Daily Archives: December 11, 2008

Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times: The hottest recessionary activity in town

Curiosity aroused, I contacted the site’s owners to find out what was going on. They told me that, since September, the number of London-based males in the financial sector registering had risen by nearly 300 per cent. It seems the colder the market for jobs, the hotter the market for adultery….

The founders of the website like to argue that, by providing a well-behaved marketplace for adultery, they are actually creating domestic stability. Seventy per cent of Illicit Encounters’ clients claim to be attracted to adultery as an alternative to divorce, not as a precursor to it. This may not be altogether laughable but it seems a little early to draw any conclusion one way or another.

However, it’s not too early to draw three other conclusions from my month on the site. The first is that people who are still in work seem to have an inordinate amount of spare time from nine to five. Second is that everyone lies: they understate their ages and overstate their attractiveness, gym attendance, good humour and so on.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Chris Whalen: What Barack Obama Needs to Know About Tim Geithner, the AIG Fiasco and Citigroup

BTW, while…[the] folks in the Big Media churned out hundreds of thousands of words…waxing euphoric about the prospect for enhanced back office clearing of CDS contracts, the real issue is the festering credit situation in the front office. Truth is that the DTCC and the other dealers, working at the behest of Mr. Geithner, Gerry Corrigan and many others, have largely fixed the operational issues dogging the CDS markets. The danger of CDS is not a systemic blowup – though that will come soon enough. It is the normal operation of the now electronically enabled CDS market wherein lies the threat to the entire global financial system, this via the huge drain in liquidity illustrated above as CDS contracts are triggered by default events.

The only way to deal with this ridiculous Ponzi scheme is bankruptcy. The way to start that healing process, in our view, is by the Fed emulating the FDIC’s treatment of DSL, withdrawing financial support for AIG and pushing the company into the arms of the bankruptcy court. The eager buyers for the AIG insurance units, cleansed of liability via a receivership, will stretch around the block.

By embracing Geithner, President-elect Barack Obama is endorsing the ill-advised scheme to support AIG directed by Hank Paulson et al at Goldman Sachs and executed by Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke. News reports have already documented the ties between GS and AIG, and the backroom machinations by Paulson to get the deal done. This scheme to stay AIG’s resolution cannot possibly work and when it does collapse, Barak Obama and his administration will wear the blame due through their endorsement of Tim Geithner.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, US Presidential Election 2008

A South Carolina GOP Auto Bailout Critic Outlines his Rationale

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who opposes the proposed bailout of U.S. automakers, says the companies should go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would force them to reorganize. He says the proposed “car czar” to oversee the automakers’ restructuring is a “ridiculous” idea.

Listen to it all from NPR.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry

South Carolina State revenue projections slashed; major cuts loom

State economists cut $229.5 million from state revenue estimates Wednesday, citing dire economic projections through the end of the budget year in June.

In making the additional 3.5 percent cut, the Board of Economic Advisors said the state unemployment rate could reach 14 percent between now and July. That would mean an additional 130,000 people looking for work ”” 20,000 already are ”” and no longer paying state income taxes.

Wednesday’s cuts, coupled with a November cut creating a $138 million deficit, mean a state budget panel meeting this morning could be forced to slash $367 million ”” or more ”” from the state budget. Since June, revenue estimates have been reduced by $797 million, or 11.2 percent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Politics in General

(Binghamton, N.Y.) Sun Bulletin: Court to decide dispute over church property

State Supreme Court Judge Ferris D. Lebous will be asked Friday to decide whether a local church or a regional diocese owns property on Conklin Avenue, which is occupied by Church of the Good Shepherd.

The decision, whether rendered Friday or more likely reserved by Lebous for a future date, could be a precedent in ongoing legal disputes in New York state and elsewhere between the Episcopal Church and individual congregations that have withdrawn from the national denomination.

That split came when V. Gene Robinson, a self-avowed homosexual, was ordained a bishop in 2003.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central New York

Pope Benedict XVI Warns of the Dangers of blurring lines of religious differences

Once diversity is received as a positive fact, it is necessary to make persons accept not only the existence of the other’s culture, but also the desire to be enriched with it. Addressing Catholics, my predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, enunciated his profound conviction in these terms: “The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which she lives. The Church becomes word, the Church becomes message, the Church becomes conversation” (“Ecclesiam Suam,” No. 67). We live in what is usually called a “plural world,” characterized by the speed of communications, the mobility of peoples and their economic, political and cultural interdependence. Precisely in this, perhaps dramatic hour, though unfortunately many Europeans seem to forget Europe’s Christian roots, the latter are alive and should trace the path and nourish the hope of millions of citizens who share the same values.

Believers should always be willing to promote initiatives of intercultural and interreligious dialogue….[but] To be authentic, dialogue must avoid yielding to relativism and syncretism and be animated by sincere respect for others and by a generous spirit of reconciliation and fraternity.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Auto bailout clears House; bigger hurdle ahead in Senate

Citing the risk of massive job loss, the House voted Wednesday to loan US automakers $14 billion in return for a direct government hand in restructuring the ailing industry. But the biggest hurdle to clearing the bailout bill lies ahead in the US Senate, where the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster and pass the bill are in doubt.

Although the legislation includes protections for taxpayers ­and the White House has signed off on it, many Senate Republicans say they’re not convinced that the loans will be repaid or that the plan will produce a more viable domestic auto industry.

“People realize this is an incredibly weak bill. It’s the product of an administration that wants to kick the can down the road and let someone else deal with it, and it has minimal, very minimal, support in our caucus,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee, after a GOP caucus meeting on the bailout on Wednesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry

The 2008 Lambeth Conference Bible Studies Booklet is now available

Check it out (pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008, Theology, Theology: Scripture

AP: Q&A with convert named U.S. Orthodox leader

Over the course of 11 days in November, the soft-spoken monk known as Jonah saw his life change in ways he hadn’t dreamed of.

Consecrated first as bishop of Forth Worth and then days later elected as metropolitan of the 100,000-member Orthodox Church in America, he went from being an abbot to being metropolitan of one of the most prominent U.S. branches of the global Orthodox Christian communion.

Born James Paffhausen, the 49-year-old Chicago native was baptized in the Episcopal Church. He converted to Orthodoxy as a college student, was ordained a priest and then became a monk, and founded a monastery now located in Manton, Calif., as well other missions in California and Hawaii.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

USA Today: Saddleback founder Rick Warren driven to expand his reach

Could California pastor Rick Warren possibly be everywhere at once?

It sure seems like it. There may be no escaping Warren’s new campaign to stamp his vision of civil Christian discourse and social action on world culture.

You probably just saw him, maybe in August when he interviewed both presidential candidates on moral and social questions at his televised Saddleback Civil Forum.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

LA Times: Most Americans favor government intervention in economy

The survey of 1,000 adults was taken Saturday through Monday and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll showed that most of those surveyed favored increasing government intervention in the economy, and half blamed lack of regulation for many of the nation’s current woes.

About two-thirds back tighter regulation of banks and financial institutions, and half said the federal government should take an ownership stake in banks and other industries to save the private sector.

Asked whether such moves would constitute a step toward socialism, about half said yes, but just 20% said that this worried them “a lot.”

Read it all.

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

Obama hopes to reboot US image among Muslims

President-elect Barack Obama says he will try to “reboot America’s image” among the world’s Muslims and will follow tradition by using his entire name ”” Barack Hussein Obama ”” in his swearing-in ceremony.

The U.S. image globally has taken a deep hit during President George W. Bush’s two terms in office, primarily because of opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, harsh interrogation of prisoners, the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and mistreatment of inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Obama promised during his campaign that one of his top priorities would be to work to repair America’s reputation worldwide, and that one element of that effort would be a speech delivered in a Muslim capital.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

In Europe, same-sex showdown moves to UN

The European Union (EU) wants this week’s 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to also mark the expansion of the document to condemn the criminalization of same-sex relations.

A delegation from the EU hopes to convince the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to formally condemn treating homosexuals as criminals. The proposed declaration is intended to pressure the 80 countries that still consider same-sex relations a crime, including a handful, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh, where the punishment is death.

Although all 27 member states of the EU support the proposal, resistance has come from the Vatican, which has criticized the declaration as a Trojan horse intended to eventually open the door to gay marriage. Most European countries do not recognize gay marriage, including the document’s main sponsor, France. Only Spain and the Netherlands allow same-sex marriage, although 13 member states recognize some form of civil unions.

Read it all.

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

Albert Mohler on the New North American Province: It's About Theology, Not Territory

The strange part of …[the New York Times] account is the statement that this move “threatens the fragile unity of the Anglican Communion.” That fragile unity was shattered by the actions of more liberal churches in North America to bless same-sex unions, ordain homosexual ministers, and elect an openly-homosexual bishop. The lack of unity is what has prompted the establishment of this new denomination.

Indeed, this division among the Anglicans and related national churches can be traced directly back to the Anglican Communion’s failure to establish and maintain doctrinal boundaries and a clear affirmation of biblical authority. Liberals and conservatives have been increasingly at odds over a host of issues related to biblical authority.

The action of the American church, the Episcopal Church USA, to elect and consecrate an openly-homosexual man as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 set the stage for what now appears to be a schism in the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Baptists, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

In Southern California Riverside chapel is haven for theological conservatives

For Ralph Jones, the 2003 consecration of an openly gay man as bishop of New Hampshire was the last straw in his longstanding uneasiness with the direction of the Episcopal Church.

The Yucaipa man opposed the church’s decision to allow female priests and to change parts of its liturgy.

But he believed bestowing a leadership role on a priest in a same-sex relationship was so clearly against biblical teachings that it forced him to leave the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles