NCR Today

What does gun-toting dad's attack on laptop say about parenting?

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In an 8-minute rant on YouTube, Tommy Jordan, an IT specialist in a cowboy hat and boots, responds to his 15-year-old daughter's nasty letter she posted on Facebook about being her parents' slave.

This was not the first time they had a showdown over social media, but this time, the day after Tommy spent $130 to fix and upgrade his daughter's laptop, he'd had enough. He read her letter aloud then shot her laptop with his 45 mm gun nine times, using hollow-point bullets.

His YouTube video, posted Feb. 8, has more than 25 million hits so far. His video has not gone viral; it's a veritable pandemic.

Gehring, Weigel and Cardinal George write about conscience compromise

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Depending on who you believe, either President Obama is employing a "divide and conquer" strategy, pitting Catholic leaders against one another regarding his compromise over a controversial mandate regarding coverage of contraceptive services in health care plans, or the Catholic bishops "are moving the goal posts" in their supposed fight for religious liberty.

The dichotomy between the two views was highlighted yesterday in a flurry of statements and reports from bishops and other Catholic leaders concerning the compromise.

The archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, argued for the first option in a written statement posted on the archdiocese's website yesterday, writing that there had been attempts to "weaken the unity between the bishops and the faithful."

Spending on nuclear weapons to dip, but just a bit

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I'm a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). The following was written by one of the St. Louis members for our local newsletter, Yvonne Logan, who is a past national president of WILPF.

Quoting California's Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment), "If the U.S nuclear weapons enterprise gets more and more funding in the coming years, there will be no real momentum toward disarmament."

Neither Congress nor the American people can tell from the budget documents how much we spend each year on nuclear weapons.

There are good faith estimates. Plowshares guesses we'll spend $700 billion over the next 10 years. Global Zero has suggested this is low; others think Plowshares' number is on the high side. Some Congressional hawks have tried to limit the debate to "core" nuclear weapons costs, projected at more than $200 billion for the next decade, but this doesn't include environmental costs and command and control structure, to name but two additional elements.

Break your basketball boredom with Linsanity

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While some in New York City have their eyes on Rome as Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan is to be elevated to the College of Cardinals on Saturday, the true inspiration this week is the incredible performance of Jeremy Lin, a Taiwanese-American, Harvard University grad and member of the New York Knicks, who has exploded onto the NBA scene with heart-stopping performances.

On Tuesday, he scored a 3-point shot with 0.5 seconds left to beat the Toronto Raptors and stun its fans.

Lin's extraordinary performances over the past weeks include the following:


  • 25 points, 7 assists v. New Jersey Nets, Feb. 4

  • 28 points, 8 assists v. Utah Jazz, Feb. 6

  • 23 points, 10 assists v. Washington Wizards, Feb. 8

  • 38 points, 7 assists v. Los Angeles Lakers, Feb. 10

  • 20 points, 8 assists v. Minnesota Timberwolves, Feb. 11

  • 27 points, 11 assists v. Toronto Raptors, Feb. 14

The New York Knicks have won six in a row with Lin at point guard, including Tuesday night's thriller.

Yet more Vatican leaks

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ROME -- In what has become a near-daily occurrence, more confidential Vatican documents were leaked today, including a memo from the cardinal in charge of financial oversight warning that a new law against money-laundering could be seen as a “step back” from reform, potentially creating “alarm” in the international community and among regulatory agencies.

That voice: Remembering Whitney Houston

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Of all the news coverage and reflections on the sudden death of singer/actress Whitney Houston (1963-2012), I was moved when the host of the 54th Grammy Awards, LL Cool J, said "The only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer … for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston."

The prayer is simple, but I was watching the audience. From what I could see, everyone in camera range bowed their heads in prayer. Sunday, the Grammys represented a community in grief for a woman whose voice was the soundtrack for a generation.

The Grammys, of all of the award shows, is perhaps the most religious. How many artists thank God for the gift of their music that garnered them accolades for their work? Whitney Houston herself won six Grammys in her short lifetime.

Just last week I was having dinner with some publishing colleagues, and the conversation moved from movies to music. Who is the best female vocalist of all time? I said, "Whitney Houston." My friends conceded that she is, perhaps, the greatest of our generation, but I think she's an all-time great because her voice will resound through the universe, care of iTunes, for decades to come.

Legion women's leader resigns as Maciel empire continues to crumble

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By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 3:14 PM

VATICAN CITY — The female branch of the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ religious order was in turmoil Tuesday following the resignation of its leader and the decision of some 30 members to split from the movement.

Malen Oriol announced in a letter Sunday that she had asked to resign as the assistant to the general director of the Legion, which Pope Benedict XVI took over in 2010 after the order revealed its late founder had sexually molested seminarians and fathered three children.

Read the entire story here.

Letter decrying contraception compromise attracts bishops, professors

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A letter calling President Barack Obama’s revision of a controversial mandate regarding coverage of contraceptive services in health care plans “morally obtuse” has gained some 215 signatures from a number of notable professors and religious leaders.

Among the signees are Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ken.

The letter, titled “Unacceptable,” says the revision of the mandate “fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy.”

“The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization,” it continues. “This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.”

Also among the signees to the letter are professors from several Catholic universities, including Villanova, Gonzaga, Loyola University Chicago, the University of San Diego, The Catholic University of America, and the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Single on Valentine's Day?

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No, not me. But I haven't been married that long that I can't remember what it was like to be single and looking for a life partner. Back then I dreaded Valentine's Day.

If only I had had the grace-filled, trusting outlook of Beth Knobbe, a Chicago campus minister and author who is living an "intentional single life."

No, she is not a nun.

She just believes that being single can be incredibly fulfilling. And she is not dreading Valentine's Day. As she writes on her blog, "One Single Life":

"Several years ago, I gave up dating all together – a decision over which I have no regrets. I will be single for Valentine’s Day again this year. And it will be glorious! I’m not waiting to get married, not hoping to get hitched, not on the prowl for someone else to satisfy my needs. I don’t miss the days of being absorbed in a never-ending pursuit of a life partner."

British Muslim pol tells pope, 'Europe needs confident Christians'

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ROME -- When you’re talking about the Vatican, it’s a good idea to be careful about using the word “unprecedented.” Over hundreds of years of history, almost everything has happened at least once.

tThis afternoon, however, brought something you definitely don’t see every day: A prominent Muslim woman standing in the heart of Rome, opining that Europe needs to become “more confident in its Christianity.”

tBaroness Sayeeda Warsi, a cabinet minister in the U.K. and the highest-ranking Muslim woman in the West, made that case before present and future Vatican diplomats at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome. She spoke as part of a high-level delegation of U.K. officials in town for working meetings with Vatican officials.

tPope Benedict XVI, whom Warsi will meet tomorrow, previously has proposed a grand “Alliance of Civilizations” with Islam, one thrust of which is that Christians and Muslims should be natural allies against radical currents of secularism seeking to exclude religion from public life.

Today’s speech amounted to a signal that at least one influential British Muslim, and a woman to boot, is ready to sign on.

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July 14-27, 2017

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