These days, kids are multitasking like mad. Two weeks ago, the Washington Post described one high school junior talking on the phone, emailing, IM-ing, listening to Internet radio and writing a paper on her computer--all at the same time!
According to a recent report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, she's far from the only teenager with a flair for multitasking. Kids today are spending six and a half hours a day, seven days a week, with electronic media--and more than twice as much time on video games and computers than in 1999.
Let's face it: We live in a brave new world of blogging, with the iPodization of news, and kids plugged in everywhere. The Washington Post recently ran a separate story about how college students are using interactive mini blogsÂ¨ or "wikis" to create "freewheeling, collaborative" communities, trade ideas and link to each other's essays. Progressives use new technologies like BitTorrent--a filesharing program--that let them create websites like CommonBits.org that allow kids to watch clips from television news programs like the "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "Democracy Now."
Many of the most devout followers of the most famous of all victims of capital punishment, the Nazarene who was crucified on the Calvary cross, took a long time to recognize that state-sponsored execution is an affront to their history and their faith. For close to 1,500 years, the Catholic Church taught that the state had a right to punish criminals "by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty."
For centuries, that line in the Catechism of the Catholic Church was used by Catholic politicians--and others who sought a moral justification for their actions--to place a veneer of legitimacy on even the most cavalier executions of the young, the mentally handicapped and the innocent. Even as Pope John Paul II moved the church closer and closer to explicit opposition to the death penalty during his long tenure, the loophole in the Catechism remained.
Then, in 1997, Sister Helen Prejean, the American nun and death penalty abolitionist who authored the book Dead Man Walking, asked Pope John Paul II to close the loophole. Later that year, the Pope removed the reference to the death penalty from the Catechism and, when he visited the United States two years later, he denounced the death penalty as "cruel and unnecessary." Referencing moves by countries around the world to ban capital punishment, the Pope declared in St. Louis that, "A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil."
What are your thoughts on mercury in vaccines and any possible side-effects?
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Who Made a
Neurological Diagnosis of Terri Schiavo After Watching a Video of Her, Reports on a Physical Examination He's Done of Jeb Bush, His
Potential Rival for the 2008 Republican Presiden
Some 57 million nonunion workers in the United States say they would
form a union tomorrow if given the chance, according to new poll
conducted in February by Peter D. Hart and Associates.
Item 1: Proving that the Republicans have no problem ignoring Biblical strictures against usury, the Congress passed a bankruptcy bill that makes life far more profitable for credit card companies and far more onerous for people who have fallen into debt. The government hasn't started building debtor's prisons or shipping off Mastercard defaulters to Australia yet, but more and more Americans will find themselves indentured servants to Visa as a result of this bill.
Item II: 48 towns in Vermont have called for the return of Vermont's National Guard troops. Army recruitment numbers have fallen off a cliff. Tours of duty in Iraq have been extended and extended again. Even the most hawkish neocons admit our forces are stretched to the breaking point.
These two news stories seem unrelated, but they are not.
Trying to follow the US policy on the proliferation of nuclear weapons is like watching a three-card monte game on a city street corner. Except the stakes are higher.
Adding a powerful establishment voice to the growing campaign against George Bush's appointment of John Bolton to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations, a group of 59 former American diplomats are urging the Senate to reject Bolton's nomination.
Echoing a host of liberal and centrist critics of the nomination, in a letter to Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the diplomats--both Democrats and Republicans--call Bolton, "The wrong man for the position." The letter's criticisms dwell largely on what the ex-diplomats call Bolton's "exceptional record" of opposing American efforts to improve national security through arms control. (For more details on why Bolton is a terrible choice, read recent pieces by The Nation's UN correspondent Ian Willams and the magazine's Washington editor David Corn.)
Bolton is another in a line of extreme in-your-face nominees put forth recently by the White House. It's important to show that they face opposition. Lugar has scheduled hearings on April 7 for the Senate to debate Bolton's nomination. Click here to implore your Senators to oppose the nominee.
Think of Ann Veneman as the Paul Wolfowitz of food policy.
Just as Wolfowitz used his position as the Bush administration's deputy secretary of defense to spin whacked-out neoconservative theories into the justification for an illegal and unnecessary war, so Veneman used her position as the administration's secretary of agriculture to spin equally whacked-out theories about the genetic modification of food and free trade into disastrous policies for farmers and consumers.
And, just as Wolfowitz is being rewarded for his missteps and misdeeds with a prominent new position as president of the World Bank, so Veneman is also moving onto the world stage, as the likely nominee to be the next executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).