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Death by design: border crossers dying in greater numbers

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The Rev. John Fife, an immigrants' rights activist based in Tucson, Ariz., calls it "death by design." He's referring to the policy by immigration officials of sealing off traditional border crossing areas, leaving immigrants with no choice but to cross from Mexico into the United States in the most dangerous of areas. Fife's long-held observation has proven right once again. People forced to cross the border through mountains, canyons and other lethal areas are dying in ever greater numbers.

A new report from the Tucson-based Coalicion de Derechos Humanos indicates a dramatic increase in the number of human remains recovered on the Arizona-Sonora border. Between Oct. 1, 2009, and Jan. 31, 2010, the remains of 61 people have been recovered. This is a dramatic increase over the same period a year ago, when the total of recovered remains was 45. This year's count includes 40 males, four females and 17 individuals of unknown gender.

According to the Derechos Humanos press release:

Feb. 26, Bl. Robert Drury, Priest, Martyr

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Today is the feast of Bl. Robert Drury, a priest who was martyred at Tyburn in 1607.

Robert Drury was born in Buckinghamshire c.1567. He went to Rheims to study for the priesthood and then to Valladolid. In 1593, he was ordained and returned to England.

He ministered in secret in London for a number of years, often staying at a safe house where St. Anne Line (whose feast day is tomorrow) sheltered priests.

Berrigan gives advice to the next generation of activists

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As a younger person interested in trying to live a life of witness to the Gospel, there are some experienced heroes and heroines I would love the chance to talk with - to hear their stories and advice for ways to make it through the hard times. None more so than Daniel Berrigan, the Jesuit priest who became famous (or infamous) for his witness burning the files of a draft office in Cantonsville with eight others in 1968.

To my envy Jenn Svetlik over at Sojourners Magazine recently had that chance. In an interview with Berrigan in their current issue, Svetlik touches upon his life, his understanding of community, and his advice to younger people.

Here's my favorite snippet from Berrigan:

Scientology investigates the investigators

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Tip 'o the hat to the Religion News service blog for this one:

A church hiring journalists to investigate a newspaper?

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported on Monday that the Church of Scientology has hired three prize-winning journalist to go sleuthing in the St. Pete Times after the paper published a scathing multi-part series on the religion's leaders last summer.

Neil Brown, the Times' executive editor, told Kurtz that he "couldn't take this request very seriously because its a study bought and paid for by the Church of Scientology."

Brown also said that he's "surprised and disappointed that journalists who I understand to have an extensive background in investigative reporting would think it's appropriate to ask me or our news organization to talk about that reporting while (a) it's ongoing, and (b) while they're being paid to ask these questions by the very subjects of our reporting."

Read more here.

The health care summit

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Like many other places, I am sure, our office TV is set on the White House Health Care Summit. As the president and congressional leaders jockey for position, CNN has very interesting polling data:

Washington (CNN) – Although the overall health care reform bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate are unpopular, many of the provisions in the existing bills are extremely popular, even among Republicans, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday also indicates that only a quarter of the public want Congress to stop all work on health care, with nearly three quarters saying lawmakers should pass some kind of reform.

It seems to me that the bottom line is that the majority of Americans want the health care system reformed. That really is the consensus.

The desire for reform has been thwarted by partisan politics. That is what this summit has to overcome, but at noon central time, there isn't much evidence that is happening. At least not on TV.

Start looking for local

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As we look ahead to March and a new growing season, start to plan now for locally grown foods: 1) Look for locally grown vegetables in your grocery stores. 2) Find out when your local farmers market will open -- and plan to walk or bike there if you can. 3) Consider joining a "CSA" (community supported agriculture) that will deliver local produce from early Spring to late Fall.

These ideas come from the Lenten Carbon Fast Calendar, a listing of simple actions that may put you in the spirit of caring for Creation and the world-wide community:
http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Lenten-Carbon-Fast-Calendar-2010.pdf

Take action on climate change and energy legislation

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There is high speculation that Senate leaders will make a push on climate change and energy legislation, perhaps soon to avoid political posturing before campaigning for November elections is in full force. The USCCB recently sent out an action alert, reminding us that climate change is at the center of the environmental challenges facing our nation and the world:

"Our response to global climate change raises fundamental questions of morality and justice,fairness andshared sacrifice.People living in poverty - both at home and abroad - contribute least to climatechange but they are likely to suffer its worst consequences with few resources to adapt and respond."

The impacts of climate change -- increased temperatures, rising sea levels,and changes in rainfall that contribute to more frequent and severe floods and droughts -- are making the lives of the world's poorest even more precarious

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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