Daily Archives: November 20, 2008

Americans don't know civics

From high-school dropouts to college graduates to elected officials, Americans are “alarmingly uninformed” about the USA’s history, founding principals and economy ”” knowledge needed to participate wisely in civic life, says a report scheduled to be released Thursday.

The study, the third in a series by the non-profit Intercollegiate Studies Institute, finds that half of U.S. adults can name all three branches of government, and 54% know that the power to declare war belongs to Congress. Almost 40% incorrectly said that it belongs to the president.

Those who have held elected office lack civic knowledge; 43% do not know the Electoral College is a constitutionally mandated assembly that elects the president. One in five thinks it “trains those aspiring for higher office” or “was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates.”

“Without knowledge of your country’s history, key texts and institutions, you don’t have a frame of reference to judge the politics and policies of today,” says Richard Brake, head of the institute’s American Civic Literacy Program.

Read it all.

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

The Archbishop in conversation with Professor Mona Siddiqui

Read the description and follow the link to the actual interview. There is much material of interest here–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

World first as woman gets organ made from stem cells

A WOMAN has become the first patient in the world to receive an organ created in a laboratory, in a pioneering operation that could change transplant surgery, doctors said yesterday.
Claudia Castillo’s body part was grown using her own stem cells harvested from bone marrow.

Professor Anthony Hollander, part of the team behind the breakthrough, described it as an example of “stem cell science becoming stem cell medicine”.

This was one of the top stories here on the evening news last evening. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Health & Medicine

Irish Archbishop welcomes Stormont breakthrough

The Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd Alan Harper, OBE has welcomed yesterday’s breakthrough in talks to secure the resumption of the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont.

He said: “I warmly welcome the decision on the part of the main partners in the Northern Ireland government executive to resume meetings of the executive and to take forward proposals for the devolution of policing and justice powers. I also very much welcome the decision that the executive will meet much more frequently and purposefully in order to deal with the backlog of business that has accumulated over the past five months.

Read it all.

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

Demise of local car dealerships leaves a big dent

Watch it all, an excellent reminder of just some of the local ramifications of the economic tsunami through which we are going.

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

Matt Kennedy Interviewed about Diocese of Central New York Events

The Central New York Episcopal Church is suing a splinter congregation in Binghamton. The diocese is taking the Church of the Good Shepherd to court on December 12th to recoup all of its property and assets. That includes the church building. FLN’s Bob Price spoke with Senior Pastor Matt Kennedy about how the church could be affected for taking a stance against the consecration of homosexual bishops.

Find the audio links in the middle of the page.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central New York

Pope Benedict XVI on Saint Paul and Justification

The relationship between Paul and the Risen One is so profound that it impels him to affirm that Christ was not only his life, but his living, to the point that to be able to reach him, even death was a gain (cf. Philippians 1:21). It was not because he did not appreciate life, but because he understood that for him, living no longer had another objective; therefore, he no longer had a desire other than to reach Christ, as in an athletic competition, to be with him always. The Risen One had become the beginning and end of his existence, the reason and goal of his running. Only concern for the growth in faith of those he had evangelized and solicitude for all the Churches he had founded (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:28), induced him to slow down the run toward his only Lord, to wait for his disciples, so that they would be able to run to the goal with him. If in the previous observance of the law he had nothing to reproach himself from the point of view of moral integrity, once overtaken by Christ he preferred not to judge himself (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4), but limited himself to run to conquer the one who had conquered him (cf. Philippians 3:12).

It is precisely because of this personal experience of the relationship with Jesus that Paul places at the center of his Gospel an irreducible opposition between two alternative paths to justice: one based on the works of the law, the other founded on the grace of faith in Christ. The alternative between justice through the works of the law and justice through faith in Christ thus becomes one of the dominant themes that runs through his letters: “We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified” (Galatians 2:15-16).

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

ACNS–Bishop Pierre calls for prayer for Congo on 23 November

Dear colleagues,

As you know, the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to fester. Much is still underreported. In addition to the crisis in the Goma region, there are two areas of rebel activity in Congo which have not hit the news: the Dungu area, in the north, where the Lord’s Resistance Army has attacked villages and abducted adults and children in recent weeks, and also the Gety/Aveba/Nyankunde region, close to Bunia, where a new militia group emerged in late September and displaced many people from their homes.

Our Anglican sisters and brothers in those areas have been deeply affected, and are in the forefront of relief efforts and peacemaking.

I am echoing Archbishop Fidèle Dirokpa’s call for a day of prayer for peace in the Congo on Sunday 23 November.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Episcopal Church (TEC), Europe, Republic of Congo, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

Prop. 8 gay marriage ban goes to California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court voted 6 to 1 on Wednesday to review legal challenges to Proposition 8, the voter initiative that restored a ban on same-sex marriage, but refused to permit gay weddings to resume pending a final decision.

