Sunday, May 25, 2008


What Is a "Close"?

Cathedrals have closes, with grass and buildings. Various web definitions are:

The enclosed precinct of a cathedral or collegiate church

(Latin clausura.) A piece of land enclosed by a hedge.

An enclosed place, an enclosure surrounded by fences or hedges. An enclosed field.



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"Mushy Peas"

From Wikipedia:
Mushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water and bicarbonate of soda, and then simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy soup. Sometimes mint is used to alter the flavour. Green colouring is often used.



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Friday, May 23, 2008


Three Ales

Ruddles County, from Rutland , 4.7%, calls itself a "serious country ale" and fits that well. It is not as oily as some strong ales, but is very bitter and good.

Old Hooky, from the family-run Hook Norton Brewery in Oxfordshire, 4.6%, also avoids the bad features of strong ales. It is a classic bitter, except from the bottle it is not as smooth as the best of the style. It is fizzier than I thought: I brought it home in a backpack and it exploded on me, quite humourously, when I opened it.

Cotswold Way, from Wickwar Brewing of Gloucestershire, was disappointing, much less bitter and less flavorful generally than the other two.

I tried all three in the company of Jim Alt, when he came over for supper.



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Wednesday, May 21, 2008



An annulus is the region lying between two concentric circles in 2-space-- a ring.



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Lipschitz continuity

From Wikipedia:

...Lipschitz continuity, named after Rudolf Lipschitz, is a smoothness condition for functions which is stronger than regular continuity. Intuitively, a Lipschitz continuous function is limited in how fast it can change; a line joining any two points on the graph of this function will never have a slope steeper than a certain number called the Lipschitz constant of the function....

* The function f(x) = x^2 with domain all real numbers is not Lipschitz continuous. This function becomes arbitrarily steep as x goes to infinity. It is however locally Lipschitz continuous.

* The function f(x) = x^2 defined on [ − 3,7] is Lipschitz continuous, with Lipschitz constant K = 14.



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Thatcherite Gordon Brown

Blogger Cranmer tells us that Gordon Brown gave a speech to the Church of Scotland Assembly about his moral vision. Brown says he believes in the Parable of the Talents, but clearly he has forgotten the parable's ending and its moral. He says

And amidst all the challenges and headlines of recent months I have learned what really matters: that, for me, a life is best measured not by what office or title you hold but by what difference you can make by seeking to do what you judge the right thing, however difficult, and by the causes to which you dedicate your efforts. As a son and now a father I believe in the Parable of the Talents my father taught me:

* that everyone has a talent,

* everyone should have the chance to develop that talent,

* and everyone should be challenged to use that talent and given the best chance to bridge that gap between what they are and what they have it in themselves to become.

And so I believe in the power of opportunity to change lives.

In the Parable, after the third servant has not used his one talent, unlike the first two servants with their their two and ten, his master says:

Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Thus, Brown is saying inadvertently that he opposes the welfare state!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The Crystal Dixon Free Speech Case at U. of Toledo

From the Baylyblog comes a story of a university administrator fired for writing a letter to a newspaper opposing homosexuality. If the Ohio Republicans have any guts, they'll use this illegal (because Toledo is a state university) firing of a black woman in the fall election campaign. Here's the story:

Editor in Chief of the Toledo Free Press, Michael Miller, wrote an editorial advocating sodomy and smearing those who oppose sodomy as resembling racists. This prompted University of Toledo Associate Vice President for Human Resources Crystal Dixon to submit an op-ed opposing Miller's editorial. Dixon wrote: "As a Black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo's Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims.' Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. I am genetically and biologically a Black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle...

evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few. Frequently, the individuals report that the impetus to their change of heart and lifestyle was a transformative experience with God; a realization that their choice of same-sex practices wreaked havoc in their psychological and physical lives."

After receiving hundreds of complaints against Dixon's op-ed, the University of Toledo suspended, and later fired her.

