Daily Archives: August 25, 2011

(Washington Post) Robert Samuelson–More Inflation Isn't the Answer for the Ailing Economy

It’s a sign of desperation that the latest cure being suggested for the ailing economy is higher inflation. In the 1970s and early 1980s, inflation (peaking at 13 percent in 1979 and 1980) was a national curse. Now, it’s being advanced as an antidote to high unemployment and meager economic growth. It’s bad advice for the Federal Reserve, which holds its annual research retreat at Jackson Hole, Wyo., this week. What seems plausible in the classroom would probably backfire in the real world.

The economy’s central problem today is lack of confidence – fear – reflecting enormous uncertainty. Business managers and consumers don’t know what to expect. Facing stubborn joblessness, falling home values and volatile stock prices, they have become reflexively defensive. They hoard and hold back. A deliberate policy of higher inflation risks compounding the uncertainty and poisoning psychology even more.

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Posted in Uncategorized

E. Christian Brugger–Legalizing Euthanasia by Omission

A problematic new end-of-life medical form is rapidly gaining ascendency in U.S. healthcare. It is called the “POLST” document. (In my own state of Colorado, it’s called a MOST document.) The acronym stands for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment….

The POLST-type legislation removes the condition that a patient is terminally ill or diagnosed in a PVS before a refusal order is actionable. In other words, the new law permits any adult patient to refuse any treatment at any time for any reason in the event they lack decisional capacity; and health care professionals, directed by a doctor’s medical order, ordinarily would be (and are) required to carry out the order. Although the law for strategic purposes is rhetorically formulated as bearing upon end-of-lifemedical decisions, it sets forth no requirement that a patient’s refusal of life-support must be limited to end-of-life conditions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, State Government, Theology

(RNS) After 9/11, Curiosity over Islam Leads to Conversion

Like a lot of other people in the haze and confusion of the 9/11 attacks, Johannah Segarich asked herself: “What kind of religion is this that could inspire people to do this?”

She had studied other religions, but never Islam. So she bought a copy of the Quran, wondering if her notions of Islam as a patriarchal and now seemingly violent religion, would be confirmed.

Then she got to the first chapter, with its seven-line message about seeking guidance from a merciful creator. She finished the Quran a few weeks later, then started reading it again. About half way through, barely 10 weeks after 9/11, “I came to the realization,” she said, “that I had a decision to make.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

(ENS) Virginia Episcopal churches face uninsured quake losses

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

(WSJ) Europe's Banks in Lending Squeeze

New signs of stress are piling up in the ailing European banking system.

Commercial banks boosted their reliance on the European Central Bank, borrowing €2.82 billion ($4.07 billion) from an emergency lending facility on Tuesday, while other banks continue to park unusually large amounts with the central bank, according to data released Wednesday.

While the amount of borrowing is tiny relative to the multitrillion-euro European banking system, it, and the increase from €555 million a day earlier, nonetheless suggest that some lenders are struggling to borrow from traditional funding sources, such as the capital markets or other banks.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, The Banking System/Sector

(SMH) Elizabeth Farrelly–Let's shoot straight on gay marriage

Hagelin finished with classic Billy Graham-type exhortations to ”commit with me to this battle for God’s best today . . . to testify that God’s design for marriage is perfect, to show that marriage under any other definition is a lie . . . Will you . . . stand for marriage?”

And there you have it. It’s all there in a couple of sentences: the presumption of personal access to God’s will, the vilification of any other take on that and the arrogated right to impose that judgment not just on your own life, but universally.

It’s an elision to do any dictator proud. The logic goes like this: I’m right. Not just right for me, but right, period. You are therefore wrong, period. So you must do what I believe to be right, because anything else amounts to an attack by you on my command of divine truth, and therefore on God.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Sexuality

U.S. May Back Refinance Plan for Mortgages

The Obama administration is considering further actions to strengthen the housing market, but the bar is high: plans must help a broad swath of homeowners, stimulate the economy and cost next to nothing.

One proposal would allow millions of homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance them at today’s lower interest rates, about 4 percent, according to two people briefed on the administration’s discussions who asked not to be identified because they were not allowed to talk about the information.

A wave of refinancing could be a strong stimulus to the economy, because it would lower consumers’ mortgage bills right away and allow them to spend elsewhere. But such a sweeping change could face opposition from the regulator who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and from investors in government-backed mortgage bonds.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(CEN) British teen drinking ”˜spawning a violent and promiscuous generation’

Binge drinking among teenage girls has become a serious public health problem for the UK and a source of public disorder, a report compiled by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University has concluded. It warned that Britain’s alcohol culture was spawning a violent and promiscuous generation with 30 per cent of teenagers bingeing at least weekly.

