Archived Posts September 2013 » Page 4 of 14 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: ehilton
posted by on Tuesday, September 24, 2013

greek foodGreece is, economically, a mess. With a youth unemployment rate exceeding 65 percent, leaving two-thirds of the nation’s young people unable to find a job, there is not much to celebrate in a country where family life – like many cultures – revolves around meals. Greece is also facing a sharp decline in population. Here is a story of what happens when people who love to cook, but have no one to cook for, meet people who love to eat, but have little money for food. (more…)

Are you seeking scholarships to offset graduate school costs? Have you become acquainted with an emerging scholar and would like to recognize this individual by nominating him/her for a prestigious award? If you are involved in academia and have a passion for work that values rule of law, limited government, religious liberty, and freedom in economic life, we recommend you look into the Acton Institute’s scholarship programs. And we encourage you to do so quickly, for important deadlines are rapidly approaching!

Ranging from $500 to $1,000, Acton’s Calihan Academic Fellowships provide scholarships and research grants to seminarians and graduate students demonstrating outstanding academic work in theology, philosophy, economics, or related fields. The application deadline for the 2014 Spring Term is October 15, 2013. For more information on eligibility and to apply visit the Calihan Academic Fellowship page of the Acton website.

The Novak Award, named after distinguished American theologian Michael Novak, awards those scholars early in their academic career who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit and new scholarly research concerning the relationship between religion, economic freedom, and the free and virtuous society. Professors, university faculty members, and other scholars may nominate qualified individuals for this $10,000 Award. Nominations for the 2014 Award must be submitted by November 15, 2013, and nominated individuals have until December 15, 2013 to submit applications. For nomination and eligibility information visit the Novak Award webpage.

For a complete list of Acton Institute scholarship programs visit the Student Awards and Scholarships page.

poorActon’s Director of Research, Samuel Gregg, offers some fresh thoughts on Pope Francis today at Crisis Magazine. Gregg points out that there has been much talk about “poverty” and the “poor” since the election of Pope Francis, but that this is nothing new in the Catholic Church.

…Francis isn’t the first to have used the phrase “a poor church of the poor.” It’s also been employed in a positive fashion by figures ranging from the father of liberation theology, Gustavo Gutiérrez, to critics of Marxist-versions of the same theology. In a 2011 meeting with German Catholic lay associations, for instance, Benedict XVI challenged the very wealthy—and notoriously bureaucratized—German Church to embrace poverty. By this, Benedict meant the Church detaching itself from “worldliness” in order to achieve “liberation from material and political burdens and privileges,” thereby breaking free of the institutional-maintenance mindset that plagues contemporary German Catholicism and opening itself “in a truly Christian way to the whole world.”

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According to Investor’s Business Daily, over 300 businesses are cutting employee hours and jobs to avoid Obamacare. If employers restrict employee work hours to 30 per week, then they avoid Obamacare mandates for health insurance. Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily says, “Data also point to a record low workweek in low-wage industries.”

Casinos are one industry that exemply these cuts. In Grantville, Penn., the Hollywood Casino has told part-time workers they are now limited to no more than 30 hours a week. Gene Barr of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry had this to say:

Government has decided that you as a business will pay this if you meet a certain size. They’ve put these conditions on and of course companies will have to work around and with those conditions in order to make sure they can stay as a successful business. Businesses have to take the steps they can to keep themselves profitable and keep the people that are now employed employed.

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Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The silence of our friends – the extinction of Christianity in the Middle East
Ed West, The Spectator

The last month and a half has seen perhaps the worst anti-Christian violence in Egypt in seven centuries, with dozens of churches torched. Yet the western media has mainly focussed on army assaults on the Muslim Brotherhood, and no major political figure has said anything about the sectarian attacks.

The Perils of Liberal Moralism: On Syria and Thomas More
Carson Holloway, Public Discourse

Our president’s assumption that he should punish Syria for a moral, but not legal, transgression undermines international law.

U.S. House OKs religious liberty envoy
Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring appointment of a special envoy for the promotion of religious liberty in such countries as Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.

What Does It Mean to Help the Poor?
Glenn Sunshine, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

What responsibilities does the state have to the poor? There are several biblical and historical underpinnings that can help us answer this question.

Acton On The AirSamuel Gregg, Acton’s Director of Research, continues to promote his fine new book Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case for Limited Government, a Free Economy and Human Flourishing via radio interviews all across the country. Today, Sam spoke with Jan Mickelson on Des Moines, Iowa’s 50,000 watt WHO Radio. It was a fine conversation, with Mickelson calling the book “a spirited read,” well worth your time. To pick up a copy of your own, head over to the book’s website. Listen to the interview via the audio player below.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Monday, September 23, 2013

IRS-300x300A few months ago I wrote about how when I was a young Marine I learned that when the commanding officer says, “I wish” or “I desire,” these expressions have the force of a direct order and should be acted upon as if they had given a direct order. If our CO were to say, even in musing to themselves, “I wish there was something that could be done about that,” we knew we should jump into action. The main problem with this custom was when Marines would assume they knew the CO’s desires and wishes — and then act on that assumption.

A similar custom appears to be practiced at the Internal Revenue Service. A new report finds that IRS officials thought it was Obama’s unstated desire for them to crackdown on Tea Party groups:
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obamacareWith Obamacare (the Affordable Health Care Act) set to begin on October 1, many companies are changing their employee health care. For some, it’s a change in what benefits employees will receive; for others, employees will be losing health care all together and told to sign up under Obamacare.

The Wall Street Journal did a “round-up” of companies who’ve announced changes. Walgreens is the largest employer yet to disclose employee health care changes.

[T]he drugstore giant disclosed a plan to provide payments to eligible employees for the subsidized purchase of insurance starting in 2014. The plan will affect roughly 160,000 employees, and will require them to shop for coverage on a private health-insurance marketplace. Aside from rising health-care costs, the company cited compliance-related expenses associated with the new law as a reason for the switch.

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Carpentry program at Crowley Correctional FacilityIn a program at Colorado’s Crowley County Correctional Facility, prisoners hand-make roof trusses and oak cabinets for use in Habitat For Humanity home. The inmates not only learn carpentry skills but the dignity of work:

“For me, personally, having that apprenticeship was priceless,” said Mike Voss. He learned carpentry when he served time at Crowley and now, five years after being hired as a benchman carpenter, is a co-owner of Artisan Cabinetry in Denver.

“Everything I’d done in the past was bad and illegal things. I had no work experience. I was able to use that apprenticeship to get a good-paying job I could survive on. If I hadn’t had that, I’d probably be in prison right now. I’d have to resort to illegal things to get the money I need to live on. That apprentice paperwork is basically what got me to where I am now.”

The work-ethic lessons began with sweeping the floors:

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Acton On The AirLast week, the first major interview with Pope Francis was released to the world via a number of Jesuit journals; you can read the interview for yourself at America Magazine. As usually happens, major media outlets reported on the interview, often putting their own spin on it (the New York Times provides an example of this type of coverage here).

This morning, Frank Beckmann of Detroit, Michigan’s WJR Radio called upon Acton President Rev. Robert A. Sirico to discuss what the pope really said, and how Pope Francis’ thinking will shape how the Catholic Church addresses the big issues of our time. You can listen to the interview via the audio player below.