Daily Archives: June 25, 2011

(WSJ) Wimbledon–The Day Half the Field Goes Home

…of all Wimbledon’s more-iconic quirks and traditions””the tennis whites, strawberries and umbrellas””there’s one that receives slightly less recognition but deserves a lot more: Second Monday, the most gluttonously glorious day in tennis.

After a day of rest on middle Sunday (another Wimbledon eccentricity), all 32 men and women remaining in the singles draws clamber back to the lawns, anxious and refreshed, to fight for a spot in the quarterfinals. No other major tournament trots out everyone at once.

Read it all but before you do, guess the answer to this question–in what year did this tradition start?.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, History, Sports

New York Episcopal Bishop Mark Sisk Welcomes Passage of Same Sex Marriage

From here:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It was with thanksgiving and joy that I received the news of the New York State legislature’s affirmative action on the Marriage Equality legislation that it had been debating with such intensity.

The legislation, as enacted, appears to be closely aligned with the long standing views of this Diocese that the civil rights of all people should be respected equally before the law. In terms of the issue of marriage rights for gay and lesbian people that position was made most explicit in the resolution enacted at our 2009 Diocesan Convention.

The legislature’s action in broadening the definition of marriage to include same sex unions has to do with civil law, as it properly should. It does not determine Church teaching about the nature of sacraments. That is our continuing work. However, nothing in the unfinished nature of that work should cause us to hesitate to give our most profound thanks for the step that has been taken in affording equal civil rights for our brothers and sisters.

Faithfully yours, (The Rt. Rev.) Mark Sisk

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government, TEC Bishops

The Roman Catholic Bishops Statement in Response to the New York Vote

The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled.

We strongly uphold the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. This definition cannot change, though we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths.
We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.

Our society must regain what it appears to have lost ”“ a true understanding of the meaning and the place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by America’s foundational principles.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, State Government

(NY Times) New York Allows Same-Sex Marriage

Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.

The marriage bill, whose fate was uncertain until moments before the vote, was approved 33 to 29 in a packed but hushed Senate chamber. Four members of the Republican majority joined all but one Democrat in the Senate in supporting the measure after an intense and emotional campaign aimed at the handful of lawmakers wrestling with a decision that divided their friends, their constituents and sometimes their own homes….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government

Marta Andreasen–The EU's Greek Revisionism

…we all know that the EU’s statistical scrutiny [of Greece] failed. More pertinent is the role that Brussels played in its failure. Upon joining the euro, the Greek government was like a child in a candy store. Credit was available to it at 4% interest rates, when previously it had paid as much as 18%. But which irresponsible adult gave Athens the keys to the store?

Back in January 1999 when the euro was born, Greece was not able to join because it didn’t meet the euro zone’s budgetary and inflationary standards. By June 2000 though, Greece was admitted to the club””despite press reports throughout that year that Greece had qualified by “limbo dancing,” or making great efforts to meet euro-zone standards only to let things slide as soon as it was past the barrier.
The European Central Bank similarly expressed its concern prior to Greece’s euro entry, noting that its debt levels were far above the prescribed limit. A respected Bonn University economics professor, Jürgen von Hagen, told the New York Times that at the time, there were already “clear indications that the Greeks were forging the data.”

So where was the European Commission during this time?….

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, History, Politics in General, Psychology, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Economist Leader–The opportunity for Europe’s leaders to avoid disaster is shrinking fast

The European Union seems to have adopted a new rule: if a plan is not working, stick to it….But their strategy of denial””refusing to accept that Greece cannot pay its debts””has become untenable…

An orderly restructuring [for which the Economist advocates] would be risky. Doing it now would crystallise losses for banks and taxpayers across Europe. Nor would it, by itself, right Greece. The country’s economy is in deep recession and it is running a primary budget deficit (ie, before interest payments). Even if Greece restructures its debt and embraces the reforms demanded by the EU and IMF, it will need outside support for some years. That is bound to bring more fiscal-policy control from Brussels, turning the euro zone into a more politically integrated club. Even if that need not mean a superstate with its own finance ministry, the EU’s leaders have not started to explain the likely ramifications of all this to voters. But at least Greece and the markets would have a plan with a chance of working.

No matter what fictions they concoct this week, the euro zone’s leaders will sooner or later face a choice between three options: massive transfers to Greece that would infuriate other Europeans; a disorderly default that destabilises markets and threatens the European project; or an orderly debt restructuring. This last option would entail a long period of external support for Greece, greater political union and a debate about the institutions Europe would then need. But it is the best way out for Greece and the euro. That option will not be available for much longer. Europe’s leaders must grab it while they can.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(FT) Flight from money market funds exposed to EU banks

Investors are withdrawing cash from money market funds heavily exposed to short-term debt issued by European banks out of fear that a Greek default could spark contagion across the region’s financial sector.

At the same time there is increasing reluctance among US banks to lend to their European counterparts in the past two weeks because of growing worries over Greece, according to brokers and bank traders.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Chart of the Day–The Italy-German ten year spread leaps to a Euro-era Record High

Check it out.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

University of South Carolina Wins and Heads back to College World Series

The South Carolina baseball team keeps finding improbable ways to win games in the College World Series.

Thanks to two throwing errors by Virginia pitcher Cody Winiarski on consecutive bunts in the 13th inning, the Gamecocks won a dramatic 3-2 victory over top seed Virginia Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park to advance to the national championship series.

One season after defeating UCLA to win the NCAA title, the Gamecocks (53-14) will attempt to repeat against SEC rival Florida (53-17) in a best-of-three series that begins Monday at 8 p.m.

I went to bed after the bottom of the 11th–ugh. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Sports, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast revealed thyself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and dost ever live and reign in the perfect unity of love: Grant that we may always hold firmly and joyfully to this faith, and, living in praise of thy divine majesty, may finally be one in thee; who art three persons in one God, world without end.

–Church of South India

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its inhabitants. He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields, and plant vineyards, and get a fruitful yield. By his blessing they multiply greatly; and he does not let their cattle decrease. 39 When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, he pours contempt upon princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; but he raises up the needy out of affliction, and makes their families like flocks. The upright see it and are glad; and all wickedness stops its mouth. Whoever is wise, let him give heed to these things; let men consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

–Psalm 107:33-43

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anthony Esolen–Sexual Revolution: Built Upon Sand

It will not do to say, “As long as people are honest with one another, fornication is all right.” The point is that they cannot be honest with one another in that situation. The supposed honesty of detachment, or deferral, or temporizing, or mutual hedonism, only embroils them in a deeper lie. The body in the act of generation says, whether we like it or not, “I am reaching out to the future, to a time when there will be no turning back.” The body, naked to behold in love, says, “There is nothing of mine that I do not offer as yours. We complete one another, man and woman.” Such affirmations transcend the division between the private and the public. They are therefore only made in honesty by people who are married””who have acknowledged publicly that they belong forever to one another and to the children they may conceive by the marital act.

No one but a sadist could say, “I feel no love for you, but am using your body as a convenient receptacle, for the sake of the pleasure. Afterwards I dearly hope you will not trouble me with your continued presence.” Is that too strong? What about this? “I like you very much, and yet I have no intention of spending the rest of my life with you, or even the rest of this year.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology

(The Tablet) Francis Davis–The Catholic Church and civil society

Both the Church of England and the Catholic Church are anxious to influence the public agenda. The Newsnight episode is just the latest instance of the Catholic bishops’ reticence and limited profile, compared with their Anglican counterparts. Time and again, the Church of England ”“ and some other ­bodies such as the Jewish Leadership Council ”“ appear to be more sure-footed in their engagement with Government and civil society.

Why is this, and what is holding back the Catholic Church? Part of the difficulty is the contrasting backgrounds, formation, experience and responsibilities of Catholic and Anglican bishops. The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and Dr Williams lead Churches whose pathways to the nation are as different as if their leaders had lived in two separate worlds.

Read it all.

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

(FT) Henny Sender–Banks lose out as Washington rigs the rules

…in an era of greater regulation the government is writing the rules. The definition of what constitutes an adequate capital cushion keeps going up. For example, at the beginning of this month, Daniel Tarullo, Federal Reserve board governor, suggested that bank capital levels should be far higher than the 7 per cent level required by Basel III.

Regulators have further determined that investment in government securities involves no capital hit, despite the fact that sovereign debt these days is in some cases as risky as lending to companies with junk ratings.

At the same time, governments are raising liquidity requirements and ”“ no surprise ”“ it is government securities that are classified as the most liquid.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government