The court may hold a hearing on the lawsuits as early as March, a timetable that scholars said was swift considering the complexity and importance of the legal issues.

The court’s action, taken during a closed conference, suggested that the court wants to resolve all of the legal issues surrounding Proposition 8, including the fate of existing gay marriages, in a single ruling.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

Finger-pointing begins as Senate nixes auto vote

A Democratic Congress, unwilling or unable to approve a $25 billion bailout for Detroit’s Big Three, appears ready to punt the automakers’ fate to a lame-duck Republican president. Caught in the middle of a who-blinks-first standoff are legions of manufacturing firms and auto dealers””and millions of Americans’ jobs””after Senate Democrats canceled a showdown vote that had been expected Thursday. President George W. Bush has “no appetite” to act on his own.

U.S. auto companies employ nearly a quarter-million workers, and more than 730,000 other people have jobs producing the materials and parts that go into cars. About 1 million on top of that work in dealerships nationwide. If just one of the auto giants were to go belly up, some estimates put U.S. job losses next year as high as 2.5 million.

“If GM is telling us the truth, they go into bankruptcy and you see a cascade like you have never seen,” said Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, who was working on one rescue plan Wednesday. “If people want to go home and not do anything, I think that they’re going to have that on their hands.”

Read it all.

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

Plans to create a conservative province ”˜disturbing,’ says Canadian primate

The plan is scheduled to be publicly released on Dec. 3 in Chicago at a gathering of the Common Cause Partnership, a coalition of conservative Anglicans who oppose moves within the Anglican Church of Canada toward blessing same-sex unions and the ordination of an openly gay man as an Episcopal bishop in the U.S.

“What’s quite disturbing, in my opinion, about this proposal is the determination to create a province based on theological grounds,” Archbishop Hiltz said Nov.17. “The creation of provinces, as I have always understood it, is based on mission. It is based on a commitment to embrace and give flesh to an expression of the gospel in a particular context. There is a geography associated with that context, there is a set of cultural needs, a set of social needs.”

He also noted that the Anglican Consultative Council is the only body of the church that can create a province, and it does so, only after “after a long period of discernment and testing the viability and capacity for the province to maintain itself in the spirit of mission.” The Anglican Consultative Council is also the only body of the church that includes bishops, clergy and laity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Common Cause Partnership

Feds say hunger rose in 2007

Food insecurity in America continued to rise last year, and participation in the food stamp program is approaching record highs, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday (Nov. 17).

In 2007, 11.1 percent of U.S. households reported food insecurity — what used to be labeled as “hunger” — up from 10.9 percent in 2006. About 4 percent of households were severely food insecure, meaning one or more adults had to adjust their eating habits because the household lacked resources for food.

The food stamp program now has more than 30 million people enrolled, an increase of 9.5 percent from 2006, and half of all babies receive supplemental nutrition from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, according to the report.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Hunger/Malnutrition, Poverty

Shares Near 6-Year Low, With More Losses Feared

But even as markets tumbled, analysts saw few signs of capitulation, that final burst of panicked selling that typically marks a market bottom. If anything, Wednesday’s new lows are a sign that Wall Street has farther to fall.

“The market is still anticipating that we have not seen the worst,” said Ryan Larson, head equity trader at Voyageur Asset Management.

After precipitous declines this autumn, Wall Street had spent the past weeks testing its yearly lows by dipping sharply, only to rebound late in the day. The testing and retesting prompted some optimists to hope that the markets had finally found a foothold.

But Wednesday’s drop proved them wrong.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Mitt Romney: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt

It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research ”” on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and the like ”” that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry, along with many others. I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today. The research could be done at universities, at research labs and even through public-private collaboration. The federal government should also rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers.

But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass ”” they bet on management and they lost.

The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.

In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

David Brooks: The Formerly Middle Class

This recession will probably have its own social profile. In particular, it’s likely to produce a new social group: the formerly middle class. These are people who achieved middle-class status at the tail end of the long boom, and then lost it. To them, the gap between where they are and where they used to be will seem wide and daunting.

The phenomenon is noticeable in developing nations. Over the past decade, millions of people in these societies have climbed out of poverty. But the global recession is pushing them back down. Many seem furious with democracy and capitalism, which they believe led to their shattered dreams. It’s possible that the downturn will produce a profusion of Hugo Chávezes. It’s possible that the Obama administration will spend much of its time battling a global protest movement that doesn’t even exist yet.

In this country, there are also millions of people facing the psychological and social pressures of downward mobility.

In the months ahead, the members of the formerly middle class will suffer career reversals. Paco Underhill, the retailing expert, tells me that 20 percent of the mall storefronts could soon be empty. That fact alone means that thousands of service-economy workers will experience the self-doubt that goes with unemployment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--