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Human rights lawyers: Prosecute Bush, former officials for torture

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George W. Bush’s newly published memoir, Decision Points, provides fodder for an ongoing criminal investigation of Bush administration officials, writes Bill Quigley in a recent column for The Huffington Post.

In his memoir the former president admits to authorizing the waterboarding of detainees, which is considered torture under international and U.S. law, notes Quigley, the legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice

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NCR has Cole Stangler, a Georgetown University student, covering the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice 2010, being held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Nov. 13-15. The weekend of study is to culminate Monday with a day of action on Capitol Hill.

Here's a recap of the events so far:

Organized by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, an organization promoting advocacy among students and alumni from Jesuit schools and ministries, this year’s Teach-in is the first to held in Washington D.C.

After years of holding the Teach-in at the School of the Americans in Fort Benning, Ga., ISN hopes to take advantage of this year’s location to engage in direct advocacy with Congress and other policymakers. The weekend’s theme is “Prophetic Lives: Caminando Juntos,” drawing inspiration from the Jesuit martyrs killed for their social justice work in El Salvador on Nov. 16, 1989.

Pope stresses the importance of agriculture

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In his remarks prior to praying the Angelus on Sunday, Nov. 15 Pope Benedict talked of the importance that work, especially agricultural work, has for human life.

Addressing thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square, the pope recalled how this question was highlighted in that Sunday's reading from St. Paul, and that in Italy the second Sunday of November is dedicated to thanking God for the end of the harvest. "Although I know that in other areas the farming seasons are different, I would like to draw from St.Paul 's words to reflect particularly on agricultural work", he said.

Pennsylvania diocese awarded $275,000 for technology programs

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Exciting news today from the Johnstown, Penn. Tribune-Democrat:

Six schools in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese will be expanding their technology programs, thanks to a state grant.

The diocese recently received a $273,000 competitive E-Fund grant, which was established by the state Department of Education, that assists in accelerating broadband deployment and creates collaboration opportunities between the schools. It also helps with purchasing services, hardware, technical assistance and distance education.

“We are the first nonpublic school system in the state to receive this funding, so that is quite significant,” said Don Layo, the diocese’s director of information technologies.

America, ever the same

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I learned this week that if you want a fresh perspective on American politics you need to help your daughter study for a high school history test.

My oldest daughter is taking Advanced Placement U.S. history, and asked me to help her study for a chapter test coming up. She'd written out key bullet points on index cards and handed me the stack to review with her. As I did, it became clear -- card after card -- that nothing changes in America, ever.

Is the Deficit Commission Serious?

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Kevin Drum of Mother Jones asks:

I've been trying to figure out whether I have anything to say about the "chairman's mark" of the deficit commission report that was released today. In a sense, I don't. This is not a piece of legislation, after all. ...

But the iron law of the news business is that if people are talking about it, then it matters. So this report matters, even though it's really nothing more than the opinion of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. So here's what I think of it, all contained in one handy chart from the Congressional Budget Office

Morning Briefing

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Remembering the veterans

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We can't let this Veteran's Day come to a close without drawing your attention to a series of stories written by NCR contributor Judy Gross. Earlier this fall, Judy's piece Spiritual leaders in the battle zones about military chaplains appeared (subhead: Deployed and stateside, military chaplains minister amid myriad pressures).

Judy's next piece in the series is about military families and will appear in the Nov. 26 print issue. A taste:

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