Daily Archives: June 9, 2011

Martin Feldstein–The Economy Is Worse Than You Think

Estimates of monthly GDP indicate that the only growth in the first quarter of 2011 was from February to March. After a temporary rise in March, the economy began sliding again in April, with declines in real wages, in durable-goods orders and manufacturing production, in existing home sales, and in real per-capita disposable incomes. It is not surprising that the index of leading indicators fell in April, only the second decline since it began to rise in the spring of 2009.

The data for May are beginning to arrive and are even worse than April’s. They are marked by a collapse in payroll-employment gains; a higher unemployment rate; manufacturers’ reports of slower orders and production; weak chain-store sales; and a sharp drop in consumer confidence.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry, The U.S. Government

Terrific Pictures–Night-sky photo contest winners named

Check out all seven.

Posted in * General Interest

(WSJ) The Great Property Bubble of China May Be Popping

Already, in nine major cities tracked by Rosealea Yao, an analyst at market-research firm Dragonomics, real-estate prices fell 4.9% in April from a year earlier. Last year, prices in those nine cities rose 21.5%; in 2009, the increase was about 10%, as China started to recover from the global economic crisis, with much steeper increases toward the end of that year.

A downturn in property and apartment prices would harm Chinese industry and investment, and crimp consumer spending. China is a “housing-led economy,” says UBS economist Jonathan Anderson, who estimates that property construction alone accounted for 13% of gross domestic product in 2010, twice the share of the 1990s.

While China’s anticipated growth is still well above that of other large economies, any reduction could have deep consequences. The global economy is now even more dependent on China for demand for anything from commodities to luxury goods, given the tepid recovery in the U.S. and Europe’s continuing sovereign-debt problems.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market

Pictures of What one New Zealand Demolition Crew did as they helped a Church

Photos of St George’s Church, Linwood, Christchurch–take a look.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture

In North Carolina, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church closes its school after 50 years

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church abruptly closed its preschool and kindergarten after the school year ended two weeks ago, surprising faculty and parents. Up until the decision was made, the church had still planned to operate the coming school year, but several reasons contributed to the decision to close the 50-year-old school.

The church vestry, a 12-member board that oversees buildings and other assets of the parish, met after the school year ended. The director of St. Luke’s Preschool and Kindergarten had recently resigned, so it was a chance for the vestry to come together and reflect on where they were and where they were called to go, said the Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, rector of St. Luke’s. After they made the decision to close, they sent a letter out to parents and quickly held another meeting to tell the teachers.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Links to Press Articles on Rowan Williams' Critism of the British Government

Since there are [already] over 40 and counting, there is no way I am posting them all–check them out if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Media, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(New Statesman) Rowan Williams–The government needs to know how afraid people are

Government badly needs to hear just how much plain fear there is around such questions at present. It isn’t enough to respond with what sounds like a mixture of, “This is the last government’s legacy,” and, “We’d like to do more, but just wait until the economy recovers a bit.” To acknowledge the reality of fear is not necessarily to collude with it. But not to recognise how pervasive it is risks making it worse. Equally, the task of opposition is not to collude in it, either, but to define some achievable alternatives. And, for that to happen, we need sharp-edged statements of where the disagreements lie.

The uncomfortable truth is that, while grass-roots initiatives and local mutualism are to be found flourishing in a great many places, they have been weakened by several decades of cultural fragmentation. The old syndicalist and co-operative traditions cannot be reinvented overnight and, in some areas, they have to be invented for the first time.

This is not helped by a quiet resurgence of the seductive language of “deserving” and “undeserving” poor, nor by the steady pressure to increase what look like punitive responses to alleged abuses of the system.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(ENS) Elizabeth Lowell named Episcopal Church project manager for fundraising

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

(USA Today) For blacks, a health care divide

Death rates for black Americans surpass those of Americans overall for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV and homicide, the CDC reports.

“Educationally, we’re doing better. Economically, we’re doing better, so why is it that this gap will not go away?” asks Michelle Gourdine, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and author of the newly released Reclaiming Our Health: A Guide to African American Wellness.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Race/Race Relations

Carson Holloway–Same-Sex Marriage and Human Fulfillment

The strongest argument against same-sex marriage””in the sense of the argument with the deepest philosophic roots, or the argument that gets to the most fundamental issues at stake””is that homosexual activity is contrary to the natural law. This argument is either true, or it is not. If it is true, then publicly sanctioned same-sex marriage will contribute nothing substantial to the happiness of homosexuals. There are various understandings of natural law, but all present the natural law as a reality that exists independent of human opinion, a rule for human flourishing that human beings can ignore only at their own peril. On this view, the real issue in human happiness is the moral quality of our lives and not how they are regarded by society at large. As Socrates explains to his young interlocutors in Plato’s Republic, the actual being of the soul, and not its mere seeming, is decisive for human happiness. That is to say, happiness is the fruit of the proper functioning of the human soul, so that character, and not reputation or opinion, is the source of genuine flourishing. On this understanding, Socrates explains, a just soul, one ruled according to reason, is happier than an unjust one, regardless of whatever praises are heaped upon the successfully unjust man by a corrupted public opinion.

