NCR Today

Open letter to the supercommittee (aka the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction)

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Dear committee members,

I urge you to cut military spending deeply.

We only need our current budget if we plan more wars like the past decade. It is time for diplomacy.

Some procurement boondoggles identified by the Government Accountability Office include:

  • Ballistic missile defense

  • The littoral combat ship named the Sea Fighter

  • The information grid

  • The Navy/Marine Corps intranet

  • The MWRAP vehicle

Unworkable or unnecessary systems tend to have something in common: Their costs are often uncontrollable. A 2009 Government Accountability Office study of 96 major defense acquisition programs found that almost two-thirds of them suffered major cost overruns -- 40 percent above contract prices, overall -- with average delays of nearly two years. Those overruns totaled close to $300 billion, about the amount of President Bill Clinton's last full defense budget request a decade ago.

As the late Sen. Everett Dirksen said, "A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you are spending real money."

Sincerely yours,

On this day: Margery Kempe

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On this day the Anglican Communion commemorates Margery Kempe, Mystic.

Margery Brunham was born in Lynn in Norfolk, about 1373. At the age of 20 she married John Kempe. They would be the parents of 14 children.

"The Book of Margery Kempe, often described as the first autobiography in English, was probably written in the late 1430s and presents an account of the visionary encounters and conversations with Christ experienced by a woman from a prosperous urban mercantile family, who lived in Lynn in Norfolk. It details her attempts to follow a life of intense spirituality while living in the world, rather than withdrawing from it as an anchoress or nun, and describes the approbation and criticism which she received as a result."

--from the Preface to A Companion to The Book of Margery Kempe, edited by John H. Arnold and Katherine J. Lewis, D. S. Brewer, 2004, page xvii.

Gaza-bound activists intercepted, describe 'violent' abduction

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Israeli commandos intercepted a two-boat flotilla in international waters Friday afternoon as the vessels attempted to challenge the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Using warships and water canons, Israeli forces seized the Canadian-owned Tahrir and the Irish MV Saoirse approximately 45 miles from the Gazan coastline, then hauled the vessels' 27 passengers, including Irish parliamentarians, journalists and human rights activists, to Israel.

Seven were deported Saturday. Twenty remained imprisoned in Israel over the weekend, among them Americans Kit Kittredge, a peace activist from Quilcene, Wash., and Jihan Hafiz, a correspondent for the radio/TV news program Democracy Now!

Released Monday night, Hafiz arrived in New York early this morning and was interviewed on Democracy Now!

In a one-minute phone call from Givon Prison on Sunday, Fintan Lane, an Irish historian and writer traveling on the MV Saoirse described the abduction of the Irish vessel as "violent and dangerous."

Cardinal George regrets shooting from hip

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This is the most recent update of a story that dominated Chicago news last weekend.

Cardinal Francis George was on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times for days after he and the bishops of the other four Illinois dioceses sharply criticized Gov. Pat Quinn for plans to award a woman who has worked for years to counsel victims of rape.

Although he retreated a step or two from the original strong words about mothers killing babies in their wombs, he did not apologize to the counselor or to Quinn.

The incident aroused widespread interest, since it touches on a very sensitive and rarely discussed aspect of Catholic moral teaching, namely that women who become pregnant through rape are obliged to carry the pregnancy through to birth.


Read the full story here.

Hospital files lawsuit over public records request

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University of Louisville Hospital has filed a lawsuit against The Courier-Journal, the ACLU and WHAS-TV in response to the organizations' request that it turn over public records, The Courier-Journal reports.

The hospital's designation -- as a public or private entity -- is at the heart of the lawsuit, which, the newspaper says, could affect a proposed merger with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and St. Joseph Health System in Lexington, Ky.

The planned merger would give St. Joseph Health System, a subsidiary of the health system Catholic Health Initiatives, majority ownership in University of Louisville Hospital.

Daughters of Charity receive $1 million for clinic

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The Daughters of Charity will receive $1 million toward the construction of a primary care clinic in eastern New Orleans as part of a larger lawsuit settlement with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, according to this article in the Times-Picayune.

The lawsuit stems from "scores of deaths and complications traced to Propulsid, once a popular heartburn drug," according to the report.

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In This Issue

February 10-23, 2017

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