Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Vice

Marcona Almonds from Costco are insanely addictive.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Something About Writing Worth Remembering

Even Jane Austen wrote the occasional clanger.
We never return to the Abbey at Northanger.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Cold Feets

Pity you can't see the number. When we saw it on Broadway it reminded both of us of the Nicholas Brothers. There aren't a lot of numbers that have two guys tapping in tandem any more. Which is an indictment of modern dance, if you ask me. Which you didn't.

What To Take Away From This

What I hear and see isn't the content, which is very much a tempest in a teacup, it's how rude they are. This is why I loathe MSNBC and not PBS. Both are equally progressive, but people generally don't interrupt each other or belittle each other face to face on PBS. There is no information exchange or debate. It's all emotional outbursts by people with little to no self control.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Things Being Equal

Would it be better to have a bad liar as governor or a good liar as governor?

As far as I know, Rick Scott is not a liar, so all things are likely not equal in Florida. But the question is worth considering.

I think it boils down to credibility. If the candidate just can not tell lies without giving away that she's lying (i.e. facial expressions), then I would vote for her. If she can not get away with lying due to incompetence (which would be the case here), then I would not vote for her.

The difference is that incompetence is rarely confined only to one area. If she habitually shoots herself in the foot, then she shouldn't be allowed near any dangerous objects, not just firearms.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dies Irae

Because Monday is Chant Day

Whining- With Computers!

My main computer is a powerful homebrew that dual boots Linux and Windows. I do most of my work in Linux, but all my games run on Windows.

Yesterday, I took a break from Dragon Age (elves rule, werewolves drool!) to try an upgrade. I've had a copy of Windows 7 for a while so I though it might be a good idea to make the move from XP. Sally was planning to go to her cult meeting (Atlanta Beading Society). The afternoon would be free for geeky goodness.

Sidenote: Initially I was go to also make the jump from Ubuntu 9.10 to Ubuntu 10.10. But I found out that the folks at Canonical had switched from the user unfriendly, but powerful xsane to the very user friendly but buggy Simple Scan. I live and die by the scanner in my job so the Ubuntu upgrade died a merciful death.

Back to the main story: I wanted to do the GRUB update before Windows so I could see and recover from any boot manager errors. That took a lot longer than expected due to user error (I goofed). That it was a common error is small consolation. Error 15 has its own entry in the FAQ!

I finally recovered from my goof and did the Windows install. What took for ever was the misnamed 'easy transfer' which generated a huge file in two parts. THe actual install went smoothly after I bought and used an external hard drive for the easy transfer.

The second part of easy transfer also took forever. Then came reloading all the games. Which actually took less time than I had expected. Re-setting up Firefox went smoothly. Re-establishing the dual boot was a nightmare.

Turns out Windows will never recognize a non-Microsoft OS (I expected that). What I didn't expect was that Grub2 couldn't do the job. I wasted hours trying to get it to jump through hoops and do party tricks. I came across a reference to a third party boot manager easyBCD. That did the trick within a minute of installation.

I love free software.

Day of rest- not this past Sunday.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Public Opinion Polls

Wannabe has a great post about a recent poll.

I think this short clip summarizes my opinion on them:

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Michele Bachmann is the incumbent congresswoman for the sixth district in Minnesota. Her opponent is Tarryl Clark. The only hint as to what political party Ms. Clark belongs to is a note in her biography that she was the associate chair of the Minnesota DFL.

She is also a member of St John's Church in St. Cloud. That would be St John's Episcopal Church. She is shy about her church affiliation as well.

The race is getting vicious, but Ms. Clark is staying mum about her party affiliation.

FYI, Michele Bachmann is a Republican. She isn't shy about admitting it. I don't know what church she belongs to, if any.

I think it's interesting that a candidate feels she has to try to conceal who and what she is to run for office. I have voted for Democrats in the past. I will likely vote for them in the future. I would never vote for a candidate like Tarryl Clark. If you can not tell me up front who you are and who you are affiliated with, then how could I ever rely on you to tell me where you stand?

Sunday, October 03, 2010


The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band are favourites of mine.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Political Reflection

I've decided I'm angry enough to make a political ad, but not mad enough to actually run for office.

The Cat Song

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bad to the Finnish

Finland is raising taxes on chocolate and ice cream.

Luckily, the US doesn't have a nanny state type government that needs money.

Oh snap!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Defining Moment of Awesome


We aren't that sort of prejudiced bigot. We're a different sort of prejudiced bigot.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Good News Even If You Are A Democrat

If Prof. Sabato is correct then we won't have to listen to Nancy Pelosi anymore. That's a very good thing. I've had an inordinate dislike for her ever since the “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.

Arrogance and condescension such as that has no place in American politics.

On a related note, President Obama has never had to deal with opposition in his political career. How will he handle the next two years if control of Congress passes to the Republicans? Some are claiming he will become Clintonesque, others say he will channel former President Carter. If it happens, I think he will chart his own course.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Small Thought About LIbrarians And Their Blogs

I read a lot of blogs. The top profession represented amongst the blogs I read is attorney, because, go figure, I read a lot of law blogs. The next profession is reporter which is entirely attributable to the news blogs I read. It's the third profession that has me wondering. There are three blogs by librarians that I read on a regular basis. The Midwest Conservative Journal by Christopher Johnson blogs mostly about Piskie stuff with forays into pulp detective fiction and politics. Pygmy Puffs and Heffalumps is by my friend Zana and is mostly about her life with the odd Piskie bit. The Breda Fallacy is by Breda who mostly blogs about the offbeat, the funny and gun rights.

The only commonality I can attribute to the three other than profession is all three bloggers have a great deal of horse sense.

Addendum: All three are also funny. Is that a typical trait for librarians?

I thought as much

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Obscure Reference

California has become a very Illinois of woes.

