The Common Good

Blog Posts By QR Blog Editor

Posted by QR Blog Editor 19 weeks 6 days ago
In response to the death of Michael Brown, many people are using the hastag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown on Twitter to consider the role that images used by the media have on the public's perception of vicitms. Which picture would the media use #iftheygunnedmedown the left or the right? pic.twitter.com/BXGjJFvRco— Adam SLANDER (@mr_mookie) August 10, 2014 Here's more according to the Washington Post:The concern is how media will portray a dead child’s life after he’s slain by police officers. This is the stuff of#IfTheyGunnedMeDown, a Twitter hashtag that trended Sunday as part of the conversation surrounding the death of Michael Brown. Brown, 18, was an unarmed black teenager slain in Ferguson, Mo. He’d recently graduated high school. Black users shared pictures of themselves at their best — in uniforms or caps and gowns — juxtaposed with images that would garner less sympathy and perhaps paint more tawdry pictures of their lives.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 20 weeks 2 days ago
Controversial Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll has been removed from membership in Acts29, an international church planting network that Driscoll helped found. The notice to Driscoll and his church comes in the midst of rising anger from Mars Hill parishioners over revelations of Driscoll's unethical conduct, which include using church funds to boost sales of his book Real Marriage to bestseller lists and using a pseudonym to publish vulgar and sexist commentary to his church forum."In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter," says the letter from Acts29, which also removed Driscoll's church from membership. "But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming. We now have to take another course of action." "Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29." Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 23 weeks 4 days ago
A U.S. District Court judge declared the death penalty "unconstitutionall" in the State of California.In the ruling that was released today, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney wrote that, an "inordinate and unpredictable delay has resulted in a death penalty system in which very few of the hundreds of individuals sentenced to death have been, or even will be, executed by the State."NBC Bay Area first reported the ruling:In his 29-page ruling on the Jones vs. Chappell case, Carney wrote that when an individual is condemned to death in California, the sentence carries with it the promise that it will actually be carried out.That promise is made to citizens, jurors, victims and their loved ones and to the hundreds of individuals on death row, he wrote.However, Carney argues, “for too long now, the promise has been an empty one.”Read the full story here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 23 weeks 5 days ago
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, detained earlier today by border patrol at McAllen-Miller International Airport in Texas after having visited the border town‘s shelter for unaccompanied Central American refugees,  has been released, reports say.His trip included participating in a vigil to honor the children who have embarked on a dangerous journey to the U.S. to save their lives.Vargas wanted to shed light on the crisis occurring at the border and highlight the need to address the issue in a humanitarian way.“I’m the most privileged undocumented immigrant in the country," Vargas said to the Dallas Morning News on Sunday. "And with that privilege comes responsibility—the responsibility of tying my specific story to the story of 11 million undocumented people like me and using every skill and resource I have to tell stories and insist that we talk about this issue humanely and fairly.” Read the full story here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 25 weeks 6 days ago
Closely held corporations cannot be compelled to pay for contraception coverage, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in its highly anticipated Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores case. The "contraceptive mandate" in the federal health care law was challenged under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which requires that the government show that a law doesn't "substantially burden" religious exercise.According to SCOTUSBlog, the Court ruled that the government "has failed to show that the mandate is the least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to birth control."But the decision is applicable only to the contraceptive mandate, and does not apply to other health care mandates.From Washington Post :The justices’ 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.Hobby Lobby is an evangelical family-owned chain, and CEO David Green says that the Affordable Care Act infringed upon the family's religious freedom by compelling them to pay for certain contraceptives the family considers to be abortifacients, such as versions of the morning-after pill and IUDs.Justices Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan dissented.Read the decision HERE.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 28 weeks 6 days ago
Jon Meis, the first person to respond to the campus shooting at Seattle Pacific University, released a statement thanking other early responders this morning. During the June 5 shooting, Meis tackled the suspect and used pepper spray to subdue him. In his statement published by KIRO news, Meis requested that all further donations be given to the victims through Seattle Pacific. He laments the necessity of a tragedy to make a hero and encouraged all to meet hate with love:However, what I find most difficult about this situation is the devastating reality that a hero cannot come without tragedy. In the midst of this attention, we cannot ignore that a life was taken from us, ruthlessly and without justification or cause. Others were badly injured, and many more will carry this event with them the rest of their lives. Nonetheless, I would encourage that hate be met with love. When I came face to face with the attacker, God gave me the eyes to see that he was not a faceless monster, but a very sad and troubled young man. While I cannot at this time find it within me to forgive his crime, I truly desire that he will find the grace of God and the forgiveness of our community.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 28 weeks 6 days ago
In his opinon column published on June 6, George Will suggests that colleges have "become the victims of progressivism," blaming a proliferation of victims on government overreach. In his first paragraph, Will disregards the validity of sexual assult on campuses, as he says:[Colleges and universities] are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. And academia’s progressivism has rendered it intellectually defenseless now that progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle.In response to his article, survivors have taken to Twiter with #SurvivorPrivilege. #SurvivorPrivilege pic.twitter.com/zNFggXGT64— Elizabeth Plank (@feministabulous) June 9, 2014
Posted by QR Blog Editor 29 weeks 6 days ago
Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese-American human rights activist, died on Sunday at the age of 93. Kochiyama's family was among those Japanese-Americans interned by the United States during World War II.NPR reports on her work:Living in housing projects among black and Puerto Rican neighbors inspired her interest in the civil rights movement. Kochiyama held weekly open houses for activists in the family's apartment, where she taped newspaper clippings to the walls and kept piles of leaflets on the kitchen table. "Our house felt like it was the movement 24/7," said her eldest daughter Audee Kochiyama-Holman.Kochiyama is also known for rushing towards Malcom X after his assination, where she appeared images of the incident, according to NPR:Minutes after gunmen fired at Malcolm X in 1965 during his last speech in New York City, she rushed towards him and cradled his head on her lap. A black-and-white photo in Life magazine shows Kochiyama peering worriedly through horn-rimmed glasses at Malcolm X's bullet-riddled body.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 30 weeks 4 days ago
Maya Angelou, a renowned author, poet and civil right activist, has died at 86. Angelou, know for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, also authored six other autobiographies along with numerous collections of poems.Throughout her career, Angelou she was active in the Civil Rights movement, working with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. She also served a one point as the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group founded following the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dr. King and others.NBC News reports her numerous achievements: Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, under the name Marguerite Annie Johnson. She grew up to become a singer, dancer, actress, writer and Hollywood's first female black director.Angelou had an impressive list of accolades: She was a three-time Grammy winner and was nominated for a Pulitzer, a Tony, an an Emmy for her role in the groundbreaking television mini-series "Roots."
Posted by QR Blog Editor 32 weeks 2 days ago
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese Christian woman, was sentenced to be flogged for adultery and to be hanged to death for apostasy because she married a Christian man. Ibrahim, 27, is eight months pregnant and currently in detention with her 20-month-old son, according to Fredrick Nzwili of Religion News Service.United States' National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden released this statement in response to the sentancing.We strongly condemn this sentence and urge the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations under international human rights law.  We call on the Government of Sudan to respect Ms. Ishag’s right to freedom of religion, a universal human right enshrined in Sudan’s own 2005 Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Since 1999, Sudan has been designated as a Country of Particular Concern for its ongoing, egregious, and systematic violations of religious freedom.  We continue to urge Sudan to fulfill its constitutional promise of religious freedom, and to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of all its people.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 33 weeks 2 days ago
A coalition of United Methodists has decided not to host an event planned for the summer 2015 in Atlanta due to "racially offensive practices" of the Atlanta Braves.The Love Your Neighbor Coalition consists of ten “official” and “unofficial” caucus organizations of The United Methodist Church, including the Native American International Caucus of United Methodists, Affirmation: United Methodists for LGBTQ Concerns, and Black Methodists for Church Renewal, among others.The group sent letters to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s Communications Office received a letter (via email) from the Love Your Neighbor Coalition explaining why their coalition of ten United Methodist-related caucus groups have changed initial plans to hold an event in Atlanta in the summer of 2015. Members of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Braves Executive Offices also recieved emails.The letters included this message:“While we give thanks that the Atlanta Braves organization has changed its mascot from ‘the screaming Indian, Chief Noc-A-Homa’ to ‘Homer,’ we also note that they have not done anything to remove the offensive caricature of “Chief Noc-A-Homa” from screen savers and Facebook pages that still connect it directly with the Atlanta Braves. If recent news stories about racism within sporting organizations have shown us anything, it is that organizations can attempt to outwardly placate the public while systemically continuing to promote prejudice and racist attitudes through their words, actions and deeds. The use of the name Braves and the symbols of the tomahawk and ‘tomahawk chop’ do nothing but offer up racist and demeaning images and stereotypes of our Native American citizens and friends.”
