Daily Archives: February 3, 2009

Tom Daschle Withdraws

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Obama Appointee Steps aside–on Tax Issues

(AP) — Nancy Killefer: can’t be Obama performance officer because of failure to pay unemployment tax

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

ACNS: Primates Meeting questions language of sanctions

The first full day of business at the Primates meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, has been held in a relaxed atmosphere with primates generally positive about the days ahead.

The media spokesman for the primates meeting, Australia’s Primate, Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall, said day two of the meeting included a presentation by five Primates about the impact of the current situation on province mission priorities.

Archbishops Fred Hiltz from Canada, Thabo Makgoba from Southern Africa, Henry Orombi from Uganda, Stephen Oo from Myanmar and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori from the United States made presentations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

Mental Health Break: Paul Potts Singing Nessum Dorma

The video is here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Minister of Christ Church of Vero Beach suspended

Citing allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct, an Anglican bishop has suspended the lead minister of a year-old church that broke off from the national Episcopal Church, officials said Monday.

The Rev. Lorne Coyle, of Christ Church of Vero Beach, was suspended effective 2 p.m. Sunday because his bishop received an out-of-state woman’s allegations that she and Coyle, who is married, had an affair, said the church’s senior warden, Jim Reamy III.

The bishop, from Virginia, met with Coyle last week in Vero Beach to inform him of the accusation.

On Sunday, Coyle stood in front of the 400-member congregation and confirmed he had sexual relations with an adult women over a period of years, Reamy said. Coyle left the building before the recessional hymn.

Very sad. Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Primates See Covenant ”˜With Teeth’ As Unrealistic

There has been a “pulling back from the language of sanctions and teeth” in the crafting of the Anglican Covenant, the Primate of Australia told reporters at the Primates’ Meeting in Alexandria on Feb 2.

The Most Rev. Philip Aspinall said that whereas earlier drafts of the covenant envisioned sanctions for violations, disciplinary mechanisms were not likely to make it into the final draft.

“Hitting people over the head with sticks” was not what the Anglican Communion wanted to do to provinces that violated the Covenant, Archbishop Aspinall said. Instead, the covenant””designed to set the parameters of Anglican life and worship””is evolving into a document about “koinonia”¦fellowship”¦of communion” between churches, and would not be a sanctions-based legal code, he explained.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

Archbishop Rowan Williams calls for more praying in churches

The Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised churches that have too many events on their noticeboards.

Churches should concentrate less on activities and more on “praying” he said at a service in Egypt, where is chairing the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion.

Dr Rowan Williams, preaching at the dedication of the new St Mark’s pro-cathedral in Alexandria, also criticised people who back-stab and undermine each other, interpreted as a reference to the internecine Anglican wars which seem to be drawing to a surprisingly peaceful close in this heartland of the Christian Creed.

Dr Williams told more than 30 Primates of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion who are in Alexandria in an attempt to heal the rift over homosexuality that all churches needed to make more room for prayer and place less emphasis on being so “busy”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Spirituality/Prayer

AP: Are American Muslims 'under more scrutiny' with Obama?

Many American Muslim leaders are eager to help President Barack Obama improve the image of the United States in the Islamic world, but they worry that their contribution might not be welcome. The broad suspicion of Muslims in the country since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks persists in keeping many U.S. groups from working with the Muslim community, they say.

“These issues are not going to go away just because we have a president now who has more understanding of the Muslim world,” said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, an advocacy group based in Los Angeles. “We’ll actually be under more scrutiny now that these issues are going to be raised at the top of the Obama administration.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture

Niall Ferguson–Beyond the age of leverage: new banks must arise

Call it the Great Repression. The reality being repressed is that the western world is suffering a crisis of excessive indebtedness. Many governments are too highly leveraged, as are many corporations. More importantly, households are groaning under unprecedented debt burdens. Worst of all are the banks. The best evidence that we are in denial about this is the widespread belief that the crisis can be overcome by creating yet more debt.

The US could end up running a deficit of more than 10 per cent of gross domestic product this year (adding the cost of the stimulus package to the Congressional Budget Office’s optimistic 8.3 per cent forecast). Today’s born-again Keynesians seem to have forgotten that their prescription of a deficit-financed fiscal stimulus stood the best chance of working in a more or less closed economy. But this is a globalised world, where unco-ordinated profligacy by national governments is more likely to generate bond market and currency market volatility than a return to growth.

There is a better way to go but it is in the opposite direction. The aim must be not to increase debt but to reduce it. Two things must happen. First, banks that are de facto insolvent need to be restructured ”“ a word that is preferable to the old-fashioned “nationalisation”….

The second step we need to take is a generalised conversion of American mortgages to lower interest rates and longer maturities.

Read it all from the Financial Times.

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

Internet money in U.S. fiscal plan: Wise or waste?

At first glance, perhaps no line item in the nearly $900 billion stimulus program under consideration on Capitol Hill would seem to offer a more perfect way to jump-start the economy than the billions of dollars pegged to expand broadband Internet service to rural and underserved areas.

Proponents say it will create jobs, build crucial infrastructure and begin to fulfill one of President Barack Obama’s major campaign promises: to expand the information superhighway to every corner of the land, giving local businesses an electronic edge and offering residents a dazzling array of services like online health care and virtual college courses.

But experts warn that the rural broadband effort could just as easily become a $9 billion cyberbridge to nowhere, representing the worst kind of mistakes that lawmakers could make in rushing to approve one of the largest spending bills in history without considering unintended results.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Wall Street becomes the target of scorn

Monday was the last day of Iris Chau’s 11-year career at JPMorgan Chase and she says there’s a lot she’ll miss about the job: her colleagues, her paycheck and her role managing a technical support team. But one thing she won’t miss about JPMorgan is telling people that she works there.

“For a long time, it was kind of glamorous and I had friends who’d ask me ‘Can you get me a job there?’ ” says Chau, 35, who was part of a recent round of layoffs at the firm’s Manhattan headquarters. A few weeks ago, she mentioned her work to a photographer she’d met through a friend. “And he looks at me and says, ‘Oh, you’re one of them.’ ”

Nobody in the investment banking world is expecting pity, or even a sympathetic ear, these days. But when Wall Street talks about the collapse, it talks about life on Wall Street and the industry’s uncomfortable new role as national pariah.

Read it all.

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

RNS: Canadian Judge Orders Witness to Remove Face Veil

In a case that pits religious freedom against the right of a defendant to face an accuser in court, a judge here has ordered a Toronto woman to testify without her face-covering niqab at a sexual assault trial.

The Toronto Star reports the case could be precedent-setting because it doesn’t appear there is any Canadian case law on the question of veiled women testifying in court.

In Canada, home to at least 600,000 Muslims, the case will be closely watched, amid fears that veiled Muslim women will be forced to bare their faces.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Obama has begun discreet talks with Iran, Syria

US President Barack Obama has already used experts within the last few months to hold high-level but discreet talks with both Iran and Syria, organizers of the meetings told AFP.

Officially, Obama’s overtures toward both Tehran and Damascus have remained limited.

In an interview broadcast Monday, Obama said the United States would offer arch-foe Iran an extended hand of diplomacy if the Islamic Republic’s leaders “unclenched their fist.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Syria

Pope's decision seen as breach

A leading member of Germany’s Jewish community said Monday that Benedict XVI, the German-born pope and leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide, was sowing divisions and abetting far-right groups by rehabilitating four ultra-conservative bishops, one of whom has denied the Holocaust.

Stephan Kramer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in an interview that because of the pope’s nationality, Benedict had a special responsibility to avoid creating rifts between religious groups over the comments of the controversial bishop, Richard Williamson of Britain.

“The pope’s decision is particularly disturbing in that he is also a German pope,” Kramer said. “Yes, he made a statement pledging solidarity with the Jews. But, frankly, the statement was made nearly 13 days after Williamson’s interview. Why? The question is how the pope wants to proceed from here in relations with the Jewish community.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

FT: Downturn slashes 20m jobs in China

More than 20m rural migrant workers in China have lost their jobs and returned to their home villages or towns as a result of the global economic crisis, government figures revealed on Monday.

By the start of the Chinese new year festival on January 25, 15.3 per cent of China’s 130m migrant workers had lost their jobs and left coastal manufacturing centres to return home, said officials quoting a survey from the agriculture ministry

The job losses were a direct result of the global economic crisis and its impact on export-oriented manufacturers, said Chen Xiwen, director of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group. He warned that the flood of unemployed migrants would pose challenges to social stability in the countryside.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--