September 30th, 2011 - 4:45 pm
When is a religion just a religion? When John Kennedy ran for President in 1960, his opponents argued that as a Roman Catholic, he might be torn by a dual loyalty to the United States and the Vatican. Although the Constitution requires that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”, where that religion has an earthly representative it potentially runs afoul of the oath of allegiance, where the citizen promises to “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty”. The problem of dual loyalty is a little more widespread than is commonly imagined.
During John F. Kennedy’s campaign for and brief tenure as U.S. President, some opponents questioned whether a Roman Catholic President of the United States had a divided loyalty with respect to the Papacy and Vatican City. … During the English Reformation, many important British and Scottish figures such as Thomas More, Mary Stuart and Edmund Campion were tried and executed for their alleged double loyalty to the Papacy and infidelity to the Crown. … The Chinese Catholics have been forced by the government of the People’s Republic of China to substitute the Roman Catholic Church in China by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
September 30th, 2011 - 11:36 am
NPR argues that the new oil capital of the world may soon be in North America. “By 2017, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the US could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world’s largest oil producer.”
Amy Myers Jaffe of Rice University says in the next decade, new oil in the US, Canada and South America could change the center of gravity of the entire global energy supply.
“Some are now saying, in five or 10 years’ time, we’re a major oil-producing region, where our production is going up,” she says.
The US, Jaffe says, could have 2 trillion barrels of oil waiting to be drilled. South America could hold another 2 trillion. And Canada? 2.4 trillion. That’s compared to just 1.2 trillion in the Middle East and north Africa.
Jaffe says those new oil reserves, combined with growing turmoil in the Middle East, will “absolutely propel more and more investment into the energy resources in the Americas.”
The potential changes have crept up unseen in the news narrative. Who would have named the Utica Shale formation, for example, as anything to do with anything? But the National Review says one author believes that huge shale deposits are poised to make Ohio an economic powerhouse. But there’s a fly in the ointment: the technology which has made these vast new recoveries possible are “environmentally controversial”.
September 29th, 2011 - 4:24 pm
The Daily Mail describes a California lesbian couple who’ve persuaded their 8 year adoptive son to begin a sex change process because they feel he is really — and will be happier as — a girl.
A boy who started the process of changing sex at age eight has told how he always knew he was meant to be a girl.
Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing controversial hormone blocking treatment in Berkeley, California to stop him going through puberty as a boy.
His two lesbian mothers, who adopted him aged two, say that they have been criticized by friends and family, but insist they have not forced their son to become a girl.
They say that one of the first things he told them when he learnt sign language aged three, learned because of a speech impediment, was, ‘I am a girl’.
Tammy, now 11, wears dresses and effectively lives as a girl.
Whoever said the Age of Miracles is over is sadly mistaken. We live in a world where it is possible to borrow your way out of debt; produce trillions of dollars out of thin air; where it is but the work of a few treaties to start the sea levels falling by trading little pieces of paper on a carbon exchange; and where blond, blue eyed people can call themselves black. So why should it be remarkable when 8 years old boys start a sex change process to turn into girls?
September 29th, 2011 - 2:42 pm
The New York Times reports that the Euro just got a little too much bigger to fail. “The German Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for the expansion of the bailout fund for heavily indebted European countries. With that, the front now shifts to tiny Slovakia amid questions about an approval process already months long and still not complete.” The NYT says there may be little appetite in Slovakia, “an impoverished nation from the former Communist bloc whose people suffered mightily to adopt the euro and have little stomach for bailing out richer countries like Greece.” But they are likely to be strongarmed.
The speaker of Parliament in Slovakia, Richard Sulik, has said he will do whatever he can to stop the bailout fund from coming to a vote, even as advocates have desperately sought a compromise. But the combined pressure of the euro zone members will probably be more than Mr. Sulik and other opponents can bear.
September 28th, 2011 - 1:26 pm
A Hungarian economist, Head of Global Securities Services at UniCredit Group in Milan and Olympic committeeman Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy has declared the Euro beyond salvation. In an Hungarian-language opinion article, Attila said “The euro is beyond rescue. The only remaining question is how many days the hopeless rearguard action of European governments and the European Central Bank can keep up Greece’s spirits.”
September 28th, 2011 - 1:29 am
An Australian Federal judge’s decision to find columnist Andrew Bolt guilty of “breaching national race laws” has been hailed as a victory for tolerance yet is likely to result in the exact reverse. A few hours ago, Federal Court Justice Mordy Bromberg ruled that fair-skinned Aborigines were likely to have been “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations” in columnist Andrew Bolt’s two articles “It’s so hip to be black” and “White fellas in the black”, published in 2009. Bolt argued that light-skinned aborigines were gaming the system by claiming to be black when they appeared to be white.
September 27th, 2011 - 12:30 pm
In order to protect the public from the influence of people like Rupert Murdoch, the British Labour Party has proposed licensing journalists. According to the Guardian a Labour shadow minister issued this dire warning. “Your newspapers and Sky TV are popular with millions of British people … However – and yes conference we should have said this a long time ago – never again think you can assert political power or seek political influence in the pursuit of your commercial goals or ideological beliefs. We’re not having it. This is Britain, Mr Murdoch. The integrity of our media and our politics is not for sale.” The BBC reported that Labour proposed to have reporters guilty of what was termed ‘gross malpractice’ “struck off” a register.
September 26th, 2011 - 3:37 pm
A Shi’ite shopkeeper selling these sandals in a Christian dominated area of Lebanon got into trouble when someone noticed the graveyard cross in the halloween motif and reported the store owner to the cops. The shop keeper was charged with inciting sectarian violence and is still under arrest and investigation.
But the shopkeeper’s fate is unlikely to be as severe as this Pakistani woman’s, who was sentenced to death for giving offense to the Prophet Mohammed. She had apparently made a remark to her co-workers who refused a cup of water from her, saying they would not partake of anything sullied by the hands of an infidel. That drew a barbed response from the woman who was subsequently sentenced to die for her remarks. “Tears of joy poured from my eyes,” the local cleric said, when the woman was sentenced. [I had mistakenly reported her executed. That was erroneous and careless on my part]
September 25th, 2011 - 1:02 pm
European governments, faced with the need to raise more money than is available to stop the spread of the continent’s sovereign debt crisis, are considering borrowing against what they have to bulk up their defenses. The Wall Street Journal writes that this could take the form of expanding the European Central Bank’s balance sheet “by buying more debt or backing debt” or some other means. “The move could provide trillions of dollars of firepower to rescue governments and banks—-but only if all 17 euro-zone legislatures approve a two-month-old agreement to broaden the bailout fund.”
Apart from the doubtful wisdom of borrowing to pay for debt that you cannot pay, Deutsche Bundesbank’s Jens Weidmann reminded officials that leveraging the bailout fund, specifically by allowing it to borrow from the ECB, would be equivalent to the monetary financing of state budgets, which is forbidden by the EU treaty. But this difficulty didn’t prevent George Soros from arguing that new institutions were required to meet the crisis.
September 23rd, 2011 - 9:10 am
According to the BBC, “Pakistan’s foreign minister has warned that the US could lose Pakistan as an ally if it continued to publicly accuse Islamabad of supporting militants.”
“You will lose an ally,” Hina Rabbani Khar told Geo TV in New York, where she has been attending the UN General Assembly.
“You cannot afford to alienate Pakistan, you cannot afford to alienate the Pakistani people. If you are choosing to do so and if they are choosing to do so it will be at their own cost,” she said.
Translation: Both you and I know we’ve stabbed you in the back, but keep paying us and like it.