Posted by QR Blog Editor 34 weeks 4 days ago
As part of yesterday's announcement of new initiatives to combat sexual assault on college campuses, the administration released this public service announcement, joining forces with leading actors Benicio Del Toro, Dule Hill, Steve Carell, Daniel Craig, and Seth Meyers. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 35 weeks 3 days ago
Time magazine has released its annual 100 Most Influential people list, and, to no one's surprise, Pope Francis is featured. What may be surprising is who the magazine chose to write about the pontiff — President Barack Obama. The president points out Pope Francis' dedication to the poor and the "least of these."In the blurb for Time, Obama says the pope's: "message of love and inclusion, his regard for 'the least of these,' distills the essence of Jesus’ teachings and is a tonic for a cynical age. May we heed his humble example."Obama recently met with Pope Francis, saying at the Easter Prayer Breakfast:So I had a wonderful conversation with Pope Francis, mostly about the imperatives of addressing poverty and inequality. And I invited him to come to the United States, and I sincerely hope he will.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 36 weeks 3 days ago
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush recently stated that people who come into the country unauthorized to find work and support their families are doing so as “an act of love.” In a Miami Herald op-ed, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski is of Miami echoed the idea that this conversation is fundamentally about people:To demonize irregular migrants as “lawbreakers” certainly generates heat but does not give any light to the urgent task of fixing our broken immigration system. This is not to condone the violation of the law — but as Gov. Bush suggests, these migrants are not criminals. Being in the United States without proper documents is not a criminal felony but a civil misdemeanor. With his comment, Gov. Bush hit a nerve that runs through the immigration debate… With one three-word phrase, Gov. Bush has helped humanize these migrants — they are human beings who love their families, just as Americans do . This runs counter to the rhetoric of many shrill anti-immigrant voices and reframes the debate in human terms.Read full article HERE .
Posted by QR Blog Editor 38 weeks 5 days ago
Today, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' will hold a border mass in Nogales, Ariz., at noon eastern time.Cardinal Sean O'Malley, from the Archdiocese of Boston, and seven other bishops will gather at the border calling attention to the humanitarian issues that persist and calling on Congress to pass humane and commonsense immigration reform.The event comes amid increased support for immigration reform in the Christian community. Recently, Catholics and evangelicals joined together to send an open letter to Congress and had key joint hill meetings. Urging reform that’s rooted in biblical principles, the national leaders met with the offices of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).The event will be live streamed below.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 42 weeks 3 days ago
By turning water into wine, Jesus used his first miracle to keep the wedding feast going. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:7-10)But maybe Jesus won't be the only one reigniting the party with homemade wine. A new device called The Miracle Machine promises to make pre-aged wine in about three days.It’s called The Miracle Machine (of course) and it’s basically a Sodastream for wine. Like its under-21 counterpart, the Miracle Machine uses water, yeast, grape concentrate, and finishing powder packets to create decent DIY-quality vino, virtually out of thin air. Just connect the machine to its corresponding iOS or Android app, input all the ingredients, and, in true miracle fashion, wait three days for your wine to rise triumphantly from the ashes of discarded flavor packets and tap water.Just to be clear, Jesus didn't have to wait three days for his wine. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 48 weeks 6 days ago
This Martin Luther King Day, the SALT project has created a short, inspiring film retelling the famous last four minutes of King’s, “I Have A Dream” speech. Enjoy!
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 5 weeks ago
On this date 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assasinated while in Dallas on a campaign tour. As the nation remembers this event, we reflect on President Kennedy's life and death.Walter Cronkite, visibly emotional, announced the president's death on a CBS News bulletin.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 8 weeks ago
At a speech in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis was joined on stage by an incredibly cute young boy.As NPR reports:Protocol is a concept that's often lost on young children and this boy – part of a group of children invited to sit near the pontiff during a speech — didn't see any reason why he shouldn't hang out for a bit with the guy in white.The Telegraph provides a video and this quote:The unidentified boy refused to leave the Pope's side, clinging to his legs while two Cardinals tried to encourage him to sit back down with sweets.Unfortunately your browser does not support IFrames.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
A group of female senators came to the rescue in Washington last week, helping forge a bipartisan compromise that ended the budget crisis. How did they do it? “We like each other,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Time. “We work well together and we look for common ground."
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
Unprecedented levels of air pollution effectively closed the city of Harbin in northern China earlier this week. Smog limited visibility in some places up to 30 feet, and measurements of fine particulate pollution skyrocketed a record 40 times higher than the worse safe level set by the World Health Organization, according to the Washington Post.In the city of 11 million, schools, public bus routes, and the airport were all forced to suspend activities given the unsafe conditions. Hospital admittances of patients with respiratory problems soared an additional 30 percent.The cause, according to local Chinese news outlets, was the first day of the city’s heating being turned on before winter. China’s air quality has consistently been found to be harmful in the recent decades of the country’s rapid industrial development.Read more.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 9 weeks ago
Gender inequality is an international issue. Striving to empower women and call attention to the sexism of popular opinions worldwide, U.N. Women released a series of ads using text from Google real searches. The ads show women's face with their mouths obscured by the text of the searches, visually silencing their voices.From unwomen.com: “When we came across these searches, we were shocked by how negative they were and decided we had to do something with them,” says Christopher Hunt, Art Director of the creative team. The idea developed places the text of the Google searches over the mouths of women portraits, as if to silence their voices. “The ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality. They are a wake up call, and we hope that the message will travel far,” adds Kareem Shuhaibar, copy writer.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 14 weeks ago
The House of Representatives on Thursday evening narrowly passed a plan that cuts about $40 billion* from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the move will push nearly 4 million low-income people off of the program in 2014. USA Today reports: "The House voted 217-210 for the bill that cuts nearly twice as much from food stamps as a bill the House rejected in June. It is also far more than a Senate measure passed earlier this year that would trim about $4.5 billion in spending. The bill failed to draw the support of a single Democrat, many of whom have said the steep cuts would erode a key safety net depended upon by families with children, seniors, veterans and people looking for work."Earlier on Thursday, Sojourners President Jim Wallis condemned the then-proposed cuts, saying, "These same politicians are not willing to go to where the real money is: the Pentagon budget, which everyone knows to be the most wasteful in government spending, or the myriad subsidies to corporations, including agribusiness subsides to members of Congress who will be voting to cut SNAP for the poor. ... They are going after cuts to the poor and hungry people because they think it is politically safe to do so. So let’s call that what it is: moral hypocrisy."Check back with Sojourners for details on how your congressperson voted. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 15 weeks ago
The income gap in the U.S. is as wide as it has been in almost 100 years, according to a new study by UC Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics, and Oxford University. The study, based on Internal Revenue Service statistics, reports that although the Great Recession hit the top 1 percent hard, the wealthy recovered more quickly than other income groups. The L.A. Times reports: The 1929 stock market crash that preceded the Great Depression, followed by World War II, reduced an earlier national income gap for decades. But it began to grow again in the 1970s, and has widened since.Saez attributes the trend not just to technology and job outsourcing, but to the reduced power of progressive tax policies and unions, along with "changing social norms regarding pay inequality."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 17 weeks ago
On Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a new guidance for its officials when detaining non-criminal undocumented parents with minor children. The new policy seeks to safeguard parents and reduce family separation. ABC News reports: “It clarifies that ICE officers and agents may, on a case-by-case basis, utilize alternatives to detention for these individuals particularly when the detention of a non-criminal alien would result in a child being left without an appropriate parental caregiver,” said Brandon Montgomery, a spokesperson for ICE.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 17 weeks ago
Mary Priniski wrote in the August 2013 Sojourners magazine about churches responding in solidarity with garment workers, disproportionately women, after the terrible fires in Bangladesh’s garment factories. Now, a global church alliance has been established. Ekklesia reports:[The alliance] provides an action plan for grassroots campaigning, and a letter for consumers to send to their retailers demanding improvements to the pay and working conditions of garment workers. Real-life stories from garment workers in Bangladesh also highlight the oppression they face and the struggle to survive. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 19 weeks ago
Since the July 3 ousting of former president Mohammed Morsi, Christians in Egypt have faced a shocking spike in violent attacks. Human rights groups in the country claim that to date, Egyptian authorities have not prevented the persecution. Christians make up nearly one-tenth of Egypt's population of 80 million. While Egypt's Coptic Christians have faced longstanding persecution, many are reporting that tensions between Sunni Muslims and minority Christians are the highest they have been for decades. USA Today reports:Churches, houses, monasteries, orphanages, schools and businesses belonging to Copts were attacked in nine provinces "causing panic, losses and destruction for no reason and no crimes they committed except being Christians," the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic activist group, said Thursday.Youssef Sidhom, editor-in-chief of the Christian weekly Watani, said the recent attacks are painful and vicious but it be worse if they are allowed to divide the two faiths.USA Today has created an interactive map with real-time updates on attacks on Christian institutions, stretching from Alexandria to Qena. View the map here.Read more of USA Today's story here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 19 weeks ago
