Daily Archives: January 23, 2010

Senator Christopher Dodd: Democrats might need a month off from Health reform

Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd said today that Democrats may need to take more than a month off from the health care debate to regroup, saying it is up to President Obama to lead the way.

Dodd is the first congressional Democratic leader to suggest such an extended break, signaling that Democrats’ may be much further from a workable endgame strategy than they have suggested in the days since Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat and ended the Democrats’ 60-vote majority.

The comments are sure to raise questions about whether Democrats are giving up on reform. A month-long break would almost certainly kill any momentum health reform has left, making it that much harder to pass.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate

Traditionalist Anglicans prepare response to Holy See

The bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) are to give the Vatican their answer to the new Anglican provision.

Archbishop John Hepworth, the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a group of Anglican churches which have broken away from the mainstream Anglican Communion, said the bishops would come together at Easter to formulate a response to the Pope’s decree Anglicanorum coetibus.

The Anglican provision allows groups of Anglicans who consider themselves Catholic to enter into full communion with Rome while maintaining aspects of their heritage and identity. The document provides a new canonical provision called a Personal Ordinariate which most resembles the structure of military dioceses.

Read the whole article.

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

Notable and Quotable (I)

We live in a culture of boutique self-creation.

–John Yates III this morning at Mere Anglicanism

Posted in Uncategorized

Equality Bill still a threat, say UK Roman Catholic bishops

The bishops have rejected Government concessions designed to allay fears over a Bill they say could force the churches to accept women, sexually active gays, and transsexuals into the priesthood.

Ministers refused repeated requests by the Catholic and Anglican bishops over a period of months to consider an amendment to the Equality Bill that would have been acceptable to them.

But they have decided to act in the face of a protracted battle in the Lords that could result in the Bill falling as it runs out of time. They have tabled an amendment designed to reassure the churches that the Bill does not represent a threat.

But Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, chairman of the Catholic bishops’ department for Christian responsibility and citizenship, said the concession did not go far enough.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Jonathan Sacks: Better is a world built on love, not Darwinian struggle

And just as God creates in love so He asks us to create in love. The Abrahamic monotheisms are the only systems to place love at the heart of the moral life. There are other codes of ethics: every civilisation has them, secular or religious. All civilisations have something like the golden rule: treat others as you would wish to be treated. Many of them have forms of justice: treat equals equally. But only a vision that sees the world as God’s work of love makes love the highest value. Love God with all your heart, soul and might. Love your neighbour as yourself. Love the stranger for you know what it feels like to be a stranger.

And yes, there is another way of seeing the world and our place within it. The Universe came into being for no reason, and one day for no reason it will cease to be. There is nothing special about humanity: we are mere primates with a gift for language. There is nothing special about any of us. We are born, we live, we die, and it is as if we had never been. Our ideals are illusions; our hopes mere dreams. We have no souls, only brains; no freedom, only the hardwiring of our genes. And the biggest illusion of them all is love, the smokescreen created by humans to hide the fact that we are here to reproduce.

I know which I prefer. Better is a world built on love than on the Darwinian struggle to survive.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Opposition Grows Against Second Term for Bernanke

The confirmation of Ben S. Bernanke to a second four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve ran into further trouble on Friday as two more Democratic senators said they would vote against him.

The White House came to Mr. Bernanke’s defense, but the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, appeared uncertain about whether there were the 60 votes necessary to confirm Mr. Bernanke before his term as chairman expires on Jan. 31. Mr. Reid said late Friday that while he planned to vote for Mr. Bernanke’s confirmation, his support was “not unconditional.”

Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and the chairman of the Banking Committee, warned Friday that a no vote would send the “worst signal to the market right now,” and could lead to an economic “tailspin.”

In a statement Friday morning, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, came out against Mr. Bernanke, who was named to his post during the Bush administration. She said she had “a lot of respect” for him and praised him for preventing the economic crisis from getting even worse. “However, it is time for a change,” she said. “It is time for Main Street to have a champion at the Fed.”

Read it all.

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

NPR: Voodoo Brings Solace To Grieving Haitians

Voodoo is playing a central role in helping Haitians cope with their unthinkable tragedy. Outside of Haitian culture, few know what Voodoo is. Elizabeth McAlister, a Voodoo expert at Wesleyan University, says at its core, the philosophy is really pretty simple.

“Voodoo in a nutshell is about the idea that everything material has a spiritual dimension that is more real” than physical reality, she says. “So everything living ”” but even rocks and the Earth ”” is considered to have spirit and have a spiritual nature.”

McAlister says there is no unified Voodoo religion. There’s no “Voodoo Pope” or central authority, no Voodoo scripture or even a core doctrine.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Pittsburgh's Episcopal bishop seeks reconciliation

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s new bishop, Kenneth L. Price, is seeking face-to-face meetings with area congregations that left the Episcopal Church over issues ranging from abortion to the consecration of a non-celibate gay bishop.

Read it all.

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

Mort Zuckerman: The Great Recession Continues

What about the future? The problem in the job market going forward is not so much layoffs in the private sector, which are abating, but a lack of hiring. The federal stimulus program is offset by a 2010 budget shortfall for state, city, county and school districts, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently estimated will be in the range of an astonishing $200 billion nationally. Since virtually all states and cities have to run balanced budgets, the result will be reduced services, layoffs and tax hikes.

The consequence is that the U.S. economy””for decades the greatest job creation machine in the world””is taking longer and longer to replace the jobs already lost. In the 1970s and 1980s, Jane Sasseen noted in a recent report in BusinessWeek, it took as little as one year from the end of a recession to add back the lost jobs. After the eight-month downturn ending in March of 1991, for example, jobs came back in 23 months. After the downturn from the dot-com bust in 2001, it took 31 months. This time it could take as many as five years or even more to recover all of the eight-plus million jobs lost since March 2007. That’s because we would have to create an additional 1.7 million jobs annually beyond those for the 1.3 million new people who enter the work force every year.

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Mollie Hemingway: Spare the Spanking, Spoil the Report Card?

Prior to becoming the devout, busybody next-door neighbor on the animated hit “The Simpsons,” Ned Flanders was an out-of-control brat whose beatnik parents didn’t believe in discipline. To reform Ned, a child psychologist enrolled him in the University of Minnesota Spankalogical Protocol, which included eight months of continuous spanking. It cured his rambunctiousness and set him on the path to becoming the cartoon world’s most famously pious Christian.

Indeed, conservative Christian parenting is often unfairly presented as little more than “spare the rod, spoil the child,” advice distilled from the Bible’s book of Proverbs. Spanking””punishment delivered with an open hand, not a rod””used to be socially acceptable and frequently utilized by parents, even in public. But at some point in the past century, child-rearing books began discouraging spanking and encouraging such new proverbs as “let’s all take a ‘timeout’ so that our anger might melt away, leading to fruitful conversation, peace and harmony in the home.”

Some parents have taken the advice to such an extreme that they’re hesitant to impose any consequences at all on their children….

Read the whole thing from today’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Canadian Polygamist Sues Over 'Unlawful'’ Prosecution

A Canadian man who admits to having multiple wives is suing the government of British Columbia for “unlawful” prosecution after it charged him with practicing polygamy.

The polygamy charge was thrown out last September after a judge ruled that the provincial attorney general had no jurisdiction to appoint a special prosecutor in the case.

In his statement of claim, filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court, Winston Blackmore said, “The (attorney general) acted in a manner that was high handed, arbitrary, reckless, abusive, improper and inconsistent with the honor of the Crown and the administration of justice.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Theology