The Common Good

Blog Posts By QR Blog Editor

Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
For The Daily Beast, Jamie Dettmer writes:"At times there are two competing realities in post-Gaddafi Libya. For most ordinary Libyan women, there’s domestic drudgery and subordination to their men. For the more educated, drawn from higher ranks and involved in newly minted nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), there’s hope of change and greater opportunities.The two realities seldom meet. As Libyans head to the polls this weekend to vote in their first national elections in nearly 50 years, there are two fundamental questions to ask about the prospects for women in post-Gaddafi Libya. Will those two realities ever start overlapping? And will the space that elite women have opened up since Gaddafi’s fall be reduced?"Read his full article here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
Writing for The Huffington Post, Dr. Peggy Drexler argues:"This prolonged downturn will end. They always do. People will find their way back to confidence. But especially for those growing up under the weight of its fearsome uncertainties, it will be with us for generations to come."Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
It may have been buried in the bombastic July Fourth news cycle, but something amazing happened yesterday: scientists in Geneva have found the God particle.The Higgs boson, the elusive, “final puzzle piece” could help complete our current understanding of physics and supposedly explains why objects have mass.And just cause scientists are really good at keeping people’s heartbeats low, let’s make sure we say they didn’t find it, but they “observed a new particle consistent with a Higgs boson” and are more than 99-percent certain that it is what they think it is.Why is this a big deal?It just is. If nothing else, it opens another conversation with scientists, Christians, and anyone who has ever wondered “why are we here?”New particles don’t get found every day, you know? Link ahead to someone who knows a WHOLE lot more about this than we do. Here’s The Wall Street Journal’s take.And for your amusement, a pretty infographic: Are you there, God? It’s us, scientists. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
CNN.com's John Blake reports:We elect a president every four years, but perhaps we also elect a high priest.  Ever since George Washington spontaneously added “so help me God” to his inaugural oath, Americans have expected their presidents to believe in, worship and publicly invoke God....History suggests, however, that piety and presidential performance don’t always match. Some of America’s most religious presidents have been its most brutal. And two of its greatest presidents wouldn’t even be considered Christians today, scholars say.Consider Abraham Lincoln, who is widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s three greatest presidents, along with Washington and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But Lincoln, who never joined a church, was not a Christian, says Niels C. Nielsen, author of God in the Obama Era.“Lincoln believed in an active God, he believed in providence. But if you asked Lincoln if he believed in the deity of Jesus, he would have said no,” Nielsen says.Or look at Roosevelt, who is virtually a national saint. With his perpetual grin and a cigarette holder perched jauntily in his mouth, he guided the nation through the Great Depression and World War II. His legacy is built on his New Deal, an array of programs that protected the poor and elderly from the abuses of unrestrained capitalism.But Roosevelt was no saint in his personal life. He rarely talked publicly about his Episcopal faith, preferred golf over church (before he was stricken by polio), and likely cheated on his wife, scholars say.Read Blake's report — which also examines the faith of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson and Barack Obama — HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
It’s July 5 and we’ve got a little gift for you all.The Sojourners office is only occupied today by a motley crew of staff who fall into two categories: those who were smart enough to not end up with any medical emergencies due to improper use of home fireworks, and those of us who weren’t smart enough to use the July 4th holiday as an opportunity for a five-day weekend. But, with this small, slightly dim group with highly refined survival instincts, we are still ready to bring you some great content.We work hard every day to make sure our God's Politics blog brings you news and commentary on issues important to Christians who care about social justice. Still, it always seems like there is way more going on all day, every day than one person can ever keep up with.For all of you who are unlucky enough to be chained to a computer, Blackberry (does anyone still use these?) smart-phone or are otherwise more electronically connected then you would like to be—we’ve got a special treat: our newest blog, “Quick Read: Social. Justice. News."
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
From Reuters:A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a "Declaration of Independence from Mormonism." ...After gathering in the park, participants hiked a half-mile up nearby Ensign Peak, scaled in 1847 by church President Brigham Young to survey the spot where his Latter-day Saints would build a city.At the top, those gathered gave three loud shouts of "Freedom," cheered, clapped and hugged.Read the report in its entirety HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
A judge in New York has ordered Twitter to release three month's worth of tweets from an Occupy Wall Street protester charged with disorderly conduct during a march across the Brooklyn Bridge last year.The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., reports:Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. rebuffed one of Twitter Inc.'s central arguments, which concerned who has rights to contest law enforcement demands for content posted on its site. But the judge said the company was right on a separate point that could require prosecutors to take further steps if they want to see one particular day of Malcolm Harris' tweets and his user information....The case began as one of hundreds of disorderly conduct prosecutions stemming from an Oct. 1 Occupy march on the Brooklyn Bridge, but it has evolved into a closely watched legal tussle over law enforcement agencies' access to material posted on social networks.The Manhattan district attorney's office said Harris' messages could show whether he was aware of police orders he's charged with disregarding. Twitter, meanwhile, said the case could put it in the unwanted position of having to take on legal fights that users could otherwise conduct on their own....[Harris] challenged the subpoena for his tweets, saying prosecutors' bid for user information, alongside the messages, breached privacy and free-association rights. The data could give prosecutors a picture of his followers, their interactions through replies and retweets, and his location at various points, [his lawyer, Martin] Stolar said.Read the report in its entirety HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
According to CNN:Last year, Gideons International distributed more than 84 million printed copies of the Bible around the world to students, hospitals, members of the military and, of course, hotels, where they are a ubiquitous sight in bedside tables.Starting this month, however, the InterContinental Hotels Group is modernizing that mission at one of its hotels, replacing the paper tomes with electronic versions of the Bible loaded on Kindle e-readers. Each of the 148 rooms at the chain's Hotel Indigo in Newcastle, England, will be outfitted with a Kindle Touch with Wi-Fi. Guests can use the e-ink devices to catch up on scripture, as well as purchase and read any other books available in the Amazon Kindle store.Apparently the Gideons are supportive of the hotel group's move toward electronic versions of Holy Writ. (And if a guest is so taken with the Kindle that they take it with them when they check out, the hotel will charge the guest's credit card for the Kindle.)Read the entire CNN.com report HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
A new survey of medical patients found that prayer — with their physician — is for many an important part of the treatment process.According to American Medical News: About two-thirds of patients believe doctors should know about their spiritual beliefs, said a survey of nearly 500 adults from Florida, North Carolina and Vermont in the January 2003 Journal of General Internal Medicine.One in five patients likes the idea of praying with the doctor during a routine office visit, while nearly 30 percent want to do so during a hospital stay, the study found. Half of patients would want to pray with the doctor in a near-death scenario.About 75 percent of physicians say patients sometimes or often mention spiritual issues such as God, prayer, meditation or the Bible, said an April 9, 2007, article in Archives of Internal Medicine.The question of whether it is appropriate for doctors to pray with patients was addressed in late May at a three-day conference organized by the University of Chicago Program on Medicine and Religion.G. Richard Holt, MD, MPH, a recently retired otolaryngologist, gave a presentation reviewing his perspective as a head-and-neck surgeon.During his 40-year career, Dr. Holt received about one or two prayer requests a month. He made it his practice to remain silent while the patient, a family member or religious leader prayed aloud. But Dr. Holt drew the line at initiating or leading prayer.Read the article in its entirely HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
Proponents of "America as a Christian nation" ideology like to point to our founding fathers' faith, however shoddy the details of said faith, to make their arguments. Case in point, David Barton of WallBuilders, whose book The Jefferson Lies touts Thomas Jefferson as an orthodox Christian.Stephen Prothero in his latest column for USA Today, points to Barton's (and others like Glenn Beck's) talking points as indicative of the larger issue of extreme factionalism that stretches the truth for its own means. From the column:"In our nation's capital, many Republicans and Democrats now treat their political opponents as mortal enemies at war with all that is good and godly in America. And the Supreme Court, which used to be seen as "above" politics, is under closer scrutiny than ever after a string of hotly contested 5-4 rulings. This fervent factionalism is not confined to politics and law, however. It is leeching into science and history. As musician David Byrne of The Talking Heads once put it, even facts now have a point of view."
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
From WOAI-TV in San Antonio, Texas:She's been living on the streets to bring attention to homelessness, but Sunday night a local pastor stayed behind bars. The Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith had a warrant out for her arrest, because she was cited for sleeping on a park bench, which she says proves her point, that the homeless have few places to lay their heads. Along her journey the pastor has discovered what she calls an unjust judicial system for the poor. She said, “This will be the second time I’m in jail for that same ticket and I’m just trying to survive out in the streets like hundreds of others here in San Antonio.”
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
In an email interview with his longtime friend and fellow journalism colleague, Andrew Sullivan, on The Daily Beast, CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke out publicly today for the first time about his sexual orientation."... [W]hile as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand."The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don't give that up by being a journalist."Read the post in its entirety HERE.Image: Anderson Cooper by Joe Seer/Shutterstock
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
Sarah Pulliam Bailey at Christianity Today reports:More than 60 churches that faced possible eviction Sunday from New York City public schools should have more room to breathe. The churches will be allowed to continue to meet in public schools, thanks to a permanent injunction issued today from a district court judge.An ongoing conflict between religious organizations and the Department of Education kept churches in limbo over the right to keep using public school buildings for worship services. New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn blocked a vote to allow houses of worship access to school property. The resolution saw support from 31 of 51 council members, but the state legislative session ended this week, the Queens Chronicle reported.Read the full report HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
The New York Times reports:"As diplomats prepared for a weekend meeting to revive stalled Syria peace efforts, regional tensions swirling around the 16-month-old crisis ticked higher on Thursday as Turkey said it was stationing antiaircraft batteries on the common border following the downing of one of its warplanes. Word of the border fortification coincided with further suggestions within Syria that insurgents seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad were operating with increasing audacity in an and around the capital, Damascus. The state news agency, SANA, said an explosion rocked the parking lot of the Palace of Justice, a government court building, on Thursday, sending a plume of black smoke into the sky and injuring three people, just a day after a disputed attack on a pro-government satellite television station 14 miles south of the city." Learn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
The Atlantic provides some insights into its recent American Values Survey, conducted in conjunction with The Aspen Institute:"Americans say they are more tolerant and open-minded than their parents. Among the issues that rate more morally acceptable today than a decade ago: homosexuality, human cloning, pre-marital sex, and having a child out of wedlock.  At the same time, half believe the economic system is unfair to middle- and working-class Americans, and only 17 percent believe Wall Street executives share fundamental American values. In all, two-thirds think the country is heading in the wrong direction, 69 percent believe the country's values have deteriorated since the 1970s, and nearly half say values will further weaken over the next 10 years."Read more and see the results charted here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
Stephen Mansfield writes for The Huffington Post:T"here are other matters that may drive religion to the forefront of the 2012 presidential election. We cannot be certain of all of them now. What Americans ought to know by this time in their history, though, is that religion is seldom far from their politics, seldom much removed from American culture as a whole. The 2012 campaign is likely to illustrate this as much as any presidential election in the nation's history."Read the author's full list of the key religious issues in the election here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
The American Prospect reports:"Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's first stab at a budget for this year left the education community shaking. The Republican had balanced the budget in part through deep cuts not only to the state's colleges and universities but also to school districts. That's terrifying news for a state where some districts are already considering ending kindergarten to balance budgets. Miraculously, thanks to unexpectedly high tax collections, the state's schools have been spared the chopping block. But Corbett's other proposal, major funding cuts for human services, still looks alive and kicking." Learn more here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
In the final part of its series on evangelicals and climate change, The Christian Post's Napp Nazworth writes:"Global warming skeptics argue that while global warming activists say that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is necessary to protect the poor and vulnerable, the science is so iffy and the cost of control so high that money would be better spent on direct aid to the poor."Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
The Economist reports on the growing tensions in the Middle East following the shooting down of a Turkish plane by Syrian forces:"Turkey, a NATO member, was set to hold emergency talks at the alliance’sheadquarters in Brussels on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton, America’s Secretary of State, confirmed that the matter would be also brought before the United Nations Security Council. Meanwhile the European Union has agreed on new sanctions against Syria. These include banning insurance and re-insurance of arms shipments to Syria. Yet, in a further sign of western reluctance to intervene militarily Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, stated “We will obviously be looking to Turkey to be restrained in its response.”"The most Turkey can hope for is verbal condmenations," said a western diplomat in Ankara. Turkish officials insist that Turkey must respond forcefully otherwise its claims at regional leadership will be badly dented as will Mr Erdogan's image at home.The Turkish media has speculated about an array of options including targeted airstrikes against Syrian military installations and the establishment of a buffer zone along Turkey's 900 kilometre wide border with Syria. But many observers say it is unlikely that Turkey will risk war with Syria."Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
For CNN, Allison Brennan writes:"After two years of protests, boycotts and lawsuits over Arizona's immigration law, Monday's Supreme Court decision leaves the state of immigration reform almost unchanged with states frustrated and Congress avoiding the debate. "I would guess [Congress] won't touch this with a 10-foot pole until after they come back after the election," Charles H. Kuck, managing partner at Kuck Immigration Partners in Atlanta, told CNN."Read her full analysis here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 12 weeks ago
The Observer newspaper in the UK published extracts from Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams' new book:"The archbishop of Canterbury has denounced David Cameron's "big society", saying that it comes across as aspirational waffle that was "designed to conceal a deeply damaging withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities to the most vulnerable". The outspoken attack on the prime minister's flagship policy by Rowan Williams – his strongest to date – is contained in a new book, Faith in the Public Square, that is being prepared for publication ahead of his retirement. Passages from the book, obtained by the Observer, reflect the archbishop's deep frustration not just with the policies of Cameron's government and those of its Labour predecessors, but also with what he sees as the west's rampant materialism and unquestioning pursuit of economic growth. Williams also laments spiralling military expenditure, writing that "the adventure in Iraq and its cost in any number of ways seems to beggar the imagination." Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 13 weeks ago
Agence France-Presse report on the lastest incidents of Christian-Muslim fighting in Nigeria:"The streets of Nigeria's Kaduna city were mostly empty Monday a day after suicide blasts on three churches carried out by Boko Haram Islamists and subsequent rioting killed at least 52 people.Banks and offices were shut while rescuers combed through streets looking for the bodies of those killed by armed Christian mobs that targeted Muslims after the blasts at churches in Kaduna city and the nearby city of Zaria. Boko Haram, responsible for more than 1,000 deaths since July 2009, said the church blasts "were reprisals for the many atrocities Christians perpetrated against Muslims," in an email from purported group spokesman Abul Qaqa." Learn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 13 weeks ago
Writing for The Huffington Post, actor and environmental activist Robert Redford argues:"Every year, around the world, almost one trillion dollars of subsidies is handed out to help the fossil fuel industry. Who came up with the crazy idea that the fossil fuel industry deserves our hard-earned money, no less in economic times of such harsh human consequence? We fire teachers, police and firemen in drastic budget cuts and yet, the fossil fuel industry can laugh all the way to the bank on our dime? Something doesn't add up here.We should not be subsidizing the destruction of our planet. Fossil fuels are literally cooking our planet, polluting our air and draining our wallets. Why should we continue to reward companies to do that?" Read the full piece here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 13 weeks ago
CNN examines some of the possible outcomes of the Supreme Court's imminent decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act:"The election-year rulings will not only guide how every American receives medical care but will also establish precedent-setting boundaries for how government regulation can affect a range of social areas. Your health and your finances could be on the line.The outcome's possibilities are myriad: a narrow or sweeping decision? A road map to congressional authority in coming decades? Which bloc of justices, which legal argument will win the day?" Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
A year after publically admitting his status as an undocumented immigrant, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas writes for Time Magazine:"There are an estimated 11.5 million people like me in this country, human beings with stories as varied as America itself, yet lacking a legal claim to exist here. It’s an issue that touches people of all ethnicities and backgrounds: Latinos and Asians, blacks and whites. (And, yes, undocumented immigrants come from all sorts of countries like Israel, Nigeria and Germany.) It’s an issue that goes beyond election-year politics and transcends the limitations of our broken immigration system and the policies being written to address them."Read more and follow Time's coverage here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
Salon's Editor-at-Large, Joan Walsh writes:"Thanks to OWS and the work of writers like Stiglitz, 2012 was supposed to be the year America rediscovered and tackled economic inequality. Time magazine closed 2011 by naming OWS its top story of the year, a pretty big honor for a movement that only revved up in the year’s final quarter. But that’s how much its “We are the 99 percent” framing seemed to change the political debate."Read her full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
The Hill reports:"A Senate panel on Tuesday will move human-rights legislation that lawmakers of both parties say is critical to gaining their support for establishing normal trade ties with Russia.The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee will vote on the so-called Magnitsky bill, named after a whistleblowing Russian lawyer who died in police custody, along with a number of other bills and ambassador nominations. The news comes after Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Tuesday announced his intention to pair the human-rights bill with the trade legislation, which must clear his committee. The Magnitsky legislation targets human-rights violators in Russia with financial and travel sanctions. The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the bill last week. Without it, several lawmakers say, they cannot support establishing normal permanent trade relations with Russia, which would put U.S. companies at a disadvantage when Russia joins the World Trade Organization this summer. The Obama administration's top trade negotiator has called for a clean vote on the trade issue." Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
From The Atlantic, a plea for an immigration policy that encourages the movement of high-skilled foreign nationals to the United States:In this age of extreme polarization, it seems unlikely that there would be an issue where the benefits were so large and the correct course of action so clear that it would unite liberals and conservatives, allowing Democratic and Republican congressmen to pause in their struggle and rocket it through Congress. But it is not wishful thinking. There exists such a policy. The United States must admit many more high-skilled immigrants.Read the full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
Paul Froese offers some interesting insights for Religion & Politics:Perhaps it is the fervent individualism of American Christianity which makes free market capitalism seem like a Divine mandate. Because evangelicals assert that you alone are responsible for your eternal salvation, it makes sense that the individual is also responsible for his or her economic salvation without government assistance, especially if God is the only assistance you really need. Read the full article here  
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
A fascinating essay on 'geo-economics' for The Atlantic by Ayesha and Parag Khanna:Still, technology is playing a great role in not just the events of geopolitical history but its course. If military power is inherently competitive -- the stronger your army and the weaker your neighbor's, the more powerful you become -- then economic power is more cooperative. After all, much of America's power today is economic, but that power would decrease if China's economy collapses. Technological power is also cooperative in this way, perhaps even more so.Read more here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
A record number of teens will be able to find work this summer, The Associated Press reports:Once a rite of passage to adulthood, summer jobs for teens are disappearing.Fewer than three in 10 American teenagers now hold jobs such as running cash registers, mowing lawns or busing restaurant tables from June to August. The decline has been particularly sharp since 2000, with employment for 16-to-19-year olds falling to the lowest level since World War II. And teen employment may never return to pre-recession levels, suggests a projection by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
On the CNN Belief Blog, Dan Merica reports:The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God’s existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years. In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God’s existence. More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007. Read more about the report here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
According to CNN:ATLANTA, Ga. – With a calm voice and collected manner about her, a 15-year-old girl called Fayette County 911 to report that her father assaulted her. The call led police to the suburban Atlanta home of megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and ultimately resulted in a night behind bars on Friday.The audio from the phone call was released Tuesday.“I just got into an altercation with my father. He punched me and threatened to choke me,” the girl told a 911 dispatcher. “Um, this is not the first time that this has happened. I feel threatened by being in this house. Um… I don’t know, I don’t know what can be done. But I’m scared, I’m shaking.“Dollar publicly denied punching or choking his teenage daughter during Sunday service at World Changers International Church, but in the police report, he admitted emotions ran high very early Friday morning and he attempted to “restrain” his daughter when she became “disrespectful.”In the 911 tapes, the teen explained to the dispatcher that her father attacked her because of grades and a dispute about a party that she wanted to attend.Read more HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
BosNewsLife.com reports:TEHRAN, IRAN — Iran has released Pastor Mehdi “Petros” Foroutan who served about one year in prison following a police crackdown on his and other house churches,  a spokesman told BosNewsLife late Tuesday. Jason DeMars, who helped the 27-year-old pastor with advocacy, explained that Forouton was released on June 10. He added that the pastor "In total served about one year in prison for 'crimes against national security' because of his Christian faith."At least two other Christian clergymen — Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and another Christian leader, Behnam Irani — remain imprisoned. Nadarkhani faces the death penalty for refusing to abandon his Christian  faith and return to Islam. He remains in Lakan Prison in the city of Rasht where he is still awaiting an official response from the local court about his future, DeMars said. Irani is held in Ghezal Hezar prison in Karaj city, despite his poor health.  Prison officials reportedly refuse to allow him to visit a doctor.Read more HERE.    
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
From The Associated Press:"As many as 100 people are feared dead in an earthquake and landslide that buried more than 20 houses in northern Afghanistan on Monday, officials said.Rescuers have so far pulled two women's bodies from the rubble of the landslide in Baghlan province, said provincial Gov. Abdul Majid. The U.N. confirmed one other death and said houses were destroyed across five districts. A massive landslide of mud and rocks buried houses so deep in the remote mountain village of Sayi Hazara that rescuers gave up trying to use shovels to dig through the buried buildings, said Jawed Basharat, a spokesman for the provincial police chief who was part of a team that examined the village after the slide. There were no visible signs of the buildings underneath." Read more on this story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
Carlo Munoz reports for The Hill:"American negotiators working with Pakistan to reopen critical supply routes into Afghanistan have been called back to the United States, casting further doubt on whether the lines will ever be reopened to U.S. and coalition forces. Defense Department spokesman George Little told reporters on Monday that several members of the U.S. negotiation team had already left Islamabad, with the remaining members scheduled to depart the country within days."Read the full story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
Richard Florida examines how geography impacts abortion in the United States, and what it tells us: "Few issues divide Americans more severely than abortion. Even accounting for changes in the nation's political climate over time, polling numbers consistently show a close to even split in the percent of the population who identify as pro-life or pro-choice. And given the variation in abortion laws across the 50 states, that divide has a definite geographic dimension as well."Read the full story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
For Salon, Fred Pearce writes:Saudi Arabians have grown colossally rich on the country’s oil reserves. They have grown used to the idea that petrodollars can buy them anything. But Saudis are waking up to the fact that all their wealth will count for nothing if they have nothing to eat. And — despite the conference tables heaving with French, Persian, American and Arab cuisine — that is a growing threat. “If we want our grandchildren to live as we are, we need to change now, or we will be like an African country in 50 years, asking for aid,” Adil Bushnak, a former member of the Saudi Supreme Economic Council, told me during a conference session I was chairingLearn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 14 weeks ago
Writing for The Huffington Post, Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, a Nobel Peace Laureate and Chair of The Elders writes on why inter-generational dislogue is so important in tackling the big issues of the day:For the sake of our planet, a conversation that needs to be heard is the one between generations, between elders and young people around the world -- and those who are in between.I leave you with this Kenyan proverb a young activist from Dubai sent us: "The world was not given to you by your parents; it was lent to you by your children." The words are beautiful. Their global nature, in our digital age, is inspiring. Read Archbishop Tutu's full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
Author Jonathan Merritt sets our the seven reasons why Christians should "change their political tune":Aristotle is credited with saying, "Change in all things is sweet." And perhaps no change of late is as sweet as that among young Christians in the public square. While the last several decades of Christian engagement have often been marked by partisan tactics and a polemical tone, a new generation is changing its political tune. These individuals aren't leaving the public square altogether, but they are looking for less divisive and less partisan ways to engage. They want to follow Jesus without fighting the culture wars.Read the full list here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
For Talking Points Memo, Eric Lach reports on the 'progress' of the North Carolina bill that restricts state agencies’ ability to take global warming into account when making sea-level rise projections:The language in the bill was toned down from the version that had been circulating — the original version of the bill stated starkly that rates of sea-level rise could use only historical data, extrapolated linearly, despite the fact that most scientists expect sea-levels to rise faster over the next century as a result of global warming — but the version of the bill approved Thursday still contains the following language:[Rates of sea-level rise] shall be determined using statistically significant, peer-reviewed historical data generated using generally accepted scientific and statistical techniques. Historic rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise unless such rates are from statistically significant, peer-reviewed data and are consistent with historic trends.  Read the full story here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
Writing for The Daily Beast, Barbie Latza Nadeau and Jesse Ellison examine the rift between nuns across the world:In the U.S., where the number of religious sisters has dwindled from 179,954 to 57,544 in the past half century, the controversy cuts to the heart of what it means to be a nun. To many non-Catholics, nuns conjure up a vision of the ladies from The Sound of Music. To Catholics, they can be anything from the no-nonsense school teachers who rapped their knuckles during Catechism class to hospital workers who pray at the bedsides of the dying.Read the full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
Matthew Hutson asks an interesting question in an article for The Huffington Post - Are Conservatives More Religious and Liberals More Spiritual?"In the United States, religion and politics have always been (fitful) bed buddies. But whether faith drives people left or right (or neither) is not obvious. On one hand, there is the Christian right, a demographic epitomized by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson that values tradition and authority and opposes gay rights and the teaching of evolution. On the other hand, we owe many of our advancements in civil rights -- a predominantly left-wing cause -- to religious leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. One way to make sense of the relationship between faith and political orientation is to recognize the difference between religiousness and spirituality."Read the full piece here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
Writing for The Washington Post's On Faith blog, David Mason argues:"Conservative Christians are starting to line up behind Mormon Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But they’re not doing so comfortably, and not without clinging to a last, non-negotiable condition that, ironically, makes the conservative Christian voting bloc the force most responsible these days for the secularization of America."Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
Yesterday, the Paycheck Fairness Act came before the senate, seeking to close the wage gap between men and women. And as expected, the bill failed to pass, resulting in only 52 supporters, short of the 60 needed. All Republicans voted against the measure and none discussed it on the Senate floor before yesterday’s vote.“In 1963 we made 59 cents for every dollar that men made. Now it’s 77 cents,” says Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, chief sponsor of the proposed bill. “What does that mean? It means every five years we make an advancement of one penny. Oh no. No more. We’re not just going to take it anymore.”See more in The Washington Post
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
Keli Goff asks is America would be better off with an agnostic President:I"t's always refreshing when religious leaders strive to embody the very best values their faith has to offer. I have been reminded of this often over the past year, which is shaping up to be banner one for Christian leaders in the "practice what you preach" department."Read her full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
David Horsey writes in the Los Angeles Times:"The best thing that can happen is that one party or the other wins both the presidency and control of Congress in the November election. It may have made sense in a more civil era, but divided government no longer works; the divide is simply too great. We desperately need a coherent national economic policy, and even a flawed one that is fully implemented may be better than one that is permanently stalled."Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
Writing for The Huffington Post. Jeffrey P. Colin argues:"With election campaigning in full swing now, many of the us from the 99% made famous by the Occupy Wall Street protests, are concerned that neither candidate is paying adequate attention to the issue of poverty. We are concerned that, while much is being made of impending debt ceiling debates, and geopolitics, the plight of a large percentage of the people living in the American heartland is being almost completely ignored."Read his article and answer his poll here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
Writing for The Daily Beast today, Joel Kotkin argues:The developed world’s youth shouldn’t expect much help from an older generation that has preserved its generous arrangements at the cost of increasingly stark prospects for its own progeny. Instead the emerging generation needs to push its own new agenda for economic growth and expanded opportunity.Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 15 weeks ago
For The Huffington Post, Robert Gallucci writes:Around the world, 35 million girls who should be in primary or secondary school are not; half of them are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank. For those of us committed to addressing global poverty, improving education for girls may be the closest thing to a silver bullet.Read the full piece here