Daily Archives: September 1, 2011

Federal Reserve's Elizabeth Duke Says U.S. Should Promote Foreclosed-Home Rentals to Aid Economy

Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke called for government efforts to promote the rental of foreclosed homes, saying a recovery in the U.S. housing market hinges on clearing the backlog of such properties.

“We need to deal with the unprecedented number of loans in or still entering the foreclosure pipeline, the disposition of properties acquired through foreclosure, and the effect of a high percentage of distressed sales on home prices,” Duke said in a speech today in Washington. “We, as a nation, currently have a housing market that is so severely out of balance that it is hampering our economic recovery.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(CNS) R.C. Dioceses find various ways to cope with contraceptive insurance mandate

A new federal regulation that would require employer insurance plans to provide contraceptives that some consider abortifacient and voluntary sterilization among cost-free preventive care measures such as inoculations and Pap smears is being greeted with varying levels of dismay in Catholic dioceses across the country.

The regulation provides a narrow religious exemption for an employer that “(1) has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose; (2) primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets; (3) primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets; and (4) is a nonprofit organization” under specific sections of the Internal Revenue Code.

This definition is “a direct infringement on our ability to do ministry,” said George Wesolek, communications director for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. “It’s part of a larger issue,” he said. “The room for religious liberty is getting narrower and narrower” in the United States.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(RNS) Vatican Blasts New York’s Sex Ed Program

The Vatican took a swipe at new sex education classes in New York City schools on Wednesday (Aug. 31), saying teaching middle school students how to use a condom is “useless, and even harmful.”

The front-page editorial of the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, criticized all mandatory sex ed classes in public schools but was aimed particularly at New York’s new program, which has been opposed heavily by Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

Battling the Couch Potatoes, Hungary Introduces An Obesity Tax

Beginning Sept. 1, Hungarians will have to pay a 10 forint (€ 0.37) tax on foods with high fat, sugar and salt content, as well as increased tariffs on soda and alcohol. The expected annual proceeds of €70 million will go toward state health care costs, including those associated with addressing the country’s 18.8 percent obesity rate, which is more than 3 percent higher than the European Union average of 15.5 percent according to a 2010 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In Germany, by comparison, 13.6 percent of adults are obese, with Romania at the bottom of the list with 7.9 percent.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said, “Those who live unhealthily have to contribute more.” In other words, the new law is based on the idea that those whose diets land them in the hospital should help foot the bill, particularly in a country with a health care deficit of €370 million.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Europe, Health & Medicine, Hungary, Taxes

Michael Bird responds to Muriel Porter

From here:

…Muriel Porter has [written] a tirade against the greatest evil facing world Anglicanism, viz., Sydney Anglicans. Now I might have a more inclusive view of women in ministry than some of my Sydney Anglican friends, but I would point out that (i) There is a lot more diversity in Sydney Anglicanism than Porter admits; and (ii) The Diocese of Sydney employs more women in ministry than any other Anglican Diocese in the world (even if not in ordained priesthood ministry). I have no intention of defending the Sydney Anglicans (they are more than equipped to do that themselves). But in my mind Porter’s attack is not just on Sydney Anglicans, but on all Anglicans all over the world who hold to the Creeds, Prayerbook, and 39 Articles, i.e., the orthodox. The irony is that her purportedly inclusive brand of Anglicanism is anything but inclusive of anyone who disagrees with her. What is more, she treats African Anglicans as little more than puppets controlled by Sydney Anglicans. Porter is so blatantly condescending towards Anglicans in the global south that it is almost unbelievable that anyone could be that arrogant. I mean, it is borderline racism, and I wonder if an African Anglican would agree with me here? Her rant is indicative of the liberal Anglicans who are absolutely livid that African and Asian Anglicans refuse to comply with their theological revisionism. The mere fact that Global South Anglicans have any voice or vote in the communion and dare speak against their former colonial masters is positively outrageous for Porter. They must have been coaxed, cajoled, and coached into orthodoxy by Peter Jensen ”“ I mean, really, who actually believes this non-sense? For a response to Porter, see Mark Thompson’s review of her book at the Anglican Church League.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

Muriel Porter is Worried about Sydney Anglicans–Very Worried

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

Archbishop of York to Lead Forces Commemoration Service at Yorkshire Air Museum

On Sunday 4th September, the Archbishop of York will lead the Forces Commemoration Service for the 14 service personnel who lost their lives on a Nimrod in Afghanistan in 2006.

