Daily Archives: January 23, 2008

Notable and Quotable (II)

Percentage of the workweek that a typical worker spends in meetings: 25. Odds that a person at a meeting doesn’t know why he’s there: 1 in 3.

–Annabelle Gurwitch, Fired, as quoted in Reader’s Digest, December 2007 edition, page 60

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Professor Bainbridge offers the Case Against Fiscal Stimulus

Read it all with all the juicy quotes.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General

John McCain Popular with People Against the War

Here’s a mind-boggling fact: people who are opposed to the Iraq war look very favorably towards Sen. John McCain – supporter of President Bush and the troop surge in Iraq.

No, that is not a typo. In New Hampshire, for instance, exits polls show that he did very well with those opposed to the war. And he did poorly among big supporters of the war in both New Hampshire and Michigan.

Go figure.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, US Presidential Election 2008

The Presiding Bishop Takes some Questions in Alabama

Question: I would just simply respond to say that that’s true as I look to my brother next to me and say, you’re doing something wrong. But as a church, as a body, we’ve been given authority in Holy Scripture to say that these things are abhorent to God. And we’ve also been given a duty to share that because those that haven’t heard the Good News are truly perishing and without the Gospel of Christ they are perishing. And if we, out of fear of offense, fail to give them the Gospel, then we are accomplices in their death. We’ve been given an enormous responsibility and an enormous trust by our Lord, and I think we shirk it when we deny what’s written in Scripture.

Bishop Katharine: My understanding of the essential k_?___ , the central proclamation of Jesus, is that God loves you. Jesus came to show us that. Jesus gave his life to show us that, and we can argue about the details beyond that. I won’t disagree with you that proclaiming the Gospel is the centerpiece of what we do. I would continue to have conversation with you, I hope, about how we impose our particular understandings of aspects of that ? . And I think that’s been the struggle of the Christian journey from the beginning.

Watch it all or read the transcript or both.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

Notable and Quotable

Question: Do you agree, [is] the Fed ahead of the curve? A lot of people have been criticizing it for being slow to respond to the credit crunch, for instance.

Answer: No, I think the Fed was, up until today at least, quite far behind the curve. They had not recognized the severity of this credit crisis.

First, they thought it would be confined to the subprime area of the mortgage market. It has since spread from the mortgage market to credit cards and auto loans. It has hurt the economy much more than the Fed I think originally thought.

So I think today’s action, being extremely urgent on the part of the Fed, was an effort to catch up with the curve, to recognize how severe this credit crisis is, how severe the increase in the cost of credit is to households and businesses, and the danger that that might push the economy into recession.

The Fed never uses the word “recession,” but, indeed, we could already be in one.

Economist David Jones last night on the Lehrer News Hour

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Black churches torn between Clinton, Obama

If it’s true that a house divided cannot stand, then black churches across South Carolina should be shaking. Take, for instance, Bible Way Church of Atlas Road in Columbia.

The black megachurch’s pastor, Darrell Jackson Sr., is a paid consultant for Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

In the pews, longtime Bible Way parishioner Anton J. Gunn directs the statewide political operation of Clinton’s main rival, Senator Barack Obama.

The congregation as a whole, some 10,000 strong, sits somewhere in the middle, according to both men.

“I think we have a lot of people who support Hillary Clinton, and we’ve got a lot of people who support Barack Obama,” Jackson said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

The R-5 Commission Report for the Diocese of Virginia's Council

The print starts very small but you can enlarge it–please peruse it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Lambeth 2008 question & answer session part 2

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Lambeth 2008 question & answer session part 1

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Archbishop Rowan Williams launches the Lambeth Conference 2008 programme

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008

California: Stunning Jump in Foreclosures

Foreclosures and default notices skyrocketed to record peaks in California and the Bay Area in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to a report released Tuesday. The information was a fresh reminder that the slumping real estate market is continuing to have a serious impact on homeowners, particularly those with risky subprime mortgages.

Lenders repossessed 31,676 residences in California in the October-November-December period, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla research firm. That was a dramatic 421.2 percent increase from 6,078 in the year-ago quarter.

In the Bay Area, foreclosures rose an equally stunning 482.5 percent to 4,573 in the fourth quarter, compared with 785 a year ago. Contra Costa County, with 1,558 foreclosures, up 533.3 percent from a year ago, had the most, followed by Alameda County with 1,026 (a 514.4 percent increase) and Solano County with 704 (up 528.6 percent).