It's somewhat endearing that UT President Lloyd Jacobs explains his actions with such candor. In his termination letter to Dixon, he wrote:

The public position you have taken in the Toledo Free Press is in direct contradiction to university policies and procedures as well as the core values of the strategic plan which is mission critical.

Sodomites are claiming victory.

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Friday, May 16, 2008


Hebborn: An Example of Why Libel Laws Are Bad

Eric Hebborn's career gives us an example of why strict libel laws are bad. Wikipedia says:

In 1978 a curator at the National Gallery of Artin Washington DC , Konrad Oberhuber, was examining a pair of drawings he had purchased for the museum from Colnaghi a seemingly reputable old-master dealer in London, one by Savelli Sperandio and the other by Francesco del Cossa. Oberhuber noticed that two drawings had been executed on the same kind of paper.

Oberhuber was taken aback by the similarities of the paper used in the two pieces and decided to alert his colleagues in the art world. Upon finding another fake "Cossa" at the Morgan Library, this one having passed through the hands of at least three experts, Oberhuber contacted Colnaghi, the source of all three fakes. Colnaghi, in turn, informed the worried curators that all three had been acquired from Hebborn.[1]

Colnaghi waited a full eighteen months before revealing the deception to the media, and, even then never mentioned Hebborn's name, for fear of a libel suit. Alice Beckett states that she was told ' one talks about him...The trouble is he's too good'[4]. Thus Hebborn continued to create his forgeries, changing his style slightly to avoid any further unmasking, and manufactured at least 500 more drawings between 1978 and 1988.[2]

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Thursday, May 15, 2008


The Hindu Vicar

Cranmer wrote in 2006: One priest, the Rev David Hart, a convert to Hinduism, has been allowed to continue to officiate as a cleric. His diocese renewed his licence even though he had moved to India, changed his name to Ananda (Sanskrit for ‘happiness'), and participates daily in pagan fire offerings to the snake god Nagar, and offers prayers to the elephant god Ganesh. He also offers namaaz at Muslim prayer halls. He sees no contradiction between these practices and his duties as an Anglican priest; he said he will officiate in a Christian church and a Hindu temple because ‘My philosophical position is that all religions are cultural constructs…" Wikipedia says His next book 'An Introduction to Hinduism' (London: Continuum 2009; Series Editor: Clinton Bennett) will examine the breadth of the Hindu faith as he discovers it living in India and will show how he regards his position as a Hindu believer as entirely compatible with being an Anglican priest in good standing with his diocesan bishop back in England.



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The Volstead Act and Prohibition

The Volstead Act (the National Prohibition Act, Oct. 28, 1919, ch. 85, 41 Stat. 305) was the federal statute implementing Prohibition (the constitutional amendment did not go into specifics; a law was needed for that). Surprisingly, it isn't available on the Web. Since Prohibition was repealed, the Volstead Act has been taken out of the US Code, so it can't be found there. There are various abridged versions on the Web, though. I quote from the best one below. Peter Hitchens said that Prohibition did not make possession of liquor illegal, and such seems to be the case, at least possession in one's home.

SEC. 33. After February 1, 1920, the possession of liquors by any person not legally permitted under this title to possess liquor shall be prima facie evidence that such liquor is kept for the purpose of being sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, furnished, or otherwise disposed of in violation of the Provisions of this title. . . . But it shall not be unlawful to possess liquors in one's private dwelling while the same is occupied and used by him as his dwelling only and such liquor need not be reported, provided such liquors are for use only for the personal consumption of the owner thereof and his family residing in such dwelling and of his bona fide guests when entertained by him therein; and the burden, of proof shall be upon the possessor in any action concerning the same to prove that such liquor was law fully acquired, possessed, and used.

This shows why it is important to have the full text of a law. Earlier in the Act it says that possession is illegal except in circumstances explained elsewhere in the Act.