Former Archbishop Rowan Williams told Christians in the West who complain of mistreatment to "grow up" in a talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival today. After years of meeting with others around the world who face "murderous hostility" for their religious beliefs, Lord Williams said complaints of persecution among Christians in the U.K. and the U.S. make him him "very uneasy." The Telegraph reports: "When you have any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word persecuted very chastely," he said."I think (Christians in the West) are made to feel uncomfortable at times. ...Don't confuse it with the systematic brutality and often murderous hostility which means that every morning you get up wondering if you and your children are going to make it through the day."That is different, it's real. It's not quite what we're facing in Western society. (That) level of not being taken very seriously or being made fun of — I mean for goodness sake, grow up. You have to earn respect if you want to be taken seriously in society."Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 19 weeks ago
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America elected the denomination's first female presiding bishop today. In a vote of 600 to 287, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod, will take over from current Presiding Bishop Rev. Mark Hanson. Religion News Service reports:“When I stood before you 12 years, I told you this is not an election won, this is a call received. And now this call has been extended to Bishop Eaton,” Hanson said at the assembly. “This is a humble and a holy privilege to serve the gospel as the pastor of this whole church.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 19 weeks ago
On Monday, a federal judge in New York found the state's stop-and-frisk policies to be unconsitutional racial profiling. The same day, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that federal prosecutors would no longer invoke mandatory minimum sentencing laws for low-level drug offenses. Together, the two decisions sent strong signals that the country is moving away from the tough-on-crime policies of the last generation. The New York Times reports:A generation ago, amid a crack epidemic, state and federal lawmakers enacted a wave of tough-on-crime measures that resulted in an 800 percent increase in the number of prisoners in the United States, even as the population grew by only a third. The spike in prisoners centered on an increase in the number of African-American and Hispanic men convicted of drug crimes; blacks are about six times as likely as whites to be incarcerated.“There was the thought that if we stop, frisk, arrest and incarcerate huge numbers of people, that will reduce crime,” Rudovsky said. “But while that may have had some effect on crime, the negative parts outweighed the positive parts.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 21 weeks ago
Days after a cross-country FBI operation arrested 152 sex traffickers across the U.S., Joel Osteen, senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, announced his support for a bill in the House of Representatives aimed at eliminating human trafficking rings. The Christian Post reports:The bill, which is supported by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers, is intended to help eliminate human trafficking rings by "targeting the criminals who purchase sexual acts from these organizations and ensuring that they are prosecuted as human traffickers.""The suffering associated with human trafficking resonates strongly within the Christian community, and we know of many churches, like our own, whose compassion for its victims has moved them to act," said Joel and Victoria Osteen in a statement.Read more.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 21 weeks ago
A military judge ruled Tuesday that Pfc. Bradley Manning was not guilty of aiding the enemy. In 2010, he was arrested for allegedly passing classified materials to the website WikiLeaks. If Manning had been found guilty of aiding the enemy, he could have been sentenced to life in prison. The sentencing phase of the trial will begin Wednesday.The New York Times reports:Private Manning had already confessed to being WikiLeaks’ source for a huge cache of government documents, which included videos of airstrikes in which civilians were killed, hundreds of thousands of front-line incident reports from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, dossiers on men being held without trial at the Guantánamo Bay prison, and about 250,000 diplomatic cables.But while Private Manning had pleaded guilty to a lesser version of the charges he was facing, which could expose him to up to 20 years in prison, the government decided to press forward with a trial on a more serious version of the charges, including “aiding the enemy” and violations of the Espionage Act, which could result in a life sentence.Read more
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 21 weeks ago
Climate change is expected to take a turn for the better following the Senate's approval of Gina McCarthy to serve as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. McCarthy won over the Senate on July 18 in a 59-to-40 vote. The New York Times reports:The president told Ms. McCarthy that his environmental and presidential legacy would be incomplete without a serious effort to address climate change.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 21 weeks ago
Pope Francis announced Monday in an airborne news conference that he’s ‘not one to judge’ the sexual orientation of Catholic priests. On his journey home from Brazil, Pope Francis declared open-mindedness by sharing his support on behalf of the gay community. The Washington Post reports: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 22 weeks ago
Expressing her opinion that climate change is no longer about energy efficient behavior but rather about national policy, spiritual leader Marilyn Sewell argues the importance of what it takes to preserve the Earth’s atmosphere. Expressing her concerns about the lack of community and church involvement, Sewell insists policy immersion is crucial toward resolving future matters surrounding climate change. The Huffington Post reports:So where is the parish church in all of this? Mostly silent, it seems. Churches continue to be concerned with individual sin as opposed to systemic sin, even in regard to climate change. Congregants may be admonished to recycle and change their light bulbs, but not to become politically active. The fact is we're way beyond changing our light bulbs. We need to bring that unhappy, startling truth to the pulpits of our land.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 22 weeks ago
The Obama administration will attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s June ruling that struck down of a key part of the Voting Rights Act. As part of an existing lawsuit that challenges the legality of a 2010 redistricting plan in the state of Texas, the Justice Department plans to request pre-clearance procedures for the state that are similar to the ones struck from the Voting Rights Act, Politico reports.“Based on the evidence of intentional racial discrimination….as well as the history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities that the Supreme Court itself has recognized, we believe that the state of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. "This is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last.”  Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 22 weeks ago
While many groups are focused on the upcoming congressional recess and on outreach efforts to their members of Congress in their home districts, evangelical Christians have another priority in mind this week.Today, hundreds of evangelicals from across the country will gather on Capitol Hill to host the Pray4Reform Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action. The day includes a press conference, worship service, and a full day of meetings at congressional offices to urge immigration reform. You can follow the day’s events by visiting http://pray4reform.org/, where the news conference and worship service will be live streamed. Also, follow and join the conversation via social media by following the hashtag #pray4reform.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 22 weeks ago
The GOP was highly criticized by Democratic officials for their plan to offer a path to citizenship for illegal children with the exclusion of legalizing their parents. White House advisors remain spiteful of the GOP’s immigration plans accusing them of “cruel hypocrisy.” The Associated Press reports:Dan Pfeiffer (FI'-fer) says over Twitter that the plan boils down to allowing some kids to stay while deporting their parents.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 22 weeks ago
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio said in an interview with CBS on Sunday that “immigration reform isn’t about him.” Denying CBS’s Bob Corner insight in to his own personal views on immigration, Boehner refused to share details about what parts of the immigration bill he feels should pass the House when it comes time for their final debates. Boehner, who is opposed to granting citizenship for illegal immigrants, claimed the bill which passed the Senate last month will “not pass the House.”The Guardian reports:The Senate has passed a sweeping, bipartisan immigration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship, which Republican opponents have called an "amnesty" that would reward lawbreakers and attract more illegal immigrants. Boehner said taking a personal stand on the issue would make it harder for him to find consensus on immigration in the House.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 22 weeks ago
Sen. John McCain is requesting review of the recently publicized “stand your ground” law in the state of Arizona. Following an outpouring amount of controversy over the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, McCain is requesting action from Arizona state officials by asking them to reconsider the rules and regulations of the law. The Huffington Post reports:Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on Sunday that while he does not question the decision of the jury in the Trayvon Martin case, he does think all states, including his own, should review their "stand your ground" laws.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 23 weeks ago
Nelson Mandela turned 95-years-old today and in honor of his parity work throughout South Africa, people of all races are joining together and celebrating his legacy in the form of song and offerings. Although Mandela spends this year's birthday under close medical attention, hospital officials believe his condition is improving. The New York Times reports:On Thursday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Pretoria hospital where Mr. Mandela has been treated for the past 40 days. Officials from the African National Congress brought a birthday cake, while well-wishers added more posters and flowers to the mountain of tributes outside the hospital, ululating and breaking out into freedom songs from the struggle against apartheid.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 23 weeks ago
According to an aide connected to the Democratic Party, bipartisan senators reached a deal Wednesday that would offer undergraduate students a lower interest rate of 3.85 percent on student loans, up until the year 2015. Revealing this information to USA Today prior to the official vote, sources confirmed that both parties are working towards lowering students costs. USA Today reports:The bipartisan agreement is likely to be the final in a string of efforts that have emerged from near constant work to undo a rate hike that took hold for subsidized Stafford loans on July 1. Rates for new subsidized Stafford loans doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%, adding roughly $2,600 to students' education costs.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 23 weeks ago
President Barack Obama pushed back immigration reform on Tuesday indicating the bill will likely be passed in the fall. Expressing his opinion to Telemundo’s Denver affiliate, Obama supports the notion that all illegal immigrants be granted citizenship following an agreement upon GOP leaders. The Washington Post reports:The president said that denying undocumented immigrants the chance to become citizens would leave them “permanently resigned to a lower status. That’s not who we are as Americans.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 23 weeks ago
Following the movie theatre massacre in 2012 that killed 12 people, 126 others have died due to similar events involving mass killings. USA Today reports such tragedies are more “typical” than people think reporting that approximately every two weeks since 2006, a mass killing has occurred somewhere in the United States. USA Today reports:A USA TODAY database of these shootings over the past seven years shows that what Americans experienced over the past calendar year is sadly typical. There have been 14 such incidents since Jan. 1 of this year, while 2012 actually had a low for the reporting period: 22 mass killings. The high was 37 in 2006, the first year of the examination. (The FBI defines mass killings as murders that occur in a short time span and in which four or more people are killed.)Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 23 weeks ago
Following Monday’s three hour closed-door caucus, members of the Senate have begun the confirmation process of President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominees, avoiding what the Washington Post calls a "constitutional showdown.” The Washington Post reports:Senate negotiators met until about midnight searching for a deal that would avert a showdown on the Senate floor. Rank-and-file senators came out of the meeting late Monday reporting progress on the confirmation prospects of Obama’s selections to head low-profile but influential agencies.Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 23 weeks ago
In a report obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the Energy Department said Thursday that power plants are at risk of being shut down due to the effects of climate change. With the rise of temperatures and sea levels and decreased water resources, the Energy Department advises officials to become more environmentally aware of their natural disaster plans as their ideas could permanently affect the future of Earth's climate. The Los Angeles Times reports:  The report calls on federal, state and local governments to more urgently prepare crucial infrastructure - particularly coal, natural gas and nuclear plants - for the compounded risks posed by floods, storms, wildfires and droughts."All of our science goes in one direction: The damages are going to get worse,” Assistant Energy Secretary Jonathan Pershing said. “It will take dozens of actors from government and private sectors planning what to do and how to make it cost-effective.”Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 23 weeks ago
The number of those who’ve benefitted from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has increased nearly seven percent from 8.7 in 2007 to 15.2 in its most recent study. Despite the economic challenges America has faced over the past several years, the Houses’ decision to do away with food stamps has not only caused controversy between the House and the Senate but has caused controversy between the government and the American people. The New York Times reports: Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
For the first time in 50 years, the House of Representatives cut mention of food stamps in the Farm Bill, which passed the House yesterday. The Supplemental Nutrion Assistance Program has historically made up nearly 80 percent of funding in such bills. Following the 216-to-208 vote, the House's decision to go through with the ruling has both parties defensive. The Washington Post reports:"The vote made clear that Republicans intend to make significant reductions in food stamp money and handed Republican leaders a much-needed victory three weeks after conservative lawmakers and rural state Democrats revolted and blocked the original version of the bill that included food stamp money."Read more here. 
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
After serving four years as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Janet Napolitano is set to resign on Friday. The Los Angeles Times reports Napolitano will become president of the University Of California system.  “While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice, Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university," Sherry Lansing, the regent and former film industry executive who headed the search committee, said in a statement being released Friday. "She will bring fresh eyes and a new sensibility -- not only to UC, but to all of California. She will stand as a vigorous advocate for faculty, students and staff at a time when great changes in our state, and across the globe, are presenting as many opportunities as challenges.”Read more here.
Posted by QR Blog Editor 1 year 24 weeks ago
The Navy did what some may consider "the unthinkable" and landed a jet size drone off the coast of Virginia yesterday. Following the drones successful landing, the Navy now has the opportunity to launch aircrafts from undisclosed areas throughout other countries. Christian Science Monitor reports:  The landing of the X-47B experimental aircraft means the Navy can move forward with its plans to develop another unmanned aircraft that will join the fleet alongside traditional airplanes to provide around-the-clock surveillance while also possessing a strike capability. It also would pave the way for the U.S.to launch unmanned aircraft without the need to obtain permission from other countries to use their bases.Read more here.