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KC Nuke Plant: Imagining Other Futures

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On October 6th Kansas City, Mo. community members held a press conference to highlight their opposition to the continued operation of the Kansas City Plant, a major nuclear weapons manufacturing center.

Located about 13 miles south of downtown Kansas City, Mo., the Kansas City Plant makes non-nuclear parts for the nation’s nuclear weapons. Parts like these comprise about 85% of each nuclear weapon in the country.

“We want the government to shift its priorities,” said Jay Marx. “Instead of making bombs, we should be making things that are helping human needs.” Marx is on a national speaking tour as the Campaign Coordinator for Proposition 1 in 2010, a grassroots movement for the conversion of nuclear and other arms industries.

Allen interviews Archbishop Wilton Gregory

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NCR senior correspondent John L Allen Jr is in Rome covering the Synod for Africa. If you haven't been following his daily postings on this blog, you have missed some very interesting -- and important -- journalism. Here's an index of the stories he has filed so far.

As John reported Friday, there's a whole gaggle of other church people in Rome right now because of the synod, because of last weekends canonizations and ... well just because, I guess. I think that John is trying to talk to everyone who is there. He has caught many good interviews.

John spoke to Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory yesterday. They spoke mostly about the Synod for Africa, but John also asked Gregory two questions about the American scene.

Looking at church's impact on Africa, Ghana archbishop says: 'We have failed'

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

Here’s an exercise to try sometime: Find any random cross-section of twenty people who know something about Catholicism in Africa, and ask them to tick off five names of the most impressive African bishops they know. The odds are fairly good that the name of Archbishop Charles (“Call me Charlie”) Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, will surface with some frequency.

Palmer-Buckle, 59, is taking part in the Synod for Africa as a papal appointment. A leader in peace efforts in Ghana and a veteran of the international Catholic scene through his work with groups such as Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Relief Services, Palmer-Buckle is widely considered to be among the heavyweights of his generation in the African hierarchy.

Kudos to Catholic Charities' Maggiano

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Monica Castillo Maggiano, director of Catholic Charities USA's Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America, has been honored as one of 12 individuals nationwide selected to be part of the Independent Sector's first-ever class of American Express NGen Fellows.

Just launched at the beginning of October, the American Express NGen Fellows Program is designed to help build the next generation of nonprofit and
philanthropic leaders.

Congrats to Ms. Maggiano.

Simple steps to save energy

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This simple stuff will save energy -- and money -- right now.

Unplug

Unplug seldom-used appliances, like an extra refrigerator in the basement or garage that contains just a few items. You may save around $10 every month on your utility bill.

Unplug your chargers when you're not charging. Every house is full of little plastic power supplies to charge cell phones, PDA's, digital cameras, cordless tools and other personal gadgets. Keep them unplugged until you need them.

Use power strips to switch off televisions, home theater equipment, and stereos when you're not using them. Even when you think these products are off, together, their "standby" consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.

Set Computers to Sleep and Hibernate

Enable the "sleep mode" feature on your computer, allowing it to use less power during periods of inactivity. In Windows, the power management settings are found on your control panel. Mac users, look for energy saving settings under system preferences in the apple menu.

What to do with E-waste

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Our increased reliance on personal technology -- laptops, cell phones, computer monitors, printers -- has resulted in vast quantities of garbage in landfills that could have been reused or recycled. Two million tons of tech trash ended up in landfills in 2005, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and only about 380,000 tons were recycled. If Americans recycled the more than 100 million cell phones that are no longer used, the amount of energy saved would be enough to power approximately 18,500 U.S. households for one year.

Some of the materials in personal electronics, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, are hazardous and can release dangerous toxins into our air and water when burned or deposited in landfills improperly. And throwing away metal components, like the copper, gold, silver and palladium in cell phones and other electronics, leads to needless mining for new metals.

Consumers, manufacturers and retailers can all help ensure that older electronics find new homes or new uses. The resources below will help you recycle, donate or resell your unwanted gadgets and keep them out of the waste stream.

RECYCLE

From 2004-2008, At Least 85,000 Iraqis Killed

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The Associated Press is reporting today that the Iraqi government has released an official tally of the number of people killed from 2004-2008.

According to the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry 85,694 were killed and 147,195 were wounded during that period.

Other sources have placed the numbers of killed and wounded since the invasion in 2003 much higher.

Iraq Body Count, an online project to record the number of casualties, places the number of documented civilian deaths since then between 93,540 and 102,071. A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health released in 2006 placed the number of killed as high as 654,965.

Ending mountaintop coal removal

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The Sierra Club this week released a groundbreaking new report that reaffirms the economic benefits of ending mountaintop removal coal mining and transitioning to clean energy sources in Appalachia.

The report shows that America can have affordable electricity without mountaintop removal because many factors contribute to the cost of electricity, with coal prices playing just one small part.

According to the report:

Ending mountaintop removal would have a negligible effect on electricity prices in the eastern United States, where mountaintop removal coal is currently burned.
We have an abundance of cost-effective alternatives to mountaintop removal coal.
Other types of mining in Appalachia employ more workers.
Mountaintop removal coal mining costs state budgets more than it generates.
Mountaintop removal destroys clean energy sources.

Hearing the cry of women at the African Synod

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tAs the Synod of Bishops for Africa reaches its midway point, its key themes seem to include empowering women (both in the broader society and the church), a perceived Western assault on the African family, globalization and it discontents (especially chronic poverty), and dialogue with Islam.

tThe fate of women, in particular, seems a major preoccupation.

t“The synod fathers have heard the cry of women,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana yesterday, noting that cry “has been echoed” by some of the women taking part in the African Synod itself.

t“Women need to be recognized in society as well as in the church as active members,” he said.

tTurkson, who is serving as the general secretary of the synod, yesterday delivered a speech technically known as the relation post disceptationem, or the “report after the discussion.”

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