Thanksgiving is as wonderful a holiday as they come. This American holiday represents the commencement of "the most wonderful time of the year" and celebrates the thankfulness of the early American settlers for their survival. It is a day for reflection in the heart and celebration of the hearth, and in a pluralistic America, it is a holiday sacred to all.
In recent years, Black Friday has been celebrated as a holiday in its own right, with its own rites and virtues, plundering other holidays' themes and imagery to create a bizarre tradition all its own: The day of hysterical shopping blends Christmas marketing with Back-to-School season commercialism and a New Years' Eve-like countdown to midnight.
But this year, corporate marauders have chosen to literally pillage time from Thanksgiving Day itself. Many American retailers will be commencing their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, rather than doing families the courtesy of waiting until midnight. USA Today reported recently that Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Macy's, Kohl's, J. C. Penney, and Old Navy are among the chains that will have locations open for business on Thanksgiving. Their likely reasons include a short holiday season and shaky profits in light of a weak American economy. more >>
One of the largest churches in North America will soon be charging entry fees for visitors who are there for sight-seeing purposes.
Washington National Cathedral, located in the District of Columbia, announced Monday that it will begin charging an entry fee in January for a "six-month trial period."
Possibly signaling a national trend, The Cleveland Clinic, ranked the fourth-best American hospital by U.S. News & World Report, announced that it plans to cut $330 million from its 2014 budget, and attributed about half of those cuts, roughly $165 million, directly to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as "Obamacare."
Massachusetts General Hospital, ranked number two by U.S. News & World Report, also reported increased budget cuts but did not have a specific number.
"We had to take about $330 million out of next year's budget," Eileen Sheil, executive director of corporate communications at the Cleveland Clinic, said in an interview on Monday. Sheil told The Christian Post that "half of the 330" is directly attributable to Obamacare. more >>
A United Methodist Church leader has been elected to the post of General Secretary/President for the National Council of Churches.
James E. Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, was elected earlier this week by the NCC Governing Board.
Management at a Cleveland branch of Walmart, America's largest food chain, sparked a fierce debate over whether employee compensation is too low after a food drive was started at the branch to make sure the neediest of the store's workers had enough to eat for Thanksgiving.
"Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner," note signs attached to tablecloths at the branch along Atlantic Boulevard in Canton, according to cleveland.com.
As word spread about the store's initiative, however, some people didn't appreciate the message Walmart was sending. more >>
The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, sarcastically known as Dodd-Frankery and Dodd-Frankenstein, was passed into law in response to the financial crisis and recession of 2008. It contains the most drastic changes to financial regulations since the regulatory reform after the Great Depression. Proposed by Obama in 2009 and signed into law in 2010, the Democratic bill was the handiwork of former Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) in the House and former Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) in the Senate. It was supposedly going to stop banks from making loans to risky buyers who could not pay them back, reducing foreclosures. It was also supposed to change the rules so banks could no longer receive taxpayer-funded bailouts due to their poor business practices.
It hasn't worked out the way its Democrat proponents claimed. This is because the people who got us into this mess are the same ones who drafted the law. Dodd-Frank contains more of the same things that precipitated the financial crisis; government meddling in the mortgage business and financial markets. Lobbyists for special interests carved out loopholes, resulting in merely different lists of winners and losers. As one author in U.S. News & World Report observed, "These exemptions are less about protecting unsophisticated borrowers than about protecting the taxpayer-guaranteed business models of favored entities." Hedge funds and some other firms lost big; they are now required to fill out a 192-page form that has been estimated to cost each firm $100,000-$150,000.
Speaking of winners or losers, most outrageously, Dodd-Frank didn't bother to reform Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the biggest culprits for handing out mortgages to high-risk borrowers who should never have qualified for them. They received the largest bailouts of all financial institutions in 2008. more >>