Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dear Leaders - Appeal for Syria صمتكم يقتلنا

Via International supporters of the Arab revolutions for freedom on facebook.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Over to You, Harry | Power Line

Over to You, Harry | Power Line:

If budgets are moral documents then what to make of this?
"One of the little-known features of Harry Reid’s “compromise” proposal–no detailed version of which exists–is that it would “deem” budgets to have been enacted for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. In that event, our government would go a full four years without a lawful, statutory budget being in place. Today, the Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee sent a letter to Reid protesting this procedure. You can read the letter here. It says, in part:
This is an abrogation of the responsibilities of the Senate Committee on the Budget and the U.S. Senate. We were not elected to this body and chosen to serve on the Committee on the Budget to see most of the budget levels automatically set based on spending growth projections made by staff. It is this kind of process that has placed the country in a fiscal crisis.

While we have other objections to your proposal, we specifically ask that you remove this provision from your amendment and allow the Committee to fulfill its duties and responsibilities, as set out in law, by allowing the markup of a fiscal year 2012 budget resolution in Committee and, once adopted, its immediate consideration in the Senate.
You could say that the Democratic Party is fiscally irresponsible, but that would be an insult to irresponsible people everywhere."
Rev Dan Harper notes Liberal Christians AWOL on this debate. I'm not certain that's true, but then this sort of jump-through-a-mental-hoop tough act to accomplish.

Best stay home.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Nasser Youssef - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Nasser Youssef - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Alone at the capital's first protest, a Bob Dylan fan commits to the uprising, then ends up in solitary confinement.

Sacramento City News: Improving Mexican economy draws undocumented immigrants home from California

Devastatingly high and ongoing unemployment one non-Arizona solution. Also check out Michael Barone's column on the historic ebb and flow of immigration to the United States.
There are fewer undocumented immigrants in California – and the Sacramento region – because many are now finding the American dream south of the border.

"It's now easier to buy homes on credit, find a job and access higher education in Mexico," Sacramento's Mexican consul general, Carlos González Gutiérrez, said Wednesday. "We have become a middle-class country."

Mexico's unemployment rate is now 4.9 percent, compared with 9.4 percent joblessness in the United States.

An estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrants have left California since 2008, though the remaining 2.6 million still make up 7 percent of the population and 9 percent of the labor force, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Represion Damas de Blanco, mujeres en Santiago de Cuba

Media Fails to Report on Castro Regime's Brutal Oppression:
"Last week, just outside Cuba’s holiest Catholic shrine, government thugs attacked in plain daylight a group of opposition women — beating them, stoning them and stripping them naked to the waist. The women, mostly black and middle-aged, suffered this public humiliation because they were trying to find a dignified way to bring attention to the plight of their husbands, who are in prison for freely speaking their minds.

The archbishop of Santiago de Cuba has condemned the attack. You can find an eyewitness account in Spanish in the above video.

It should make for poignant watching today, the anniversary of the start of the Cuban Revolution."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Love isn’t an emotion or even an intention, but a...

Love isn’t an emotion or even an intention, but a...: "Love isn’t an emotion or even an intention, but a policy, a vow, a behavior. It must be embodied to become real. Love exists only in action.
Tom Owen-Towle, Theology Ablaze (2011) Flaming Chalice Press (Unitarian Universalist, minister)"

Love's an emotion. A person's emotion, and not some disembodied policy, vow, or a behavior. It's the emotion that makes us most fully human.

thelivelytradition: Appreciating the Unitarian Universalist Theological Method

thelivelytradition: Appreciating the Unitarian Universalist Theological Method:

The blog doesn't allow comments, but for the life of me I can't figure out where this prohibition on the transcendent comes from in anything UUA's published. From the Principles or wherever. Go read the whole post but this assertion just seems to drop in from space. My UU experience is we talk about the transcendent a good deal.
"How can we talk about God when there is no transcendent anymore -- nothing that is the unmoved mover?"

A New Poll–Should Ministers Have Knowledge of their Congregants’ Giving? | Giving Speaks#comment-13

A New Poll–Should Ministers Have Knowledge of their Congregants’ Giving? | Giving Speaks#comment-13:
"A New Poll–Should Ministers Have Knowledge of their Congregants’ Giving?"
Go over and take. Surprizing results (to me) with which I whole heartedly agree.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Catholic Charity in Secular America | First Things

Catholic Charity in Secular America | First Things:

Those down on Religion in my family (just back from vacation with a bunch of them) draw little distinction between Catholicism and Unitarian-Universalism. Church going is Church going and a nasty thing it is. Whether politically liberal or conservative, for Obama or against, that's a feeling they share. UU's best watch how harsh they express their distaste of Catholicism because for many of those anti-religous find little difference between them and us.
"American life has always had a deep streak of unhealthy individualism, rooted not just in the Enlightenment, but also in Reformation theology. In practice, religion has always moderated that individualism. It has given the country a social conscience and a common moral compass.

Religion has also played another key role. Individuals, on their own, have very little power in dealing with the state. But communities, and especially religious communities, have a great deal of power in shaping attitudes and behavior. Churches are one of the mediating institutions, along with voluntary associations, fraternal organizations, and especially the family, that stand between the power of the state and the weakness of individuals. They’re crucial to the “ecology” of American life as we have traditionally understood it.

And that’s why, if you dislike religion or resent the Catholic Church, or just want to reshape American life into some new kind of experiment, you need to use the state to break the influence of the Church and her ministries."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mumbai blasts kill 21 - video

Video via The Guardian. Pray there's not a Chicago connection again here.

India's Farooq Abudallah pretty impressive.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Politics of "Spiritual But Not Religious"

The Politics of "Spiritual But Not Religious"

My sense is that this understanding of religion is becoming increasingly more visible. In all varieties of culture from film to literature to politics, it seems people are becoming more comfortable acknowledging that they are, in fact, religious, even if they are unsure as to exactly what this means. This flies in the face of the "spiritual, but not religious," trend that, I think, served as a way station on the way to a more comprehensive understanding of the ways in which we are all religious. "Spiritual, but not religious" is a religion itself.

Progressive Christians have an amazing opportunity here to step to the fore and model what this kind of understanding of religion looks like. We can be united in both religious expression and belief, and we can show how, rather than being dogmatic, rigid, and, ultimately incompatible with political discourse, an open acceptance of our own religious views can lead to more dialogue and more opinions being voiced in the square.
My read on Progressives Christians is they'll fumble the opportunity as pretty rigid (and a think skinned) lot themselves e.g. when Budgets become Moral Documents, someone in the Budget talks gets slammed the immoral one. No way to make a win win outcome when morality gets dragged in that way.

It's going to take a real change of frames from paleo-progressivism too flexible pragmatism before Progressive Christians can play effectively here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » It’s not completely cut and dried

More from CapFax on Illinois terminating contracts with Adoption agencies to appease SSM advocates.

Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » It’s not completely cut and dried:

"Well, it’s actually not that simple. For a very long time now, Catholic Charities has had an agreement with the state that allows it to get around some government requirements
Before the civil unions law, DCFS and Catholic Charities had operated with the understanding that the agencies could refer co-habitating couples to other agencies.

So, it looks as if DCFS and the governor’s office have changed longstanding practice. However, the civil unions law did change the facts on the ground. That’s why it’ll be up to the courts to decide whether Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration has become radicalized, or whether Catholic Charities’ practices are so out of step with the law of the land that they cannot be allowed to continue in the foster care program."

Co-habitating couples meaning a man and a woman too.

Placing children in Homes ought to be one of the most discriminating things Illinois does. The State doesn't have uniform placement criteria. The Civil Unions law could have been written to allow Catholic Charities and other Faith Based to do their work. There were long standing rules in place for that to happen. But SSM advocates deliberately voted down that amendment. Gotta wonder if SSM is the goal here, or just some other weird agenda. Gays who think this kind of thing on AG Madigans part is going to grant affirmation or inclusion are woefully wrong.

It looks plain mean and it is.

Update: From a Southside Irishman's email to me: Catholics -my neighbors -are pissed. Everyone wishes Gays happiness and fulfilling partnerships, but no one should be force-fed bullshit and told that its ice cream.

Monday, July 11, 2011

So, will it rain tomorrow? -

So, will it rain tomorrow? -

Buried on page 28 of the Financial Times.
"“We now believe that [the solar cycle] accounts for 50 per cent of the variability from year to year,” says Scaife. With solar physicists predicting a long-term reduction in the intensity of the solar cycle – and possibly its complete disappearance for a few decades, as happened during the so-called Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1715 – this could be an ominous signal for icy winters ahead, despite global warming."

Illinois Review: Illinois moves to shut down Catholic Charities' foster care and adoption services#more#more#more#more

Illinois Review: Illinois moves to shut down Catholic Charities' foster care and adoption services

This Letter seems hardly Standing on the Side of Love to me.

Illinois Review: Illinois Attorney General intimidates adoption agencies?

Illinois Review: Illinois Attorney General intimidates adoption agencies?

What AG Madigan thinks she gains by going after Faith Based adoption agencies like this a real mystry to me. IR finds the AG going out of her way to investigate a whole series of them without much reason.

There's no reason Civil Unions can't coexist with Faith Based groups criteria of placing Childrent with Mothers and Fathers. That's hardly a mean spirited thing of a Faith Based outfit to do.

