A fascinating article at Bloomberg.com caught my attention recently. It was the kind of article that puts the power of the Cross into focus, once again. t involves a conversation about death.
Apparently there is a new fad engulfing our culture where friends and family gather together to talk about – of all subjects – death. A project called "Let's Have Dinner and Talk about Death" is trying to start a national conversation about death and dying in this country and around the world. The project stemmed from a Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM) course at The University of Washington.
According to their web site, the group is made up of "everyone from oncologists, gravestone designers, palliative care experts, authors, curators, health care CEOs and artists to spark a powerful movement around facing death and planning for end of life. We're putting out a call to action for people to start a conversation with their friends or family about death- and we're giving people the tools to make it easier, more meaningful, and even fun." more >>
Among the pearls of wisdom conveyed in Ecclesiastes is that everything has its time.
"A time to be born…a time to die, a time to plant….a time to uproot, a time for war…a time for peace."
The founders of the United States drew up a constitution to serve as an operating manual, in its checks and balances, for peaceful, deliberative government. They understood human nature, and set up a system in which competing interests would have to give in. Compromise, they understood, is a necessary lubricant for the wheels of government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" to turn and allow us to move forward. more >>
I'm not an economist, and I don't play one on TV. But it seems to me that the so-called recovery is taking a long time. Or maybe, it isn't a recovery after all.
Virtually every week there's some new study out, showing that more Americans are struggling financially. Are Americans getting poorer? Is this the new normal? Is the Middle Class shrinking in our time? Jesus said, the poor you will always have with you, but now we apparently have more of them.
There's a human price to all this, with millions of fellow Americans struggling to get by. People strive to find work. With Obamacare looming, full-time employees are being reduced to part-time status. Many college grads, saddled with school debt, live in their parents' basements. more >>
Pope Francis has condemned the "idolatry of big businesses" and the global economy for high levels of unemployment, but offered hope to people struggling to find jobs during a recent trip to one of Italy's poorest regions.
"It's easy to say 'don't lose hope,''' the leader of the Roman Catholic Church told close to 20,000 employed and unemployed workers in Sardinia's capital in Cagliari, Vatican Radio reported. "But to all of you who have work, and to those who don't, let me tell you: Don't let yourselves be robbed of hope.''
Daniel Webster famously observed that, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." We often see arguments over taxes framed as conflicts between the compassionate and the miserly. If you care about the poor, we are told, you will support higher taxes to provide them with better services. Any cautions about taxation are often dismissed as selfishness, stinginess or even greed.
But who is really victimized when the power to tax is abused or mismanaged? The Washington Post recently ran a series of articles exposing years of extensive incompetence and abuse in the collection of property taxes which put thousands of Washington, DC residents into potential foreclosure for owing as little as $150 in back taxes. According to the Post:
Since 2007, the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue put nearly 1,900 owners at risk of foreclosure by imposing liens on their properties and then erroneously selling them to investors at public auctions. The sales have stunned property owners across the city - many of them elderly and poor - who have scrambled to attend court hearings and plead with city officials to clear their names. more >>
President Barack Obama was criticized for delivering a highly partisan Monday speech on the economy while the nation was gripped by a shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., that left 12 dead. His speech had two main points that appear contradictory: (1) The economy is doing well. And, (2) It is the Republican's fault that the economy is not doing well.
The speech marking the five year anniversary of the beginning of the financial crisis was delayed until after noon due to the Navy Yard shooting. The Navy Yard and surrounding areas were still under investigation by law enforcement authorities as the speech began, and there were reports at the time that there may have been an accomplice.
He began by praising the courage of the first responders and sending his thoughts and prayers to those "who've been touched by this tragedy." more >>