The Boston Globe reports that Howard Zinn, historian and bestselling author of The People's History of the United States, has died at the age of 87.
Mashable, a website dedicated to social media news, is reporting that over 20,000 people have logged onto the White House Facebook page to ask the president to rethink his Afghanistan strategy in advance of the State of the Union speech tonight.
At the site users can leave comments for the President which can then be viewed by others worldwide. The basic script of the comments looks like this:
“President Obama, I am one of more than 20,000 signers of this petition from Rethink Afghanistan: ‘In your State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, I want you to provide a concrete exit strategy for our troops in Afghanistan that begins no later than July 2011 and which completes a withdrawal of combat troops no later than July 1, 2012.’
I just received word that Sr. Mary Daniel Turner, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, long time executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and one of the great leaders of the renewal after the Second Vatican Council, died peacefully this morning, Jan. 27, at 4 a.m.
As Jane Burke, also a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, said simply in her notice: “As with the dying of Mary Luke Tobin last year, a great tree has fallen.”
May their strong and courageous spirits live on.
A heart-breaking story about the children of Haiti, but one that impels immediate and long-term attention.
"Haiti’s children, 45 percent of the population, are among the most disoriented and vulnerable of the survivors of the earthquake. By the many tens of thousands, they have lost their parents, their homes, their schools and their bearings. They have sustained head injuries and undergone amputations. They have slept on the street, foraged for food and suffered nightmares."
Florida’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow will be starring in an ad during the Super Bowl but he won’t be talking about football. Instead, he and his Mom will be talking about abortion. Tebow’s mother had a difficult pregnancy and evidently considered procuring an abortion but she carried the child to term and gave birth to Tim. The ad will be paid for by the rightwing group Focus on the Family.
This is not Tebow’s first step beyond the normal limits of football player commentary, which is generally limited to a discussion of why a certain pass play worked or how the other team’s defense managed ten sacks. Throughout the year, Tebow would write a biblical verse in the eye black that football players place under their eyes to cut down on glare. I always find it demeaning to the scriptures anytime someone uses the Good Book in a facile way, but we make allowances for youth and Mr. Tebow is young.
Last Saturday, Jan. 23, the Washington Post ran an informative article about the quest for women's ordination in the Catholic church. The major photo featured Bridget Mary Meehan, one of the women bishops in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. But the article was wide ranging, exploring many facets of the topic.
Sylvia Mulherin, 69, a former nun and music director at St. Leo's Parish in Fairfax, Va., was quoted as saying this: "Jesus was progressive in his treatment of women but, over time, men unjustly pushed women out. Maybe the women don't have to come in the back door, but we still have to sit in the pews."
The very next day, she was told to tender her resignation immediately!
In a message she sent to her choir members and colleagues, she said:
"My sole point is that I believe women have not achieved true equality in the Church and this fact deserves further consideration by the Church's leadership. This position is apparently unacceptable in the Diocese of Arlington."
I heard today from a parishioner who is appalled and saddened by this. His children were in her music class and loved her.
Faith leaders urge Obama to make health care reform happen. See the statement here.
Reinhard Marx, the Catholic archbishop of Munich and Freising in Germany (a position Pope Benedict held from 1977 to 1981), will be on a panel this week at the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. http://www.weforum.org/en/index.htm
The panel is on “Restoring Faith in Economics.” Joining Marx on the panel are Niall Ferguson, a Harvard Business School professor, and Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Anglican archbishop in South Africa. Ruth Simmon, president of Brown University, will moderate, according to Sarah Kidwell, a spokeswoman for the university in Providence, Rhode Island.
One wonders why a Catholic archbishop would attend such a tony event among the global elite. A few mouse clicks later and it's clear: Marx wrote a book titled, "Das Kapital: A Plea for Man", published in October 2008, in which he criticizes capitalism and highlights Catholic social teaching.
Retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor yestereay said last week's Supreme Court decision striking down restrictions on corporate spending in elections will energize an "arms race" in judicial elections, threatening an independent judiciary.
O'Connor said the decision will effect an overwhelming number of states and localities that elect judges.
"In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon," O'Connor said at a symposium at Georgetown Law Center.
She noted that each election cycle brings new spending records in judicial races.
This from the Vatican Information Service this morning:
A communique made public yesterday afternoon (Jan. 26) explains that the stamp is dedicated to the 1500th anniversary of the shrine of Our Lady of Grace, better known as the shrine of Mentorella, located in the Italian region of Lazio.
The series of 900,000 stamps, each with a face value of 0.65 euros, will be sold for 0.85 euros, though their postal value will remain 0.65 euros.
The 0.20 euros surplus will be used to aid victims of the earthquake. According to estimates of the Governorate of Vatican City State, if almost the entire series is sold some 150,000 euros will be collected.