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Our treatment of prisoners says a lot about us

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It seems to me a measure of the quality of our society is how we treat men and women in jail.

I was in a courtroom a few weeks ago when a jailed defendant asked for a different court-appointed lawyer. The judge scolded him, calling him a whiner who is never satisfied.

The judge treated him disrespectfully, as if he were already found guilty -- and that’s how the public defender, who is young and inexperienced, had been treating him already. That’s why the defendant wanted a different lawyer. He didn’t get one.

This was a very small event. The defendant wasn’t dying for lack of medication. The defendant hadn’t been beaten by arresting officers.

But he had been waiting in jail twenty months for his trial and the charge was a sex offence -- which carries the “ick” factor for everybody. He was very scared that a jury was going to find him guilty if he didn’t mount a strong defense.

Layoffs, new clothes, and shopping ethically

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On Sunday right after Mass, I headed out to do the one thing I dread more than going to the dentist: shopping for new clothes. Dante got it wrong when he described the various levels of hell because he left out shopping malls.

I so hate this activity that I put it off until my clothes are either so uncomfortable or, as is the case this time, I’m starting a new job.

A digital examination of conscience?

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Granted, personal “confession” has been in decline. There are no lines in front of confessionals on Saturday afternoons like there were in the days of my youth.

So, someone is trying to revive confession -- with digital assistance. There’s a new app for the iPhone that helps Catholic penitents with an examination of conscience, tailored to a person’s age, gender, state in life, etc. It’s apparently the rage, and is #25 among top sellers in Apple's iTunes App store.

Morning Briefing

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There must be an app for that

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One morning at breakfast we sisters were talking about something that had happened between some people we knew and one sister said, "Well, we can only change ourselves." Another said, "I continue to realize this more and more that I can only change myself; I have to look in the mirror myself." And then one of the sisters said very quietly, "There's an app for that, you know." There really wasn't but we had a great laugh to start the day since we all have smart phones of one kind or another.

Now with the launch of the new "Confession: A Roman Catholic App" on Monday the blog world is abuzz with chatter and commentary abounds.

Press Release: Tom Monaghan steps aside at Ave Maria U

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The press release:

Ave Maria University Board of Trustees
Announces Jim Towey as School’s Next President

AVE MARIA, Fla. (February 10, 2011) – Ave Maria University’s board of trustees announced today that Jim Towey will be the university’s next president. Towey will be responsible for the day to day operations as president when his term begins on July 1, 2011. Thomas S. Monaghan, who currently serves as Chancellor and CEO of AMU will remain Chancellor, but will relinquish the responsibilities of CEO and hence the oversight of the daily operations of the university.

The board of trustees voted on the appointment of Towey at its regularly scheduled meeting earlier this week. Chairman of the board of trustees, Michael T. O. Timmis, made today’s announcement on behalf of the board. Timmis praised the incredible vision of Monaghan and the solid foundation that he has set in place for AMU. He also talked about the confidence the board has that Towey is the right person for AMU at this stage of its development.

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