Daily Archives: March 8, 2008

Daily Account from the House of Bishops for Friday, March 7

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori welcomed the House and introduced new bishops: Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real; Dan Edwards of Nevada; Kee Sloan, suffragan bishop of Alabama; Mark Lawrence of South Carolina; Jeff Lee of Chicago; and Steve Lane, bishop-elect of Maine (whose consents have been received). Prince Singh has been elected bishop of Rochester but his consent process has not been completed.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori shared her hopes for the upcoming Lambeth Conference: “that we go with a sacrificial attitude open to one another, expecting divine encounters,” that “we are willing to embrace the pain of difference as a sign of hope” and that “we avoid pre-judgments.”

“I hope we build bridges for greater mission engagement,” she said.

Ed Little of Northern Indiana, chair of the HOB Planning Committee, noted, “Our agenda during this meeting will weave in and out of discussions about the Lambeth Conference.”

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

The Economist: America's Economy is Heading in the wrong direction

IF ANY more evidence is needed that America’s economy is perilously close to recession, it was delivered this week. On Friday March 7th the Bureau of Labour Statistics announced that the economy lost 63,000 non-farm jobs in February, following a smaller decline in employment in January. Even with all the bearish talk recently, these results were unexpectedly bad; forecasters had projected a small increase, not the largest drop in five years. The unemployment rate edged down from 4.9% to 4.8%, but only because there were fewer unemployed people actively searching for work.

On the same day the Federal Reserve announced that it would make additional loans of up to $100 billion available to prevent renewed strains in money markets from hurting the economy. The question for many is now turning from whether a recession is on the way to how long and how deep it will be.

The worst jobs news is still in the house-building sector, which is reeling from the effects of plummeting home prices. Since an industry high point in 2006 some 209,000 trade jobs (such as plumbers and electricians) and 137,000 construction jobs have melted away. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported on Thursday that foreclosures are up by 71% from a year ago.

Mortgage-delinquency rates hit the highest point since 1985. And rates of delinquency among prime borrowers also increased as the crisis shifts further beyond sub-prime borrowing to affect safer loans. Many Americans are seeing their home value sink below the size of their mortgages, giving them an incentive to ditch their property and stack up higher losses for banks. That would push prices down even further and rattle already teetering financial markets.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy

In LA, Thousands get a fresh look at Roman Catholicism

Ostensibly, the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress is a four-day training session for catechism teachers. But over the years, the event — which this year attracted nearly 40,000 conventioneers — has become one of the largest such gatherings of Catholics in the country.

It serves as a theological training center, a spiritual retreat and a makeshift bazaar for Catholic-oriented products. All at the same time.

“It’s become a smorgasbord” for anyone with an interest in the Catholic Church, said Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “People go to congress for different reasons . . . and that’s reflected in the wide variety of religious, spiritual and even philosophical offerings.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Criminalizing the Homeless in Las Vegas

Mr. HUFF: You know, that’s a big fallacy that these guys don’t want to work. The largest percentage of the guys out here will work in a hot second if you’ve got a job for them. We just did a convention a week ago. I took 14 “homies” to the Sands Hotel and the people who hired them were coming up to me going, “My God Cody, these guys work harder than anybody we’ve seen out here.”

SEVERSON: Meanwhile, the city says it plans to introduce a new feeding ordinance the courts will uphold.

Ms. ROWLAND: Las Vegas is a complex city. We are completely dependent on tourism, and we are dependent on an image that we sell to the tourists who come here. And clearly when your economy is based on the functioning of gambling of casinos and of the tourist industry, a visible face of poverty is not something that’s good for business.

Mayor GOODMAN: We’re in a balancing act here. This isn’t just a one way street to take care of the homeless. The homeless are part of the community. But, I’ve got residents who live in our community whose quality of life has been destroyed in part.

