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Morning Briefing

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$60 billion in military spending waste

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One wonders: will the anti-government conservatives rail against the colossal waste in the U.S. Department of Defense (as reported by the Commission on Wartime Contracting)? Doubtful.

Most often the argument against the federal government is focused on Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare, never about the military. I cannot recall a single conversation whereby the anti-government advocate was ever indignant about waste in the military.

From the Associated Press:

"As much as $60 billion in U.S. funds has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade through lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents, an independent panel investigating U.S. wartime spending estimates.

What if you were president?

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My fellow blogger Maureen Fiedler mentions today that The New York Times invited twelve prominent people to say what they would do as president.

Among them was Sr. Mary David Walgenbac, prioress of the Holy Wisdom Monastery of Middleton, Wisc.

It makes me want to write a statement too, but Sr. Mary David says it well, and you read my ideas all the time.

What would you do if you were president? You read what I write. I’m eager to give you a forum to express your vision.

A Benedictine for president?

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The New York Times' Sunday opinion pages had a unique contribution this week from a Benedictine prioress. She was one of 12 people not normally engaged in politics who were asked what they would do if they were actually president of the United States.

She is Sr. Mary David Walgenbach, OSB, Prioress of the Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wis. She said:

On this day: Aidan of Lindisfarne

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Aidan.

"Aidan, Columcille's beloved disciple and first abbot of Lindisfarne, has far better claim than Augustine of Canterbury to the title Apostle of England,"

--How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill, Nan A. Talese, 1995, page 200.

The Independent ran an article in 2008 suggesting that St. Aidan be Britain's patron saint, instead of St. George: "Home-Grown Holy Man: Cry God for Harry, Britain and . . . St Aidan."

Morning Briefing

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Illinois Foster parents feel caught by Catholic Charities controversy

THE UNION representing teachers at Catholic highschools yesterday asked for the Philadelphia Archdiocese to call in a mediator to resolve a contract dispute that threatens the start of the school year.

Cuban dissidents ask Catholic Church to stop harassment by state

A Clergy Rebellion in Austria's Catholic Church

"The appeal for "more honesty" made to the world's youth by Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid last week left a sour taste in many mouths in Austria, where some say that honesty is a quality the church hierarchy has more of a tendency to punish than reward."

Legal fight over nation's newest nukes plant intensifies

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The legal battle over the construction of a major new nuclear weapons facility here intensified Monday, with lawyers for the plant’s backers intervening to slow down possible issuance of a court order forcing a city-wide vote on the plant’s construction.

The intervention, which saw some ten attorneys for the plant’s operator and construction company present a bevy of new documents to Circuit Court Judge Edith Messina, was the latest in a years-long local struggle over what is set to be the nation's first new nuclear weapons plant in 33 years.

Activists say an arrangement between the city and the federal government, which, in a first for a nuclear weapons facility, gives title to the facility to a state agency, means the city has the power to prohibit nuclear weapons production there.

Vatican paper backs Dolan on sex ed

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

tThe Vatican newspaper has backed Archbishop Timothy Dolan in a debate over over a new sex education curriculum in New York City, which is supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a means of combating early and unintended pregnancies, especially among Black and Latino youth.

The initiative has been criticized by Dolan for, among other things, potentially usurping the role of parents in shaping the moral values of their children.

“What message are we giving our kids when we say, ‘We know you're going to do this … we know you’re going to succumb to all the temptations around you, we know everybody’s doing it, we know you can’t be good, so be careful,’” Dolan asked in a recent interview with New York television.

“I don’t know if that's a wise message,” said Dolan, who also serves as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

tIn a front page essay in the August 31 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Lucetta Scaraffia, the paper’s most prominent female columnist, applauds Dolan's stance.

On this day: St. Jeanne Jugan

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On this day we celebrate the feast of "Jeanne Jugan, a Saint for old age and every age. . . . Jeanne Jugan is the foundress and first Little Sister of the Poor. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 1982 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009. . . . Jeanne Jugan gave herself entirely to God and the elderly poor. As our aging population continues to grow and dignity at the end of life is increasingly threatened, Jeanne Jugan offers herself as a friend and patron of the elderly. She is a Saint for old age."

-- "Who is Jeanne Jugan?" Little Sisters of the Poor Web Site.

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