their story will inspire audiences across the country to initiate a similar approach in their communities--because racism isn't limited to Sanford, Fla."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

0 Comments
Posted September 1, 2012 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ban is proposed by Councilman George O'Kelley Jr. and would prohibit cellphone use by drivers younger than 18 and texting by all drivers. Drivers who break the law would be cited and face fees starting at $50 and increasing to $150 for repeated violations, according to the ordinance.

"If we save a life, I don't care if they are convicted or not in court," O'Kelley said. "If we stop it, we can save an innocent person's life. And if word gets around that if you do this in the city you get in trouble -- that's a deterrent in itself."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & TechnologyTravel* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Access to fast Internet is spreading in the U.S., but about 19 million Americans can't get it, according to a new government report out Tuesday....

The lack of access continues to hamper rural Americans in particular. About 14.5 million rural Americans — or 23.7% of 61 million people living in rural areas — had no fast Internet service offered for their homes. In contrast, only 1.8% Americans living in non-rural areas — 4.5 million out of 254.9 million — had no broadband access. The FCC categorizes an Internet service as "broadband" if it transmits at a speed of at least 4 megabits per second.

The report's ranking of states again underscored the correlation between broadband access and economic productivity. Economically struggling states fared worse than more thriving areas of the country. West Virginia had the least amount of access, with 45.9% of the state without broadband access. Montana (26.7%), South Dakota (21.1%) and Alaska (19.6%) followed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

12 Comments
Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly half a million people in the UK have a problem with gambling. This is about the same number as are addicted to Class A drugs, and the problem is growing at an alarming rate. Since the Gambling Act 2005 was fully implemented, the number of people classed as problem gamblers has risen by about 50 per cent.

There is no single factor that has prompted this rise. The Act changed so many things: it brought advertising for gambling into our living rooms, and opened the doors of casinos to non-members - quite apart from attempting to address the increasing availability of online gambling. But there is one culprit that appears to have contributed significantly to the problem: the gambling machines that have been set up in betting shops across the country; because of their profitability, they have led bookmakers to open more branches.....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGamblingReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted August 17, 2012 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No one expected Campaign 2012 to be positive or uplifting. The country’s problems are too severe and the battle lines between Republicans and Democrats have been hardened by almost four years of conflict between the White House and Congress.

But what is most striking about the campaign at this point is not just the negativity or the sheer volume of attack ads raining down on voters in the swing states. It is the sense that all restraints are gone, the guardrails have disappeared and there is no incentive for anyone to hold back. The other guy does it, so we’re going to do it too.

Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) as his vice presidential running mate seemed like an opportunity for the both sides to pause and reset after one of the ugliest weeks of the year. Instead, this week has produced the harshest rhetoric and the angriest accusations of the campaign.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMedia* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentOffice of the President* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fiscal woes that have caused high-profile bankruptcies in California are surfacing across the country as municipalities struggle with uneven growth and escalating health and pension costs following the worst recession since the 1930s.

Budget crunches already have prompted Michigan lawmakers to authorize emergency fiscal managers, and led the mayor of Scranton, Pa., to temporarily cut the pay of all city workers to the minimum wage.

In a majority of the nation's 19,000 municipalities—urban and rural, big and small—stagnant property tax revenues, less aid from states and rising costs are forcing less dramatic but still difficult steps.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinancePensionsTaxesThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government

0 Comments
Posted August 11, 2012 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

San Bernardino, California, filed for municipal bankruptcy after disclosing a $46 million shortfall in the city’s budget, the third California city to seek court protection from creditors since June 28.

California cities from the Mexican border to San Francisco Bay are confronting rising pension costs as they contend with growing unemployment and declining property- and sales-tax revenue. The costs stem from decisions made when stock markets were soaring and retirement funds were running surpluses.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government

4 Comments
Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The problems began shortly after Tajul Muluk, a Shiite cleric, opened a boarding school in 2004. The school, in a predominantly Sunni Muslim part of East Java, raised local tensions, and in 2006 it was attacked by thousands of villagers. When a mob set fire to the school and several homes last December, many Shiites saw it as just the latest episode in a simmering sectarian conflict — one that they say has been ignored by the police and exploited by Islamists purporting to preserve the purity of the Muslim faith.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has long been considered a place where different religious and ethnic groups can live in harmony and where Islam can work with democracy.

But that perception has been repeatedly brought into question lately. In East Java, Sunni leaders are pushing the provincial government to adopt a regulation limiting the spread of Shiite Islam. It would prevent the country’s two major Shiite organizations from organizing prayer gatherings and sermons.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Facing the same financial stressors that pushed San Bernardino toward bankruptcy, cities across California are slashing day-to-day services and taking other drastic actions to skirt a similar fiscal collapse.

For some, it may not be enough.

San Bernardino on Tuesday became the third California city to seek bankruptcy protection in the last month and, while no one expects the state to be consumed by municipal insolvencies, other cities teeter on the abyss.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government

1 Comments
Posted July 12, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Stockton, California--This Gold Rush-era port city, an epicenter of California's agricultural exports, will become the nation's largest city to seek protection under the U.S. bankruptcy code after its City Council on Tuesday stopped bond payments, slashed employee health and retirement benefits and adopted a day-to-day survival budget.

City Manager Bob Deis likened the process to cutting off an arm to save the body. He is expected to file bankruptcy papers immediately.....

Stockton..[had] been in negotiations with its creditors since late March under AB 506, a new California law requiring mediation before a municipality can file for reorganization of debt. It was the first use of the law, and policy analysts who watched its torturous and tedious progress have titled their report on it "Death by a Thousand Meetings." Mediations ended Monday at midnight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government

0 Comments
Posted June 27, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new rules could hit pension plans in states like Illinois and New Jersey particularly hard, and even raise borrowing costs for certain municipalities, analysts say. "This could be the event that incites a bigger policy response than what we've seen so far," says Matt Fabian, managing director at Municipal Market Advisors, a research firm.

The exact impact of the new rules by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board isn't clear. According to researchers at Boston College, pension liabilities at 126 state and municipal pension plans would jump by roughly $600 billion, or about 18%. The estimate is based on 2010 financial data and doesn't reflect the stock market's recent rebound or moves by many U.S. states to rein in pension costs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePensionsTaxesThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

0 Comments
Posted June 23, 2012 at 9:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Joining a move toward nonsectarian prayer, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has asked its chaplains to stop including Jesus in their invocations at official department ceremonies.

The change, which applies to such events as police graduations, promotions and memorials, took place about a month ago, said Maj. John Diggs, who heads the department’s volunteer chaplain program. The goal: greater sensitivity to all religions practiced by the more than 2,000 police employees.

“This is not in any way an effort to demean anybody’s Christian beliefs,” Diggs said. “It’s to show respect for all the religious practices in our organization. CMPD is not anybody’s church.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

0 Comments
Posted June 22, 2012 at 6:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

State and local governments are keeping the tightest lid on spending in three decades, even though tax revenue is rising again and powerful interest groups are asking for more money.

he tight budget controls represent a sharp reversal from several years ago when states struggled to control spending, despite a drop in tax collections, and got a $250 billion bailout from the federal government. Today, both Republicans and Democrats are rejecting spending requests even from traditional allies -- police, businesses, teachers, doctors and others -- and keeping budgets balanced as federal aid recedes.

"We're seeing some incredibly significant examples of groups not getting what they want," says Scott Pattison, head of the National Association of State Budget Officers. "There doesn't appear to be that much pushback. Maybe there's an acceptance that cuts have to occur."

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted June 20, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most of the renovated library will look the same as it does today. Its special collections and manuscripts will remain in place, and readers will be able to consult them in the same quiet setting of oak panels and baronial tables. The great entrance hall, grand staircases, and marble corridors will continue to convey the atmosphere of a Beaux-Arts palace of the people. But the new branch library on the lower floors overlooking Bryant Park will have a completely different feel. Designed by the British architect Norman Foster, who will coordinate the renovation, it will suit the needs of a variety of patrons, who will enter the building from a separate ground-level entrance and may remain only long enough to consult magazines or check out current books, videos, and works in other formats. But it will also be used by scholars and writers who want to take home selected books that formerly could only be read in the building.

Will the mixture of readers who take home books and researchers who work inside the library, of premodern and postmodern architecture, of old and new functions, desecrate a building that embodies the finest strain in New York’s civic spirit? Some of the library’s friends fear the worst. A letter of protest against the plan has been signed by several hundred distinguished academics and authors, including Mario Vargas Llosa, the Nobel Prize–winning novelist, and Lorin Stein, the editor of The Paris Review. A petition of less-well-known but equally committed lovers of the library warns that the remodeling “will be ruining a functional element of its architecture—and its soul.” Blogs and Op-Ed pages have been sizzling with indignation.

The shrill tone of the rhetoric—“a glorified Starbucks,” “a vast Internet café,” “cultural vandalism”—suggests an emotional response that goes beyond disagreement over policy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksEducationHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

2 Comments
Posted June 14, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral received approval Friday to demolish two historic buildings in the 3700 block of Chestnut Street, clearing the way for construction of a 25-story apartment tower.

At a lengthy hearing of the city Historical Commission, the cathedral and its private development partner agreed to conditions imposed by the commission that seek to insure that a portion of development profits flow into repair and renovation of the historic cathedral's bell tower.

"We are committed to preserving the church itself," the Rev. Judith Sullivan, cathedral dean, told the commission. "We are all about preservation."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in GeneralCity Government

4 Comments
Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A growing number of cities across the United States are making it harder for the homeless.

Philadelphia recently banned outdoor feeding of people in city parks. Denver has begun enforcing a ban on eating and sleeping on property without permission. And this month, lawmakers in Ashland, Ore., will consider strengthening the town's ban on camping and making noise in public.

And the list goes on: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Diego and more than 50 other cities have previously adopted some kind of anti-camping or anti-food-sharing laws, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

0 Comments
Posted June 11, 2012 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Every generation has an incentive to borrow money from the future to spend on itself. But, until ours, no generation of Americans has done it to the same extent. Why?

A huge reason is that earlier generations were insecure. They lived without modern medicine, without modern technology and without modern welfare states. They lived one illness, one drought and one recession away from catastrophe. They developed a moral abhorrence about things like excessive debt, which would further magnify their vulnerability.

Recently, life has become better and more secure. But the aversion to debt has diminished amid the progress. Credit card companies seduced people into borrowing more. Politicians found that they could buy votes with borrowed money. People became more comfortable with red ink....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinancePensionsTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted June 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Should the Episcopal Cathedral of Philadelphia be allowed to destroy two historically recognized buildings it owns, and build a 25-story apartment, office, and retail complex in their place, in order to finance cathedral repairs and expand its ministry?

That is the question coming Friday before the Philadelphia Historical Commission, which deadlocked on the issue May 11 when it first arose. The four representatives of the Nutter administration voted in favor of demolition of the properties on the 3700 block of Chestnut Street, while all four independent members opposed the plan.

In an unusual step, Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for economic development, endorsed the demolition and development in a letter passed out to commissioners just before the hearing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take a look.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted May 9, 2012 at 9:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The city of Chicago is near insolvency. City workers are bracing for pay and benefit cuts. And Rich Daley, the former mayor who had his behind kissed by the powerful in this town and by much of the media for two decades, has an inside deal that should make sane people sick to their stomachs:

An eventual pension of more than $180,000 for life, according to a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation.

Daley did it on the sneak, our reporters found....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePensionsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

3 Comments
Posted May 3, 2012 at 6:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...it is tempting for progressives to dismiss complaints about redistribution of wealth as ignorant or hypocritical, as in many cases they probably are. Yet all naïveté about public budgets aside, a strong presumption in favor of being able to keep the money you earn is a valuable and powerful thing. Progressives who embrace the concept of wealth redistribution on egalitarian grounds, or who join the refrain of “tax the rich” as the main solution to our fiscal and economic problems, tend to miss the many ways in which economic unfairness can remain untouched or even affirmed by redistributive policies....

It’s important to focus rhetoric and activism on making the rich “pay their fair share”—especially during this austerity season, in which the practical alternative is watching services for the poor dramatically cut....