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Female Elders in Churches

One question of ecclesiology is whether women should be elders. Walking in the rain today, I thought at first of an argument for that position, and then realized it cuts the other way.

The question is whether a passage such as the following implies that women in the America of 2008 should be ordained as pastors.Timothy 3 says

1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

My first thought was that this passage has no such implication, because in Paul's time and place women would not apply for public positions anyway. No normal woman would "desire the office of a bishop", so that case could be disregarded. Or, if one did, prudential reasons would so obviously argue against it that, again, there was no need to put in a special comment.

If the passage were about the qualifications to be a tax collector or a soldier the the argument of the previous paragraph would be valid. Its flaw is that in the Greco-Roman world there were priestesses. In fact, they come to mind more easily than priests do. Think of the Vestal Virgins in Rome and the oracle at Delphi. In that cultural context, a new religious cult such as Christianity could get away with having priestesses. The Jews, to be sure, did not, but Christians already had broken with Judaism on the questions of pork, circumcision, and Temple, and having priestesses would hardly increase the size of the break.

Putting aside other reasons, then, the cultural signifance of Timothy 3 might cut the opposite way of what we usually think: it was not an accommodation to the culture of the day, but a purposeful break with the culture. The pagans have priestesses; the Christians will not. That reasoning would apply equally well today. The episcopalians have priestesses; the Christians will not.



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Sexist Bias

Suppose we think that a person's political position is biased by his group category. We might think that a man will be biased in a pro-man direction on issues involving the role of women or wealth redistribution. Of course, a woman would be biased in the opposite direction according to this idea, so no person would have an objective opinion. That is probably the conclusion feminists would have reach, actually.

I think the conclusion is too hopeless because the idea starts off on the wrong foot. A man is a man, to be sure, but he also has personal biases in favor of his relatives, many of whom might be women. In fact, for many issues what would matter most, if personal interest is what counts, is not one's own sex, but one's children's. I have a wife, four daughters, and a son. That means my family's interest is pro-female by 5 to 2. Thus, I should be biased in the pro-female direction, and if I talk like a conservative patriarchalist, well, that's a sign the neutral, objective position is even more patriarchalist than me.

The people who are most biased are thus male and female homosexuals, who might have bias proportions of 2 or 3 or more to 0, and the divorced women with daughters. Unmarried people are next, who have biases of 1 to 0. Then come unbalanced families such as my own with ratios such as 5 to 2. Couples without children would be unbiased, with proportions of 1 to 1, and the most unbiased of all would be a large family with 5 sons and 4 daughters, which would be 6 to 6 (helping out with the problem of someone weighting his own self highest).

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Obama's Church

Obama's church is worse than even the negative publicity had led me to expect in its anti-Americanism and radical politics. See Stanley Kurtz's excerpts from the church magazine.



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Democratic Primary Popular Votes: Obama and Clinton

The Realclearpolitics website has a good table of Democratic delegates and popular votes according to various definitions. I see that right now Hillary is already ahead in the popular vote by one definition.



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Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Apodictic versus Apodeitic

Apodictic (αποδεικτικος, meaning "capable of demonstration"), is a logical term, applied to judgments which are necessarily true, as of mathematical conclusions. Apodicticity is the corresponding abstract noun, referring to logical certainty.

Apodeitic: Good without reference to purpose. Rules of skill. Counsels of prudence.

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Deriving Utilitarianism from First Principles

(revised May 14, May 16, June 2, in light of the objection that the argument doesn't have several people's small gains justifying one person's big loss; that characteristics shouldn't matter)

I heard Professor Terence Irwin talk on 'Prudence, morality, and the importance of persons: a dilemma for Sidgwick' yesterday. He said that Sidgwick does a poor job of moving from his two axioms to utilitarianism, which is correct. Even the axioms aren't spelled out very clearly, it seems. Here's a fix-up.

Axiom A1. Pareto Improvements Are Good. If you can make one person better off without hurting anybody else, do it.

Axiom A2. Impartiality. Whether a change in welfare is good or bad shouldn't depend on the identity of the particular person affected or any personal characteristics. more precisely, whether an action that changes welfare by amount A affects person i instead of person j does not affect the action's moral goodness.

Result R1. By A1, if Jones can take an action that increases his welfare by 800 utils, he should do it.

Result R2. Suppose Jones can either do nothing or take the trio of actions T1:
Action X reduces Jones's welfare by 2000 utils.
Action Y1 increases Jones's welfare by 700 utils.
Action Z1 increases Jones's welfare by 500 utils.

By R1, Jones should take the trio of actions T1.

Result R3. Suppose Jones can either do nothing or take the trio of actions T2:
Action X reduces Jones's welfare by 2000 utils.
Action Y2 increases Smith's welfare by 700 utils.
Action Z2 increases Lee's welfare by 500 utils.

By A2 and R2, Jones should take this trio of actions T2.

Result R4. R3 would remain true for any trio of numbers (a,b,c) such that a is less than b+c. Thus, we have utilitarianism.

A possible flaw: Trio T1 has the same identity label for both actions, whereas Trio T2 has a different identity label for each action. Does A2 really require them to be treated in the same way?

Axiom 2 is different from saying that welfare pairs (2,3) and (3,2) are equivalent, and stronger. Even if (2,3) and (3,2) are equivalent, that does not imply that (3,3) and (2,4) are equivalent. Using Axiom 2, though, if start by saying (2,3) and (3,2) are equivalent, then the actions of "give 1 to person 1" and "give 1 to person 2" are equivalent, so we do get the implication that (3,3) and (2,4) are equivalent. Probably we can derive that (x,y) and (y,x) are equivalent too, from Axiom 2, though I don't see how immediately.

Now that I think about it, Axiom 2 is not so different from the contractarian axiom that if a person is willing to accept a gamble, then he should not complain if he is the loser. A contractarian introduces probability, though, and so needs expected utility perhaps-- or at least some comment on what happens to non-expected-utility maximizers.

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Monday, May 12, 2008


Co-opting Your Opponent's Issues

Steve Teles talked about a good idea in a conference here last weekend: the idea of going on one's opponent's issue ground in politics and beating him on his own terms. His paper was on Compassionate Conservatism. Here are perhaps other examples. The paradigm is:

"Liberals say X helps Y, but X actually hurts them."

1. X = Immigration, Y = Mexican-Americans

2. X= the minimum wage, Y = poor people

3. X= easy divorce laws, Y = women

4. X= low penalties for crime, Y = blacks

5. X= unions, Y = workers

We need a good name for this tactic. It is not the same as Co-Opting, really, or Issue Stealing

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Seminar Presentation Ideas

I thought of two ways to improve seminars today:

1. Put all my references on a slide, so people can tell me if I am missing anything. Do this AFTER the model is presented, so they know what is relevant.

2. Start the presentation on the blackboard and put the notation and main proposition there, and diagrams, for later reference. Then go to the projector. This is a substitute or supplement for a handout.



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Shrinkwrap Contracts

Mark Lemley has a 2006 Minnesota Law Review paper, on shrinkwrap contracts that gives updates on what courts have been doing since Easterbrook's opinion.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008


Oregon Threatening People Who Post State Laws

David Post at VC writes:

The State of Oregon, bless its heart, has begun sending out cease-and-desist letters to websites like Justia and Public.Resource.Org, demanding that the sites take down copies of the Oregon Revised Statutes posted there on the grounds that the posting infringes the State's copyright in the statutes.

Hard to believe, but apparently true. [See Cory Doctorow's posting on Boing Boing, and the story from TechDirt, along with accompanying documents.

The copyright claim is (like a lot of copyright claims these days) probably about 98% horse manure. They're not asserting copyright in the text of the laws themselves, but in the "arrangement and subject matter compilation," the numbering of statutory sections, and the various "tables, indices, and annotations" contained in the documents. Lots of that stuff is simply not copyrightable -- and even as to the stuff in which there might be copyright protection, what makes the State of Oregon so sure that it, and not the various individuals who authored particular sections, owns the copyright to those contributions?

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Crime in England and the USA

The International Crime Victims Survey's conclusion is that England and Wales (Scotland has separate data-- with higher crime, I think) has higher crime rates than the US even for violent crime. Murder (not covered by the survey) is the only exception. From Table 1, section 9.1, the 2004 and 2005 numbers for England and the US are, per person per year:
Car theft: 1.8, 1.1
Burglary (home):3.5, 2.5
Robbery (face to face): 1.4, 0.6
Theft of personal property: 6.3, 4.8
Assaults and threats (similar ratio for just assaults): 5.8, 4.3



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Christianity Today-- Christian:?

I've heard that the magazine Christianity Today has gone liberal. Some evidence of this is the article,
Go ahead and disagree with Obama's pastor. But remember: He's family." But it doesn't offer any evidence that the anti-American pastor Wright actually is more than a nominal Christian-- indeed, the article seems to think Wright should get credit merely for that:
Jeremiah Wright goes to church looking for Jesus. And that's why evangelicals should pay attention to him. This is not to say they should agree with him. But Jeremiah Wright is a serious Christian. He didn't have to be — many gifted black intellectuals have gotten off the bus with the church for having been, as it inarguably has, a slave religion. (Wright has argued with Muslim friends that its track record is no better on slavery.) Even within the young tradition of Africentric theology, birthed by James Cone at Union Seminary in the late 1960s, former theologians have left Jesus behind in their effort to embrace the wider black diaspora worldwide. Cone himself worries that exclusive attention to Jesus yields something he calls "Christofascism," by which he seems to mean exclusivity. His brilliant student Dwight Hopkins, a leader at Trinity, also seems to think the Christian church too narrow an allegiance, and wants black folks generally to ally over race rather than religion. (Wright has repeatedly endorsed Cone and Hopkins, yet he doesn't use language like "Christofascism"--this is one of the things you should ask him about). In conversation with his teacher Cone, and the most distinguished theologian at his church in Dwight Hopkins, Wright is staking his claim solely on Jesus — respectfully, of course, in dialogue with Islam and black nationalist thought — but he's standing on the promises of this God.

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Friday, May 9, 2008


41% of Americans don't pay federal income tax

At a conference today Chric DeMuth of AEI mentioned that a large fraction of Americans pay zero federal income taxes. I googled, and found that a reasonable estimate is 41% of households (from ). That's 43 million tax return (for 2006) out of 136 million total, with an estimated 15 million that don't file tax returns at all.



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Thursday, May 8, 2008


NASA's Temperature Data Adjustments

Too little attention has been given to the news last August that NASA had made a year-2000 mistake in calculating US temperatures, a mistake that meant the temperatures after 2000 were all too high. Details are at Coyote Blog. The mistake was in the adjustment NASA makes for the fact that if a weather station's location become urban, the temperature rises because cities are always hotter. What is more important than the mistake itself are that (1) NASA very quietly fixed its data without any indication to users that it had been wrong earlier. (2) NASA's adjustment is by a secret method it refuses to disclose to outsiders. (3) NASA's adjustment appears (hard to say since it's kept secret) to both adjust "bad" stations (the ones in cities) down and "good" stations (the ones that read accurately) up, on the excuse of some kind of smoothing of off-trend stations. (4) The NASA people doing the adjustment are not statisticians. (5) It isn't clear what, if any, adjustment is made to weather station data from elsewhere in the world. The US has some of the best data, and there seems to be no warming trend in the US.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008


20 of 114 Church of England Bishops Homosexual

I've come across a variety of items which point to the Church of England being heavily infiltrated by homosexual clergy. I became interested after reading a good book, Last Rites, by a homosexual ex-vicar who is perceptive in some ways and blind in others. It makes a good read, as he talks about the virtues of tolerance while also talking about how in the past evangelical clergy were quiet because they were afraid to talk and about how he called the police in to harass another pastor who wrote him criticizing his homosexual ways.

What surprises me most, though, is what a large fraction of the clergy and bishops are known homosexuals. Perhaps I shouldn't be; for Anglo-Catholics, it is a chance to dress up in fancy garb and pretend to be a priest. One can be an actor, organist, or singer and get paid for it.

Damian Thompson writes:

A leading Anglican source has told me how many Church of England bishops are easily identifiable as gay. The answer is 20, he says, out of 114 diocesan and suffragan bishops....

I wanted to find out because an extraordinary article has appeared in this week's Church of England Newspaper claiming - quite correctly - that the C of E is the most gay-friendly Church in the world, easily outstripping any other province of the Anglican Communion.

That is because its bishops routinely ignore their own official guidelines on homosexuality - and especially civil partnerships.

The article is by Christopher Morgan, a well-connected religious commentator who, many years ago, was best man at Rowan Williams's wedding. It's a good piece - he has done his homework - but it will shock some of the Church of England Newspaper's evangelical readers.

It is not available free online, so let me quote the relevant passage. The background is that, according to a House of Bishops' "pastoral statement", a bishop is supposed to inquire into the nature of a priest's gay relationship, to ensure that it is non-sexual, before giving a civil partnership his approval.

Morgan writes: "I do not think even one bishop has enquired into the bedroom arrangements of clergy in civil partnerships, ...

Morgan goes on to talk about gay bishops in the Church, and says that George Carey told him on tape that he had ordained at least two. In fact, Dr Carey actually named the two bishops. One of the names came as no surprise, since (if my memory serves me) the bishop had, as a priest, once served as a judge for Mr Gay UK.

From My time at homo-erotic college, The Spectator Dec 7, 1996 by Oddie, William:

Some theological colleges have been traditionally more noted for sodomy than others, though it is probably not too much to say that it is normal in all of them, with the possible exception of some evangelical establishments. The most famous of all used to be St Stephen's House, Oxford (known to its alumni as 'Staggers'), where 20 years ago I was in training for the Anglican priesthood, and where (despite a much publicised purge carried out by the then principal, Father David Hope, now Archbishop of York) I estimated that fully two thirds were openly homosexual, many without doubt actively so.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere at Staggers in my day was certainly more discreet than the overt queening about of the pre-Hope regime, which had been exacerbated by huge quantities of gin - the Reverend Kenneth Leech, a former St Stephen's House student (or `Staggers bag') of this period, described the ethos of AngloCatholicism as `gin, lace and backbiting'. A hardly exaggerated portrait of Staggers at this time is to be found in A.N. Wilson's novel Unguarded Hours (Mr Wilson is a former Staggers bag).

Father Hope had forbidden drinking (except for a pusillanimous glass of bad sherry after Sunday mass) and had thrown out the lace together with all the beautiful old Latin vestments. He had made a connection between elaborate liturgy and queening about, and there was now in force a regime of unrelieved liturgical austerity.

But the centrepiece of Father Hope's reforms had been the supposed purge of the rampant homosexuality of previous years, which had caused such a scandal that Staggers had nearly been closed down. Things had been just as bad at Cuddesdon, the prestigious theological college known for its `old-school mitre' -just outside Oxford, where Robert Runcie had once been principal. There was some resentment at Staggers that they and not Cuddesdon had attracted notoriety; it was rumoured that Cuddesdon had escaped public obloquy because its own scandals had been hushed up by the then Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Reverend Kenneth Woollcombe, who lived nearby.

At any rate, Father Hope's widely bruited blitz on the queens had the desired effect, and Staggers survived ( to become a hotbed of radical feminism following women's ordination)....

This all happened a long time ago. Things in the Church of England are much worse now and it would be almost impossible to threaten a theological college with closure on the grounds that it permitted sodomy. One college (not Anglo-Catholic) even encourages prospective students to bring their 'partner', male or female, to spend the weekend as part of the selection process.

The New Statesman says

...tabloid revelations in September 1994 that the then newly enthroned bishop of Durham, Michael Turnbull, who had condemned gay clergy in loving relationships, had a conviction for cottaging. An ex-monk called Sebastian Sandys outed three more bishops, including the then bishop of Edmonton, Brian Masters, at a debate at Durham University. Meanwhile, Peter Tatchell's OutRage! issued a list of ten gay bishops who had endorsed anti-gay discrimination within the Church. They included the high-profile bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood (who has since died).

The climax of the campaign came in March 1995 when the then bishop of London, David Hope, was named Archbishop of York - the number two post in the Church of England. Under pressure from Tatchell, Hope - who had endorsed the sacking of gay clergy and backed a Children's Society ban on gay foster parents - acknowledged that his own sexuality was a "grey area".

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Hymns with Blame for the Crucifixion

From The Cyber Hymnal here are some hymns that put blame for the Crucifixion on those who follow Jesus. I've given authors when I've heard of them. In each case I've given the first verse and the relevant verse.


John Newton

In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.

I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.

Sure, never to my latest breath,
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there.

A second look He gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayst live."

Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.


Charles Wesley

Come, Thou everlasting Spirit,
Bring to every thankful mind
All the Savior’s dying merit,
All His sufferings for mankind!
True Recorder of His passion,
Now the living faith impart;
Now reveal His great salvation;
Preach His Gospel to our heart.

Come, Thou Witness of His dying;
Come, Remembrancer divine!
Let us feel Thy power, applying
Christ to every soul, and mine!
Let us groan Thine inward groaning;
Look on Him we pierced, and grieve;
All receive the grace atoning,
All the sprinkled blood receive.

My times are in Thy hand;
My God, I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul I leave
Entirely to Thy care.


My times are in Thy hand,
Jesus, the crucified!
Those hands my cruel sins had pierced
Are now my guard and guide.


Isaac Watts:

How condescending and how kind
Was God’s eternal Son!
Our misery reached His heav’nly mind,
And pity brought Him down.


Here let our hearts begin to melt,

While we His death record,
And with our joy for pardoned guilt,
Mourn that we pierced the Lord.


My sins laid open to the rod,
The back which from the law was free;
And the eternal Son of God
Received the stripes once due to me.


I pierced those sacred hands and feet
That never touched or walked in sin;
I broke the heart that only beat
The souls of sinful men to win.

That sponge of vinegar and gall
Was placed by me upon His tongue;
And when derision mocked His call,
I stood that mocking crowd among.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008


The Good Samaritan Experiment

The famous Darley-Batson experiment (Darley, J. M., and Batson, C.D., "From Jerusalem to Jericho": A study of Situational and Dispositional Variables in Helping Behavior". JPSP, 1973, 27, 100-108.) Its conclusion is that if people are in a hurry, they help a lot less, but being on the way to preach on the parable did not, but it looks to me as if this second conclusion is wrong, given the data, so do not rely on it.

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Copyright and Putting Up Old Books on the Net

Here is a good 2006 post from the Baylyblog about copyright and the digitization of old books that are out of copyright, e.g. Shakespeare.



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Italics and Asterisks

For emphasis, I wonder if *asterisks* might be better than italics. They convey different impressions; that is certain. Asterisks are more masculine, more heavy-hitting, which is sometimes but not always desirable. For titles of books, however, asterisks are all wrong, since there emphasis is not desirable. Write not *Huckleberry Finn*, but Huckleberry Finn.



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