Daily Archives: October 7, 2012

(NPR) Afghanistan Deadline Awaits Next U.S. President

How does a president bring the war in Afghanistan to an end? There are 68,000 American troops serving in the country as the war enters its 12th year.

The war hasn’t been a major issue in the presidential campaign, and polls show American voters are tiring of the war. But the next commander in chief will find the Afghan war among the most difficult of many foreign policy challenges.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

(Washington Post) Life of a salesman: Selling success, when the American dream is downsized

His job was to stand with customers in their back yards, suntanned and smiling, and look beyond the problems of the past several years to see the opportunities in every suburban cul-de-sac. How about a pool and a sauna next to the patio? Or a custom waterfall near the property line?

“The possibilities here are as big as you can dream them,” he liked to tell customers, gesturing at their yards.

In a country built on optimism, Frank Firetti was the most optimistic character of all: the American salesman ”” if not the architect of the American dream then at least its most time-honored promoter. He believed that you could envision something and then own it, that what you had now was never as good as what you would have next. Since the country was founded, it had climbed ever upward on the spirit of people like him, on their vision, on their willpower, on their capitalism. But now, when he traveled from house to house to sell his monuments to American success, he sensed that spirit waning….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Food for Thought from Peter Drucker

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”

–Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

Posted in * General Interest, Notable & Quotable

WSJ Editorial–You don't need a conspiracy theory to know the job market is still lousy

The reality is that more than three years into this weakest of economic recoveries, 12.1 million Americans are still out of work””nearly 23 million by the broader definition that includes those who have stopped looking or can’t find full time work””and the labor participation rate is still down to 1981 levels at 63.6%. Hooray!

Of the 114,000 new jobs, 104,000 were in the private economy, and all of the 86,000 in upward revisions for July and August came in government jobs. Job growth for 2012 has averaged 146,000 a month, which is down from 153,000 in 2011.

Manufacturing employment fell again (down 38,000 in the last two months) further dampening one of the few bright spots in this recovery. A still abysmal 40.1% of the unemployed in America have been jobless for six months or more. Such a job market is anemic by any historic measure for this stage in an expansion and reflects continuing slow GDP growth in the 1%-2% range.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Q&A with Tom Lehman: Pro golfer to deliver keynote at Prayer Breakfast

Q: What is your faith story? Did you have a Road to Damascus experience, or were you always part of a church-going family?

A: I was raised in a church-going family, going every Sunday and on all of the special days. … However, at age 15 I realized it was not having any impact on my life at all and felt the need and desire to make it a priority.

Q: What role does your Christian faith play in your golf game and in your career as a pro athlete?

A: My belief and faith in God is the grid that everything in my life passes through. What you believe is the core of who you are, so, therefore, whether it is golf, my family, the things I get involved with in my hometown of Phoenix or just the daily choices I make, it is all influenced by my Christian beliefs. Golf is very much like life in that there are ups and downs, successes and disappointments: How you deal with them is what determines so much of what happens not only now but in the future. I believe the Bible and the words of Jesus provide a road map for how to deal with all of the challenges that come with both failure and success.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Religion & Culture, Sports

(Der Spiegel) Syrian War Threatens to Spread to Neighbors

Events in recent days have illustrated just how quickly the violence in Syria could spiral into a regional war. After Syrian mortar bombs once again fell on Turkish soil, this time killing five civilians, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan felt compelled to act. The Turkish military’s retaliation on Wednesday and Thursday startled the international community.

With its actions, Turkey obviously proceeded with caution: It answered the repeated attacks from Syria with a few artillery shots — not missiles. And the permission for further military action granted to Erdogan by his parliament is intended primarily as an intimidation measure. There is no apparent intent to declare all-out war — at least for the time being. The United Nations Security Council, meanwhile, has strongly condemned the Syrian attack on Turkish soil and called on both sides to show restraint.
The fact of the matter is that the longer Syrian civil war continues, the more often incidents like that seen earlier this week will occur — particularly in Turkey and Lebanon. A large part of the border region around Syria has already become a war zone. Previously, the international community had worried that a military intervention could fuel a regional wildfire, but now it is being forced to look on as this increasingly appears to be the reality — without it ever even having gotten involved.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

ESPN–South Carolina beats Georgia 35-7 and has one of their best Season Starts Ever

Connor Shaw could see it in the Georgia players’ eyes on South Carolina’s first touchdown drive.

A few minutes later, it was even more obvious to Marcus Lattimore after the Gamecocks drove it right down the Bulldogs’ throats for their second touchdown in as many possessions.

