Daily Archives: November 1, 2008

Studs Terkel RIP

Studs Terkel walks now in the same honored league as Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck and the host of other writers called to chronicle their times. This bold statement will provoke debate among those who argue a distinction between fiction and non-fiction. A lifelong advocate for the provocative, Terkel would have loved that.

The public and passionate quest for truth binds Terkel to all honored authors. It is the highest calling in the humanities, a challenge that offers, as its reward, a taste of eternity on the printed page. Lesser men and women have been broken in this pursuit. Those who survive, who succeed, enter a literary pantheon that reaches across the ages.

Their greatest stories will always touch the heart.

Studs Terkel died Friday. He was 96.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

Anglican Journal: 'Large majority' of Canadian bishops agree to moratoria

The Canadian house of bishops on Oct. 31 said a “large majority” of its members could affirm “a continued commitment to the greatest extent possible” to a moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions but also recognized that this would pose difficulty for some dioceses “that in conscience have made decisions on these matters.”

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, acknowledged that this stance allows dioceses such as Montreal and Ottawa some wiggle room to continue what their bishops have recently described as “incremental” and “experiential” steps toward same-sex blessings.

“This is a very honest statement from the point of view that it clearly reflects the reality of the Canadian church ”¦ that there are some within the house who would not stand within that majority,” said Archbishop Hiltz in an interview at the end of the meeting Oct. 27 to 31.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Montreal's top Anglican stands behind gay unions

The head of Montreal’s Anglican church plans to bless same-sex unions despite a suggested two-year moratorium following a meeting of Canada’s Anglican bishops.

Rt. Rev. Barry Clarke, head of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal, which includes 72 parishes and 110 congregations, said last night he will meet with diocese officials to develop “a protocol and a liturgy implementing the blessing of same-sex unions.”

The bishop said he will be respectful of the range of positions in his diocese regarding unions, including “those who disagree with it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

National Catholic Register–Vote 2008: The Shepherds Speak

The 2008 presidential campaigns will end Nov. 4 when the nation votes. But they will have seen an unprecedented activity by one very small group of American leaders: Catholic bishops.

Most have shared the attitude of Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu ”” that “one issue alone far outweighs all others: the right to life.”

In unusually strong language, bishops have denounced abortion and directed voters away from pro-abortion candidates ”” so much so that Americans United for Separation of Church and State has threatened to sue at least one bishop. According to USA Today, the group sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service accusing Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., of illegal partisanship for lambasting Obama’s support of abortion rights.

With the election just days away, the Register offers its own compilation of some of the strongest statements….

Read it all.

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

Frederick Kagan: Security Should Be the Deciding Issue?

As the scale of the economic crisis becomes clear and comparisons to the Great Depression of the 1930s are tossed around, there is a very real danger that America could succumb to the feeling that we no longer have the luxury of worrying about distant lands, now that we are confronted with a “real” problem that actually affects the lives of all Americans. As we consider whether various bailout plans help Main Street as well as Wall Street, the subtext is that both are much more important to Americans than Haifa Street.

One problem with this emotion is that it ignores the sequel to the Great Depression — the rise of militaristic Japan marked by the 1931 invasion of Manchuria, and Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933, both of which resulted in part from economic dislocations spreading outward from the U.S. The inward-focus of the U.S. and the leading Western powers (Great Britain and France) throughout the 1930s allowed these problems to metastasize, ultimately leading to World War II.

Is it possible that American inattention to the world in the coming years could lead to a similarly devastating result? You betcha.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Globalization, US Presidential Election 2008

Washington Post: Election Day Surprises

The Post asked pollsters and others what could turn out to be a surprise on Election Day. Included are thoughts from Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, James Carville, Heather Wilson, Douglas Schoen, Ed Rogers, Mary Beth Cahill, Linda Chavez and Robert Shrum.

Here is one perspective from Ed Rogers:

By all accounts McCain is behind but closing in on Obama, who appears to be stronger in the electoral college than in the popular vote. It’s not pretty for McCain, but it’s not over. Three ingredients could be mixing to create an explosive comeback for McCain. No. 1: buyer’s remorse and resentment of the media forecast. Voters are being lectured that the election is over. This might cause them to have regrets about Obama and resent being told what they had already decided. No. 2: presumptuousness by the Obama camp. More than once they have shown a tendency to act like they have won, to assume that the Oval Office is already theirs. Voters resent this and may be itching to show their independence. No. 3: Obama fatigue and classic American support for the underdog. Voters notice the number of ads, phone calls and gushing accounts of the giant Obama machine. Maybe the good old US of A instinct to support the underdog is working to McCain’s benefit.

McCain has to draw to an inside straight to get 270 in the electoral college. The odds are against him, but that’s nothing new for John McCain. He will not quit. Never count him out.

Read them all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Notable and Quotable

DAVID LEONHARDT: Yes, it is. I mean, in many ways, today’s report was the end of an era. Dating all the way back to the early ’90s, consumers have increased their spending every single quarter.

They did it through the recession of 2001. They did it even as incomes were not growing very quickly during this recent expansion. And they did it in many ways by taking out more debt, and that debt is behind a lot of this housing crisis.

JEFFREY BROWN: That propped us up — that propped us up over the last few years, is that right?

DAVID LEONHARDT: That’s right. That’s right. In some ways, you can think about it as we were stealing from future consumption over the past decade and now we pay the price for that.

From last night’s Lehrer News Hour (emphasis mine)

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Bishop Tom Wright: The Bible and Tomorrow’s World

What we desperately need, if we are to pursue a biblical, Christian and indeed Anglican mission in the postmodern world, is the Spirit of Truth. There is no time to develop this further, but it is vital to say this one thing. We have got so used to the postmodern sneer that any truth-claim is instantly suspect. And at that point many Christians have lurched back to the apparent safety of a modernist claim: conservative modernists claim that they can simply look up truth in the Bible, without realising what sort of book it is, while radical modernists claim they find truth in today’s science, without realising what sort of a thing that is either. But we cannot go back; we have to go on; and the Spirit of Truth, often invoked in favour of any and every innovation in the church, is actually at work when we live within the great story, the love story, God’s love-story, and become in turn agents, missional agents, of that story in the world. Truth is not something we possess and put in our pockets, because truth is grounded in the goodness of creation, the promise of redemption for that creation, and the vocation of human beings to speak God’s word both of naming the original creation and of working for new creation ”“ the word, in other words, of mission. The Spirit of Truth is given so that, living within the great biblical story, we can engage in those tasks.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Lambeth 2008, Theology, Theology: Scripture

NPR: In A Crisis, A Family's Faith Is Rewarded

Lillian Howell lived through the 1929 stock market collapse, which happened 79 years ago this week. Howell, who was 10 at the time, recalls the desperate move her family made to survive after her father was laid off.

Howell’s father, Charlie Hannabass, worked at the Kroger grocery in downtown Cincinnati. When the Great Depression cost him his job, “we didn’t know what we were going to do,” Howell said.

So the family made a tough decision: to pull up stakes and move to Virginia, where they had relatives who, they hoped, could help.

Read or listen to it all.

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

Students discuss impact of abortion on black community

Those statistics are supported by an Oct. 15 letter from Bishop Martin D. Holley, a member of the committee on pro-life activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Holley wrote that the more than 13 million babies lost to abortion is more than one third of the current black population in the United States.
“Since 1973, twice as many black Americans have died from abortion than from AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer and heart disease combined,” he wrote. “Black women have abortions at five times the rate of white women.”

Merritt also spoke about studies that show abortion facilities such as Planned Parenthood are often built either near or in the middle of black communities.
“The event gave us an opportunity to get the facts about abortion out there, and to inform the NAACP about Birthright, a crisis pregnancy center in Columbia,” Black said. “Hopefully, now if those students or their friends face an unplanned pregnancy, they will have more information about choosing life.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture

Michael Yon: A Moment of Opportunity for the New Media

This translates into a moment of opportunity for alternative sources ”” but only if it turns out that readers value alternative sources and are willing to keep them afloat during these stormy times. Pajamas Media is an example of an alternative source that is making an impact. PJM reaches millions of people and they sent a video camera to me in Afghanistan. Please stand by for videos of our folks and Afghans telling you directly what they think. Perhaps PJM will host us live from Afghanistan from time to time, and then you can ask soldiers and Afghans what they think and get a live, completely unedited answer.

This is a challenging period: The Afghanistan-Pakistan situation is deteriorating rapidly. Panglossian op-eds, such as this 2006 piece in the Wall Street Journal, would have encouraged investors to toss money into Afghanistan with hopes of high return. For a bit of time travel into coverage from Afghanistan, please read “A Virgin Market.” Afghanistan is neither virgin nor innocent.

But just as my 2006 pieces on Afghanistan explicitly warned that chaos was descending upon the land, I write it here clearly again: during 2009, we likely will see more fighting in Afghanistan than we have experienced to date. Come spring and summer, friendly casualties from all sides will likely be at an all-time high. There is no end in sight. I would not doubt that, given time and barring some extreme unforeseen changes in the situation, the Afghanistan-Pakistan war might well devolve into something far worse than we ever saw in Iraq.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Media, War in Afghanistan