The Common Good

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DRONE WATCH: Sympathy for Al Qaeda

The escalating campaign of drone attacks in Yemen is having the opposite effect from what the U.S. intends:

"Across the vast, rugged terrain of southern Yemen, an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States. After recent U.S. missile strikes, mostly from unmanned aircraft, the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. But civilians have also died in the attacks, said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists."

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Time for the Next Generation to Form New Economic Agenda?

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

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Why Education Matters More Than We Know

For The Huffington PostRobert 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

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Pope Benedict to Visit Philadelphia in 2015

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.

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When 'The Other Side' Starts Using Drones

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

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The Growing Polarization of America, As Told By Polls

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

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Sullivan and Dionne on Individualism Vs. Community

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

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DRONE WATCH: Strikes in Yemen Escalate

Who is targeted for killing in U.S. drone strikes? Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan claimed in his recent speech that:

"when considering lethal force we ask ourselves whether the individual poses a significant threat to U.S. interests. This is absolutely critical, and it goes to the very essence of why we take this kind of exceptional action. …We are not seeking vengeance, rather we conduct targeted strikes because they are necessary to mitigate an actual ongoing threat, to stop plots, prevent future attacks and save American lives."

But Greg Miller reported Sunday in The Washington Post

"The quickening pace of the U.S. drone campaign in Yemen this year has raised new questions about who is being targeted and why. A review of strikes there so far suggests that the Obama administration has embraced a broader definition of what constitutes a terrorism threat that warrants a lethal response.

In more than 20 U.S. airstrikes over a span of five months, three “high-value” terrorism targets have been killed, U.S. officials said. A growing number of attacks have been aimed at lower-level figures who are suspected of having links to terrorism operatives but are seen mainly as leaders of factions focused on gaining territory in Yemen’s internal struggle."

A former high-ranking counterterrorism official said that targets must still be a “direct threat” to U.S. interests. “But the elasticity of that has grown over time,” he added.

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DRONE WATCH: Drone Blitz in Pakistan

Fifteen dead in Pakistan on Monday:

The third US drone strike in as many days in Pakistan has raised the three-day death toll in the aerial attacks to at least 27, according to Pakistani intelligence officials. Monday's strike in the Hesokhel village of North Waziristan's tribal areas, was said to have targeted a hideout for fighters, officials said. The latest strike, which officials said had killed 15 people, was the seventh in a span of less than two weeks.

At least 10 die in Sunday Pakistan strike:

A US drone strike in Pakistan's frontier tribal areas has killed 10 suspected fighters, according to Pakistani officials. Sunday's strike was the sixth such attack in two weeks, despite ongoing demands by Islamabad for aerial strikes on its territory to stop.

Pakistani intelligence officials said four missiles were fired at the village of Mana Raghzai in South Waziristan near the border with neighbouring Afghanistan. The suspected fighters had gathered to offer condolences to the brother of a commander killed in another drone attack one day earlier.The brother was among those who died in the Sunday morning attack.

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Renewal for the church

After releasing its first public statement in response to Vatican criticism, Leadership Conference of Women Religious president Sr. Pat Farrell did an exclusive interview with the National Catholic Reporter.

In the statement, you also say that the Vatican order has caused “scandal.” What is the nature of the scandal as you see it? How are you defining that?

I think the inference that many people could draw from the publication of the Vatican document is that we are unfaithful, that we are not in communion with the church. We really do not see ourselves in that way.

However, there are genuine questions that we bring -- the conversations that need to happen. And I think the outpouring of support that has been manifested across the country is another manifestation of that. There are conversations and questions that need to happen that are also shared by a lot of the laity of the church.

The insinuation that I think many people could draw from reading that Vatican document is that if we raise those questions, we’re unfaithful to the church. That’s not true. And I don’t think that’s really fair. I think, in fact, that that is a sign of our deepest faithfulness to the church -- questions that the people of God need to raise, that we need to talk about together in a climate of genuine dialog.

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