Daily Archives: September 26, 2008

LA Times: Pastors plan to defy IRS ban on political speech

Setting the stage for a collision of religion and politics, Christian ministers from California and 21 other states will use their pulpits Sunday to deliver political sermons or endorse presidential candidates — defying a federal ban on campaigning by nonprofit groups.

The pastors’ advocacy could violate the Internal Revenue Service’s rules against political speech with the purpose of triggering IRS investigations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Church Times: The Archbishop at Lourdes

The Archbishop of Canter­bury this week preached at an inter­national mass in Lourdes, in the French Pyrenees, as part of the 150th-anniversary celebrations of St Bernadette’s visions of the Virgin Mary.

Dr Williams was taking part in a pilgrimage of bishops, clergy, and laity from the Church of England, including the Suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd David Hamid, which was organised by the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Society of Mary.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Europe, France, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Washington Post: Smaller Banks Thrive Out of the Fray of Crisis

Banks throughout the United States carried on with the business of making loans yesterday even as federal officials warned again that their industry is on the verge of collapse, suggesting that the overheated language on Capitol Hill may not reflect the reality on many Main Streets.

The industry is resilient despite the struggles of some members. Washington Mutual, a troubled Seattle savings and loan that was among the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, yesterday was seized by the government and sold to J.P. Morgan Chase.

At the same time, many smaller banks said they were actually benefiting from the problems on Wall Street. Deposits are flowing in as customers flee riskier investments, and well-qualified borrowers are lining up for loans.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Portait of a Local Soldier: Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor wasn’t sure what life held for him after leaving Fort Dorchester High School. But he knew what he had to do months later when airliners struck the World Trade Center towers.

The next day, Taylor and his father drove to a U.S. Army recruiting station on Rivers Avenue. Taylor knew that if he was going to seek justice for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he’d need a frontline fighting position. He enlisted in the Infantry.

“It was patriotism. He felt for all the people who had been killed,” his father, Don Taylor, said Wednesday. “He had an extreme sense of duty.”

With the twin towers still smoldering, Matthew looked to his father and said, “We need to go and deal with that.”

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Children, Iraq War, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford: A Bailout for All Our Bad Decisions?

I am worried for our country — not so much because of the tumult in the financial markets but because of the federal government’s response and its implications.

It seems that each new crisis is met with a new answer from the government. After Hurricane Katrina, the federal government assumed roles traditionally handled by state and local governments. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the government federalized 25,000 workers through the Transportation Security Administration. The example of security-focused countries such as Israel, which elects to have that function handled by the private sector, did not matter. Now, our federal government is likely to commit three-quarters of a trillion dollars — more than last year’s Pentagon budget — to a bailout based on what happened in the credit markets last week.

An ever-expanding scope of federal commitment and power is not what made this country great. Expanded power in one place comes at a cost in other places. American cornerstones such as individual initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit — born in free and open societies with private property rights and the rule of law — have never fit particularly well within the context of an ever-growing federal government.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Politics in General, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

Notable and Quotable (II)

Congressman Paul Kanjorski was on CNBC earlier and said that his mail and calls on the Paulson plan are running 50-50: 50% no and 50% hell no.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

Notable and Quotable (I)

“I’m a dirt farmer,” said Senator Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who still lives on his family homestead. “Why do we have one week to determine that $700 billion has to be appropriated or this country’s financial system goes down the pipes?”

From Tim Egan in the NY Times

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

Putin offers nuclear energy help to Chavez

Russia said on Thursday it was ready to consider helping Venezuela develop a peaceful nuclear energy program, a gesture that will displease Washington as two of its sharpest critics draw closer.

“We are all ready to look at the possibility of operating in the sphere of peaceful atomic energy,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said as he welcomed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for late-evening talks at his residence on the outskirts of Moscow.

Nuclear energy is a sensitive issue between the United States and Russia, which this week forced the scrapping of an international meeting to discuss sanctions against Iran over its atomic program.

Russia has stepped up cooperation with Venezuela, an arch-foe of Washington, since coming under strong U.S. condemnation for fighting a war against Georgia last month.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, Russia, South America

Dan Martins on the Deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh

First, I am dismayed that Bishop Duncan has taken several actions that he has….

But the bulk of my sadness and anger is reserved for the Presiding Bishop and those who have attempted to buttress her course of action. No, I’m not a lawyer and I’ve never played one on TV. But I do read and write English with a modicum of fluency. I know what lots of words mean. I can diagram sentences. And I can spot ambiguity from a mile away. There is nothing ambiguous about Canon IV.9. That the HOB’s lawyer-bishops cast aside common sense in order to “find” ambiguity that they could then resolve in favor of the Presiding Bishop’s desires is to their shame. So ”¦ shame on them. As a result of their work, the best hermeneutical tool for understanding the polity and discipline of the Episcopal Church these days is, alas, Alice in Wonderland, where words mean only what those in power say they mean.