The study of over 11,000 15 and 16-year-old teenagers in the North West found that 88 per cent of teen girls had consumed alcohol, as compared to 80 per cent of boys. “Compared to European neighbours, 15 and 16-year-olds [British teens] are far more likely to drink alcohol and do so more frequently,” the report found.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, England / UK, Teens / Youth

Church of Ireland–What characteristics attract you to The Anglican Church?

I like it for its rootedness also and that it takes people seriously. I like it’s theology (but by no means all of it) or should I say it’s approach to theology.

– First, its diversity, tolerance and the most important : freedom of thought. Second, having TS Eliott and CS Lewis but also John Shelby Spong, Paul van Buren and Don Cupitt….

And of course, current problems surfaced and one said ”“ Sadly, what attracts me most in the Anglican Church are all the things we would lose if we were to adopt the Anglican Covenant….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecclesiology, Theology

Dean Keith Jones Defends An entry charge at York Minster

William Oddie makes very hostile comments about York Minster in protest at the entry charge, and many other things. He does not say how otherwise we are to maintain this gigantic building, which is not subsidised by the state, and which employs (proudly) numerous skilled workers in stone and glass, and music and teaching, to maintain York Minster for the nation and the world at large. We are not profiteers, but a charity. We take pains to make our references to our constant worship and Christian witness such that non-Christians will not be put off, but his sneers fail to mention that we give free entry to acts of worship or the fact that hundreds attend Evensong each day….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Korean Anglicans join opposition to Gangjeong village naval base

The Anglican Church of Korea has lent its voice of opposition to a plan for a new naval base on Jeju island that has prompted protests from other religious and environmental groups.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Asia, South Korea

U.S. Budget agency projects slow growth, high joblessness

The economy will grow by less than 3% through 2012, and unemployment will remain above 8% until 2014, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects.

In its semiannual update of budget and economic data, the agency ”” which serves as the official scorekeeper for President Obama and Congress ”” projects painfully slow progress on the economic front through next year’s election and beyond.

Economic growth will remain slow but steady, it says, increasing by 2.3% this year and 2.7% next year. In a blog post on the agency’s website, director Douglas Elmendorf notes those projections were made in early July ”” before financial market gyrations and some lackluster economic indicators.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Louis of France

O God, who didst call thy servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; 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, Europe, France, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, give us grace to do the work to which thou hast called us with reverence and godly fear; not with eye-service as pleasers of men, but with singleness of heart as in thy sight; and do thou so direct all our thoughts, words and deeds by thy Holy Spirit, that we may set thy will ever before us, and give ourselves to thee, to spend and be spent in thy service; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food; it will give you strength, since not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said this, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves.

–Acts 27:33-37

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Apple's Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO, Succeeded by Tim Cook

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, who built the world’s most valuable technology company, resigned. He is succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.

Jobs took a medical leave of absence Jan. 17 as a rare form of cancer he’s been battling since 2004 and a more recent liver transplant worsened his health, a person with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Jobs said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy

(CNS) Damage from Virginia quake appears to hit churches hard

Historic churches in Washington, Maryland and Virginia were among buildings with the most serious damage after the unusual Aug. 23 magnitude 5.8 earthquake shook the region.

The temblor could be felt as far away as Detroit, north of Toronto and into Florida.

The archdioceses of Washington and Baltimore each reported damage to several churches. But in the Diocese of Richmond, Va., where the quake was centered near the town of Mineral, that town’s St. Jude Church had the only reported damage in the diocese, and that was relatively minor, according to its pastor, Father Michael Duffy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, TEC Parishes

Joe Nocera on why the NLRB going after Boeing is All Wrong

Boeing’s aircraft assembly has long been done by its unionized labor force in Puget Sound, Wash. Most of the new Dreamliners will be built in Puget Sound as well. But with the plane so far behind schedule, Boeing decided to spend $750 million to open the South Carolina facility. Between the two plants, the company hopes to build 10 Dreamliners a month.

That’s the plan, at least. The Obama administration, however, has a different plan. In April, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Boeing, accusing it of opening the South Carolina plant to retaliate against the union, which has a history of striking at contract time. The N.L.R.B.’s proposed solution, believe it or not, is to move all the Dreamliner production back to Puget Sound, leaving those 5,000 workers in South Carolina twiddling their thumbs.

Seriously, when has a government agency ever tried to dictate where a company makes its products? I can’t ever remember it happening.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues

(AP) Survey: At least 1 in 10 employers ready to drop health coverage

Nearly one in 10 midsize or large employers expects to stop offering health coverage to workers once federal insurance exchanges start in 2014, according to a survey from a large benefits consultant.

Towers Watson also found in a survey completed last month that an additional 20 percent of companies are unsure about what they will do.

Another big benefits consultant, Mercer, found in a June survey of large and smaller employers that 8 percent are either “likely” or “very likely” to end health benefits once the exchanges start.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance