Posted by Kendall Harmon

Apartment vacancy rates have dropped so low that forecasters at Capital Economics, a research firm, said rents could rise, on average, as much as 4 percent this year, compared with 2.8 percent last year. But rents are rising faster than that in many cities even as overall inflation is running at little more than 1 percent annually.

One of the most expensive cities for renters is Miami, where rents, on average, consume 43 percent of the typical household income, up from a historical average of just over a quarter.

Stella Santamaria, a divorced 40-year-old math teacher, has been looking for an apartment in Miami for more than six months. “We’re kind of sick of talking about it,” she said of herself and fellow teachers in the same boat. “It’s like, are you still living with your mom? Yeah, are you? Yeah.” After 11 years as a teacher, Ms. Santamaria makes $41,000, considerably less than the city’s median income, which is $48,000, according to Zillow.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Efforts to fix the notorious Heartbleed bug threaten to cause major disruptions to the Internet over the next several weeks as companies scramble to repair encryption systems on hundreds of thousands of Web sites at the same time, security experts say.

Estimates of the severity of the bug’s damage have mounted almost daily since researchers announced the discovery of Heartbleed last week. What initially seemed like an inconvenient matter of changing passwords for protection now appears much more serious. New revelations suggest that skilled hackers can use the bug to create fake Web sites that mimic legitimate ones to trick consumers into handing over valuable personal information.

The sheer scale of the work required to fix this aspect of the bug — which makes it possible to steal the “security certificates” that verify that a Web site is authentic — could overwhelm the systems designed to keep the Internet trustworthy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American Funeral Industry is changing. In recent years, stores like Costco have begun selling caskets, jewelry made from cremation remains, even burials at sea. And now in Southern California, one of the biggest names in the funeral business, Forest Lawn Cemetery, is trying to reach people in a place where they live and breathe - the shopping mall. More from Gloria Hillard.

GLORIA HILLARD, BYLINE: Navigating the kiosk at the Glendale Galleria, shoppers are offered everything from beauty tips to hot neck wraps to vapor cigarettes before arriving at a more tranquil place located between LensCrafters and Footlocker, Forest Lawn....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Dennis Schimpf was growing up the amount of photographs he appeared in were “few and far between.”

“Now kids at 9 or 10 years old are having daily pictures,” he said.

Schimpf is a plastic surgeon at Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery in Summerville, working in cosmetic surgery.

A recent study released by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) shows that there has been an increase in cosmetic procedures – and the survey finds that the selfie trend is the cause for this increase. The selfie trend refers to the action of someone taking a photo of his or herself and posting online on popular social media websites and smartphone applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Do you want “limitless power, limitless good karma, and limitless wisdom”? Alex and Ani’s promotional material tells you to buy the Buddha Charm Bangle, available for $28. Do you want “divine direction and soulful enlightenment”? They recommend the Saint Anthony Charm Bangle, for the same price. For the union of masculine and feminine energy, Alex and Ani offers the Star of David Charm Bangle, at $24.

Last year, Alex and Ani, founded in 2004 by Carolyn Rafaelian and named for her two eldest daughters, sold $230 million worth of these amulets. Its bangles, necklaces, earrings and rings are available in 40 Alex and Ani stores in the United States, and in 1,500 other retail outlets around the world. According to a company spokesperson, the company moved over 18 million units “between 2012 and 2013.”

The growth of Alex and Ani poses a question: Is the company a capitalist success story, run by a single mom in the same midsize New England town where she grew up? Or is it a worldwide church, whose tokens of membership, worn on the wrist or around the neck, happen to generate booming sales?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Martin Kanovsky, an internist in Chevy Chase, used to see patients every 15 minutes and worry at times about what he might be missing by moving so fast. In December, the 61-year-old doctor reduced his practice to a small pool of people who pay a premium for longer visits and round-the-clock access to him. “There’s no such thing as double-booking,” he said.

Janis Finer, 57, a primary-care physician in Tulsa, Okla., gave up her busy practice two years ago to care full time for hospitalized patients. The lure? Regular shifts, every other week off and a 10 percent increase in pay

Tim Devitt, a family physician in rural Wisconsin, took calls on nights and weekends, delivered babies and visited his patients in the hospital. The stress took a toll, though: He retired six years ago, at 62.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending

3 Comments
Posted April 1, 2014 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When smoking first swept the United States in the early decades of the 20th century, it took hold among the well-to-do. Cigarettes were high-society symbols of elegance and class, puffed by doctors and movie stars. By the 1960s, smoking had exploded, helped by the distribution of cigarettes to soldiers in World War II. Half of all men and a third of women smoked.

But as evidence of smoking’s deadly consequences has accumulated, the broad patterns of use by class have shifted: Smoking, the leading cause of preventable death in the country, is now increasingly a habit of the poor and the working class.

While previous data established that pattern, a new analysis of federal smoking data released on Monday shows that the disparity is increasing. The national smoking rate has declined steadily, but there is a deep geographic divide. In the affluent suburbs of Washington, only about one in 10 people smoke, according to the analysis, by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. But in impoverished places like this — Clay County, in eastern Kentucky — nearly four in 10 do.

Read it all (from the front page of the paper copy of today's New York Times).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was nearly five years ago that any doubts were laid to rest among engineers at General Motors about a dangerous and faulty ignition switch. At a meeting on May 15, 2009, they learned that data in the black boxes of Chevrolet Cobalts confirmed a potentially fatal defect existed in hundreds of thousands of cars.

But in the months and years that followed, as a trove of internal documents and studies mounted, G.M. told the families of accident victims and other customers that it did not have enough evidence of any defect in their cars, interviews, letters and legal documents show. Last month, G.M. recalled 1.6 million Cobalts and other small cars, saying that if the switch was bumped or weighed down it could shut off the engine’s power and disable air bags.

In one case, G.M. threatened to come after the family of an accident victim for reimbursement of legal fees if the family did not withdraw its lawsuit. In another instance, it dismissed a family with a terse, formulaic letter, saying there was no basis for claims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....with less than 10 days left in the 2014 window to apply for coverage with policies through the federal marketplace, lots of people still don’t understand the penalties. Who pays? Who doesn’t? How do you pay? How do you avoid paying?

Toni McKinnon of Columbia stopped by Richland Library’s main branch on Assembly Street last week to find out about the health insurance marketplace because she was worried about having to pay a penalty.

“When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you can’t afford insurance,” McKinnon said, “and you sure can’t afford to pay some kind of penalty.”

She left the library slightly confused and very disappointed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Billions of dollars are flowing into online advertising. But marketers also are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud.

About 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites, according to estimates cited recently by the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade group.

So-called bot traffic cheats advertisers because marketers typically pay for ads whenever they are loaded in response to users visiting Web pages—regardless of whether the users are actual people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMediaScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why Osteenification? Because Joel Osteen is the prime provocateur of a seductive brand of American Christianity that reduces God to a means to our ends. A message that beckons multitudes to the table of the Master, not for the love of the Master but for what is on the table. He is the de facto high priest of a new brand of Christianity perfectly suited for a feel-good generation. And while a host of pretenders (including Prince) follow in his train, Osteen is clearly the biggest of the bunch—according to People magazine, “twice as big as the nearest competitor.” And his claim to America’s largest church is just a small part of the story. With one billion impressions per month on Facebook and Twitter, Osteen is the hip new personification of God-talk in America.

But here’s the problem. Behind Osteenian self-affirmations—“I am anointed,” “I am prosperous,” “My God is a ‘supersizing God’”—there lies a darker hue. Behind the smile is a robust emphasis on all that is negative. If you are healthy and wealthy, words created that reality. However, if you find yourself in dire financial straits, contract cancer, or, God forbid, die an early death, your words are the prime suspect. Says Osteen, “We’re going to get exactly what we’re saying. And this can be good or it can be bad” (Discover the Champion in You, May 3, 2004). In evidence, he cites one illustration after the other. One in particular caught my attention: the story of a “kind and friendly” worker at the church. He died at an early age, contends Osteen, “being snared by the words of his mouth” (I Declare [FaithWords, 2012], viii–ix).

This illustration serves to underscore a predictable trend; a trend now pandemic in American Christianity. Osteen and company simply use the Scriptures to communicate whatever they want. Again and again, Scripture is tortured in the process of deluding the faithful. As even the most cursory reading of Proverbs 6 makes plain, being “snared by the words of your mouth” has nothing to do with negatively professing death into one’s own life and everything to do with a divine warning against making rash pledges.

Read it all (with thanks to Timothy Dalrymple at Patheos for this guest post).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMediaPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There have long been stark economic differences between Fairfax County and McDowell. But as their fortunes have diverged even further over the past generation, their life expectancies have diverged, too. In McDowell, women’s life expectancy has actually fallen by two years since 1985; it grew five years in Fairfax.

“Poverty is a thief,” said Michael Reisch, a professor of social justice at the University of Maryland, testifying before a Senate panel on the issue. “Poverty not only diminishes a person’s life chances, it steals years from one’s life.”

That reality is playing out across the country. For the upper half of the income spectrum, men who reach the age of 65 are living about six years longer than they did in the late 1970s. Men in the lower half are living just 1.3 years longer.

This life-expectancy gap has started to surface in discussions among researchers, public health officials and Washington policy makers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 20, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans' economic confidence continued to drop last week, with Gallup's Economic Confidence Index edging down to -20, its lowest weekly score since mid-December.

Americans' economic confidence had recently stabilized after monthly climbs as it recovered from the damaging effects of the federal government shutdown in October. Since the beginning of the year, confidence had remained roughly stable, hovering around -17 and fluctuating by only a point or two each week. The recent drop to -20, though a mere three-point fall, is the largest drop so far in 2014.

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on current economic conditions in the U.S. and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jeffery Ward's story illustrates a growing problem for cancer care in the United States, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology's inaugural report, "The State of Cancer Care in America," which was released Tuesday.

Nearly two-thirds of the small oncology practices surveyed said they were likely to merge, sell or close in the upcoming year. And as community practices disappear, patients are paying more and traveling farther for quality care, an issue compounded by physician shortages and a rapidly aging population.

"If you can't get care, you can't get good care," said American Society of Clinical Oncology President Dr. Clifford Hudis, chief of Breast Cancer Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 11, 2014 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The share of new homes being built as rental apartments is at the highest level in at least four decades, as an improving jobs picture spurs younger Americans to form their own households but tighter lending standards make it more difficult to buy.

Residential construction—a pillar of the economy and employment—is starting to ramp up again overall, but in previous years the growth was driven by single-family homes. Last year, according to census data, construction was started on a little less than one million new residential units, and about one in three of those was a rental in a multifamily building, the highest share since data began in the mid-1970s. Single-family homes accounted for about two-thirds of housing starts last year, down from their peak of 87% in 1993 and about 80% in the years leading up to the recession, the census data showed.

The move toward apartment construction reflects the convergence of several trends. Mortgage credit is still tight. Also, Americans have seen muted wage gains, and others have high student-debt loads, forcing people who otherwise would have bought homes to rent instead.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted March 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A leading German institute has called for full-blown quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) to head off a deflation spiral, marking a radical shift in thinking among the German policy elites.

Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin, demanded €60bn (£50bn) of bond purchases each month to halt the contraction of credit and avert a Japanese-style trap.

"It is high time for the ECB to act. Otherwise Europe risks falling into a dangerous downward spiral of sliding prices and declining demand", he wrote in Die Welt.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEuroEuropean Central BankThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Film critics have spoken: Son of God is a dud.

Just don’t tell that to the film’s producers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. They found evidence of divine favor in the film’s release, citing the “truly miraculous” support they received as Catholic and evangelical leaders from Charlotte to Los Angeles threw their influence behind the movie. Clearly, their efforts were successful—a film that was a re-packaged version of scenes that aired during last year’s Bible miniseries brought in $26.5 million in ticket sales for its first weekend.

Burnett and Downey attribute the wave of support to a grassroots movement and the “quiet commitment of people of faith to spread the word about the life-changing love of Jesus to their friends and neighbors.”
'
Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Canadians are in a funk. Things are better than ever, but people are feeling worse. “The trend lines are disturbing,” EKOS pollster Frank Graves wrote recently, reporting that public pessimism is deepening. “… Only around 10 per cent of Canadians and Americans think the next generation will enjoy a better quality of life.”

Well, maybe they will or maybe they won’t. Meantime, this generation is doing pretty well. Despite recessions, globalization and the inexorable rise of the robots, most of us never had it so good. In 2011, the median real income for Canadian two-parent families with two earners was $100,000 – $13,000 higher than in 2000. The annual average unemployment rate is down to 7 per cent. Despite the soaring cost of housing, nearly 70 per cent of us have an ownership stake in our own homes.

So what’s our problem?...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gallup's U.S. Job Creation Index increased slightly in February to +21 from +19 in December and January. The index now exceeds the +20 average for 2013 and is the highest February reading since the beginning of the 2007-2009 recession.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted March 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read and look through it all.


Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans who have at least one child under the age of 18 report spending $29 more daily, on average, than those without younger children. Parents with younger children across all age and income groups report higher spending levels.

These results are based on 2013 Gallup Daily tracking, which asks Americans about the amount of money they spent on purchases "yesterday," excluding normal household bills and major purchases. Americans without children under 18 reported average daily spending of $79, while Americans with children reported a $108 daily average.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The economy finished 2013 on a weaker footing than first thought, the government said on Friday, heightening concern that the United States is in the midst of another of the periodic slow patches that have dogged the recovery over the last five years.

The Commerce Department now estimates the economy grew at an annual pace of 2.4 percent in October, November and December, down from an initial estimate of 3.2 percent. The revised figure also represents a substantial slowing from the pace of growth in the third quarter, which totaled 4.1 percent. The department is scheduled to provide one more estimate of growth during the fourth quarter on March 27.

The downward revision comes after new data showing lackluster retail sales, inventory adjustments and a slightly less impressive trade balance late last year. Disappointing reports on job creation in December and January have also prompted fear of continued weakness into the spring of 2014.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 1, 2014 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Who do you like?" asked recent ads on Facebook...featuring young women in alluring poses.

Some of the ads were configured to reach young teens, who were invited to join an app called Ilikeq that let others rate their attractiveness, comment on their photos and say if they would like to date them.

That's how 14-year-old Erica Lowder's picture ended up on display to adult men online. Users of Ilikeq, one of Facebook's fastest-growing "lifestyle" apps, were able to click through to the Indianapolis girl's Facebook page.

"How can Facebook say here's how we're going to protect your kids, then sell all these ads to weird apps and sites that open kids up to terrible things?" asked Erica's mother, Dawn Lowder.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaPsychologyScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 7:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like something out of a science-fiction flick, the four-rotor apparatus looks the part of an oversize, mechanical dragonfly.

A distinct hum similar to the insect exudes from the gadget when it hovers at eye level. The buzz fades to silence in seconds when the device darts skyward and nearly out of sight.

A small camera captures all that lies within its line of vision - in this instance, a mix of cobblestone, historic homes and church steeples that comprise Charleston's French Quarter.

No, this contraption isn't being maneuvered by engineers on some military testing site. It isn't soaring beside airplanes at a local airport. It's under the control of a 27-year-old College of Charleston student killing time on a sunny afternoon.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* General InterestPhotos/Photography* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 24, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are two ranking categories, rank by most expensive gas, and rank by pain at the pump. Take a guess before you look at all 63 entries.

You can also find a ranking list there and there is a link to a slideshow option.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeTaxesEnergy, Natural Resources

0 Comments
Posted February 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For most people with ADHD, these medications — typically formulations of methylphenidate or amphetamine — quickly calm them down and increase their ability to concentrate. Although these behavioural changes make the drugs useful, a growing body of evidence suggests that the benefits mainly stop there. Studies indicate that the improvements seen with medication do not translate into better academic achievement or even social adjustment in the long term: people who were medicated as children show no improvements in antisocial behaviour, substance abuse or arrest rates later in life, for example. And one recent study suggested that the medications could even harm some children1.

After decades of study, it has become clear that the drugs are not as transformative as their marketers would have parents believe. “I don't know of any evidence that's consistent that shows that there's any long-term benefit of taking the medication,” says James Swanson, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine.

Now researchers are trying to understand why. The answer could lie in sub-optimal use of the drugs, or failure to address other factors that affect performance, such as learning disabilities. Or it could be that people place too much hope on a simple fix for a complex problem. “What we expect medication to do may be unrealistic,” says Lily Hechtman, a psychiatrist at McGill University in Montreal.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHealth & MedicineMediaPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans are known risk-takers when it comes to their personal finances. While consumer spending has traditionally been one of the great engines of the U.S. economy, it also helped get the country into the Great Recession. So after five years of economic turmoil we’ve presumably become a little better at keeping track of our debts, right?

Not really. Data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that at $11.52 trillion, overall consumer debt is higher than it has been since 2011. And more unsettling, debt is rising at rapid levels. Americans’ debt—that includes mortgages, auto loans, student loans and credit card debt—increased by 2.1%, or $241 billion in the last three months of 2013, the greatest margin of increase since the third quarter of 2007, shortly before the U.S. spiraled into recession.

And on an individual level, many Americans are in a precarious financial position.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 20, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

50% of GDP comes from orange areas, 50% from blue.

Look at the map and read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchRural/Town LifeUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe U.S. Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted February 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amazon is not just the “Everything Store,” to quote the title of Brad Stone’s rich chronicle of Bezos and his company; it’s more like the Everything. What remains constant is ambition, and the search for new things to be ambitious about.

It seems preposterous now, but Amazon began as a bookstore. In 1994, at the age of thirty, Bezos, a Princeton graduate, quit his job at a Manhattan hedge fund and moved to Seattle to found a company that could ride the exponential growth of the early commercial Internet. (Bezos calculated that, in 1993, usage climbed by two hundred and thirty thousand per cent.) His wife, MacKenzie, is a novelist who studied under Toni Morrison at Princeton; according to Stone, Bezos’s favorite novel is Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day,” which is on the suggested reading list for Amazon executives. All the other titles, including “Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story,” are business books, and even Ishiguro’s novel—about a self-erasing English butler who realizes that he has missed his chance at happiness in love—offers what Bezos calls a “regret-minimization framework”: how not to end up like the butler. Bezos is, above all things, pragmatic. (He declined to be interviewed for this article.)

It wasn’t a love of books that led him to start an online bookstore. “It was totally based on the property of books as a product,” Shel Kaphan, Bezos’s former deputy, says. Books are easy to ship and hard to break, and there was a major distribution warehouse in Oregon. Crucially, there are far too many books, in and out of print, to sell even a fraction of them at a physical store. The vast selection made possible by the Internet gave Amazon its initial advantage, and a wedge into selling everything else. For Bezos to have seen a bookstore as a means to world domination at the beginning of the Internet age, when there was already a crisis of confidence in the publishing world, in a country not known for its book-crazy public, was a stroke of business genius.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted February 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company's 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.

"There's going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world," said Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, who worked on the project and is herself undergoing gender transformation, from male to female. On Thursday, while watchdogging the software for any problems, she said she was also changing her Facebook identity from Female to TransWoman.

"All too often transgender people like myself and other gender nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? And it's kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are," she said. "This really changes that, and for the first time I get to go to the site and specify to all the people I know what my gender is."

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted February 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Obama gave a lovely speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast - and one is reluctant to criticize....

[but]...many in the audience were reaching for their own jaws when Obama got to the liberty section of his speech, according to several people who attended the breakfast. Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, summed up the general reaction of many with whom he spoke: "Stunned."

"Several people said afterward how encouraged they would have been by President Obama's remarks if only his acts reflected what he said," Cromartie told me.

One table was applauding only out of politeness, according to Jerry Pattengale, who was sitting with Steve Green - president of the Hobby Lobby stores that have challenged Obamacare's contraceptive mandate. Pattengale described the experience as "surrealistic."

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 11, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new Flow feature in Amazon’s mobile app epitomizes just how aggressively the retail giant is pressing its technological advantage to win the market for everyday merchandise. Need more ketchup or dish soap? Just aim your camera at the empty bottle. Suddenly your whole house is an Amazon showroom.

In a way, Flow is gimmicky: Most of this stuff has barcodes you could already scan at home, too. But every step Amazon takes to make buying smoother equals one more reason to skip a trip to the store. Says WIRED’s Roberto Baldwin: “It’s all part of the company’s goal to take you from ‘I need that’ to ‘I bought that’ in less than 30 seconds.”

That’s especially threatening to a store like CVS, which sells consumer packaged goods — commodity products that everyone else stocks, too. CVS can’t compete with Amazon on selection or price. It can’t even compete on consumer desire to see and feel before they buy: Do you really need to hold that tube of toothpaste? The only advantage left is getting something right when you want it — what retailers call the “top-off.” The closer Amazon gets to on-demand — imagine combing Flow with same-day delivery or vending machines — the more CVS loses its last justification for maintaining physical stores.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 7, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The economy had its best second half in a decade, indicating that the U.S. is on firmer footing. But the current expansion remains slow, and the pace of growth still is weak historically.

Read it all and look at the three charts carefully.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2014 at 5:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

All day long, customers at LoDo Wellness Center, one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana stores, reach into the refrigerator and pull out tasty ways to get high. They buy sparkling peach and mandarin elixirs, watermelon Dew Drops, and sleek silver bags of chocolate truffles, each one packed with marijuana’s potent punch.

“The stuff just flies off the shelves,” said Linda Andrews, the store’s owner.

As marijuana tiptoes further toward the legal mainstream, marijuana-infused snacks have become a booming business, with varieties ranging from chocolate-peppermint Mile High Bars to peanut butter candies infused with hash oil.

Read it all from the front page of the national edition of the printed copy of the paper..

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDieting/Food/NutritionDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A recent Accenture survey tallied the optimism among CEOs and other top executives in 20 countries and found that 64% of them were bullish on the U.S. and planning to locate more labor and operations there in 2014. Companies may finally stop sitting on so much cash and use it to invest in workers and equipment. That would spark a virtuous cycle that should ultimately lead to real, sustainable growth of 3% to 4%, which is what the U.S. needs for unemployment numbers to continue ticking down. Incoming Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently told me she's hopeful that businesses will start spending this year.

If they do, pay attention to what types of jobs get created. That's where the argument for exceptionalism gets trickier. Over half of all U.S. jobs created in 2013 were in low-wage sectors, like retail or health care, where paychecks are actually shrinking relative to inflation. Part-time workers still make up more of the workforce than is healthy. And the participation rate, meaning the number of people with jobs relative to the overall working-age population, is the lowest it's been since 1978, before women started coming into the labor force en masse. (The unemployment rate, by contrast, takes into account only workers who are seeking jobs.) While some economists argue that this reflects the retirement of baby boomers, Westwood Capital managing director Daniel Alpert points out that it's not nearly enough to account for the many millions of workers who've dropped out of the labor market. "There is much more going on here than the retirement of some lucky baby boomers," he says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scientists and biotechnology companies are developing what could become the next powerful weapon in the war on pests — one that harnesses a Nobel Prize-winning discovery to kill insects and pathogens by disabling their genes.

By zeroing in on a genetic sequence unique to one species, the technique has the potential to kill a pest without harming beneficial insects. That would be a big advance over chemical pesticides.

“If you use a neuro-poison, it kills everything,” said Subba Reddy Palli, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky who is researching the technology, which is called RNA interference. “But this one is very target-specific.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural Resources* General InterestAnimals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has joined with a coalition of co-operatives, charities and community groups - providing a collective membership of 17 million - to welcome the UK's first ever Community Energy Strategy, published this week, providing the opportunity for a scaling up of community energy.

The Community Energy Coalition (CEC) includes the Church of England, Co-operative Group, National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Energy Saving Trust, NUS, Co-operatives UK and more than 20 other civil society and sustainable energy organisations.

David Shreeve, Environmental Adviser for the Church of England said: "As a member of the Community Energy Coalition, the Church of England through its individual churches can play a pivotal role in helping develop community interest and action Its many buildings can provide excellent sites for renewable facilities. In addition, it supports the opportunity that community schemes could provide by enabling tariffs to be adjusted to benefit the fuel poor."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The problem isn’t only that higher education is unaffordable to many but that even at our highest-ranked colleges and universities, students aren’t getting much bang for their buck.

Since 1985, the price of higher education has increased 538 percent, according to a new study from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group that encourages trustees and alumni to foster improvement where institutions may be reluctant to go against popular trends.

For perspective, compare tuition increases to a “mere” 286 percent increase in medical costs and a 121 percent increase in the consumer price index during the same period, according to the ACTA.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalizationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted January 29, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The gruelling hours were even more important, however. In his valedictory emails, perhaps wary of the cliché, Mr El-Erian avoided saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. But that is, in fact, his main reason for leaving, according to people close to him.

One tells me that on an average day Mr El-Erian’s alarm clock goes off at 2.45am. He usually gets to the office by 4.15am, gets home to his family about 7pm, eats, goes to bed by about 8.45pm and does it again.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceStock Market

0 Comments
Posted January 28, 2014 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“This is not about the adult being able to smoke a joint,” said Mr. Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “It’s about widespread access, it’s about changing the landscape of a neighborhood, it’s about widespread promotion and advertising, and it’s about youth access.”

Supporters of legalization say that because voters statewide approved a system guaranteeing adults access to legal marijuana, they will push state regulators and lawmakers to meet that mandate, possibly by pushing for penalties against local governments that enact bans.

But Dave Ettl, a Yakima City Council member who voted for the ban, said he was willing to risk penalties, saying he considered the promised tax revenues from marijuana sales tainted.

“There’s some money that’s not worth getting,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted January 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than five years later, there is still no answer to perhaps the most critical question raised by the man-made disaster: How much did it all cost?

In July, three economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Tyler Atkinson, David Luttrell and Harvey Rosenblum, gave it a shot, at least as far as the United States economy goes.

...their examination offers a panoramic view of the variety of ways in which the financial crisis diminished the nation’s standard of living. At a bare minimum the crisis cost nearly $20,000 for each American. Adding in broader impacts on workers’ well-being — an admittedly speculative exercise — could raise the price tag to as much as $120,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. With this kind of money we could pay back the federal debt or pay for a top-notch college education for everyone.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPovertyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReserveThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England pushed back on Friday from calls to get rid of its investments in companies extracting or selling fossil fuels, saying it would mean a financial hit and it was better to use shareholder influence to pressure change.

The church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group is reviewing its policy on ethical investment related to climate change, with some church officials calling for disinvestment from such companies to highlight the need to move to a low-carbon economy.

The Church of England, mother church of the world's 80 million Anglicans, holds total investments worth about 8 billion pounds ($US13 billion) that are used to pay clergy pensions and fund the church's work.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rowan Williams has spoken out against the trend of expensive "fantastical" weddings which he claims is threatening the future of marriages.

Speaking at a debate entitled "Marriage: Love or Law" in London, the former Archbishop of Canterbury said that the "marketisation of marriage" must be curtailed.

He labelled the idea of "the perfect relationship crystallised in the perfect wedding day" as a farce, suggesting that it was nothing more than the product of "immense economic advertising investment in this massively fantastical experience ... after which, of course, nothing is ever quite so good again".

"This is an aspect I think of the short-term, unimaginative, emotionally unintelligent climate that sometimes we seem forced to inhabit," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is therefore a stark contrast when we compare parents’ dedication to getting their children into a good college with their dedication to getting their children into a good marriage. One cannot help but suspect from the lackadaisical approach of middle class parents to their progeny, that they do not consider marriage very important at all. Of course, this attitude is expected for those who have unfortunately come to believe that marriage is an outdated and irrelevant custom. However, it is not at all reasonable for those social conservative parents who still find marriage important—those who (rightly) profess it to be the most fundamental building block of society and (rightly) wish to defend it against various contemporary perversions of the institution.

Even conservative defenders of marriage lack intentionality when it comes to the marital prospects of their own children. It’s not as though they’re ignorant of how to handle important things because they also deeply involve themselves in goals like securing a college education. It is simply that they do not treat marriage with their actions the way they treat it with their rhetoric. They complain about institutions when they redefine marriage. They complain about the media when they demean or devalue marriage in various ways. Nevertheless, when it comes to that segment of society in which they have the most influence—their own family—they often do not seem to make the “college” kind of effort to cultivate a desire for marriage, to prepare their sons to be good husbands, to prepare their daughters to be good wives, or to help them find a good spouse.

Consider, as one small example of this, the virtue of chastity—a disposition to prepare and direct our sexuality towards marriage—and contrast it with the far more popular term among social conservatives: “abstinence.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US Federal Reserve was being complacent by planning for years of below-target inflation, warned Minneapolis Fed President in a clarion call for more economic stimulus.
“We’re running the risk of being content with inflation running consistently below our target. That’s inappropriate,” said Narayana Kocherlakota, who votes on Fed monetary policy this year, in an interview with the Financial Times. “Right now we’re sitting with an outlook for inflation that even by 2016 . . . is not getting back to 2 per cent.”

Mr Kocherlakota’s remarks illustrate the growing anxiety about low global inflation that led Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, to warn this week that “rising risks of deflation” could be disastrous for the world’s economic recovery – calling it the “ogre that must be fought decisively”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReservePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Beijing's skyscrapers receded into a dense gray smog Thursday as the capital saw the season's first wave of extremely dangerous pollution, with the concentration of toxic small particles registering more than two dozen times the level considered safe.

The air took on an acrid odor, and many of the city's commuters wore industrial strength face masks as they hurried to work.

"I couldn't see the tall buildings across the street this morning," said a traffic coordinator at a busy Beijing intersection who gave only his surname, Zhang. "The smog has gotten worse in the last two to three years. I often cough, and my nose is always irritated. But what can you do? I drink more water to help my body discharge the toxins."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & TechnologyTravelUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leading social network Facebook (FB) has lost some 59% of its college users in three years and teenagers are also leaving the platform, an independent research firm said Wednesday.

Teen users have fallen by about 25%, according to a triennial report from iStrategyLabs, a digital strategy and marketing firm.

The data that's backing the study come from Facebook's ad platform, says iStrategyLabs Chief Marketing Officer DJ Saul in a blog post.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 16, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The anonymous diner famous for leaving huge tips in the name of Jesus — or, perhaps, a copycat — paid a visit to a San Francisco sushi restaurant Tuesday night, forking over a $3,000 tip on a $147 bill.

Employees at the high-end Japanese restaurant Roka Akor on Montgomery Street confirmed a “tall, dark and handsome” man dined with one other person before signing over the obscenely generous gratuity with the note “Tips for Jesus.” He also picked up the $389 tab for the table next to his — leaving before his waitress could thank him.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More Americans, 42%, say they are financially worse off now than they were a year ago, reversing the lower levels found over the past two years. Just more than a third of Americans say their financial situation has improved from a year ago.

These results come from Gallup's annual "Mood of the Nation" poll, conducted Jan. 5-8. Gallup has found that Americans' economic confidence, self-reported consumer spending, and perceptions of job creation improved in 2013. Despite Americans' more positive views of the overall U.S. economy in 2013, nearly two-thirds believe their personal financial situation deteriorated or was stable over the past year.

Though down from mid-2013, the percentage of Americans saying they are financially better off than a year ago is nearly in line with the historical average (38%), spanning 1976-2014. On the other hand, the share of Americans saying they are financially worse off compared with a year ago is, by historical standards, high -- eight percentage points above the average. The record high of 55% occurred in May and September 2008, the year (and, in the latter case, the month) of the global financial meltdown.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The shadowy steps your fingers take when you key in a password could be exposed through one of the slyest crimes in the digital playbook: "keystroke logging". Also called "keylogging", this is the remote, criminal act of recording which computer keys you press, through malware (malicious software).

"Keystroke logging malware is one of the biggest threats to the economic well-being of us all," says identity theft expert Steven Weisman, author of 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.

Worse, it seems, it is easy to fall prey to the malware. According to Weisman, the identity thieves are smart at their shtick - luring users into clicking insidious links promising free music or video games to younger people and pornography to older people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here’s what we learned from the in-depth report on how women are doing in post-recession America.

--1 in 3 American women, 42 million women, plus 28 million children, either live in poverty or are right on the brink of it. (The report defines the “brink of poverty” as making $47,000 a year for a family of four.)
--Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and these workers often get zero paid sick days.
--Two-thirds of American women are either the primary or co-breadwinners of their families.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPovertyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As 2014 dawns, ObamaCare's most disruptive changes to the health care system are just now getting under way. For American businesses, that means a raft of new taxes that will pose devastating consequences for their employees and the broader economy.

Paramount among them is a new tax on health insurers (HIT) that's projected to "hit" them for more than $100 billion over the next decade. ObamaCare's architects intended to eat into the margins of insurers with this levy — and even set it proportional to each company's market share, so that bigger insurers pay more.

But the truth is that firms in every sector will pay it, as insurers will simply pass the tax along to employers in the form of higher premiums.

Indeed, premiums are expected to jump 2% to 3% over the course of this year thanks to this tax. By 2023, they could be about 4% higher.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance

3 Comments
Posted January 14, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cannonball jellyfish are bland at best. In China, where slivered, dry jellyfish are commonly served before banquets and strewn across salads, cooks don't use the cellophane-like strips without first dousing them in soy sauce or sesame oil.

Tabasco works too, said University of Georgia food safety professor Yao-Wen Huang, who in the 1980s earned the nickname "Cannonball King" for his work developing a jellyfish processing system.

According to Huang, the allure of jellyfish is its distinctive texture, suggestive of a cross between a potato chip and a stretched-out rubber band. "We call it crunchy-crispy," said Huang. "It's like when you eat chitterlings, you're not really hungry that you want food. You want that mouthfeel."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural Resources* General InterestAnimals* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 13, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Legalisation is just the first step. Pot must also be regulated. Because it is more dangerous than chocolate or chips, it needs to be subject to more stringent safety checks than food. As with alcohol, anybody who wants to produce it for sale, or sell it, should be licensed, as they will be in Colorado. It should carry clear labels showing its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, just as cans of beer display their alcoholic strength—consumers should know what they are smoking. Colorado seems to be handling this well: labels are clear, safety rules stringent.

Deciding how to tax the stuff means asking some fundamental questions. Where governments want to raise revenue without distorting markets, the best approach is to charge businesses a flat fee, like a cab licence. Firms then have an incentive to do as much business as they can. But where governments want to discourage consumption—as with cigarettes and alcohol—they should tax each unit sold.

Although marijuana does not harm people as reliably as cigarettes do, nor—as alcohol does—incite citizens to kill each other, it is not good for you. And although too little research has been done on the extent of the harm it can do, it is thought to raise the risk of schizophrenia and undermine motivation. This argues for a consumption tax, and a fairly stiff one at that.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thousands of small satellite dish-based computer systems that transmit often-sensitive data from far flung locations worldwide – oil rigs, ships at sea, banks, and even power grid substations – are at high risk of being hacked, including many in the United States, a new cyber-security report has found.

Very-small-aperture terminals, or VSATs, are workhorses for the oil and gas industry, utilities, and even news media. Journalists send reports via VSAT from firebases in Afghanistan, energy companies gather production data from oil drilling operations, and retail outlets send sales data back to corporate headquarters every day. Banks use VSATs for transactions between branches and headquarters.

But at least 10,500 of those terminals globally are wide open to being hacked, including some used in critical US infrastructure systems, according to the new report by IntelCrawler, a Los Angeles-based cyber-security firm.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The rise of affordable flying video cameras is creating one-upmanship among amateur and professional videographers seeking spectacular cinematic shots.

Several manufacturers of remote-controlled drones designed to carry camcorders wowed the crowds at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. They included DJI, Parrot and Yuneec Technology.

"It's a big and growing market," said D. Andrew Knight, a representative for New York City-based retailer B&H Photo Video, which sells DJI Phantom quadcopters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* General InterestPhotos/Photography

0 Comments
Posted January 10, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He fed the 5,000 and walked on water but now a new advertising campaign suggests that Jesus can work miracles in another area altogether.

Advertisements for a Christian dating agency are set to raise more than eyebrows with a claim that believers make “better lovers”.

The slogan, to appear in London Tube carriages from next week, appears to be based on spam emails promoting herbal anti-impotence drugs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaMenPsychologyReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 9, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why has the prosperity gospel prospered? Anyone involved in ministry today is aware of how widespread this new teaching is. It has reached almost every nation. I was surprised to find it even in Cuba on one of my many trips to that Caribbean island.

It would be easy to say that the spread of the prosperity gospel is simply the result of a lack of biblical knowledge, and certainly no one can deny that. The movement misinterprets Scripture, selectively uses biblical texts at the expense of others, missing the balanced view of the whole counsel of God on health and wealth. And in an era when many teachers of the Word are not preaching expositionally, all kinds of heresies would arise.