Accordingly, if homosexual conduct really is, as its natural law critics contend, a perversion of human desires and capacities, a wrenching of them away from their natural purposes, then such conduct will be a source of frustration and unhappiness regardless of whether society bestows its “recognition,” and hence its approval, on it. On this view, there is nothing of substance to be gained from same-sex marriage even for homosexuals. Indeed, if traditional natural law theorists are correct in their assessment of homosexual conduct, then same-sex marriage would be not only pointless but positively damaging, to the extent that it could mislead people to their own harm by bestowing a spurious respectability on an objectively disordered way of life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(The Catholic) Bevil Bramwell– A House Divided, but Not Beyond Repair

…Christ has a way of busting through the fog created by the poorly informed, the partisans and the downright malicious. Yes, we can and ought to make sure that we are not obstacles. But somehow the Holy Spirit daily tweaks consciences and voilà ”“ in that public statement and in what that person over there is doing ”“ Christ becomes public and visible and challenging once more.

When Karol Wojtyła was a priest and then a bishop under Communist oppression, he realized that culture was the place in which to affirm what is right about humanity.
In clandestine play readings, or meetings in his residence (public gatherings were watched), or in the celebration of Mass in a field at Nova Huta (after the district had deliberately been laid out without a church), he simply and clearly asserted the presence of Jesus Christ, and the dignity of the human being within the society that Christ had died for. With such a clear division between the oppressed and the oppressor, the mode of response ”“ which took grace and courage ”“ became clear.

I would submit that the division today is in fact equally clear, what we are looking for is men and women of prayer, living embodiments of grace and courage, to unleash the great torrents of the Holy Spirit upon this divided house, and make it deeply and visibly one again.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Ordinariate to hold historic Evensong at heart of Oxford Movement

The Oxford Ordinariate Group is organising their first Solemn Evensong and Benediction at the Dominican Priory, Blackfriars, next Wednesday, 15 June, at 7.30pm by kind permission of the Prior and Community.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

The Strange Story of one time Episcopal Bishop William Montgomery Brown

He left Arkansas in 1911, obsessed with the idea that he held the key to world salvation. He and Ella came back to Galion, where he had a nervous breakdown. He was granted a year’s leave of absence from his duties in Arkansas. During his recuperation, the bishop began reading the works of Karl Marx and Charles Darwin.

He resigned his position in April 1912 with the understanding that he could keep his seat in the House of Bishops.

From 1912 to 1920, Brown underwent a startling conversion process and embraced Marxism and socialism. Brown’s acceptance of socialism and Marxism led him to communism. It was during this time that the prominent socialist Eugene Debs visited often.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Philosophy, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Columba

O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant Columba didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness to thee by following the example of his zeal and patience; 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, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and merciful God, into whose gracious presence we ascend, not by the frailty of the flesh but by the activity of the soul: Make us ever by thy inspiration to seek after the courts of the heavenly city, whither our Saviour Christ hath ascended, and by thy mercy confidently to enter them, both now and hereafter; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Leonine Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

–Luke 10:33-37

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Evening Standard) Archbishop Rowan Williams–Literacy, dignity and freedom

Learning to read by learning the Bible may seem a bit odd to 21st-century readers. But the fact is that one of the great incentives was the need to learn what really mattered for your dignity on earth and your salvation in heaven. We may not put it like that these days but literacy is still about dignity and freedom. When we forget this, we are in real trouble.

That’s why it was so shocking to learn that rates of improvement in young people’s literacy have slowed down disturbingly since 2006 and that a quarter of children and young people do not see any connection between reading and success or stability in their lives. Yet the figures clearly show the correlations between inadequate literacy and a variety of social ills – unemployment, lack of a stable family life, and, significantly, apathy about voting. The percentage of functionally illiterate people in our prisons (nearly 50 per cent) tells its own story.

More worrying still are the figures for young people in London. One in three children does not own a book. One in four leaves primary school with a substandard level of literacy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(ACNS) Anglican Alliance: Food Campaign Targets G20 Agriculture Ministers

The Anglican Alliance launches a food campaign targeting G20 and African governments in the run-up to this month’s meetings on the global food crisis.

Support for women farmers will be a focal point for the campaign which will also call for action to control speculation, improve market access for developing country farmers, and increase spending on agriculture.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Globalization, Politics in General

(Times Herald-Record) Warwick, New York Rector takes big step

The Rev. J. Scott Barker was walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain ”” a historic pilgrimage route ”” about a year ago when he had an epiphany.

On his pilgrimage to the site where St. James the Apostle is said to be buried, Barker, the rector of Christ Church in the Village of Warwick, realized he aspired to be a bishop with the Episcopal Church.

Little did he know that a year later, he’d be tapped as bishop of the Nebraska Diocese.

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

(Living Church) Dean: Washington Cathedral Fights ”˜Monetary Asphyxiation'

A 2012-2014 strategic plan for Washington National Cathedral will help place the cathedral on a firmer financial footing, the cathedral’s dean, the Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, said June 5. He said the strategic plan, which includes both short- and long-term objectives, precedes a capital campaign, which will kick off shortly.

Speaking at the cathedral during a participatory town hall meeting, Lloyd said the challenge “that has haunted the cathedral from the beginning” is how it can prevent “monetary asphyxiation” (a phrase used by the cathedral’s late dean Francis Sayre) and sustain itself.

Strengthening the cathedral’s endowment is essential to avoid “endlessly having to chase that money,” the dean said. “We know the need is great,” he said. “We need a $400 million endowment to be sustainable for the ages; this is a first step.” (The current endowment is about $51 million.)

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