The Common Good

Blog Posts By QR Blog Editor

Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 49 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 49 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 49 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 49 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 50 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 50 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 50 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 50 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 50 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 50 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
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
Pope Benedict XVI is set to visit Philadelphia in 2015 for the Vatican World Meeting of Families. This event, which happens once every three years, is a time of discussion and fellowship around issues like the definition of marriage, contraception, and abortion.Read more about the Pope's visit from USA Today's Faith and Reason page.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
An interesting review of David Ignatius' new book in The Atlantic, which suggests that:The question that President Obama, who has admitted direct, routenized involvement in creating the drone 'kill list', should ponder is what will happen as the barriers to entry on drone technology fall enough so that an adversary's drones can be deployed against U.S. and allied forces and interests.Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
A fascinating opinion piece by Thomas Edsall on The New York Times' Campaigns Stops blog:Is capitalism compatible with Christian values? By two to one, 53-26, Democrats believe that capitalism and Christianity are not compatible. Republicans, in contrast, believe there is no conflict, by a 46-37 margin. Tea Party supporters are even more adamant, believing that capitalism and Christian values are compatible by a 56-35 margin.Read the full piece here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
A treat from Andrew Sullivan's The Dish as he interviews E.J. Dionne on his latest book, Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent:  Watch the full interview and read Andrew's take on it here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
John Hudson of The Atlantic writes:"Everyone agrees the latest jobs report is a disaster, but economists are split about the underlying cause. Did increased gas prices choke off employment? Did uncertainty in Europe? How about job cuts in the public sector?"Learn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
Writing for The Washington Post, Lisa Miller says yes:"Technology can greatly enhance religious practice. Groups that restrict and fear it participate in their own demise....If religious groups don’t embrace and encourage the practice of faith online, the faithful might go shopping instead."Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
In the aftermath of former Liberian president, Charles Taylor's conviction for war crimes this week, author Greg Campbell writes for The Atlantic that the children of neighboring Sierra Leone still suffer in abject poverty:Ten years after the end of Sierra Leone's bloody civil war over control of its diamond fields, children as young as 3 years old continue to toil in its mines, hoping at best to earn a few pennies for food in a country still wracked by extreme poverty.Read his full piece here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
As reported by Reuters today:A federal appeals court on Thursday found a law that denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples unconstitutional, in a case with implications for gay marriages across the United States.Read more about the ruling here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
Christianity Today reports:17 Coptic evangelical leaders met with five Muslim Brotherhood counterparts at the Brotherhood's headquarters on February 28, and crafted a joint statement of common values that both sides agree the new Egyptian constitution and government should uphold. Evangelicals comprise a minority of Egyptian Christians, almost 90 percent of whom are Coptic Orthodox.Read more about this story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
In a thought-provoking piece for Al Jazeera, Yale lecturer John Stoehr writes:According to a study by the Center for American Progress, there is a striking correlation between the decline of infrastructure and the rise of inequality over the past four decades. In other words, the more money going to the top income earners, the more the rest of us deal with potholes, decrepit bridges, rusting rail cars and the rest.Read the full piece here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
From The Associated Press:The world's air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant. Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere.Learn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 50 weeks ago
In an opinion piece for Bloomberg View, Michael Kinsley writes:As demand starts to build on President Barack Obama to “do something” about the deteriorating situation in Syria, let’s review where the U.S. and its citizens stand on the general question of using military force abroad. On this issue, Americans are divided in strange ways. It’s no longer a matter of hawks and doves. There are liberal hawks and conservative doves as well as conservative hawks and liberal doves.Read his full piece here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 51 weeks ago
From Think Progress: According to a new report from the Office of Research at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world. Of the 35 wealthy countries studied by UNICEF, only Romania has a child poverty rate higher than the 23 percent rate in the U.S.Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 51 weeks ago
Julian Pecquet reports for The Hill:Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he was “encouraged” by the progress being made and “heartened” by U.S. development investments in LRA-affected communities in northern Uganda. Coons is the sponsor of a bipartisan resolution condemning the crimes against humanity committed by the LRA and supporting ongoing U.S. and regional efforts to capture or kill Kony. Learn more here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 51 weeks ago
CNN reports:The long-running battle between a Tennessee Muslim community and its critics over a new mosque took a dramatic turn when a judge ruled that construction had to halt. The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro has existed for more than a decade, but the fight erupted in May 2010, when planning commissioners approved the center's plans to build a 52,960-square-foot building for a new mosque on Veals Road.The backlash was stinging and included intimidation, lawsuits and an August 2010 fire that destroyed construction equipment and damaged vehicles at the construction site for the mosque. Police said it was arson. A sign announcing the mosque was spray-painted with the words "Not Welcome." Read the full story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 51 weeks ago
For Christianity Today, Jayson Casper writes:Since the revolution began in January 2011, Egyptian Christians have attempted many new forms of political engagement. Many supported the campaign of Abdel Munim Abul Futuh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood whose centrist campaign sought to bridge the gap between Islamists and liberals. His final share of the tally, however, came up short at 17 percent. Read more about the Egyptian elections here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 51 weeks ago
CBS reported yesterday:Illinois hospitals would be required to provide free surgeries and other inpatient care to many uninsured poor people under a bill the Legislature passed Tuesday, a mandate already on the books in eight other states.The Illinois Hospital Association supported the bill. Spokesman Danny Chun said patients affected already are being cared for in hospitals. "Many hospitals are now voluntarily providing charity care that would meet the requirements of this proposed legislation," Chun said. "However, there are some hospitals, which would have to do more charity care." Read the full story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 52 weeks ago
For Newsweek Magazine, Andrew Swofford writes:About 18 veterans kill themselves each day. Thousands from the current wars have already done so. In fact, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died by their own hand is now estimated to be greater than the number (6,460) who have died in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Eleven years of war in two operating theaters have taken a severe toll on America’s military. An estimated 2.3 million Americans have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and 800,000 of those service members have been deployed multiple times.Read his full story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 52 weeks ago
The Huffington Post's Senior Religion Editor, Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, interviews civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis. Lewis says:The church should be out front leading the way, and be a headlight rather than a taillight. If you are going to live up to the teachings of the Great Teacher, and follow in the tradition of the great leaders of faith, you have to be out there, shining the light, preaching the Good News and living the Good News. You have to make it real.Read the full interview here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 52 weeks ago
A key figure in the Occupy movement, Arun Gupta writes for Al Jazeera:The real stumbling block for the Occupy movement is also the reason for its success: space, or now, the lack thereof. Understanding the significance of political space and Occupy's inability to recapture it reveals why the movement is having difficulty re-gaining traction.Read this full article here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 9 hours ago
For The Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart fears that the Occupy movement won't survive if it doesn't adapt:If Occupy doesn’t use this time to get actively involved in political process, it will never move from protest to power to achieve the goals it says it has.Read his full analysis here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 9 hours ago
Writing for Tom's Dispatch and The Huffington Post, Christopher Hellman and Mattea Kramer estimate what the U.S. really spends on national security:National security accounts for one quarter of every dollar the federal government is projected to spend in 2013. And if you pull trust funds for programs like Social Security out of the equation, that figure rises to more than one third of every dollar in the projected 2013 federal budget.Learn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 9 hours ago
As reported by Salon: Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, compared immigrants to dogs at a town hall meeting yesterday, telling constituents that the U.S. should pick only the best immigrants the way one chooses the “pick of the litter.”Read the full report of the incident here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 1 day ago
In an opinion piece for The Huffington Post, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) writes:At a time when we have more than $15 trillion national debt, American taxpayers are set to give away over $110 billion dollars to the oil, gas, and coal industries over the next decade. Clearly, we cannot afford it. When the five largest oil companies made over $1 trillion in profits in the last decade, with some paying no federal income taxes for part of that time, they certainly do not need it.Read his full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 1 day ago
As reported by Alan Duke for the CNN Belief Blog:The University of Notre Dame and "a diverse group of plaintiffs" filed lawsuits Monday challenging the federal mandate that religious employers offer health insurance that includes coverage of contraceptives and birth control services, Notre Dame spokeswoman Shannon Chapla said. The Notre Dame suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern Indiana, is one of a dozen filed Monday by 43 separate Catholic institutions in different federal courts around the United States, Chapla said.Read the full story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 1 day ago
For The Nation, Greg Kaufmann writes:The long-term unemployed now make up over 40 percent of all unemployed workers, and 3.3 percent of the labor force. In the past six decades, the previous highs for these figures were 26 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, in June 1983. Instead of helping these folks weather the storm and find ways to re-enter the workforce, our nation is moving in the opposite direction. In fact, this past Sunday, 230,000 people who have been looking for work for over a year lost their unemployment benefits. More than 400,000 people have now lost unemployment insurance (UI) since the beginning of the year as twenty-five high-unemployment states have ended their Extended Benefits (EB) program.Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 1 day ago
Writing for The Washington Post, Lisa Miller writes:People always ask, “What would Jesus do?,” but in America today, it’s impossible to know. And that’s because there are (at least) two prevailing views of God at work in our public and political conversation. It would not be an exaggeration to say that when you pull the lever this November, you will not just be voting for president. You will be saying what you believe about God.Read her full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 5 days ago
Barbara Ehrenreich invetigates the growing practice of businesses and government making money off of the poorest in society:It’s not just the private sector that’s preying on the poor. Local governments are discovering that they can partially make up for declining tax revenues through fines, fees, and other costs imposed on indigent defendants, often for crimes no more dastardly than driving with a suspended license. And if that seems like an inefficient way to make money, given the high cost of locking people up, a growing number of jurisdictions have taken to charging defendants for their court costs and even the price of occupying a jail cell.Read her full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 5 days ago
For Time Magazine, Jay Newton-Small reports on the upcoming G8 summit:Not since the oil shocks that first brought the world’s superpowers together in 1974–back then they called themselves the “Library Group” because they met in the White House library–has the G8 had so much substantive business on a summit agenda. In recent years, world leaders have mostly just tried to to out-do one another with pledges of development assistance, leading to stories like this one from my colleague Massimo Calabresi, that questioned the usefulness of the annual summit.Read more about the summit here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 5 days ago
Jefferson Morley writes for Salon:Opposition to the use of drones in domestic airspace is spreading from the Code Pink left to the Fox News right. While conservatives  laud the use of drones against suspected militants overseas, the sudden and vehement criticism of domestic drones this week by three right-wing commentators suggests that Congress’s rush to open up U.S. airspace to unmanned aviation vehicles now faces an unusual left-right chorus of critics.Read the full story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 5 days ago
The National Journal's Jim Tankersley writes:There’s one idea, though, that TED’s organizers recently decided was too controversial to spread: the notion that widening income inequality is a bad thing for America, and that as a result, the rich should pay more in taxes. TED organizers invited a multimillionaire Seattle venture capitalist named Nick Hanauer – the first nonfamily investor in Amazon.com – to give a speech on March 1 at their TED University conference. Inequality was the topic – specifically, Hanauer’s contention that the middle class, and not wealthy innovators like himself, are America’s true “job creators.” Read more here UPDATE: The Atlantic has the full transcript of the talk here  
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 5 days ago
According to a new report from the Barna Group:A national sample of likely voters interviewed by Barna indicated that of all the different factors they will consider when choosing our next president, each candidate’s positions on important issues will be the single most important component in their candidate choice. More than four out of five likely voters (83%) said that positions on the issues are the most important factor in their decision of which candidate to support on Election Day.See the full results of the report here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 6 days ago
The BBC reports on the opening day of Ratko Mladic's war crimes trial at The Hague:Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic intended to "ethnically cleanse" Bosnia, the opening day of his war crimes trial has heard. Gen Mladic faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide, in connection with the brutal 1992-95 Bosnian war.Read more about the trial here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 6 days ago
For The Nation, Ari Berman argues that President Obama must hold Wall Street accountable:It’s easy to forget that the 1 percent, while overwhelmingly powerful in our political system, are by nature a tiny minority of voters. Thus, Obama’s core message should be about ensuring fairness and expanding opportunity for the 99 percent. But he won’t have the credibility to make such a message stick unless he jettisons what has been the albatross around his administration’s neck—the closeness between Washington and Wall Street.Learn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 6 days ago
For CNN, Leith Anderson and Lynne Hybels on the new version of the Violence Against Women Act being debated by Congress:This week the House of Representatives is considering a proposal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, first enacted in 1994, but in a new version that would significantly undermine the same U visa program that provided Nicole with safety and permanency in the United States. The U.S. government estimates that as many as 17,500 foreign-born victims are illegally trafficked in from abroad each year, and academic estimates suggest that at least 100,000 victims of human trafficking live in the United States today. By force, fraud or coercion, traffickers keep victims enslaved in prostitution or forced labor.Read their full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 6 days ago
Writing for Religion News Service and featured in The Washington Post, Tom Ehrich has some strong words for the culture of fear and distortion he sees in politics:When people make grandiose claims about “God’s will” and “American values” and demonize others who hold different views, we haven’t just channeled a tragic yesterday and its wars and pogroms. We have poisoned the well of community on which our nation depends today and made a mockery of God and faith.Read his full article here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 1 week ago
In the latest edition of The Economist, a new theory on how to tackle poverty: offer hope.The idea that an infusion of hope can make a big difference to the lives of wretchedly poor people sounds like something dreamed up by a well-meaning activist or a tub-thumping politician. Yet this was the central thrust of a lecture at Harvard University on May 3rd by Esther Duflo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her data-driven analysis of poverty. Ms Duflo argued that the effects of some anti-poverty programmes go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide. These programmes also make it possible for the very poor to hope for more than mere survival.Read more about Ms. Duflo's research here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 1 week ago
In a heated discussion with MSNBC's Martin Bashir, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said:“We don't think government is the source or the solution for dealing with poverty. We believe that the American people who are generous in their giving, local communities that can address not just the material poverty but the spiritual poverty as well….When you have the government crowding out those nonprofit organizations that go beyond just the material need, instead of just giving someone a fish, teaching them to fish. That's what the religious community does when they're empowered to do so.”See the full interview here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 1 week ago
The Hill reports on a new poll focussing on the country's economic prospects:Voters are optimistic the economy will improve in the next year, but still hold doubts on President Obama’s economic policies, a new USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday finds. Likely voters in the U.S. think the economy is improving already, giving Obama an edge as the incumbent. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believe they will be "better off" next time this year and 58 percent predict good economic conditions in a year.Read more about the poll here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 3 years 1 week ago
For Reuters, Sebastian Moffett reports on a new Human Rights Watch report:"In a report based on investigations at bombing sites during and after the conflict, the New York-based HRW said NATO strikes killed 20 women and 24 children. It called on the alliance to compensate civilian victims and investigate attacks that may have been unlawful. "Attacks are allowed only on military targets, and serious questions remain in some incidents about what exactly NATO forces were striking," Fred Abrahams, special adviser at HRW, said in a statement." Read the full story here