Daily Archives: November 25, 2009

Scott Jagow of NPR on the Tobin Tax: Taxing the Street

Perhaps you heard on the Marketplace Morning report this proposal to tax Wall Street transactions. The revenues would go toward deficit reduction and job creation on Main Street. I understand the motivation behind this, but there’s a pretty good case against it.

Read it all and the comments are interesting as well.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Damian Thompson–Vicar threatened with violence if his parish goes over to Rome

The vicar of an Anglo-Catholic church has received a threatening phone call warning him of violence if his parish goes over to Rome ”“ and his noticeboard has been defaced with the words “C of E No Pope” daubed across it in white paint.

Fr David Waller of St Saviour’s, Walthamstow, discovered the vandalism on Sunday morning as he prepared for Mass. Then he found the a message waiting for him on his answering machine threatening him with physical violence. But, when I spoke to him a few minutes ago, he didn’t sound remotely intimidated. “The message was distorted ”“ it sounded drunken and I don’t want to make too much of it,” he said.

St Saviour’s is a Forward in Faith parish and, although no decision has been made, Fr Waller is very encouraged by the Pope’s offer of a Personal Ordinariate. “The key players in the parish, including the churchwardens, are completely disillusioned with the Church of England and see the Ordinariate as the solution. I can’t speak for all the silent folk in the pews, but a significant number of them are Eastern European Roman Catholics, so I don’t think it would be a problem for them.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

WSJ: Church Fights for Assets, Members and Legitimacy

But state property laws vary, so sometimes local churches prevail. A September opinion from the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned a lower-court ruling and declared a breakaway congregation to be the rightful owner of its 60-acre property in a prestigious resort area.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intercede in a property dispute between the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, Calif., a more conservative congregation that parted ways with the diocese. The case has returned to Orange County Superior Court.

The stakes are highest in cases in which entire dioceses split from the Episcopal Church. In the Fort Worth, Texas, area, conservatives, who aligned with the Anglican Church in North America, won the allegiance of about 15,000 of the 19,000 members of the original Episcopal diocese. The conservatives have control of nearly all church buildings and financial accounts. Neither side will estimate the value of the buildings and endowments at stake, beyond saying it is in the “many millions.”

Read it all.

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

U.S. Strategy on Afghanistan Will Contain Many Messages

In declaring Tuesday that he would “finish the job” in Afghanistan, President Obama used a phrase clearly meant to imply that even as he deploys an additional 30,000 or so troops, he has finally figured out how to bring the eight-year-long conflict to an end.

But offering that reassuring if somewhat contradictory signal ”” that by adding troops he can speed the United States toward an exit ”” is just the first of a set of tricky messages Mr. Obama will have to deliver as he rolls out his strategy publicly.

Over the next week, he will deliver multiple messages to multiple audiences: voters at home, allies, the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the extremists who are the enemy. And as Mr. Obama’s own aides concede, the messages directed at some may undercut the messages sent to others.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, War in Afghanistan

English defence secretary Bob Ainsworth criticises Barack Obama over Afghanistan

Mr Ainsworth took the unprecedented step of publicly criticising the US President and his delays in sending more troops to bolster the mission against the Taliban.

A “period of hiatus” in Washington – and a lack of clear direction – had made it harder for ministers to persuade the British public to go on backing the Afghan mission in the face of a rising death toll, he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, War in Afghanistan

David Brooks on the Health Care Bill Debate: The Values Question

…the general view among independent health care economists is that these changes will not fundamentally bend the cost curve. The system after reform will look as it does today, only bigger and more expensive.

As Jeffrey S. Flier, dean of the Harvard Medical School, wrote in The Wall Street Journal last week, “In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it.”

…the current estimates almost certainly understate the share of the nation’s wealth that will have to be shifted. In these bills, the present Congress pledges that future Congresses will impose painful measures to cut Medicare payments and impose efficiencies. Future Congresses rarely live up to these pledges.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Theology

News Corp. Weighs an Exclusive Alliance With Bing

This is not how business has been done on the World Wide Web.

Microsoft has been in early discussions with the News Corporation, the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, about a pact to pay the News Corporation to remove links to its news content from Google’s search engine and display them exclusively on Bing, from Microsoft, according to a person briefed on the matter who spoke anonymously because of the confidential negotiations.

If such an arrangement came to pass, it would be a watershed moment in the history of the Internet, and set off a fierce debate over the future of content online.

The Web’s explosive growth has been driven, in part, by the open playing field it represents for consumers and businesses. These discussions could encourage major technology and media companies to start picking sides ”” essentially applying the cable TV model to the Web.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy

Local Paper Front Page: Sanford watch begins in house

The first test of whether Gov. Mark Sanford will survive an attempt to impeach him will be decided by Dec. 9.

A special panel made up of seven House members began deliberations Tuesday on the question of whether Sanford’s alleged wrongdoings rise to the level of serious misconduct or serious crimes.

Only 16 governors in the history of the United States have been impeached, and just eight were forced out of their positions. No governor in South Carolina has been impeached, although the House attempted to remove a governor in the 1870s.

Read it all.

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

Volunteer networker William Oppenheim Wins Rhodes Scholarship

[William] Oppenheim founded Omprakash Foundation, an online database of volunteer opportunities that, unlike many others, is completely free and education-driven. He is not selling volunteer trips, he is connecting volunteers and donors with opportunities.

“There are all these companies where you will pay them $5,000 and they will sell you this trip,” he said. “This passion has just grown from my interest in education around the world.”

So far, there are more than 100 educational partners in 26 counties. For instance, his foundation connected a journalism club at a private school in California with a journalism program at a girls’ school in Kenya.

He sounds like quite a guy–congratulations to him. Read it all and there is much more there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Education, Young Adults

AP: Atheist student groups flower on college campuses

The sign sits propped on a wooden chair, inviting all comers: “Ask an Atheist.”

Whenever a student gets within a few feet, Anastasia Bodnar waves and smiles, trying to make a good first impression before eyes drift down to a word many Americans rank down there with “socialist.”

Bodnar is the happy face of atheism at Iowa State University. Once a week at this booth at a campus community center, the PhD student who spends most of her time researching the nutritional traits of corn takes questions and occasional abuse while trying to raise the profile of religious skepticism.

Read the whole article.

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

Bank of England Reveals Secret £62bn mission to save banking sector within hours of collapse

Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS were given a secret £61.6 billion in bridging loans last year on top of the £500 billion of support that the banking sector received from the taxpayer, the Governor of the Bank of England disclosed yesterday.

MPs expressed astonishment when Mervyn King told them about the emergency funding, which indicated that the two banks were in far greater peril than first thought. The Government has since indicated that the whole sector was within hours of collapse.

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, accused the Government of treating taxpayers like children in keeping the bailout secret for more than a year. “What is particularly concerning is that the Government was pumping billions into HBOS at the exact same time it was convincing Lloyds to take it over,” he said. “The Chancellor knew he was selling Lloyds a lemon, but he did it anyway to save his own skin.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Gloves come off at Amazon & Wal-Mart

Ali had Frazier. Coke has Pepsi. The Yankees have the Red Sox. Now Wal-Mart, the mightiest retail giant in history, may have met its own worthy adversary: Amazon.com.

In what is emerging as one of the main story lines of the 2009 post-recession shopping season, the two heavyweight retailers are waging an online price war that is spreading through product areas like books, movies, toys and electronics.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy

From the Morning Scripture Readings

1 A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 121, somehow oh so appropriate in this week as Thanksgiving and Advent approach

Posted in Uncategorized

Archbishop John Sentamu: 'Mammon has been given a pasting'

Sentamu is an intriguing, unclassifiable figure. I congratulate him on having been named Yorkshireman of the Year in 2008, but ask him again whether anyone outside the church is really listening. “We had the Yorkshire day in April and I was leading the procession,” he says, “and I’m told they had the biggest turnout they’ve ever had. The message about what makes a good community has to be heard, whether people are in church or not.”

The credit crunch has, he believes, changed everything. “Mammon was given a pasting. We may go back up to where we were, in the belief that now the markets are becoming more stable, but I’m not sure people really trust that any more. We’ve lived in this libertarian time where choice was seen as important and the free market was important, and as long as you did it within the law you could do whatever you wanted to. It’s now beginning to dawn on people that choice isn’t all there is about life. My neighbour matters.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Economy

Brazilian Archbishop responds to the Vatican's Apostolic Constitution

In stating that the Vatican’s initiative represents a new and unexpected level in bilateral dialogue, we mean that it is not directly related to the process that has been ongoing for the past 40 years, as related above, but rather a unilateral initiative that will certainly require deeper analysis. Below are just two elements that merit close attention:

1. The most recent official documents of the Roman Catholic Church have successively reaffirmed not only its identity as a universal church but its singularity as the true and original sign of the presence of Christ among peoples. This implies a self-understanding of ecclesiological and organizational exclusivity that hinders the advancement of dialogue between both our churches.
2. The theological underpinnings for the Vatican’s initiative are based on the understanding that the unity of the Church is grounded in the claim of Petrine ministry. This postulate must be seen through the lens of its theological dimension and the historical reality of the See of Rome and to this day has not been satisfactorily resolved in Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue.
Clearly, these issues must be faced with honesty and open dialogue, to which we have always been committed in a respectful manner.
We express our concern over the initiative unleashed by Rome, considering the way in which it took place and its content.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican Provinces, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic