Daily Archives: August 2, 2011

Pressure Builds on Italy and Spain Over Finances

Investors continued to flee Italian and Spanish bonds Tuesday amid renewed concerns about the ability of Rome and Madrid to regain control of their finances in the face of sluggish growth and weakened administrations.

The Italian economy minister, Giulio Tremonti, called a meeting of the country’s financial authorities Tuesday to discuss the recent market turmoil, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified official. The Italian Treasury did not respond to calls seeking comment.

In Madrid, meanwhile, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero delayed the start of a planned vacation to the southern region of Andalucia. Reuters quoted the secretary of state for communications as saying the prime minister wanted to “more closely monitor the evolution of the economic indicators.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Italy, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Bill 74-26

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Politics in General, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(USA Today) Jerry Coyne: As Atheists know, you can be good without God

So where does morality come from, if not from God? Two places: evolution and secular reasoning. Despite the notion that beasts behave bestially, scientists studying our primate relatives, such as chimpanzees, see evolutionary rudiments of morality: behaviors that look for all the world like altruism, sympathy, moral disapproval, sharing ”” even notions of fairness. This is exactly what we’d expect if human morality, like many other behaviors, is built partly on the genes of our ancestors.

And the conditions under which humans evolved are precisely those that would favor the evolution of moral codes: small social groups of big-brained animals. When individuals in a group can get to know, recognize and remember each other, this gives an advantage to genes that make you behave nicely towards others in the group, reward those who cooperate and punish those who cheat. That’s how natural selection can build morality. Secular reason adds another layer atop these evolved behaviors, helping us extend our moral sentiments far beyond our small group of friends and relatives ”” even to animals.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

Life for Zimbabwe Anglicans worsens with properties commandeered, priests arrested

Clergy and pilgrims hoping to visit the Arthur Shearly Cripps Shrine last week were once again frustrated by excommunicated bishop Dr Norbert Kunonga who now claims to be in charge of the shrine and 78 Anglican churches in Masvingo Diocese.

The Anglican Diocese of Masvingo said its leaders advised Anglican worshippers against taking part in this year’s Shearly Cripps celebrations, scheduled for 29 to 31 July, after a court ruled that Dr Kunonga could not be prevented from attending the shrine.

A diocesan spokesperson told ACNS, “Kunonga got wind of the Diocesan preparations for commemoration of Arthur Shearly Cripps by pilgrims at the Arthur Shearly Cripps Shrine this month end, and he began to counter these efforts.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa, Religion & Culture, Violence, Zimbabwe

Bill Gross–America has 66 trillion of future liabilities

–”‹Nothing in the Congressional compromise reached over the weekend makes a significant dent in our $1.5 trillion deficit.
–In addition to an existing nearly $10 trillion of outstanding Treasury debt, the U.S. has a near unfathomable $66 trillion of future liabilities at “net present cost.”
–Aside from outright default, there are numerous ways a government can reduce its future liabilities. They include balancing the budget, unexpected inflation, currency depreciation and financial repression.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Federal Reserve May Weigh More Stimulus on Flagging Recovery Signs

Federal Reserve policy makers may start weighing additional steps to prop up the recovery after growth fell below 1 percent in the first half of this year and economists began cutting second-half growth forecasts.

“At a minimum, the FOMC will have a serious debate about the policy options — what they should do, and what they expect to get from it,” said Roberto Perli, a former associate director in the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs, referring to the Federal Open Market Committee. “Growth in the first half was dangerously close to zero,” said Perli, director of policy research at International Strategy & Investment Group.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The U.S. Government

A West Wing Segment on the Debt Ceiling

Wow–watch it all.

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

Archbishop John Sentamu–Crisis in the Horn of Africa

All too often the international community, or more specifically the former colonial powers, get blamed for interference, and for the destabilisation and disincentivisation of local initiative in these regions. And yet when children are dying, food and water need to be provided fast, it is often the international community which is best equipped for a rapid response. In Britain, we can be encouraged by the swift response from the Department for International Development, and it is my hope that governments of other nations respond as generously ”“ especially countries of the African Union. They cannot vicariously leave it to Kenya and Ethiopia.

But this is not the only response, and not, ultimately, what is needed to secure a better future for the region. In Eastern Kenya, the people living in the most desperate need are often those outside of the refugee camps. They see the refugees inside benefiting from World Food Programme handouts, while outside they struggle to feed themselves and keep their goats and cattle alive. Despite the horrors of life inside the camps, there is real security there – the promise of food, water, and some medical care. Capacity to provide such shelter should be encouraged but we should not forget there is a real need to ensure for those living on the edge, who year after year must eke out an existence in those dry and barren landscapes, are not forgotten. It is also crucial that people get the support locally so that they don’t have to make such perilous journeys to get aid.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Weather

David Hare interviews Archbishop Rowan Williams

It’s striking that throughout his eight years in charge, Williams has been touring as God’s fairground boxer, willing to go five rounds with all comers. Up steps AC Grayling, next day Philip Pullman. But his fondness for quoting Saint Ambrose ”“ “It does not suit God to save his people by arguments” ”“ suggests how little store he sets by such encounters. “Oh, look, argument has the role of damage limitation. The number of people who acquire faith by argument is actually rather small. But if people are saying stupid things about the Christian faith, then it helps just to say, ‘Come on, that won’t work.’ There is a miasma of assumptions: first, that you can’t have a scientific worldview and a religious faith; second, that there is an insoluble problem about God and suffering in the world; and third, that all Christians are neurotic about sex. But the arguments have been recycled and refought more times than we’ve had hot dinners, and I do groan in spirit when I pick up another book about why you shouldn’t believe in God. Oh dear! Bertrand Russell in 1923! And while I think it’s necessary to go on rather wearily putting down markers saying, ‘No, that’s not what Christian theology says’ and, ‘No, that argument doesn’t make sense’, that’s the background noise. What changes people is the extraordinary sense that things come together. Is it Eliot or Yeats who talks about a poem coming together with an audible click? You think, yes, the world makes sense looked at like that.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Apologetics, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR) Worries Over Water As Natural Gas Fracking Expands

Drive through northern Pennsylvania and you’ll see barns, cows, silos and drilling rigs perched on big, concrete pads.

Pennsylvania is at the center of a natural gas boom. New technology is pushing gas out of huge shale deposits underground. That’s created jobs and wealth, but it may be damaging drinking water. That’s because when you “frack,” as hydraulic fracturing is called, you pump thousands of gallons of fluids underground. That cracks the shale a mile deep and drives natural gas up to the surface ”” gas that otherwise could never be tapped.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

One Tennessee Family Finds Something Unusual on Their Car as they are Driving

This made BBC World News this morning where I caught it–watch it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Travel

(Under God blog) Religious exemptions in new birth control regulations

The Obama administration announced new expanded women’s health regulations Monday, classifying contraceptives as preventive services and requiring that health insurers provide them without co-pays for customers….

A number of religious organizations, including the Catholic Church and the Family Research Council, have opposed the new regulations. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who runs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, recently wrote in opposition to the proposal that “pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Children, Economy, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, The U.S. Government

John Stott answers the Q.: How would you Like to be Remembered?

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Joel Beeke–Why You Should Read the Puritans

Puritan writings reveal the Trinitarian character of theology. The Puritans were driven by a deep sense of the infinite glory of a Triune God. When they answered the first question of the Shorter Catechism that man’s chief end was to glorify God, they meant the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They took John Calvin’s glorious understanding of the unity of the Trinity in the Godhead, and showed how that worked itself out in electing, redeeming, and sanctifying love and grace in the lives of believers. John Owen wrote an entire book on the Christian believer’s communion with God as Father, Jesus as Savior, and the Holy Spirit as Comforter. The Puritans teach us how to remain God-centered while being vitally concerned about Christian experience, so that we don’t fall into the trap of glorifying experience for its own sake.

If you want to appreciate each Person of the Trinity, so that you can say with Samuel Rutherford, “I don’t know which Person of the Trinity I love the most, but this I know, I love each of them, and I need them all,” read John Owen’s Communion with God and Jonathan Edwards on the Trinity.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

Justin Taylor–Putting On Christ / Putting Off Sin

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Theology, Theology: Scripture