Daily Archives: June 19, 2010

Chris Farrell–The Most Damaging U.S. Deficit: Trust

That said, the most worrisome long-term economic impact of the Gulf spill lies elsewhere: The catastrophe is adding to the gradual erosion in trust in U.S. professional elites and major institutions, from government to business. It has hardly inspired confidence to watch the White House scramble to prove that President Barack Obama wasn’t as detached from the crisis as he often seemed, or to witness the inability of the world’s best oil engineers to stop the underwater gusher.

Confidence in the economy’s commanding heights has taken a beating following a long run of scandals and malfeasance. The list includes everything from the Enron and Worldcom failures, Bernie Madoff’s massive fraud, the subprime loan mess, the government rescues of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG (AIG), the controversy surrounding Goldman Sachs’ (GS) collateralized debt obligations, and so on. The Tea Party movement may grab all the attention with its antigovernment rhetoric, but surveys have repeatedly shown that its sentiment is widely shared. For instance, a series of long-run surveys by the Pew Research Center find that only 22 percent of those surveyed say they can trust government. That’s about the lowest measure in half a century. The ratings are similarly abysmal for large corporations and banks and other financial institutions: respectively 25 percent and 22 percent.

Trust isn’t as easy to measure as land, labor, and capital. It’s more like a recipe or a software protocol that allows for economic exchange and all kinds of innovation. Nobel Prize Laureate Kenneth Arrow famously remarked that “virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust.” Societies with high levels of trust are fertile ground for developing large corporations and innovative enterprises. Low-trust societies feature people who don’t like to do business with folks outside their family or community; smaller, family-run companies are the norm.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, Theology

NY Times Letters: Tests That Induce Educators to Cheat

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

RNS: Pope unlikely to grant bishop's request to be reinstated

Pope Benedict XVI will meet a German bishop who resigned in April following allegations that he hit children, but is unlikely to consider the bishop’s request to be reinstated, the Vatican said Wednesday (June 16).

Bishop Walter Mixa, who admitted to striking children in the 1970s and ’80s, told the German daily Die Welt he had been pressured into signing a resignation letter and now wants his old job back.

“I can confirm that the pope will have an audience with Monsignor Mixa,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said, “but the acceptance of the resignation as Augsburg bishop is not expected to be up for discussion.”

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

WSJ: For Europe's Best, A Beastly Showing

The World Cup isn’t supposed to be like this.

For all that soccer is known as the “beautiful game,” this tournament has typically offered little for romantics: In this sport, the favorites usually win””and when it comes to the world’s most coveted trophy, that means Europe.

Home to the best professional leagues and the biggest superstars, half of the 18 World Cups have been won by European countries. You’ve got to go back to 1950 to find the last time a team from this continent failed to make the final. But as the 2010 World Cup entered its second week, England was held to a 0-0 draw by lowly Algeria””one of the country’s most embarrassing results in this tournament since its defeat by the United States in 1950. “We are not in a good moment,” said England coach Fabio Capello. “I don’t know if it’s the pressure but it’s not the team I know.”

The long list of underachievers from the old world already comprises France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and””after its shock defeat by Serbia early Friday””Germany.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Globalization, Sports

Independent: Dire England in chaos ”“ and with one last shot at salvation

Somewhere along the road from Andorra to Croatia, Ukraine and all places in between, Fabio Capello has lost the team that qualified for this World Cup in such decisive style and has in their place the insipid side of England past: the team of Euro 2008 failure, of big tournament paralysis and of the wasted golden generation.

Last night England were the nation’s collective worst nightmare, a sleepwalking shambles who are now third in group C and must face up to the prospect of World Cup elimination. They must beat Slovenia on Wednesday in Port Elizabeth to be sure of reaching the second round and to retain a chance of finishing top of the group. All we know of that is that nothing is certain any longer.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Globalization, Sports

FIFA Studies Referee's Call in Slovenia-U.S. Match

Mr. Coulibaly’s call, made in the 85th minute after the U.S. had recovered from a 2-0 deficit to draw even, remains a mystery. After Landon Donovan’s free kick from the right side and Maurice Edu’s deflection into the net for the apparent winning score, he refused to explain why he blew his whistle and disallowed the goal.

Slow-motion instant replays show Mr. Coulibaly starting to raise his hand and blow his whistle as Mr. Donovan approaches the ball. Mr. Coulibaly’s eyes are focused on the center of the penalty area where U.S. players Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, and Michael Bradley are all in contact with Slovenian defenders. Mr. Dempsey is closest to Mr. Coulibaly and appears to try to shove his defender aside as he begins a run for the goal, though such a move is typical on free kicks that are sent into the penalty area.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Sports

Living Church: Kenneth Kearon Defends Archbishop’s Decisions

The Rev. Jim Simons of Pennsylvania asked whether provinces “engag[ing] in ”¦ jurisdictional incursions” will face any discipline. He said the Southern Cone and the Province of Rwanda are “functioning in [the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh] without licenses and laying claim to some of our parishes ”¦ in clear violation of the canons.”

Canon Kearon responded that the Province of the Southern Cone has received a letter relating to these matters and “there is a deadline to this response.” He added that questions related to breaches of the third moratorium of the Windsor Report, which calls for an end to interventions in other provinces, “[have not] been answered by any [instruments] of the Anglican Communion” and he “would like to see it on the agenda of the Anglican Communion.”

Later, the secretary general said he believed “the Southern Cone has breached [the third moratorium]” but refrained from making a similar statement about Rwanda. “What would it mean to be out of fellowship with Rwanda?” he asked.

“I don’t think [Canon Kearon’s] responses clarified matters,” the Rev. Canon Mark Harris told The Living Church.

Sarah Dylan Breuer of Massachusetts said she felt disappointed, particularly over “remov[ing] people from [ecumenical] conversation,” but added: “We have opportunities to get creative.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President

William Hinrichs: The spirit always stays within us

Humans are body, mind and spirit. A body is something we can see, weigh, touch, and even decorate. A mind we can see in operation. We can measure intelligence and observe the inner workings of the brain through modern imaging.

There is, however, no CT scan of the spirit. Like the wind, it cannot be seen, but it is a strong force in our lives. We see evidence of the spirit in a parent’s love for a child. It motivates heroes, fuels curiosity of a scientist and sustains a Holocaust survivor. We see signs of the spirit in the mother who cannot recall her child’s name but can recite the 23rd Psalm and in the musician who cannot sing along with other residents in the nursing home but can whistle previously learned complex tunes.

There is still a person beneath the cloak of dementia. As an Episcopal priest who frequently interacts with people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, I ask myself, “How can we nourish the soul of someone whose memories are no longer accessible?” After 32 years of ordained ministry, I have found the answer lies in attentive and discerning listening. People with dementia will tell us how to nourish their souls, but we need to listen carefully.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology

In Western New York St. Mary’s on the Hill Episcopal Church site sold

The crumbling Episcopal church at Niagara and Vermont streets has been sold to a New York City business for $150,000 by the Bronx woman who acquired the property in a tax-foreclosure sale four years ago, according to Buffalo Housing Court Judge Henry J. Nowak.

The St. Mary’s on the Hill site was sold by Julia J. Myrie- Oyewo to Amansie Enterprises. As a result of the transaction, Nowak on Thursday placed the building code violation case on the court’s reserve calender, pending possible city action against the new owner.

Last Month, Nowak converted the unpaid $3,000 fine imposed on Myrie-Oyewo into a civil judgment. She had been sentenced in absentia to 30 days in jail April 27 and still faces that penalty. The new owners of the 117-year-old, three-building site, meanwhile, could face a fine.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry

Salt Lake City Tribune: TEC gains five new deacons, but paid positions can be hard to land

Incense, candles and joyful singing filled St. Mark’s Cathedral last weekend as the Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish celebrated one of her last official acts as Episcopal bishop of Utah: the ordination of five new deacons, four of them bound for the priesthood next year.

It’s almost an embarrassment of riches for the small diocese, and one that Irish, who is retiring in the fall, takes as a sign of the church’s health.

“We are poised in the best possible way,” Irish says, “to engage those who want to think their way through their faith.”

And yet even as an increasing number of Utah Episcopalians feel called to the ordained ministry, the church has fewer paid positions to offer. Two of the four new deacons who hoped to land paying clerical jobs have not found one.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

ENS: Secretary General says Episcopal Church should have expected consequences for LA actions

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, told the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council June 18 that when Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool was ordained as the church’s second openly gay, partnered bishop, the church ought to have known that it would face sanctions.

However, he said that in the recent removal of Episcopal Church members from some Anglican Communion ecumenical dialogues “the aim has not been to get at the Episcopal Church, but to find room for others to remain as well as enabling as full a participation as possible for the Episcopal Church within the communion.”

Kearon claimed that the communion’s ecumenical dialogues “are at the point of collapse” and said that the last meeting of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, of which Jefferts Schori is an elected member, “was probably the worst meeting I have experienced.”

“The viability of our meetings are at stake,” he added.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC)

(ENS): Executive Council sends message to the Episcopal Church

The 45-minute session on Friday with invited guest Canon Kenneth Kearon was carefully prepared for by the Standing Committee on World Mission, who wrote the thoughtful and substantive questions that made clear our commitment to being an inclusive church while also deeply committed to classic Anglicanism and deepening our relationship with our sisters and brothers across the Communion.

Canon Kearon began by describing the beginning of the current tensions as the increasing “problem of growth and diversity in the Anglican Communion.” This statement was significant to a body that has long seen diversity in the Body of Christ as an opportunity and has sought to base its actions on the baptismal promise that we will seek and serve Christ in all people and respect the dignity of every human being.

The questions sought clarification on the presenting issues, including the Archbishop of Canterbury’s removal of appointees from The Episcopal Church to ecumenical bodies and Canon Kearon’s statement that The Episcopal Church does not “share the faith and order of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion.” He also responded to concerns about incursions by other provinces of the Communion. He acknowledged that the Archbishop of Canterbury considers certain activities of the Province of the Southern Cone to constitute an incursion, but is awaiting clarification about the extent of these activities from the primate of that province. However, such ongoing breaches of the moratorium on incursions do not rise to the same level of departure from the faith and order of the Communion as does the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Christians.

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

Anglican Communion Institute: Statement on Election of Bishop Ian Douglas to the ACC

The Episcopal News Service has announced that Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut was elected by the Executive Council on June 18 to succeed Bishop Catherine Roskam as the episcopal representative from TEC on the Anglican Consultative Council. In addition, a presbyter, the Rev. Gay Jennings, was elected to the clerical seat on the ACC formerly held but since vacated by Bishop Douglas.

We note that until recently Bishop Douglas also held a presbyter seat on the Executive Council as well but he formally resigned that position in February in light of his anticipated consecration to the episcopate. He noted in his resignation letter that:

The reason for my resignation is my “translation” to a new order as a result of being elected to the episcopate in the Diocese of Connecticut. I thus can no longer serve as a presbyter elected by the General Convention to the Executive Council.

Although there has been public confusion on this issue, Bishop Douglas has stated that he did not send a similar letter to the ACC, notwithstanding his recognition that he “can no longer serve as a presbyter” and the confirmation now by Executive Council that his presbyter seat on the ACC is vacant and needed to be filled. Indeed, today Bonnie Anderson described both seats as “open.”

This recognition by the Executive Council that Bishop Douglas’s clerical seat has been vacated and the attempt to elect him to the episcopal seat have clear consequences under the ACC’s constitution and rules. The point at which Bishop Douglas’s clerical seat was vacated was his consecration to the episcopate in April, and accordingly he ceased to be a member of the ACC’s standing committee at that time. Restoration of the ACC’s credibility requires recognition of these facts notwithstanding TEC’s determination to flout the ACC rules.

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

Bus. Week: Kenneth Starr took money from rich clients and spent it on himself and 4th wife

His career famously came to an end last month when FBI agents arrived at his home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and found Starr hiding in a closet. His $7.5 million condominium, which he shared with his fourth wife, Diane Passage, a pole dancer, featured floor-to-ceiling windows, a granite lap pool, and a 1,500-square-foot garden, all allegedly financed with plundered cash. Ten days after his arrest, a grand jury indicted Starr for cheating 11 clients””Jim Wiatt, the former head of the William Morris Agency, and Uma Thurman among them””out of $59 million. Starr allegedly pocketed half that amount, while the other half was placed in investments in which he or his friends had a secret interest. Starr has denied wrongdoing and is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.

The Securities & Exchange Commission brought its own civil fraud lawsuit against Starr and Passage, seeking the return of tens of millions of dollars. The two haven’t yet responded to the SEC. A judge last week extended the freeze on the couple’s assets at a hearing attended by Passage, who looked uncharacteristically demure in a pink Vivienne Westwood cardigan and a black skirt. She declined all reporters’ questions except for one from Bloomberg Businessweek, about her age: “Thirty-four,” she said. “You can take a couple of years off that if you want to.”

The disintegration of Starr & Co., which once managed more than $700 million for about 175 wealthy individuals, exposes an uncomfortable truth about the elite crowd he preyed on””that these wealthy, supposedly sophisticated people could be such easy marks for fraud. The numbers involved are not on the scale of Bernie Madoff, but Starr shared Madoff’s ability to create an aura of exclusivity around himself that appealed to the elite””which was augmented by Starr’s attendance at prestigious business gatherings, such as Allen & Co. President Herbert Allen’s annual media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

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Posted in Uncategorized

England 0, Algeria 0

Oh my. To me the English team had no electricity. Ugh–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports