national budget

A Flat Tax and 'the New Austerity,' or

At Europe Through the Back Door, our tour program just sold its 11,782nd seat for our 2011 season -- topping our best tour sales year ever (2007). Despite our antsy stock market and doom-and-gloom news stories, it seems that our economy is gaining some confidence. And yet, at the same time, our local symphony and arts center are in financial crisis.

As a way to celebrate, to give back to my beautiful hometown of Edmonds, and to spark a little conversation about why a society as affluent as the USA is cutting education, neglecting our environment, and defunding the arts while our wealthy class is doing better than ever, I've decided to make a donation of $1 million (in $100,000-a-year payments over the next decade) to our local symphony and arts center. This sum represents the money I've gained in the 10 years since the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans (those of us earning over $250,000 a year) took effect.

BREAKING: Obama Meets with Faith Leaders on Budget Crisis

'Barack and Michelle Obama on election night' photo (c) 2008, John Althouse Cohen - license:, I, alongside other faith leaders, met with President Obama about the critical budget debate. We are grateful and hopeful leaving this meeting. Please pray for us as the conversation continues.

Since early this spring, Sojourners, with your invaluable help, has strongly advocated with the president and Congress, asking for a responsible plan to reduce our nation's deficit -- a plan that protects the poorest and most vulnerable. We have asked, "What Would Jesus Cut?" We have prayed and fasted, and now thousands of you have signed on to the Circle of Protection: a statement on why we need to protect programs for the poor.

Friday Links Round Up: Food Prices. Aurora Borealis. Fasting and Prayer.

Food Prices. Aurora Borealis. Fasting and Prayer. Here's a little round up of links from around the web you may have missed this week:

  • Food and gas prices are rising again and anti-hunger activists are calling for financial reform.
  • Artist Theo Jansen has created skeletal creatures out of plastic pipes that are able to walk on wind and subsist on their own. Watch the footage. (It's incredible!)
  • Don't have time to watch the aurora borealis in Russia for a week? Yeah, me neither.