SEVERSON: It’s a balancing act between the needs of the homeless, the conscience of those who want to feed them, and the wishes of others who just don’t want them around.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Law & Legal Issues

Newsweek on the Democrats: The Stalemate Continues

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s primary victories in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island have revived her near-dead campaign and brought her into a statistical dead heat with Sen. Barack Obama among registered Democrats and Democratic leaners, according to a new national NEWSWEEK Poll. The survey found that Clinton has erased the once-commanding lead that Obama held in most national polls following his 11 straight victories in February’s primaries and caucuses. Obama is the favored nominee among 45 percent of Democrats, compared with 44 percent for Clinton, according to the poll, which was based on telephone interviews with 1,215 registered voters March 5-6.

The poll also found that Democratic voters are ready to rally around the candidate they trust most to improve the economy, amid fears of a recession. But neither candidate has been able to lock up that issue, or many others, and the vast majority (69 percent) of Democratic voters now support the idea of a “dream ticket”–leaving aside the crucial question of who runs on top.

What’s striking is that the fundamentals remain largely the same. Obama gets overwhelming support from blacks (80 percent to 10 percent), those under 40 (60 percent to 35 percent) and voters who have graduated from college (50 percent to 41 percent); Hillary wins the majority of whites (53 percent to 35 percent), voters over 60 (51 percent to 33 percent) and those who have a high-school education or less (48 percent to 38 percent). Along gender lines, Obama wins male voters by a 10-point margin (50 percent to 40 percent), while Clinton retains her lead with female voters (46 percent to 40 percent).

Read it all.

Update: Over at Intrade, the Obama contracts are at 72.5 and the Clinton contracts at 26.1.

Another update: Jonathan Chait has some thoughts on the current situation here which include this:

Clinton’s path to the nomination, then, involves the following steps: kneecap an eloquent, inspiring, reform-minded young leader who happens to be the first serious African American presidential candidate (meanwhile cementing her own reputation for Nixonian ruthlessness) and then win a contested convention by persuading party elites to override the results at the polls. The plan may also involve trying to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, after having explicitly agreed that the results would not count toward delegate totals. Oh, and her campaign has periodically hinted that some of Obama’s elected delegates might break off and support her. I don’t think she’d be in a position to defeat Hitler’s dog in November, let alone a popular war hero.

Some Clinton supporters, like my friend (and historian) David Greenberg, have been assuring us that lengthy primary fights go on all the time and that the winner doesn’t necessarily suffer a mortal wound in the process. But Clinton’s kamikaze mission is likely to be unusually damaging. Not only is the opportunity cost–to wrap up the nomination, and spend John McCain into the ground for four months–uniquely high, but the venue could not be less convenient. Pennsylvania is a swing state that Democrats will almost certainly need to win in November, and Clinton will spend seven weeks and millions of dollars there making the case that Obama is unfit to set foot in the White House. You couldn’t create a more damaging scenario if you tried.

Still another update: There is an interesting set of responses to Jonathan Chait there.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Heathrow airport first to fingerprint

Millions of British airline passengers face mandatory fingerprinting before being allowed to board flights when Heathrow’s Terminal 5 opens later this month.

For the first time at any airport, the biometric checks will apply to all domestic passengers leaving the terminal, which will handle all British Airways flights to and from Heathrow.

The controversial security measure is also set to be introduced at Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow’s Terminal 1, and many airline industry insiders believe fingerprinting could become universal at all UK airports within a few years.

All four million domestic passengers who will pass through Terminal 5 annually after it opens on March 27 will have four fingerprints taken, as well as being photographed, when they check in.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK

Deb Tenney's CLC Resignation Letter

Those of you who know me well know that I have been struggling with this wrenching decision for the past six months since that HOB meeting. In November, Dr. Kendall Harmon visited with us at our last CLC conference. He told us that any hope of Communion discipline of TEC was dead, and he challenged us that we no longer have the luxury of not deciding about how we will practice our faith as orthodox Anglicans. We have only two choices before us; stay in a differentiated way that sets us apart from the liberal diocese, or leave. I have many friends and parish family members who feel called to stay and be the faithful remnant in TEC. I know they are making this decision faithfully and sacrificially, and I pray that God gives them strength to persevere. But I have reached a crossroad of conscience that takes me in a different direction. I can no longer be part of a church that presents a distorted hollow Christian witness to a culture crying out for salvation found only by laying down sin at the foot of the Cross. The passing of time will have to tell us which was the better path, but for now I trust the leading of the Holy Spirit, knowing that whatever decision we make, in faith, about leaving or staying will be used for good.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, Theology

Peter Hitchens: Is the Church of England finished? Should it be?

There’s nothing to be gained in calls for Dr Williams to resign. He’s not the Home Secretary, and he serves under different rules from those that govern politicians. In any case, it would do no good unless he were replaced by someone better. That can only happen if the people of England decide to take back possession of their national church, and the church, revived, begins to find a new leadership less interested in faction and modernisation, and more interested in the reconversion of England to Christianity.

Hopeless? Probably, but not definitely. If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars. My generation, that of the post-war baby bulge, are the ones almost wholly absent from Britain’s churches. You’ll find quite a few people in their late 60s and 70s, and in some places a lot of people under 35 in Anglican churches on any Sunday. But those born between 1945 and 1955 generally aren’t there (except in the form of clergy and Bishops – Dr Williams was born in 1950). It may just be that the children of the Me Generation are pretty sick of the organised selfishness they see around them, and in the mood for some reasonable Christianity, perhaps with some poetry thrown in. I live in hope.

But, as I’ve warned before, if the Christian church doesn’t take advantage of the approaching religious revival, which I think cannot be long delayed, someone else will. And that someone will argue much more powerfully for Sharia law than Rowan Williams ever did. And I can’t see the Muslims, if they become a great force in Britain, paying much attention to the maintenance of a separate Christian law. They are serious and determined people, who believe staunchly in their religion and hope for its ultimate triumph. So, no, I don’t think the Church of England should be allowed to die. We need it more than we ever have.

Read it all.

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

Amazing pictures from Dubai

Our son Nathaniel put me on to this.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Middle East

The FDIC announces the failure of Missouri's Hume Bank today

The Hume Bank had $18.7 million in assets.

The failed bank list is here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

What is eaten in one week: a perspective

Check it out from the Bishop of California.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization

One Parish puts sculptures along path, reflections on iPods

Faith and technology have met at St. James Episcopal Church in Monkton, where two Scouts, a sculptor and parish leaders combined their talents to transform an outdoor stroll into a spiritual experience.

Eagle Scout Zach Wright, of Sparks, built and installed 14 wooden shrines along a path behind the church. During Lent, they hold sculptures by Alex Hallmark, of Blowing Rock, N.C., depicting the Stations of the Cross.

Debra Donnelly-Barton, director of the Center for Spiritual Development at St. James, wrote and recorded meditations on each station and transferred them to iPods, devices most frequently used to download music from the Internet. And Eagle Scout candidate Chris DiFatta, of Baldwin, made benches and informational signs.

St. James parishioners and visitors are invited to meet the creative team and walk the loop Saturday, March 8, at 9 a.m.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Art, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Thinking Anglicans Gathers Material from the PB's South Carolina Visit

In case you missed anything.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

Carbon Offset Plan Allows Businesses to Trade Environmental 'Credit'

SPENCER MICHELS: Yahoo has bought carbon credits by supporting a wind farm in India and a hydroelectric dam in Brazil.

CHRISTINA PAGE: It’s equivalent to taking 35,000 cars off the road or turning off the Vegas strip for two months.

SPENCER MICHELS: The demand for offsets has led to a growing, unregulated industry of for-profits and nonprofits selling carbon credits. Live Neutral, a nonprofit, sells carbon offsets to clients like Transgroup, a company that works with air, truck and rail companies, big CO-2 emitters.

Live Neutral finds projects to offset those emissions, according to founder Jason Smith.

JASON SMITH, Founder, Live Neutral: We can actually start reducing emissions on an industrial scale today if we can built the fiscal support to make those projects possible. You still have a carbon footprint, but it’s something you can do today to take responsibility for that footprint.

SPENCER MICHELS: Transgroup says that it’s good business and good public relations to buy carbon credits for its customers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources