Month: September 2005

Odd Consumer News

A solar-powered handbag designed by a student from Brunel University promises to make finding keys and other items at the bottom of a bag easier.

The handbag, dubbed Sun Trap, uses a solar cell attached to the outside of the bag to trap energy from sunlight.

The energy is stored in an internal battery which lights up the lining.

Link.

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Kidman Undercuts Cruise

The Buddha v. L. Ron:

Nicole Kidman has spoken out in defense of psychiatry, months after her ex-husband Tom Cruise publicly denounced the medical practice. . . After researching her role as psychiatrist for her next movie The Visiting, Kidman is a full supporter of the benefits of psychiatry. She says, “I have a father who is a psychologist, so my life has been research. Yeah, of course [psychiatry is worthwhile]. I think all sorts of things do, in terms of Buddhism, in terms of therapy. I think people choose things that they need that are going to help them. And obviously, I’ve seen my father do some magnificent work.”

Link. … Read the rest

Airport Security

The Smoking Gun has reproduced complaints from the Transportation Security Administration about airport security. Funny and somewhat disturbing stuff. Link. Excerpt:

While one woman was offended by an extremely close wanding, another gal, a doctor no less, ran into problems over the screening of “her magnetic breast implants.” An international traveler complained about a “coloured operative” who appeared to be “enjoying some queer homosexual tendencies” during one body search. Then there’s the guy with the outstanding arrest warrant wondering about whether he would get popped at the airport. Our favorite, though, was from the nitwit who was angered by his treatment after joking about having a bazooka at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

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Diocese Bankruptcy Revisited

The WSJ has run a pretty good op-ed about the Washington Bankruptcy Court decision that made individual parish assets part of the bankrupt diocese for purposes of paying creditors. Link. The writer raises good points, and I wish his conclusions were right, but I think there are two glaring problems and one minor problem with his piece:

1. He fails to address the fact that the title holder is the diocese. Legal title is almost always conclusive regarding ownership.

2. He misrepresents the nature of the diocese fund “appeal.” He writes:

Lay Catholics certainly assume that their churches enjoy financial autonomy. They donate to the Sunday collection or to special fund-raising projects with the expectation that the money stays put–as it mostly does. A diocese supports itself through the bishop’s annual appeal, to which contributions are entirely voluntary . . .

I can’t speak for other dioceses, but in mine, the bishop tells my parish how much we must raise as part of the annual “appeal.” If we don’t raise it, he takes it. It’s that simple. There’s no voluntariness about it, as far as the parishioner’s parish is concerned. If a parishioner wants his parish to keep money raised through Sunday collections, he needs to give to the bishop’s “appeal.”

Furthermore, in my experience, the “appeal” is often set higher than reasonable expectations (because the amount is often based on outdated and/or inflated membership rolls).

3. He mentions that “parish assets are not his to dispose of as [the bishop] pleases.” Well, that’s not entirely true, at least in my experience. As I mentioned above, a bishop can demand a parish to relinquish a portion of its general funds if the annual “appeal” isn’t met. Moreover, if the parish has real estate titled in the bishop’s name, the … Read the rest

Dutch Expand Baby Killing

Good luck to the ugly Dutch babies:

The Dutch government intends to expand its current euthanasia policy, setting guidelines for when doctors may end the lives of terminally ill newborns with the parents’ consent.

A letter outlining the new directives will be submitted to parliament for discussion by mid-October, but the new policy will not require a vote or change of law, Dutch Health Ministry spokeswoman Annette Dijkstra told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The Netherlands became the first nation to legalize euthanasia for adults under some conditions in 2001, and the latest move is likely to spark an outcry from the Vatican, right-to-life proponents and advocacy groups for the handicapped.

Link. … Read the rest

Internet Stays with U.S.

Chalk one up for officials that don’t kowtow to the UN:

A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium’s principal overseer.

“We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet,” said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. “Some countries want that. We think that’s unacceptable.”

Link. … Read the rest