Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SAR #15147

There is always a next bubble.

It Lives! The TPP contains a clever little provision – the “living agreement” provision – which enables representatives of signatory nations to “update the agreement as appropriate to address trade issues that emerge in the future as well as new issues that arise with the expansion of the agreement to include new countries.” This commission would have the power to revise, extend and change the agreement without reference to such noisome bodies as Congress or the public. So much for the pig in the poke. Thankfully, neither the Dems or the GOP want the TPP to be mentioned during the presidential election process, so we may be safe until 2017. Then duck.

Sides: Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have captured a Turkish intelligence operative fighting alongside ISIS militants. Tell me again whose side Erdoğan is on?

Drumbeats: The world economy is disturbingly close to stall speed. The longer this soggy patch drags on, the greater the risk that the six-year old global recovery will sputter out. Global authorities have alarmingly few tools to combat the next crunch, given that interest rates are already zero across most of the developed world, debts levels are at or near record highs, and there is little scope for fiscal stimulus. 
Bottomed Line: Kansas now prohibits welfare recipients from withdrawing more than $25 a day and limits them to ATMs to access welfare payments. And each $25 withdrawal costs $2.50, which is deducted from their welfare account. If an individual receives $250 a month in support, the banks will end up with at least 10% of that. It is simply stealing from the taxpayer to give to the banks, while pretending that the money is going to the poor.

Us and Them: Gambia is undertaking to reduce its contribution to global warming by reducing its carbon emissions. Gambia is responsible for 0.05% of the globe's emissions – about what you emit, daily. What is it that you're going to give up to help keep the planet habitable?

Memorial Day: “[A]nyone born in the past 13 years has never known an America that isn’t at war. Anyone born after 1984 has likely seen America at war for at least half of his or her life” [WaPo]. And we lost both Iraq and Afghanistan. The War on Terror is as sensible as a War on Flanking Maneuvers, since terror is a tactic, not an enemy. The War on Drugs is shuddering its way to an awful conclusion, with 4:20 today’s equivalent of “11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.” In fact, over the course of my lifetime, I can’t think — let me pause here to chant U.S.A! U.S.A!, just to establish my bona fides — I can’t think, I say, of a war we’ve won. Except the War on Poverty, of course, a war we have to keep fighting over and over again, for some reason.” - Lambert Strether, at the Water Cooler. 
Self Hoisting Petard: The latest miracle promised us is the self-driving truck, which in a few short years will haul stuff from sea to sea. The boosters don't mention that this will put 3.5 million long-haul drivers out of work, along with the waitresses, restaurants, and motels they support.

Definition: The Vatican says Ireland's gay marriage vote is a “defeat for humanity.” I think they've once again confused ”humanity” with “the church”.


mistah charley, ph.d. said...



I was responding to an article in the Catholic Standard, which said, in part:

Speaking to healthcare workers during the annual Rose Mass luncheon on March 14, 2010, Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl directly addressed Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington's decision that spouses may no longer be added to employee health care plans, a move that came as a result of the District of Columbia's recent legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.

"We are not going to walk away from the poor. We serve the poor and we serve them well," the archbishop said of Catholic Charities' annual service to 68,000 needy people in the city. "However, we are not going to compromise our teaching on marriage."

Following the 19th annual Rose Mass, a liturgy sponsored by the John Carroll Society that invokes God's blessings on the medical profession, Archbishop Wuerl spoke to society members. Many of those present serve as hospital chaplains, doctors, dentists, nurses, and other allied healthcare workers who volunteer with the Archdiocesan Health Care Network, a pro bono program of Catholic Charities begun 26 years ago and provides $4 million annually in free health care services to 3,000 poor and uninsured patients in the community.

The D.C. law did not include a meaningful religious exemption, and religious institutions like Catholic Charities that contract with the city were required under the new law specifically to recognize a new definition of marriage and of spouse when granting health care benefits. Benefits to a spouse must include spouses as now redefined by D.C. Council. The Council made very clear that "a religious institution is not exempt from liability if, for example, it denies health care benefits to the same-sex spouse of any employee."


Archbishop Wuerl called Catholic Charities' choice that took effect March 2 a "difficult one" but "the only option left." He said that the Catholic Charities individual employee compensation package will continue to include a salary and benefits. "No one in the Catholic Charities' program up to the beginning of March will lose the benefits they now receive. However, in the new plan now in place, the ratio of salary to benefits may change since Catholic Charities cannot give spousal benefits to partners in a same-sex marriage," the archbishop said.....

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mistah charley, ph.d. said...


Your Excellency:

I've read the story in the the most recent Catholic Standard about your talk at the Rose Mass luncheon. I see that Catholic Charities has chosen a particular way to defend the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. You would prefer to deny health care benefits only to homosexual spouses of employees, but since this is prohibited by law in DC, you obey the law by denying health care benefits to ALL new spouses. I was struck by the irony that you spoke on this topic after a mass in honor of those who PROVIDE health care.

There is an alternative. You could obey the DC law in a different way - by providing health care benefits to all who qualify as spouses under civil law, even while continuing to make clear the Church's own position on homosexual marriage. It is still not too late to adopt this policy, even now. I respectfully urge you to do so.

As for your current position, it reminds me very much of a previous practice, once again in the headlines - preserving the good name of the priesthood by swearing to secrecy those who were sexually abused by priests, while transferring the offending priests to new parishes. I recognize that this is an extremely painful and offensive example. I wonder if you realize how painful and offensive your current policy is, and not just to the people most directly affected by it.


Subsequently, I received two-page letter in reply from one of the Archbishop's staff, explaining why the Archbishop was correct. I was not persuaded.