I am also sad and angry””well, mystified might be a more accurate term””at the tunnel vision of the HOB majority. It is actually doing harm to their own cause. Before they took on the Duncan matter, our bishops took some time to bask in the afterglow of the Lambeth Conference, wherein they made lots of new friends and reached deeper levels of mutual understanding with their episcopal peers from other provinces. So it is incredible to me that they cannot see how their action in deposing Bishop Duncan is likely to be interpreted abroad as a pre-emptive purge of an annoying colleague, convicting a man for what he thinks and plans rather than for what he has done (shades of the film Minority Report), yet another example of TEC’s “progressive” juggernaut steamrolling all opposition.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

A Resolution Allegedly Passed by the Diocese of Nelson in New Zealand

From here:

That this Synod: noting (1) the deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh in The Episcopal Church, by the assembled bishops of that church, on 18 September 2008; (2) the good standing and high reputation Bishop Bob Duncan has as an orthodox Anglican bishop, as represented by statements of support being expressed in recent days by the Archbishops of Sydney, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Cone, West Indies, Kenya, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Singapore, numerous bishops within The Episcopal Church itself, and the Bishops of Winchester, Rochester, Chester, Exeter, Blackburn and Chichester; (3) various developments in The Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Church of Canada in recent years which place increasing pressure on faithful orthodox Anglicans to conform to changes in theology, liturgy and ethics rather than to uphold and maintain the 2000 year old teaching of the church; offers its support to Bishop Bob Duncan, to the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and to all bishops and dioceses in The Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Church of Canada as they seek to find a way forward which embodies the true spirit of orthodox Anglicanism.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

An Editorial from the Local Paper: The high cost of dithering

There are good reasons for Congress to feel unease about the administration plan, beginning with its $700 billion cost and the free hand sought by the Treasury Department. But there is no time for a normal legislative process. Congress, faced with a take it or leave it situation, should have the courage to act decisively now in a way that will sustain the economy.

The issue facing the Congress isn’t a political one. It is a technical financial question: what will it take to keep the American economy afloat in the immediate future, and at the least long-term cost?

Quibbling about the details at this time is like telling the surgeon in a life-or-death emergency situation that you’d like him to form a medical task force for your operation before going under the knife.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

Politico: Wild day, no deal

A high-profile White House meeting on Treasury’s $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan ended on a sour, contentious note Thursday after animated exchanges among lawmakers laced with presidential politics just weeks before the November elections.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson came up to the Capitol hours later to revive talks, but House Republicans did not participate, and Democrats warned that the whole process could collapse unless President Bush gets them to come to the table.

“Unless this fourth leg shows up at some point, this could fall off very quickly,” said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.).

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

A bad day for the GOP on politics, bailout plan

The meeting revealed that President Bush’s $700 billion bid to combat the worst financial crisis in decades had been suddenly sidetracked by fellow Republicans in the House, who refused to embrace a plan that appeared close to acceptance by the Senate and most House Democrats.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson begged Democratic participants not to disclose how badly the meeting had gone, dropping to one knee in a teasing way to make his point according to witnesses.

And when Paulson hastily tried to revive talks in a nighttime meeting near the Senate chamber, the House’s top Republican refused to send a negotiator.

“This is the president’s own party,” said Rep. Barney Frank, a top Democratic negotiator who attended both meetings. “I don’t think a president has been repudiated so strongly by the congressional wing of his own party in a long time.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

J.K. Galbraith: A Bailout We Don't Need

So, let’s use the next few years to plan, mapping out a program of energy conservation, reconstruction and renewable power. Let’s get the public sector and the universities working on it. And let’s prepare the private sector so that when the credit crunch finally ends, we’ll have the firms, the labs, the standards and the talent in place, ready to go.

Some will ask if we can afford it. To see the answer, don’t look at budget projections. Just look at interest rates. Last week, in the panic, the federal government could fund itself, short term, for free. It could have raised money for 30 years and paid less than 4 percent. That’s far less than it cost back in 2000.

No country in this situation is broke, or insolvent, or even in much trouble. For once, Wall Street’s own markets speak the truth. The financially challenged customer isn’t Uncle Sam. He’s up on Wall Street, where deregulation, greed and fraud ran wild.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

CNBC: Small Business Struggling As Credit Dries Up

While most of the nation’s attention is focused on saving behemoth financial firms, small businesses are struggling to ride out a perfect storm of tougher credit conditions in a badly hobbled economy.

The result is that the finance sector’s woes””which has spawned new lending prudence””is exacerbating, rather than relieving, economic weakness.

Even government programs designed to help small business are falling down on their mandate just when they are needed most, says small business advocates.

“It’s always been difficult for small business but now it is become almost impossible” to survive, say Marilyn Landis, chairwoman of the National Small Business Association (NSBA). “Many factors are coming together to make this a perfect storm for small businesses.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy