Daily Archives: February 13, 2008

Mortgage Crisis Spreads Past Subprime Loans

The credit crisis is no longer just a subprime mortgage problem.

As home prices fall and banks tighten lending standards, people with good, or prime, credit histories are falling behind on their payments for home loans, auto loans and credit cards at a quickening pace, according to industry data and economists.

The rise in prime delinquencies, while less severe than the one in the subprime market, nonetheless poses a threat to the battered housing market and weakening economy, which some specialists say is in a recession or headed for one.

Until recently, people with good credit, who tend to pay their bills on time and manage their finances well, were viewed as a bulwark against the economic strains posed by rising defaults among borrowers with blemished, or subprime, credit.

“This collapse in housing value is sucking in all borrowers,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com.

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Posted in Uncategorized

From ABC news: Are Young Evangelicals Skewing More Liberal?

A younger generation of evangelical Christians is coming of age — and as they head to the polls, they are breaking from their parents and focusing on a broader range of issues than just abortion and gay marriage.

This weekend at a concert and a rally in New York City, a huge gathering of Christian youth came together to decry the coarsening of culture.

“What should be done to stop glamorizing the things that are destroying my friends, your friends — like drugs, alcohol and sex?” cried a young evangelical.

The top three issues these young evangelical Christians said they most want the presidential candidates to address are Internet pornography, media glamorization of sex and drugs, and children orphaned by AIDS. Abortion and gay marriage were not at the top of their lis

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches

In Western Canada Anglican diocese in turmoil

The fate of what is described as the largest congregation in the Anglican Church of Canada hangs in the balance tonight.

Members of St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church, a neo-Gothic landmark in the heart of the city’s wealthiest neighbourhood, are gathering for an expected vote on breaking with Vancouver-area Bishop Michael Ingham over the issue of same-sex blessings and trying to take the church property with them.

Ingham has warned St. John’s Shaughnessy that what it is considering is “schismatic.” If members of the large parish at the corner of Granville and Nanton try operating under the authority of a South American Anglican bishop or anyone else, Ingham said, they will not be legally able to hold onto the church property.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Religion Joins Custody Cases, to Judges’ Unease

On a January night nine years ago, Laura Snider was saved.

A 27-year-old single mother at the time, Mrs. Snider felt she had ruined her life through a disastrous marriage and divorce. But in her kitchen that night, after reading pamphlets and Bible passages that her boss had pointed her to, she realized she was a sinner, she said, she prayed for forgiveness, and put her trust in Christ.

Four years later, the conservative brand of Christianity Mrs. Snider embraced became the source of a bitter, continuing custody battle over her only child, Libby Mashburn.

Across the country, child-custody disputes in which religion is the flash point are increasing, part of a broader rise in custody conflicts over the last 30 years, lawyers, judges and mediators say.

“There has definitely been an increase in conflict over religious issues,” said Ronald William Nelson, a Kansas family lawyer who is chairman of the custody committee of the American Bar Association’s family law section. “Part of that is there has been an increase of conflicts between parents across the board, and with parents looking for reasons to justify their own actions.” Another factor, he said, is the rise of intermarriage and greater willingness by Americans to convert.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Running mate guessing game begins

It’s too early ”” way too early, ridiculously early ”” but like it or not, the sweepstakes for the Republican veep nomination already has begun.

With Sen. John McCain quickly becoming the apparent Republican presidential nominee, talk among his supporters is already shifting to whom he would pick ”” could pick, should pick ”” as his vice-presidential running mate.

The inside-the-Beltway sport of trying to divine a presidential candidate’s running mate comes with several tried-and-true rules, beginning with defining what qualities will offset the political weaknesses at the top of the ticket.

First, Mr. McCain likely will go for someone from outside Washington ”” most probably a governor. For the four-term Arizona senator, that would offset his 25 years in Congress, muting a target for Democrats ”” his Washington-insider status.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Bronwen Maddox: The world sees America in the dock

Every time there is a chance for the United States to escape from the trap it has created for itself in Guantanamo Bay, it slams the door shut.

The Pentagon’s decision this week to seek the death penalty for six men it accuses of the 9/11 attacks, and to try them under the hugely disputed version of military courts that it has devised, is one of the stupidest mistakes that the Bush Administration has made.

Everything about Guantanamo is an affront to the values the US says it is defending in the War on Terror. The principle of holding hundreds of people there without charge, for years; the fluid rules of the “military commissions” used for the very few who will be tried; the torture that the Administration acknowledges has been practised on these six: all these are an assault on the US Constitution.

To see the most powerful country in the world scrabbling on the edge of a nearby island, with whose leader it is not on speaking terms, for the sole purpose of evading its own laws and principles, is an embarrassment.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Iraq War, Law & Legal Issues, Military / Armed Forces

Rick Lobs Compares Two Cathedrals

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Jews Worried Again as Methodists Mull Divestment Plan

The United Methodist Church is poised to become the next U.S. church to consider divesting from Israel, a topic so controversial that it prompted the Presbyterian Church (USA) to backpedal on its own divestment program two years ago.

At its quadrennial General Conference this April in Fort Worth, Texas, the Methodists, with more than 8 million U.S. members, will debate whether to pull church holdings in Caterpillar, which provides the Israel Defense Forces with bulldozers.

The proposal from the Methodists’ General Board of Church and Society comes as the church’s women’s division offers a 224-page study guide on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been slammed as “inflammatory, inaccurate and polemical” by Jewish groups

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Methodist, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths

The Latest From Intrade

Obama 73.4, Hillary 25.1.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Notable and Quotable

“I voted for the next president of the United States, Barack Obama….The Clintons have shown themselves to be a political machine not much different than the Bush administration. I think Obama is the one to bring about the kind of change we need in Washington.”

Phil Andonian, a 31-year-old lawyer sporting a Barack Obama T-shirt underneath his winter coat, outside a polling station in the nation’s capital

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

From the BBC: Church of England Synod Synod rejects vicarage owner plan

Members of the Church of England’s ruling synod have defeated an attempt by the Church to take control of vicarages.
It was proposed to move the freehold of vicarages or parsonages from the resident vicar to diocesan control.

Opponents, who put the total value of the properties at £4bn, argue that clerical homes have been under local control for nearly 1,000 years.

The proposals were part of legislation debated at the general synod.

They were part of the process of moving more clergy from open-ended appointments in parishes to contracts similar to those of other working people.

But opponents said those contracts could be brought in without centralising control of property.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Economists Weigh Recession Scenarios

It’s hard for officials to even utter the word “recession.” They have to keep a stiff upper lip and try to keep confidence high ”” but it’s possible that battle is already lost. A new Associated Press-Ipsos poll reported Monday that 61 percent of Americans believe the country is already in recession. More and more economists are also moving into that camp.

“We do see the economy shrinking this quarter, and for the second quarter it’s going to be very weak as well,” says Bernard Baumohl of The Economic Outlook Group. “It’s just going to feel quite awful. And it’s going to result in the unemployment rate increasing and consumers cutting back on more spending.”

Although he believes the economy is shrinking right now, Baumohl isn’t quite willing to predict a recession, roughly described as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.

“Well, if you’re pinning me down, I will say that we will ”” by the width of a hair ”” formally escape a recession,” Baumohl says. “But I don’t think anyone’s going to feel the difference between a recession and the kind of weak growth we’re going to experience the rest of this year.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

NY Times: Catholic Vote Is Harbinger of Success for Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton has run away with the votes of Roman Catholic Democrats in nearly all the primaries, often beating Barack Obama by two to one or better, exit polls show. In New York, she received 66 percent of the Catholic vote to his 30 percent.

“I didn’t go to bed until 1 in the morning waiting on the results,” said Joe Quinn, a Catholic who is a building superintendent on the Upper West Side. “I slept very well, let me tell you.”

Does it matter whom Catholics like Mr. Quinn voted for in the Democratic primaries? By November, it may not. Still, Catholics, who make up about a quarter of the registered voters in the country, have backed the winner of the national popular vote for at least the last nine presidential elections, going back to 1972.

The Catholic scorecard: five Republican and three Democratic presidents, and one popular-vote-winning but presidency-losing Democrat, Al Gore.

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

3 Cherie Wetzel Reports from the Executive Council Meeting

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

Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Windsor Continuation Group

(ACNS)

The Archbishop of Canterbury announced the formation of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG), as proposed in his Advent Letter

The WCG will address outstanding questions arising from the Windsor Report and the various formal responses from provinces and instruments of the Anglican Communion.

The members of the group are:

The Most Revd Clive Handford, former Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East (chair)
The Most Revd John Chew, Primate of South East Asia
The Right Revd Gary Lillibridge, Bishop of West Texas
The Right Revd Victoria Matthews, former Bishop of Edmonton
The Very Revd John Moses, former dean of St Paul’s, London
The Most Revd Donald Mtetemela, Primate of Tanzania

They will be joined as a consultant by:

Dame Mary Tanner, Co-president of the World Council of Churches

and assisted by:

Canon Andrew Norman of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Staff and
Canon Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Windsor Report / Process