This is a foolish move by Madigan, and otherwise very saavy pol, on many levels. Strikes me as an act of real desperation to shore up progressive-activists going sour fast on Illinois Dems (and Obama).

This is the only card left for Democrats in Illinois to play.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 3, 2011 - Jon Dee Graham at FitzGerald's Night Club

Nice camera work but the video guy tells me he can't get the music out of his head.

Works and Days » The Great Madness of 2004-10

Works and Days » The Great Madness of 2004-10:

From Victor Davis Hanson's recollections on Gorism. A madness on an almost religous scale.
"Do you remember the hysteria over the supposed trampling of the Constitution? Those were the days of anger when Harold Koh, instead of writing briefs defending the Obama’s administration’s targeted killing by Predators and bypassing the War Powers Act in Libya, had been suing various Bush-Clinton-Bush administrations over the unfortunate at Guantanamo. At one time or another, a Sean Penn, a Hollywood producer (Rendition, Redacted, In the Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs, etc.), a Whoopi Goldberg, a David Letterman, and legions more were all claiming that we had lost our freedoms to the satanic George Bush. These were the glory days of Dick Durbin comparing U.S. servicemen to mass killers, as John Kerry claimed they were quasi terrorists, in Harry Reid’s “lost” war, committing John Murtha’s war crimes — to the chorus of Michael Moore (guest of honor at the 2004 Democratic Convention) cheering on their killers as “minutemen.”

Until January 2009, almost nightly on the news, a liberal grandee would swear that Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, Predators, wiretaps, intercepts, Iraq, etc. had ruined America in these days of “General Betray Us” ads and “suspension of disbelief” putdowns. Then in a matter of hours the verbiage suddenly stopped, abruptly so in January, 2009 — and has never returned to this day."

Saturday, July 09, 2011

A Jobs Report That Defies Description « Commentary Magazine

A Jobs Report That Defies Description « Commentary Magazine:

I've seen UUs on the PeaceMaking listserve jabber on about the United States as declining Empire.

I suggested their real focus should have been on the nature of the United States, rather than issues of Just War v Pacifism; which didn't seem very relevant to their preferred talk of Empire and decline.

Anyways, corrosive talk it is as Peter Wehner writes. For the President, for the United States, and probably for our Churches. Liberals used to be Emersonian optimists, and they've lost that. When optimism's lost, it's awfully hard to deal with crisis, as seems the case now: the Administration on Jobs; the UUA on declining membership.
"....the problem isn’t simply the anemic recovery and high unemployment; it is, as I’ve argued before, the broader belief that America is on a road toward decline and mediocrity, that our best days are behind us, and that our progeny face a less hopeful future than we did.

This is very corrosive stuff for an American president. And with every passing month, it seems, the news gets worse, our decline seems to accelerate, and the impotence and incompetence of the Obama presidency grows."

Friday, July 08, 2011

US Envoy Visits Syrian City of Hama to Support Protesters | Middle East | English

US Envoy Visits Syrian City of Hama to Support Protesters | Middle East | English:


"U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that the United States is 'greatly concerned' about the situation in Hama. She said the U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, had gone to the city to express solidarity with protesters.

'The fundamental intention was to make absolutely clear with his physical presence that we stand with those Syrians who are expressing their right to speak for change, who want a democratic future and are expressing those views peacefully,' Nuland said.

Nuland said Ambassador Ford was in Hama Thursday on his own trip, and is not being hosted by the Syrian government. But she said the embassy did inform the government that a delegation would be heading to the city.

Nuland said Ford has described the situation in Hama as 'tense,' with many shops closed and people concerned about whether security forces will move in."

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Syrian city braces for military assault - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syrian city braces for military assault - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

It doesn't end... the West indifferent. Kucinich chats with Assad.

Residents of the central Syrian city of Hama are bracing for an imminent assault from security forces, as troops and tanks surround the city in an attempt to quell protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

With tanks and armoured vehicles moving closer to the edges of the city overnight, resident said hundreds of youths had blocked roads leading to the city's main residential neighbourhoods with garbage containers, wood and metal to try to prevent a possible advance.

"Hama is completely surrounded by many directions and people are really scared," Abu Ziyad, an activist, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.

"Someone called Khaled was killed this morning ... there is a state of war in Hama and we don't know the future," he said.

Hama, the scene of a bloody crackdown by Assad's father nearly 30 years ago, has witnessed some of the biggest demonstrations in Syria's latest uprising against one-party rule, inspired by revolts across the Arab world.

Tens of thousands had gathered in the central city square last Friday, calling on Assad to step down.

Dutch state found guilty of Srebrenica deaths - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Dutch state found guilty of Srebrenica deaths - Europe - Al Jazeera English

On Holland's shame...