By Phil Stewart
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behavior was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
"(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration.
"The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."
The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound."...(Click for remainder).
This is fairly interesting, and quite frankly, shocking. What's the Western world waiting for? Oh, yes that's right, we can't have the brown people getting too 'uppity' now can we? How pathetic that we're not doing anything about this.
By Nicholas D. Kristof
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Travelers to Africa and Asia all have their favorite forms of foreign aid to “make a difference.” One of mine is a miracle substance that is cheap and actually makes people smarter.
Unfortunately, it has one appalling side effect. No, it doesn’t make you sterile, but it is just about the least sexy substance in the world. Indeed, because it’s so numbingly boring, few people pay attention to it or invest in it. (Or dare write about it!)
It’s iodized salt.
Almost one-third of the world’s people don’t get enough iodine from food and water. The result in extreme cases is large goiters that swell their necks, or other obvious impairments such as dwarfism or cretinism. But far more common is mental slowness.
When a pregnant woman doesn’t have enough iodine in her body, her child may suffer irreversible brain damage and could have an I.Q. that is 10 to 15 points lower than it would otherwise be. An educated guess is that iodine deficiency results in a needless loss of more than 1 billion I.Q. points around the world.
Development geeks rave about the benefits of adding iodine and other micronutrients (such as vitamin A, iron, zinc and folic acid) to diets. The Copenhagen Consensus, which brings together a panel of top global economists to find the most cost-effective solutions to the world’s problems, puts micronutrients at the top of the list of foreign aid spending priorities....(Click for remainder).
Posted by Bret M-C at 6:53 AM
It's probably a pretty safe bet that the Dems will cave to the pressure, and let the Bush Crime Family off the hook. While they're at it, put a match to the Constitution? COWARDS!
By Kagro X
For how long have we seen this one coming?
For the sake of national security and national unity, President-elect Barack Obama should put a stop to efforts to investigate or prosecute Bush administration officials for anti-terror "war crimes."The motive behind such efforts is not — as claimed — "truth" or "justice," but political vengeance.
Yes, yes. When Democrats were in the minority and were the "out" party in the executive, Democrats were lectured that they had to put a stop to efforts to investigate or prosecute Bush "administration" officials for torture, for illegal wiretapping, for domestic spying on anti-war activists, for indefinite detention, for extraordinary rendition, for signing statements, etc. About half the party listened to that advice, and Democrats went on to win back the Congress.
When Democrats won back the Congress but were still the "out" party in the executive, they were lectured that they had to put a stop to efforts to investigate or prosecute Bush "administration" officials for torture, for illegal wiretapping, for domestic spying on anti-war activists, for indefinite detention, for extraordinary rendition, for signing statements. And then for illegal politicization of the Justice Department (and indeed all executive departments), and the subsequent defiance of Congressional subpoenas. About one-third of the party listened to that advice, and Democrats went on to win larger majorities in Congress (including the largest in the Senate since the 1970s), and take the White House.
Now that Democrats have won back the Congress, increased their majorities, and are no longer the "out" party in the executive, they're once again lectured to put a stop to efforts to investigate or prosecute Bush "administration" officials for torture, for illegal wiretapping, for domestic spying on anti-war activists, for indefinite detention, for extraordinary rendition, for signing statements. And then for illegal politicization of the Justice Department (and indeed all executive departments), and the subsequent defiance of Congressional subpoenas.
So, what say you? How much of the party should take that advice this time?
All along, the "worry" of those giving the advice has been that taking a serious look at who did what, why, and whether it was legal would be "political vengeance." (Click for remainder).
Posted by Bret M-C at 6:43 AM
By Amie Newman
RH Reality Check
Rick Warren understands politics.
It was announced today that Warren would be giving the invocation at President Elect Obama's inauguration. It's shocking, to say the least, but a little less surprising considering Warren's Saddleback Forum, a campaign season event in which Warren questioned Senator Obama and Senator McCain about faith and politics - two issues Warren feels very comfortable merging. The Saddleback Forum, however, was no more an opportunity to discuss faith than it was an opportunity to discuss science. It was an opportunity for Rick Warren to "catch" the candidates in what he deemed inappropriate positions.
WARREN: That was a freebie. That was a gimme. That was a gimme, OK? Now, let’s deal with abortion; 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. As a pastor, I have to deal with this all of the time, all of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?
It is beyond me how Warren feels that a perspective that so few Americans hold (reflected this election by the sound defeat of three anti-choice measures, the victory of pro-choice Democrats in Congress and, well, Obama's win), is a viable basis for a question for our presidential candidates? Luckily, Obama understands what most Americans do - it's about prevention and education, not religious extremism, and he responded:
OBAMA: But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion, because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And so I think anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue, I think, is not paying attention. So that would be point number one.But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I’m pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don’t think women make these decisions casually. I think they — they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors or their family members. And so, for me, the goal right now should be — and this is where I think we can find common ground. And by the way, I’ve now inserted this into the Democratic party platform, is how do we reduce the number of abortions? The fact is that although we have had a president who is opposed to abortion over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down and that is something we have to address.
By Anna Wilkowska-Landowska
RH Reality Check
Recently, the Czech Republic cabinet unanimously approved a new bill that would extend abortion privileges and other health services to all European Union (EU) citizens. Opponents of the bill claim that the new regulations will enable "abortion tourism" from the other European states where termination of pregnancy is significantly restricted.
The European Union rules state that all participating member states should provide the same services and care to all EU citizens that local citizens receive. Even so, the bill is strongly opposed by deputies of the Christian Democratic Union (KDU-CSL), a junior governing party, who have concerns the Czech Republic will become an "abortion tourism destination" for EU citizens. Christian Democratic Union ministers in the cabinet, who approved the bill, are strongly being pressured to withdraw the bill before it is submitted to the Parliament by deputy party members, according to Ceske Noviny newspaper. As a reason for their opposition, the KDU MPs gave their "conscience objections" to the bill's provision enabling EU citizens to undergo abortion in the Czech Republic.
The bill is part of the crucial and controversial package of reform legislation promoted by Health Minister Tomas Julinek. Apart from abortion, the bill deals with rules of assisted fertilization, sex change, sterilization and other specific treatments.
The Christian Democrats have had long term reservations about the planned provisions on abortion. They have campaigned steadily in previous months against the abortion bill, as well as another that would loosen restrictions on in-vitro fertilization. The party had proposed abortion restriction legislation in April, which included a stricter time limit on health-related abortions and heightened consent requirements. The Christian Democrats proposed to limit abortions on "health grounds" to the 18th week of pregnancy and proposed to allow fathers to have a say in whether a child is aborted, although the father's opinion will not be a "veto." They also proposed to raise the age at which parental consent is required from 16 to 18 years old....(Click for remainder).