“They were shell-shocked. We hit them in the mouth, and they weren’t ready for it,” Lattimore said….

Read it all.

Update: An article from the local paper is there.

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

Eric Jacobsen on Why Suburbia Really Is Affecting Your Spiritual Life

It’s rare to find a pastor who is attuned to how “place” informs human experience and community. But a discerning pastor can know more about this than most city planners, if they are attentive to the particular shape of the lives of their congregants and their community. Enter Eric O. Jacobsen (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary), a pastor of 14 years, the last 5 as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma. “I am not a trained architect or urban planner, but an ordinary pastor who has always lived within walking distance of my church,” he says.

Jacobsen’s 2003 “break-out” book, Sidewalks in the Kingdom (Brazos Press), used the tenets of New Urbanism to help Christians recognize the value of local churches in local neighborhoods. Jacobsen calls his newest book, The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment (Baker Academic), a “more mature reflection” on the subject.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Dean of Columbia, S.C.’s Trinity Cathedral–congregation ready for 3rd century of spiritual growth

As Trinity Episcopal Cathedral begins a year-long bicentennial celebration Sunday, the new dean said he believes the congregation is ready to embark on a new chapter, mindful of its history but focused on a third century devoted to spiritual formation and Christian outreach.

The Very Rev. Timothy “Tim” Jones arrived in July in Columbia after seven years as the senior associate rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville and already is immersed in the life of one of the city’s most visible and prominent congregations. He was installed formally on Sept. 15.

A native Californian who has spent much of his pastoral life in the South, Jones said he was drawn to Trinity because he felt an “instant sense of warmth” from members of the search committee.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who hast bestowed thy grace upon thy people by thy Son Jesus Christ: Grant us, we beseech thee, to be enriched with his manifold gifts; that patiently enduring through the darkness of this world, we may be found shining like lamps in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he cometh in his kingdom; to whom be praise and glory for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!

–Psalm 118:1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Yorkshire Post) John McLeod–Super diocese poses threat to the future of the Church of England

Only a body as isolated and complacent as the Commissioners could imagine that the solution to the Church’s problems could be found in a reorganisation of well established diocesan patterns and loyalties.

It is classic “displacement activity” which distracts from the Church’s primary purpose of preaching the Gospel.

The quality of thinking and analysis in the Commissioners’ proposals is poor: if this exercise is repeated elsewhere in England, as is threatened, one fears for the future of the national Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Parish Ministry

Dean Jonathan Greener–We must not sacrifice the vital heritage of our great cathedrals

Why should Yorkshire’s historic cathedrals pay the price for these untried and unconvincing proposals from the national Church? To date, the compensatory benefits of a much larger diocese have not been spelled out. Bigger is not self-evidently better. The three dioceses vote in March 2013 to determine their futures.

It is essential that by then the proponents of the scheme furnish coherent arguments for change in order to allow informed and reasoned debate. It will after all be tragic to sacrifice these cathedrals, their heritage and their mission, along with the three dioceses they serve, for little or no overall gain.

We must not overlook a more sinister threat still. Should this new pattern of amalgamating dioceses be rolled out across the nation at large, what will become of all those other great cathedrals that serve as beacons of Christian faith across our land?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

C of E Dioceses Commission announces draft scheme to create one Super Diocese from 3 Current ones

At its meeting on 26 September the Commission was able to complete its consideration of all the submissions made to it on the draft Reorganisation Scheme for the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield. It carefully considered the representations made to it, both at this stage and earlier, and has unanimously decided to proceed with a draft scheme bringing all three dioceses together.

The Commission firmly believes that the scheme represents a once-in-a generation opportunity for reinvigorating mission which should be grasped. It intends to issue a revised scheme embracing all three dioceses by the end of October, together with a fresh report which will both address concerns that have been put to the Commission, and set out the benefits to mission that it believes will come from a new single diocese….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Parish Ministry

(Guardian) Greek Prime Minister Warns his society will disintegrate without urgent financial aid

Greece is teetering on the edge of collapse with its society at risk of disintegrating unless the country’s near-empty public coffers are shored up with urgent financial aid, the country’s prime minister has warned.

Almost three years after the eruption of Europe’s debt drama in Athens, the economic crisis engulfing the nation has become so severe that democracy itself is now imperiled, Antonis Samaras said.

“Greek democracy stands before what is perhaps its greatest challenge,” Samaras told the German business daily Handelsblatt in an interview published hours before the announcement in Berlin that Angela Merkel will fly to Athens next week for the first time since the outbreak of the crisis.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--