Daily Archives: February 5, 2009

Ruth Gledhill: Archbishop plans 'mediated talks' with conservatives

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

Primates Meeting Communique

11. The Windsor Continuation Group Report asks whether the Anglican Communion suffers from an “ecclesial deficit.”[6] In other words, do we have the necessary theological, structural and cultural foundations to sustain the life of the Communion? We need “to move to communion with autonomy and accountability”[7]; to develop the capacity to address divisive issues in a timely and effective way, and to learn “the responsibilities and obligations of interdependence”[8]. We affirm the recommendation of the Windsor Continuation Group that work will need to be done to develop the Instruments of Communion and the Anglican Covenant. With the Windsor Continuation Group, we encourage the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Anglican Communion Office to proceed with this work. We affirm the decision to establish the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith and Order. We recognise the need for the Primates’ Meeting to be engaged at every stage with all these developments.

12. There are continuing deep differences especially over the issues of the election of bishops in same-gender unions, Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions, and on cross-border interventions. The moratoria, requested by the Windsor Report and reaffirmed by the majority of bishops at the Lambeth Conference, were much discussed. If a way forward is to be found and mutual trust to be re-established, it is imperative that further aggravation and acts which cause offence, misunderstanding or hostility cease. While we are aware of the depth of conscientious conviction involved, the position of the Communion defined by the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in its entirety remains, and gracious restraint on all three fronts is urgently needed to open the way for transforming conversation.

13. This conversation will include continuing the Listening Process[9], and the “Bible in the Church” Project. It is urgent that we as primates, with the rest of the Communion, directly study the scriptures and explore the subject of human sexuality together in order to help us find a common understanding.

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

Roger Cohen on Iran: The unthinkable option

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s leading candidate to become prime minister after elections next week, has said “everything that is necessary” will be done to stop Iran going nuclear. I believe him.

Never again is never again. There’s no changing that Israeli lens, however distorting it may be in a changed world. That could mean an Israeli attack on Iran within a year. If the U.S. military option is unthinkable, equally unthinkable is the United States abandoning Israel.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Iran, Israel, Middle East

David M. Walker: What the country needs? A fiscal triple play

As a former head of three federal agencies and a public trustee of Social Security and Medicare, I have learned that the process that one employs is critically important when transformational changes are needed. It has also led me to the conclusion that the “regular order” in Congress is broken and that achieving progress on multiple fronts within a relatively short time frame is not possible on a piecemeal basis.

What does this mean? The president and the Congress need to work together to establish a “Fiscal Future Commission” (or Task Force) that, unlike most Washington commissions, would be designed to accelerate action and get the ball across the goal line rather than punt it down the field. Ideally, this commission would be created by statute to ensure buy-in from both the Congress and the president. It should include selected congressional members and administration and non-governmental officials. It should engage the American people outside Washington’s Beltway while also leveraging digital technology and the Web. After engaging the public and key stakeholders, it would make a range of budget control, entitlement, other spending and tax reform recommendations that would be subject to an “up or down” vote in Congress, with limitations on amendments so they would not undercut the fiscal “bottom line” of the commission’s recommendations.

i was once at a conference and got a chance to hear David Walker speak. There are very few people who have a better handle on the big picture of of country’s financial future like he does. Read it all.

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

George Will: Now for some bad news

“Astonishing,” says [Tennessee Democrat Jim] Cooper of the new president’s avowed determination to confront the crisis. Leadership, says Cooper, who has seen precious little of it concerning entitlements, enlarges the number of “things that can be talked about.” Such as the Social Security payroll tax, which Cooper would cut for several stimulative years from 12.4 percent to 8 percent. It suppresses job creation, is raising more revenue than Social Security is dispensing and will continue to do so until 2017.

Cooper wishes more Americans were similarly eccentric and would read the 188-page 2008 Financial Report of the United States Government ”“ the only government document that calculates what deficit and debt numbers would be if the government practiced, as businesses must, accrual accounting.

Under such accounting, the deficit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 would have been $3 trillion rather than $454.8 billion. The report’s numbers show that the true national debt is $56 trillion, not the widely reported $10 trillion.

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

Notable and Quotable (II)

“There is a deep sense across the country that those who are not responsible for this crisis are bearing a greater burden than those who were.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner yesteerday

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

Notable and Quotable (I)

It took [Tom] Daschle’s resignation to shake the president out of his arrogant attitude that his charmed circle doesn’t have to abide by the lofty standards he lectured the rest of us about for two years.

Maureen Dowd in yesterday’s new York Times

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Theology

Rasmussen: 50% of U.S. voters Say Stimulus Plan Likely to Make Things Worse

Fifty percent (50%) of U.S. voters say the final economic recovery plan that emerges from Congress is at least somewhat likely to make things worse rather than better, but 39% say such an outcome is not likely (see crosstabs).

Twenty-seven percent (27%) say the final legislation is Very Likely to make things worse, while just seven percent (7%) say it’s Not at All Likely to have that effect, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey

Support for the legislation has been slipping over the past two weeks and a plurality now oppose it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Politics in General, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

NY Times: Vatican Move on Bishop Exposes Fissures of Church

Wednesday’s unsigned statement ”” a rare case of the Vatican’s diplomatic arm furthering earlier remarks by the pope himself ”” not only showed an age-old institution grappling with the 24-hour news cycle. It also seemed to be a clear indication that the Vatican was facing nothing less than an internal and external political crisis.

The day before, in a rare criticism from the head of a government, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany called on the pope to clarify his position on the Holocaust, saying his previous remarks had not been sufficient.

Several prominent figures in the German Catholic Church joined in the criticism, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also issued a statement condemning Bishop Williamson.

But the statement from the Vatican Secretariat of State seemed to go a long way toward calming the uproar. The chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, praised it, saying Wednesday that the Vatican had “clarified in an unequivocal way that every form of anti-Semitism should be condemned.”

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

Living Church: Primates Begin Work on Final Communiqué

The primates completed their third day of business in Alexandria, Egypt, Wednesday, with work beginning on their final communiqué. The meeting is scheduled to close Thursday with an afternoon press conference led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

So far, the primates have issued public statements on the crises in Zimbabwe and the Sudan and on global warming. Accounts of the closed-door proceedings differ, with some primates reporting a positive environment, while others have spoken of difficulties.

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

The Anglican Primates Press Briefing 4th February 2009

It is a little over 18 minutes.

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

Deluge Is Holding Up Benefits to Unemployed

Thousands of people in the Washington area and hundreds of thousands more across the country are waiting longer than they should for unemployment benefits at a time when they need the money the most because rising joblessness is overwhelming claims offices, records show.

The problem is compounded by a simultaneous decrease in federal funding, which has reduced staffing at some local government offices. The result is that the District and many states, including Maryland and Virginia, are failing to meet federal guidelines that require timely processing of unemployment claims, appeals and benefit payments, the records show.

It’s likely to get worse. Figures released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Washington area unemployment has hit its highest level since August 1993. The jobless rate climbed to 4.7 percent in December from 3 percent a year earlier and 4.4 percent in November. That’s well below the national average of 7.2 percent but still a burden for claims offices.

Carrie Kenworthy of Manassas has experienced the problem. She was laid off from her $80,000-a-year job as a mortgage loan officer in 2007. Then she tried to file for an extension in unemployment benefits in July. The Virginia Employment Commission denied her claim three times. Her appeals took more than two months because of a state backlog in cases.

Read it all and make sure to take the time to look at the two photographs also.

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

Benedict XVI: On Saint Paul's Death and Heritage

The first explicit testimony about the end of St. Paul comes to us from the middle of the 90s of the first century, and therefore, something more than 30 years after his death took place. It comes precisely from the letter that the Church of Rome, with its bishop, Clement I, wrote to the Church of Corinth.

In that epistolary text, the invitation is made to have the example of the apostles before our eyes, and immediately after the mention of Peter’s martyrdom, it reads thus: “Owing to envy and discord, Paul was obligated to show us how to obtain the prize of patience. Arrested seven times, exiled, stoned, he was the herald of Christ in the East and in the West, and for his faith, obtained a pure glory. After having preached justice in the whole world, and after having arrived to the corners of the West, he accepted martyrdom before the governors; thus he parted from this world and arrived to the holy place, thereby converted into the greatest model of patience” (1 Clement 5,2)….

In any case, the figure of St. Paul is magnified beyond his earthly life and his death; he has left in fact an extraordinary spiritual heritage. He as well, as a true disciple of Jesus, became a sign of contradiction. While among the so-called ebionites — a Judeo-Christian current — he was considered as an apostate of the Mosaic Law, already in the book of Acts of the Apostles, there appears a great veneration for the Apostle Paul.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Recasting bioethics debate as U.S. population ages

At 82, retired engineer Leonard Thompson is out to show he still has a few good years left.

Years? What’s this bunk about mere years, sonny?

More like decades. Why the heck not?

Thompson, after all, exercises body and mind daily, even developing his own workout program for seniors that emphasizes stretching, deep breathing, light aerobics and modified sit-ups and push-ups. And, six months ago, he recovered from invasive bladder and prostate cancer surgery quicker than some patients half his age.

”He is a fairly remarkable individual,” says Thompson’s urologist, Dr. Ralph deVere White, director of the University of California Davis Cancer Center.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

A Washington Post Editorial: President Obama should heed calls for a more focused stimulus package

However, ideology is not the only reason that senators — from both parties — are balking at the president’s plan. As it emerged from the House, it suffered from a confusion of objectives. Mr. Obama praised the package yesterday as “not merely a prescription for short-term spending” but a “strategy for long-term economic growth in areas like renewable energy and health care and education.” This is precisely the problem. As credible experts, including some Democrats, have pointed out, much of this “long-term” spending either won’t stimulate the economy now, is of questionable merit, or both. Even potentially meritorious items, such as $2.1 billion for Head Start, or billions more to computerize medical records, do not belong in legislation whose reason for being is to give U.S. economic growth a “jolt,” as Mr. Obama himself has put it. All other policy priorities should pass through the normal budget process, which involves hearings, debate and — crucially — competition with other programs.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009