Points for anyone who can identify the original.

I crack me up.

The original is by Demosthenes, "An Iliad of woes"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Drug Raid Goes Viral: Radley Balko on the Missouri SWAT Raid

Hamlet! the Musical!

Sally and I finally got back together with Sandy and John to go see Hamlet! the Musical! at the Shakespeare Tavern. Sandy and John are a neat couple and it's always a treat to see a show with them.

The Good: The new musical numbers are good. Bad (remix) was a showstopper. The actors were all in fine voice and the songs were sung clearly so my aging ears could hear the words. The performances were excellent as well. It helped that a fair number of the actors had played the same roles in the recent dramatic production of Hamlet. Jeff McKerley has amazing comic timing.

The Bad: The play doesn't work as a cohesive mass. Individual bits were excellent, but the setting just didn't gel.

The Indifferent: The old material has aged a bit. We saw Charm School a while back, which was also by Eddie 'Levi' Lee and it was even creakier. Or maybe I'm just jaded.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fork Time

Harry Reid's senatorial career is over. When a Democrat loses the dead vote, stick a fork in him, he's done.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Good Dance

Here's the modern dance:

And here's the original:

For the record, Beyonce has been quite open about where she got her inspiration for the dance from the very beginning. A dancer just can't go wrong if she uses Fosse moves.

Friday Cheer

From the Great Race

Stimulus, Explained

The Curmudgeon has a post up at his place about the latest G20 conference. It's full of excellent stuff, check it out.

The current administration tried a Keynesian stimulus this year and the consensus is that it mostly fizzled. Some in Washington are arguing that it just wasn't enough given the size of the US economy and what's needed is a lot more stimulus. The rest of the Keynesians seem to be arguing that the amount wasn't the issue, the stimulus funds were misapplied (not targeted properly) and so nothing of consequence happened. The non-Keynesians think the idea of a stimulus in this context is absurd.

What might be helpful for those among my readers who were English majors is to explain what a Keynesian stimulus is and what it isn't. Generally reporters use the medical analogy of a 'shot in the arm' which is entirely accurate from a non-Keynesian perspective, but falls short of what Keynes proposed.

Imagine if you will, that the US government wants to give you one billion dollars. They do. The Treasury borrows the money at a bond sale and delivers to you one billion dollars in bills of various denominations. It's a pretty stack of mostly green paper. And it's sitting in your front yard. What do you do with it?

What they want you to do with it is to spend it. Buy yourself a mansion and a yacht. Palliate your greedy conscience by buying a hybrid SUV. Put solar panels on your new mansion. Travel. The money you spend will create materials and jobs. The workers at the solar cell factory go forth and spend their wages on more goods and services and the economy restarts.

What they don't want you to do is call your your broker and buy Treasuries. The only stimulus the economy gets from that is the broker's commission and then only if he is a spendthrift.

The Keynesian nightmare is if you have a weenie roast with all the pretty money. You blow one dollar on lighter fluid, another nine dollars on hot dogs and roast frankfurters over your new bonfire. One billion dollars up in flames to cook ten dollars of groceries. And more to the point, one billion dollars in new liabilities with no assets accrued to pay it off.

The bottom line: Even assuming a stimulus could work, the stimulus as it was done only increased our national debt without increasing wealth to pay it off.

As for why 'shot in the arm' is not the best descriptor? It's only apt if you think borrowing more money to spend is analogous to shooting up with methamphetamines. The drugs will indeed get you going, but you're going to be needing more of them for a smaller effect in the near future.

Were I a Keynesian, I'd be saying 'push start' the economy. The idea being that you borrow the money to spend it on stuff that will have the maximum impact on restarting economic activity. Hopping out to push a stick shift car is a better analogy for that sort of thing. If it works, you travel in safety and comfort to a gas station and buy a new battery. Which means you won't be doing it all over again in the near future.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fueling the Recovery

No one can accuse the U S Supreme Court of ducking their responsibilities. As expected, McDonald vs City of Chicago came out today. The opinion and dissents weigh in at 216 pages, give or take.

I ran out of paper. I ran out of toner. Office Max now has some of my hard earned money. I'm sure the economy is better for it.

What do I think of the case? I dunno. I haven't read it for myself. The news articles don't have any real surprises, although the Justice Thomas concurrence sounds interesting and Steven's dissent sounds like he's retiring a little later than he should have.

Cheaper by the Dozen No Longer

The EU is banning the selling of products by count. In the future food must be sold by weight alone.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Nothing Really Matters

The Archbishop of Canterbury realized recently that his warnings were being ignored and took action. An awful lot of the Episcopal Church chattering classes are upset by this. Fair enough.

I have a question. If what the Archbishop does is of no import, if he has no authority and his words do not matter to the Episcopal Church, then why is everyone so upset?

If the entire city of Los Angeles took umbrage at me, I doubt I would lose a wink of sleep. So why the strong reactions?

For my progressive friends, this may help.

Durufle: Requiem

This is just beautiful. It's part one of five. Click through to Youtube for 2-5.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'd Vote For Him

Chris Christie/Dale Peterson for President/Vice President in 2012. The entire editorial board of the New York Times would have a collective coronary.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Looters Gotta Loot

But what happens when you run out of prey?

On a side note, Venezuela has plenteous oil and great hydroelectric capability and they suffer from recurrent, serious and crippling power shortages.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

In Honour of the UK Elections

SWAT Raid- Dogs shot

I'm a big fan of law and order. But that's the point. I believe in law. The police in the video were operating within the letter of the law. That fact leads me to believe that the law needs to be changed. SWAT call outs are a typically unnecessary escalation of force.

The teams were developed to respond to hostage situations and other already dangerous situations. They were not originally designed to serve warrants. That they are being used to serve warrants is more a function of using already existing assets rather than letting them sit around idle.

