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Peace & Justice

$680 billion military budget an affront to God, the poor



President Obama signed into law Oct. 28 the $680 billion 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, the largest military spending bill of its kind. The bill includes $130 billion in funding for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and only modifies the military commissions system at Guantánamo Bay, rather than abolish it.

Afghan war flawed from start, says ethicist


Religion News Service

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University ethicist Stanley Hauerwas, a self-described Christian pacifist, is an expert on just war theory. As Hauerwas sees it, not only did Iraq and Afghanistan fail to meet the criteria of a just war, but neither did World War II. Now, as the Obama administration weighs its options in Afghanistan, Hauerwas, 69, remains decidedly pessimistic not only about American prospects, but also American morality. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Bishops revise directives on withdrawal of food, water

WASHINGTON -- A proposed revision to the directives that guide Catholic heath care facilities would clarify that patients with chronic conditions who are not imminently dying should receive food and water by "medically assisted" means if they cannot take them normally.

"As a general rule, there is an obligation to provide patients with food and water, including medically assisted nutrition and hydration for those who cannot take food orally," says the revised text of the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" proposed by the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine.

"This obligation extends to patients in chronic conditions (e.g., the 'persistent vegetative state') who can reasonably be expected to live indefinitely if given such care," the new text adds.

Deleted from the directives would be a reference to "the necessary distinctions between questions already resolved by the magisterium and those requiring further reflection, as, for example, the morality of withdrawing medically assisted hydration and nutrition from a person who is in the condition that is recognized by physicians as the 'persistent vegetative state.'"

Subsidizing poor eating habits


The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine posted on its Web site an easy-to-understand visual that shows which foods U.S. tax dollars go to support under the nation’s recently passed 2008 Farm Bill. Titled “Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?” it depicts two pyramids -- subsidized foods together with the recommended food pyramid for optimum nutrition and health.

Healthy eating vs. feeding the world


At the meeting of the G-20 in Pittsburgh last month, first lady Michelle Obama invited spouses of the world’s economic leaders to a dinner at Rosemont Farm in Fox Chapel, Pa. Owned by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Sen. John Kerry, the farm produces and raises chickens and cows. Salad greens and apples from the farm were also on the menu in addition to the farm’s sustainably raised meat.

Distressed homeowners seek mortgage salvation


New America Media

DALY CITY, CALIF. -- Some 5,000 homeowners descended Oct. 16 on the behemoth Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif., known for its rodeos and expos. But instead of entertainment, they came hoping for salvation from the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).



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