Daily Archives: June 17, 2010

More Than 90 Banks Miss TARP Payments

More than 90 U.S. banks and thrifts missed making a May 17 payment to the U.S. government under its main bank bailout program, signaling a rising number of lenders are struggling to meet their obligations.

The statistics, compiled by SNL Financial from U.S. Treasury data, showed 91 banks and thrifts skipped the May dividend payment under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. It was the first missed payment for 23 of the banks; for the others, it was at least their second miss.

The number of banks missing their TARP payments rose for the third straight quarter. In February, 74 banks deferred their payments; 55 deferred last November.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Banking System/Sector

Living Church: Communion Tensions Echo at Executive Council

Bishop Jefferts Schori said in her opening remarks that her June 13 homily at Southwark Cathedral in London, England, had been controversial. Later, in closed session, she revealed that Lambeth Palace had ordered her not to wear her mitre (because the Church of England is still debating the consecration of women bishops) and had required her to provide evidence of her ordination as deacon, priest, and bishop. Providing this evidence is a standard requirement for overseas clergy who apply to officiate in the United Kingdom.

Recent tensions have affected the way that the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations plans to address ecumenical relationships. At an afternoon meeting of the world mission committee, Breuer reported that the commission wants to maintain ecumenical conversations with other church bodies, “even if the Anglican Communion Office does not.”

The committee has proposed that approximately $15,000 should be taken from the Episcopal Church’s Anglican Communion Office funding to strengthen the Episcopal Church’s ecumenical relationships. Breuer said the intention would still be to work through the Anglican Communion Office “insofar as possible,” but that “We will not say [in our ecumenical conversations], ”˜We have no need of you’ because the Anglican Communion Office says to us ”˜We have no need of you.’”

The proposal to redirect funds met with some skepticism. “I think we’ll produce massive confusion if we say, ”˜If we can’t do our international conversations one way, we’ll take the money from the Anglican Communion Office and do them another way,’” said the Rev. Canon Mark Harris of Delaware.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Praying for peace on city streets of Boston

In a gesture borne of frustration and faith, a group of clergy from across Boston gathered in the City Council chamber yesterday to ask God for peace on the city’s streets.

“The violence in the neighborhood in which we serve is intolerable,’’ said the Rev. Cathy H. George of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Upham’s Corner. “And it wouldn’t be put up with anywhere else that I’ve ever been in the state.’’

The City Council opens each of its weekly meetings with a prayer, but yesterday, in a show of concern about a wave of violence in which five people under 16 have been shot this spring, Council President Michael P. Ross and Councilor at Large Ayanna Pressley asked a number of clergy to come and pray.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Violence

ENS–Executive Council begins three-day meeting

Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies and council vice president, yielded the majority of her time for opening remarks to Diocese of San Joaquin Provisional Bishop Jerry Lamb who updated the council on the work to rebuild the central California diocese since the group met there in January 2009.

“I want to tell you clearly and loudly that the clergy and laity of the Diocese of San Joaquin are committed to the Episcopal Church and to the Episcopal sense of what it is to be God’s people,” he said.

He said that the Episcopalians who remained after the former leadership and a majority of its members joined in December 2007 the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone have tried to reconcile, revive, renew and rebuild. Lamb said that efforts to reconcile with those who left “bore very, very little fruit” but that 21 worshipping communities have reformed and 18 of them have shown “significant but slow growth.”

“They are becoming much, much stronger,” Lamb said.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

World Cup boosts May UK retail sales

UK retail sales rose strongly in May, with analysts citing the World Cup as the main reason for the pick-up.

Sales volumes rose by a bigger-than-expected 0.6% from April, helped by a 1.7% jump in household goods sales and a 1% increase in food sales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Analysts said sales of televisions and food ahead of the World Cup had boosted the figures.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Sports

Danielle Nierenberg and Abby Massey: In a world of abundance, food waste is a crime

What does the U.S. have in common with countries in sub-Saharan Africa?

Both waste large, obscene amounts of food. Better knowledge and technology would reduce food waste, deter environmental damage and, especially in that region of the African continent, reduce the number of people who go hungry each day.

In sub-Saharan Africa, at least 265 million people are hungry, heightening the travesty of the food waste problem. More than a quarter of the food produced in Africa spoils before it is eaten. Farmers battle post-harvest losses caused by severe weather, disease and pests, or poor harvesting and storage techniques. Annual post-harvest losses for cereal grains, roots and tuber crops, fruits, vegetables, meat, milk and fish amount to some 100 million tons, or $48 million worth of food.

To prevent these losses in Africa and elsewhere, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is trying to provide the information and technology to begin turning this tide….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Poverty

Germans Clamor for Change, Poll Finds

Nearly half of Germans want a change in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition government, with one out of five wanting her to resign and call new elections, the latest poll showed Wednesday.

The findings in the poll conducted by Forsa for Stern weekly news magazine showed that a further 22% want back the grand coalition of conservative parties and the Social Democrats, which Ms. Merkel headed in the previous legislative term.

Just 8% said the chancellor can continue governing as she has done since the coalition won the elections in September.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, Germany, Politics in General

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: The euro mutiny begins

The rebellion against the 1930s fiscal and monetary policies of the Euro-complex is gathering pace.

Il Sole has published a letter by 100 Italian economists warning that the austerity strategy imposed by Brussels/Frankfurt risks tipping Europe into a self-feeding downward spiral. Far from holding the eurozone together, it will cause weaker countries to be catapulted out of EMU. Others will leave in order to restore sovereign control over their central banks and unemployment policies.

At worst it will blow the EU apart, leading to the very acrimony that the European Project was supposed to prevent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Spain, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Local Paper Editorial on the Gulf oil Spill: Why we're in so deep

…beyond speculation about this crisis’ political impact lies re-confirmation of this far more critical reality: As the oil appetite of the world (not just the U.S.) continues to grow, the difficulty in finding enough to go around is growing, too.

Oil will remain an indispensable energy source for decades to come. America must boost domestic production of it within reasonable regulations.

But the Gulf mess is a vivid reminder of the environmental — and economic — hazards of offshore drilling. Those risks are particularly pertinent for South Carolina. We depend heavily on tourism dollars generated by our healthy beaches and coastal wetlands. It’s discouraging to see some of our state’s prominent elected officials, including both of our U.S. senators, remaining supportive of drilling off our precious shores. It’s also frustrating to see so many Americans buying into the myth that “environmental chic” is to blame for the Gulf catastrophe — and for our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

Long ago, oil virtually leaked from the ground in Texas and Oklahoma. Now it leaks in massive quantities from a mile below the water in the Gulf.

And now we must develop new sources of energy — and a stronger commitment to conservation.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Energy, Natural Resources, Politics in General

ENS–Lambeth Palace tells presiding bishop not to wear symbol of office

(ENS) When Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached and presided at a Eucharist June 13 at Southwark Cathedral in London, she carried her mitre, or bishop’s hat, rather than wear it.

She did so in order to comply with a “statement” from Lambeth Palace, the London home of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, that said “that I was not to wear a mitre at Southwark Cathedral,” Jefferts Schori told the Executive Council June 16 on the first day of its three-day meeting here.

Jefferts Schori made her remarks to council during a “private conversation” session attended by council members and church center staff, and later told ENS it could report her remarks.

The Church of England ordains women to the diaconate and the priesthood, but does not allow women to be bishops. Its General Synod is due to consider legislation to change that policy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

Virginia Supreme Court sends church property case back to lower court

The diocese considers this a small victory, and the Anglican District refuses to view it as a total loss.

“On reflection, the ruling actually supports several of the things that we were claiming, most significantly that there has in fact been a division in the church,” said Jim Oakes, chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia. “This is a very long way from a situation in which they won and we lost.”

Henry Burt, secretary of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, said, “There’s no question that several of our congregations left the diocese. But this is not a fractured church.”
Burt said the division didn’t count as an official split in the church because “these churches decided to leave for an organization that had been set up before they decided to leave.”

Until the final decision, both sides will remain in limbo.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Walter Russell Mead: Turkey Still Needs The West

In an earlier post, I wrote about the emergence of Turkey and Brazil on the world stage. Since then, the ”˜terrible twins’ voted against the Security Council’s latest set of (almost certainly ineffective) sanctions against Iran. The Obama administration had worked hard to get both countries on board; their rebuff dramatized the limits of President Obama’s clout ”” but their isolation on the Security Council (the sanctions carried 12-2-1, with only intimidated Lebanon abstaining) dramatically illustrated something else: the impotence of the terrible twins. Brazilian President Lula and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan spoke out, but nobody listened.

Brazil and Turkey are learning something that more experienced world players already know: it is easier to make a splash than to make a change, easier to grab a headline than to set an agenda. Both countries can expect a rocky ride for some time; the democratic forces propelling new parties and new movements to the fore reflect domestic constituencies, domestic ideas and, in some cases, domestic fantasies about how the world works. Developing viable foreign policies that take those interests and values into account, but also respond to the realities and necessities of the international system will take time and take thought. At this point, it seems clear that neither the Brazilian nor the Turkish administrations have mastered the challenge.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, Foreign Relations, South America, Turkey

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer in the Morning

We give thee hearty thanks, O heavenly Father, for the rest of the past night, and for the gift of a new day, with its opportunities of pleasing thee. Grant that we may so pass its hours in the perfect freedom of thy service, that at eventide we may again give thanks unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Daybreak Office of the Eastern Church

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

AP: Lawmaker asks state police to probe SC primary

South Carolina state police should investigate how the unemployed winner of the state’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary paid his filing fee of more than $10,000, after claiming indigency and being appointed a public defender to represent him in a court case, a state lawmaker says.

“There are several questions regarding the filing fee paid for by Mr. Alvin Greene,” Republican Rep. Chip Limehouse wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd.

Greene, a 32-year-old political unknown, stunned the party establishment when he defeated former state lawmaker Vic Rawl in the June 8 primary to see who would face GOP U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, the heavy favorite in the fall.

Ugh and yuck. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Senate, State Government