In this instance, two or three uniformed officers in regular uniforms could have served the warrant and searched the premises. If they had shown up in mid evening, say around 7 or 8 PM, the family would still be awake and the dogs would have been calm. Instead they executed a warrant in the middle of the night and broke the door down. The dogs became excited, thinking that their pack was in danger. The police then shoot the dogs while at least one child was present.

Some may say that we should be wary of 'Monday morning quarterbacking'. We should be more wary of police departments that believe they are entitled to wage war against the citizenry. Every call out of a SWAT team should be justified beyond a reasonable doubt. Their overuse and misuse is a recipe for disaster. We've already had one fatality here in Atlanta because of these jack booted thuggery. It's only a matter of time before more die unless the men in black are reined in or put to pasture.

It's time for the police to be put in their place. They are here to serve, not to be served. They are not above the law nor are they entitled to special privileges under it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Random Thought

I just realized why legislators don't like the sex industry (porn, prostitution and the like). Like all monopolists, they don't like competition.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Amazing Berry Brothers

Wow. Just wow. Terrific dance routine, rivaling the Nicholas brothers.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Wager Update

Back in June of last year I offered two pounds of applewood bacon as stakes in a two year wager. The wager is that I believe that inflation plus unemployment will exceed 11.4% in June of 2012.

The current inflation rate is 2% with the Treasury having some difficulty selling its bonds and Social Security going negative. The official unemployment rate is 9.7%.

I'm not preheating the oven yet. But I really like bacon.

I hope for our country that I lose. But if I don't, I get bacon! There's always a bright side.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From Left Field

I was mulling over the latest news from the Diocese of South Carolina when a thought came to me. The leadership of the Episcopal Church is by and large baby boomers. There is one movie that was a huge hit with baby boomers. It seems likely that they see themselves as the hero of the film. Here's a hint: The theme song from the movie made it into a lot of folk masses/youth group sing-a-longs.

What makes it even better is the name of the group that recorded it was 'Coven'.

For the record, the movie was awful. It was bad back in the day. It's still bad today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Best Tech Guy caller EVER with Leo Laporte

Why does the Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing" keep playing in my head?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Story

Recently a friend recommended to me the book 'The Loser Letters" by Mary Eberstadt. apparently they originally appeared in National Review. My mother used to subscribe to NR back in the day, but I gave up political magazines a while back. In the late 80's I used to read NR, Mother Jones and the New Republic just to have some idea of what was going on. It's an approach I follow to this day with websites, but the magazines have gone by the wayside (except for Garden and Gun). Anyway, I digress.

I very much want this book. It sounds like a good read and I'm starved for good reads right now. My first thought was the public library. I'm a member of a very large county system. No joy. They do not have the book. My next thought was an independent bookstore near me that carries a decent selection of religious books. Again, no joy. I then tried the big box retailers, Borders and Barnes & Noble. The book is available online, but not in a shop. as you might expect, I've ordered it through Amazon.

The publisher is a religious press. But all of the bookstores mentioned carry books in their shops published by Ignatius. The library was less of a disappointment as they almost never have any book that isn't a bestseller these days. I think it's a function of a limited budget and playing it safe with the book buying budget.

My point is this. I was willing to purchase the book for the cover price, $13.95. I bought the book for $10.04 through an online retailer. I have free shipping with Amazon and I did not pay sales tax. Someone locally could have sold me that book and pocketed $13.95 less costs.

This has happened more often than not recently. Multiply this by the number of book readers in the country and I think you can see why the local booksellers are hurting. I'm not complaining. as a book buyer, while I prefer to buy local, I will not prop up a local establishment that guesses wrong. I have absolutely no qualms buying online.

It's a pity that the library can't configure itself into gratifying long tail demand rather than the popular items. Of course if they did that, they'd likely ignore my interests of history, economics and Christianity in favour of knitting, hockey and Buddhism.

Addendum: Finished the book. It was well worth reading. Ten letters written from the viewpoint of a young atheist to the leading lights of atheism. Very funny and very sad with a neat twist at the end. I especially enjoyed the mystery of the German lessons.


Loads more here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Episcopal Church Vs South Carolina

The following was forwarded to me by a friend. It is an exchange of posts to the House of Bishops and Deputies mailing list concerning the Diocese of South Carolina.

I don't know her, but I believe Zoe Cole is an attorney. She should know the current state of the law as regards to who owns church property in South Carolina. The question is up for appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but as of right now it has been clearly decided by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

I find the arrogance of many of the posters fascinating.

Here follows the exchange:

Ann Fontaine to HOBD
show details Mar 11 (9 days ago)

Too bad there is no Calvary Church to oppose these moves --- my sense of the scene is some Episcopalians are alarmed that +Lawrence is about to give away the store and then follow out the door and hence have contacted the PB for advice on what to do next. Ann

The Diocese of South Carolina will votes on resolutions designed to further distance themselves from the rest of the Episcopal Church. Previously, Bishop Mark Lawrence and the diocesan leadership set out on a path of separation from all Episcopal Church ministries and governance that, in their view, reinforce ideas contrary to their understanding of Holy Scripture, Episcopal polity and Lambeth resolutions. These four resolutions solidify that move.

The Rev. Ann Fontaine
Lander, Wyoming

Fr Dan Martins to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (9 days ago)
Ann, are you not over-reacting just a bit? I've read the resolutions and
don't see anything that would indicate a secessionist impulse. Rather, they
raise legitimate concerns about exactly what constitutes "the Episcopal
Church." Is it some reified abstraction represented by the Presiding
Bishop's office, or is it what is traditionally recognized as the enfleshed
presence of the church in a particular place: the community of the baptized,
their presbyters and deacons, gathered with their bishop at the altar and in
synod? The "pushback" that South Carolina is offering is not a sign of
rebellion or disloyalty; it is faithful participation in the life of the

Dan Martins+
Northern Indiana
Michael Russell to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (9 days ago)

The Denis Canon settled that issue. ALL property is held in trust for TEC which is the authorizing body for Dioceses to exist. The PB and EC have every right to warn a more than potentially rogue Bishop and Diocese. They also have every responsibility to protect TEC's assets and preserve them for future generations.

