Daily Archives: October 29, 2009

Joseph Stiglitz: Death Cometh for the Greenback

For the past eight years, the dollar has increasingly become less revered. Its value has been volatile. As the rest of the world saw the United States struggling with a failing war and soaring budget deficits, many who had large dollar holdings began to reduce those reserves (or increase them less than they otherwise would have). All this put downward pressure on the dollar. And thus began the first signs of a vicious circle. The strength of the dollar is becoming riskier and riskier. The growing U.S. deficit and the ballooning of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheets leave many worried that in their wake will come inflation, undermining the long-term attractiveness of the U.S. currency.

In this article, I try to explain why the dollar is in trouble, but ask””should we care? What are the consequences?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Federal Reserve, Globalization, 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, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Archbishop of Glasgow says Anglican provision is ”˜a way forward’

The Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti has commented on the Vatican’s recently announced proposal to welcome Anglican communities into full communion with the Catholic Church. Noting that the faith of individual believers is also important, he said he has long thought such an offer would be “a way forward” for some Anglicans.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Scotland

Maryland Catholic clergy offer early praise for Vatican announcement

When the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of Maryland, visited St. James Episcopal Church in Mount Airy on Sunday, the questions from the congregation concerned the Vatican’s recent announcement making it easier for Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism.

“That was the one thing people wanted to know,” said the Rev. Portia Hirschman, rector at St. James.

“How is this going to affect us, how is this going to affect the Episcopal Church? The more interesting question, I think, is how is this going to affect the Roman Catholic Church.”

While local Catholic and Episcopal clergy said they did not know how the announcement by the Vatican would affect either the Roman Catholic Church or the Anglican Communion, Catholic clergy embraced the news.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops

Ken Briggs: Anglicans who answer pope's call must abandon key principles

To call this a product of ecumenical good will and theological progress is utter nonsense. It is, rather, a repudiation of it, a return to an attitude that expects capitulation rather than mutual consensus. Benedict put his stamp on this stand recently in a document called ”Dominus Jesu.” It states flatly that his is the only ”true church,” indeed that no other Christian organization even deserves the name, and that all other Christian movements are deeply flawed. How’s that for an equal partnership at the table?

Basically the pope insists on surrender. The Anglicans will be cut some slack, but presumably only in Rome’s terms.

Other Protestant churches engaged in long talks with Catholics following the Second Vatican Council can justifiably feel demeaned. Indirectly, they’re being told that if they want a greater degree of unity with Catholics, they’d better be ready to sacrifice because Rome won’t and their own traditions won’t be treated with respect.

As for the Episcopalians who aren’t going anywhere, I believe they will be better off without the obstructionists and nay-sayers. Free of those detractors, the church can devote itself to being what it is, with a lot to offer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Northumberland Echo: Worshippers battle over ownership

The Episcopalians and Anglicans in Heathsville will have to wait awhile longer to know for certain who has the right to St. Stephen’s Church in that town. Last year, the circuit court of Fairfax held that the Anglicans had the right to the church as did the Anglicans in nine other congregations that have split from the Episcopal Church. Friday, the Supreme Court of Virginia announced that it will hear the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s and The Episcopal Church of the United State’s appeals of the Fairfax rulings.

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

Julia Duin: Anglicans wary of pope's invite

More than a week has passed since Pope Benedict XVI put out a call for disgruntled Anglicans to cross the Tiber after a nearly 500-year separation.

Some are calling this an open door. I see it as Pandora’s box. It raises myriad tricky questions that hopefully will be answered with the Vatican’s release of Apostolic Constitution, the document that will spell out the details of how whole congregations, even minidenominations along with their bishops, can transfer their allegiance.

Numerically, it’s tough to tell how many may take the pontiff’s offer. At the initial press conference, Cardinal William Levada, the Vatican’s chief doctrinal officer, estimated 20 to 30 bishops along with groups of “hundreds” of laity would switch over. Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, who was also at the press conference, said the number of bishops was closer to 50.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Boston College's BC Heights: Vatican decree Makes Room for Anglicans

As centuries go by, ideological beliefs should undoubtedly evolve in order to keep faith alive for its followers. From a humanitarian standpoint, we can applaud the Anglican Church for championing the reforms that have led up to the Vatican’s decree. We can also give credit to the Catholic Church for being more realistic about the issue of celibacy for its clergy. Yet there is an eerie coincidence in the Vatican’s decision to adopt one of the major changes made by the Protestant Reformation by forgoing the requirement of priestly celibacy. But should we be surprised by the Vatican’s concession?

While the Catholic Church considers itself the center of Christian tradition, particularly in the West, it has been able to penetrate communities worldwide with the aid of a certain flexibility. Many Latin American Catholics, for instance, often incorporate festive elements reminiscent of pagan practices in their worship. Their lively and colorful faith seems to differ from the more somber rituals of the Europeans. The Anglican Church, of course, reaches several countries as well, and its ability to thrive among different constituencies has been dictated by the same ideal of accommodation. Nevertheless, localized accommodation is rather tacit; the Vatican’s centralized decree, then, is a more significant, more official concession that will be institutionalized from the top.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Thomas Friedman on Afghanistan: Don’t Build Up

It is crunch time on Afghanistan, so here’s my vote: We need to be thinking about how to reduce our footprint and our goals there in a responsible way, not dig in deeper. We simply do not have the Afghan partners, the NATO allies, the domestic support, the financial resources or the national interests to justify an enlarged and prolonged nation-building effort in Afghanistan.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, War in Afghanistan

Brother of Afghan Leader Said to Be Paid by C.I.A.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home.

The financial ties and close working relationship between the intelligence agency and Mr. Karzai raise significant questions about America’s war strategy, which is currently under review at the White House.

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

Recession Drives Surge in Youth Runaways

Over the past two years, government officials and experts have seen an increasing number of children leave home for life on the streets, including many under 13. Foreclosures, layoffs, rising food and fuel prices and inadequate supplies of low-cost housing have stretched families to the extreme, and those pressures have trickled down to teenagers and preteens.

Federal studies and experts in the field have estimated that at least 1.6 million juveniles run away or are thrown out of their homes annually. But most of those return home within a week, and the government does not conduct a comprehensive or current count.

The best measure of the problem may be the number of contacts with runaways that federally-financed outreach programs make, which rose to 761,000 in 2008 from 550,000 in 2002, when current methods of counting began. (The number fell in 2007, but rose sharply again last year, and the number of federal outreach programs has been fairly steady throughout the period.)

Too young to get a hotel room, sign a lease or in many cases hold a job, young runaways are increasingly surviving by selling drugs, panhandling or engaging in prostitution, according to the National Runaway Switchboard, the federally-financed national hot line created in 1974. Legitimate employment was hard to find in the summer of 2009; the Labor Department said fewer than 30 percent of teenagers had jobs.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Poverty, Teens / Youth, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Snapshot of one U.S. military base in Washington State and the human cost of War

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, War in Afghanistan

Huge Local News: Boeing lands in the South Carolina Lowcountry

North Charleston won the fiercely fought battle for a Boeing 787 aircraft assembly plant Wednesday, thrusting South Carolina onto the world stage of aircraft manufacturing.

The Boeing Co. will build the new line at its Charleston International Airport property instead of in Everett, Wash., the nation’s aviation nerve center and longtime home of the company’s commercial airplane business.

The decision was announced after state lawmakers wrapped up a two-day special session in which they approved a rich basket of financial incentives for Boeing valued at $450 million by state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, a Florence Republican who heads the Senate Finance Committee.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Hans Kung: The Vatican thirst for power divides Christianity and damages Catholicism

After Pope Benedict XVI’s offences against the Jews and the Muslims, Protestants and reform-oriented Catholics, it is now the turn of the Anglican communion, which encompasses some 77 million members and is the third largest Christian confession after the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches. Having brought back the extreme anti-reformist faction of the Pius X fraternity into the fold, Pope Benedict now hopes to fill up the dwindling ranks of the Catholic church with Anglicans sympathetic to Rome. Their conversion to the Catholic church is supposed to be made easier: Anglican priests and bishops shall be allowed to retain their standing, even when married. Traditionalists of the churches, unite! Under the cupola of St Peter’s! The Fisher of Men is angling in waters of the extreme religious right.

This Roman action is a dramatic change of course: steering away from the well-proven ecumenical strategy of eye-level dialogue and honest understanding; steering towards an un-ecumenical luring away of Anglican priests, even dispensing with medieval celibacy law to enable them to come back to Rome under the lordship of the pope.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Maggi Dawn–Don't turn to Rome in anger

It’s not all that unusual for practising Christians to change denominations, as faith inevitably shifts as the experience of life disturbs our ideas. I count among my own friends a Brethren minister who became an Anglican, an Anglican who became a Catholic, and a Catholic who became a Baptist. None of them changed denomination in protest at anything, but because they simply discovered that their life and thought fitted better in a different context.

Although it’s entirely possible to move informally between protestant denominations, many do so only after considerable soul searching, and ”“ as observed in Tony Blair’s rather public spiritual journey ”“ a protestant can normally only become a Catholic through formal conversion. But the personal ordinariates announced last week by Pope Benedict XVI are a rather different animal, in that they represent an invitation to Anglicans who feel beleaguered by changes in Anglican practice to relocate under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic church while retaining features of their Anglican heritage. Many have welcomed this as a move of gracious generosity by the pope, while the more cynical see it as a proselytising move. Either way, the process is likely to open up at least as many complexities as it resolves.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Five Myths about the Pope’s Anglican Ordinariates

Myth #1 The Pope is sheep-stealing

The Pope’s alleged “sheep-stealing” been the most popular subject within the secular media. To them, the Holy Father has launched a media campaign to kick the Anglican Communion while it’s down. The poor Archbishop of Canterbury is struggling to keep things together and then “Bamm!” the Pope surprises everyone with a bid for Anglican souls. However, we must remember that it was Anglicans who pursued the matter with the Holy Father””and we’re not talking about just one or two Anglicans. We are talking about thousands and thousands of Anglicans: bishops, priests, deacons, and laity. Anglican bishops from several nations have sent private letters to the Holy See. Much of this is confidential. They want a way out. They want to become Catholic. The Pope is responding to souls looking to him for guidance. The pope is not stealing sheep””He is holding out his pastoral staff to those sheep looking for protection.

Myth #2 Rome is preparing the world for a general married priesthood

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic