Daily Archives: February 1, 2009

Notable and Quotable (I)

Jesus Christ is not valued at all until He is valued above all.

–Saint Augustine

Posted in Christology, Theology

Kevin Rudd: Time for a new world order

KEVIN RUDD has denounced the unfettered capitalism of the past three decades and called for a new era of “social capitalism” in which government intervention and regulation feature heavily.

In an essay to be published next week, the Prime Minister is scathing of the neo-liberals who began refashioning the market system in the 1970s, and ultimately brought about the global financial crisis.

“The time has come, off the back of the current crisis, to proclaim that the great neo-liberal experiment of the past 30 years has failed, that the emperor has no clothes,” he writes of those who placed their faith in the corrective powers of the market.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ

The Economist on Barack Obama's start: High hopes, horrendous workload

THE party is over. The crowds have gone. The empty tubs of Ben and Jerry’s “Yes, Pecan” ice cream have been binned. Shops are selling “And He Shall Be Called Barack Obama” T-shirts at a generous discount.

But before the new president has got comfortable in the Oval Office, he has been buffeted by bad economic news. American firms announced at least 65,000 job cuts on January 26th alone. Unemployment, which was 4.9% only a year ago, stood at 7.2% in December and is sure to rise. The only bright news was that house sales rose 6.5% between November and December, as buyers snapped up bargains.

Mr Obama spent much of his first week trying to push his gargantuan stimulus package through Congress. The package includes some $275 billion in tax cuts and handouts and $300 billion in short-term spending, such as aid to cash-strapped states for providing health care, unemployment benefits and so forth. The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan number-cruncher, reckons about two-thirds of the package could be pumped into the economy within 19 months. That should help soften the recession.

The rest of the package, however, consists of longer-term investments in infrastructure….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Juvenile Life Without Parole

[TIM] O’BRIEN: Young is being held at a maximum security prison in central Florida. Under Florida law, juveniles charged with serious crimes are tried as adults, and serious crimes ”” like armed robbery ”” can bring life in prison. And in the courtroom of Judge J. Rogers Padgett, being a child didn’t seem to help. It can even hurt the child who behaves like one, as Kenneth Young did.

Judge J. ROGERS PADGETT (Hillsborough County, Florida Circuit Court): So what we see is what we get in the way of a defendant. We get a person who shows no remorse. We get a person who is smiling in court, thinks it’s funny. We have a person who, while he is under consideration for a life sentence, is flipping signals to people in the gallery.

O’BRIEN: He’s only 15, barely.

Judge PADGETT: We have a person who gives no appearance of deserving any slack whatsoever and sentence him. So we give him a life sentence.

O’BRIEN: Enter law professor Paolo Annino, who runs the Children in Prison Project at Florida State University. Annino has been trying for years to get the Florida legislature to allow parole consideration for all juvenile offenders in the state to give them a second chance, his arguments as much moral as they are legal.

(to Prof. Paolo Annino): Is it your position that no juvenile should be sentenced to life without parole?

Professor PAOLO ANNINO (Florida State University): Oh, absolutely, and I think we’re immoral, ultimately, as a nation. This is no different from slavery or other major moral issues. Placing children in adult prisons for life is a death sentence for children….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Prison/Prison Ministry, Teens / Youth, Theology

Millions hit by Google 'breakdown'

An apparent system error left millions of visitors to the site puzzled when links to all search results were flagged with the warning ‘This site may harm your computer’.

It is thought the site had erroneously identified all other websites – and some of its own pages – as containing malicious software or ‘malware’.

The glitch, which prevented internet users from directly clicking through to search results, was fixed within 30 minutes although users of Google’s email service Gmail have since reported finding genuine messages sent mistakenly to spam folders.

The errors prompted panic among web surfers who at first feared the popular search engine had suffered some kind of major failure that could have had serious implications for internet commerce.

I wasn’t active on the net when this occurred but had a number of friends who were. They sent me some very worried messages and now I understand better why they did. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Our Love Affair With Malls Is on the Rocks

In other words, shopping was part of the problem and now it’s part of the cure. And once we’re cured, economists report, we really need to learn how to save, which suggests that we will need to quit shopping again.

So the mall we married has become the toxic spouse we can’t quit, though we really must quit, but just not any time soon. The mall, for its part, is wounded by our ambivalence and feels financially adrift.

Like any other troubled marriage, this one needs counseling. And pronto, because even a trial separation at a moment as precarious as this could get really ugly.

So we have come to this 4.2-million-square-foot behemoth ”” the mother of all malls, a pioneer in the field of destination retailing, and a sprawling, visceral economic indicator ”” for some talk therapy with shoppers, retailers and management. We let people vent, grumble and sift through their feelings. They catalog their anxieties, describe their fears and express the surprising varieties of guilt that only dysfunctional relationships can produce.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy

Church of England calls for increased donations as recession hits finances

An official report into the “serious and lasting” effects of the economic downturn also warns that clergy may have to make “significant” increases to their pensions as stock market turmoil reduces the value of their retirement funds.

Officials are now carrying out urgent reviews of all aspects of Church finances and future budgets, which will be discussed in detail at the July meeting of its governing body, the General Synod.

In total, the Church spends just over £1bn a year in salaries and pensions for clergy as well as the upkeep of its historic buildings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Tony Clavier: On the Edge

Over the years of my adult life and ministry I have witness[ed] Catholics and Evangelicals adopting more rigid and isolated positions in the face of Liberal triumphalism and in the process become more and more distressed by the abandonment of many in all sections of what we used to term Anglican Comprehension of a commitment to mutual tolerance and symbiosis. It is as if Anglicans have divided into two camps, the one planted in dogmatic conclusions about a past “golden age” of Anglicanism as solely authentic and the other intent on burying for good the traditions, spirituality and theological conclusions of Anglicanism in its “past” multifaceted ethos.

And now I find myself on the edge, on what a friend of mine describes as a conveyer belt leading out of the church I have loved all my life, first in England and now in America. Even during my long years as an extra-mural Anglican bishop, as I sought to serve those who left TEC, I worked hard to keep at the fore the breadth and depth of an Anglicanism which embraced the truths taught and lived by men and women of many forms of what we once termed Churchmanship which made up the whole cloth of our tradition.

I have mentioned before the irony of my entering TEC because it was the American expression of worldwide Anglicanism in communion with the See of Canterbury and now finding myself in a church which may purposely sever its links with that Communion as it affirms independence over mutual interdependence and may become the largest of those groups which have abandoned Anglicanism for sectarianism: a liberal trendy modern Deist group wrapped in the garbs of sacramentalism or a respectable form of Theosophy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Identity, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, Theology

Alina Tugend with an interesting article on Procrastination

Until I started looking into this, I did not realize that procrastination was such a fertile field of study for so many people and that there were so many types of procrastinators procrastinating in so many ways.

Nor did I realize how much money it can cost us.

How? By not putting away money for retirement, delaying attending to medical needs until they become much more serious, going on last-minute holiday shopping jaunts that run up credit cards because we don’t have time to hunt for bargains and, as many of us have discovered, waiting too long to sell stock.

The average American tax procrastinator, for example, paid an extra $400 because of mistakes made by rushing, resulting in $473 million in overpayments in 2002, said Piers Steel, an associate professor of human resources and organizational dynamics at the University of Calgary. He is writing a book on the subject, “The Procrastination Equation,” (Collins) to be published next year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology