Daily Archives: February 26, 2009

Obama budget plan forecasts $1.75 trillion deficit

President Barack Obama forecast the biggest U.S. deficit since World War Two in a budget on Thursday that urges a costly overhaul of the healthcare system and would spend billions to arrest the economy’s freefall.

An eye-popping $1.75 trillion deficit for the 2009 fiscal year is projected in Obama’s first budget. That is equal to 12.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product — the largest share since 1945 when the country ran a shortfall of 21.5 percent of GDP.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The National Deficit, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry, The U.S. Government

Living Church: Archbishop Williams Will Attend General Convention 2009

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

ENS–'I am Episcopalian' — new 'microsite' showcases videos of diverse church members

A communications initiative to tell the Episcopal Church’s story was launched on Ash Wednesday at www.episcopalchurch.org where visitors will find a new interactive feature called “I Am Episcopalian.”

The so-called “microsite” contains short videos of people “sharing their deep, personal connections to the big, wide, vibrant church that we are,” said Anne Rudig, who joined the Episcopal Church Center in New York as communications director on January 5.

Not only will the videos illustrate the diversity of Episcopalians — “all ages, all walks of life, all ethnicities,” said Rudig — but the site also will let users upload their own videos.

Uploaded videos will be monitored before being posted and should be no longer then 90 seconds, said Rudig. “I am Episcopalian” will be the website homepage throughout Lent, with a link to the rest of the Episcopal Church’s web content.

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

The situation in Mexico Continues to be Serious

Watch it all–very sobering.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Mexico, Violence

A.S. Haley on the Episcopal Church Case and the California Supreme Court

In what can be described only as a somewhat terse performance by its collective justices, the California Supreme Court has corrected a rather glaring error in its prior opinion in The Episcopal Church Cases, 45 Cal.4th 467 (2009). It has published a short per curiam (meaning: unsigned) order, which it says does not affect its earlier judgment. But since the order has no byline, and carries no explanation, its significance is easy to miss.

Those to my left have, as usual, jumped to totally unwarranted conclusions. Out of the three sentences used by the Court to describe what it was doing, they select only this one: “The [local churches’] petition for rehearing is denied.” Then they trumpet headlines like “California breakaway churches lose in court again”. What they ignore are these words: “Request for modification granted. . . The opinion is modified.” (Emphasis added.) If I were to read things as one-sidedly as they do, I could have titled this post: “California orthodox churches win in Supreme Court”; or (only slightly less outrageous) “Supreme Court concedes mistake in prior ruling in favor of ECUSA”. I have decided instead to reach two birds with just one cast, and call what has happened in both the Supreme Court and on liberal blogs “rushing to judgment”.

Read it carefully and follow all the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

A USA Today Editorial: Expect more bank bailouts, but demand good terms

Devoting nearly 20% of his speech to the topic, …[President Obama] acknowledged the public loathing of bank rescue efforts. He explained the role of credit in creating and preserving jobs. And he took some requisite, and wholly justified, swipes at executives for their outrageous pay and perks. But most important, he stated unequivocally what no one in the chamber wanted to hear and what he did not want to have to say ”” that even more money might be necessary to restore the banking system to its former self.

He was right on all scores. Nothing is more important to the livelihood of Americans than getting the credit spigot flowing again. Without it, all other efforts to revive the economy will fail.

And yet, if Congress were asked today for more funds for banks, the likeliest response would be a resounding no….

But there is no valid rationale for opposing a round three if it becomes necessary.

Read it all and there is a different view here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

From the Morning Scripture Readings

It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples;

but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations….

–Deuteronomy 7:7-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Being 'dead' is a big pain for California woman

Kathrine Neubauer was declared dead several months ago.

She’s had nothing but trouble ever since….

Neubauer’s predicament became absurd — and expensive — when she recently went to apply for a loan at a bank she won’t name.

The bank processed her loan application, granting her the advertised interest rate. Then the loan officer discovered Neubauer was supposedly dead.

“After they found out I was deceased, they said they could get me the loan, but they’d charge me an interest rate that was 1 percent higher,” Neubauer said.

Neubauer said she’s consulted two attorneys for advice on how to get off the deceased list. Neither could help.

Somehow a good illustration of the bureaucratic absurdities of some aspects of modern life. Read it all

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Parish Ministry

Tiger Woods slips back into the swing of things with power to thrill untamed

Needless to say, any nervousness that Woods had felt was not there for long. A majestic three-wood and a superb second shot to within five feet threw down an immediate marker and gave the impression that he had never been away. But he had been absent for almost nine months and had registered his first birdie within ten minutes of his return. Not only that, but he followed up with a “gimme” eagle at the next and was on his way. Two up after two holes. Not bad.

Some had argued that Woods had made a wise choice in picking a matchplay event for his comeback. He was bound to be rusty but could work on the principle that he could survive a few bad holes. Which is how it proved.

The man is a marvel–I just love to watch him play. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Denver Archbishop warns against ”˜spirit of adulation’ surrounding Obama

The Denver prelate then provided his critique of President Obama.

“President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with.”

Yet this will be “very hard for Catholics in the United States,” [Charles] Chaput warned.

According to the archbishop, the political situation for Catholics is difficult to discern because a “spirit of adulation bordering on servility already exists among some of the same Democratic-friendly Catholic writers, scholars, editors and activists who once accused pro-lifers of being too cozy with Republicans. It turns out that Caesar is an equal opportunity employer.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Thomas Friedman: Globally, Uncle Sam is still No. 1

SEOUL: It is very useful to come to Asia to be reminded about America’s standing in the world these days. For all the talk in recent years about America’s inevitable decline, all eyes are not now on Tokyo, Beijing, Brussels or Moscow – nor on any other pretenders to the world heavyweight crown. All eyes are on Washington to pull the world out of its economic tailspin.

At no time in the last 50 years have we ever felt weaker, and at no time in the last 50 years has the world ever seen us as more important.

While it is true that since the end of the Cold War global leaders and intellectuals often complained about a world of too much American power, one doesn’t hear much of that grumbling today when most people recognize that only an economically revitalized America has the power to prevent the world economy from going into a global depression. It was always easy to complain about a world of too much American power as long as you didn’t have to live in a world of too little American power. And right now, that is the danger: a world of too little American power.

Somewhere in the back of their minds, a lot of people seem to be realizing that the alternative to a U.S.-dominated world is not a world dominated by someone else or someone better.

It is a leaderless world….

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Globalization

Obama to seek higher tax on affluent to pay for health care

President Barack Obama will propose further tax increases on the affluent to help pay for his promise to make health care more accessible and affordable, calling for stricter limits on the benefits of itemized deductions taken by the wealthiest households, administration officials said Wednesday.

The tax proposal, coming after recent years in which wealth has become more concentrated at the top of the income scale, introduces a politically volatile edge to the congressional debate over Obama’s domestic priorities.

The president will also propose, in the 10-year budget he is to release Thursday, to use revenues from the centerpiece of his environmental policy a plan under which companies must buy permits to exceed pollution emission caps to pay for an extension of a two-year tax credit that benefits low-wage and middle-income people.

The combined effect of the two revenue-raising proposals, on top of Obama’s existing plan to roll back the Bush-era income tax reductions on households with income exceeding $250,000 a year, would be a pronounced move to redistribute wealth by reimposing a larger share of the tax burden on corporations and the most affluent taxpayers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The U.S. Government

A Video Interview with the Archbishops of York and Canterbury: 'Pray and fast' plea for Zimbabwe

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Zimbabwe

Leander Harding: Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

I have become more and more suspicious of the concept of the nominal Christian. Our parish churches are supposed to be full of nominal Christians who are just going through the motions, of half-believers who are relying on their good works and who have not really surrendered to Christ and accepted the Gospel. In any parish church there are a few real apostates, and a few real scoffers and perhaps a few who genuinely hate God. Their numbers are routinely exaggerated. Most of the people who come to the church Sunday by Sunday know they are dying and are placing their hope in Christ. It may be an inarticulate hope, it may be a confused hope. Often there are huge brambles of misunderstanding that must be cleared away before the whole power of the good news can come in upon them. Often there is real darkness into which the light of Christ has not yet come and which cries out for a light-bearer. Yet, they come. When Jesus saw such as these gathered in their multitudes on the hill side, the sight provoked in him not contempt for the nominal but compassion, “for they were like sheep without a shepherd.”

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent

In Salem Massachusetts Clergy take a fresh look at the season of Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, when many people tend to respond by boycotting candy, soda and other guilty pleasures until Easter. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?

Not quite.

“The idea of giving something up is to create a feeling of emptiness in yourself and open yourself to God’s presence,” said the Rev. Mike Duda of the First Church in Wenham.

It’s also a time of deep personal reflection, said the Rev. Manny Faria of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Beverly. “It’s taking stock of our own lives, and seeing where we fall short and what we need to work on.”

But the message can often get lost.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lent, Other Churches, Parish Ministry