Daily Archives: April 20, 2010

NPR–Washington Girds For Deficit, Debt Debate

Washington is gearing up for a big debate: What to do about the exploding national debt, the unsustainable annual budget deficits and what to do about the Bush tax cuts that expire at the end of the year.

Alarm bells are ringing over the size of the national debt, now equal to 84 percent of the country’s gross national product — the highest level since after World War II. The credit-rating agency Moody’s is hinting that the federal treasury’s Triple A bond rating is in jeopardy and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is warning that China, the United States’ largest foreign creditor, may start charging higher interest rates.

“The arithmetic is, unfortunately, quite clear,” Bernanke said. “To avoid large and unsustainable budget deficits, the nation will ultimately have to choose among higher taxes, modifications to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, less spending on everything else from education to defense, or some combination of the above.

“These choices are difficult, and it always seems easier to put them off — until the day they cannot be put off any more.”

Read or listen to it all.

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

Global South Fourth South to South Encounter Videos

Check them out from Anglican TV.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010, Media

NPR–Teen Texting Soars; Will Social Skills Suffer?

For America’s teens, cell phones have become a vital social tool and texting the preferred mode of communication, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

The report finds that 75 percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 now have cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004. And the number who say they text-message daily has shot up to 54 percent from 38 percent in just the past 18 months.

“There’s now an expectation that teens will contact each other via text, and they expect a kind of constant, frequent response,” says the Pew Center’s Amanda Lenhart, one of the study’s authors.

The survey, which was conducted with scholars from the University of Michigan, finds the typical American teen sends 50 texts a day, and a sizable number send double that or more. Some teens text their parents, though most youngsters say they prefer to speak with them by phone.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

AP–In Malta, tearful pope says church will better protect youth

Pope Benedict XVI met Sunday with a group of clerical sex-abuse victims and told them with tears in his eyes that the Catholic Church would seek justice for pedophile priests and implement “effective measures” to protect young people from abuse, the Vatican and victims said.

Benedict expressed his “shame and sorrow” at the pain the men and their families suffered and prayed with them during the meeting at the Vatican’s embassy in Malta, the Vatican said.

It was the first time Benedict had met with abuse victims since the worldwide clerical abuse scandal engulfed the Vatican earlier this year, and it marked his most personal and forceful statement on the spiraling scandal since a letter to Irish faithful a month ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Cherie Wetzel–Singapore: Those in attendance

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010

GSE4–Covenants for the Peoples: Thematic Address 2 – Archbishop John Chew

Covenant is obviously a very key central biblical concept. Our intent is however specific and limited for our gathering.

My intention is to try digging into the deep core pulse of the covenant reality in the God-Israel relationship and its working out or otherwise of its vocational existence.

While the paper’s focus is not on the challenges and crisis of the Anglican Communion, it is inevitable some reflections and comments would be made to it, with particular reference to the vocation of the Global South as our evolved existence since 1994 has defined it, and now in its fellowship with the wider orthodox family in the Communion….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010, The Anglican Church in South East Asia, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop of Canterbury: Video Address to the Global South Gathering

He went on to say that the Anglican Communion had been reflecting on the need for a covenant “in the light of confusion, brokenness and tension within our Anglican family ”“ brokenness and a tension that has been made still more acute by recent decisions in some of our Provinces.?

“In all your minds there will be questions around the election and consecration of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles. All of us share the concern that in this decision and action the Episcopal Church has deepened the divide between itself and the rest of the Anglican family. And as I speak to you now, I am in discussion with a number of people around the world about what consequences might follow from that decision, and how we express the sense that most Anglicans will want to express, that this decision cannot speak for our common mind.

“But I hope also in your thinking about this and in your reacting to it, you’ll bear in mind that there are no quick solutions for the wounds of the Body of Christ. It is the work of the Spirit that heals the Body of Christ, not the plans or the statements of any group, or any person, or any instrument of communion. Naturally we seek to minimize the damage, to heal the hurts, to strengthen our mission, to make sure that it goes forward with integrity and conviction.? Naturally, there are decisions that have to be taken.? But at the same time we must all…share in a sense of repentance and willingness to be renewed by the Spirit.

Read it carefully and read it all and note if you desire to you can watch the full address on video there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Christian Post–Southern Anglican Leaders Open Fourth Meeting in Distress

A historic gathering of worldwide Anglican leaders started yesterday at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. But the fourth ‘Anglican Global South to South Encounter’ (GS4E) was already marked by intense feelings of distress.

The Anglican Global South, grouping 20 provinces in the southern hemisphere, represents three-quarters of the 75 million Anglicans around the world.

“My sisters and brothers from around the world, I am troubled, I am sad; in fact I am confused,” said newly retired Nigerian Archbishop Peter J Akinola.

Speaking at the opening service, Bishop Akinola traced the recent history of the inability of the Anglican Communion to resolve its theological-ethical crisis.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010

ENS–General Theological Seminary says it may have to sell property to pay bills

The executive committee of General Theological Seminary’s board of trustees said April 19 that the school may have to sell some of its property to raise enough money in order to pay its bills after mid-November.

The Rev. Canon Denis O’Pray, chair of the trustees, said in a news release that the committee considered merger or collaboration with other entities, as well as the likelihood of “immediate philanthropy,” before coming to the conclusion that selling property was the “most reasonable source” of money. He did not say what property might be sold.

