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Self-inflicted wounds of Ave Maria School of Law

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Mariah Blake, Editor of the Washington Monthly has just written an interesting profile on the rise and fall of Ave Maria school of law.

As Blake explains in an email: "Until a few years ago, the school—which was created with the help of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and other prominent conservatives—seemed poised to become a top-drawer institution. Its graduates had an astonishing 100 percent bar passage rate, and many went on to high-powered jobs and prestigious clerkships. Today it’s among the worst law schools in the country, if not the very worst, and appears to be on the verge of financial collapse."

The piece is a colorful yarn, involving a 250-foot crucifix, the Detroit Tigers, and a newly built town where Monaghan and his business partners control the government in perpetuity.

Financial secrecy, mismangement seen contributing to church decline

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The Archdiocese of Detroit is losing $42,000 daily and, according to a story in the Detroit Free Press, will be cutting staff and some of its losing real estate investments. There are, no doubt, many reasons for the decline of the church in this economically devastated area of the country.

But as NCR reported in Feb. 2006 and again in March 2007, financial secrecy and gross mismanagement are not least among them. Check out these NCR links:

-- NCR Feb. 2006 Joe Feuerherd article

-- NCR March 2007 Joe Feuerherd article

Summer of (Real) Discontent

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With the passing of Labor Day, summer-as-a-state-of-mind is officially over. And not a moment too soon.

Throughout the country, it has been a mean season of the center-not-holding. But while the rest of the population has been subjected to town hall madness and other prescriptions for political paranoia, the Left Coast (always on the social forefront) has taken a much deeper look down the hole.

Labor Day by the numbers

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These numbers come, with a nod to the Huffington Post, from the Economic Policy Institute::

TOTAL JOBS LOST DURING THE RECESSION: 6.9 MILLION

• New jobs needed per month to keep up with population growth: 127,000
• Jobs lost in August 2009: 216,000
• Jobs needed to regain pre-recession unemployment levels: 9.4 million
• Manufacturing jobs lost since the start of the recession: 2.0 million (14.6% of sector’s jobs)
• Construction jobs lost in the recession: 1.4 million (19%, nearly one in five construction jobs)
• Mass layoffs (50 or more people by a single employer) in July 2009: 2,157; jobs lost: 206,791

Catholic bishops ìto the leftî on health care. Really?

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That headline may surprise you, but according to Kevin Eckstrom, editor of Religion News Service, the basic position of the U.S. bishops' conference on health care, if you leave out the question of abortion -- a big asterisk -- is "to the left."

What Eckstrom means is this: They favor universal coverage as a human right and other basic reforms. He is quick to point out that some individual bishops have articulated views that sound more like standard Republican Party fare than the social justice teachings of the church. (I can’t help wondering, does that make them “Cafeteria Bishops?”)

Want to know more? Kevin was the lead guest on my radio program "Interfaith Voices" this week, discussing the religious dimensions of our health care debate overall. Included were the views of mainline Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, conservative Evangelicals and Christian Scientists.

Eckstrom also talks about the reasons he believes President Obama is reaching out to religious leaders on this question.

To hear the full interview, go to: http://www.interfaithradio.org/

Don't Trust The Doctors

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Eugene Robinson wrote some of the best commentaries on the election of President Barack Obama last year. But, this morning he addressed the issue of doctors and psychologists who participated in the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogations.” He writes: “Doctors and psychologists might have been able to prevent this whole shameful episode by refusing to participate. Instead, professionals who were trained in the healing arts used their experience and skill in a way that facilitated harm.”

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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