Daily Archives: May 12, 2009

Anne Marie Valinoti: Do Everybody a Favor: Take a Sick Day

As a resident, my greatest pride was in never having missed a day for illness. I’d drag myself in and sniffle and cough through the day. Once, I’m embarrassed to admit, I trudged up York Avenue to the hospital making use of my own personal motion sickness bag every few blocks while horrified pedestrians looked on.

Now, though, I see the foolishness of this bravura. And I confront it almost daily in my primary care practice. No one can miss a day ”” a minute, even ”” of work, carpooling, volunteering, vacation, anything. “I don’t have time to be sick!” my patients wail. Everyone must soldier on, leaving sick days to those with less important things to do.

And many patients aren’t satisfied with sympathy and friendly advice. They have come to the office for that little piece of blue paper, the antibiotic prescription. “I would never ask for this under normal circumstances,” I’m told ”” except (pick one) I’m getting married tomorrow; leaving for a month in the Amazon; having 25 houseguests for the weekend.

Never mind that antibiotics are useless in treating colds and viral illnesses, and that they have their own dangers and side effects. Some doctors will write the prescription just to get on with their day.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

What Strange Times we Live in

California’s budget deficit has grown so severe that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he may be forced to release 40,000 prisoners or lay off 51,000 teachers if voters next week reject three budget balancing measures.

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

ENS: Divisions are deep but can be healed, Archbishop of Canterbury tells ACC

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in his presidential address to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) here May 11 compared the Anglican Communion’s long-standing divisions to those in the Holy Land.

“The other day we were giving quite intense attention to the situation in the Holy Land and in that discussion I thought there are echoes of language we hear nearer home,” Williams said. “Well, thank God, our divisions and our fears are not as deep and as poisonous as those between communities in the Holy Land, but I think you may see why some of the same language occasionally awakes echoes.”

It was also through the lens of Holy Land politics that Williams suggested during his address a possible way forward.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury

Chris Sugden: ACC Day 14. Rules of the Game? There are none

One can only reflect, that when there is no clear procedure, the door is open for the arbitrary use of power. That does not empower people, since they have no access to appeal to what all have agreed on. In this case, when the chairman sought to follow the normal rules of procedure he was trumped by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The question remains: what confidence can the Anglican Communion have in a body where those who come to make decisions have no given ground rules for how those debates and decisions are going to be conducted ahead of time, but rather are dependent entirely on the will of the chairman and above him of the president to interpret their mind?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury

Anglican Journal: Future shape of Anglican Communion uncertain, says Archbishop of Canterbury

“We have not in this meeting given evidence of any belief that we have no future together,” said Archbishop Rowan Williams in his presidential address, delivered on the eve of the last day of the ACC meeting. “The question is, of course, what that future will look like.”

Archbishop Williams said that Anglican provinces are “a bit reluctant” to engage the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant in greater detail because it “does underline for us that the possibility of division is there, the possibility at least of certain kinds of division.” He said people have spoken of the future of the communion as a federation, “an association within which some groups are more strongly bound to one another and some groups less strongly bound.” He added, “I suspect that will be more inevitable if not all provinces do sign on to the covenant. And I hasten to add that’s not what I hope. It is what I think we have to reflect on as a real possibility.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury

Obama tax proposal would hit securities dealers, life insurance firms, big estates

But the higher deficit figures and additional proposed taxes, along with details of corporate tax breaks the Obama administration wants to ax, led to sharp criticism of the White House from some Republican lawmakers and business groups. It was a taste of the battle to come on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and lobbyists have prevented some of the proposed changes in the past.

“The administration’s displayed an insatiable appetite for spending and they need to get money wherever they can. So they use the tax code the way Willie Sutton used a gun,” said Martin A. Regalia, vice president for economic and tax policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, referring to the famous bank robber.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Taxes, The U.S. Government

Soda Tax Weighed to Pay for Health Care

Senate leaders are considering new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system.

The taxes would pay for only a fraction of the cost to expand health-insurance coverage to all Americans and would face strong opposition from the beverage industry. They also could spark a backlash from consumers who would have to pay several cents more for a soft drink.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee is set to hear proposals from about a dozen experts about how to pay for the comprehensive health-care overhaul that President Barack Obama wants to enact this year. Early estimates put the cost of the plan at around $1.2 trillion. The administration has so far only earmarked funds for about half of that amount.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, Taxes, The U.S. Government

ACC-14 Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury

On the eve of the closing of the Anglican Consultative Council 14 meeting in Kingston, Jamaica the Archbishop Of Canterbury delivered his presidential address. The Council has a chair and the Archbishop functions as the president. The address came after the evening worship and was followed by an opportunity to express thanks to Bishop John Paterson who retires as the chair at the end of this meeting, Mr. George Kosay who retires as the deputy chair and Bishop Gregory Cameron who was recently consecrated as the Bishop of St Asaph in Wales and attended the meeting to complete his work as the deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury

A (London) Times Editorial: Tehran Turns

Ms Saberi’s release shows that while Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad likes to wave a big stick, he is also capable of talking softly. It indicates that relations between Washington and Tehran need not be poisoned permanently by a sense of hostility. It suggests that Iran – and, crucially, President Ahmadinejad, given expectations of his victory in next month’s elections – are ready to respond to America’s wooing.

That does not mean the diplomatic path from here will be either straight or easy. Suspicion that hangs like a fog between the two countries will not lift like a summer morning mist. It will not bring a swift end to the two countries’ friction over the aims of Iran’s nuclear programme.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East

Malcolm Rifkind: A Middle East miracle might just happen

So you might expect the mood in the Middle East to be awful, bordering on desperate. Although it is sombre, those who know the region feel that there is all to play for. There are two reasons for this.

The first is the complex personality of Mr Netanyahu. I have met him several times and had informal conversations with him. He is usually reticent on strategy but a master at tactics. I have no doubt that he deeply dislikes the concept of a Palestinian state but that is not the same as saying that he could never endorse one….

That brings me to the second and, perhaps, decisive reason why the situation is more fluid than might first be apparent. Unlike George W. Bush, Barack Obama is engaging himself in the Israel-Palestine issue from the very outset of his presidency. He is doing so with more goodwill from the Arab world than any recent president.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, Violence

Despite Stimulus Funds, States to Cut More Jobs

Eleven weeks after Congress settled on a stimulus package that provided $135 billion to limit layoffs in state governments, many states are finding that the funds are not enough and are moving to lay off thousands of public employees.

The state of Washington settled on a budget two weeks ago that will mean 1,000 layoffs at public colleges and several times that many in elementary and high schools.

The governor of Massachusetts, who cut 1,000 positions late last year, just announced 250 layoffs, with more likely to come soon.

Arizona has already laid off 800 social service workers this year and is facing the likelihood of deeper cuts over the next two. The state no longer investigates all complaints of child or elder abuse.

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

Deficits soar even with rosy assumptions in new Obama budget

The White House on Monday projected 2009 and 2010 federal budget deficits far higher than it forecast just two and a half months ago, even as it continued to defy most experts and predict that the economy is headed for a strong comeback starting late this year.

Economists scoffed at the latest administration predictions.

“If they keep playing this game, they’re going to have real credibility problems,” predicted Brian Bethune, the chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight, an economic research firm.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

CoGS will not ask Canadian General Synod 2010 to amend the marriage canon

Council of General Synod (CoGS) wrestled with the blessing of same-sex unions and marriage when it met here May 8 to 10 and in the end decided not to ask General Synod 2010 to amend the marriage canon to allow for the marriage of same-sex couples.

The discussions focused on responding to two new documents produced by the Primate’s Theological Commission and the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee. There was also a report about an international dialogue about sexuality that was initiated between Canadian dioceses that have taken steps toward the blessing of same-sex unions and dioceses in Africa. CoGS responded in a written statement, “A Word to the Church on Questions of Human Sexuality from the Council of General Synod Meeting, May 2009.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Marriage & Family, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The Chicago Consultation Responds to the ACC Meeting and Decisions

The Chicago Consultation released this statement today from its co-convener Ruth Meyers in response to the Anglican Consultative Council’s affirmation of the recommendations made by the Windsor Continuation Group and its decision to postpone the release of the Anglican Covenant for consideration by provinces:

The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), meeting now in Kingston, Jamaica, has committed itself to the hard work of debating recommendations and documents that seek to define the Anglican Communion. We are grateful for the efforts of its representatives, and we especially commend the decision to delay sending a draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant to the provinces until more work has been done that might strengthen, rather than tear down, our common life.

However, we believe that the ACC and the Windsor Continuation Group have made a grievous error by concluding that God is calling us to exclude baptized Christians who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender for the sake of communion. These moratoria, which were requested in the Windsor Report and by the primates, have not been formally agreed to by the democratic structures of the Episcopal Church and are inconsistent with both the Anglican tradition of seeking unity through diversity and with scripture’s mandate to do justice.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Religious Intelligence: Defeat for Archbishop as Covenant draft is rejected

Delegates from the Church of Nigeria stated they were perplexed by Dr Williams’ actions. “All of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s contributions were positive” up until the last moment of the meeting, Bishop Ikechi Nwosu of Nigeria said.

Nigerian Archdeacon Abraham Okorie said there was a “satanic” spirit of confusion in the air. He noted it was hypocritical of the ACC to make a great noise of using African ways of decision making in addressing the covenant, but then resorting to slippery parliamentary tricks to thwart the will of the meeting.

Dr Williams was a “very weak leader,” Bishop Ikechi Nwosu of Nigeria observed. “Of course we pray for him, but couldn’t he be courageous for once?”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury