Thursday, June 26, 2008

Beach Reading

I'm heading off to the beach for a family reunion in just a couple of hours. If anyone is curious just what I might be reading during those idle moments, the answer is the Supreme Court opinion in District of Columbia vs. Heller, which has just been decided (affirmed, 5-4, if anyone is curious).

Addendum: Premature posting can be awfully embarrassing. For now, I'll just link to this guy's humiliation. If I have some bad fish or the trip home goes badly on Sunday, I may get sarcastic or something.

Cockroaches scurry away in the light

{from EUreferendum via Samizdata}

And no, I'm not picking on the Europeans here. Our home grown politicos have similar vices. The problem is pretty much universal, alas. This video is just very funny. I nearly busted a rib when the lady from the green party scurried back and forth.

Fake Charity

When we give money to charity we feel better. Likewise when we work to help others. In fact there's a song from a recent hit on Broadway exactly on point. None of this should be news to anyone.

What about scams? While the good feeling when we help out a fraud is real, it rapidly turns to hurt, anger and betrayal when the fraud is discovered. The problem with charitable frauds is that the people running them are dishonest. While that may also seem obvious, the point is that a large percentage of the adult population is reasonably skilled at spotting scammers and con artists, which means that the fake charity has a limited pool of targets.

There is another sort of charity out there though. If you give money to Lutheran World Relief or World Vision, a high percentage of your money gets to worthy recipients. There are a variety of charity ratings websites out there to help you sift the scammers from the well-intentioned.

There is a problem with the ratings system, however. All they do is check to see how much of the money raised is spent on the charity's purposes. To understand why this might be a problem, think about your position on abortion. It doesn't matter for purposes of this thought experiment whuich side you are on. If you look at the ratings lists you will see very highly rated charities that are pro-life or pro-choice. They all have low overhead and fund raising costs, which makes them worthy charities in terms of the ratings. But that doesn't change the fact that they may be spending your money on something with which you are opposed.

Which brings me to my point. I ran across a charitable organization in my internet wanderings earlier, Bread for the World. They are fairly highly rated by the various ratings organizations. Their volunteers are passionate and committed. Their main focus is on hunger. It's rather difficult to knock fighting hunger, so that sounds like a good cause.

How, though, do they fight hunger? The answer in one word is lobbying. As near as I can tell, none of the money donated to Bread for the World actually feeds anyone who is hungry, unless our elected officials count as being hungry when they get peckish after a long committee meeting.

They don't hide their focus on the website, but they don't call attention to it either. The graphics show very cute children smiling. What possible connection those children have to anything Bread for the World does is not clear. Perhaps they are the children of the staffers?

I have no doubt that the people involved with Bread for the World are sincere. Many of them probably donate time and money to actual efforts to feed the poor. But it's hard to see what actual good the organization accomplishes. The U S government has spent and continues to spend enormous sums on world aid, some of which goes for food. More to the point, there are some highly effective charities out there, Oxfam, Worldvision, and the Salvation Army all come to mind, that really and truly do help the poor worldwide. They also speak to politicians from time to time as well, but they do not consider that to be their main focus.

If you want to help the world, please do so. There are many, many people that deserve and need your help. But is the charity of your choice really and sincerely helping others directly or just really sincere? There aren't any starving political operatives, printers, mass mailing specialists, lecturers, fundraisers and lobbyists in these parts, and at the risk of appearing cold blooded, maybe there ought to be.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Denmark is Close to Finland, Right?

It's not as awesome as Gunther is, but I think it's special in it's own right.

1 Picture = 1,000 Words (Irony Dept)

Reflection on GAFCON

The Global Anglican Future Conference is going on in Jerusalem. Many people, most of whom are smarter and better educated than I am, have commented at great length about it.

The question I keep asking myself about the future of my church is "What would Athanasius do?" The problem is that his situation was not exactly on all fours with ours. On a related topic, Deacon Phil asks the valuable question of "who are the schismatics?"

At this point, I really wish there was a handy desert nearby to which I could retire for some meditation. As it is, a long car drive will have to substitute for an anchorite pillar.

For My Good Friend In Austin Texas

{I blame Prudence Ponder for this, but I found it over at The Hostages}

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


May what is being done in Jerusalem this week make the words of this lovely poem and song a reality.

Ice Cream

Of all ice cream everywhere my favourite has been and probably forever will be home made amaretto ice cream. In all due modesty, I make a mean frozen dairy treat. However, of the commercially available flavours, the gold star goes out to Greenwood Dairy's Bourbon Butter Pecan. (The more astute or inebriated of my readers may be sensing a theme here). However, I've had to lay off Greenwood's finest because it's only available in 2 and 1/2 gallon containers.

Recently, the local grocery store has been having Haagen Dazs more or less permanently on sale. And I've been feeling adventurous. We just had their Caramelized Pear and Toasted Pecan ice cream and it was just lovely. Reasonably rich, refreshing, lots of pear flavour and the crunch of the pecans makes for a nice contrast. I think we'll be having that again.

For Bishop Robert O'Neill, Wherever He May Be

Song for the Day

Desmond Dekker- The Israelites

It actually charted number nine on this day in 1969 as well as seewming appropriate for other reasons

Monday, June 23, 2008

Double Snub

Even after all the analysis, musical theatre, low humour and snarky commentary about Piskie madness, I didn't get invited to GAFCON. To be overlooked in that manner was manageable on my part because I reckoned they didn't want someone of my wild-eyed (verbal) bomb throwing propensities.

Today the list of people who are banned from GAFCON was posted. And I am not on it!

Those farging bastages! Those iceholes!

All that is left to do is weep tears of bitter despair and re-read "Whose Body".

A Painful Conclusion

Hills of the North hits the nail on the head. Someday I'll be that perceptive