This can’t, however, be the final analysis of redistributive policies. Throughout the Old Testament, inequality itself is hardly the only issue. There is also the question of fair access to the means of making a living—which, in the Old Testament world, means fair access to land ownership.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 2, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Spain's sickly economy faces a "crisis of huge proportions", a minister said on Friday, as unemployment hit its highest level in two decades and Standard and Poor's weighed in with a two-notch downgrade of the government's debt.

Spain's unemployment rate shot up to 24 percent in the first quarter, the highest level since the early 1990s and one of the worst jobless figures in the world. Retail sales slumped for the twenty-first consecutive month.

"The figures are terrible for everyone and terrible for the government ... Spain is in a crisis of huge proportions," Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said in a radio interview.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Spain

0 Comments
Posted April 27, 2012 at 5:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With economic growth still anaemic and tax revenue down, governments are hoping that they can find additional funds by allowing more gambling.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to change the state Constitution in order to legalize commercial casinos.

In Michigan two separate casino development campaigns are under way to persuade voters, who have to approve new casinos, to allow a total of 15 new casinos across the state....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGamblingPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

15 Comments
Posted April 21, 2012 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seven years after Florida adopted its sweeping self-defense law, the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, has put that law at the center of an increasingly angry debate over how he was killed and whether law enforcement has the authority to charge the man who killed him.

The law, called Stand Your Ground, is one of 21 such laws around the country, many of them passed within the last few years. In Florida, it was pushed heavily by the National Rifle Association but opposed vigorously by law enforcement.

It gives the benefit of the doubt to a person who claims self-defense, regardless of whether the killing takes place on a street, in a car or in a bar — not just in one’s home, the standard cited in more restrictive laws. In Florida, if people feel they are in imminent danger from being killed or badly injured, they do not have to retreat, even if it would seem reasonable to do so. They have the right to “stand their ground” and protect themselves.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRural/Town LifeViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

57 Comments
Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"What concerns us is the message that it sends," said Atheist of Florida member Rob Curry. "A very chilling message that, if you're not a Christian, if you don't believe as we do, then you're not welcome."

Curry's referring to a road-anointing performed on CR 98 last year as part of the "Polk Under Prayer" campaign, where Christians poured olive oil on the asphalt and prayed over it, calling for a revival in the area.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureRural/Town LifeTravel* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism

7 Comments
Posted March 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is crisis time in Trenton, where the city is literally running out of toilet paper.

"It's about one of the last boxes of toilet paper we have for the city buildings," said maintenance supervisor Paul Heater, pointing to a large box.

Supplies have dwindled down to almost nothing because City Council has failed to approve the mayor's $42,000 order for paper products.

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted March 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was not a good week for New York’s cities and counties.

On Monday, Rockland County sent a delegation to Albany to ask for the authority to close its widening budget deficit by issuing bonds backed by a sales tax increase.

On Tuesday, Suffolk County, one of the largest counties outside New York City, projected a $530 million deficit over a three-year period and declared a financial emergency. Its Long Island neighbor, Nassau County, is already so troubled that a state oversight board seized control of its finances last year.

Read it all.

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

5 Comments
Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

James Q. Wilson, a political scientist who coauthored the influential “Broken Windows” article in The Atlantic Monthly in 1982, which became a touchstone for the move toward community policing in Boston and cities across the country, died early this morning in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

He was being treated for leukemia, according to a family friend.

Dr. Wilson, who was 80 and lived North Andover, returned to Boston a few years ago to become the first senior fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College, and a distinguished scholar in the college’s political science department.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePhilosophy* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

0 Comments
Posted March 5, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New Jersey's attorney general told Muslim leaders Saturday that he was still looking into the extent of New York Police Department surveillance operations in the state, yet stopped short of promising a formal investigation during a meeting that both sides characterized as productive.

Leaders from different New Jersey Muslim organizations met with Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and state and federal law enforcement officials for nearly three hours in Trenton to discuss concerns over the NYPD's activities in the state.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2012 at 11:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans love to laugh at ridiculous regulations. A Florida law requires vending-machine labels to urge the public to file a report if the label is not there. The Federal Railroad Administration insists that all trains must be painted with an “F” at the front, so you can tell which end is which. Bureaucratic busybodies in Bethesda, Maryland, have shut down children’s lemonade stands because the enterprising young moppets did not have trading licences. The list goes hilariously on.

But red tape in America is no laughing matter. The problem is not the rules that are self-evidently absurd. It is the ones that sound reasonable on their own but impose a huge burden collectively. America is meant to be the home of laissez-faire. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been circumscribed by meddling governments and diktats from Brussels, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

6 Comments
Posted February 22, 2012 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

KIM LAWTON, correspondent: At FDR Public School on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Abounding Grace Ministries held what could be one of its last worship services in the building. The nondenominational church has been renting worship space here for the last three years. Pastor Rick Del Rio says the reasonable rent was critical to his predominantly low-income congregation.

REV. RICK DEL RIO (Pastor, Abounding Grace Ministries): It’s the only thing we could afford. Two, it becomes that place where families can unite, and we really cultivate those relationships so that it is an oasis.

LAWTON: Del Rio describes his church as a source of stability in the neighborhood and says the city’s policy is unfair to the people he serves.

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

3 Comments
Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, Pasi Sahlberg explains how his nation’s schools became successful. A government official, researcher, and former mathematics and science teacher, Sahlberg attributes the improvement of Finnish schools to bold decisions made in the 1960s and 1970s. Finland’s story is important, he writes, because “it gives hope to those who are losing their faith in public education.”

Detractors say that Finland performs well academically because it is ethnically homogeneous, but Sahlberg responds that “the same holds true for Japan, Shanghai or Korea,” which are admired by corporate reformers for their emphasis on testing. To detractors who say that Finland, with its population of 5.5 million people, is too small to serve as a model, Sahlberg responds that “about 30 states of the United States have a population close to or less than Finland.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenEducation* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeFinland

1 Comments
Posted February 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I am grieved that New York City is planning to take the unwise step of removing 68 churches from the spaces that they rent in public schools. It is my conviction that those churches housed in schools are invaluable assets to the neighborhoods that they serve. Churches have long been seen as positive additions to communities. Family stability, resources for those in need, and compassion for the marginalized are all positive influences that neighborhood churches provide. There are many with first-hand experience who will claim that the presence of churches in a neighborhood can lead to a drop in crime.

The great diversity of our city means that we will never all agree completely on anything. And we cherish our city’s reputation for tolerance of differing opinions and beliefs. Therefore, we should all mourn if disagreement with certain beliefs of the church is allowed to unduly influence the formation of just policy and practice.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

5 Comments
Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Roswell, Georgia--The waiting list for subsidized housing here, just 40 families long a year ago, is up to 500. The number of children eligible for free or reduced lunch is up 50%. A little more than a year ago, the Methodist church began seminars for marriages strained by job losses.

Roswell is a pre-Civil War cotton mill town that grew into a wealthy bedroom community of Atlanta as the metro area prospered. More than half the city's 88,000 residents have four-year college degrees. But Roswell sits in a region with an unusually severe case of long-term unemployment: About 40% of the unemployed in the Atlanta metro area in 2010, the most recent local data available, were out of work for a year or more versus the national average of 29%.

One of them is Marcy Bronner, 57 years old. When she lost her job at Pennzoil back in 2000, it took her seven months to find a new one at Quintiles, a bio- and pharmaceutical-services company....

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 19, 2012 at 5:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Crime is down in this city on the desert fringe of Los Angeles County, and Mayor R. Rex Parris is sure he knows one reason: It's the chirping....

The chirps subconsciously discourage criminality, Mr. Parris says: "Everybody is now in a better mood, a better place."

Those chirps aren't from here. The mayor bought them in recordings from England, and for the past 10 months he has had his city play them over 70 speakers along a half mile of Lancaster Boulevard, blended with mellow synthesizer tones, five hours a day.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMusicUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

6 Comments
Posted January 18, 2012 at 6:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The elaborate Nativity scenes rose in a city park along the oceanfront here every December for nearly six decades. More than a dozen life-size dioramas depicted the Annunciation, Mary and Joseph being turned away at the inn and, of course, the manger.

This always angered Damon Vix, who worked off and on in Santa Monica and considers himself a devout atheist, so to speak. How could it be, he asked himself each year, that the city could condone such an overtly religious message?

So, a few years ago, he petitioned the city and received his own space, using it to put up a sign offering “Reason’s Greetings.” But this year, he wanted more. Mr. Vix gathered a few supporters and applied for dozens of spaces in Palisades Park, a patch of green on a bluff overlooking the sandy beaches that this city is famous for.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism

25 Comments
Posted December 23, 2011 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Continuing the region’s recent streak of national recognition, greater Charleston has been tagged as one of the economically healthiest metropolitan statistical areas in the country.

The Charleston-North Charleston MSA ranked 11th in the nonpartisan Milken Institute’s “Best-Performing Cities 2011,” up from 19th last year and from 30th in 2009....

Charleston climbed to just outside the top 10 on the strength of its “vibrant aerospace sector,” “stable military presence” and other high-tech, high-skill employers, according to the report.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2011 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Sumner County Board of Education settled a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union over teacher-led prayer and other religious activity in public schools.

This is the third time in three years that the ACLU has taken a Middle Tennessee school district to court over religion. The Sumner suit was filed in May on behalf of nine students who complained that teachers were leading prayer in classrooms, religious groups were distributing Bibles, school events were being held in churches, and schools were allowing local churches to send youth ministers into the lunchrooms to preach to children, unsupervised.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2011 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a Bronx church's case on whether it can hold worship services in New York City public schools.

The decision ends a 16-year legal battle over the rights of churches in city schools and means 160 area churches have roughly two months to find new places to hold worship services.

Lawyers for the Bronx Household of Faith, an evangelical congregation that meets at P.S. 15 in the Bronx, filed a petition in late September asking the court to review a June appeals-court ruling barring churches from holding worship services on school property.

Now that congregation, along with dozens of others, has until Feb. 12 to find a substitute house of worship.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in GeneralCity Government

3 Comments
Posted December 6, 2011 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The vote by officials in Alabama’s most populous county occurred about a month after Pennsylvania’s capital of Harrisburg sought court protection citing millions in overdue bond payments tied to a trash-to-energy incinerator. A Jefferson filing would eclipse that of California’s Orange County in 1994. The action might reignite concerns among investors over defaults in the $2.9 trillion U.S. municipal bond market.

“It’s going to create attention-grabbing headlines, and the question is how retail investors react,” Peter Hayes, a managing director at BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager and the owner of $95.6 billion of municipal bonds, said before today’s decision.

Read it all.

Update: I found the following map helpful in terms of locating where Jefferson County is.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government

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Posted November 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is running to serve for his tenth term. You can take it to the bank that he will win--KSH.

Update: You may find nine election day photos here.

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

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Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More Oregon public schools are opening up their buildings for church services to bring in extra income.

Eight of the state’s 10 biggest districts rent out buildings for services.

While some believe that school-based churches violate the Constitutional separation between church and state, courts generally have found the practice to be legal. The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that as long as districts are renting out spaces to outside organizations, it would be discriminatory to ban religious groups.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government

3 Comments
Posted November 1, 2011 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After the iPhone and the iPad, the iZone is a different kind of design experiment.

It's New York's attempt to reinvent an inner-city school.

The iZone project - or Innovation Zone - is challenging state schools in New York City to rip up the rule book.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

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Posted October 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After [Education Secretary Arne] Duncan's visit there was some back and forth between the Obama administration and Oregon City on how the money should be spent. But ultimately, the Department of Education said it should be given to teachers as direct bonuses. It also said it wanted to restrict the funds to schools with lots of low-income students, which would have excluded half of Oregon City's schools.

Oregon City wanted to put the money into a shared fund, possibly for teachers' continuing education.

Nancy Noice, president of the Oregon City teachers union, said one solution the feds proposed was that employees hand their bonuses back to the district. But Noice says that didn't seem workable.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducation* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity Government

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Posted October 26, 2011 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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