It’s time again for another action-packed edition of Global Warming Consensus Watch, wherein we highlight the unshakable, unbreakable scientific consensus that Global Warming is a dire threat to our existence and humans are entirely to blame. Long Live the Consensus! In this roundup: WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ PROOF!; AL GORE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ MEDIA COVERAGE; just how accurate are those predictions, anyway?; a whole bunch more scientists off the reservation; Kyoto – not all it’s cracked up to be; and Live Earth vs. the British Power Grid. (more…)
Today I will be attending portions of the Christian Reformed Church’s Assembly of World-Wide Partners meeting.
I’ll be covering some of the plenary addresses and the sessions on Christian Education in Ministry. The education sessions will feature Dr. Gaylen Byker, president of Calvin College, who also serves on the Acton Institute’s board of directors.
I plan on posting a summary of the events here early next week.
One of my favorite historians of religion, who has recently acted more as a contemporary observer of religion than an historian, is Philip Jenkins of Pennsylvania State University. His newest book, God’s Continent, takes on the grimmer views of where Europe is headed. The focus is religion, but of course politics, economics, and foreign policy are all tied up in the issue as well. I happen to have a lot of sympathy for the darker view, represented not least ably by our own Sam Gregg (e.g., here and here). My pessimism has been tempered somewhat lately—among the reasons being comments by knowledgeable friends who see something significant in the election of Nicholas Sarkozy in France, and now by Jenkins’ book. But I remain skeptical of the optimistic view; Richard John Neuhaus’s review of Jenkins’ book in First Things gets it about right, I think.
Jerome’s letter to Demetrias:
Others may build churches, may adorn their walls when built with marbles, may procure massive columns, may deck the unconscious capitals with gold and precious ornaments, may cover church doors with silver and adorn the altars with gold and gems. I do not blame those who do these things; I do not repudiate them. Everyone must follow his own judgment. And it is better to spend one’s money thus than to hoard it up and brood over it. However your duty is of a different kind. It is yours to clothe Christ in the poor, to visit Him in the sick, to feed Him in the hungry, to shelter Him in the homeless, particularly such as are of the household of faith, to support communities of virgins, to take care of God’s servants, of those who are poor in spirit, who serve the same Lord as you day and night, who while they are on earth live the angelic life and speak only of the praises of God. Having food and raiment they rejoice and count themselves rich. They seek for nothing more, contented if only they can persevere in their design. For as soon as they begin to seek more they are shewn to be undeserving even of those things that are needful.
A taste: “At the conclusion of de Gruchy’s confession, the reader is left with a suspicion that the facile opposition between secularism and religious fundamentalism on the one side and humanism (secular and Christian) on the other obscures linkages that ought to unite Christians of whatever persuasion.”
Economic globalization has lifted millions out of dire poverty and is an unparalelled engine of wealth creation. But, like other economic systems, it needs the moral framework that the Church provides to guide it as a humane force for good. Brian Griffiths, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, examines the role of faith in a rapidly globalizing world in this excerpt from his new Acton monograph.
Clement of Alexandria, Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?, trans. William Wilson, ch. XIV:
Riches, then, which benefit also our neighbours, are not to be thrown away. For they are possessions, inasmuch as they are possessed, and goods, inasmuch as they are useful and provided by God for the use of men; and they lie to our hand, and are put under our power, as material and instruments which are for good use to those who know the instrument. If you use it skilfully, it is skilful; if you are deficient in skill, it is affected by your want of skill, being itself destitute of blame. Such an instrument is wealth. Are you able to make a right use of it? It is subservient to righteousness. Does one make a wrong use of it? It is, on the other hand, a minister of wrong. For its nature is to be subservient, not to rule. That then which of itself has neither good nor evil, being blameless, ought not to be blamed; but that which has the power of using it well and ill, by reason of its possessing voluntary choice. And this is the mind and judgment of man, which has freedom in itself and self-determination in the treatment of what is assigned to it. So let no man destroy wealth, rather than the passions of the soul, which are incompatible with the better use of wealth. So that, becoming virtuous and good, he may be able to make a good use of these riches. The renunciation, then, and selling of all possessions, is to be understood as spoken of the passions of the soul.
Wealth, like liberty, is not an ultimate end in itself. Wealth is the good product of a rightly ordered economic system. Liberty is the result of a properly functioning political structure. These are both penultimate realities.
But to what end are wealth and liberty (economics and politics) to be subsumed? I know no better answer than to say, “To glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.”
The number of jobs (nonfarm, not seasonally-adjusted) added to the US economy since 2004 numbers around 6 million.
But over the same period, Michigan has lost over 50,000 jobs. What’s going on?
A relative of mine recently described to me the situation from his perspective. His company has an office located in Michigan, and of the rather modest net profits accrued by the Michigan location, over 56% were paid to the state by means of the Single Business Tax (SBT).
The SBT has now been phased out going forward, but there’s been a huge partisan battle between Republicans in the state congress and Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm about what to do. The debates are well-chronicled on the Democratic side by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mickey Switalski (see, for instance, the Feb. 23, 2007 edition of his newsletter, The Insider).
It looks now like the new tax policy replacing the SBT will be “revenue neutral,” in large part because the state was already facing a $1 billion budget deficit before the SBT was to be phased out. Besides the punitive SBT, many blame the employment climate in Michigan on the state’s “heavily unionized culture.”
The “revenue neutral” nature of the new tax plan seems to indicate to me that businesses in Michigan can continue to expect big chunks of their profits going to the state’s coffers. And that can only mean that Michigan’s single-state recession will continue, even if the tax penalty for adding payroll is modified under the new plan.
Oliver “Buzz” Thomas: “We’re like cancer. Unable to pace ourselves, we are greedily consuming our host organism (i.e. planet Earth) and getting dangerously close to killing ourselves in the process. The difference is that cancer has an excuse: No brain.”
Compare to the words of Agent Smith: “…There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure.”
Be sure to take the Misanthropy Quiz.
With more efforts like this we could solve global warming tomorrow (and mismanaged pensions, and short necks, and the auto industry, and…).
TOKYO (Reuters) – An unseasonal chill had some cabinet ministers shivering in their short-sleeved shirts as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched Japan’s annual "Cool Biz" fashion campaign to save energy and fight global warming.
Japan began its "Cool Biz" push two years ago to get office workers to shed their stuffy suits and ties and keep thermostats at 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) as a way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Known as a stylish dresser himself, Abe had instructed his cabinet members to wear ‘kariyushi’ summer wear from the southern island of Okinawa, similar to Hawaiian aloha shirts.
"It’s nice and comfortable. But today it seems a bit chilly," Health Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa, clad in a blue short-sleeved shirt imprinted with tiny red cats and birds native to Okinawa, told reporters.
"I ordered a long-sleeved shirt but they were out of stock so I could only get short-sleeved," added Yanagisawa, who appeared pleased to have something to talk about other than a furor over mismanaged pensions that is dogging Abe’s administration.
Administrative Reform Minister Yoshimi Watanabe welcomed the chance to substitute a collarless shirt for his jacket and tie.
"It’s good for people like me with no neck," said the stocky politician.
Economics Minister Hiroko Ota, one of only two women in Abe’s 17-member cabinet, was complimented by reporters on her striking red ‘kariyushi’ with a butterfly and floral print.
"Thank you. It’s actually still a bit cold to wear this. But this building is hot, so it’s nice," Ota told reporters.
The temperature on Friday morning was around 4 degrees below the June 1 average of 21.8 centigrade, but was expected to warm up later, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Later in the day, Abe, keen to polish his anti-global warming credentials ahead of next week’s Group of Eight summit in Germany, took part in a demonstration of Japanese clean diesel cars at his official residence.
"I feel certain that Japan’s energy-saving technology is the best in the world," he said before test-driving several cars.