Daily Archives: June 7, 2011

WSJ Front Page–Second Mortgage Misery

Almost 40% of homeowners who took out second mortgages””extracting cash from their residences to cover everything from vacations to medical bills””are underwater on their loans, more than twice the rate of owners who didn’t take out such loans.

The finding, in a report to be released Tuesday by real-estate data firm CoreLogic Inc., illustrates the consequences of easy borrowing amid the housing boom’s inflated prices. The report says 38% of borrowers who took cash out of their residences using home-equity loans are underwater, or owe more than their home is worth. By contrast, 18% of borrowers who don’t have these loans were underwater.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Reuters Special Report) If Monterrey falls, Mexico falls

In just four years, Monterrey, a manufacturing city of 4 million people 140 miles from the Texan border, has gone from being a model for developing economies to a symbol of Mexico’s drug war chaos, sucked down into a dark spiral of gangland killings, violent crime and growing lawlessness.

Since President Felipe Calderon launched an army-led war on the cartels in late 2006, grenade attacks, beheadings, firefights and drive-by killings have surged.

That has shattered this city’s international image as a boomtown where captains of industry built steel, cement and beer giants in the desert in less than a century — Mexico’s version of Dallas or Houston.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Mexico

USA Today–the American Government's mountain of debt

The health insurance program for seniors is the nation’s biggest financial challenge.

The first of 77 million Baby Boomers turn 65 this year and qualify for Medicare. Enrollment will grow from 48 million in 2010 to 64 million in 2020 and 81 million in 2030, according to Medicare actuaries. That 33-million increase in the next 20 years compares with 13 million in the last 20.

This demographic burst ”” combined with the addition of a prescription drug benefit in 2006 and rising health care costs generally ”” has created an unfunded liability of nearly $25 trillion over the lifetime of those now in the program as workers and retirees. That is the taxpayers’ obligation, beyond what Medicare taxes will bring in or seniors will pay in premiums for Medicare Part B ”” also called supplemental coverage ”” that helps pay for doctor visits and other expenses outside the hospital.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Archbishop of Canterbury's Examination in Theology presentation at Lambeth Palace

Since 2007, the Lambeth Diploma and Lambeth MA are no longer offered by the Archbishop’s Examination in Theology (AET) because of the launch of MPhil/PhD research degrees. The research degrees programme has been developed with Quality Assuarance Agency requirements and general university standards in mind.

The Archbishop of Canterbury enjoys the right to grant these degrees by an Act of Parliament in 1533. This act gave Archbishop Cranmer the right to grant dispensations previously granted by the Pope.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(CNS) Pope urges nations to promote moral education, protect family, life

If religion, ethics and a moral conscience are banished from informing the public realm, “then the crisis of the West has no remedy and Europe is destined to collapse in on itself” and risk falling prey to every form of tyranny, he said in an audience with Croatia’s political, religious, cultural, business and academic representatives.

Free and just democracies thrive when citizens’ consciences have been formed by love and Christianity’s “logic of gift” in which the good of the whole human family is sought after, not narrow self-interests, the pope said June 4 in Zagreb’s ornate Croatian National Theater.

“The quality of social and civil life and the quality of democracy depend in large measure” on all citizens possessing and exercising a conscience that listens, not to subjective feelings, but to an objective truth that recognizes one’s duty to God and all human beings, he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Croatia, Europe, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

ABC Nightline–Mission: Afghanistan

Diane Sawyer asks Gen. Petraeus and Sec. Gates if the U.S. is winning the war.

Watch it carefully, it is a great illustration of the huge personal toll on a Secretary of Defense that goes with the job–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Foreign Relations, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

Thomas Friedman–Arab Spring's lesson for China: people want dignity, not bread

…this is not about technology alone. As Russian historian Leon Aron has noted, the Arab uprisings closely resemble the Russian democratic revolution of 1991 in one key respect: they were both not so much about freedom or food as about ”dignity”. They each grew out of a deep desire by people to run their own lives and to be treated as ”citizens” – with both obligations and rights that the state cannot just give and take by whim.

If you want to know what brings about revolutions, it is not GDP rising or falling, says Aron, ”it is the quest for dignity”. We always exaggerate people’s quest for GDP and undervalue their quest for ideals. ”Dignity before bread” was the slogan of the Tunisian revolution. ”The spark that lights the fuse is always the quest for dignity,” said Aron. ”Today’s technology just makes the fire much more difficult to put out.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Asia, China, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Theology

5 US soldiers killed in Iraq. What does it mean for the withdrawal?

With some 47,000 US troops slated to leave the country by then, the attack could provide a new impetus for the Pentagon to push for an extension of the US military presence in the country.

US military officials have made it clear that while security on the ground in Iraq has improved in recent years, “there is still much work to be done and still plenty of extremists aided by states and organizations who are bent on pulling Iraq back into violence,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said during a visit to Iraq in April.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iraq War, Middle East, Parish Ministry

(The Tennessean) How does God fit in at school?

Middle Tennesseans and their children are at the center of the emotional national debate about separation between religion and public school life.

For most of American history, God was welcome in the public schools. The same is true today for many school systems across the Nashville area, where open prayer is held on school grounds, sports teams pray before games and high school graduations are routinely held in churches.

But objections from families and national civil liberties groups find Middle Tennessee at the center of the litigious argument over separating public schools and church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Religion & Culture

(Diocese of Melbourne) Countering violence against women an Anglican Church priority

“Violence against women remains a significant social issue with a huge personal and social cost,” Bishop Philip Huggins, Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities said today.

“Research by VicHealth has found that intimate partner violence contributes to more ill-health and premature death in Victorian women aged 15 to 44 than any other of the well-known risk factors,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Religion & Culture, Violence, Women

(BBC) Mexico's 'Holy Death' cult growing

Watch the whole video report.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Mexico, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(CNN Belief Blog) Actually, that's not in the Bible

[Mike] Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches – all types of people – quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.

These phantom passages include:

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Post-Gazette) Look beyond the law to faith, Governor Corbett tells Duquesne grads

At the graduation ceremony for Duquesne University Law School Sunday, commencement speaker Gov. Tom Corbett urged the graduates to practice law morally and with compassion, looking beyond the law and to their faith and consciences to guide them.

“It’s not something the law will ask of you,” he said. “You must ask it for yourself.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Christ, the King of Glory, who through the everlasting gates didst ascend to thy Father’s throne, and open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers: Grant that, whilst thou dost reign in heaven, we may not be bowed down to the things of earth, but that our hearts may be lifted up whither thou, our redemption, art gone before; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, ever one God, world without end.

–Mozarabic Sacramentary

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ascension, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter

From the Morning Bible Readings

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.

–Psalm 97: 5-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

China Rejects Google’s Hacking Charge

China’s official Communist Party newspaper issued a caustic response on Monday to Google’s charge that Chinese hackers had taken aim at influential users of its Gmail service, calling the accusations “political gaming” aimed at fomenting new discord between the Beijing and Washington governments.

The newspaper, People’s Daily, published a front-page editorial in Monday’s international editions that also suggested that Google’s actions could cost it credibility in the business world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Science & Technology

(Marketwatch) Firms halting coverage as reform starts: survey

Once provisions of the Affordable Care Act start to kick in during 2014, at least three of every 10 employers will probably stop offering health coverage, a survey released Monday shows.

While only 7% of employees will be forced to switch to subsidized-exchange programs, at least 30% of companies say they will “definitely or probably” stop offering employer-sponsored coverage, according to the study published in McKinsey Quarterly.

The survey of 1,300 employers says those who are keenly aware of the health-reform measure probably are more likely to consider an alternative to employer-sponsored plans, with 50% to 60% in this group expected to make a change. It also found that for some, it makes more sense to switch.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

True Cost of Fannie, Freddie Bailouts: $317 Billion, CBO Says

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the real cost of the federal government guaranteeing the business of failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is $317 billion — not the $130 billion normally claimed by the Obama administration.

In a report delivered to the House Budget Committee on June 2, the CBO said a “fair value” accounting of guaranteeing the two defunct mortgage companies ”“ known as Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) ”“ was more than twice as high as the Office of Management and Budget had accounted for.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Archdiocese of Washington/Epis Dio. of Wash. Press Release on St. Luke’s Parish in Bladensburg

After a period of deep discernment, the rector and parishioners of St. Luke’s Episcopal parish in Bladensburg, Maryland have decided to seek entry into the Roman Catholic Church through a new structure approved by Pope Benedict XVI called an ordinariate. Saint Luke’s is the first church in the Washington metropolitan area to take this step.

The transition is being made with the prayerful support of Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic Archbishop of Washington.

“We welcome the St. Luke community warmly into our family of faith. The proposed ordinariate provides a path to unity, one that recognizes our shared beliefs on matters of faith while also recognizing and respecting the liturgical heritage of the Anglican Church,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “We also recognize the openness of the community to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their faith journey.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes

(Wash. Post) Episcopal church in Bladensburg to convert to Roman Catholicism

The conversion helps “bridge and heal a wound that has existed between Rome and Anglicanism for nearly five hundred years,” the rector at St. Luke’s, the Rev. Mark Lewis, said on the church’s Web site.

In January, the St. Luke’s vestry, its elected decision-making body, affirmed a decision to become Catholic, and on Sunday the parish community voiced its approval. Only one family expressed reservations, Lewis said.

On Monday, parishioners said that St. Luke’s had long worshiped in the extremely traditional “Anglo-Catholic” style. Leaders of the congregation said they have long struggled with the lack of clear authority in Anglicanism and welcomed the pope’s leadership.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(AP) Maryland Episcopal parish to join Roman Catholic Church

An Episcopal parish in the eastern state of Maryland will be the first in the United States to join the Roman Catholic Church under a new streamlined conversion process created by Pope Benedict XVI, leaders of both church groups said Monday.

St. Luke’s Episcopal parish in Bladensburg will come under the care of Washington Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who is forming a U.S. ordinariate ”” effectively a national diocese ”” for Episcopalians converting under the pope’s plan.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes

St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Western Washington gets ready to dedicate new Addition

St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods Episcopal Church will dedicate its new addition next weekend, a 9,400-square-foot, two-story expansion that nearly doubles the size of the church’s facilities.

“This is the parish’s commitment to the future with the same sense of optimism of the people who came before us,” said Harry Anderson, who as senior warden is the top lay person in the church.

“This will be our testament and our legacy,” Anderson said.

Read it all.

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