Daily Archives: April 24, 2009

Slump Creates Lack of Mobility for Americans

Stranded by the nationwide slump in housing and jobs, fewer Americans are moving, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.

The bureau found that the number of people who changed residences declined to 35.2 million from March 2007 to March 2008, the lowest number since 1962, when the nation had 120 million fewer people.

Experts said the lack of mobility was of concern on two fronts. It suggests that Americans were unable or unwilling to follow any job opportunities that may have existed around the country, as they have in the past. And the lack of movement itself, they said, could have an impact on the economy, reducing the economic activity generated by moves.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Current Information on Consents for Northern Michigan

Check it out and please send in any corrections or additions which can be substantiated–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan

Stephen Prothero: Muhammad on the High Seas

Along with agriculture, herding and trade, the ghazu was a recognized part of the seventh-century Arabian economy, and those who indulged in it were often celebrated as Robin Hoods of a sort. But the bounty raid was also a national pastime””a sport for turning boys into men. As is the case with piracy today, these earlier raids almost always ended without bloodshed, since any death was sure to bring on a cycle of vendetta killings every tribesman was eager to avoid””a cycle that Somali pirates recently promised to set into motion in response to the killing of pirates by American and French special forces.

All this might be of purely antiquarian concern except for the fact that Muslims today regard Muhammad not only as God’s final prophet but also as the human being par excellence. The Hadith, an Islamic scripture second in authority only to the Quran, records thousands of instances of Muhammad’s beliefs and actions, so Muslims can follow his example on matters as detailed as the cut of his beard. If Christians ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” Muslims ask, “What Would Muhammad Do?”

There are of course ways to read the Islamic sources as antithetical to piracy, but Muhammad himself both organized and participated in the seventh-century overland equivalent of the high-seas buccaneering that now bedevils world trade.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Obama finds Sermon on the Mount elevates speeches

In a 2006 speech here, then-Sen. Barack Obama said Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was so “radical” the Defense Department wouldn’t survive its application. Earlier this month (April), the new president suggested the economy couldn’t get along without it.

In the middle of a nuts-and-bolts speech at Georgetown University on economic policy, Obama overtly cited the sermon’s parable of two men, one of whom builds his house on rock, the other on sand.

“We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand,” the president said. “We must build our house upon a rock.”

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

Few Uninsured Willing To Pay Full Cost For Coverage

Some people can’t buy health insurance because they have a pre-existing medical condition. But for most of the nation’s 47 million uninsured, cost is the big obstacle ”” especially if they don’t work for a company that pays part of the premium.

And even if they could find an affordable health plan, many are not used to building that cost into their monthly budget. Potential sticker shock is emerging as a key issue in the nation’s debate over whether everybody should be covered.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine

Maine's same-sex marriage debate turns deeply religious

A legislative hearing to extend same-sex marriage to Maine took on the atmosphere of a religious revival yesterday as ministers made impassioned speeches for and against the bill before thousands of cheering spectators packed into a civic arena.

Gay couples also took turns pleading for recognition of their partnerships, while opponents warned that state sanctioning of same-sex marriages would fracture a basic building block of society.

The Judiciary Committee hearing drew so much interest that traffic became snarled early in the day. Gay marriage supporters hoping to build on momentum in the region arrived wearing red, and they gave a standing ovation to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Dennis Damon, as he opened the hearing. Police said it drew 3,500 to 4,000 people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Advances Elusive in the Long Drive to Cure Cancer

In 1971, flush with the nation’s success in putting a man on the Moon, President Richard M. Nixon announced a new goal. Cancer would be cured by 1976, the bicentennial.

When 1976 came and went, the date for a cure, or at least substantial progress, kept being put off. It was going to happen by 2000, then by 2015.

Now, President Barack Obama, discussing his plans for health care, has vowed to find “a cure” for cancer in our time and said that, as part of the economic stimulus package, he would increase federal money for cancer research by a third for the next two years.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Mark Tooley: The Zen Episcopalian

[Thew] Forrester, who is 51 and has been an Episcopal priest since 1994, insists Zen Buddhism is compatible with his faith. “It’s not a matter of holding two faiths. There’s one faith and it’s Christianity,” he told a local Michigan newspaper. “The gift is that that faith is deepened by my meditative practice and I’m eternally grateful to Zen Buddhism for teaching me that practice and receiving me as an Episcopal priest.” Forrester insists that his faith allows him to be “open to receive the truth and the beauty and goodness, and the wisdom from the other religious traditions of the world, and to be in dialogue with them.”

The diocese to which Forrester has been elected bishop has only 27 churches, has lost 30 percent of its membership, and now has fewer than 2000 souls, fewer than 700 of whom actively attend church. But consent to his election by the Episcopal Church will elevate him in the global Anglican communion, whose more than 800 bishops preside over nearly 80 million communicants. An Anglican bishop in Nigeria or Sudan may preside over many tens of thousands of members and arduously commute, sometimes by bicycle, across many hundreds of miles of dirt roads. Small, liberal, and affluent dioceses in the U.S. can afford to be more esoteric in their selection of bishops, who have fewer responsibilities.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Washington Post: Taliban Advance, Pakistan's Wavering Worry Obama Team

The Obama administration reacted with increasing alarm yesterday to ongoing Taliban advances in Pakistan, warning the Pakistani government that failure to take action against the extremists could endanger its partnership with the United States as well as American strategy in neighboring Afghanistan.

“The news over the past several days is very disturbing,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, adding that the administration “is extremely concerned” and that the issue was taking “a lot” of President Obama’s time.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Pakistan

Tony Blair Calls for Continued Fight Against Islamic Extremism

Speaking at a forum sponsored by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, [Tony] Blair pointed out the shortcomings of peaceful negotiation.

“President Obama’s reaching out to the Muslim world at the start of a new American administration is welcome, smart, and can play a big part in defeating the threat we face,” he said. “But it will expose, too, the delusion of believing that there is any alternative to waging this struggle to its conclusion.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths

A London Times Editorial on Pakistan: The front line

Swat used to offer some of the finest skiing in Asia. The season is now over, and is unlikely to return. The Taleban have taken over. They have shut hundreds of schools and, by some accounts, torn many of them down. They have banned the public playing of music and put up posters in barber’s shops warning men not to shave. On Wednesday, Taleban fighters pressed home their advantage by flooding the town of Buner, south of Swat, wrecking aid agencies’ offices and occupying those of the local government. Yesterday the Pakistani Frontier Constabulary responded by sending some 300 troops to the region, but they are outnumbered by up to 8,000 armed Islamist radicals. Buner is 65 miles from Islamabad.

As the Taleban took Buner, Hillary Clinton told a congressional committee in Washington that Pakistan faces “an existential threat”. She is right. Sharia is now the law across much of the country’s mountainous north west. Its enforcers control most of the region’s hearts and minds – and territory. In doing so they pass devastating judgment on the fecklessness of President Zardari and his bewildered young Government, which last week explicitly surrendered jurisdiction over Swat in a deal with its new overlords.

The last time that England was in a position comparable to Pakistan’s was in 1644…

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan

California ponders changes in constitution

Fed up with the budget crises and partisan battles that have paralyzed California for years, some influential voices believe it’s time to tear open the state constitution and start anew.

Once dismissed as a hokey gimmick, support for a proposed constitutional convention has been building in the nation’s most populous state. Even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has indicated he would back an effort to retool the document to make state government function more smoothly.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, State Government

Church Times: Archbishops’ Council looks to cut core national spending, as recession bites

The relationship between the Archbishops’ Council and Church of England dioceses and parishes is coming under increasing strain, as the financial crisis affects the amount of money the Council has to support the central structures of the Church.

A strategic review, which was published last week, warns that a below-inflation rise in the amount of money the Council has to sustain a range of national church respons­ibilities could mean that essential support services could be cut.

“That would involve a funda­mental change in the way that the Council works, and would require a big change in the expectations of Synod, the bishops, the dioceses, and the Church generally as to the service that the Council could provide,” says the review.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Archbishop Marcus Loane RIP

Marcus Lawrence Loane was born in Waratah, Tasmania, on October 14 1911. He left the island to go to the King’s School, Parramatta in New South Wales, then took a degree at Sydney University. There he became caught up in the local form of Anglicanism and entered Moore Theological College, Sydney, where he obtained a First in the Licentiate in Theology.

On his ordination in 1935 he was appointed tutor and chaplain of Moore Theological College, serving also as curate of the parish of Gladesville. Three years later he became vice-principal ”“ a post he held until his appointment as principal in 1953, though he was away between 1942 and 1944 serving as a chaplain in the Australian Army. He became a canon of Sydney Cathedral in 1949.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

Living Church: Bishops: Church’s Doctrine, Worship, Polity in ”˜Grave Peril’

Another significant section compares the language of the constitution and canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church with similar bylaws from other denominations to conclude that the founders of The Episcopal Church intentionally created a church in which dioceses “are not subject to hierarchical control by central bodies whether they be the Presiding Bishop, the General Convention, the Executive Council, or the courts of The Episcopal Church.”

Despite its claim that The Episcopal Church is a “voluntary association of equal dioceses” and that the constitutionally defined powers of the office of the Presiding Bishop greatly limit the ability of the incumbent to intervene in the internal affairs of a diocese, the document is silent on whether a diocese may legally withdraw from The Episcopal Church.

In addition to the 11 diocesan bishops, the document was also endorsed by the Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert, Bishop Suffragan of Dallas, three retired bishops, and the three contributing theologians of the Anglican Communion Institute.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts