Religion has no monopoly on transcendent experience | Aeon Essays


Over the past five centuries, Western culture has gradually marginalized and pathologized ecstasy.

That’s partly a result of our shift from a supernatural or animist worldview to a disenchanted and materialist one.

In most cultures, ecstasy is a connection to the spirit world.

In our culture, since the 17th century, if you suggest you’re connected to the spirit world, you’re likely to be considered ignorant, eccentric or unwell. Ecstasy has been labeled as various mental disorders: enthusiasm, hysteria, psychosis. It’s been condemned as a threat to secular government.

We’ve become a more controlled, regulated and disciplinarian society, in which one’s standing as a good citizen relies on one’s ability to control one’s emotions, be polite, and do one’s job.

Source: Religion has no monopoly on transcendent experience | Aeon Essays

Housing crisis threatens a million families with eviction by 2020 | The Guardian

[U.K.]


More than a million households living in private rented accommodation are at risk of becoming homeless by 2020 because of rising rents, benefit freezes and a lack of social housing, according to a devastating new report into the UK’s escalating housing crisis.

The findings will place greater pressure on the government over housing policy following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in west London, which exposed the neglect and disregard for people living in council-owned properties in one of the wealthiest areas of the capital.

Source: Housing crisis threatens a million families with eviction by 2020 | Society | The Guardian

22 Retailers at Risk of Bankruptcy: Closing Stores | Money


Today’s retail storm centers on Amazon, and the widespread shift to online shopping in general.

Still, Moody’s notes that only 15% of the retailers it analyzes are currently at a high risk of bankruptcy. “The majority of retailers remain fundamentally healthy,” O’Shea said in a press release accompanying the new Moody’s report. “But as select groups of retailers continue to deteriorate—in particular department stores and specialty retailers—we believe the distressed ranks will keep growing.”

Here are the 22 chains that Moody’s says are at serious risk of bankruptcy …

Source: 22 Retailers at Risk of Bankruptcy: Closing Stores | Money

Italy Commits $19 Billion for Veneto Banks in Biggest Rescue | Bloomberg


Italy ended months of talks with regulators turning to domestic insolvency law to liquidate the pair and making it easier to use public money to lubricate the process.

The government tried for months to find a way to keep the banks afloat, including an appeal to wealthy businesspeople in the region to contribute to a rescue. Those efforts ended Friday when the European Central Bank said the two banks are failing or were likely to fail and turned the matter over to the Single Resolution Board in Brussels for disposal.

Source: Italy Commits $19 Billion for Veneto Banks in Biggest Rescue – Bloomberg

Even the ancient Greeks thought their best days were history | Aeon Ideas


.. was there ever such a Greek Golden Age? When, exactly, was Greece great?

In fact, nostalgia for a lost greatness can be found in the so-called Golden Age itself. Even in the mid-fifth century BCE, Athenians were already looking back with longing.

his is one lesson from classical Athens that often goes overlooked: once a society has proclaimed its own decline, compelling new chapters of greatness become all the more difficult to write.

Source: Even the ancient Greeks thought their best days were history | Aeon Ideas

The Leader’s Weekly Schedule – Week of 6/26/17


WEEK OF JUNE 26TH

MONDAY, JUNE 26TH
On Monday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 2547 – Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Rob Woodall / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

2) H.R. 1684 – Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

3) H.R. 2258 – ADVANCE Act (Sponsored by Rep. Pete Aguilar / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

4) H.R. 1726 – Coast Guard Improvement and Reform Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

TUESDAY, JUNE 27TH AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 497 – Santa Ana River Wash Plan Land Exchange Act (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Cook / Natural Resources Committee)

2) H.R. 220 – To authorize the expansion of an existing hydroelectric project, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young / Natural Resources Committee)

3) H.R. 1073 – To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish a structure for visitor services on the Arlington Ridge tract, in the area of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Don Beyer / Natural Resources Committee)

4) H.R. 1135 – To reauthorize the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historic Preservation program (Sponsored by Rep. James Clyburn / Natural Resources Committee)

5) H.R. 1500 – Robert Emmet Park Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Joseph Crowley / Natural Resources Committee)

6) H.R. 1967 – Bureau of Reclamation Pumped Storage Hydropower Development Act (Sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn / Natural Resources Committee)

7) H.Res. 397 – Solemnly reaffirming the commitment of the United States to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s principle of collective defense as enumerated in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (Sponsored by Rep. Paul D. Ryan / Foreign Affairs Committee)

8) H.Res. 351 – Condemning the violence and persecution in Chechnya, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen / Foreign Affairs Committee)

H.R. 1215 – Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Steve King / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 3003 – No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 3004 – Kate’s Law (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte / Judiciary Committee)

Additional Legislative Items are Possible
Committee activity for the week of June 26 can be found here.

Printable PDF

Source: The Leader’s Weekly Schedule – Week of 6/26/17

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Retirement Rumors Has Washington on Edge For Next Term


The justice, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, recently declined requests to comment on his retirement plans nor would he address questions pertaining to private meetings with President Donald Trump or members of his administration, according to a a CNN report released in May.

Source: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Retirement Rumors Has Washington on Edge For Next Term

Senate health-care bill faces serious resistance from GOP moderates | The Washington Post


The vast changes the legislation would make to Medicaid, the country’s broadest source of public health insurance, would represent the largest single step the government has ever taken toward conservatives’ long-held goal of reining in federal spending on health-care entitlement programs in favor of a free-market system.

That dramatic shift and the bill’s bold redistribution of wealth — the billions of dollars taken from coverage for the poor would help fund tax cuts for the wealthy — is creating substantial anxiety for several Republican moderates whose states have especially benefited from the expansion of Medicaid that the Affordable Care Act has allowed since 2014.

Source: Senate health-care bill faces serious resistance from GOP moderates – The Washington Post

At center of Qatar crisis, a $1 billion ransom | TheHill


The crisis over Qatar that is gripping the Middle East hinges on an alleged $1 billion ransom that was reportedly paid to release members of Qatar’s royal family and others who were kidnapped in Iraq.

That payment appears to be the breaking point in the tense relationship between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other countries in the region, according to one report earlier this month.

Source: At center of Qatar crisis, a $1 billion ransom | TheHill

Cyber-attack on UK parliament: Russia is suspected culprit | The Guardian


The Russian government is suspected of being behind a cyber-attack on parliament that breached dozens of email accounts belonging to MPs and peers.

Although the investigation is at an early stage and the identity of those responsible may prove impossible to establish with absolute certainty, Moscow is deemed the most likely culprit.

Source: Cyber-attack on UK parliament: Russia is suspected culprit | Politics | The Guardian