The Common Good

Blog Posts By QR Blog Editor

Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 8 weeks ago
Gun control advocates are escalating their campaign toward senators who voted against the proposal to extend background checks. The campaign includes letter-writing campaigns, protests at town hall meetings and television ads. Several senators inclucding Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have seen their poll numbers plunge since voting against the proposal to extend backgroun checks. The Los Angeles Times reports:"The outside game is about convincing those who voted no that they've made the wrong choice. And that is happening. There are definitely second thoughts out there," said Jim Kessler, a gun policy expert at the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way. Senators who opposed the agreement, he said, "expected the politics to work for them after the vote and so far it hasn't."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
A study by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration used California as a microcosm to see how immigration reform would affect America. The study estimated that 7 percent of California residents were undocumented. In Los Angeles County the number jumped to 10 percent. Christian Science Monitor reports:“What sticks out to me about this report is that it shows how many immigrants have been in the country more than 10 years that are not just migrants, and who have children born here who are naturalized citizens,” says Michael Moreland.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
The Brookings Institute recenlty released a report about the prospects of ending extreme poverty (living on less than $1.25 a day) by 2030. The study found economic progress of a country and income equality as two determining factors in reducing poverty. The Washington Post reports:A few things will have to happen for the poverty reduction goal to be hit...India will have to up its game on both economic growth and the distribution of the benefits. As this chart shows, China has mostly run its leg of the relay – with economic growth that has lifted hundreds of millions from poverty and, almost on its own, put the world on trend to reach Kim’s goal.View interactive charts here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
Conservatives have united around immigration reform. Over two dozen signed a statement supporting legislation to overhaul US immigration laws. They feel the current Senate legislation is a "importnat starting point." The Associated Press reports:In a statement being released Thursday, the officials say: "Simply opposing immigration reform should not be the conservative response to this problem. We believe conservatives should be leading the way on this issue by supporting legislation that upholds conservative principles."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the Gang of 8 immigration bill (S. 744). Aides say the hearing will focus on amendments to the bill that address border security.Watch live here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
Republicans are pushing for stronger border security measures in the immigration bill. Stronger border security measures could win more Republican votes, but it would also alienate some democratic votes. The bill currently calls for the hiring of 3,500 more Customs and Border Protection agents and employ more border fencing, cameras, drones and radar systems to detect illegal crossings. The Los Angeles Times reports:"If, in fact, the American people can't trust that the border is controlled, you're never going to be able to pass this bill," Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affair.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
Two studies of government data show US Gun crime has decreased from its peak in the middle of 1990s. However more than 50% of American think gun crime has risen. The media coverage of recent mass shooting may contribute to the misconception. The Los Angeles Times reports:The number of gun killings dropped 39% between 1993 and 2011, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in a separate report released Tuesday. Gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69%.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
The U.S. climate change envoy proposed allowing countries to create their emissions reduction plans rather than working toward one goal. The U.S. hopes to bring more countries to the table and energize U.N. climate negotiations. The Guardian reports:"Countries, knowing that they will be subject to the scrutiny of everybody else, will be urged to put something down they feel they can defend and that they feel is strong," Stern said from Berlin during a summit of environmental ministers focused on ways to advance the UN climate talks.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
The Heritage Foundation released a study on Monday that estimate the bipartisan immigration proposal being considered in the Senate would cost U.S. taxpayers $6.3 trillion. Other conservative groups were quick to denounce the study for overlooking the role immgiatn workers would play in growing the economy. The Washington Post reports:“The Heritage Foundation document is a political document. It’s not very serious analysis,” said former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, a Republican who is involved in a bipartisan group that supports immigration law reform. “The study is designed to try to scare conservative Republicans into thinking the costs will be so gigantic you can’t possibly be for it.”The study could determine the future of the immigration proposal and the success or failure of immigration reform. Conservatives help stop immgiration reform in 2007 but now in a different political climate, some are hopeful supporting immgiration reform will help with outreach to Latino and Asian American communities.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas has proposed a new farm bill that saves $38 billion over 10 years. However the bill saves money by cutting funding to food stamps. Politico reports:But in real dollars — and as a proportion of his entire package — Lucas admits he is leaning more on food stamps. Last year the nutrition title contributed about $16.1 billion in savings, or less than half of the chairman’s mark. This year it is not just up by $4 billion, but also accounts for 53 percent of the Farm Bill savings and almost 60 percent of the new cuts — beyond those attributed to sequestration.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
A study published May 1 from two researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Colorado found the widespread belief in "end-times" and the "Second coming" of Christ could impact the environmental policy movement negatively. The Huffington Post reports:A belief in the Second Coming reduces the probability of strongly agreeing that the government should take action by more than 12 percent. In a corresponding manner, a belief in the Second Coming increases the probability of disagreeing with government action to curb global warming by more than 10 percent.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
On April 2, the United Nations passed an innovative Arms Trade Treaty aimed at regulating the massive global trade in conventional weapons, for the first time linking arms sales to the human rights records of the buyers. For the first time arms manufacturers and dealers will have to consider the end use of their product — how will their customers use the weapons and to make that information public. The May-June 2013 issue of Maryknoll's NewsNotes explains the potential positive impact the treat could have on women and girls:A particular element of the Treaty that is cause for much celebration is the inclusion of language that protects women and girls from armed gender-based violence (GBV). In the Preamble of the ATT, it states "that civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict and armed violence." In the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, violence against women and girls is defined as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women [or girls], including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life." Under Article 7.4 of the Arms Trade Treaty, GBV is included as a binding criterion for considering whether or not to export arms. The exporting party must consider the overriding risk of potential violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), international human rights law (IHRL) and must take into account the risk that the transfer will be "used to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender based violence or serious acts of violence against women and children."Read the rest here: http://www.maryknollogc.org/article/arms-trade-treaty-global-victory-women-girls
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
Now that the Senate's Gang of Eight has published its immigration proposal TIME has put together four hurdles to the bill becoming law.Problem #1: Stalling tactics from the right. Conservatives may stall the bill calling for "more hearings, more transparency, more opportunities to tweak the legislation to their liking"Problem #2: Pushback from the left. Immigrants rights groups feel the 13-year path to citizenship is too long and gay-rights advocates want greater protections fro same-sex couples.Problem #3: The cost for taxpayers. The cost of immigration reform has not been officially calculated. Conservatives are touting a large price tag as a reason to derail the legislation.Problem #4: The conservative media storyline. Conservative media remains split between those who support immigration reform out of "sheer political imperative" and those who hope to divide the Gang of Eight. For more indepth explanations of each hurdle, click here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
A NASA led study found climate change may increase rainfall in some areas and drought in other areas. The study predicts for every 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in global average temperature, heavy rainfall will increase globally by 3.9%. The Los Angeles Times reports."These results in many ways are the worst of all possible worlds," said Peter Gleick, a climatologist and water expert who is president of the Pacific Institute, an Oakland research organization. "Wet areas will get wetter and dry areas will get drier."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
Due to sequestration, programs that fight domestic violence and sexual assault will lose 20 million dollars in funding this year. Congress has voted to restore funding to tuition aid for service members and the Federal Aviation Administration but not the Violence Against Women Act. It is estimated 70,120 fewer domestic violence victims will have access to recovery programs and shelters and 35,900 fewer people will get help obtaining non-shelter services such as restraining orders and sexual assault treatment. Mother Jones reports:"The tower is understaffed and the rescue plane can't land," says Kim Gandy, president and CEO National Network to End Domestic Violence. "We're talking about really vital services to people who are already in a terrible situation and really in need of emergency services—and there aren't alternatives."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
The expansion of hydrofracking could strain water resources from Forth Worth to western Colorado. The New York Times reports:“Given projected sharp increases” in the production of oil and gas by the technique commonly known as fracking, the report from the group Ceres said, “and the intense nature of local water demands, competition and conflicts over water should be a growing concern for companies, policy makers and investors.”One option is to recycle the water used in hyrdofracking. However the water may contain chemicals, natural pollutants, or ever radioactivity and it is expensive to clean the water. Some companies are expanding their use of brackish, undrinkable water unstead of fresh water to lessen their environmental impact. Read more here.  
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
General Motors signed the Climate Declaration. The statement is part of a new initiative by businesses for greater action on global warming in Washignton. No specific recommendations are made in the declaration. The Guardian reports:"We want to be a change agent in the auto industry," Mike Robinson, GM vice-president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs, said in a statement.Other endorsers of the Climate Declaration include eBay, Ceres, Starbucks, and Unilever.The short statement, endorsed by GM, leads off: "Tacking climate change is America's greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century (and it's simply the right thing to do)." Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
A new Pew Research Center poll found fewer than half of Americans are very or fairly closely following the immigration debate. 38 percent have no opinion on the Senate mesaure recently intoduced by the "Gang of Eight." The lack of public engagement allows for both opponents and supporters to sway public opinion. The Washington Post reports:A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that nearly all of the big individual aspects of the “Gang of Eight” bill won majority support, a sign that proponents can have the potential for success in selling their measure. But given that most people 1) aren’t familiar with bill right now and 2) haven’t made up their minds about it as a package, there remains ample opportunity for opponents to strike.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
President Obama broke his silence to comment on the current hunger strike of over 90 men at Guantanamo Bay. Time reports:“It’s not sustainable,” President Obama said Tuesday, breaking his silence about the protest against his own government. “I mean, the notion that we’re going to continue to keep over 100 individuals in a no-man’s land in perpetuity.”Obama repeated a position he has long held: The detention facility needs to be closed, with the prisoners either transferred to third countries if they do not present a threat or to the United States for adjudication. “This is a lingering, you know, problem that is not going to get better,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. It’s going to fester.”The next steps at Guantanamo Bay are muddled in beaucracy. The President, Congress, and Secretary of Defense all have steps they must take before any real progress can be made.Read more here.    
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
The ratio of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is approaching with 400 parts per million. This amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has not been seen since about 2.5 million to 5 million year ago. Scientists are alarmed that CO2 levels are also rising in places far from pollution sources. The Los Angeles Times reports:"The 400-ppm threshold is a sobering milestone, and should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to support clean-energy technology and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, before it's too late for our children and grandchildren," said Tim Lueker, an oceanographer and carbon cycle researcher who is a longtime member of the Scripps CO2 Group.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
If migrants and refugees worldwide were their own country, it would be the fifth most populous in the world today. Increasingly, it is women who are leaving their homes and families to seek work to support their families economically. They are the heads of households. They are the primary "breadwinners" for their extended families. They are also more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The United Nations Population Fund recently hosted a week-long meeting to study the more than 100 million women who are migrant workers.IPS reports:The face of migration is changing dramatically as women and girls now represent about half of the over 214 million migrants worldwide. And in some regions of the world, they outnumber their male counterparts, says Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA). Addressing a week-long meeting of the 46th session of the U.N. Commission on Population and Development (CPD), which concluded Friday, he pointed out that many women migrate on their own as heads of households, to secure a livelihood.“Others leave their homes in search of more open societies, to get out of a bad marriage, or to escape all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence, political conflicts, and cultural constraints.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
The first draft of form was confusing and complex so the Obama administration has created a simplified application for healthcare. The Associated Press reports:Details to be released Tuesday include a three-page short form that single people can fill out, administration officials said. Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner, also overseeing the rollout of the health care law, called it "significantly shorter than industry standards."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
The sea-surface temperatures were the highest measured in 150 years in 2012. USA Today reports:"The average temperature in that area hit a record high of 57.2 degrees last year. The previous record was set in 1951, according to NOAA."The rise in temperature could influence fish and shellfish on the Northeast shell.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
Today a $4 million plan was announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The plan will increase the use of federal food credits at farmers markets by allowing retailers to use wireless technology to connect sellers with the SNAP program. The Washington Post reports:“These grants increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to SNAP customers and further encourage them to purchase and prepare healthy foods for their families using SNAP benefits,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
