Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Assault On Savings Accounts

From Huffington Post:

The Fed is desperately trying to find ways to dial back on its $85 billion per month in bond purchases, an extreme stimulus program known as "quantitative easing," while still supporting the economy. One possible approach would be to stop paying banks a tiny interest rate for money they store at the Fed for safekeeping. The idea being that banks would be more inclined to put money to work with lending and other stuff that helps the economy.

But according to banks, that tiny Fed interest payment is the only thing that helps banks break even on savings accounts and other deposit services they provide. In order to protect their multi-billion-dollar bonuses and bank profits -- which have bounced to record highs since that financial crisis the banks helped create, a crisis from which the Fed and the American taxpayer bailed them out -- banks will sadly have no choice but to punish their customers.

That's not all: The banks say that, without that interest payment, they might also be pushed to take ever-crazier risks with money that was once safely parked at the Fed, the FT reports. Stop us before we kill the economy again, the banks are saying. And by "stop us," they mean, "give us all of your money..."

Some of the information from this article comes from the Financial Times (subscription only).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Elizabeth Warren Targets Social Security

Wal-Mart Holds Food Drive For Its Own Employees

The Religious Wrong: RENOUNCE YOUR KIDS!!!

From Think Progress:

On Monday, the United Methodist Church convicted Rev. Frank Schaefer on two counts against the Church for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding. On Tuesday, the impaneled jury determined his sentence: Schaefer is suspended for 30 days, and if it at the end of that time he has not renounced his support for marriage equality, he will be defrocked.
Schaefer, however, was unapologetic, refusing the invitation to “repent of your actions”:

SCHAEFER: [The Church] needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation. We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians. [...]
I will never be silent again. This is what I have to do. [...]
I have to minister to those who hurt and that’s what I’m doing.
Three of Schaefer’s four children identify as gay.
But...family values?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How Not to Be a Parent

Amy Dickinson, Advice Columnist
From The Daily Grind:

The parent writes:

Dear Amy:

I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual.
We are part of a church group and I fear that if people in that group find out they will make fun of me for having a gay child.
He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay. I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years – I have a busy work schedule.
Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay. He won’t listen to me, so maybe he will listen to you.
- Feeling Betrayed

Replied Amy:
Dear Betrayed:

You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your sexuality to show him how easy it is.
Try it for the next year or so: Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexuality is a matter of choice – to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church and social pressure.
I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are. The same is true for your son. He has a right to be accepted by his parents for being exactly who he is.
When you ‘forget’ a child’s birthday, you are basically negating him as a person. It is as if your saying that you have forgotten his presence in the world. How very sad for him.
Pressuring your son to change his sexuality is wrong.
If you cannot learn to accept him as he is, it might be safest for him to live elsewhere.
A group that could help you and your family figure out how to navigate this is PFLAG.org. This organization is founded for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, and has helped countless families through this challenge. Please research and connect with a local chapter.
- Amy

Let me make sure I understand this. She forgot her son's birthday not once, not twice, but three times in a row, she is mostly concerned about being made fun of for having a gay child, and somehow, it's the child with the problem? I really hope this mother pulls her head from her rectum and realizes that as a parent, you put your kids first. Her son did not betray her, she betrayed him.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Openly Gay Teen Honoured by Vatican

From LGBTQ Nation:

Jack Andraka, a high school junior from Crownsville, Md., was awarded the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award for his work Saturday. The Vatican awards the prize to recognize youth who are positive role models and outstanding in their fields.
He told WBAL Radio he felt is was amazing to be recognized by the Vatican even though he is gay. He says it shows how much the world has grown to accept gay people.

Andraka developed the cancer test when he was 15 after the death of a family friend from pancreatic cancer.

Pro-ACA Republican Wins in Louisiana

From Think Progress:

Louisiana voters elected Republican Vance McAllister in a runoff to fill the state’s vacant Fifth District U.S. House seat on Saturday. McAllister, a businessman who embraced the expansion of Medicaid available to the state under the Affordable Care Act, defeated a Republican party favorite who called for full Obamacare repeal.