The Archbishop is visiting the Yorkshire Air Museum to lead the Forces Commemoration Service dedicated in honour of the 14 service personnel who lost their lives on Nimrod XV230 in Afghanistan 5 years ago on September 2nd 2006. The Yorkshire Air Museum is home to the Allied Air Forces Memorial, which recognises and commemorates the achievements and sacrifice of allied airmen and women in all conflicts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, History, Military / Armed Forces

As water recedes, cleanup begins across Northeast

As the flood waters receded, weary residents across the Northeast began pulling soggy furniture and ruined possessions onto their front lawns as they surveyed the damage wrought by Hurricane Irene.

The mess of destroyed furniture on Paul Postma’s front lawn looked like a yard sale gone wrong. Over the weekend, Postma had watched as more than two feet of rain filled the bottom level of his home in Lincoln Park, N.J. On Wednesday, he was using bleach to wipe down the house’s mud-soaked walls.

“None of this has value,” he said. “At least not anymore.”

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

(Reuters) ECB's Juergen Stark–U.S. has "enormous" debt problem

“The crisis is not over. Not just in Europe is it not over, it is also not over in other regions of the world,” he said, adding the United States had an “enormous” debt problem and lacked the structures to get the problem under control.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(Phil. Inquirer) Defrocked Episcopal priest loses bid to retain Philadelphia Area parish

A Episcopal priest defrocked by the local diocese must step down as rector of his Rosemont parish and vacate the premises after 21 years there, a Montgomery County Court judge has ruled.

The Rev. David Moyer, 60, said Wednesday that he was saddened by Judge Stanley Ott’s decision but would abide by his order to leave the Church of the Good Shepherd. He said he hoped to become a Roman Catholic priest.

An outspoken critic of liberal trends in the Episcopal Church, Moyer was defrocked in 2002 by the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania after he agreed to become a bishop in a small, conservative Anglican denomination.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania

(VOA) Official Resigns Over Syrian Crackdown

The attorney general in the central Syrian city of Hama says he has resigned because of the government’s deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

In a video posted on YouTube, Adnan Bakkour says he is stepping down because security forces killed 72 prisoners in Hama at the end of July and more than 400 others during a siege of the city in August.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency says the resignation message is false, and that Bakkour was forced to make the comments by “armed terrorist groups” that kidnapped him earlier this week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

(ACNS) A Statement from the Anglican Provincial Secretaries' Conference

Provincial Secretaries from around the Anglican Communion met in Mexico from 25 August to 1 September 2011 for the seventh in a series of informal meetings started in the 1980s.

The conference programme was designed to further the professional development of the participants, who are each key administrators within their respective Provinces. It provided space for exploring the particular challenges and opportunities facing individual Provinces, sharing lessons learned from experience over the past few years and strengthening knowledge and understanding within the Communion.

Representatives from 25 Provinces…and from the Church of Ceylon attended. Four were unable to attend at the last minute because of illness or visa difficulties and a number of others sent regrets and best wishes. Around half of those present had moved into their present roles since the last meeting of Provincial Secretaries in 2007.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Archbishop of Canterbury, Globalization

Four Charts from Doug Short–Recession? No. We're in the Second Great Contraction

The recession of 2007-2009 was by far the most savage economic decline over the time frame of these charts. Prior to the last recession, real GDP hit a new peak within a quarter or two of the official recession end. Per capita real GDP usually lagged a quarter before hitting its post-recession peak; the one exception was in 1990-1991, when the per capita variant required an extra three quarters to set a new peak. Employment has historically been slower to hit new highs following recessions.

The so-called double-dip recession of 1980-1982 had a non-recessionary interlude of four quarters. All three of our indicators hit new peaks within in the second quarter after the first of the double dips. Where are we today? We’re now in the ninth quarter after the last recession. Real GDP is within shouting distance (0.5%) of a new peak. But real GDP per capita is less than halfway from its trough to a new peak, and, twenty-six months after the recession ended, nonfarm employment is only a bit over 20% of the way from its trough to a new peak.

Check out the four charts carefully, especially the second one: Real Per Capita GDP as a Percentage of the Previous Peak.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, only giver of all mercies, whose Son, Jesus Christ, has taught us how to pray aright: Save us, we beseech thee, from all presumption in our prayer, and grant unto us the grace of humility and contrition; that we may, sharing the vision of thine apostle Saint Paul, know that it is by the grace of God alone that we are what we are, and that we can do nothing but through the strengthening of thy Son, Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

–Euchologium Anglicanum

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Fret not yourself because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

Psalm 37:1-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Graphene memorises data in a flash

A flash memory material based on graphene has been created for the first time and shows big advantages over current state-of-the-art technology. The material is almost twice as energy efficient compared to the industry standard and can store double the information.

Graphene has long been tipped as the material which will eventually replace silicon semiconductors in electronics. Compared with competitor materials graphene should be cheaper, more robust and highly efficient.

Read it all and there is more from the BBC there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

(NCR) John Allen–No earthquake from overture to Anglicans

Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 decision to revive the Latin Mass is arguably one such case, as is a 2005 Vatican document barring homosexuals from seminaries. Both became an instant cause célèbre, yet, at least so far, most people would say that neither liturgical practice nor seminary formation has been truly turned on its head.

In the U.K., some observers believe a similar point might be made about the recent creation of a new structure, called an ordinariate, to welcome groups of former Anglicans into the Catholic fold.

When it was unveiled two years ago, supporters hailed the ordinariate as a way to end the ecumenical logjam between Rome and Canterbury. Critics predicted it would corrode relations with Anglicans, and that it would drive Catholicism to the right by embracing Anglicanism’s most determined opponents of women clergy and homosexuality.

Read it all.

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

(BBC) Mobile internet use nearing 50%

Almost half of UK internet users are going online via mobile phone data connections, according to the Office for National Statistics.

45% of people surveyed said they made use of the net while out and about, compared with 31% in 2010.

The most rapid growth was among younger people, where 71% of internet-connected 16 to 24-year-olds used mobiles.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Science & Technology

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba writes his Province

Another area I want to mention, and for which I ask your prayers, is the development of Pastoral Guidelines in relation to the same-gender civil unions for which South African legislation now provides. Following requests to the Bishops for advice in relation to the pastoral care of people in such unions, and their families, the Synod of Bishops has, over several meetings, produced a document reflecting our common mind on this very sensitive issue. Proposals have now been sent to Dioceses for consultation within archdeaconries and parishes. We are requesting feedback on whether this offers the sort of guidance that those in pastoral ministry seek, in time for our February 2012 Synod of Bishops. PSC will also consider them. Let me underline that this document is not directly about the continuing debate around human sexuality, though it affirms that we uphold the moratoria of the Anglican Communion on the ordination of persons living in a same gender unions to the episcopate; the blessing of same-sex unions; and cross-border incursions by bishops. Rather, this focuses on the human and pastoral realities that we inevitably face in parishes following South Africa’s new legislation.

I am glad that we shall be welcoming two very special guests at Kopanong. The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will join part of the Synod of Bishops meeting that precedes PSC; and the Most Revd Ian Ernst, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, and current Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, will be with us both at SoB and PSC. We hope that through sharing in our meetings, and some other brief visits in Cape Town and Gauteng, they will learn more about ACSA, and we can strengthen our relationships within the Anglican Communion and as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Post-Gazette Editorial) Patience on Libya: The new authority has many problems to address

The problem now is that the NTC needs the money if it is to begin to put some order into the new Libya, if it is to begin to rule Libya. To establish its authority, it must provide law and order and restore public services, including basic items like water and electricity, to show the Libyan people the fruits of the rebellion. At least part of the NTC is in the process of moving from Benghazi to Tripoli, establishing control of the capital and mitigating the perception of Libyans that the rebellion is an eastern affair, as opposed to a national one.

The difficult part is that the NTC is still disorganized. Its structure is unclear and its chain of command and, thus, ability to accept responsibility including for money, is unclear to the point of concern that it doesn’t exist.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Libya