The Common Good

Blog Posts By QR Blog Editor

Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 2 years 9 weeks 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 2 years 9 weeks 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 2 years 9 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 10 weeks 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 2 years 11 weeks 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
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
The BBC reports that Caesar Achellam was captured by the Ugandan army on Saturday:"A senior commander in the rebel Lord's Resistance Army has been captured by the Ugandan army, a spokesman has said. Caesar Achellam was seized on Saturday following a struggle between Ugandan soldiers and a group of 30 rebels. The commander, whom Ugandan officials say is a top rebel military strategist, was captured in the Central African Republic, one of several nations where the Ugandan-led LRA operates." Read more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
From yesterday's New York Times: "There is nothing a presidential campaign likes less than to be forced to answer for someone else’s actions. And yet President Obama and Mitt Romney are likely to face that challenge repeatedly during this election season as their allies and adversaries in Congress pursue agendas that do not always make things easy on the campaign trail."Read the full story here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
Dan Gilgoff and other religion reporters examine why social issues will continue to shape the narrative of the 2012 election:"Everyone knows the 2012 presidential race is about jobs and the economy. As likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney said a couple weeks ago: “It’s still about the economy, and we’re not stupid.” But have you noticed how the culture wars keep intruding into this it’s-all-about-the-economy election?"Learn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
For The Atlantic, scholar Michael Fullilove on China's poor human rights record and why it matters:"China's mixed human rights record is not just bad for its citizens. It is a strategic weakness that complicates its foreign relations and diminishes its soft power. The state's harsh treatment of individuals and minorities regularly disrupts its bilateral relationships. Evidence of internal repression disillusions China's friends and increases the wariness of its neighbors. The human rights issue is a pebble in China's shoe, and the country may never hit its full stride unless it is removed."Read the full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
For The Huffington Post, Max Lux argues that more needs to be done to strengthen the 'moral fiber' of the economy:"For countries to be successful, they need to have both the right long term economic policies, focused on building and expanding the middle class, and the moral fiber to understand that power and money are not all that matters. Part of the problem with Wall Street's power in this country is that the cut throat dog-eat-dog values of Wall Street have infected way too much of our society. We need to not only take back our economic fate from Wall Street, we need to cleanse our values system of their culture as well."Read the full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
Over at Think Progress, Scott Keys reports on Rep. Allen West's latest comments:"West, speaking at the Broward County Lincoln Day Dinner this past Saturday, warned the crowd about the danger of food stamps for American society. “In the last 10 years,” West said, the “food stamp program that has gone from about $20.6 billion to over $75 billion.” The Florida congressmen saw this increase not as a society practicing compassion for its most needy, but as a more nefarious plot. “That’s not how you empower the American people,” West declared. “That’s how you enslave the American people.”Read the full article here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
The Atlantic reports on 'The Coming Global Water Crisis':"In the next twenty years, global demand for fresh water will vastly outstrip reliable supply in many parts of the world. Thanks to population growth and agricultural intensification, humanity is drawing more heavily than ever on shared river basins and underground aquifers. Meanwhile, global warming is projected to exacerbate shortages in already water-stressed regions, even as it accelerates the rapid melting of glaciers and snow cover upon which a billion people depend for their ultimate source of water."Read more about the crisis here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
In this week's edition of The Economist, an examination of the continuing tensions between government forces and rebel groups:"Last month [DRC President] Mr Kabila, who was widely criticised for stuffing ballots in last year’s re-election campaign, came out of self-imposed seclusion on his farm on the other side of the country, 1,200km (746 miles) to the west, to say he had had enough of the general’s antics. Or so it seemed. Three weeks later, Mr Ntaganda is now welcoming a steady stream of defections from the regular army, though numbers are hard to come by. More recently his men have clashed with regular forces and have grabbed some old hunting grounds." Learn more here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
From The Associated Press' Anne Gearan:"Support for the war in Afghanistan has reached a new low, with only 27 percent of Americans saying they back the effort and about half of those who oppose the war saying the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan is doing more harm than good, according to an AP-GfK poll.In results released Wednesday, 66 percent opposed the war, with 40 percent saying they were "strongly" opposed. A year ago, 37 percent favored the war, and in the spring of 2010, support was at 46 percent. Eight percent strongly supported the war in the new poll." Read more about this new poll here
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
For the International Herald Tribune yesterday, David Brooks examines what he perceives as the coming 'structural revolution' in the global economy:"The country is divided when different people take different sides in a debate. The country is really divided when different people are having entirely different debates. That’s what’s happening on economic policy....Make no mistake, the old economic and welfare state model is unsustainable. The cyclicalists want to preserve the status quo, but structural change is coming."Read his full analysis here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
Andrew Leonard examines the latest consumer borrowing figures for Salon:"Consumer borrowing, reports Bloomberg, skyrocketed in March, leaping up by $21.4 billion, more than twice as high as the consensus estimate predicted. Much of the increase, according to Bloomberg, can be attributed to new financing for auto purchases and to students hoping to lock in low interest rates on student loans. (Unless Congress takes action, the interest rates on government-backed student loans will double on July 1.)"Read his full article here 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 2 years 11 weeks ago
For USA Today, Michelle Healy analyzes a new report on the state of motherhood around the globe:"Just in time for Mother's Day, an annual ranking of the best and worst countries in which to be a mom puts the USA in 25th place, up from 31st last year. The 13th annual State of the World's Mothers report by the Save the Children foundation, out today, examines the well-being of mothers and their children in 165 countries, based on a range of measures, including mothers' education, infant mortality and breastfeeding rates."Read more about the report here