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Haiti's schools


A New York Times editorial today states: "A plan to build a new education system in Haiti is one of the most encouraging things to emerge from the rubble of the Jan. 12 earthquake. ... Nearly all primary schools in Haiti today are private; parents, eager to give their children a better life, pay dearly. Judging from Haiti’s high illiteracy and dropout rates and dire lack of qualified teachers, the system needs a complete overhaul."

Oh that makes it clearer


Organizers are not interested in "mocking religion" for its own sake. Oh well, now I understand.

Atheists campaign for 'right' to blaspheme religion

By Alfredo Garcia, Religion News Service

The Amherst, N.Y.-based Center for Inquiry (CFI) has changed the name of its International Blasphemy Day to International Blasphemy Rights Day in a bid to show that organizers are not interested in “mocking religion” for its own sake.

CFI representatives said the name change better describes the purpose of the event amidst criticism received after last year's inaugural events.

“There was a lot of controversy last year that we were doing what we were doing simply in the interest of mocking religion,” said CFI Spokesman Nathan Bupp. “That, indeed, is not the case.”

CFI bills itself as “an institution devoted to promoting science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.” International Blasphemy Rights Day is part of a larger, national campaign by CFI for freedom of expression.

Morning Briefing


The dirty (with pesticides) dozen


Choosing between eating local and organic is often confusing. For those committed to both supporting the local food production network and making it possible for small family farms to survive and eating food that is grown without chemicals, first choice is always local and organic.

But often the that choice is not available, due to the seasons or unavailability. For example, there are no local strawberries at a market but there are organic ones. What to do? Buy organic because strawberries are on a short list of foods that have a lot of pesticide residue when they are not organically grown. Since I can't get local, I get the organic variety for health reasons rather than for carbon footprint reasons.

If I'd been choosing a food that wasn't on the dirty dozen list below, I would choose local rather than organic because there wouldn't have been the personal health concern. In that case I would go for the lower carbon footprint.

Here is a list of foods that are worth buying organic over local, if you have to choose, because they carry more pesticides than other produce.

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Bell peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines

Catholic weddings in steep decline


This news come amid the uproar surrounding gay marriage:

"According to statistics from the Archdiocese of Boston, only 3,727 couples were married in Catholic churches last year, less than half the 8,343 marriages celebrated in 2000. Across the border in New Hampshire, figures from past years weren't immediately available, but church officials said the 403 weddings celebrated last year in the Diocese of Manchester also represented a steep decline."

Hope from the Bronx for a sane Catholic center


Overcoming polarization in the church often feels like the Catholic equivalent of bringing peace to the Middle East. Everybody pays lip service to it, and from time to time some bold new initiative is rolled out, but longtime combatants who have watched such efforts come and go generally feel in their bones that the reality is permanent war.

tIf peace is going to break out, therefore, it probably won’t be those veterans who make it happen.

Activists gather in Kansas City to resist nuclear weapons plant


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a saying from the movie Field of Dreams that's become an almost unrecognizable part of the popular lexicon: "If you build it, they will come."

Of course, in the film the phrase refers to a crazy scheme somehow pulled-off by the the main character: building a baseball diamond in the middle of an Iowa cornfield to allow long-dead ghosts of baseball greats to play the sport they loved for the first time in decades.

For the past two days I've seen something of that crazy scheme come alive -- just not exactly in the way that the builders in this particular case might have liked.

Coming from across the nation by bus, train, and caravan, 60 activists gathered this weekend here to resist the building of a new nuclear weapons production facility, scheduled to be the nation's first construction of such a site in 32 years.


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In This Issue

October 9-22, 2015


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