Daily Archives: September 2, 2011

Food Stamp Demand Remains High, More than 1 in 7 are in the program

In June, 14.6% of the U.S. population relied on food stamps. Food stamp rolls have risen 9.5% in the past year, though recent months show the pace of growth is slowing.

Mississippi reported the largest share of its population relying on food stamps, more than 21%, though that included some disaster assistance. One in five residents in New Mexico, Tennessee and Oregon were also food stamp recipients.

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

(WSJ Houses of Worship) Russell Razzaque–How Religion Can Inoculate Against Radicalism

Why did I leave the Islamic Society while others stayed””and even, in some cases, wound up in Pakistan networking with fellow Islamists? What was the difference between us? The answer may be found somewhere in our earlier lives.

Those men who were the most opposed to the perverted messages being peddled by the Islamic Society were those who had been brought up by religious parents. One friend, who had been steeped in mainstream Islam as a child, used to tell me that the doctrine being preached at the Islamic Society was, in his view, so aberrant that it risked becoming toxic. He firmly believed that MI5 (British domestic intelligence) ought to be keeping an eye on these guys, and that was 10 years before 9/11. Those who had no exposure to Islam prior to the encounter with extremist recruiters seemed more likely to follow them.

Now there is a growing body of research explaining why that was….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Education, England / UK, Islam, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

U.S. Showed No Job Growth in August; Unemployment Rate Stays at 9.1%

The nonfarm payrolls numbers were unchanged in August after a prolonged increase in economic anxiety that began with the brinksmanship in Washington’s debt-ceiling debate and was followed by the country’s loss of its triple-A credit rating, stock market whiplash and renewed concerns about Europe’s sovereign debt.

The jobs figure, a monthly statistical snapshot by the Department of Labor, may appear more negative because it does not include 45,000 Verizon workers who were on strike when the survey was taken.

Economists blamed both sluggish demand for goods and services and the heightened uncertainty over the economy’s direction for the slow pace of job creation, saying political deadlock was in effect creating economic paralysis.

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

(FT) Restaurants in Greece refuse to pay VAT rise

Tax evasion in Greece threatened to take organised form on Thursday when café and restaurant owners refused to pay a 10-point VAT rise, as a deep recession clashes with the government’s increasingly desperate search for revenue.

The steep rise in value added tax on the hospitality sector from 13 per cent to 23 per cent is part of a package of fiscal measures agreed in return for the country’s second financial rescue by European Union partners.

But for many of Greece’s ubiquitous cafés and souvlaki stands, which have already seen a 20-40 per cent decline in business in the past year as customers rein in spending, the VAT rise is the final straw….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Taxes

(Church Times) Essex Bishops stand by travellers

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, believes that the planned eviction of travellers from a farm near Basildon will create “havoc and chaos” for the 90 families involved.

Bishop Cottrell and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, the Rt Revd Thomas McMahon, visited the site at Dale Farm, in Crays Hill, on Tuesday. At midnight on Wednes­day, Basildon Council was due to start removing the travellers who have built illegally on part of the site.

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

4 South Carolina Nuclear Reactors may need upgrades to better withstand Earthquakes

…[This potential] threat came into sharp focus last week, when shaking from the largest earthquake to hit Virginia in 117 years appeared to exceed what the North Anna nuclear power plant northwest of Richmond was built to sustain.

The two North Anna reactors are among 27 in the eastern and central U.S. that a preliminary Nuclear Regulatory Commission review has said may need upgrades. That’s because those plants are more likely to get hit with an earthquake larger than the one their design was based on.

In South Carolina, SCE&G’s V.C. Summer nuclear plant, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia, is among the 27 facilities possibly needing upgrades to better withstand earthquakes, the NRC records show. So are three reactors operated by Duke Energy near Seneca.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

Angela Neustatter on a new study that says boredom is the new # reason for marital breakdown

…[Tammy] Wynette was a forerunner of a trend that has, according to new research, taken root today. One hundred and one family lawyers, interviewed by the consultancy firm Grant Thornton, concluded that intolerance ”“ that is, boredom ”“ has become the greatest threat to couples staying together. Infidelity, which formerly topped the list of reasons for marriage breakdown, has been surpassed by couples saying they no longer felt in love and had “grown apart”.

As a sign of the times, this appears depressing beyond words. Can we really have reached the stage where an erstwhile commitment to love and to cherish until death do us part has come down to so casual and seemingly frivolous a reason for walking out on the union, and quite possibly children, too? Have the past money-obsessed, self-indulgent decades really created such narcissism that we will not put up with a relationship that doesn’t give us perpetual bliss?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Psychology, Secularism

(CEN) Archbishop backs a secular South Sudan

The Primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan has called upon Muslim leaders in South Sudan to set aside sectarian concerns and work towards building a free and tolerant nation.

Speaking at a dinner held by President Salva Kiir of South Sudan at the State House in Juba on 20 August for Muslim leaders in Africa’s newest nation, Archbishop Daniel Deng called upon Christians and Muslims to work together for the common good.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --North Sudan, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Violence

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Central Bank flight to Federal Reserve safety tops Lehman crisis

Central banks and official bodies have parked record sums of dollars at the US Federal Reserve for safe-keeping, indicating a clear loss of trust in commercial banks.

Data from the St Louis Fed shows that reserve funds from “official foreign accounts” have doubled since the start of the year, with a dramatic surge since the end of July when the eurozone debt crisis spread to Italy and Spain.

“This shows a pervasive loss of confidence in the European banking system,” said Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors. “Central banks are worried about the security of their deposits so they are placing the money with the Fed.”

Read it all and take a careful look at that chart.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(NCR) John Allen on World Youth Day and Evangelical Catholicism

“Evangelical Catholicism” is a term being used to capture the Catholic version of a 21st century politics of identity, reflecting the long-term historical transition in the West from Christianity as a culture-shaping majority to Christianity as a subculture, albeit a large and influential one. I define Evangelical Catholicism in terms of three pillars:

–A strong defense of traditional Catholic identity, meaning attachment to classic markers of Catholic thought (doctrinal orthodoxy) and Catholic practice (liturgical tradition, devotional life, and authority).
–Robust public proclamation of Catholic teaching, with the accent on Catholicism’s mission ad extra, transforming the culture in light of the Gospel, rather than ad intra, on internal church reform.
–Faith seen as a matter of personal choice rather than cultural inheritance, which among other things implies that in a highly secular culture, Catholic identity can never be taken for granted. It always has to be proven, defended, and made manifest.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Spain, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

Mark Thompson–Serious Flaws in Muriel's Porter's Misguided Polemic against Sydney Anglicans

Now, in 2011, The New Puritans has been revised and brought up to date with a new title: Sydney Anglicans and the Threat to World Anglicanism: The Sydney Experiment. As with the earlier book, Muriel Porter acknowledges quite openly that she is “obviously not able to report on Sydney objectively and even-handedly.”

The acknowledgement was unnecessary. Even without it, the highly polemical nature of the book – and a significant degree of distortion that inevitably arises from that – is obvious. The book is littered with unsubstantiated assertions introduced with words such as, “Some have suggested …” and “I suspect the real reason …” and “Perhaps …….”
Unfortunately, it is also littered with factual error, half-truth and the attribution of false or hidden motives to those with whom she disagrees. Sydney Anglicans might think they are taking a stand on the teaching of Scripture but in reality, she repeatedly asserts, their motivation is much more sinister.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Books

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of New Guinea

Almighty God, we remember before thee this day the blessed martyrs of New Guinea, who, following the example of their Savior, laid down their lives for their friends; and we pray thee that we, who honor their memory, may imitate their loyalty and faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord, who alone art God, the gracious and merciful; who commandest them that love thy name to cast away all fear and care, and to lay their burden upon thee: Receive us under thy protection, and give us now and evermore that everlasting rest which thou hast promised to them that obey thy Word; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.

Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

–Psalm 31:1-3 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) What Should Be In Obama's Jobs Plan? Six Ideas That Could Make The List

When President Obama unveils his jobs plan to Congress next week, he’ll have to balance his desire for spending on programs that might stimulate the economy against the nation’s current appetite for cost cutting. We examine the pros, cons and politics of six proposals that might make Obama’s list….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--