Daily Archives: March 21, 2010

David Brooks–The Broken Society

The United States is becoming a broken society. The public has contempt for the political class. Public debt is piling up at an astonishing and unrelenting pace. Middle-class wages have lagged. Unemployment will remain high. It will take years to fully recover from the financial crisis.

This confluence of crises has produced a surge in vehement libertarianism. People are disgusted with Washington. The Tea Party movement rallies against big government, big business and the ruling class in general. Even beyond their ranks, there is a corrosive cynicism about public action.

But there is another way to respond to these problems that is more communitarian and less libertarian. This alternative has been explored most fully by the British writer Phillip Blond….

To create a civil state, Blond would reduce the power of senior government officials and widen the discretion of front-line civil servants, the people actually working in neighborhoods. He would decentralize power, giving more budget authority to the smallest units of government. He would funnel more services through charities. He would increase investments in infrastructure, so that more places could be vibrant economic hubs. He would rebuild the “village college” so that universities would be more intertwined with the towns around them.

Essentially, Blond would take a political culture that has been oriented around individual choice and replace it with one oriented around relationships and associations….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Politics in General

I.M.F. Warns Wealthy Nations on Debt

The global economic crisis has left “deep scars” in the fiscal balances of the world’s advanced economies, which should begin to rein in spending next year as the recovery continues, the No.2 official at the International Monetary Fund said Sunday in Beijing.

In a speech at the China Development Forum in Beijing, the I.M.F. official, John Lipsky, who is the deputy managing director, offered a grim prognosis for the world’s wealthiest countries, which are at a level of indebtedness not seen since the aftermath of World War II.

For the United States, “a higher public savings rate will be required to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability,” Mr. Lipsky said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops’ final plea to Congress: Do not pass pro-abortion health care bill

In a final, urgent plea to prevent the passage of the current form of the Senate health care bill, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Saturday evening sent a letter to Congressmen asking them to vote “no.”

“For decades,” the letter says, “the United States Catholic bishops have supported universal health care. The Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity.”

“Our community of faith,” the bishops continue, “provides health care to millions, purchases health care for tens of thousands and addresses the failings of our health care system in our parishes, emergency rooms and shelters. This is why we as bishops continue to insist that health care reform which truly protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all is a moral imperative and an urgent national priority.”

Nevertheless, they add, “we are convinced that the Senate legislation now presented to the House of Representatives on a ”˜take it or leave it’ basis sadly fails this test and ought to be opposed.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Senate

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: The Real Arithmetic of Health Care Reform

On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that, if enacted, the latest health care reform legislation would, over the next 10 years, cost about $950 billion, but because it would raise some revenues and lower some costs, it would also lower federal deficits by $138 billion. In other words, a bill that would set up two new entitlement spending programs ”” health insurance subsidies and long-term health care benefits ”” would actually improve the nation’s bottom line.

Could this really be true? How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?

The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.

In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Notable and Quotable

This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. For me, it is a deep personal tragedy. I know that the world shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help and God’s.

–Then Vice-President Lyndon Johnson on November 22, 1963 speaking of the death of John F. Kennedy. These 58 words were drafter by Liz Carpenter, an aide to the Vice President at the time

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Politics in General

Liz Carpenter RIP

Liz Carpenter, a Texas humorist and women’s rights crusader who trolled the corridors of power in Washington as a journalist and trusted aide to Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, never shedding her common touch and flair as a friend-maker, party-thrower and mentor, died Saturday morning in Austin. She was 89.

Carpenter, who had been suffering from pneumonia, died at University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin, her daughter Christy Carpenter told The Associated Press.

Liz Carpenter, who was in President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, penned the 58 words Mr. Johnson spoke to a grief-stricken nation as he arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., hours after Kennedy’s assassination elevated him to the country’s highest office.

“I will do my best,” Mr. Johnson concluded. “That is all I can do. I ask for your help, and God’s.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Media, Office of the President, Politics in General, Women

Detroit Free Press–Churches get creative to add men

Growing up the son of a Detroit pastor in the 1970s, Bishop Charles Ellis III says he remembers sitting in pews where there was a fairly even mix of men and women.

But today, the head of Greater Grace Temple in Detroit looks out over his flock on Sunday mornings and gazes at a scene where women outnumber men about 2-1. The demographic shift worries him and other Christians looking for ways to draw men back to church.

Nationwide, 61% of those who attend church are women, while 39% are men, according to the U.S. Congregational Life Survey in 2009. The divide is even greater in some African-American and mainline Protestant congregations.

To bridge the gap, churches are developing nontraditional programs to reach out to men ”” from sponsoring hunting trips and car clubs to holding annual men’s conferences. Some have toughened their messages to emphasize power, using masculine imagery in their services.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Men, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since thou hast spoken to thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Another Prayer for Lent

O God, who by the cross and passion of thy Son Jesus Christ didst save and deliver mankind: Grant that by steadfast faith in the merits of that holy sacrifice we may find help and salvation, and may triumph in the power of his victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

One Episcopal Rector Writes his Parish About recent Anglican Developments

This was an accident waiting to happen. In a way it is almost surprising that it took seven years from the ordination of Gene Robinson, a partnered gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire, for a second such incident to occur. That event has been seen as tearing the fabric of the Anglican Communion, which has been held together in little more than name ever since. Is this the final nail in the coffin? Will the Anglican Communion be torn apart by intractable divisions?

The fourth Anglican Global South to South Encounter is set to take place in Singapore, April 19-23. The current situation in the Episcopal Church is not their principal focus. Yet they represent the large and growing majority of Anglicans in the world, and the primates (archbishops) and others who will be present are unequivocally committed to Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth conference of bishops, which remains the official position of the Anglican Communion….

Many of the provinces (national church bodies) represented at this Global South encounter are already out of communion with the Episcopal Church or in “impaired communion”. Please pray for these godly brothers and sisters as they prepare for this important gathering.

Pray also for the Archbishop of Canterbury, and also for the godly bishops who still remain in the Episcopal Church, such as our own Visitor Bishop, Russell Jacobus of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. And let us believe that the God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead is more than able to bring light into this dark turn of events, to bring good out of evil, and breathe life into a culture of death.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes

Wyoming diocese elects John Sheridan Smylie as ninth Episcopal bishop

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

Edmonton Journal–McCauley's historic Anglican church faces wrecking ball

St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, at 10909 96th St., was scheduled to be knocked down this past Wednesday. The Anglican diocese wants to clear the property and sell the 6,600-square-foot double lot as a building site. It’s asking $475,000 for the land, which is currently zoned for a duplex.

Late Tuesday, hours before demolition was to start, the diocese agreed to give McCauley activists and heritage buffs a two-week reprieve. They now have until Easter to find a buyer with the will and means to effect the building’s resurrection.

The little red brick church, with its Tudor-style wood beam accents, was built in 1914, which makes it the second-oldest Anglican church in the city. For years, it served the diocese’s Anglo-Catholic community, but the congregation had dwindled to only some 50 members. The diocese says the building’s original brick foundation has badly deteriorated, as has the exterior mortar.

Diocese executive officer David Connell says it didn’t make sense to pay for the expensive repairs the building requires. Connell is “ambivalent” about knocking down the church, but his big regret is that it wasn’t demolished in November, as originally planned.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

KingsLynn: Two Episcopal Church Statistics Charts that Say a Lot

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