The Common Good

News: Quick Links Round-up and Redux

THE WASHINGTON POST/RELIGION NEWS SERVICE: D.C. Pastor To Lead Democrats' Faith Outreach

WASHINGTON - As President Obama gears up his re-election campaign, the Democratic National Committee has tapped a well-connected Washington pastor to lead the party's religious outreach. The Rev. Derrick Harkins is senior pastor of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, one of Washington's oldest historically black churches, where Obama and his family worshipped right before his inauguration.

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RELIGION DISPATCHES: Jeffress Is Both Right And Wrong On Religion & Politics (by Peter Montgomery)

Texas pastor Robert Jeffress, who became a media sensation earlier this month for his blunt remarks about Mitt Romney's Mormonism, published an opinion piece in the Washington Post this week accusing his critics of trying to "marginalize religion" and make a candidate's religious beliefs "off limits" in political discussion. But being criticized is not the same as being silenced. Jeffress mixes and muddles several issues in his mea non culpa; it's worth sorting out where he's right and wrong.

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THE HUFFINGTON POST: Cutting Foreign Aid: Not The America I Love (by Richard Stearns)

I watched the Republican debates from my hotel in London this week, where I am meeting with other World Vision leaders. Being overseas, and watching them hours after the live event, provides a more objective perspective on home. During part of the discussion that evening, I found myself thinking: This is not the America I love.

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MOTHER JONES: GOPers Hit Obama for Iraq Withdrawal

The shock and awe didn't last long. On Friday afternoon, just minutes after Barack Obama announced that America's war in Iraq would be finally, truly over at year's end, critics of the president punctured what could have been a national moment of solemn reflection and relief.

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NEWSBUSTERS: WaPo's 'On Faith': Jesus Would Bless 'Occupy Wall Street' Movement

On Washington Post's On Faith blog, Daily Beast contributor Lisa Miller teased a piece about Occupy Wall Street with a worthy question: "What would Jesus think about Occupy Wall Street?" Her answer was simple, and predictably liberal: "The Jesus of history would love them all."

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THINK PROGRESS: The Cultural Capital Of Occupy Wall Street

Getting incorporated into Hollywood products probably wouldn't mean much of anything for the advancement of the actual messages and goals of Occupy Wall Street and the 99 Percent Movement. In a Batman movie, OWS would probably more of a backdrop to a different fight than a direct transliteration. It would be interesting to see a crowd turning on Bruce Wayne as part of Gotham's rot, identifying him as the 1 percent, but the world of the movie would almost inevitably suggest that they're wrong, but that their ire is a cross Bruce Wayne has to bear to serve his city (much as he performs the role of an oafish billionaire in Batman Begins).

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THE ATLANTIC: The Occupy Wall Street TV ad Could Actually Air on TV

Last week, we wrote about Occupy Wall Street's commercial, which features a montage of protesters explaining what they would like to get out of the movement. Since then, we've been contacted by the commercial 's director, David Sauvage. He told us that the commercial was on track to air nationally, thanks to the efforts of a San Francisco-based digital advertising start-up called LoudSauce.

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THE HUFFINGTON POST: U.S. Median Income Falls To $26,364 As Pessimism Reaches 10-Year High

Americans' incomes are falling, perhaps a reason why pessimism about their personal finances is now the lowest it's been in a decade. The median income fell in 2010 for the second year in a row to $26,364, a 1.2 percent drop from 2009, and the lowest level since 1999, according to David Cay Johnston at Reuters.

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THE HUFFINGTON POST: California 'Cap-And-Trade' Plan Poised To Be Finalized

California is poised to formally adopt the nation's most comprehensive so-called "cap-and-trade" system, designed to provide a financial incentive for polluters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. State officials hope other states and Washington D.C. will follow suit with similar plans.