President Obama’s former religious adviser Joshua Dubois challenges the notion that Washington is a godless city. In a recent Newsweek article he writes:Everyone knows about the politicians and interest groups—mainly conservative—who wear their faith on their sleeve. Yet across the ideological spectrum, Washington is filled with people at the height of political power who are practicing their faith seriously and profoundly, but largely out of public view.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
Today the Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of an Alabama immigration law that allowed law enforcement to arrest people who hid or helped transport illegal immigrants. USA Today reports:By refusing to reconsider the case, the high court will let stand a federal appeals court's ruling last year that went against Alabama. That law garnered attention for another provision, thrown out by an appeals court, that targeted public school students in the country illegally.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
Annie Lowrey reporter for the New York Times, writes about a new study released by the Urban Institute. The study found:"The racial wealth gap yawned during the recession, even as the income gap between white Americans and nonwhite Americans remained stable. As of 2010, white families, on average, earned about $2 for every $1 that black and Hispanic families earned, a ratio that has remained roughly constant for the last 30 years."However the wealth gap continues to grow."Before the recession, non-Hispanic white families, on average, were about four times as wealthy as nonwhite families, according to the Urban Institute’s analysis of Federal Reserve data. By 2010, whites were about six times as wealthy"Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
Evangelicals haven't always been part of the pro-life coalition. Prior to Roe v. Wade in 1973, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution supporting abortion in certain circumstances. After Roe allowed any abortion for any reason, evangelicals began to change their stance and with Catholics formed the pro-life coalition we know today. The Washington Post reports:The reality of abortion on demand and exposure to the logic of the abortion rights movement led to a fundamental shift in the evangelical conscience. By 1976 the Southern Baptist Convention would declare every abortion to be a “decision to terminate the life of an innocent human being.” Similarly, the large evangelical movement would develop an overwhelming pro-life consensus, seeing abortion as a great moral evil and a threat to the dignity of all human life.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
One day after making climate change a key issue in his inaurugal address President Obama has decided to put off a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline until April. The issue was thrust to the front of the agenda today when the governor of Nebraska approved the pipeline. The ultimate fate of the project is in Obama's hands. The Guardian reports:Republicans immediately pushed Obama to approve the pipeline. "There is no bureaucratic excuse, hurdle or catch President Obama can use to delay this project any further," John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, said in a statement. "He and he alone stands in the way of tens of thousands of new jobs and energy security."Campaigners against the pipeline said Obama should immediately shut down the project. "Approving Keystone XL would make a mockery of the commitment he made at the inauguration to take action on climate change," said 350.org, which has led opposition to the pipeline.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
The Vatican applauded President Obama’s gun control proposals. The Vatican continues to appeal for disarmament and morally supports firearm limits. The Huffington Post reports:“The initiatives announced by the American administration for limiting and controlling the spread and use of weapons are certainly a step in the right direction,” the Vatican spokesman said. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
A rare winter fire in Colorado's Rocky Mountains is fueling fears the 2013 wildfire season will be longer and more intense. Unusually high temperatures and wide spread droughts have contributed to the increase in wildfires. USA Today reports:"The wildfire season's length and intensity is driven largely by how much snow and rain falls each winter and spring. Heavy, wet snows tend to delay the season by keeping the ground, grasses and trees wet. Even the weight of snow plays a factor in some fires: Tall grasses that haven't been squashed down like normal carry fires faster and hotter.Put another way: It hasn't snowed or rained much and forecasters say it doesn't look likely to get any better."
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
During his second inaugural address, President Obama reframed protecting the environment as a command from God. Slate reports this reframing “transcends not only partisanship but the divide between those who believe in science and those who doubt science but believe in God.” Obama said:"The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries — we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
New reports this afternoon are that House Republicans have agreed to vote next week on extending the debt ceiling for about three months, giving time for passage of a budget. The agreement would not require immediate spending cuts, a retreat from the previous GOP position. Democrats so far have responded cautiously to the plan for a short-term increase.According to the Washington Post:“House Republicans will scale back their ambitions in an upcoming fight over the nation’s borrowing limit, saying Friday that they will try to pass a bill next week to raise the debt ceiling for three months. But they indicated that the Senate must pass a budget before the lawmakers would agree to a longer-term increase in the limit.“Under a bill to be considered next week, members will propose raising the debt ceiling through mid-April -- long enough, they say, to give both chambers time to pass a budget. Under the measure, if either chamber fails to adopt a budget by April 15, Congress would not be paid.”
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 26 weeks ago
The 113th Congress is the most diverse in U.S. history. New members include the first Hindu, first Buddhist, and the first "none." The Washington Post reports:The new, 113th Congress includes the first Buddhist to serve in the Senate, the first Hindu to serve in either chamber and the first member of Congress to describe her religion as “none,” continuing a gradual increase in religious diversity that mirrors trends in the country as a whole. While Congress remains majority Protestant, the institution is far less so today than it was 50 years ago, when nearly three-quarters of the members belonged to Protestant denominations.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 26 weeks ago
After a 25-day hunger strike by Attawapiskat chief Teresa Spence, First Nation leaders will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Jan. 11. Spence began fasting to protest a budget proposal that weakens native land rights and environmental safeguards. BBC reports:On Friday, Mr. Harper released a statement which cited his January 2012 meeting with First Nations leaders and said he would meet with chiefs "in this spirit of ongoing dialogue."Mr. Harper said the "working meeting" would focus on "the treaty relationship and aboriginal rights and economic development."While the Attawapiskat leader has continued her fast, First Nations protesters and others have rallied around her, as well as Canadian indigenous rights movement Idle No More, in protest on a range of issues.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
The fiscal cliff deal passed Tuesday included an one-year extension of a tax credit for the wind industry. The tax credit has encouraged investment in wind energy for the past two decades. USA Today reports:[The tax credit extension] would allow any project that begins construction in 2013 to claim the credit, even if it goes online in 2014, according to industry insiders. The tax credit that expired Monday could be claimed only for projects that were up and running in 2012.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
An estimated one million undoumented immigrants with American citizens as immediate relatives will now be separated from their families for shortened amounts of time while they apply to become legal residents. The Los Angeles Times reports:Beginning Mar. 4, illegal immigrants who can demonstrate that time apart from an American spouse, child, or parent would create "extreme hardship" can apply for a visa without leaving the United States. Once approved, applicants would be required to leave briefly in order to return to their native country and pick up their visa.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
The Nation reports that the fiscal cliff deal is a "mixed bag" for the poor. On the positive side:The biggest takeaway, perhaps, was for the unemployed: they saw a one-year extension in federal unemployment benefits. Another very important piece of the deal was a five-year extension of crucial tax breaks: the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.On the negative side:The payroll tax holiday was allowed to expire. The double whammy of trying to get Congress to raise the debt ceiling while also trying to keep it from torching the social safety net does not bode well for the poor.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
Recently Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, talked with Religion News Service about why more evangelicals should adopt. Moore states:At the level of the common good, this is something that all people should be concerned about. But it’s consistent for evangelical Christians to be pro-orphan. What most churches want, when they start to think about this issue, is a preprogrammed initiative, a set of instructions. I don’t think this issue works that way. It has to be organic. It has to be flexible. It has to create a culture within a congregation.It will be congregational cultures that start to change with the inclusion of the families who are adopting and fostering and caring for orphans. I think that’s a long-term project over a generation, not something short-term.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
The Nation reports that the Obama administration may be heading toward confrontation with Jerusalem. During the brief war between Israel and Gaza in November, Obama pressured both sides to a truce. After Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas asked for Palestine observer status at the U.N. General Assmebly, Israel retaliated by expanding settlements on the West Bank. This move ended hope for a two state solution. The Nation notes:If Obama is planning to put more heat on them, he will undoubtedly wait until after their election. Then, in the late winter months of 2013, before spring comes and Netanyahu can revive the possibility of an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, the president might well provoke a showdown.He has good reason. If he can secure a definitive halt to settlement expansion, he can bring the Palestinians back to the table with a promise to press Israel to negotiate seriously for a two-state solution. In a chaotic region where the United States seems to be losing ground weekly, Washington could score sizeable foreign policy points, especially in improving relations with regional powers Turkey and Egypt.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
In November, Americans elected the first Hindu and Buddhist representatives to Congress. They represent a growing number of religious minorities who are becoming more and more visible. The Washington Post reports:Now that Protestants are no longer in the majority – as reported in a study released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in October – even the term “religious minority” will need fresh definition in our newly minted minority-majority nation.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
The diverse coalition that re-elected Barak Obama has pushed immigration reform to the top of the 2013 agenda. The Christian Science Monitor reports:The shift in the political conversation has been so dramatic that even a pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States – long rejected out of hand by most Republicans and some Democrats – could be part of the deal.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
Since Vatican II American Nuns have  worked to fill in the gaps of the American health care system. A new documentary chronicles how these nuns changed the Catholic Church's social justice movement. CNN reports:"Vatican II was the spark that showed the church isn't just the hierarchy, it's the people," Fishman said. "Sisters from all over the country were inspired to work directly with those that needed their help. These faith-filled people became the most vibrant part of the church who went on to get people excited and passionate about doing God's work and creating real change."Read more here.  