But two questions remain: why this heresy? And why now? I would suggest that there are deep evil roots in people’s hearts and strong secular ideas in the heart of our society—and even in the church—that serve as fertilizers for this harmful seed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 4, 2014 at 10:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

American consumers in 2013 were more upbeat than at any time in the previous six years as views on the economy, finances and the buying climate improved.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index...averaged minus 31.4 for 2013, the highest since 2007, when it was minus 10.5. The weekly index fell for the first time since mid-November, dropping to minus 28.7 for the period ended Dec. 29, from minus 27.4.

An improved job market, higher stock prices and rising home values lifted sentiment at the end of the year and helped drive holiday retail shopping. Stronger wage and employment growth would help propel bigger gains in confidence and encourage Americans to boost spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 3, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 41 employees of Extreme Dodge in Jackson, Mich., are very familiar with trade-ins, but this year they’re learning about trade-offs as they come face to face with the new realities of health care. A few workers say they’re getting a great deal, but most have a severe case of sticker shock.

“I feel like I’ve been taken to the cleaners,” said Neal Campbell, a salesman.

Read it all or watch the video report from NBC.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMusicTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* General InterestHumor / Trivia

1 Comments
Posted December 30, 2013 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several days into the Christmas shopping season at the Northgate Mall here, the Rev. Dan Anderson stood improbably in a storefront between Sci-Fi City and the Loveable You Portrait Studio. An older couple, strolling past, slowed down to regard him.

Father Anderson, 66, wore the brown habit of the Franciscan friar, its plain humility broken only by a name tag affably identifying him as Dan. The former shoe store that he occupied contained holiday decorations, a brimming coffeepot and a life-size statue of the order’s founder, St. Francis of Assisi. On one table rested a glass fishbowl for prayer requests.

The couple asked Father Anderson if they could confess, and he guided them to a quiet corner. They spoke, he listened, and as the minutes passed, 15 or more, they gathered the courage to ask their question of both the friar and the universe: A relative of theirs had committed suicide. Was he in heaven?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted December 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“We now have a cultural Christmas and a Christian Christmas,” [Professor of religious studies at Morningside College in Iowa] Mr. Bruce Forbes said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

1 Comments
Posted December 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...while we need to acknowledge the things Robertson got wrong, we do not need to pretend that his dismissal from A&E had mainly to do with any of those three things. The A&E network does not have a track record of concern about remarks that are sexually explicit or pastorally insensitive. And I suspect that A&E would not have pulled the plug if this were merely a matter of his remarks about growing up in Louisiana. None of these by themselves caused the offense that has led to the current uproar.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMediaMovies & TelevisionPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted December 21, 2013 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Chapmans acknowledge that they are better off than many people, but they represent a little-understood reality of the Affordable Care Act. While the act clearly benefits those at the low end of the income scale — and rich people can continue to afford even the most generous plans — people like the Chapmans are caught in the uncomfortable middle: not poor enough for help, but not rich enough to be indifferent to cost.

“We are just right over that line,” said Ms. Chapman, who is 54 and does administrative work for a small wealth management firm. Because their plan is being canceled, she is looking for new coverage for her family, which includes Mr. Chapman, 55, a retired fireman who works on a friend’s farm, and her two sons. “That’s an insane amount of money,” she said of their new premium. “How are you supposed to pay that?”

An analysis by The New York Times shows the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s. In some places, prices can quickly approach 20 percent of a person’s income.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinancePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 21, 2013 at 8:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is materialism competing with God for the hearts of his people?
The Book of James famously says that faith without works is dead. What James adds to the key passage (2:18–26) comes immediately before it, in verses 14–17, which illustrate what a workless faith looks like. If a brother or sister needs food and clothing, and someone says "keep warm and well fed" but does nothing to help, James asks, "Can such faith save them?" The Greek terms he uses imply a negative answer.

The scary statistic is that 20 percent of self-identified evangelical churchgoers give nothing. It is reasonable to question their faith. If idolatry is what a person who claims belief in God actually gives allegiance to, does anything have greater idolatrous potential than material possessions?
How well are churches modeling sacrificial giving?
Churches need to apply to their own revenue streams the same principles that they encourage among members....
Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedStewardship* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Although the Fed expects to keep reducing the program "in measured steps" next year, the timing and the course isn't preset. "Continued progress [in the economy] is by no means certain," Mr. [Ben] Bernanke said. "The steps that we take will be data-dependent."

If the Fed proceeds at the pace he set out, it would complete the bond-buying program toward the end of 2014 with holdings of nearly $4.5 trillion in bonds, loans and other assets, nearly six times as large as the Fed's total holdings when the financial crisis started in 2008.

Still, officials—worried that investors would quake at the thought of less Fed support—went to lengths to demonstrate that they would keep interest rates low for years to come, even after the bond-buying program ends.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetFederal ReserveThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christmastime in America’s megachurches is a middle-class utopia. Jesus’ coming rewards the faithful with more than enough, a whole-life prosperity that can be seen as much in the Xbox One under the tree as in the worship at the altar of children’s Christmas pageants. So much the better if your church can assemble a living Christmas tree or a nativity scene that doubles as a petting zoo.

But perhaps this has more to do with what Tewaldi, an Ethiopian refugee member of our evangelical Mennonite church, observed after his first year in Canada: “At this church, I can’t tell the difference between Good Friday and Easter.”

Coming out of the ceremonial richness of his Coptic background, Tewaldi couldn’t feel among us the liturgical lows of the Christian calendar. And so he couldn’t feel the highs either. The flattening effect of North American Protestantism came at a theological price. Without that temporal economy of up and down— sanctified periods of celebration and discipline, light and darkness, feasting and fasting—it was hard to tell spiritual time at all.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Also overlooked amidst the fallout from Evangelii Gaudium was a statement by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, which defended not only Francis’s remarks in EG, but also their specific context, as as well as the greater role of the Church vis-à-vis economics and morality....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cybercriminals generally fall into one of three categories, he says. First there are the "Anonymouses of the world" or the hacktivists—people who expose information about a company or government they morally oppose. Second is organized crime. "They're realizing there's far more money in cybercrime than prostitution," Mr. DeCesare says. "You can buy somebody's I.D. for less than $10 online." Third are activities funded by states and other political groups. "Every government has a cyber division," he says, including the U.S. But cyber dangers now stretch beyond state lines to groups such as al Qaeda. "Cybercrime is a lot like that—[the country is] almost not relevant anymore," making it difficult to hold governments accountable.

From a consumer standpoint, Mr. DeCesare knows from personal experience how easy it is to be fooled online. One of his three children once clicked on a site that turned out to be pornographic. "A Selena Gomez site was not what it was advertised to be," he remembers. Mr. DeCesare now cautions his children against going to celebrity-related websites, which are common points of attack. The "bad guys," he says, often build their own sites around popular stars.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’d be more sympathetic to complaints about the war on Christmas if they weren’t coming from the very people who have waged a largely successful war on Advent. Because, let’s face it, the idea that Christmas should be celebrated in early December, or even mid-December, is not a Christian concept; Christmas celebrations historically were confined to … Christmas. They were even banned in several of the Protestant colonies, and once the bans were lifted, Christmas remained unrecognizably low-key by today’s standards. The monthlong Christmas celebration is a secular invention, promoted and pushed a little harder each year by a retail industry bent on doing what it does best: convince us to buy more and more things we don’t need.

And the complaint about a societal war on Christmas is not a religious complaint; it’s a political complaint, which politicians have used quite effectively to make too many people believe that Christians have been marginalized by the larger society — as if we weren’t ourselves the larger society.

Adding insult to spiritual injury, the assault on Advent crowds out the real observation of Christmas — the one that starts on the evening of Dec. 24 and runs through Epiphany, 12 days later. Try to find a Christmas carol then or, after the new year, anyone who even says “happy holidays,” much less “merry Christmas.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmas* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyChristologyEschatology

5 Comments
Posted December 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The world economy is primed for its fastest expansion in four years, with the U.S. propelling the improvement in output.

Global growth will accelerate at least 3.4 percent in 2014 from less than 3 percent this year as the euro area recovers from recession and China and other emerging markets stabilize, according to economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley. The U.K. will be a standout, while Japan risks damping the mood by suffering a mid-year slowdown after an April increase in sales taxes.

“So far it’s been a very bumpy, below-par and brittle expansion,” said Joachim Fels, co-chief global economist at Morgan Stanley in London. “Next year could bring a very important transition: a transition to a sounder, safer and more sustainable recovery.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted December 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A third [friend of Erin Wurzel]...posted her holiday table setting in Paris, complete with burning candles, rolled napkins with napkin rings, an open Champagne bottle, a huge centerpiece of fall flowers and the illuminated Eiffel Tower framed in a casement window.

“I let out an ‘Oh, my God!,’ like a little kid who wants something they cannot have,” said Ms. Wurzel, a program analyst in Philadelphia who uses the Instagram handle likewantneed. “You’re searching through your feed and a picture will hit you, like that Paris shot. It’s just so perfect. You just think, ‘I want that, I want that life.’ ”

It’s called Instagram envy, and Ms. Wurzel had it bad.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* General InterestPhotos/Photography* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 14, 2013 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Executives from energy companies met the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday, two months after he called on such firms to be "conscious of their social obligations", given the "severe" impact of energy price rises.

A statement from Lambeth Palace said that the senior representatives met to talk about "their perspectives on social responsibility around the energy-supply sector". This was "one of a number of private meetings hosted by Archbishop Justin in order to draw on the experience of people from different areas of national life".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans see little prospect that President Barack Obama and Congress can get much done beyond keeping the government open for the next few months.

A Bloomberg National Poll finds 78 percent of respondents say the political gridlock in Washington will hurt the nation’s economy in 2014.

Large majorities say they want the government to ensure the new health-care law functions well, that policy makers agree to revise the tax code, and that an accord is reached to provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Yet most doubt those things can be accomplished in the current political environment...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 12, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Frenchman who has lived half his 49 years in the United States, [Luc] Vincent was never in the Marines. But he is a leader in a new great game: the Internet land grab, which can be reduced to three key battles over three key conceptual territories. What came first, conquered by Google’s superior search algorithms. Who was next, and Facebook was the victor. But where, arguably the biggest prize of all, has yet to be completely won.

Where-type questions — the kind that result in a little map popping up on the search-results page — account for some 20 percent of all Google queries done from the desktop. But ultimately more important by far is location-awareness, the sort of geographical information that our phones and other mobile devices already require in order to function. In the future, such location-awareness will be built into more than just phones. All of our stuff will know where it is — and that awareness will imbue the real world with some of the power of the virtual. Your house keys will tell you that they’re still on your desk at work. Your tools will remind you that they were lent to a friend. And your car will be able to drive itself on an errand to retrieve both your keys and your tools.

While no one can say exactly how we will get from the current moment to that Jetsonian future, one thing for sure can be said about location-awareness: maps are required. Tomorrow’s map, integrally connected to everything that moves (the keys, the tools, the car), will be so fundamental to their operation that the map will, in effect, be their operating system.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 12, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the Affordable Care Act's deadline for getting health insurance approaches, 30% of U.S. adults still say that they, or a family member, have put off medical treatment in the past year because of the cost. This figure has been stable since 2005, but is higher than it was between 2001 and 2004.

Uninsured Americans are more than twice as likely as those who have Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance to say they put off medical treatment. Fifty-nine percent of the uninsured have done so, compared with roughly one-quarter of those with Medicare or Medicaid (22%) or private health insurance (25%).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite rampant commercialization, the holiday season also has become a lifeline for nonprofits. One-third of all giving now takes place during the last three months of each year. About 18 percent of all giving to nonprofits last year occurred in December alone.

So far, it looks like that giving spirit will soar higher this year.

The Blackbaud Index, which measures charitable giving trends, announced last week that giving nationwide grew 2.3 percent for the three months ending October 2013 compared to the same time in 2012. Online giving increased almost 10 percent.

Read it all from the Faith and Values section of the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmasParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Atlantic has a story out about how the aging of the baby boom will lead to a housing crash. I am skeptical, because research I am doing with Hyojung Lee suggests that old people do not move out of their homes very much, and so as boomers age, they will not be glutting the market with their houses.

But there is another reason to think that the homeownership rate could fall: people are getting married at a decreasingly low rate. Susan Brown at Bowling Green has a study that shows that the marriage rate has dropped by 60 percent since 1970; right now slightly less than half of American households are married couple households. As recently as 1960, 3/4 of American households were married couple households.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

1 Comments
Posted December 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Doctors choose the more expensive drug more than half a million times every year, a choice that costs the Medicare program, the largest single customer, an extra $1 billion or more annually.

Spending that much may make little sense for a country burdened by ever-rising health bills, but as is often the case in American health care, there is a certain economic logic: Doctors and drugmakers profit when more-costly treatments are adopted.

Genentech, a division of the Roche Group, makes both products but reaps far more profit when it sells the more expensive drug. Although Lucentis is about 40 times as expensive as Avastin to buy, the cost of producing the two drugs is similar, according to scientists familiar with the drugs and the industry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2013 at 7:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leaders: what kind of culture are you fostering in your ministry? In a world ever more primed for speed and convenience, should the church lean into the trend or cling to more grounded values? Engage this piece from Craig Detweiler, and respond in the comments.

-Paul

Jeff Bezos is a brilliant man and a remarkable marketer. He realizes that in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death, the role of technologist-in-chief is up for grabs. And while Google is offering us Glass and Facebook and Twitter are aggregating our friends and followers, Amazon is appealing to a different felt need—for speed. By turning 60 Minutes into a platform to announce “drone delivery,” Bezos shifted the news cycle towards Amazon on the same day that Christians have traditionally initiated Advent. While people of faith were shifting into a season of waiting and anticipation, Amazon offered the promise of “Prime Air” that could go above and beyond UPS or Federal Express to deliver our choices in an even faster, more convenient manner—via octocopters.

It doesn’t really matter when this innovation will arrive. By getting us talking and thinking about the virtues of Amazon’s delivery methods, Bezos enjoyed a miraculous public relations coup.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 8, 2013 at 6:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Healthcare.gov seems to be working better for consumers, relatively, but it is not clear that it works for insurers (in which case it doesn’t work for consumers either, as they are trying to buy insurance). Insurers have long said that they are receiving botched enrolment forms, or 834s, if they receive them at all. On December 2nd health officials said they had fixed a problem that accounted for 80% of the glitches with 834s. But they would not confirm what share of 834s were being bungled, so it is hard to know the fix’s importance.

If the site is working better for consumers, as it seems to be, shoppers may rush to sign up for insurance before Mr Obama’s deadline of December 23rd. They will expect coverage to kick in just a few days later, on January 1st. That gives insurers little time to process 834s, even if they are sent without problems, let alone deal with garbled forms. Mr Obama’s goals for health reform have always been laudable. But the gruelling, technical job of enrolment will be the big story for some time yet.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted December 5, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A federal bankruptcy judge granted Detroit unprecedented powers Tuesday to shed billions of dollars in debt, including the ability to slash city employee pensions despite a state constitutional provision protecting them.

In approving the nation’s ­largest-ever municipal filing, Judge Steven Rhodes cleared the way for Detroit’s emergency manager to develop a plan to reorganize the city’s estimated $18 billion in debt. Beyond cutting worker pensions and retiree health benefits, the city could stiff bondholders and sell city assets such as its water and sewer authority and its priceless art collection.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jeff Bezos: These are effectively drones but there’s no reason that they can’t be used as delivery vehicles. Take a look up here so I can show you how it works.

Charlie Rose: All right. We’re talking about delivery here?

Jeff Bezos: We’re talking about delivery. There’s an item going into the vehicle. I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not.

Charlie Rose: Wow!

Jeff Bezos: This is early. This is still…years away. It drops the package.

Charlie Rose: And there’s the package.

Jeff Bezos: You come and get your package. And we can do half hour delivery.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted December 2, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the early predawn hours of Thanksgiving, Jason Goldberger huddled with his team on the 20th floor of a Target Corp. building in Minneapolis to make sure everything was ready at the chain's most important store: Target.com.

The stakes were high. Online shoppers accounted for 40% of the $59 billion in sales racked up over the four-day Black Friday weekend last year, up from 23% in 2006, according to the National Retail Federation. Store traffic this year has been sluggish

Mr. Goldberger, who runs Target's website and mobile business, arrived at 2 a.m., His staff split into two conference rooms. One held a technology team responsible for the workings of the site. The other had people comparing Target's deals with offers from Amazon.com and Walmart.com.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted November 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Do you think I need sweaters at Kohl's? No!" Janine Reed said. "But they're 10 bucks. You think I'm going to get one? Yeah – just 'cos."

--From an NPR story today on shopping.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While automakers and dealers lament that younger buyers have neither money nor brand loyalty when it comes to buying a car, a host of services are looking to the crowd to help them save for what could be the biggest purchase they will make for several years.

Geared toward first-time buyers, these services, like BoostUp, a Detroit-based company that Ms. Frandsen and Mr. Burris used, are trying to turn car-buying into a social experience.

Toyota and Google, for example, are announcing on Wednesday the Toyota Collaborator, a social car shopping tool where potential Corolla buyers can discuss decisions with friends and family in real time using Google Hangouts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaScience & TechnologyTravelYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 27, 2013 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

American workers are living with unprecedented economic anxiety, four years into a recovery that has left so many of them stuck in place. That anxiety is concentrated heavily among low-income workers such as Stewart.

More than six in 10 workers in a recent Washington Post-Miller Center poll worry that they will lose their jobs to the economy, surpassing concerns in more than a dozen surveys dating to the 1970s. Nearly one in three, 32 percent, say they worry “a lot” about losing their jobs, also a record high, according to the joint survey, which explores Americans’ changing definition of success and their confidence in the country’s future. The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia specializing in public policy, presidential scholarship and political history.

Job insecurities have always been higher among low-income Americans, but they typically rose and fell across all levels of the income ladder. Today, workers at the bottom have drifted away, occupying their own island of in­security.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted November 26, 2013 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a warm cup of milk, or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please”
. This is quoted by Chuck Swindoll in his book, Improving Your Serve (where he cites Tim Hansel's book When I Relax I feel Guilty as the source) in the second chapter, after which Dr. Swindoll makes these additional comments:
“That’s it. Our inner ‘self’ doesn’t want to dump God entirely, just keep Him at a comfortable distance. Three dollars of Him is sufficient. A sack full, nothing more. Just enough to keep my guilt level below the threshold of pain, just enough to guarantee escape from eternal flames. But certainly not enough to make me nervous…to start pushing around my prejudices or nit-picking at my lifestyle. Enough is enough!”


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending

1 Comments
Posted November 25, 2013 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to ban the manufacturing of guns by 3-D printers, making Philly the first city to do so. Which is interesting, because the author of the bill, Kenyatta Johnson, isn’t aware of of any local gun-printing 3-D printers. ”It’s all pre-emptive,” says Johnson’s director of legislation Steve Cobb. “It’s just based upon internet stuff out there.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesScience & TechnologyUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While her husband’s health-care plans founder, Michelle Obama is pressing ahead with her own. Last month, joined by Rosita, a turquoise Latina muppet, and Elmo, a shaggy red one, she announced that Sesame Street’s puppets would promote fruit and vegetables rather than sugary and fatty fare; Cookie Monster may need to find himself a new job. Mrs Obama’s fight against childhood obesity has several fronts (she calls it “Let’s Move!”) but marketing is an important one. In September she convened the first White House meeting on marketing food to children. Their preferences “are being shaped by the marketing campaigns you all create”, she told the assembled executives. “And that’s where the problem comes in.”

To market anything that might appeal to young consumers is to risk a scolding. Advertising entices children to drink and smoke, makes them fat and sexualises them early, its critics allege. To tout even wholesome products to children, some claim, is to exploit their naivety and thus to deceive them. Crusaders like Mrs Obama have helped embarrass companies. Coca-Cola said in May that it would not advertise to children younger than 12 anywhere in the world. Last year Disney promised not to promote junk food on television programmes for children.

Such gestures make the best of an increasingly constraining climate....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenMedia* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Southeast, South Carolina ranked better than neighboring states such as Georgia, which posted 8.1 percent unemployment, Tennessee at 8.4 and North Carolina at 8.0 percent for October. Among the lowest jobless rates for states in the region were Alabama and Louisiana, both at 6.5 percent for October.

South Carolina’s largest employment gains included 2,600 additional jobs in manufacturing and 1,800 in construction.

College of Charleston economist Frank Hefner said the latest data is encouraging news for the jobs market.

“Back to the past, that’s where we are,” he said. “We are trying to make up for five years of lost activity, and we are getting back to those levels.”

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted November 23, 2013 at 8:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A pastor walks into a Costco.

He sees a Bible in the fiction section. He tweets a picture of it. It ends up on Drudge. Christians are outraged. Again.

Only problem: there was no need to be.

Again.

Read it all.To Mr. Stezer's comments I would only add something we have said again and again--just because you read it or hear it, doesn't mean it is true, so learn to CHECK it yourself. Remember the Bereans? They are in the New Testament for a reason--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 23, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England pays its top bureaucrat over £10,000 more than the Prime Minister receives despite launching a series of attacks on high executive salaries, it has been disclosed.

Papers laid before the Church’s General Synod, which has been meeting this week, show that eight lay officials across the Church’s London headquarters and its financial arm receive more than 100,000 a year.

Questions were raised about the level of pay for top Church officials after William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission, recently warned that charities risk bringing good causes into “disrepute” by awarding further pay rises to chiefs on six-figure sums.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Santa is relying less on his reindeer and more on his mouse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...what if the world we’ve been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?

You might imagine that speculations along these lines are the province of a radical fringe. And they are indeed radical; but fringe, not so much. A number of economists have been flirting with such thoughts for a while. And now they’ve moved into the mainstream. In fact, the case for “secular stagnation” — a persistent state in which a depressed economy is the norm, with episodes of full employment few and far between — was made forcefully recently at the most ultrarespectable of venues, the I.M.F.’s big annual research conference. And the person making that case was none other than Larry Summers. Yes, that Larry Summers.

And if Mr. Summers is right, everything respectable people have been saying about economic policy is wrong, and will keep being wrong for a long time.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

0 Comments
Posted November 20, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. consumers now estimate they will spend $704 on Christmas gifts this season, down from their $786 average prediction in October. Americans' latest estimate is also significantly below the $770 they forecasted at this time last year -- a particularly worrisome sign for retailers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)