16 March 2010

Items in the news -

1. Relating to a previous entry, here's evidence via the Singapore Straits Times that maybe someone in Congress does have a spine when it comes to China's currency manipulation:

'When Premier Wen said that China's currency is not overvalued two days ago, that was the last straw and here we are to tell them we are going to force you to do it - plain and simple,' said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer as he unveiled the legislation at a news conference.


2. And in another bit of news that references the same previous blog post, President Obama has announced a new initiative to increase US exports as a means to strengthen the economy and increase jobs. (I'm not going to take all the credit for these two items appearing the week after I wrote about these issues, but if you read it here on Bren'sLeftCoast then you read it here first.)

3. In a headline that really doesn't need a lot of add'l context, from the Times UK comes this:

Cardinal Schönborn says celibacy partly to blame for clerical sex abuse

I know, you're all shocked. What is interesting is that this observation is evidently from a conservative Austrian Cardinal who has the ear of the Pope. Nothing will come of it, of course, despite the fact that priestly celibacy isn't dogma, wasn't practiced in the Church until Augustine's time at the earliest, wasn't required in the Church until the Second Lateran Council in 1139, and didn't really become broad practice until 1322. Whatever. It's all made up anyway, but it's fascinating to me how some parts of the made up stuff are stickier than others.

(One favorite? When I was a kid, if I didn't go to Mass on New Year's Day and then got hit by a bus, I was going to go to hell - it was a Holy Day of Obligation, and not to go was a mortal sin. Nowadays, however, if I were to skip Mass on New Year's Day AND it fell on a Saturday or a Monday, then I wouldn't be committing a sin; IF it falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and I skipped, well, then, I'd be sinning. In the U.S. But not in Australia. I'm not making this up, but wow, they sure are.)

4. Elections have consequences, item a.) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") have a new head, and he's, gasp, actually a person of science. From the NYT comes an article detailing how Dr. Thomas R. Frieden has restored science and scientific methods - and austerity - to the CDC, imbuing it with a sense of purpose and getting rid of the non-scientific (personnel) and the frivolous (swivel desk chairs with cup holders in conference rooms) approved by former President Bush.

5. Elections have consequences, item b.) Did you know that in the Doomsday Scenario that our Sec'y of Defence would be incapacitated, former President Bush changed the order of succession so that instead of going to the Army Chief it went to someone under Rumsfeld? I try to keep up on things, and I had no idea. There were so many outrages under former President Bush that it was impossible to keep track. Well, President Obama has fixed it. From the San Jose Mercury News (which I'm not happy with, but I read...), comes this:

Obama's little-noticed March 1 executive order reverses President George W. Bush's doomsday plan, which bumped the service secretaries and elevated the most loyal advisers to the defense secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld.

Doomsday Plan - so what would we do if the top layer of our government were to be wiped out. And former President Bush, in changing standing policy, booted the Sec'y of the Army from the #3 spot to #6 - and elevated Rumsfeld's lackey, a Mr. Cambone, to #3. From the NYTimes on the same topic:

The Bush order, issued in December 2005 ... booted the Army secretary
out of the No. 3 slot in the order of succession, in favor of the under
secretary of defense for intelligence... [T]op Rumsfeld aides acknowledged at the time that the decision had dual motivations: It was an official affirmation of their trust in Mr. Cambone’s experience and intellect — and a slap at the Army’s leadership at the time.

So in a plan to protect our nation at its most vulnerable, we were playing politics?! "I am going to stomp my foot and make a change because I can, and Union be damned!" How irresponsible! Can you imagine the hue and cry from the faux Chicken Hawks were the shoe reversed, and President Obama were to try something similar? I bet you can. Unbelievable! We are lucky we got off as lightly as we did with eight years of that mendacious, petty man in charge. Go CDC and President Obama!

6. And on a lighter note, from the Honolulu Advertiser, Manoa Valley has caught its invasive Coqui Tree Frog!

Happy St Patrick's Day, all - Erin Go Bragh!

1 comment:

KenAnselment said...

So help me understand again--and I posit this rhetorically, B--how, when it comes to holy days, "obligation" varies based on your address. How obligatory can it really be, then? Ugh!