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 27 weeks ago
An offshore drilling rig owned by Shell is beached on an island in the Gulf of Alaska. The rig could cause environmental damage if fuel begins to leak. The New York Times reports:The rig, the Kulluk, broke free from a tow ship in stormy seas and ran aground Monday night. The Coast Guard was leading an effort to keep its more than 150,000 gallons of diesel fuel and lubricants from spilling onto the rocky shoreline.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 30 weeks ago
The religious implications of climate change are becoming evermore clear, as the topic makes its way into mainstream America. The Huffington Post reports:Indeed, what role do religion and theology play in the accelerating conversation about climate change? This has been a banner year for extreme weather events -- from severe drought in the American Midwest to the wildfire siege in Colorado to the "Frankenstorm" of Hurricane Sandy fueled by a warming Atlantic Ocean -- which have helped the reality of climate change to register on the consciousness of most people.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 30 weeks ago
Post fiscal-cliff, both President Obama and the Congress are expected to take on comprehensive immigraiton reform. Politico discusses the influential Republicans who will insert themselves into the debate.Politico reports:They lack the stature of the Big Three Republicans in the immigration reform debate: Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham.But just below that senatorial trio, there’s another group of lesser-known GOP lawmakers expected to play an outsize role — both within the party and negotiating with Democrats — as Congress delves into an issue that could consume much of its bandwidth next year.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 30 weeks ago
The Los Angeles Times reports:As soon as the confrontation over fiscal policy winds down, the Obama administration will begin an all-out drive for comprehensive immigration reform, including seeking a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, according to officials briefed on the plans.While key tactical decisions are still being made, President Obama wants a catch-all bill that would also bolster border security measures, ratchet up penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants, and make it easier to bring in foreign workers under special visas, among other elements.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 30 weeks ago
The Huffington Post reports:A vigorous effort to house the homeless has been countered somewhat by a sluggish economy.The federal government and local communities have greatly increased the number of beds available to the homeless over the last four years, either through emergency shelters or through government-subsidized apartments and houses. But the struggling economy contributed to the number of homeless people in the United States remaining stable between January 2011 and January 2012.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 30 weeks ago
Talking Points Memo reports:The Supreme Court declared Friday that it will take up same sex marriage next year in what’s sure to be a blockbuster case with sweeping implications.The Court accepted a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that prohibits federal recognition of same sex marriage. Two appeals courts have ruled that Section 3, which effectively bans same sex couples legally married in their states from receiving federal benefits, is invalid under the Constitution’s equal protection clause.Oral arguments will be next spring and a decision is expected by the end of JuneRead more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 31 weeks ago
The Huffington Post reports:In the holiday season, many of us reflect on what it is for which we are thankful. Naturally, we give thanks when things are going well, and even in a disaster we might be grateful that the catastrophe was not worse or that people stepped forward to render assistance. Claudius's poem presupposes a general climatic stability that for several centuries has been conducive to thankful worship.But how does this optimistic hymn play in the era of radical climate change? How will it sound in the future, when each decade may bring yet more frequent and extreme climate events? What is the providential reading of "God's almighty hand" in a prolonged and life-threatening drought, or in the agrarian disaster of a dust bowl? When we are battered by a Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, how do we understand the majestic line about God in the Navy hymn, "Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep its own appointed limits keep?"Read more here.