Fri May 23 2003
This week, there have been several interesting developments, locally and internationally:
1. The great J$ fiasco
First, on the local scene, the J$ had a sharp decline to J$ 72+: US$1, then this week after a reported US$ 20 Mn intervention by the central bank, it has rebounded to the mid sixties, leaving an air of relief. According to some pundits, "speculators" are to blame.
However, only a few weeks back, the rate was ~ 48:1, and back in '97 - '99, it was ~ 36 - 40:1. (I think I see a steady ~ 10%/yr decline, with sharp crises that accelerate the trend from time to time. [This trend would amount to the J$ being worth ~ 1/3 of its former value at the end of the decade: ~ 20:1 turn of 90's, to 60+:1 now.] I also fail to see a serious attending to the need to fix the capacity side of our economy so that investments, management strategies and policies actually lead to growth through increasing the supply of competitive Jamaican goods and services in a global era.)
Accordingly, here are some clippings:
* The Speculators did it, according to Dr Ed Ghartley of UWI Econ Dept: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/html/20030519T210000-0500_43990_OBS_SPECULATORS_AND_SLIDING_JAMAICAN_DOLLAR.asp
* Tom Wilson begs to differ: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/html/20030520T210000-0500_44036_OBS_GHARTEY_AND_SPECULATORS.asp
* Mrs Gloudon's take on life in Jamaica through the eyes of the Jamaican diaspora: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/html/20030522T190000-0500_44094_OBS_SEEING_THROUGH_OTHER_EYES.asp
* Martin Henry on TRUST as a neglected capital asset: http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20030522/cleisure/cleisure4.html
* Maybe, we really need to look at the Irish example, instead of playing the old blame game?
Matt Connolly . . . " We had to swallow a lot of difficult and hard decisions which were very unpopular. But the choices weren't there - you either said stop and take ownership of the problem or the problem would have simply overwhelmed us. The solution to the problem came about when there was an acceptance that we couldn't go along any longer like we had . . . "
A strategy for development was formulated between 1986-1990 which focused upon:
substantial reduction in government expenditure,
moderate pay evolution to make the economy more competitive,
more equitable tax and social policies, and
specific measures to increase employment.
2. On the Rev 13:16 - 17 front
Meanwhile, "they" are working hard on the basis for a modern surveillance state like that envisioned in Rev: "[the second beast] forced everyone . . . to receive a mark on his right hand or in his forehead, so that no-one could buy or sell unless he had the mark . . ."
Here, Angela Swafford of the Boston Globe breathlessly reports on her subcutaneous chip implant:
"Theoretically, this VeriChip will allow doctors to call up my medical records . . . allow me to get money from an automatic teller machine by flashing my arm . . . reassure airport security that I am a journalist, not a terrorist. . . . .
''I believe the day will come when most of us will have something similar to the VeriChip under our skin,'' said Scott Silverman . . . ''People will regard that its benefits -- in terms of financial, security, and health care -- far outweigh the possibility of loss of privacy.''
3. Jayson Blair interview:
The lack of remorse speaks for itself in: http://www2.observer.com/observer/pages/frontpage5.asp
4. "We are risen apes" thinking in the local media:
Here a local secularist who has been watching Discovery and National Geographic cable channels attempts to explain human misbehaviour in terms of evolution. In so doing he makes some telling slips:
. . . Man and ape have 98 per cent of their genes in common <2 percent of 3,000,000,000 is a lot: 60,000,000. Think of the difference between "I am a murderer" and "I am NOT a murderer," writ large> and only two per cent distinguishes us in spite of appearances. Mentally and emotionally, the difference may be just as slight . . . . Our basic needs are the same as those of our ancestors . . . Food, . . . gave rise to the hunt for prey, herding of animals, agriculture of plants. Shelter, . . . now fabricated by us of wood or stone and varies from discarded containers to royal palaces. Sex, besides producing offspring, leads to wonderful and weird episodes in man's life including love, marriage, fornication, adultery, buggery and bestiality a far greater range than the ape indulges.
5. Gay Agendas and theological implications:
The below suffices to raise questions about where this neo-pagan agenda is headed, even in our region, a region that so often takes its cues from the North:
* Dr Ted Jennings, a Chicago Theology Prof, argues that Jesus may have been "gay"; but it turns out he is a long-term Gay Theology advocate, one of the many liberal theologies that are out there. See http://www.cultureandfamily.org/articledisplay.asp?id=3986&department=CFI&categoryid=cfreport
* An African Cardinal, tipped as a possible succesor to John Paul II, speaking at the Jesuit Georgetown U, Washington DC, sparked student and staff protests for his remarks:
"In many parts of the world, the family is under siege," Cardinal Arinze said. "It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalised by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce."
* David Limbaugh (bro. to Rush and a practising Attorney at Law) comments on two pending California laws, and their impacts on the traditional family: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=32729
6. Derailing the Roadmap to ME Peace?
WND reports that Abu Mazen, in an interview gave the following comments:
"Arafat is at the top of the [Palestinian] Authority. He's the man to whom we refer, regardless of the American or Israeli view of him," said Mahmoud Abbas in an interview with Egypt's semi-official al Mussawar weekly, according to Reuters.
Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, said Arafat's stamp of approval should precede any political action.
Clearly, there is much to pray and think about!
PS Do let me know what you think of the new blog format, a new template chosen to deal with the wide window headache. (Thanks Rowley!)