In a district won by Mitt Romney with 61 percent of the vote in 2012, two Republicans were the top vote-getters in a 14-candidate October primary. McAllister, who received nearly 60 percent of the vote in Saturday’s special election, criticized much of the Affordable Care Act, but also criticized Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) decision to dismantle charity hospitals in the state, and to reject its Medicaid expansion, which would expand the qualifications for Medicaid recipients and extend healthcare coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Louisianans. “Our governor and Sen. Riser right here have gutted [heath care] to the core and privatized it.”

McAllister’s top opponent, State Senator Neil Riser (R), received support from House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), three of the four other Louisiana Republican Congressmen, the National Rifle Association, FreedomWorks and, more tacitly, Gov. Jindal. Riser ran ads saying that he would go to Washington to balance the budget and stop Obamacare — not make friends — andslammed McAllister for ” attempting to redefine himself and stand with President Obama.”

Marriage News Watch: November 18, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dealing With Marriage Equality via Exorcism

From WUIS:  

Regarding the proposed redefinition of civil marriage in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote on June 22, 2010: “The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex. The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts. ... Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a ‘move’ of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Bishop Paprocki noted, “The pope’s reference to the ‘father of lies’ comes from the Gospel of John (8:44), where Jesus refers to the devil as ‘a liar and the father of lies.’ So Pope Francis is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.”

The prayers for “Supplication and Exorcism Which May Be Used in Particular Circumstances of the Church” are taken from the Appendices to the 2004 Latin edition of the Rite of Exorcism, the introduction to which explains, “The presence of the Devil and other demons appears and exists not only in the tempting or tormenting of persons, but also in the penetration of things and places in a certain manner by their activity, and in various forms of opposition to and persecution of the church. If the diocesan bishop, in particular situations, judges it appropriate to announce gatherings of the faithful for prayer, under the leadership and direction of a priest, elements for arranging a rite of supplication may be taken from [the texts provided in these appendices].”

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The War on Thanksgiving

From Think Progress:

Walmart has announced it will open its stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving,joining retailers like Target, Best Buy, Kmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, and Toys R Us that are cutting their workforce’s holiday short to pursue holiday season profits. Kmart will open its doors the earliest of all the stores, opening at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
“Almost everybody to date has moved up, at least one hour, if not more,” Walmart Chief Marketing Officer Duncan Mac Naughton said Monday. “We thought 6 o’clock was the exact right time to win the weekend.” He explained that the 1 million workers needed to staff stores are “really excited to work that day.”
Last year, Walmart faced protests and strikes for creeping into holiday hours. The 8 p.m. start time prompted an online petition that collected more than30,000 signatures. As consolation, the retailer said it will pay workers higher holiday wages, give them one 25 percent discount on a transaction, and give them a free meal.

Wall Street's Worst Nightmare

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Role of Genes in Sexual Orientation

Republican Election Shenanigans in Virginia

AG candidate Mark Obenshain (right)
From Salon

Last Friday, after most of the counties had finished going through their provisional ballots but while Fairfax County still had a fair amount of work to do, the state Board of Elections issued a directive telling Fairfax County and the rest of the state boards that they cannot have legal representatives (or party lawyers) stand in for voters to advocate that certain votes be counted. Fairfax County said its representatives had been allowed to do so in the past. The state board, which has two Republican members and one Democratic member, said it issued its clarification on the legal advice of the attorney general’s office in an effort to assure uniformity. From that point on, voters would have to argue for themselves that their provisional ballots deserved counting.

Democrats cried foul, noting that the rule change emanated from failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s office and came after the other counties were done counting, while Herring was closing the gap. Fairfax County—it should be noted—tends to skew Democrat. It looked like a rule change midstream, intended to benefit Obenshain, the Republican. Monday, however, the Virginia Board of Elections issued a further clarification, stating that Fairfax was the only county with this supposed policy (allowing outside advocates to argue for provisional ballots) and that it would be unfair for Fairfax to use this different rule. The board further clarified Monday that a voter would not need to show up in person but could supply any missing information by email or fax.

How Iceland Weathered the Financial Crisis