Daily Archives: December 16, 2009

WSJ–Alan Blinder: The Case for Optimism on the U.S. Economy

The last two quarters were even more extreme: Productivity in the nonfarm business sector grew at a shocking 8.1% annual rate. There are two possible explanations. One: The last two quarters were among the most technologically innovative and entrepreneurial in the history of the United States. Two: Fearful businesses pared payrolls to the bone. If the second is closer to the truth, payrolls are extraordinarily lean right now. Which means that firms will need to hire more workers as their sales and production grow. Which means that employment may start growing sooner than the pessimists think.

I have been pointing this out for months, but until the last employment report, it was a hypothesis supported by no evidence. Not anymore. While payrolls continued to decline in November, it was by only a scant 11,000 jobs; and the job counts for September and October were revised upward. The data now show a clear trend that suggests that net job creation may be only a month or two away. We’ll see.

There is more to the case for optimism. For one thing, less than 30% of February’s $787 billion fiscal stimulus has been spent to date; over 70% is still in the pipeline. Pessimists dote on the fact that the rate of increase of stimulus spending has probably peaked and will be lower in 2010. True. But the level of GDP will continue to get support from fiscal policy, and a second job-creation package (“Please don’t call it a stimulus!”) looks to be in the works.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, The U.S. Government

Mere Anglicanism 2010

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Shane Schaetzel: Something's Brewing In The Ozarks

When the Vatican recently announced the reception of Anglican communities into the Catholic Church it was a dream come true not only for Anglo-Catholics seeking their own pastoral provision, but also for many Roman Catholics with Anglican backgrounds. Over the last thirty years there has been a quiet but steady trickle of Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church. In the American province of the worldwide Anglican Communion, “The Episcopal Church,” it began with alterations to the Book of Common Prayer in 1979 and increased with the ordination of female clergy, along with the widespread acceptance of homosexuality.

Springfield Missouri is home to about four Episcopalian parishes and two continuing Anglican parishes. There was one small Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) parish about ten years ago, but it was later disbanded and the chapel sold. That being said, there are currently no Anglican parishes within the city that are interested in entering the emerging Anglican ordinariates within the Roman Catholic Church.ӬӬ

However, that does not mean Springfield is lacking individuals with Anglican backgrounds who have taken interest in accepting the pope’s offer. That being the case, a few pioneering Christians are starting their own prayer group in Springfield, with the intent of eventually forming an Anglican Use parish under the pastoral care of the soon to be Anglican Use ordinary bishop. They’ve named their group simply “Anglican-Use Catholics of Springfield Missouri.”

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

Commentary on landmark Anglican Declaration released

In June 2008, 1200 Anglican leaders, bishops, clergy and lay people, from 27 provinces of the Anglican Communion met in Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference.

The result of their deliberations in the cradle of Christianity was the Jerusalem Declaration. The document has since formed the basis of ”˜The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans’, a worldwide movement of orthodox believers which has launched several regional groups (such as FCA UK) and is growing in strength by the month.

Now, the work of 40 theologians, from 14 countries throughout the Anglican Communion, provides a commentary on this important document and how it relates to scripture, Anglican formularies and historic Anglicanism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Theology

A Statement from the Vestry of Christ Episcopal Church Accokeek, Maryland

A Statement from the Vestry of Christ Episcopal Church
Accokeek, Maryland
August 2009 (Made earlier but released now–KSH)

Christ Church was established in 1698 and has consistently sought to be faithful to the teachings of the Church catholic””as found in the Scriptures, the Creeds and the Book of Common Prayer””as this Church has received them.

We reaffirm our commitment to the teaching of human sexuality as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and affirmed by the Church catholic: sexual intimacy is a gift and mystery which God has designed to be expressed solely in the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. All are called to chastity; some are called to celibacy. Consequently, all who are ordained are likewise called to live according to
these standards. We also reaffirm our commitment to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed to Accokeek and the whole world.

Therefore, we reject resolutions D025 and C056 of General Convention 2009. Whether prescriptive or descriptive, they will not repair the broken bridges in the Anglican Communion, whose fabric is torn at its deepest level. They demonstrate an unwillingness to observe two of the moratoria which all four Instruments of Unity have asked for. They violate the explicit teaching of the Communion regarding human sexuality, especially as expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution 1.10. They ignore the consensus of Christians throughout all time. They stand in contradiction to the explicit teaching of Scripture regarding human sexuality. And in particular, C056 violates the Episcopal Church’s own canons concerning the Covenant of Marriage. Therefore, we repudiate these resolutions and dissociate ourselves from them and their consequences.

We emphasize that we believe we are upholding the teaching of human sexuality which God has revealed. This teaching is entirely harmonious with the proclamation of the good news of God in Jesus Christ: that God’s love for all people””whether male or female, rich or poor, gay or straight””is ferociously manifest in Jesus’ cross and resurrection.

Lastly, we commend the work, at various levels within the Communion, on the Anglican Covenant and welcome the opportunity to review, study and sign its final draft.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Instruments of Unity, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Parishes, Theology

(Xinhua): Are plans to raise U.S. debt ceiling cause for alarm?

When Congressional Democrats last week pushed to lift the U.S. federal debt ceiling by nearly two trillion dollars, Republicans blasted the move as fiscally irresponsible and voiced concern over the long term consequences of a level of deficit spending not seen since World War II.

So on Monday House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer indicated that lawmakers would seek to pass a temporary borrowing limit to last through 2010.

Still, fiscal conservatives fret over what they view as runaway spending and Congress’ silence over how to deal with the growing deficit….

“We haven’t got any clear indication that there’s a strategy to control this,” said Desmond Lachman, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “We hear the Obama administration paying lip service but there is no clear indication of how to prevent the U.S. from getting into increasing debt.”

Read it all .

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Budget, China, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Armed Forces Bishop apologises for Taliban comments

Bishop Venner later apologised for his comment, saying it was ”one small phrase in quite a long interview” intended to suggest that not all members of the Taliban were ”equally evil”.

He told the BBC: ”If that has caused offence, I am deeply grieved by it because that’s the very last thing that I would want to do.”

The bishop also issued a statement condemning the Taliban’s tactics and expressing his backing for UK forces.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan

Taliban 'can be admired for religious conviction' says forces bishop

The Rt Rev Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists.

The Church of England’s Bishop to the Forces said it would be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war if the insurgents were portrayed too negatively.

His comments in an interview with The Daily Telegraph came as the Prime Minister visited Afghanistan and claimed that the Taliban was fighting a “guerrilla war” aimed at causing “maximum damage”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, War in Afghanistan

Building a Baby, With Few Ground Rules

On July 28, the Kehoes announced the arrival of twins, Ethan and Bridget, at University Hospital in Ann Arbor. Overjoyed, they took the babies home on Aug. 3 and prepared for a welcoming by their large extended family.

A month later, a police officer supervised as the Kehoes relinquished the swaddled infants in the driveway.

Bridget and Ethan are now in the custody of the surrogate who gave birth to them, Laschell Baker of Ypsilanti, Mich. Ms. Baker had obtained a court order to retrieve them after learning that Ms. Kehoe was being treated for mental illness.

“I couldn’t see living the rest of my life worrying and wondering what had happened, or what if she hadn’t taken her medicine, or what if she relapsed,” said Ms. Baker, who has four children of her own.

Now, she and her husband, Paul, plan to raise the twins.

The creation of Ethan and Bridget tested the boundaries of the field known as third-party reproduction, in which more than two people collaborate to have a baby. Five parties were involved: the egg donor, the sperm donor, Ms. Baker and the Kehoes. And two separate middlemen brokered the egg and sperm.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

Niall Ferguson– An Empire at Risk: How economic weakness is endangering America's global power

Call it the fractal geometry of fiscal crisis. If you fly across the Atlantic on a clear day, you can look down and see the same phenomenon but on four entirely different scales. At one extreme there is tiny Iceland. Then there is little Ireland, followed by medium-size Britain. They’re all a good deal smaller than the mighty United States. But in each case the economic crisis has taken the same form: a massive banking crisis, followed by an equally massive fiscal crisis as the government stepped in to bail out the private financial system.

Size matters, of course. For the smaller countries, the financial losses arising from this crisis are a great deal larger in relation to their gross domestic product than they are for the United States. Yet the stakes are higher in the American case. In the great scheme of things””let’s be frank””it does not matter much if Iceland teeters on the brink of fiscal collapse, or Ireland, for that matter. The locals suffer, but the world goes on much as usual.

But if the United States succumbs to a fiscal crisis, as an increasing number of economic experts fear it may, then the entire balance of global economic power could shift. Military experts talk as if the president’s decision about whether to send an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan is a make-or-break moment. In reality, his indecision about the deficit could matter much more for the country’s long-term national security. Call the United States what you like””superpower, hegemon, or empire””but its ability to manage its finances is closely tied to its ability to remain the predominant global military power. Here’s why….

A very important piece–make sure you read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Globalization, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Manchester Bishop says high-speed broadband will become ”˜basic’ need

High-speed broadband will become almost as basic a telephone line in the near future, the Anglican Bishop of Manchester has predicted.

Bishop Nigel McCulloch described as “rather too modest” the Government’s target of getting superfast broadband to 90 per cent of homes in the next eight years.

In a debate on the Digital Economy Bill in the House of Lords, Bishop McCulloch also suggested the “bar has been set too low in terms of universal connection speed”.

The Government is planning to impose a 50p per month tax on phone lines to pay for the role out of broadband in hard-to-reach areas.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Science & Technology

More moderate lifestyles means ending food waste, says cardinal

With poverty, hunger and environmental degradation on the rise worldwide, people must do all they can to not waste precious food, said Cardinal Renato Martino.

“In developed countries every year, 30 percent of foodstuffs are wasted, ending up in the garbage,” he said, adding that during the Christmas holidays the amount of wasted food rises to 40 percent.

In the United States, however, up to half its food supply is wasted year round, he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Other Churches, Poverty, Roman Catholic, Theology

RNS: Clergy's Ethical Ratings Drop to 32-Year Low

Americans’ views of the “honesty and ethics” of clergy have hit a 32-year low, with just half rating their moral caliber as high or very high, according to Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics Ratings of Professions survey.

The reason for the decline from 56 percent last year to 50 percent in 2009 is “unclear,” according to a Gallup news release, which also noted that “now the clergy’s ratings are below where they were earlier this decade” at the height of the Catholic Church’s clergy abuse scandal.

Barbara Dorris, outreach coordinator for the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, attributed the drop to ripple effects from seven years of negative press surrounding predatory priests.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Presiding bishop joins MIT discussion on science and social responsibility

Scientists have an obligation to “tell the truth they know,” the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop recently told a forum at MIT in Cambridge, and they should keep in mind the average person’s unasked question about their research: “What difference does that make for me?”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori cited controversial areas of current research””bio-fuel crops, stem cell science, women’s cancer screening””with human and environmental interconnections and consequences.

“The very passion that is expressed in these discussions is an indication of the greater need for the scientific community’s engagement with the larger society. None of us can hide behind the technical work and leave the ethical work to other experts,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

In Canada a Devastating church fire is met with a strong community response

Members of All Saints’ Anglican Church in downtown Whitby, Ont. gathered outside on Monday to mourn the loss of their 140 year old church that burned in a fire before dawn.

Also lost in the fire were about 90 Christmas hampers that were ready to be delivered to needy families in the area, but the community is pulling together to help both the congregation and the families.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry