The Common Good

Blog Posts By QR Blog Editor

Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 2 weeks ago
Last month's job report shows 16 percent of young adults who consistently seek full-time employment are unable to find work. The report shows that a high number of well-educated, trained, and productive youths are among those getting denied the opportunity for a better future. The Guardian reports:High youth unemployment causes immediate and long-term economic damage. It means young adults take longer to get married, buy homes and begin families. In the long run, it means slower economic growth and lower tax receipts. Countries with prolonged high levels of youth unemployment risk social instability.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 2 weeks ago
House Speaker John Boehner promised today that the House will hold a vote over whether to delay a key part of Obamacare. Politico reports:The GOP’s message is that President Barack Obama is choosing big business over ordinary Americans after the White House postponed a provision that requires employers provide health insurance for their workers.The Speaker also called the Administration's actions "wrong" and "outrageous." Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 3 weeks ago
Through the removal of financial restrictions tacked onto certain marriage policies, President Barack Obama brings hope to low-income couples by acknowledging the financial and moral benefits marriage can have on America's society. Politico reports:Most benefits for low-income families phase out as income rises. Taken separately, these reductions are understandable and reasonable. But combined, they effectively act as high tax rates — reducing take-home pay for low-income workers — and create a disincentive to work harder. Low-income families can thus find themselves in a situation where receiving a raise or promotion results in losing more in benefits than they receive in additional earnings.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 3 weeks ago
The month of July stands as an important time for Congress as members of the House and Senate attempt to make decisions about six major U.S. issues.  Some vital decisions that need to be agreed upon before next month’s recess involve: immigration reform, student loan debates, budget planning, and fiscal issues. The Washington Post reports:Significant debates await the House and Senate in the coming weeks over a new budget, a new farm bill, federally-subsidized student loans, several key Obama administration nominees and an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, which remains the year’s biggest political fight.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 3 weeks ago
Egypt's military forcefully seized power from President Morsi on Wednesday. An emergency meeting of top civialian and religious leaders has convened to create an interim government and plan for  new elections. The whereabouts of Mr. Morsi remain unknown. The New York Times reports:The developments followed the lapse of a 48-hour deadline imposed by the military generals on the increasingly isolated president to meet the demands of millions of Egyptians disaffected with the one-year-old governance of Mr. Morsi, the first democratically elected leader of Egypt.Read more here.WATCH LIVE: Live video from your Android device on Ustream
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 3 weeks ago
In order to gain substantial backing in the 2014 midterm election, Republicans are beginning to flaunt major environmental and economic issues regarding President Barack Obama’s climate change policies.The New York Times reports:Elected officials and political analysts said the president’s crackdown on coal, the leading source of industrial greenhouse gases, could have consequences for Senate seats being vacated by retiring Democrats in West Virginia and South Dakota, for shaky Democratic incumbents like Mary L. Landrieu of energy-rich Louisiana, and for the Democratic challenger of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 3 weeks ago
Following last week's Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8, social ideals within the Republican Party are being brought to the forefront as Republican’s begin to strategize ways to gain support for the 2016 election. The Associated Press reports:At the same time, the Supreme Court rulings supporting gay marriage attracted broad criticism from most 2016 hopefuls, though Paul suggested that Republicans need to "agree to disagree on some of these issues." That foreshadows likely fissures ahead, as Republican contenders face increasing pressure to show more tolerance toward gay marriage with many Republican voters in their 20s, 30s and 40s calling for acceptance.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 4 weeks ago
Religious leaders from across the country revealed their thoughts on yesterday’s DOMA and Prop. 8 decisions. Stating both good and bad opinions, religious leaders touched on various viewpoints and shared examples of how yesterday’s decisions will affect the future of religion across the United States. USA Today reports:Religious leaders on opposing ends of the gay-marriage debate alternately referred to Wednesday as a tragic and a celebratory day after the Supreme Court's decisions on two same-sex marriage cases.But the traditional religious opponents of gay marriage remained steadfastly against the rulings, condemning them as far reaching and inconsistent with religious principles.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 4 weeks ago
With only hours left until the Senate releases the final tally of those in favor of immigration reform, House Speaker John Boehner and others prepare as controversial issues are bound to arise at the July 10 “closed-door” conference. The Daily Beast reports:The closed-door powwow promises to be an electrifying exercise in spleen venting, thrust upon them by their Senate brethren. At some point in the next day or two, the upper chamber is expected to pass its sprawling, blood-sweat-and-tears-drenched overhaul of our FUBAR immigration system. In the run-up to voting, Hill watchers have been aflutter over whether the bill can pull enough Republican support to hit 70 “yeas”—maybe even 71! A procedural test vote Monday topped out at a mildly disappointing 67 (including 15 Rs). But the last-minute horse-trading continues, and reform advocates remain optimistic that the final tally will be big and bipartisan enough to goose the House into passing something similarly sweeping.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 4 weeks ago
Debating whether immigrants will have a positive or negative effect on the United States’ economy, various political groups are arguing their viewpoints and analyzing a number of fiscal pros and cons that would stem from the passage of the immigration bill. The New York Times reports:An overhaul of immigration law would reduce the federal deficit. That’s the conclusion of a broad range of studies, from the libertarian Cato Institute to the conservative American Action Forum to the liberal Center for American Progress. Wait, it would really increase the deficit. That’s the analysis of the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Immigration Studies. But hang on a second. Immigrants have little impact on the federal deficit. That’s what the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development thinks.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 4 weeks ago
Famous author C.S. Lewis was recognized for his fictional representation of God/Jesus in the celebrated novel, Chronicles of Narnia. As his theological explanation of Christianity continues to play out, nearly 50 years after his death, Lewis’ legacy of “Narnia” remains resourceful for people in a time of need. The New York Times reports:But the text for which Lewis is best known is his “Chronicles of Narnia.” And what “Narnia” offers is not theological simplicity, but complexity. The God represented in these books is not quite real (it’s fiction) and yet more real than the books pretend (that’s not a lion, it’s God). That complexity may help people to hang on to faith in a secular society, when they need a God who is in some ways insulated from human doubt about religion.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 4 weeks ago
President Barack Obama revealed his approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project during his climate change speech on Tuesday. With the effort to reduce carbon pollution, Obama has agreed to move forward with the process providing that the Keystone XL pipeline doesn’t release an increasing amount of greenhouse gasses into the environment.  The Hill reports:“Our national interest will be served only if this project doesn't significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” Obama said in speech laying out his second-term climate agenda, including greenhouse gas emissions for power plants.“The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project can go forward.”Read more here.  
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 4 weeks ago
The Supreme Court this morning struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, 5-4, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in states.From the opinion: "DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government. The Constitution’s guarantee of equality 'must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot' justify disparate treatment of that group."Read the full opinion here.Following the court's announcement, President Barack Obama Tweeted his support.  The Washington Post reports:“The federal statute is invalid,” wrote Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion, “for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”Read more here.Also on Wednesday, in another 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the appeal to the lower court's decision overturning California's Proposiion 8 — the state ballot measure that ruled that only marriage between a man and a woman would be recognized — had no standing, in effect, allowing same-sex marriage to continue on the state. Read the opinion here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
With hopes to reduce mass amounts of pollution, President Obama has begun forming a list of ideas to condense the amount of carbon dioxide entering earth’s atmosphere. He plans to act quickly as such a process could take years to accomplish. The New York Times reports:The administration has already begun steps to restrict climate-altering emissions from any newly built power plants, but imposing carbon standards on the existing utility fleet would be vastly more costly and contentious.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
Throughout the years, authors and academic scholars have studied and revealed their opinions of whether economic equality is in fact possible in the United States. A variety of them pose the question of whether or not social struggles in the U.S. stem from economic injustices, or from the lack of our own moral responsibility. The New York Times reports:With the blessing of the new right, Krueger argues, corporate America has abandoned its commitment to the commonweal over the past three decades. It no longer honors norms of fairness and equality. To Krueger, it is in the economic sphere that American integrity has been eroded and its ideals corrupted.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
In an attempt to attract conservative voters, undecided senators, and Republicans, talks of doubling border patrol security is in the works. Increasing border patrol security from 21,000 agents, to 42,000 agents, members of the Gang of Eight and Republicans, Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota have come together and created a package plan to entice conservative’s support for the passing of the immigration bill. Politico reports:Strengthening border security had long been the major impediment to attracting conservative votes, and a compromise that resolves the issue would significantly improve chances for passage of the overall bill.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
In an attempt to rebuild the image of the five gulf states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, federal and state officials have joined forces on their journey to replenish the damage from 2010's BP oil-well tragedy. Talks of baseball stadiums, sea walls, and donations to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council are among the many entities who will benefit from President Obama’s Restore Act signed last year. The New York Times reports:The money will mostly be split among the states and a new entity, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, composed of state and federal officials. There are already plenty of ideas among the states for spending the cash, including constructing a sea wall around the city jail in Mobile, Ala., and deepening shipping channels. Biloxi, Miss., is using money already given to the state by BP to build a baseball stadium.Here’s another idea: the states and the council should require that a nickel of every dollar they control be used to buy and protect coastal marshes and wetlands. It is the most important thing they can do to help the gulf survive the next oil spill.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
Voters in Arizona celebrated yesterday after the Supreme Court dismissed parts of Proposition 200 — the requirement that made people of Arizona provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Although parts of Prop 200 remain intact, yesterday’s ruling was considered a step in the right direction for voters and immigrants across our nation. The Nation reports:The Supreme Court defended voting rights yesterday when it struck down Arizona’s requirement to present proof of citizenship when registering to vote. But while the decision relieves registrants of an unnecessary burden, the rest of the proposition that brought it into being remains intact. Arizona’s Proposition 200 attacks not only voters but immigrants as well. Despite a win for voting rights yesterday, undocumented immigrants will remain especially vulnerable under the law.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
"Obamacare" continues to be at the forefront of our nation’s health care epidemic. A recent report from PwC shows falling numbers within the system that are due to affect the overall cost of health care policies next year. Despite PwC’s report that the costs of health care are lower than years prior, critics claim that costs still aren’t where they need to be. The Associated Press reports:For years U.S. health care spending has grown much faster than the overall economy and workers' wages, but since the recession those annual increases have slowed dramatically. The debate now is whether that's a continuing trend. The answer will be vitally important, not only for companies and their employees, but for taxpayers who foot the bill for government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Obama's coverage expansionRead more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
Could drone surveillance be the answer to conservative’s immigration uncertainties? Republican senators got together Monday to discuss their ideas on how to ensure tight security between the U.S.-Mexico border if in fact the immigration bill were to pass. Putting into action their notions to strengthen homeland security, Republican senators shared their ideas with a plan to get conservative’s on board with their proposals. Reuters reports:The proposal is aimed at a satisfying calls by Republicans for further steps to secure the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the legislation currently being debated in the U.S. Senate that would grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants already in the United States.It could include provisions for deploying high-tech surveillance equipment and other specifics, according to congressional sources and people close to the talks.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
President Barack Obama is expected to call upon lawmakers and Congress Tuesday as he asks for their support in backing his measures concerning gun safety. In the wake of announcing 21 of 23 tasks completed on the “executive to-do list,” Obama is hoping for funding as conversations about gun safety continue. The Los Angeles Times reports:Administration officials say there has been progress on several actions taken by Obama under executive authority, including directives to end the freeze on gun violence research and to reduce barriers that keep states from submitting records to the national background system.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 6 weeks ago
In an effort to close down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, President Barack Obama has called to action one of Washington’s most resourceful lawyers, Clifford Sloan. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are confident in their decision to employ Sloan as the State Department's envoy for Guantanamo's closure. The Huffington Post reports:"It will not be easy, but if anyone can effectively navigate the space between agencies and branches of government, it's Cliff," Kerry said. "He's someone respected by people as ideologically different as Kenneth Starr and Justice Stevens, and that's the kind of bridge-builder we need to finish this job."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 6 weeks ago
In order to stand a chance of the Presidency in the 2016 election, the Republican Party should not obstruct the ideas of an immigration overhaul, says Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Potential presidential candidate Marco Rubio is in favor of immigration reform as long as minor changes are made to the measure. The Guardian reports:"The vast majority of Americans, the vast majority of conservative Republicans are prepared to support immigration reform, but only if we can ensure that we're not going to have another wave of illegal immigration in the future," said Rubio, a Florida senator and potential 2016 presidential Republican contender. "I think 95, 96% of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go. But there are elements that need to be improved."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 6 weeks ago
Eleven years after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, more than 50,000 people rested in homeless shelters and on the streets of New York City last night — nearly 45 percent of which were children. As numbers have reached an astonishing height within shelter population, New Yorkers are hoping the next mayor elected will provide permanent shelter and resources for families and children in need. The New York Times reports:The next mayor will have to do better by them than Mr. Bloomberg. He once proposed energetic and aggressive initiatives on behalf of the homeless. Now he speaks of them with resentment: “You can arrive in your private jet at Kennedy Airport,” the mayor said recently, “take a private limousine and go straight to the shelter system and walk in the door and we’ve got to give you shelter.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 6 weeks ago
Paul Rand quoted scripture and used biblical principles as he made his case against excessive American engagement overseas. He quoted Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Paul also stressed the military should be used sparingly. Politico reports:“I can recall no utterance of Jesus in favor of war or any acts of aggression,” Paul said at a kickoff luncheon for the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference. “In fact, his message to his disciples was one of non-resistance.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 6 weeks ago
In a push to revive the push to extend background checks, Mayors Against Illegal Guns organized the 100-day bus tour, called "No More Names: The National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence. Members of the tour will meet with families across the country to discuss gun control proposals. Advocates hope to have new gun-control legislation before Congress goes on recess in August. USA Today reports:"When senators vote down a bill with such overwhelming support among the public, there is going to be that sense of outrage, and we've seen that persist since April 17," said John Feinblatt, chief policy adviser to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 6 weeks ago
Republican's recently hired its former South Carolina chairman to lead engagement with evangelicals, even though 79 percent of evangelicals voted for Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. The Washington Post lists four reasons why the GOP is continuning to reach out to evangelicals.1. They need to - A lot of the faith community did not vote in the last election. This hurt the Republican party because 65 percent of evangelical voters identified with or leaned toward the Republican Party in 2008.2. Mending fences - Republicans will have to communicate to the religious community a bit differently as the culture changes around hot button issues like same sex marriage and immigration.3. New alliances - Republicans must unite economic conservatives, pro-defense hawks, anti-Washington libertarians and religious (mostly evangelical) conservatives to win elections.4. Competition from Democrats - Democrats have put more effort into their faith outreach in the last two elections.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 7 weeks ago
When the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline split open in late March it spilled 210,000 gallons of oil into a small Arkansas town. The spill galvanized opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline, who cited its planned path through major rivers and aquifers. Activists say TransCanada, which would build and operate the pipeline, underestimate the size of potential spills."I don't agree with people who say a spill into the aquifer will ruin the whole aquifer. It would ruin a very small piece, but it's important if that's your small piece," John Stansbury, a University of Nebraska professor of environmental and water resources engineering. "But if it got into a major river, it could create a plume hundreds of miles long."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 7 weeks ago
Colorado became the eighth U.S. state to grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants on Wednesday. Applicants must show they live in Colorado, have filed a state income tax return, and provide proof of their identity from their home country. The Colorado law will go into effect on August 1, 2014, and licenses must be renewed every three years. Reuters reports:"Our roads will be safer when we can properly identify everyone who drives on them," Democratic state Senator Jessie Ulibarri said. "We estimate that thousands more Colorado drivers will get insured because of this law."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 7 weeks ago
On Wednesday during his weekly address, Pope Francis condemned consumerism and the "culture of waste" especially pertaining to food. Wednesday was also the day the United Nations launched an anti-food waste campaign to mark World Environment Day. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organizatio estimates 1.3 billion tons of food are lost or wasted every year. The Washington Post reports:“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry,” he said during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 7 weeks ago
In a New York Times op-ed, Mark Bittman writes about the hyprocrisy of congressional representatives who use the Farm Bill to cut SNAP yet also recieves thousands in USDA farm subsidies and direct payments. The current version of the House farm bill proposes $20 billion in cuts to SNAP. Bittman suggests an alternative solution."In other words, without hurting conservation or poor people or foreign aid or progressive and traditional farming, you could achieve targeted savings simply by letting direct payments go away and refusing to boost the crop insurance scam."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 7 weeks ago
John Boehner's future political aspirations could be a big deciding factor in his stance on immigration and the debt ceiling. If Boehner plans continues as speaker of the House in 2015, he may not be willing to compromise with the White House and Senate on immigration and the debt ceiling. If he plans on retiring, he may want to preserve his legacy by participating in a grand bargain to pass immigration reform and solve America's debt and spending issues. The Washington Post reports:“Debt ceiling/tax reform/entitlement reform deals are all major legacies for him,” said one longtime Republican House insider. “Retirement may look more appealing if they come together, in some form of victory.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 7 weeks ago
Thomas Tidwell, the chief of the United States Forest Service, told Congress hotter, dried conditions produced by climate change are causing America's longer wildfire season and increasing the amount of land burned. Since 2000, the forest service has almost doubled its spending on fighting fires from $540 million to $1 billion last year. The Guardian reports:"Hotter, drier, a longer fire season, and lot more homes that we have to deal with," Tidwell told the Guardian following his appearance. "We are going to continue to have large wildfires."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 8 weeks ago
California is the facing a new challenge: getting young adults to enroll in the Affordable Care Act.  More than 2 million Californians, ages 19 to 34, are uninsured. Getting these individuals enrolled is crucial to balancing the cost of older, sicker patients. The state is developing media strategies to specifically target young adults and encourage to them buy insurance. The Los Angeles Times reports:The success of the healthcare law "depends on reaching everyone who is uninsured, but particularly young people who may feel like they don't need insurance," said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 8 weeks ago
The Sierra Club, BlueGreen Alliance and Greenpeace have come out in support comprehensive immigration reform measures. The groups believe the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States today could be supportive of future green initiatives. Politico reports:“Right now, there are 11 million people who don’t have the tools, who can’t act without fear. They can’t vote. They can’t engage in the public process. They can’t advocate for clean energy without the threat of deportation,” Michael Brune, Sierra Club's executive director, [said]. “Nobody should live under those circumstances.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 8 weeks ago
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is buidling grassroots organizations across the country. After setbacks in Congress, the coalition is shifting its focus to local politicians and state legislatures. The coalition faces an uphill battle in many states against well-organized networks of gun enthusiasts, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to continue the fight. The New York Times reports:“We don’t give up,” said John Feinblatt, who oversees Mayors Against Illegal Guns and serves as Mr. Bloomberg’s chief policy adviser. “We’re here for the long haul.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 8 weeks ago
A new study from the Violence Policy Center found you are more likely to die from gun violence than be killed in a traffic accident in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Motor vehicle fatality are on the decline because of safety measures instituted by the government. Firearms remain as the only consumer product not regulated by a federal agency. The Huffington Post reports:Overall, there were 31,672 firearm deaths in 2010 and 35,498 motor vehicle deaths. Compare these numbers to 1999, when there were 28,874 firearm deaths and 42,624 motor vehicle deaths.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 8 weeks ago
Researchers at Harvard Medical School found immigrants contributed $115 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund over a seven-year period. In 2009 alone, immigrants contributed $13.9 billion more to Medicare than they used. The report encouraged allowing legal status for undocumented immigrants to help offset health care costs in America. USA Today reports:"The assumption that immigrants are just a drain has been a part of the argument that people should be denied services," said Leah Zallman, lead researcher and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. "Immigration policy has been closely linked to Medicare's finances."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 8 weeks ago
Although the Census Bureau has reported that 15 percent of Americans live in poverty, when assets and wages are factored in half of Americans are below or near poverty line. Alternet has compiled a list of five reasons poverty affects so many Americans.1. Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009 - In 2009 47% of Americans has more debt than assets.2. It’s Even Worse 3 Years Later - An  OECD report states that “inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve,” with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries.3. Based on wage figures, half of Americans are in or near poverty - The highest wage in the bottom half of earners is about $34,000. To be eligible for food assistance, a family can earn up to about $30,000 for a family of four.4. Based on household expense totals, poverty is creeping into the top half of America - After taxes and expenses, a family making $60,000 a year is left with nothing except debt.5. Putting it in Perspective -  While food support was being targeted for cuts, just 20 rich Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire  2012 SNAP (food assistance) budget, which serves 47 million people.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
A group of priests and nuns, some of whom were assaulted as children, has quietly been gathering to publically urge the pope and American bishops to "clean house" on sexual abuse in the church. Many members in the group, though vocal on sexual abuse cases in the past, did not know eachother until last year, when a laywoman brought them together for as a "confidential support group."The New York Times reports:Their aim, they say, is to support both victims and fellow whistle-blowers, and identify shortcomings in church policies. They hope to help not just minors, but also adults who fall prey to clergy who exploit their power for sex. They say that their motivation is to make the church better and safer, and to show the world that there are good priests and nuns in the church.“We’ve dedicated our lives to the church,” the Rev. John Bambrick, a priest in the Diocese of Trenton, said at a meeting of the group last week in New York. “Having sex offenders in ministry is damaging to our ministry.”&nbsminp;Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
A massive tornado swept through the town of Moore, Okla., on Monday afternoon, destroying homes and hitting two elementary schools. Emergency crews were rushing to the scenes to rescue staff and students trapped in the debris. One MSNBC report indicated at least 75 children and staff were trapped in one of the schools. From MSNBC: Two elementary schools were heavily damaged, possibly completely destroyed, KFOR reported. Those schools are Briarwood Elementary in Oklahoma City and Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore.It was unknown how many children may have been in the schools when the twister hit, but a KFOR reporter saw a student being rescued from Plaza Towers, where the roof was blown off and the cinderblock walls demolished.Read more HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
A week after reaching a five-year low, Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose by 32,000. This is the highest level in six weeks. Although the job market has improved in the lat six months, unemployment applications continue to fluctuate each week. The Associated Press reports:"The underlying story in jobless claims continues to be one of gradual improvement," said Julia Coronado, an economist at BNP Paribas. Coronado said the small rise in applications "highlight(s) the need to take volatile weekly readings with a grain of salt."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
An overwhelming 97.1 percent of peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals agree that climate change is caused by humans. This finding can be used as a rebuttal against those who believe the scientific community is still debating the causes of climate change. Public opinion is still mixed with only 42 percent agreeing that human activity is the main cause of climate change. The Guardian reports:"Our findings prove that there is a strong scientific agreement about the cause of climate change, despite public perceptions to the contrary," said John Cook of the University of Queensland, who led the survey.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
Twenty-five religious leaders gathered to commit themselves to civil discourse. The meeting brought together conservative and liberal leaders. They agreed to "move politicians, congregants and Americans in general to understand that mean-spirited debate makes it all the harder to solve the nation’s problems." The Washington Post reports:“You need some voice to say,’OK, we get that it can win elections, but maybe that’s not the best course of action.’ Typically, we think of religious leaders as voices of conscience, calling people to a better way. So therein is the hope,” said Ed Stetzer, vice president of research and ministry development at LifeWay Christian Resources.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
Rand Paul has used the last few months to aggressively court evangelicals through a CBN special, a trip to Israel, and appearances with pastors. This is a shift to take Paul from a tea-party hero to a mainstream political player. Paul refers to himself as a "“libertarian Republican” to distant himself from his father's strong libertarian beliefs. The Washington Post reports:As he openly considers a run for president in 2016, Paul’s rebranding effort is a test of his political skills as well as the state of the Republican Party. For the senator, the question is whether he can win over the establishment without upsetting his tea party base.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
The House’s bipartisan immigration group is struggling to reach an agreement on immigration legislation. The group is divided over many aspects of the legislation including the employment verification program. Republicans want to eliminate the legalization process for undocumented immigrants if the employment verfiication program is not in place in five years. They are also divided over health care for undocumented immigrants and the number of visas to be issued to low-skilled or guest workers. Politico reports:“I certainly will say that … there still are some outstanding issues in our negotiations,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California said in an interview Tuesday. “But I still believe that we’re so very close.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 10 weeks ago
Tuesday the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a new five-year farm bill. The bill cuts subsidy payments and the food stamp program while expanding crop insurance. The Senate bill will reduce spending by $24 billion over 10 years. The bill passed 15-5 in committee with a full Senate vote expected later this month. USA Today reports:The farm bill passed on Tuesday eliminates $17 billion in farm subsidies, $5 billion a year in direct payments given to farmers regardless of need and reduces $4 billion from conservation programs largely through consolidation. Spending for food stamp programs, used by 48 million Americans, also would be cut by $4 billion.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 11 weeks ago
The National Transportation Safety Board voted to recommend lowering the blood-alcohol content to legally drive from .08 to .05. While a American Beverage Institute spokesperson called the move "ludicrous," the NTSB has numbers to back them up. According to NBC News: The NTSB reports that at .05 BAC, some drivers begin having difficulties with depth perception and other visual functions.  At .07, cognitive abilities become impaired. At .05 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by 39 percent. At .08 BAC, the risk of having an accident increases by more than 100 percent.Read more HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 11 weeks ago
The Supreme Court ruled that farmers must pay Monsanto every time they plant the company’s genetically modified soybeans. Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman argued he was not violating the patent because the soybeans self-replicate. The justices felt "Bowman’s practices threatened the incentive for invention that is at the heart of patent law." Bowman was ordered to pay $85,000 to Monsato. This case could have broader implication on patent protections for vaccines and other products that self-replicate. The Washington Post reports:If someone is able to copy a patented product simply by planting it and collecting its progeny, “a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing the invention,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote. “And that would result in less incentive for innovation than Congress wanted.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 11 weeks ago
The Gang of Eight is banding together across party lines to fend off attacks to the guest worker program in the immigration bill. Members of the gang have been working behind the scenes to ensure only amendments they support are proposed. This has upset Democrats and Republicans who feel the bipartisan coalition has too much power over the immigration bill. Politico reports:"One of the things that most upsets the American people about Washington is drafting a bill with special interests in secret and jamming it across the finish line in a way that minimizes public involvement and input,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said recently. “This legislation needs improvement and openness.”Read more here.