Daily Archives: March 3, 2011

Peggy Noonan–The Internet Helps Us Get Serious

I was talking the other day with a new member of the U.S. Senate, and conversation turned to what had surprised him most in his first months on Capitol Hill. He said it was the number of people who still don’t seem to understand that we’re in crisis, that if we don’t move now on spending, it could do us in.

I’m always surprised when I hear this, yet I’ve heard it a lot. “There’s no sense of urgency up here.”

[Why is This?]

I think some of the answer has to do with what, for lack of a better word, I’ll call crisis-ism. This is a condition in which you don’t know you’re in crisis because you’re always in crisis, you’ve always been in crisis, and you’ve always gotten through, so what the heck. Crisis-ism is the inability to apprehend that this time it’s different, that this time the crisis is an actual crisis….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Thomas Friedman on Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Beyond–This Is Just the Start

Future historians will long puzzle over how the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in protest over the confiscation of his fruit stand, managed to trigger popular uprisings across the Arab/Muslim world. We know the big causes ”” tyranny, rising food prices, youth unemployment and social media. But since being in Egypt, I’ve been putting together my own back-of-the-envelope guess list of what I’d call the “not-so-obvious forces” that fed this mass revolt. Here it is….

THE BEIJING OLYMPICS China and Egypt were both great civilizations subjected to imperialism and were both dirt poor back in the 1950s, with China even poorer than Egypt, Edward Goldberg, who teaches business strategy, wrote in The Globalist. But, today, China has built the world’s second-largest economy, and Egypt is still living on foreign aid. What do you think young Egyptians thought when they watched the dazzling opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics? China’s Olympics were another wake-up call ”” “in a way that America or the West could never be” ”” telling young Egyptians that something was very wrong with their country, argued Goldberg….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Africa, Asia, Bahrain, Blogging & the Internet, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Israel, Libya, Middle East, Politics in General, Saudi Arabia, Science & Technology, Sports, Tunisia

(NPR) Yemen Unrest A Worry For Counterterrorism Experts

Ask counterterrorism experts what country in the Arab world worries them most and they say ”” hands down ”” that it is Yemen.

“I would put Yemen at the top of the list in part because there is so much direct concern about al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] trying to target and attack the United States,” says Juan Zarate, a former deputy national security adviser for terrorism. “The reality is that AQAP is a viable network and group. Even if the numbers aren’t in the thousands, just a few hundred of those types with the right kind of leadership training and inspiration can do quite a bit of damage.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Terrorism, Yemen

(Watershed Post) Judge: Town's treatment of pagans may be discrimination

A judge has found that a group of self-described witches may have gotten special treatment from the town of Catskill ”“ and not in a good way.

In a strongly-worded decision issued on Tuesday, Judge George J. Pulver, Jr. of the Greene County Supreme County ruled that the town’s denial of a property tax exemption for the Maetreum of Cybele smacks of discrimination.

“Consistent with [the Matreum’s] claim that it is being discriminated against, respondents’ counsel attempts to hold petitioner to a higher standard than other religious organizations,” Pulver wrote in the decision, a copy of which was obtained by the Watershed Post.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

Alex Trimpe–The World Is Obsessed With Facebook

The World Is Obsessed With Facebook from Alex Trimpe on Vimeo.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, Psychology, Science & Technology

(AP) Germany: Islamism behind attack on U.S. forces

The attack on a busload of U.S. Air Force troops at Frankfurt airport that killed two is being investigated as a possible act of Islamic terrorism, German federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Two airmen were also wounded late Wednesday when a man identified as a 21-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo fired on the servicemen at close range. His family said the young man worked at Frankfurt airport and was a devout Muslim.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Germany, Islam, Military / Armed Forces, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(Politico) Poll shows Americans confused by budget

Americans have no idea where the federal government spends its money, a new poll suggests.

Among likely voters surveyed late last month by the Tarrance Group, “[t]here are widespread misperceptions about the state of the federal budget,” the Republican pollsters concluded. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said they believe the federal government spends more on defense and foreign aid than it does on Medicare and Social Security. In fiscal 2010, spending for those two social programs totaled more than $1.1 trillion, while the Pentagon’s budget was about $660 billion and the State Department’s total spending was just under $52 billion.

A majority of those surveyed by Tarrance also have “incorrect” views on how to cut the federal deficit, with 60 percent saying the federal budget’s problems can be ameliorated by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. The Government Accountability Office on Tuesday released a report detailing several billion dollars’ worth of “duplication” in government spending that could be cut. But even if the totals reach the tens of billions of dollars, they would still be a drop in the bucket of President Barack Obama’s proposed $3.73 trillion in spending for fiscal 2012.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(Guardian Datablog) EU arms exports to Libya: who armed Gaddafi?

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Libya

Time Magazine: How Germany Became the China of Europe

Germany’s revival has reversed its role in Europe. Less than a decade ago, Germany was a bumbling behemoth beset by chronic unemployment and pathetic growth. As its more aggressive neighbors such as Spain, Britain and Ireland rode the craze in global finance to stellar performances, they looked at Germany as their stodgy old uncle, unable to change outdated, socialist habits and adapt to a new world. But the financial crisis proved just the opposite. While Spain, Ireland and other former euro-zone highflyers tumble into debt crises, victims of excessive exuberance and risky policies, a steady but reformed Germany has emerged as Europe’s dominant economic power. According to the OECD, Germany accounted for 60% of the GDP growth of the euro zone in 2010, up from only 10% in the early 2000s. “We changed from the sick man of Europe to the engine,” says Steffen Kampeter, parliamentary state secretary at Germany’s Ministry of Finance in Berlin.

Germany’s engine, however, has spewed toxic fumes. As manufacturers rev exports, the rest of Europe has been unable to compete. Some 80% of Germany’s trade surplus is with the rest of the European Union. The more German industry excels, the more other Europeans feel that Germany’s success comes at their expense, cracking open schisms within the euro zone just when the region can least afford them. “There is frustration with Germany,” says André Sapir, a senior fellow at Bruegel, a Brussels-based think tank. “Germany is moving ahead, but what are they doing for the rest of Europe?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Germany, Politics in General

(CNS) Christian roots of US called key to its model of religious freedom

The concept and practice of religious freedom is “one of America’s greatest qualities” but it cannot be appreciated or passed along to other nations without an understanding of its roots in Christian thought, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver told a symposium at Georgetown University March 1.

“It is impossible to talk honestly about the American model of religious freedom without acknowledging that it is, to a significant degree, the product of Christian-influenced thought,” the archbishop said in his keynote address to a daylong symposium on “Religion in American Politics and Society: A Model for Other Countries?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A.S. Haley–Rushing to Judgment: a Spurious Defense of Title IV (Pt. II)

Thus, the justification offered by the “Task Force II” on Title IV has no historical basis in fact, and constitutes a misreading of the intent of those who enacted the language. And as argued at the outset of this post, there is no rational basis for dividing the power to establish courts from the power to define their jurisdiction, constitution, and procedures. Read in that way, Article IX becomes a mere fig leaf: the real power to create the courts, notwithstanding the language of Article IX, lies in General Convention.

And so to read Article IX, in a paper submitted by the authors of the revisions to Title IV, is to express everything that is wrong with the current views of the leadership of ECUSA as to its polity. In the state court lawsuits, over and over again, that leadership has beat the drum for ECUSA’s “hierarchical” polity, when — as shown in the first post in this series — there is no such hierarchy as between the dioceses themselves, or when assembled in General Convention. The proof of this point lies in the latest revisions to Title IV themselves. On the “Publications” page of General Convention may be found links to various documents regarding the revisions, including a set of “model” canons for the dioceses to enact in order to implement the revisions.

Without the dioceses enacting those (or similar canons) in their own separate conventions, the changes to Title IV approved at the national level in 2009 could never take effect….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons

(Reuters) Q+A: What could trigger U.S. intervention in Libya?

WHAT COULD TRIGGER U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION?

Possibly a major jump in the death toll. Analysts say massacres of civilians, aerial bombing of civilian targets or a concerted military offensive by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to retake rebel-held territory could be possible triggers.

While the Obama administration is sensitive to criticism that it has been slow to respond more forcefully to Gaddafi’s bloody crackdown on opponents, it has made clear it will not be rushed into making any hasty decisions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Libya, Middle East, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

(NC Register) Catholic Pakistani Minister Killed for Protecting Christians

Christians, government officials and secular groups have condemned the brutal assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the young Catholic minister in charge of minority affairs in Pakistan’s federal cabinet.

Bhatti, 42, was shot by unidentified gunmen who pumped bullets into his car from automatic weapons as he was being driven from his residence to his office in Islamabad this morning.

Bhatti, bleeding profusely, was rushed to a nearby hospital by his driver in the same car. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John and Charles Wesley

Lord God, who didst inspire thy servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and didst endow them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in thy Church, we beseech thee, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known thy Christ may turn to him and be saved; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Methodist, Other Churches, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant us, we beseech thee, Almighty God, a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hope in thy mercy, and a sincere love to thee and to all our fellow men; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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