Daily Archives: February 27, 2010

NPR–Failed Justice Leaves Rape Victim Nowhere To Turn

(Warning–the content may not be suitable for some blog readers–KSH).

On a morning in April 2006, Eva was in her kitchen baking cookies. She was going to send them to Margaux, who was finishing her freshman year. Then the phone rang.

Eva remembers the call: “I had never heard such a desperate, just a truly desperate sound in her voice. She was just sobbing hysterically. And she kept saying ‘Mom, Mom, Mom. Mom, Mom,’ over and over. And finally I said, ‘Margaux, please, tell me what’s wrong. What’s wrong?’ And she said, she said: ‘I’ve been raped.’ ”

Margaux says, “I just remember, I was laying in my bed in my dorm. I had been out of control all week and crying and just laying in bed crying. But it was like a wailing, loud cry. The girl next door would come by my room and be like, ‘Are you OK?’ I’m not a big crier, so when I do cry, my parents know something’s really wrong.”

Margaux’s story is fairly typical for the many women who are sexually assaulted on college campuses. And what’s also common is the failure of even the best-intentioned colleges and universities to investigate a criminal matter like rape ”” and then punish it.

I caught this on the morning run. I would rather not think about it also, but it is an issue that has to be faced. I highly recommend the audio (not far under 8 minutes) as it is far more powerful (and detailed) than the written piece. Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Men, Sexuality, Violence, Women, Young Adults

NBC's Bob Costas Interviews Canada's Joannie Rochette

Watch it all–just a wonderful piece.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Sports

Friends of the Ordinariate Website

I have not yet had a chance to link to this–check it out.

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

Newsweek–Europe’s big choice

In the last few months, a dark tribalism has swept Europe. In January, after Italy’s worst race riots since World War II, the government sent armed carabinieri to clear out camps of jobless African migrants in the country’s south. In Britain, Tory leader David Cameron recently pledged to slash immigration by 75 percent if elected. In France, which is heading into key regional elections this spring, President Nicolas Sarkozy has launched a noisy debate about “French identity” that has featured talk of banning the burqa and other kinds of minority bashing. Even Switzerland, long one of Europe’s most refugee-friendly states, has turned ugly, passing a referendum amending its Constitution to ban minaret construction.

In country after country, immigrants, often from Muslim countries, are being targeted. More than at any point in recent decades, fear is becoming the dominant force in European politics, warns the French commentator Dominique Moisi. The immediate cause for this fear has been the economic crisis, which has stoked worries about outsiders stealing Europe’s jobs and overburdening its welfare system. But the animosity reflects a deeper shift. Immigration to Europe has exploded in recent years, so much so that the EU has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s premier destination for people seeking a better life abroad. Since 1990, 26 million migrants have landed in Europe, compared with 20 million in America. There they have helped fuel economic booms, reinvigorated the continent’s declining birthrate, and transformed cities from Madrid to Stockholm. The European Commission estimates that, since 2004, migration by Eastern Europeans alone to Western Europe has added a net €50 billion, or 0.8 percent, to the bloc’s GDP each year.

Yet not everyone is convinced of these benefits, and the migrants are provoking deep fears that Europe’s racial and religious identity is being lost. Driven by such anxieties, governments are starting to turn against the newcomers. Many states, including Britain and Italy, have put new limits on immigration, while others, such as Spain and the Czech Republic, are paying migrants to go home. As a result of such measures and the downturn, labor migration to Europe plummeted last year.

As these trends intensify, Europe will face a stark choice. It can appease the angry masses and slam the doors. Or it can defy public opinion and open the gates to more and better-skilled immigrants. Doing so will be difficult politically. But it is also a necessary part of ensuring the continent’s economic recovery and long-term vitality. While inviting more foreigners in might seem an odd choice today, Europe simply can’t afford not to. Should it force itself to become a more open, mobile society–modeled on traditional immigrant countries such as Canada, Australia, and the U.S.–it will thrive. If it locks its doors and halts integration, on the other hand, it will wind up like Japan: shriveling, xenophobic, and resigned to decline.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

Episcopal Church Statistics (II): ASA relative to population growth

Check it out (our thanks to a blog reader).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Data

Episcopal Church Statistics (I): ASA (Average Sunday Attendance) 1997-2008

Check it out (our thanks to a blog reader).

Posted in Uncategorized

AP–Billionaire Warren Buffett criticizes corporate risk management

Billionaire Warren Buffett said Saturday that CEOs and the boards that hired them should pay a steep price if their companies get into trouble with risky investments.

As part of his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders, Buffett encouraged other corporations to develop meaningful penalties for top executives who misjudge risk so they will be more careful. Buffett lamented that shareholders, not chief executives and directors, have borne most of the burden of company failures during the economic crisis of the past two years.

“In my view a board of directors of a huge financial institution is derelict if it does not insist that its CEO bear full responsibility for risk control,” Buffett wrote. “If he’s incapable of handling that job, he should look for other employment. And if he fails at it — with the government thereupon required to step in with funds or guarantees — the financial consequences for him and his board should be severe.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Warren Buffett comments on the Housing Sector in his Annual Shareholders letter

Our largest operation in this sector is Clayton Homes, the country’s leading producer of modular and manufactured homes. Clayton was not always number one: A decade ago the three leading manufacturers were Fleetwood, Champion and Oakwood, which together accounted for 44% of the output of the industry. All have since gone bankrupt. Total industry output, meanwhile, has fallen from 382,000 units in 1999 to 60,000 units in 2009.

The industry is in shambles for two reasons, the first of which must be lived with if the U.S. economy is to recover. This reason concerns U.S. housing starts (including apartment units). In 2009, starts were 554,000, by far the lowest number in the 50 years for which we have data. Paradoxically, this is good news.

People thought it was good news a few years back when housing starts ”“ the supply side of the picture ”“ were running about two million annually. But household formations ”“ the demand side ”“ only amounted to about 1.2 million. After a few years of such imbalances, the country unsurprisingly ended up with far too many houses.

There were three ways to cure this overhang: (1) blow up a lot of houses, a tactic similar to the destruction of autos that occurred with the “cash-for-clunkers” program; (2) speed up household formations by, say, encouraging teenagers to cohabitate, a program not likely to suffer from a lack of volunteers or; (3) reduce new housing starts to a number far below the rate of household formations.

Our country has wisely selected the third option, which means that within a year or so residential housing problems should largely be behind us, the exceptions being only high-value houses and those in certain localities where overbuilding was particularly egregious. Prices will remain far below “bubble” levels, of course, but for every seller (or lender) hurt by this there will be a buyer who benefits. Indeed, many families that couldn’t afford to buy an appropriate home a few years ago now find it well within their means because the bubble burst.

Ponder that first set of numbers for a moment. Ten years ago total manufactured homes industry output was more than 600% higher than it was last year. Can you say overbuilt? Read the rest–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

NPR–How Should Medicare Pay Doctors?

Medicare payments to doctors will fall by 21 percent starting on Monday, but Congress may soon act to block the cut. It’s the latest reminder of a chronic problem for the federal government: figuring out how to pay doctors who treat Medicare patients.

The story goes all the way back to 1965, when the federal government was about to launch Medicare ”” the health-insurance plan for the elderly.

The idea of a government-run health-insurance plan made doctors nervous, and Lyndon Johnson’s administration was worried that doctors wouldn’t take Medicare patients. So Joseph Califano, Johnson’s adviser for domestic affairs, made what seemed like a small concession: Medicare would pay doctors whatever they thought was reasonable.

That worked out well for doctors. They had been providing lots of free care for old people, and they started getting paid whatever they asked for, as long as it wasn’t wildly out of line with what others were charging….

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The U.S. Government

Washington Times–Ben Bernanke delivers blunt warning on U.S. debt

With uncharacteristic bluntness, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned Congress on Wednesday that the United States could soon face a debt crisis like the one in Greece, and declared that the central bank will not help legislators by printing money to pay for the ballooning federal debt.

Recent events in Europe, where Greece and other nations with large, unsustainable deficits like the United States are having increasing trouble selling their debt to investors, show that the U.S. is vulnerable to a sudden reversal of fortunes that would force taxpayers to pay higher interest rates on the debt, Mr. Bernanke said.

“It’s not something that is 10 years away. It affects the markets currently,” he told the House Financial Services Committee. “It is possible that bond markets will become worried about the sustainability [of yearly deficits over $1 trillion], and we may find ourselves facing higher interest rates even today….”

“We’re not going to monetize the debt,” Mr. Bernanke declared flatly, stressing that Congress needs to start making plans to bring down the deficit to avoid such a dangerous dilemma for the Fed.

It is very, very important for Congress and administration to come to some kind of program, some kind of plan that will credibly show how the United States government is going to bring itself back to a sustainable position.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

In Massachusetts a Vestry mulls St. James' fate

The vestry of St. James Episcopal Church is expected today to decide the fate of the 150-year-old Main Street landmark.

Portions of the church’s walls caved in during the summer of 2008, forcing the congregation to hold services at other locations in town.

Now, after receiving a report on cost estimates for refurbishing the building, located on the corner of Main Street and Taconic Avenue, the vestry, a group comprised of parishioners, will decide from three options — repair the facility; demolish the buildings and erect a new structure; or sell the property with or without the existing buildings.

More time may be needed

The Rev. Frances A. Hills, the church’s rector, said the 10-member vestry will probably decide today which option — or a possible combination of options — to go with, though more time may be needed.

“Hopefully we’ll have something, but we may decide that we need to discern a little longer,” said Hills.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

A Boy Raises A Man ”” And Becomes One Himself

Colbert Williams was just 16 when he became a father and then had to raise his son as a single dad. Now Colbert is 30, and his son, Nathan, is a teenager himself. Recently the pair talked about raising kids.

“What were you thinking when I was born?” Nathan, 15, asked.

“I guess as a 16-year-old who came from a situation where there wasn’t a father, you know, my confidence level was probably as low as it possibly could get because I realized that I was going to be responsible for some person,” Colbert said. “So I was scared.”

Fear was what made Colbert reach out for help. He attended parenting groups, hoping to learn how to take care of Nathan. And even though he stuck out a bit, the sessions gave him confidence.

I just love the picture–read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Men, Teens / Youth

CEN–Australians are first to take up Pope’s offer:

Pope Benedict XVI’s offer of an enclave for disaffected Anglican traditionalists has been taken up by Forward in Faith-Australia (FiFA), which has voted to begin work on creating a “Personal Ordinariate” for Australia.

On Feb 13, a special general meeting for the members of the Anglo-Catholic group held at All Saints Kooyong in Melbourne unanimously adopted four resolutions backing the move to Rome.

It empowered its National Council “to foster by every means the establishing of an Ordinariate in Australia”; welcomed the appoint of the Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne Peter Elliott as the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s envoy, endorsed the formation of a working group to “set in train the processes necessary” to establish the Ordinariate; and invited Catholic minded Anglicans to join them in their quest for corporate reunion with Rome.

Read it all.

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