NCR Today

With abuse scandal, priest shortage, a sour 10 days in Ireland


DUBLIN, Ireland -- For the Vatican this has been a sour 10 days in Ireland. It began with Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin suggesting there may be a “cabal” in the Vatican protecting sex abusers. This at a time when Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny refused to back down on his charges of Vatican interference in the sovereign affairs of the Irish state -- despite Rome’s rebuttal that cut little ice in Ireland as it denied a cover-up.

Cliff Robertson and my brother


The actor Cliff Robertson, who died this weekend at age 88, was a very important member of my family. We were not at all related and we never actually met.

But Robertson won his only Oscar for the title role in a movie called "Charly," It was released in 1968, when I was 11 years old, and featured Robertson as a mentally-challenged man who swept floors in a small bakery.

My father owned a small bakery in The Bronx at that time. More importantly to all of us, my older brother was also a mentally-challenged young man who sometimes dropped by the shop to sweep the floors.

In the film, Robertson's Charly becomes the subject of an experiment -- one that works and turns him into a genius by the middle of the story. When I heard about the movie, I couldn't wait to see it: there weren't a lot of stories around then about brain-injured adults, and I hoped "Charly" would touch on the things my family went through every day.

Morning Briefing


Anti-nuke activist gets eight months


Four months in, four months to go.

In the third of eleven sentencing hearings expected in coming days for a group of anti-nuclear activists opposing a $7.5 billion new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility, a veteran of the peace movement was sentenced to eight months in jail this afternoon.

Bonnie Urfer, the co-director of the watchdog group Nukewatch, was handed the sentence by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton. In jail since her May trial for a 2010 peace action, Urfer was credited with time served and given four more months in jail.

Urfer was part of a July 5, 2010, action at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. One of three nuclear weapons sites currently under consideration by the federal government, a major new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility at the Oak Ridge complex was officially announced July 25.

Part of a group of 13 who took part in the action, Urfer climbed over a barbed wire fence onto the property of the Y-12 complex and was arrested.

FEMA aid for flood victims


According to The Scranton Times-Tribune:

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide aid to thousands of Northeast Pennsylvania residents who are just now beginning to recover from the floodwaters stirred by Tropical Storm Lee, the agency announced Tuesday.

The release of federal funds to 19 counties statewide, including Luzerne, Susquehanna and Wyoming, will allow home and business owners to recoup the cost of repairs and new construction through direct payments or low-interest loans to those who qualify.

Now that President Barack Obama has made an official disaster declaration in Pennsylvania that opens the door for flood-affected residents to potentially get federal money in their hands, residents can now submit an application for benefits to the agency."

Catholic Health System launches nonprofit for diabetes care


Catholic Health System is one of a couple of health care groups partnering with Western New York nonprofit HEALTHeLINK to start a telemonitoring pilot program designed to improve diabetes patients' access to care, according to several news reports.

The program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has already enrolled the first 100 of the roughly 150 patients it expects to monitor through March 2013 in 17 communities across the U.S.

Read the rest of the Information Week Healthcare report here.

Buffalo Business First reports:

"Using mobile devices, patients will report their blood pressure, glucose readings and other vital signs. As the data comes into the providers, their nurses and clinical staff monitor the information to notify doctors if a patient is in danger. The program will use existing monitoring equipment supplied by the three partners."

Read the entire story here.

I was appalled


This past Monday night, I watched the Republican debate sponsored by the Tea Party. With any of these Republican debates, I feel like I'm in another reality … one that is out of touch with ordinary Americans who need jobs or who suffer in poverty. But I listen because I want to be an informed citizen.

This week, however, I was truly appalled by responses to one question from the CNN host Wolf Blitzer. He asked Ron Paul, who is a physician, about the hypothetical case of a 30-year-old male who decided that he didn't want to buy health insurance, but suddenly goes into a coma and needs intensive care. Paul said this case should not be the government's responsibility. "That's what freedom is about, taking your own risks," Paul said, but he was drowned out by audience applause as he added, "this whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody …" This was greeted by loud audience applause.

Then Blitzer asked, "Are you saying that society should just let him die?" Before Paul could answer, the audience started shouting "yeah" -- and that was followed by laughter.


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017