Daily Archives: August 22, 2011

(Reuters) USA becomes Food Stamp Nation but is it sustainable?

Genna Saucedo supervises cashiers at a Wal-Mart in Pico Rivera, California, but her wages aren’t enough to feed herself and her 12-year-old son.

Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation.

Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That’s an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led to mass job losses.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher on the Economy

I have spoken to this many times in public. Those with the capacity to hire American workers”•small businesses as well as large, publicly traded or private”•are immobilized. Not because they lack entrepreneurial zeal or do not wish to grow; not because they can’t access cheap and available credit. Rather, they simply cannot budget or manage for the uncertainty of fiscal and regulatory policy. In an environment where they are already uncertain of potential growth in demand for their goods and services and have yet to see a significant pickup in top-line revenue, there is palpable angst surrounding the cost of doing business. According to my business contacts, the opera buffa of the debt ceiling negotiations compounded this uncertainty, leaving business decisionmakers frozen in their tracks….

…put yourself in the shoes of a business operator. On the revenue side, you have yet to see a robust recovery in demand; growing your top-line revenue is vexing. You have been driving profits or just maintaining your margins through cost reduction and achieving maximum operating efficiency. You have money in your pocket or a banker increasingly willing to give you credit if and when you decide to expand. But you have no idea where the government will be cutting back on spending, what measures will be taken on the taxation front and how all this will affect your cost structure or customer base. Your most likely reaction is to cross your arms, plant your feet and say: “Show me. I am not going to hire new workers or build a new plant until I have been shown what will come out of this agreement.” Moreover, you might now say to yourself, “I understand from the Federal Reserve that I don’t have to worry about the cost of borrowing for another two years. Given that I don’t know how I am going to be hit by whatever new initiatives the Congress will come up with, but I do know that credit will remain cheap through the next election, what incentive do I have to invest and expand now? Why shouldn’t I wait until the sky is clear?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(Guardian) A working life: the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres

It’s not yet 10am and the 64-year-old bishop has already presided over Holy Communion at St Paul’s, hosted an overnight visit from the new bishop of Durham and held a breakfast meeting to discuss diocesan links with Nigeria. He is now on his way to address the pupils of a Church of England secondary school in a deprived part of north London, then it’s a dash to King’s College London to appraise the dean in a meeting with the principal, then back home to counsel a US priest distressed by tensions within the Anglican communion. The previous evening he was up late addressing the General Synod, the legislative body of the Church of England.

“You can’t survive unless you believe in early hours,” he says. “As soon as the morning office starts at 7.30am you are available to people.” He never attends the morning office in the cathedral, however, because the new order of service is used and Chartres, an implacable traditionalist, prefers the Book of Common Prayer. Instead, he rises at 6am and says morning prayer by himself in a back room in the deanery before it fills up with the staff who occupy most of the building.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Nigerian Anglican and Catholic Bishops condemn Islamic banking, Government's approach on Boko Haram

Catholic and Anglican Bishops weighed in on economic and security matters at the weekend, as both groups criticised the approach of President Goodluck Jonathan to the menace posed by Boko Haram in the North, and expressed concern over Islamic banking.

Over 20 Bishops of the Anglican Communion who congregated at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Ogharefe Delta State at the First Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sapele condemned the introduction of Islamic banking. They urged Abuja to review the conditions for the approval of non-interest banking and make all possible amendments that would ensure the interest of every religious group in Nigeria is protected….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Violence

(Bloomberg) Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Loans from the Federal Reserve

“These are all whopping numbers,” said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. “You’re talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money.”

It wasn’t just American finance. Almost half of the Fed’s top 30 borrowers, measured by peak balances, were European firms. They included Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which took $84.5 billion, the most of any non-U.S. lender, and Zurich-based UBS AG (UBSN), which got $77.2 billion. Germany’s Hypo Real Estate Holding AG borrowed $28.7 billion, an average of $21 million for each of its 1,366 employees.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

On a personal Note–Back from break

Standing under a funnel here–you know the feeling; KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Irene, First Hurricane In The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Check it out–ugh.

Posted in * General Interest, Weather

Morning Quiz–What Percentage of the Current Population of Alabama is on Food Stamps?

(The figures are from May, the most recent available).

No fair clicking until you make your answer.

We discussed this in yesterday’s Adult Sunday school–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from Yesterday on Romans 12:1-8

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper) South Carolina fails on goals for health insurance

Like many South Carolinians facing surging medical costs, [Ken] Riddle wants to know why premiums keep rising. Here, annual premiums for private health insurance have risen about 85 percent for individuals and 75 percent for families in the past decade, federal data show.

South Carolina regulators can take at least some of the blame. Many factors contribute to soaring health care costs, but lax state regulation — an area increasingly scrutinized as national health care reform takes effect — has contributed to the problem, critics said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance, Politics in General, State Government

Notable and Quotable

Born in Detroit, Mich., on Jan. 10, 1928, [Philip] Levine received degrees from Wayne State University and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and in 1957 was awarded the Jones Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford. As a student, he worked a number of industrial jobs at Detroit’s auto-manufacturing plants, including Detroit Transmission””a branch of Cadillac””and the Chevrolet Gear and Axle factory. Levine has said about writing poems in his mid-20s during his factory days: “I believed even then that if I could transform my experience into poetry, I would give it the value and dignity it did not begin to possess on its own. I thought, too, that if I could write about it I could come to understand it; I believed that if I could understand my life””or at least the part my work played in it””I could embrace it with some degree of joy, an element conspicuously missing from my life.”

–from the announcement that the Librarian of Congress has appointed Philip Levine Poet Laureate (my emphasis)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

Chapter Titles from Marilyn McEntyre's Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies

1. Love Words 2. Tell the Truth 3. Don’t Tell Lies 4.Read Well 5. Stay in Conversation 6. Share Stories 7. Love the Long Sentence 8. Practice Poetry 9. Attend to Translation 10. Play 11. Pray and 12. Cherish Silence.

You may see more about the book there.

Used by yours truly in yesterday’s sermon–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books

(CSM) Libya endgame nigh as rebels celebrate in Tripoli

Libya’s endgame appears to be at hand, bringing to a climax an uprising against Muammar Qaddafi that just weeks ago appeared to be stalled by inexperience, disunity, and a lack of resources.

For months, Libya has been stalemated as rebels have surged forward, only to be pushed back by Qaddafi loyalists. But aided by NATO airstrikes and better organization, rebels have been steadily building momentum….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Europe, Foreign Relations, Libya, Middle East, Politics in General

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Make us tender and compassionate towards those who are an overtaken by temptation, considering ourselves, how we have fallen in times past and may fall yet again. Make us watchful and sober-minded, looking ever unto thee for grace to stand upright, and to persevere unto the end; through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

–Psalm 1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture