Daily Archives: August 9, 2011

From the Unintentionally Hilarious Department

An advertising campaign for Italy’s revenue agency that starts Tuesday has set itself a lofty goal: to get Italians to pay taxes.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, Italy

Seeking to put America's Debt in Understandable Terms

From here:

Popular personal finance personality Dave Ramsey summed it up eloquently and simply: “If the US Government ”‹was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing big spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year.”

Alan Haley has a further discussion of this here.

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

(AP) Army OKs atheism-themed concert at Bragg

A concert event organized by atheist, agnostic and other non-theist soldiers has been cleared by the Army to take place next spring at Fort Bragg, concert organizers and a spokesman for the post said Monday.

Organizers planned to hold the Rock Beyond Belief event this year, but they canceled after saying Bragg leadership was not providing the same support it gave to an evangelical Christian concert last fall.

Supporters hailed the Army’s decision.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Military / Armed Forces, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) The ECB can't buy enough debt to get Rome out of trouble

No amount of jaw-jawing from the ECB (or from the G-7, which yesterday put out an odd statement calling the rise in euro-zone bond yields not “warranted”) can make investors buy Italian debt. Mr. Trichet continues to act as if the markets are having an attack of the vapors, from which they’ll recover presently. But no rational person or institution is going to start buying sovereign debt from heavily indebted, stagnant, deficit-running countries as if the past 15 months had never happened. The lamp has been rubbed, the genie has escaped, and no amount of un-rubbing will put him back in the lamp.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Globalization, Italy, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Profile Story of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan

With its twin towers standing tall above Pearl Street at Division Avenue, the church is built with limestone taken from the Grand River bed and the building is the largest stone structure in continuous use within the city, according to facilities manager David Hawley.

St. Mark’s history parallels the growth of the city around it. The parish was formally organized in 1836; barely 10 years after Louis Campau first hauled his canoe ashore on the west bank of the Grand River at an Indian village near the “grand rapids.”

“On the face of it, most people aren’t aware just how old that building is,” Barr said. “Not many people off the street have ever really thought about it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

”˜He wasn’t supposed to die’: Glimpses of the slain SEALS

Here are the stories of some of the fallen:

”¢ A severe arm injury during fighting in Fallujah in 2004 didn’t keep Matthew Mason off the Iraq War battlefield. Nor did it dull the competitive fire of the avid runner and former high school athlete from outside Kansas City. Within five months of losing part of his left arm, absorbing shrapnel and suffering a collapsed lung, Mason competed in a triathlon. He soon returned to his SEAL unit.
“He could have gotten out of combat,” said family friend Elizabeth Frogge. “He just insisted on going back.”
Mason, the father of two toddler sons, grew up in Holt, Mo., and played football and baseball at Kearney High School. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1998. His wife, who is expecting their third child ”” another boy ”” also attended Northwest Missouri.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, War in Afghanistan, Young Adults

Times Union Article on the Planning of a Same Sex Marriage in the Albany Area

Both men are religious — [Joseph] Eppink is Episcopalian, [Ralph] Panelli is Roman Catholic — so a church wedding was necessary for them.

The couple booked the First Lutheran Church in Albany, Babcock’s place of worship. They said they would have loved to have the ceremony in Eppink’s church, but Bishop William Love of the Albany Episcopal Diocese has barred priests from participating in same-sex marriage ceremonies. The congregation supports the couple. The Sunday after the law was passed, “We had a coffee hour in front of the church, and there was this huge cheer from people. The church, the parish, they’re all very excited,” Eppink said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

(AP) Religious groups object to covering birth control

They defied the bishops to support President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Now Catholic hospitals are dismayed the law may force them to cover birth control free of charge to their employees.

A provision in the law expanded preventive health-care benefits for women, and the administration said last week that must include birth control with no copays. The Catholic Health Association says a proposed conscience exemption is so narrowly written it would apply only to houses of worship. Some other religious-based organizations agree.

“I call this the parish housekeeper exemption – that’s about all it covers,” said Sister Carol Keehan, president of the 600-member umbrella group for Catholic hospitals. “What we are trying to do is make workable the conscience protection the administration says it is willing to give.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

USA Today Editorial–S&P confirms what everyone already knew

Standard and Poor’s, the agency responsible for Friday’s downgrade, merely confirmed what anyone with their eyes open for the past decade or two already knew: The U.S. has a huge and growing debt problem that it is resolutely unwilling to solve.

Not unable. Just unwilling.

Not just politicians, but anyone who buys into their divisive, fanciful rhetoric.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(USA Today) Incivility in the Work Place on the Rise

Stressed on the job? Add rude co-workers to the list of headaches.

“Workplace incivility” is on the rise, researchers said Sunday at the American Psychological Association annual meeting.
The academics define workplace incivility as “a form of organizational deviance”¦ characterized by low-intensity behaviors that violate respectful workplace norms, appearing vague as to intent to harm.”
Translation: rudeness, insults and plain old bad manners.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(RNS) Lawn Cross Becomes First Amendment Flash Point

It started as a simple gesture.

But it could have implications far beyond the quiet New Jersey street where Patrick Racaniello affixed a wooden cross on a tree in his front yard.

Livingston Township officials say Racaniello’s display, which he intended as a celebration of Lent, violated an ordinance that generally prohibits postings on a structure, including a tree, “calculated to attract the attention of the public.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Further riots in London as violence spreads across England

Amateur footage appears to show a gang of youths charging at police in south-east London

Rioting has spread across London on a third night of violence, with unrest flaring in other English cities.

An extra 1,700 police officers were deployed in London, where shops were looted and buildings were set alight.

Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol also saw violence.

Read it all and BBC has a live website here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(The Monthly) Waleed Aly–The Struggle for Liberation in the Middle east

This has left the military to decide, more or less, how to run the transition and what its destination will be. Do they pursue former officials or not? Do they prosecute Mubarak? Or do they simply move on in the hope that the past can be left to itself? Presently the answer seems to be that they pursue those they don’t like (such as associates of Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal), and only go after others when failure to do so generates popular anger. The military will always ensure its own interests in the regime are preserved, which may well limit the kind of structural reform that is possible in Egypt. And without a clear, revolutionary leadership, who has the authority to intervene?

This matters. To the extent that Egypt has inspired the Arab Spring, failure at the last hurdle will be a major symbolic blow to the region. Colonel Gaddafi’s horrific stubbornness in Libya is already deflating. So too the lack of progress in Bahrain and the absence of western interest or a clear avenue to success in Syria.

It’s a pivotal moment….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Egypt, History, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O heavenly Father, that by the guidance of the Holy Spirit we may be enabled to discern thy holy will; and that by the grace of the same Spirit we may also be enabled to do it, gladly and with our whole hearts; for the glory of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

–Mark 10:2-9

Posted in Uncategorized