Archive for April, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI Makes His Mark!

I was reminded this weekend when I saw the extraordinary mass held in Yankee Stadium just how remarkable the Pope of the Catholic Church really is. It wasn’t long ago when I heard of the death of Pope John Paul II, that I felt a sense of loss. Pope John Paul had been such a fixture in international and American politics. His humanitarian efforts, leadership and contagious personality made him a world icon. When John Paul’s passing was being broadcast on national television, and the selection process for a new Pope began, I remember being on the phone with a friend of mine. I knew that the next Pope had big shoes to fill and wondered if whomever was selected could measure up to all that Pope John Paul did for the Catholic Church.So today we have Pope Benedict XVI, who many of us didn’t really know until his recent historic visit to the United States. From the moment Pope Benedict stepped of the plane and was greeted by the President (whom never greets visitors directly at the airport upon their arrival) I knew this visit would bring much needed answers about this important man. To say that Pope Benedict is a courageous and brave man would be a serious understatement.

Offering his prayers and condemning past acts by former priests let everyone know that this Pope was ringing in a new era for the Catholic Church. This Pope wants more than anything to have the Catholic Church lead the way in spreading goodwill.  Listening to all the Pope had to say during his visit let me know that the Catholic Church was moving on; in a positive and influential manner. To say that I was inspired by his words and impressive travel and event schedule is an understatement. This Pope made the most of his visit to America and left a footprint for many of us to follow.

Is this Pope living up to the standard set by John Paul? Pope Benedict XVI is his own man and brings his own style to the job. His energy and enthusiasm for spreading the gospel is impressive by anyone’s standard. With only 3 years on the job, I can honestly say that we haven’t even begun to see the influence this Pope is going to have on the world.

I’ll leave you with some of the parting words of Pope Benedict the XVI:

April 20, 2008

“My visit this morning to Ground Zero will remain firmly etched in my memory, as I continue to pray for those who died and for all who suffer in consequence of the tragedy that occurred there in 2001. For all the people of America, and indeed throughout the world, I pray that the future will bring increased fraternity and solidarity, a growth in mutual respect, and a renewed trust and confidence in God, our heavenly Father.With these words, I take my leave, I ask you to remember me in your prayers, while I assure you of my love and friendship in the Lord. God bless America!”

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 Human Interest No Comments

What is Really Wrong with the U.S. Economy

 These days you can’t turn on the television without hearing the pundits talking about the state of our economy. As we all know, it’s not in very good shape and the reasons for its current demise are widely varied. The majority of news contributors are searching for someone to blame and everybody has a finger pointing somewhere.

I have given the issue of our economy some serious thought, and believe that most of what we are hearing on the news is dead wrong. While it serves a purpose for news organizations to find someone at fault for all our economic woes, it doesn’t serve the greater good of the American people. The economic indicators tell us a lot about what is happening in our economy, but I have simplified those indicators into easier to understand humanistic cause and effect argument.
First, I have to start by mentioning that the United States Congress continues to spend money like its water, with no regard for the well being of the American people. Pork barrel spending, pet projects and the continued use of legislative riders have contributed to an out of control national debt. Unfortunately, I don’t have much confidence that the practices of our legislative branch will change anytime soon, so I won’t even entertain explaining the solutions to this cancer.

As we all know, America’s mortgage crisis has proved to be one of the worst examples of a negative economic ripple effect. The cost of predatory lending has found its way into the real estate market, construction industry, and manufacturing. Time will only tell, but I have a feeling we haven’t seen the total effect of the mortgage crisis on the U.S. economy. To make it simple, it is pure unadulterated greed that led to the fall of our mortgage industry. From the lenders, to investment firms, everyone wanted a piece of the mortgage pie. This led to huge losses on Wall Street, mass layoffs by major corporations, the tightening of credit markets, and now with the advent of high food prices and high gas prices; America is getting the big squeeze.

All of this culminates during an election year, when corporate spending and consumer spending is typically lower. Due to the current political climate, I don’t anticipate much movement in either direction until after the Presidential election is over. Perhaps, we won’t see any positive movement until the start of 2009. The fact remains that the full effects of the mortgage crisis won’t reach its pinnacle until the end of this summer. With that in mind and a historic election facing us in the fall, this all culminates into what I call the perfect economic storm. While I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel appears to be very long, very dark and extremely curvy.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 Government No Comments
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