Daily Archives: October 1, 2008

Washington Post: Mutual Distrust Freezes Lending Among Banks

At the core of the financial crisis is a simple problem: Banks don’t fully trust each other. So they hoard cash and only lend to each other if the borrowing bank pays enough to justify the risk.

The best indicator of the simmering interbank distrust is an obscure-sounding interest rate known as Libor, which is flashing red. Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, is the rate that banks worldwide charge each other for short-term loans.

Yesterday, the annualized rate for those overnight loans spiked by more than four percentage points, to 6.9 percent, its highest level ever. Normally, Libor on dollar loans is not much higher than what it costs the U.S. government to borrow short-term money, which yesterday was nearly zero.

That tells experts that banks around the world are basically unwilling to lend to each other at any price. It means that cash is not flowing to places that need it. And, if sustained, would ultimately lead to higher borrowing costs for ordinary U.S. households and businesses.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy

A Confident Lou Piniella hoping Cubs ready to realize potential

As he prepares for October baseball at Wrigley Field, manager Lou Piniella feels good about his team.

He feels good about the starting pitchers. Feels good about the lineup. Feels good about the back end of the bullpen. Feels good about the character of his resilient ballclub.

“I do like our team, yes, and I’ve got a whole lot of confidence in them,” he said.

But, as has been his habit from the beginning of the Piniella era, he cautioned fans not to get overconfident about his 97-win team. If he had a playoff T-shirt licensed by Major League Baseball, it probably would read: Be Happy, Not Giggly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Notable and Quotable (II)

The voters will sort out the blame on all this in November. Anger at Washington will feed a hunger for change, and it’s likely to fall harder on the GOP as the party that holds the White House. But for the next president and the next Congress, whatever its makeup, Monday’s performance should be looked at as an example of what it was, a performance designed to undermine the public’s confidence in its elected leadership.

An article in today’s Washington Post by Dan Balz

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

Proposed Resolutions for the Upcoming Diocese of Fond Du Lac Convention

Check them out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Quincy Standing Committee Opts for Realignment

The standing committee of the Diocese of Quincy has recommended that the diocese seek realignment with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone based in Argentina, while continuing as a member of the Common Cause Partnership, according to Fr. James Marshall, president of the standing committee.

Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy is on sabbatical through the end of October. In the absence of the bishop, the standing committee is in charge of non-sacramental ecclesiastical duties. Bishop Ackerman will be back in time to preside at convention, which is scheduled to meet Nov. 7-8 at St. John’s Church, Quincy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Notable and Quotable (I)

Those pitiful numbers lead us to the innumerable problems posed by derivatives, the same financial instruments that led to the chaos at Enron, which before it failed operated a huge””and almost completely unregulated””derivatives exchange business. According to the Bank for International Settlements, the global derivatives market is now worth some $676.5 trillion. That’s $676,500,000,000,000. That’s a fivefold increase over the value of derivatives that were traded in 2003. Further, that $676.5 trillion is 51 times America’s current gross domestic product.

In 2002, the world’s smartest investor (and my pick for president this year), Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett, issued his annual letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. In it, he called derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.”

Robert Bryce in US News and World Report

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

The Presiding Bishop's Hobart Lecture

Most of us begin with the relatively easy, local initiatives like changing the light bulbs to compact fluorescents, or examining our use of disposable items, and then move on to upgrading building insulation and heating and cooling systems. Old buildings can be a challenge, but many have found creative ways to install photovoltaic systems on the roof and even power-producing windmills. General Seminary is doing the geothermal drill. Those who have the opportunity to rebuild or build anew can explore the latest in low-carbon or sustainable building footprints. Doing that kind of work in the congregation can be a remarkable teaching opportunity that will raise the skill of other pastoral gardeners in their own homes and the larger community. Discovering how much waste a congregation produces, and how much can be recycled, is another way of teaching and even changing community norms. There are still too many local communities that make no provision for recycling, or have only inadequate programs.

In the same way that frequent moving of the flock can raise the productivity of the grassland, recycling reusable resources brings another kind of abundant life. I saw a great example in New Hampshire this last weekend. St. Andrew’s, West Manchester is collecting and sharing food with the hungry through its food bank. They are collecting and sharing clothes and other hard goods with those in great need. They are renovating an old house behind the church parking lot to both provide an apartment for a low-income family and provide a more accessible space for their thrift shop. In the process, they’re offering ministry opportunities for seniors and the otherwise unemployed to share their gifts with others. That is good pastoral care at almost every level ”“ it’s simple and yet profound.

Read it all.

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

From the front page of the local paper (II): Another local soldier killed

A Wando High School graduate has been killed in Afghanistan, the second local soldier to die in just over a week.

Richie Cliff, 29, had served in the Army since 2002, and had previously completed a year-long tour of duty in Iraq.

The staff at Wando, where Cliff’s mother taught biology for more than 30 years, heard the news Tuesday morning.

“He was a student leader, an outstanding, fine young man,” recalled Principal Lucy Beckham. “He was very patriotic and we are very proud of him and what he was willing to do.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Military / Armed Forces

From the front page of the local paper (I): Older Americans among most vulnerable

George Dallas is 77 years old and 50 payments behind on his mortgage.

“Nobody even believes that,” the Red Top resident said. “They say, ‘Man, they should’ve taken that house years ago.’ ”

A nagging nerve problem forced Dallas to stop working before he was ready, at 71. He soon found that relying on Social Security and a pipefitter’s pension left little behind after making his $800-a-month mortgage payments.

He tried cash-advance stores but couldn’t manage the interest. He filed for bankruptcy but couldn’t keep up with the required payments.

Now seeking financial assistance at counseling centers and churches alike, he hears the same thing: There just isn’t any money.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Personal Finance

Statement by the Primates’ Council of GAFCON on the alleged deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh

The fact, timing and manner of the action taken by the American House of Bishops toward Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh has filled us with dismay. He is a Bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion, and is guilty only of guarding his people from false teaching and corrupt behaviour as he promised to do. Once more the upholders of the orthodox faith are made to suffer at the hands of those who have introduced new teachings.

However, the action has also had the effect of clarifying matters even further. It is now impossible to believe that the exhortations of the Lambeth Conference and the Windsor Continuation Group will be heeded. No Pastoral Forum has been established. We remain convinced that the faithful Anglicans of North America need to have their own Province recognised by the Communion as a whole. We are determined to stand with Bishop Duncan and those who, like him, have protested in the name of God against the unscriptural innovations which have caused such divisions amongst us.

In the absence of other substantive provision from the historic structures of the Communion, the Primates’ Council gives its full support to Archbishop Greg Venables in receiving Bishop Duncan as a Bishop in good standing in the Province of the Southern Cone.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

David Leonhardt on how a Credit Crisis Can Create A Severe Downturn

…there is good reason for the public’s skepticism. The experts and policy makers who so desperately want to take action have failed to tell a compelling story about why they’re so afraid.

It’s not enough to say that markets could freeze up, loans could become impossible to get and the economy could slide into its worst downturn since the Great Depression. For now, the crisis has had little effect on most Americans, beyond their 401(k) statements. So to them, the specter of a depression can sound alarmist, and the $700 billion bill that Congress voted down this week can seem like a bailout for rich scoundrels.

Bernanke and his fellow worriers need to connect the dots. They need to use their bully pulpits to teach a little lesson on the economics of a credit crisis how A can lead to B, B to C and C to Depression.

Read it all.

Update: A related article from AP is here.

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

Gazing at America, the French still see a wild frontier

The French have always found American elections amusing, in a horror movie sort of way. They grumpily regard the American president as in some unfortunate sense also their own, but they see the campaign through their own cultural lens.

They value sophistication above almost anything, and so they regard their own hyperactive president, Nicolas Sarkozy, with his messy romantic life and model-singer wife, as “Sarko the American.”

But this year has been difficult for the French. Sarkozy has generally supported American foreign policy and has praised the United States’ openness and entrepreneurial verve. And the sudden emergence of Senator Barack Obama–black, and seen as elegant and engaged with the larger world– has sent many French into a swoon.

But the combination of two recent surprises– Governor Sarah Palin and America’s terrifying financial meltdown– has brought older, nearly instinctual anti-American responses back to the surface.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Europe, France, Politics in General, US Presidential Election 2008

Filmmaker Explores What Keeps America ”˜Stitched Together’

America is stitched together by words, ideas and memory, according to America’s best-known documentary filmmaker.

“We are still stitched together by words and most importantly, by their dangerous progeny””ideas,” Ken Burns told a packed Massey Performing Arts Center Tuesday night at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

Burns has been America’s chief documentarian for the past three decades. His extensive films on the Civil War, baseball, jazz and, most recently, World War II have built a reputation that once prompted historian Stephen Ambrose to say, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.”

Read it all.

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

Nobel laureate Stiglitz predicts Obama win, recession

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, US Presidential Election 2008

Wilmington Star News: Churchgoers describe what it feels like to be filled with the Holy Ghost

All these people claim a special happening – contact with the Holy Spirit. For many of them, “getting the spirit” or feeling God’s presence is a real, tangible and bodily experience. Shouting, seeing visions, speaking in tongues, jumping, dancing or falling limp to the floor (“falling out”) are just a few ways people say the Holy Spirit’s manifests its presence in their bodies.

But not every church group or individual Christian experiences the Holy Spirit. Some churches don’t welcome the bodily expression of spiritual experience. But even for those who do, the manifestations of the Spirit often vary from person to person, said William Turner Jr., a professor of ministerial studies at Duke Divinity School.

People seek the Holy Spirit because “consistently, the New Testament teaches that the basic components of the Christian life are: believing on the Lord Jesus; being baptized; and receiving the Spirit,” Turner said.

Sometimes fear of the unknown can keep worshippers from fully sensing God’s presence, he added.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Spirituality/Prayer