The executive committee concluded that the school’s “first priority” must be to “develop a source of immediate cash relief so that seminary operations can continue and debt be serviced until a long-term strategic financial plan can be designed and implemented,” O’Pray said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship, Theology

Diocese of Rochester Episcopal Priest to Marry same Sex Partner

The Very Rev. J. Brad Benson, rector of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, plans to get married this summer in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.

“After twenty years of loving relationship, my partner Carl Johengen and I have decided that it is time that we were legally married,” he wrote in the church’s most recent newsletter.

The St. Thomas rector explained that he has begun to see the word “marriage” in purely legal terms and has come to realize that he and his partner “need” the legal rights and responsibilities afforded in a marriage.

“No one questions the rights and responsibilities of a married couple; simply saying, ‘I’m his wife’ or ‘I’m her husband’ opens many legal doors,” he stated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Local Paper Front Page: the South Carolina Lowcountry Economy is Showing signs of recovery

Signals of a long-awaited economic recovery are popping up in South Carolina and across the country for the first time in about two years.

Economists point to a series of bright spots, including one that the state has most been waiting on, an easing in the rate that workers are losing their jobs each month.

The good news on the national scene is a jump in the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators, a gauge of future activity, that is up 1.4 percent in March, the fastest pace of growth in 10 months.

To Mary Graham, senior vice president of public policy of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, summarizing the early stages of the recovery is easy: ‘We have stopped going in the wrong direction.’

The statewide unemployment rate ”” 12.2 percent in March ”” is down slightly after spending a year at levels not reached since the Great Depression and among the highest levels in the nation. That couples five-straight months of statewide job growth.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy

Peter Edwards: Despite the scandals, Churches continue to protect the weak and comfort the miserable

…Christians are fighting an uphill battle for recognition. There are signs, however, that society is beginning to take more notice of Church leaders for positive reasons ”“ and the proof of this is in Yorkshire. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, was right to use Holy Week to urge the Church of England to use pubs to get its message across ”“ however much it confused traditional worshippers.

We are all too familiar with studies showing Britons pay remarkably little attention to Easter. The latest of this type showed that more than half of six to 10-year-olds are unaware of its religious significance. So reaching out, as Dr Sentamu is trying to do, is vital. It’s not just in the local hostelry, however, that new audiences can be found. It’s also in the boardroom. That’s why the diocese of Ripon and Leeds appointed the Rev Rob Hinton as its first minister to the business community. When I met him, he pointed out that simply yelling at bankers ”“ much as it sounds good fun ”“ will not make them change their ways, and that it is understanding which helps people live their lives differently.

It’s an unfashionable view but he’s right. Even more unorthodox, however, was the now infamous Nativity sermon from a York parish priest, which was dubbed “Thou shalt steal”. Father Tim Jones’ message ”“ that stealing from large national chains could sometimes be justified for vulnerable people ”“ rather got lost in the outrage that followed, which reached its height when a man threw a bucket of spaghetti and ravioli at him. But he had a point, even if he expressed it badly. Stealing is wrong, but if you are homeless, starving and cold it could be the seen as the least-worst option. Rather that than breaking into somebody’s home.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Charlie Rose: A look at the film 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” is the first book in Stieg Larsson’s millennium trilogy. First published in 2005, the novels are a literary phenomenon selling more than 30 million copies worldwide. The film adaptation, directed by Niels Arden Oplev, is setting records as well. It has grossed more than $100 million globally and was the top-grossing film in Europe last year. Here is a look at the film.

[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”] has become an international sensation. Her secrets have captivated millions. The story is a literary and movie phenomenon. This year, meet “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE ROSE: Tell me why this — the “Millennium Trilogy” has become such a sensation?

NIELS ARDEN OPLEV, FILMMAKER: Well, I think that if you look at the book first, Larsson wrote a book, the first book he wrote is really a classic investigating story. The plot is nearly Agatha Christie kind of plot–

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes.

NIELS ARDEN OPLEV: –rich family, far up north, it’s freezing cold, dark, dark secrets….

Please note-Elizabeth and I went to see this last evening. It is a dark, dense, mysterious and immensely powerful movie that it is ONLY appropriate for adult audiences.

This fine interview (best seen after the film) lasts 27 1/2 minutes–watch it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Movies & Television, Sweden

Mood Is Dark as Israel Marks 62nd Year as a Nation

Every year, Israelis approach the joy of their Independence Day right after immersing themselves in a 24-hour period of grief for fallen soldiers. Before the fireworks burst across the skies Monday night to celebrate the country’s 62nd birthday, the airwaves filled with anguished stories of servicemen and -women killed, the Kaddish prayer of mourning and speeches placing the deeply personal losses of a small country into the sweep of Jewish history.

So there is nothing new or unusual about Israelis’ marking their collective accomplishments with sorrow and concern. It happens all the time, especially among those on the political left who are angry that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians shows no sign of ending.

But there is something about the mood this year that feels darker than usual. It has a bipartisan quality to it. Both left and right are troubled, and both largely about the same things, especially the Iranian nuclear program combined with growing tensions with the Obama administration.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, History, Israel, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology

Israeli Angered at British Ad Ban

A British decision to ban an Israeli tourism ad because it includes holy sites in disputed territory has angered Israel’s supporters.

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority nixed an ad sponsored by Israel’s tourist agency after it received a complaint that the photograph featured the Western Wall in East Jerusalem, according to ASA’s Web site.

The complainant “challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that East Jerusalem was part of the State of Israel,” the ASA said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Israel, Middle East, Travel