Daily Archives: March 14, 2009

California budget faces new $8-billion shortfall

The plan that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers approved last month to fill California’s giant budget hole has already fallen out of balance with a projected $8-billion shortfall, the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget analyst said Friday.

After analyzing recent data showing rapidly rising unemployment and lower-than-expected economic growth, Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor said the state is on track to have even less money than lawmakers anticipated in February.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Dental Credit Cards Drill A Hole In Some Wallets

It’s hard to get credit these days, except when it comes to fixing your teeth. Across the country, dental credit cards are becoming more popular for those who don’t have insurance or enough money to pay for a procedure. But a growing number of critics warn the cards cause more problems than they solve.

Joseph Lopez, 75, lives in a Sacramento trailer park. Last year, his wife needed a bridge for her teeth. It had a $3,000 price tag and Lopez didn’t have dental insurance. So, he says, he got a special kind of loan.

“They told me I would not have any interest for two years,” Lopez says, but when the bill came, the treatment hadn’t been completed. And it was for $5,000 ”” $2,000 more than he agreed to.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Hunger/Malnutrition, Personal Finance

BBC: Atheists call for 'debaptism'

Now Mr [John] Hunt has become the pioneer in a rejuvenated campaign for a way of cancelling baptisms given to children too young to decide for themselves whether they wanted this formal initiation into Christianity.

However, baptism is proving a difficult thing to undo.

The local Anglican diocese, Southwark, refused to amend the baptismal roll as Mr Hunt had wanted, on the grounds that it was a historical record.

“You can’t remove from the record something that actually happened,” said the Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Baptism, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Patients Are Putting Off Surgery, or Rushing It

As the recession deepens, doctors and hospitals are reporting that hard-pressed patients are deferring elective surgery, like knee replacements and nose jobs, even as others are speeding up non-urgent procedures out of fear that they may soon lose their jobs and health insurance.

With unemployment still rising, there are wide variations by region and type of surgery. That means that highly regarded orthopedic surgeons in Chicago may be as busy as ever, while gastroenterologists in Atlanta are scrambling to fill cancellations.

But even those whose operating rooms are booked months in advance say they anticipate a slowdown later this year.

Delaying elective procedures can have serious medical consequences, as when a detectable polyp develops into a tumor because a patient skips a colonoscopy. Some hospitals said their emergency rooms were already seeing patients with dire conditions that could have been avoided had they not deferred surgery for economic reasons.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Religious Intelligence: Israel chides US Presiding Bishop

Claims that the Israel discriminated against Jerusalem’s Anglican and Lutheran bishops by blocking their attempt to enter Gaza last month are unfounded, the Israeli government has declared.

On March 10, the Israeli Embassy in Washington released a statement chiding US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Lutheran Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson for erroneously concluding the two bishops had been singled out.

The two church leaders wrote Ambassador Sallai Meridor on Feb 6 to express their “grave concerns” and to seek an explanation for “the denial of entry to Gaza” on Feb 4 of the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, and the Lutheran Bishop of Jordan and the Holy Land, the Rt Rev Munib Younan.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Israel, Middle East, Presiding Bishop