Daily Archives: March 5, 2009

From the Local Paper's Front Page: in the Sagging Economy Just hanging on

Ruthie Christy firmly believes that God will take care of her in life. But right now, she could use a little help from the government as well.

Christy and her husband have been scrambling to keep themselves afloat since January, when a local paper mill cut his work schedule to as little as six days a month. They’ve put off paying bills, asked creditors for extensions and used whatever money they could to pay the mortgage on their North Charleston home.

Christy, 57, is still trying to come up with the cash to cover last month’s mortgage payment, with another round soon coming due. She’s tried to refinance her Ranger Drive home but can’t find any institution willing to write the loan.

Read it all.

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

Sheila Bair Says Insurance Fund Could Be Insolvent This Year

Smaller banks are outraged over the one-time fee, which could wipe out 50 percent to 100 percent of a bank’s 2009 earnings, Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

“I’ve never seen emotions like this,” said Fine, adding that he’s received more than 1,000 e-mails and telephone messages from angry bankers.

“The FDIC realizes that these assessments are a significant expense, particularly during a financial crisis and recession when bank earnings are under pressure,” Bair wrote. “We did not want to impose large assessments when the industry and economy are struggling. We searched for alternatives but found none better.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Jon Stewart Skewers CNBC

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Media, Movies & Television, Personal Finance, Stock Market

Living Church: EDS Cuts Tuition by 25 Percent

The board of trustees of Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, Mass., has voted to roll back tuition by 25 percent for its master of divinity and master of arts degrees in theological study programs next year.

“This decision reflects EDS’ commitment to making theological education accessible to a wide range of students,” said the Rev. Randall Chase, acting president in a release. “For several years we have been looking for ways to address the problem of access to an Episcopal seminary education: our distributive learning master’s program makes access possible for students unable to relocate for two to three years; reducing tuition for our fall and spring master’s students, in combination with our financial aid program, helps to reduce seminarian debt, which often serves as a barrier to studying at EDS.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Timothy Fountain on A non-Prayer Book "baptism" now used in some Episcopal churches

It removes the word “sacrament” from the rite. It reduces baptism to an organizational membership ceremony of some kind.

It has NO renunciation of evil. It does not admit to the reality of Satan, spiritual evil, worldly corruption or our own sinful desires. It does not warn that this false Trinity of the world, the flesh and the devil can separate us from God – rather, it says that “new birth is a gift that none can take away.” There is no expression of the need to continually “repent and return to the Lord.” Baptism is a magical, immediate entitlement to eternal life. It claims to “bestow the forgiveness of sin” without ever really acknowledging our status as creatures who have trespassed in rebellion against our Creator.

It has a few holdover phrases from the ’79 Prayer Book, but is completely detached from the Biblical message. In fact, it removes some of the most Biblically accurate statements from the ’79 BCP. “… made members of your Church” (yes, big “C”) displaces deliverance “from bondage to sin” in the Thanksgiving over the Water.

Read it carefully and please follow and read the linked material also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

TitusOneNine will be offline Fri/Sat due to a server change

As many of our readers know, TitusOneNine shares server space with StandFirm. Greg Griffith has done an incredible job in ensuring the uptime and reliability of both blogs. As part of his commitment to managing for growth, Greg has planned to migrate Stand Firm and T19 to a new server this weekend. You can read all the details over at Stand Firm. The main things our readers need to know are:

[blockquote]What this means for the Stand Firm and TitusOneNine communities… is that I anticipate we’ll probably spend the better part of a day offline, beginning some time between Friday evening and Saturday evening. User commentary is the pulse of these two communities, and because the server change will not occur for all users at the exact same time, at the beginning of the move we’re going to shut off comments here at the current server in order to ensure that none of the conversation is lost.

Please note that there is nothing you can do to hasten the transition on your computer. It is a function of a vast network of “domain name servers” distributed all over the world, some of which receive and implement the switchover instructions earlier or later than others, and sometimes the difference can be several hours or even a day or more.[/blockquote] Read more

We’ll keep you updated with any further details as we get them from Greg. Thanks for your understanding in advance.

–elfgirl for all of the elves. (We’ll try to assist in any way we can though we’re not directly involved in anything to do with the server move.)

Posted in * Admin

The Episcopal Bishop of Western Kansas writes Episcopal Church Leadership

I really do not know anymore what is coming next. How things are done and not done are as haphazard as people’s ideas; or so it seems.

Now I read that the “New” Diocese of Fort Worth passed a $632,466 dollar budget for a part-time bishop, a little over 19 priests and 62 delegates who represent way less than a thousand people, and $200,000 is from the General Convention budget!

First, I did not see that in the GC budget that was passed in 2006. Where did it come from?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

ENS: Global issues a priority for General Convention

Global concerns and Anglican Communion issues will be a major focus of the Episcopal Church’s 76th General Convention when it meets July 8-17 in Anaheim, California.

The church’s main legislative gathering, which meets every three years, also will welcome many international guests from various Anglican Communion provinces. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will attend General Convention for the first time July 8-9. He will participate in Bible study and be a keynote speaker at a global economic forum on the evening of July 8.

Convention will devote extensive conversation to global issues through its Committee on International Concerns, which will prepare legislation to be addressed by convention’s House of Bishops and House of Deputies.

Some of the key issues will focus on the crises and peacemaking efforts in conflict areas such as the Middle East, Sudan, Sri Lanka and the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Convention addresses global concerns for two reasons, said the Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, the Episcopal Church’s senior director of mission and director of the Advocacy Center.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Globalization

Fed Refuses to Release Bank Lending Data, Insists on Secrecy

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors receives daily reports on loans to banks and securities firms, the institution said in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Bloomberg News.

The Fed refused yesterday to disclose the names of the borrowers and the loans, alleging that it would cast “a stigma” on recipients of more than $1.9 trillion of emergency credit from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government

LA Times: Muslim American prosperity is tinged with alienation, survey finds

A study of Muslim Americans released Monday presents a portrait of an often misunderstood community — one that is integrated socio-economically but culturally alienated; that succeeds in the workforce but struggles to find contentment.

The numbers suggest economic and career success among Muslim Americans — they have a higher employment rate than the national average and are among the nation’s most educated religious groups. Yet only 41% described themselves as “thriving.”

Read it all.

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

Nicholas Kristof: A President, a Boy and Genocide

One of …[Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s] first actions after the arrest warrant was to undertake yet another crime against humanity: He expelled major international aid groups, including the International Rescue Committee and the Dutch section of Doctors Without Borders. In effect, he is now preparing to massacre the Darfuri people in still another way, for Darfuris are living in camps and depend on aid workers for food, water and health care ”” even as deadly meningitis has broken out in one of the camps.

“The consequences are going to be dire,” notes George Rupp, the president of the International Rescue Committee, on which 1.75 million Sudanese depend for water, sanitation, education and health care. “If Sudan persists in this decision, it’s difficult to see how the outcome will be anything other than serious suffering and death for hundreds of thousands of people.”

Mr. Bashir is now testing the international community, and President Obama and other world leaders must respond immediately and decisively, in conjunction with as many non-Western nations as possible.

Read it all.

Follow up: This related NPR story which I caught driving home last night is worthwhile also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Sudan, Violence

David Plotz: What I learned from reading the entire Bible

Should you read the Bible? You probably haven’t. A century ago, most well-educated Americans knew the Bible deeply. Today, biblical illiteracy is practically universal among nonreligious people. My mother and my brother, professors of literature and the best-read people I’ve ever met, have not done much more than skim Genesis and Exodus. Even among the faithful, Bible reading is erratic. The Catholic Church, for example, includes only a teeny fraction of the Old Testament in its official readings. Jews study the first five books of the Bible pretty well but shortchange the rest of it. Orthodox Jews generally spend more time on the Talmud and other commentary than on the Bible itself. Of the major Jewish and Christian groups, only evangelical Protestants read the whole Bible obsessively.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Dan Gilgoff: Kathleen Sebelius Explains Being a Pro-Choice Pro-Lifer

The title above is his, not mine–KSH.

Pro-life groups have come out in force against health and human services secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius over her pro-choice record. But Sebelius, the Roman Catholic governor of Kansas, has talked publicly about being a pro-choice pro-lifer. Here’s an excerpt from her 2006 address at the Kansans for Faithful Citizenship conference, in which she discussed abortion more than any other issue:

Of course, no discussion of life and dignity of the human person can be complete without discussing the important issue of abortion.

My Catholic faith teaches me that all life is sacred, and personally I believe abortion is wrong. However, I disagree with the suggestion that criminalizing women and their doctors is an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the number of abortions in our nation.

There is another way. By working in support of the common good we can better protect human life and the dignity of all people.

Read it all and make sure to read this follow up also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic

Thomas Friedman: Obama’s Ball and Chain

I’m worried. We’ve just elected a talented young president with many good instincts about how to propel our country forward, extend health care to more people, make our tax code fairer and launch a green industrial revolution. But do you know what I fear? I fear that his whole first term could be eaten by Citigroup, A.I.G., Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and the whole housing/subprime credit bubble we inflated these past 20 years.

I hope my fears are exaggerated. But ask yourself this: Why couldn’t former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson solve this problem? And why does it seem as though his successor, Tim Geithner, won’t even look us in the eye and spell out his strategy? Is it because they don’t get it? No. It is because they know ”” like Roy Scheider in the movie “Jaws,” when he first saw the great white shark ”” that “we’re gonna need a bigger boat,” and they’re too afraid to tell us just how big.

This problem is more complicated than anything you can imagine. We are coming off a 20-year credit binge. As a country, too many of us stopped making money by making “stuff” and started making money from money ”” consumers making money out of rising home prices and using the profits to buy flat-screen TVs from China on their credit cards, and bankers making money by creating complex securities and leverage so more and more consumers could get in on the credit game.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, 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

WSJ: In-Vitro Fertilization Limit Is Sought

Influential Georgia lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make illegal in their state some of the fertilization procedures used in the high-profile case of a California mother who recently gave birth to octuplets.

The bill appears to be the most sweeping state legislation of its kind introduced in the wake of the case of Nadya Suleman, a 33-year-old single woman who gave birth in January to eight babies through in-vitro fertilization. Ms. Suleman has said that she had six frozen embryos left from prior in-vitro treatments and asked that they all be implanted because she didn’t want them to be destroyed. Two of the embryos split, creating eight total embryos, she said.

Another bill was recently introduced in Missouri’s House of Representatives calling for less restrictive limits on the number of implanted embryos.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Life Ethics, Science & Technology