Mike Russell C04 08 San Diego
Fr Dan Martins to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (9 days ago)
Mike, it seems to me that yours is at the very least an overly-ambitious
interpretation of the Denis Canon, which is itself an overly-ambitious
interpretation of Episcopal Church polity, and about which there are still
serious unresolved legal issues. Now, I am not a supporter of secession, and
I grieve over those who have left our fellowship. But I am nonetheless
puzzled, and would appreciate being instructed, as to where the Presiding
Bishop derives authority to retain counsel to protect the interests of the
Episcopal Church in South Carolina, as if 815 is the Episcopal Church in
South Carolina in some more "real" way than the *actual* Episcopal Church in
South Carolina, which is, of course, the actual Diocese "on the ground"
there--i.e. the Bishop, Standing Committee, Diocesan Convention, and
congregations, and that the "interests" of the Episcopal Church are
something other than the "interests" of the only recognizable Episcopal
Church presence in the South Carolina low country--namely, the Episcopal
Diocese of South Carolina. Can you not see that the issue is at least

Dan Martins+
Northern Indiana
Ann Fontaine to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (9 days ago)
Dear Dan -- the Dennis Canon was written at the request of courts to have something written in our canon that reflected what they already knew - that there is only The Episcopal Church -- the dioceses are creations of General Convention -- even South Carolina has agreed to this. I find it interesting = the parallels with some Civil War history ----

Sound very familiar

January 1861 -- The South Secedes. When Abraham Lincoln, a known opponent of slavery, was elected president, the South Carolina legislature perceived a threat. Calling a state convention, the delegates voted to remove the state of South Carolina from the union known as the United States of America. The secession of South Carolina was followed by the secession of six more states -- Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas -- and the threat of secession by four more -- Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These eleven states eventually formed the Confederate States of America.

February 1861 -- The South Creates a Government. At a convention in Montgomery, Alabama, the seven seceding states created the Confederate Constitution, a document similar to the United States Constitution, but with greater stress on the autonomy of each state. Jefferson Davis was named provisional president of the Confederacy until elections could be held.

February 1861 -- The South Seizes Federal Forts. When President Buchanan -- Lincoln's predecessor -- refused to surrender southern federal forts to the seceding states, southern state troops seized them. At Fort Sumter, South Carolina troops repulsed a supply ship trying to reach federal forces based in the fort. The ship was forced to return to New York, its supplies undelivered.

March 1861 -- Lincoln's Inauguration. At Lincoln's inauguration on March 4, the new president said he had no plans to end slavery in those states where it already existed, but he also said he would not accept secession. He hoped to resolve the national crisis without warfare.

April 1861 -- Attack on Fort Sumter. When President Lincoln planned to send supplies to Fort Sumter, he alerted the state in advance, in an attempt to avoid hostilities. South Carolina, however, feared a trick; the commander of the fort, Robert Anderson, was asked to surrender immediately. Anderson offered to surrender, but only after he had exhausted his supplies. His offer was rejected, and on

April 12, the Civil War began with shots fired on the fort. Fort Sumter eventually was surrendered to South Carolina.

The Rev. Ann Fontaine
Lander, Wyoming

Michael Russell to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (9 days ago)

Title I.3.3 designates the PB as the President of the DFMS. As such she and
the other officers have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the DFMS.
Please note that in Title 1.2.4.c the PB
"The Presiding Bishop shall perform such other functions as shall
be prescribed in these Canons; and, to be enabled better to perform
such duties and responsibilities, the Presiding Bishop may appoint, to
positions established by the Executive Council of General
Convention, officers, responsible to the Presiding Bishop, who may
delegate such authority as shall seem appropriate."

So despite Phil Turner's analysis and that of the ACI the PB has executive
responsibilities that include preserving the hierarchical nature of the
church. Prichard's recent paper helpfully places the movement to greater
centralization in 1919, not seized recently by the PB as her detractors
allege in their defamatory writings.

Furthermore, the US Supreme Court has not twice refused to hear appeals
based in some argument that localities own the properties, leaving in place
the CA Supreme Court ruling on these matters, including the ruling that TEC
says who is Bishop of San Joaquin. Bishop Lawrence I am sure is hoping that
the SC Courts will not rule the same way, and the VA cases may be the first
to step into the Federal arena. I expect, however that at the Federal level
the decisions will continue to go against the dissidents.

Between the unqualified accession clauses and the Denis Canon, I expect more
and more the courts will say to the dissidents what one judge said here
about accession, "Which part of 'forever' didn't you understand?'"

So this is not complicated at all Dan, it is reasonably simple and the only
useless litigation being undertaken is that initiated by the dissidents in
all these cases.

Bruce Robison to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (9 days ago)
It seems to me that the proper and canonical course of action would be for someone to bring a presentment against the ecclesiastical authority of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, *if and when* it is determined that there is evidence that they *actually* have broken with fiduciary responsibilities as designated in the "Dennis Canon." For the Chancellor of the Presiding Bishop simply to engage counsel to act as "the Episcopal Church in South Carolina" is I think outside the boundaries of constitutional order. It is entirely appropriate that canonical measures be followed to ensure that dioceses function in good order. But it is entirely inappropriate to run an end-around and to make an effort to usurp the proper role of the diocese.

Bruce Robison
Pittsburgh C-4 2009
Paul Ambos to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (8 days ago)
Are you reading the same resolutions everyone else is, Dan?

These clearly would establish a "sovereign" fiefdom in South Carolina that
purports to physically exclude any representative of The Episcopal Church
from its territory. The Special Convention last October already purported
to declare "null and void" actions of the General Convention that the South
Carolina cabal disagreed with. They set up the Thirty-Nine Articles,
Lambeth Resolutions, and superseded Prayerbooks as their ruling texts in
lieu of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, and have
purported to redefine the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the Church to
which their clergy must swear conformity. Looking to the inevitable
deposition of Bishop Lawrence, they establish the Standing Committee as the
continuing baton-carrier.

Withdrawing from the life of The Episcopal Church is in no way a "faithful
participation" in it.

These actions bear every sign of a new chapter in the rebellion that started
with the Chapman Memorandum and is now being continued on the diocesan level
by those who claim scriptural fidelity to a bible that has sliced out (a la
"Choose This Day") Exodus 20:15-17 and Deuteronomy 5:19-21.

Who are the bishops who are willing to police their House?


Paul Ambos
Diocese of New Jersey (18.1%) L4 (2012)
======================================================================================================= to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (8 days ago)

Only individual clergy can have Presentments issued against them under Title IV, our disciplinary Canons. There is no provision for a Presentment against, for example, a Standing Committee, or any other "body" in the Church.

As for lay persons involved in conduct that could lead to a Presentment against a clergy person, it was proposed in 2006 that the disciplinary Canons cover lay leaders. That was objected to by many, many people around the Church and soundly rejected by the Canons Committee.

Sally Johnson


Diocese of Minnesota
Bruce Robison to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (8 days ago)
So we would understand that the canons of the Episcopal Church assign duties but without consequence for dereliction? That is an interesting aspect to consider as we reflect on the character of Episcopal Church polity. Nonetheless, certainly the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, the Bishop, is subject to presentment and discipline, as we learned here in Pittsburgh . . . . My question is simply whether there are individuals or bodies external diocese empowered by the canons to usurp the ordinary authority of diocesan governance without some sort of formal process.

Bruce Robison
Michael Russell to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (8 days ago)
There is actually great simplicity in this area with respect to people
attempting to sever their connections with TEC. The action of de-accession,
being an impossible action, voids the office of those attempting it. You
are no longer the Vestry in the very moment you vote to leave TEC, and no
longer the SC when you do likewise. When you abandon the unqualified
accession you may be a member of some other board or corporation, but you
are no longer a Vestry person or a SC person.

It is therefore the responsibility of the PB and EC to step into the vacuum
created by the abandonment and take charge. This is sad for the laity in
parishes misled by their priests, as they are now discovering in CA, but
that is an issue with the false shepherd who led them into the litiginous

And having now seen this pattern reproduced in several Dioceses, the PB is
well within her reasonable rights to give notice to South Carolina of the
immediate consequences of passing resolutions suggesting they will attempt
the impossible.

Michael Russell to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 11 (9 days ago)
Given the costs we are not incurring for litigating against those who
presume they can remove a Diocese, I think some pre-emptive warning is worth
while. It serves to put everyone on notice that secession is not an option.
Once "secession" has happened then the abandonment canon is apropos.

Joan R. Gundersen to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (8 days ago)
Bruce, The problem with your approach is that TEC's interest in property
exists and therefore TEC has a right to defend it regardless of what the
bishop of a diocese thinks. As for South Carolina claiming sovereignty,
their deputies were seated at General Convention in 1789 after confirming
that they had been given full authority to approve a constituion that
included the accession clause. They furthermore agreed to a constitution
that included this as part of its second article:

"Art. 2 . . . And if, through the neglect of the Convention of any of the
churches which shall have adopted, or may hereafter adopt this constitution,
no deputies, either lay or clerical, should attend at any general
convention, the church in such state shall nevertheless be bound by the acts
of such convention. "

When the Rev. Robert Smith, William Ward Burrows, Esq., and William
Brisbane, Esq. of S.C. approved the constitution at that 1789 convention,
they bound S.C. to be under the authority of General Convention and be bound
by its acts - present or not, happy with the actions or not. This makes
them a subordinate unit of the church not a soveriegn entity.

Joan R. Gundersen, Ph.D.
Pittsburgh, lay deputy G.C. 2009
Bruce Robison to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (8 days ago)
Thanks, Joan. I won't quarrel about the right of TEC to insure that the trust created in the canon referencing property is properly defended, and even to act independently if and when the body designated in the canon to maintain the trust--the diocese--fails in its duty.

My question is to ask whether there is transparency and due process. Is it the Presiding Bishop's role, acting as "corporate executive," to determine independently that the canonically responsible body has failed, and to initiate action independently? That would seem to make the PB essentially plenipotentiary. "If at any time any entity of the Episcopal Church shall, in the view of the PB alone, fail to meet the PB's expectations of canonical action, then it shall be the duty of the PB to undertake that action independently?"

It just seems to me that the canons, here the so-called "Dennis Canon" in particular, say that the entity of the Church responsible to defend the trust interest of the Episcopal Church in property is the diocese. If the diocese fails in this, then it should be subject to whatever coercive or disciplinary forces the Consititution and Canons of our Church would specifically provide. But it would seem to me that before independent alternative action was initiated, at very least the ecclesiastical authority would have a venue to defend its policies as canonical . . . .

Bruce Robison
Pittsburgh C-4 2009
Ann Fontaine to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (8 days ago)
If members of the church in the Diocese of South Carolina are fearful that there is another FW, SJ or Pittsburgh in the making - and so it seems from actions to date (though we presume innocence until all the facts are in) and they have asked the PB's office to look into the situation - isn't it a good idea to look into these allegations?

If there is innocence of action by Mark Lawrence and his administration why are they so paranoid and refusing to allow full transparency to the rest of us? If all is well you would think they would be forthcoming in answering the requests by the attorney who was formerly their chancellor.


The Rev. Ann Fontaine
Lander, Wyoming
Richard F Brewer to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (8 days ago)
Thank you Joan. Clearly, Bishops and Standing Committees and people in the
pews need a better understanding of our church polity and the Constitution
and Canons. I've learned much church history during this particular period
in TEC's life. I suspect, until now, no really thought what it meant to be
bound by the constitution and canons because no one thought there would ever
be such a conflict as we have now in some places. It is a cautionary tale
to consider as we review and evaluate the proposed Anglican Communion
Covenant, whatever edition, which may be brought to General Convention for

Richard Brewer
Long Island, C4 (2009)

C Bradley Wilson to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (8 days ago)

I wonder if you read your own postings. In a later posting you wondered
why SC is "so paranoid." And here you are fishing for some one in the
diocese to sue the bishop and diocese, seize papers, bills, etc. Others are
eager for the national church to invade the diocese with lawyers galore and
"guarantee" the property.

And you wonder why they might be nervy about the national church!!!

Kinda like the 19th century schoolmaster who similarly wondered why
some of his students didn't concentrate well; he beat them everyday.

As we say in Pittsburgh: Go figure.

Brad Wilson+
Ann Fontaine to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (8 days ago)
Dear Brad ---

I am not fishing in either post - I am surmising the scenario of why the PB might have an interest in South Carolina and wondering why if they are innocent they do not provide the documents requested by a member of their Diocese.


The Rev. Ann Fontaine
Lander, Wyoming
Fr Dan Martins to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (8 days ago)
South Carolina Episcopalians should probably bear in mind that just because
they're not paranoid doesn't mean somebody's not out to get them.

Dan Martins+
Northern Indiana
tbwsalinas to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (8 days ago)
Dan, to shift the metaphor slightly - if you were married to a person who proposed the kinds of changes in your marriage that SC is proposing in its marriage to the Episcopal Church, wouldn't you be a little more than concerned?

"Don't worry, Dan, just because I am no longer committed to supporting our obligations and our mortgage financially, that doesn't mean that I am withdrawing from the marriage. And don't be upset with me just because I am cutting off your access to our savings. And that pre-nuptual agreement which provided you with safeguards? I think I've located all copies of that and they are safely in - oops - the incinerator."

Somehow that doesn't seem to me to represent a commitment to the marriage.
Tom Woodward
Fr Dan Martins to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (7 days ago)
Paul Ambos asked whether I am reading the same resolutions as everyone else.
I'm beginning to wonder the same thing. I'm also beginning to wonder whether
everyone else is reading the same "Dennis Canon" that I am.

Here's South Carolina Resolution #1:

RESOLVED, That this 219th Convention acknowledges that for more than three
centuries this Diocese has represented the Anglican expression of the faith
once for all delivered to the saints; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that we declare to all that we understand ourselves to be a gospel
diocese, called to proclaim an evangelical faith, embodied in a catholic
order, and empowered and transformed through the Holy Spirit; and be it

RESOLVED, that we promise under God not to swerve in our belief that above
all Jesus came into the world to save the lost, that those who do not know
Christ need to be brought into a personal and saving relationship with him,
and that those who do know Christ need to be taught by the Holy Scriptures
faithfully to follow him all the days of their lives to the Glory of God the

Unless one uses some imaginative eisegesis, I don't see anything seditious
here. It's pretty classic Anglican stuff. With the exception of the "three
centuries" language, I could see many of the dioceses in TEC passing such a
resolution as a "no brainer" while yawning.

Here's #2:
RESOLVED, That this 219th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina
affirms its legal and ecclesiastical authority as a sovereign diocese within
the Episcopal Church, and be it further

RESOLVED, That this Convention declares the Presiding Bishop has no
authority to retain attorneys in this Diocese that present themselves as the
legal counsel for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, and be it finally

RESOLVED, That the Diocese of South Carolina demands that the Presiding
Bishop drop the retainer of all such legal counsel in South Carolina as has
been obtained contrary to the express will of this Diocese, which is The
Episcopal Church within its borders

Apparently some are getting all in a twist over the word "sovereign," as if
that's a presumptive sign of rebellious intent. It's not. A little
anachronistic, perhaps, but not rebellious. Bishop Alexander Garrett used
that word in speaking of the newly-formed Diocese of Dallas in 1895. He was
hardly a secessionist; he died as Presiding Bishop in 1924. Also notice that
"sovereign diocese" is followed by "of the Episcopal Church." Sounds to me
like a veritable declaration of loyalty. The next two resolves are certainly
pointed, and matters of some contention, and worthy of rational discussion.
The salient point seems to be that, in a geographic area where the Episcopal
Church has a diocese, that diocese *is* the Episcopal Church in that
geographic area. The Episcopal Church (I say once again) is not some reified
abstraction. It is nothing other than the sum of its constituent dioceses.
This resolution is simply pointing out a fact that should be obvious to all.

And so to #3:

The Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese is the Bishop. If there is no
Bishop, the Standing Committee is the Ecclesiastical Authority. The
Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese, with the advice and counsel of the
Chancellor, is the sole and final authority with respect to any dispute
concerning the interpretation of the Constitution and Canons of this Diocese
and its interpretations shall be final and binding in all respects.

I'm too lazy at the moment to drag out my copy of the "national" canons, but
to the extent that my memory serves, this resolution seems not only
congruent with them but substantially redundant. At any rate, it is quite
similar to canons in other dioceses in which I have served.

Finally, #4:

Resolved, that the following Section be added to Canon XXX.
Section 6. "It is within the power of the Ecclesiastical Authority of this
Diocese to provide a generous pastoral response to parishes in conflict with
the Diocese or Province, as the Ecclesiastical Authority judges necessary,
to preserve the unity and integrity of the Diocese."

So, I surmise, reading between the lines, that this is interpreted by some
as creating space for Bishop Lawrence to "give away the store" in his
negotiations with parishes in his diocese that may wish to separate
themselves (and their property) from the diocese and TEC. My opinion of the
wisdom of the Presiding Bishop's general legal strategy varies from the
majority on this list, so I will not go down that rabbit hole. Suffice it to
say that Bishops Diocesan and Standing Committees routinely alienate church
property for a variety of reasons, and in a variety of ways, and entirely at
their discretion, without 815 looking over their shoulder, and without
anyone suggesting that they are violating the Dennis Canon. As long as the
Diocese of South Carolina has not seceded from TEC, despite what anyone
guesses about their desires or intentions in that regard, they remain the
sole legal and public presence of the Episcopal Church in their geographic
territory. The congregations hold their property in trust for TEC *and the
diocese* (per the Dennis Canon), and, for the foreseeable future, both TEC
and the Diocese (i.e. the beneficiaries and fiduciaries of the implied
trust) are represented by Bishop Lawrence and the Standing Committee, and
cannot plausibly be represented by anyone whom they do not engage, because
there is no other plausible "interested party." As beneficiaries and
fiduciaries, the terms under which any property may be alienated are at
their sole discretion.

Dan Martins+

Northern Indiana
Joan R. Gundersen to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 13 (7 days ago)
Bruce and Dan, If my brother and I both have interests in an estate, each of
us has a right to separate legal representation. I don't have to wait until
the attorney hired by my brother botches the case or acts against my
interests. The same is true with the TEC and a diocese. EACH can seek
separate legal counsel to represent their interests. There are plenty of
indications that TEC interests are NOT being considered in S.C. As for the
"benign" nature of the resolutions. Given the distorted interpretations of
TEC polity that has been put forward based on the diocese as the sovereign
unit in the church, (such as the materials by the Anglican Communion
Institute), that word is definitely "loaded" in ways that raise all sorts of
flags. You also say that S.C. has not done anything wrong, but their
redefinition of "doctrine and discipline" in the resolution at their special
convention is at odds with definitions included in Title IV of TEC canons
(both 2006 and 2009).

Joan R. Gundersen, Pittsburgh L3 G.C. 2009
Michael Russell to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 12 (7 days ago)
Dan, obviously the shenanigans of Duncan and Schofeld provide sufficient
cause to be "tender" about resolutions 2-4. Schofeld argued right along
that he had not left the church and Duncan created dummy corporations to
mimic being the Episcopal Church. So when I read generous pastoral
response, I read give away the farm. Resolution 3 seems to forget the
unqualified accession clause to the C&C of TEC. And THAT accession provides
a platform upon which the PB as head of FDMS can put a person on the ground.
In essences she is doing the same thing Calvary did in Pittsburgh.


On Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 2:02 PM, Fr Dan Martins wrote:
Robison to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 13 (7 days ago)
The interest of the Episcopal Church that I can see is that fiduciary duties be performed in accordance with the canons by a duly constituted diocese of the Episcopal Church.

As Dan points out, real estate and other assets are purchased and sold by duly constituted parishes and dioceses of the Episcopal Church all the time.

The analogy here in Pittsburgh is that the interest of the Episcopal Church was expressed in the recent actions related to the 2005 Stipulation settling the Calvary Church lawsuit by asking the court to recognize that our "Episcopal Diocese of the Episcopal Church" was "the Diocese" entitled to be entrusted with the stewardship of diocesan assets. That is I think an appropriate expression of interest.

If Bishop Lawrence and other duly constituted officers of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina were to leave the Episcopal Church, I would of course expect the Episcopal Church to act in that context as well to be sure that a remaining "Episcopal Church" diocese continued as trustee-owner of diocesan assets.

All I'm saying is that if there is a concern of the Presiding Bishop that the Ecclesiastial Authority of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is not meeting its canonical responsibilities, then she should do what she did in Pittsburgh or San Joaquin and bring her evidence to the House of Bishops in accordance with Title IV, let Bishop Lawrence present any defense he would choose to present, and let the bishops vote for whatever discipline they feel is appropriate.

I don't agree with the notion that dioceses are autonomous and "sovereign." I believe they are subject in the conduct of their ministries to the authority of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, as adopted by General Convention. But I also believe that the Constitution and Canons specify due process of orderly governance, and the officers of the Episcopal Church have a duty as well to follow those processes.

Bruce Robison
Pittsburgh C-4 2009
Elizabeth Kaeton to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 13 (7 days ago)
Thank you, Dan, for posting your annotated version of the resolutions here
for everyone to read. I'm no canon lawyer and I don't play one on TV, but
if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck . . . .

Of all the comments posted here, the one that raised a giggle in my heart
was that old saying, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean 'they'
aren't out to get you." I giggled because that same chestnut could be
applied to both the party of the first part and the party of the second

There's another, wiser, old saying: "Where there's smoke, there's fire."
There's been lots of smoke over many years from the great state of South
Carolina. Succession is in both the state governmental DNA as well as in
the theological DNA of the Office of the Episcopacy.

I imagine a couple coming into my office for pastoral counseling and one
says, "I really disagree with the way my spouse is raising our children. We
have very different philosophies and methods of parenting, but, for the sake
of the children, I'll continue to stay. However, I've moved out of the
bedroom and I will not contribute to the running of this household as long
as the children will not be brought up in accordance with my philosophy of
child rearing which, for more than three centuries, has represented sound
principles of family values which have been recognized as such by everyone
in my family. I further declare that my spouse has no authority to retain
legal counsel in this matter, and that I have the sovereign right to be
generous to our relatives in order to preserve the unity and integrity of
our family."

I think you would agree with me, Dan, that this marriage is over except for
the divorce. If it walks like divorce and sounds like divorce . . . .the
only question is: Can this marriage be saved? I think we know the answer to
that question.

If it walks like succession and sounds like succession . . . . the Presiding
Bishop's office has every reason to seek legal counsel in these matters.
Indeed, I'm glad she has.


(the Rev'd Dr.) Elizabeth Kaeton
The Episcopal Church of St. Paul
200 Main Street
Chatham, NJ 07928

973 464 8018 (cell)
Paul Ambos to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 14 (6 days ago)
I missed, Dan, your analysis of the four Special Convention resolutions
passed last October. Since they no longer appear in their former place in
the Diocese of South Carolina website, you can find the text of them here,
along with the fifth one that was tabled until the regular Convention (and
about which I have seen no further news):

Make sure you address the part in Resolution 2 that says "Further resolved
that the Diocese of South Carolina declares that the most recent example of
this behavior, in the passage of Resolutions DO25 and CO56, to be null and
void, having no effect in this Diocese, and in violation of our diocesan
canon (XXXVI sec.1)" and how that relates to and helps implement the
Accession Clause.


Paul Ambos
Diocese of New Jersey (18.1%) L4 (2012)
Fr Dan Martins to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 14 (6 days ago)
Paul, that's a no-brainer. Unless they involve constitution or canons, GC resolutions are effectively nothing more than expressions of the "mind of the house" at a particular moment. I again cite the Righter court on that score. Non-binding resolutions define neither the doctrine, discipline, nor the worship of this church. A diocesan convention's disavowal of such a GC resolution isn't even on the same planet as abrogating the accession clause.

Dan Martins+
Northern Indiana
Lilith Zoe to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 14 (6 days ago)
And Lambeth resolutions function the same way - only perhaps less so, since
they represent the minds of only one order of ministry within the body?

God's Peace, Z
L. Zoe Cole, Lay, Colorado
Pierre Whalon to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 18 (2 days ago)
One question I have is that since a diocesan convention has no power to rule on a doctrinal question--that being the purview of General Convention, and even that--why were these doctrinal affirmations not ruled out of order?

I am recalling the story of the Baltimore Declaration... a diocese should never rule on whether "Jesus is Lord." That is a given in acceding to the *doctrine* of the Church.

Bp Pierre Whalon

Paul Ambos to bishopsdeputies
show details Mar 18 (2 days ago)
Evidently they were not ruled out of order because the chair of the meeting
was Bp. Lawrence.

And Dan Martins has still not given his "no brainer" response to the other
October South Carolina resolutions, including the redefinition of "doctrine,
discipline and worship" that is blatantly at variance with the Canons of The
Episcopal Church.


Paul Ambos
Diocese of New Jersey


End exchange
I apologize for the sloppy format. I'm posting it as I was given it. I do believe it to be accurate.

Pangur Ban

A belated St Patrick's day post, perhaps.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Theme This Lent

Every year it seems I'm presented with a theme. It's never one I initially seek out, but it come up in my prayers and reflections. This year's theme is, apparently, wasted opportunities. Everything I read or see keeps bringing me back to the idea that I (and we) need to be more aware of the opportunities we have to minister to those around us.

That's a bit of a burden right now. Thank God Lent is relatively short and Easter is just around the corner!

The Wrong Tree

Back during the last Presidential election a fair amount of fringe bloggers went after the President by making much of his full name and that he wouldn't release his actual birth certificate. At the time I thought they were wrong so to do.

Now, I have a new theory. I now believe Mr. Obama's actual name at birth was James Earl Obama. It would explain much.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Girl From Ipanema by Astrud Gilberto


Fetch Me My +1 Pen Of Essay Writing!

Although they probably use laptops these days.

Phantom Divisions

In the movie Downfall, one scene that has been endlessly parodied is Hitler discovering that Steiner with an entire army at his disposal could not come save Berlin. One of the problems Germany had at the end was Hitler's insistence that divisions that had been damaged or destroyed not be broken up or reformed. He liked to see the little divisional flags on his war maps apparently. And so he was led to assume that all was well because his army had 200+ divisions. Germany could not possibly be losing the war if it had so many divisions.

What he did not appreciate was that most of those divisions were severely understrength. Many had no weapons at all. Those that did have weapons had little or no ammunition. At least one 'division' consisted of three men, the commanding general, his second in command and a radio operator/driver. On paper they were supposed to have seven thousand to ten thousand men, depending on the sort of division they were. The result was a catastrophe for the German army. Units that couldn't fill out a soccer team were expected to attack Soviet units that numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

When Hitler finally grasped the reality of his situation he was not moved to sue for peace, but rather arranged for himself, his entourage and his nation to all commit suicide.

It's an extreme case but any healthy organisation tries to know what its situation is. What assets it has, how many people it has, how they are equipped and trained and what they are suited for. If a restaurant has too many pastry cooks and not enough line cooks then, if healthy, it will retrain the pastry chefs into line cooks or let them go and hire line chefs.

Recently a piece by Bishop Frey came to my attention. It is a small piece, but offers more evidence that the Episcopal Church is not dealing with the reality of its situation. When a church's membership leaves in their entirety, that you have the building does not mean that church is still intact as part of your organization. It means you still have the building. You can keep the flag on your map, if you so choose, but that flag does not represent what it did before.

I'm sure someone expects me to blog about Bp elect Glasspool. I'm sorry, I've said everything there is to be said about such matters years ago. The Episcopal Church does not care about the rest of the Anglican Communion, they do not care about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. They do care about being progressive and this latest action is the fruit of that tree.