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THINK PROGRESS: Millionaires Control Almost 40 Percent Of The World's Wealth, Make Up Less Than 1 Percent Of Its Population

According to a new Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, millionaires and billionaires control nearly 40 percent of the world's wealth, while making up less than 1 percent of its population.

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THE HUFFINGTON POST: With Phillip Blond, Age-Old 'Distributism' Gains New Traction

Can an Anglican theologian from Britain revive an 80-year-old Catholic social justice theory and provide a solution to America's economic woes and political polarization? Philosopher and political thinker Phillip Blond thinks so, and he's giving it everything he's got.

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THE WASHINGTON POST (THE PLUMBLINE): Will Senators do the right thing on jobs, or will they shaft thousands of their own constituents?

Let's be as clear as possible: Any Democratic or Republican senators who vote this week against the $35 billion package of aid to the states are putting the very narrow interests of an infinitessimal few over the interests of many thousands of their own constituents.

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MOTHER JONES: The Side Effects Of Fast-Tracking Deportations

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security released its deportation statistics for fiscal year 2011, disclosing 396,906 removals of unauthorized immigrants-the most ever. Today, a University of California-Berkeley study claims that Secure Communities, the much-maligned fingerprint-sharing program that links local jails to the DHS database and funnels even more people into deportation proceedings, has helped create a system "in which individuals are pushed through rapidly, without appropriate checks or opportunities to challenge their detention and/or deportation."

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THINK PROGRESS: 10 Percent Of All Major Mainstream Media News Was About Occupy Wall Street Last Week

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism surveys mainstream media coverage of various topics. Yesterday, it released an analysis of 52 different major media outlets and found that coverage of Occupy Wall Street dominated news coverage last week. Pew notes that "last week, the Occupy Wall Street storyline increased to 10% of the overall newshole compared with 7% the previous week and 2% the week before that."

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YAHOO NEWS/ASSOCIATED PRESS: Mexican clown convention holds 'laugh for peace'

About 300 professional clowns in Mexico say they hope their 15-minute non-stop laugh-a-thon will make a contribution to world peace.

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THE ROOT: What Has Obama Done for Poor People?

Anger and disillusionment over the widening wealth gap may have reached a national tipping point, as evidenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Yet leading politicians rarely mention poor folks.

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THE BOSTON GLOBE: Class warfare in the Senate race #classwarfare

Early polling puts Warren in a strong position against Brown. One poll also shows that Massachusetts voters aren't turned off by Warren's Harvard connection. Some 21 percent of voters surveyed in a recent Western New England University poll said it makes them "more likely'' to vote for Warren; 63 percent said it makes no difference.

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THE HUFFINGTON POST: Restorative Justice and the Economy of Grace

Grace is not fair. Fairness means treating people as they deserve. Grace means treating people better than they deserve. Grace, after all, means unmerited kindness. Because of this, theologians have traditionally spoken of a conflict between justice and grace. In this way of thinking, justice is about there being consequences for wrong action (usually in the form of punishment), and grace, in contrast, is about leniency -- overlooking problems rather than actually dealing with them.

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CNN BELIEF BLOG: Pastors hope for a louder, unrestricted voice in 2012 election

When Pastor Jim Garlow took to the pulpit September 28, he was thinking two things. He first thought that the sermon he was about to give, a sermon in which he was going to endorse a handful of 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls, might earn him a letter from the IRS, possibly even a visit from an agent. By endorsing candidates, Garlow was about to violate the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt churches from engaging in political activity.

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WASHINGTON POST (ON FAITH): Jesus at Occupy Wall Street: 'I feel like I've been here before'

"What would Jesus think of Occupy Wall Street?" I asked myself earlier this week, as I wandered the makeshift, blue-tarp village in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan. Born with little means into a first-century world, the historical Jesus might feel right at home with the very aspects of the occupation that so many 21st century observers consider gross: the tents, the damp sleeping bags, the communal kitchen. Jesus would have sympathy, I think, with the campers' efforts to keep a small space sanitary in the absence of modern plumbing.

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