“Foreclosure activity is closely tied to a decline in home values,” DataQuick President Marshall Prentice said in a statement. “With today’s depreciation, an increasing number of homeowners find themselves owing more on a property than its market value, setting the stage for default if there is mortgage payment shock, a job loss or the owner needs to move.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

George Weigel: Refighting the Wars of Religion

Since the rise of the religious New Right two generations ago, the religion-and-politics battle in America has been fought on many fronts. The most obvious one involves electoral politics, although even here the story is not so straightforward as often depicted. As Richard John Neuhaus showed two decades ago, the new activism of evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants in the 1970’s did not begin as a political offensive intended to woo America from secular liberalism, let alone from the Democratic party. Instead it was a defensive reaction to attempts by the Carter administration to bring federal regulatory pressure to bear on religious schools, thereby threatening to inundate the enclaves that evangelicals and fundamentalists had created to escape the cultural meltdown of the 1960’s.1 Only in time did what started as self-defense””“leave us alone”””become a significant political movement promoting traditional morality in public life.

Viewed through a wider historical lens, the revolt of the evangelicals can also be seen as one episode in an ongoing struggle over the meaning of the religion clause of the First Amendment. For the first century and a half of the Republic, that clause had been a backwater of constitutional jurisprudence. This began to change with a series of Supreme Court decisions springing from the Everson case in 1947. What struck many as an effort to drive confessional religion from the public square and to establish secularism as a quasi-official national creed provoked a challenge by religious intellectuals and activists representing a wide variety of theological and denominational positions; their arguments were buttressed by legal scholars, some of them devoutly secular in cast of mind.

Nor is that all. If the religion-and-politics wars have been about politics””including the politics of constitutional interpretation””they have also been about ideas. To claim a place for religious conviction in the public square is implicitly to challenge the “secularization hypothesis” propounded for decades by modern sociologists and historians””the idea, that is, that modernization inevitably leads to a dramatic decline in religious conviction and a weakening of the culture-forming effects of religion. Perhaps less obviously, it is also to challenge the secularist or Jacobin version of the Whig theory of history, according to which the evolution of Western democracy should be seen as a development away from religion, and against Christianity in particular.

All of these disparate strands have been involved in the latest phase of the religion-and-politics wars: the rise of what Christopher Hitchens has hailed as the “new atheism.” The commercial success of Hitchens’s God Is Not Great, following on the heels of similar books by Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon), and Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation), may not have added very much to the sum total of our knowledge about either religion or the impact of religious conviction on our politics. But these best-sellers have kept both the polemical and the political pots boiling, and sharpened the question of what role””if any””religious conviction, or even religiously-informed moral argument, should play in American public life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

William Kristol: Thoroughly Unmodern McCain

In this he differs from his competitors. Mitt Romney is the very model of a modern venture capitalist. Mike Huckabee is the very model of a modern evangelical. Rudy Giuliani is the very model of a modern can-do executive. They are impressive modern men all. But John McCain is a not-so-modern type. One might call him a neo-Victorian ”” rigid, self-righteous and moralizing, but (or rather and) manly, courageous and principled.

Maybe a dose of this type of neo-Victorianism is what the 21st century needs. A fair number of Republican and independent voters seem to think so, if one can infer as much from their support of McCain at the polls. But, amazingly, a neo-Victorian straightforwardness might also turn out to be strategically smart.

McCain has been the only Republican candidate who hasn’t tried to out-think the process. Perhaps out of sheer necessity, after his campaign imploded last summer, he simply picked himself up and made his case to the voters in the various states.

Meanwhile, the other G.O.P. candidates are creatures of our modern age of analysis and meta-analysis, and their campaigns have sometimes been too clever by half.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Social network sites link to town's seven suicides

Natasha Randall was 17, had a large circle of friends and was studying childcare when, without any indication that she was unhappy, she hanged herself in her bedroom.

Her death last Thursday was the latest in at least seven apparent copycat suicides in Bridgend, South Wales, that have alarmed parents, health authorities and police, who believe that they may be prompted by messages on social networking websites such as Bebo.

Within days two 15-year-old girls, both of whom had known Tasha, as she called herself, had also tried to take their lives. One cut her wrists and was later discharged from hospital into the care of her parents. The other tried to hang herself and spent two days on life support before showing signs of recovery. Police have since visited the families of 20 of Tasha’s friends, urging them to keep an eye on their daughters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Teens / Youth

Roman Catholic Charities Study Links Poverty, Racism

A new study, “Poverty and Racism: Overlapping Threats to the Common Good,” is part of Catholic Charities’ campaign to cut the U.S. poverty rate in half by 2020. It was officially released by the Rev. Larry Snyder, the group’s president, during a Mass Monday at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit.

“We are convinced that without a conscious and proactive struggle against racism, our efforts to reduce the plague of poverty will be in vain,” the study says.

For example, the study cites evidence that the poverty rate for African Americans in the U.S. is 24 percent–three times the rate for whites. Latinos and Native Americans also suffer from poverty rates above 20 percent, according to the study.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Other Churches, Race/Race Relations, Roman Catholic