Saturday, November 13, 2010

Brazil tests literacy of clown elected to Congress

This gives a whole new meaning to the commonly used phrase, "We elected some clown to serve in Congress"

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SAO PAULO – Grumpy the clown won election in a laugher, getting more votes than any other candidate for Brazil's Congress. Now he has to prove that he can read and write.

The Sao Paulo Electoral Court held a closed-door exam for the clown turned congressman-elect on Thursday to determine if he meets a constitutional mandate that federal lawmakers be literate.

Francisco Silva became famous as Tiririca — "Grumpy" in Portuguese — and received about 1.3 million votes, nearly twice as many as the next-highest vote-getter in last month's congressional elections.


G-20 summit ends with watered-down agreement

This (originally LA Times) article is excellent, and well worth the read. Macro economics often are hard to grasp for lay people. This article does very well to present a great deal of important information in a clear and comprehensible way.

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Reporting from Seoul —

The leaders of the world's 20 major economies on Friday ended a frequently rancorous two-day summit in this northeast Asian capital without reaching agreement on specific steps to avert damaging currency and trade wars.
There were far more setbacks than gains, but President Obama suffered the biggest disappointment, falling short in his attempt to forge a unified approach to boosting the global economy.
The previous day, the U.S. and South Korea acknowledged that they remained in a stalemate over a free-trade agreement that has languished in the national legislatures of both nations.Read more at

Pro-Democracy Leader Suu Kyi Freed in Myanmar

Pray for her safety,

"It is now crucial that Aung San Suu Kyi has unrestricted freedom of movement and speech and can participate fully in her country's political process," European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso said.

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YANGON, Myanmar (Nov. 13) -- Myanmar's military government freed its archrival, democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on Saturday after her latest term of detention expired. Several thousand jubilant supporters streamed to her residence.
We have a lot of things to do," she told the well-wishers, who quickly swelled to as many as 5,000.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Her release was immediately welcomed by world leaders and human rights organizations.Read more at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Catholic Synod statement on Israeli settlements

The Catholic Synod statement on Israeli settlements

The Catholic Synod statement on Israeli settlements

I wrote this article today that examines the Vatican-Israel relationship following statements made at the conclusion of the Middle East Bishops Synod

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New York
Pope Benedict XVI convened the first Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican City from October 10th to 24th.
By the end of the Synod, Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, head of the commission that drew up the statement, made the following, shocking statement:
"The theme of the Promised Land cannot be used as a basis to justify the return of the Jews to Israel and the expatriation of the Palestinians.

"We Christians cannot speak of the 'Promised Land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people -- all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people." [2]

That same day Danny Ayalon, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, said ,

"We express our disappointment that this important synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propagandaRead more at

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Science and Religion

Many might imagine themselves disinterested in a Vatican advisory council on science. But the same many may have passionate opinions on political and social issues that match exactly the very matters to which this commission devotes itself.

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VATICAN CITY –  Some of the world’s top scientists gathered at the Vatican last weekend to discuss the scientific advances of the 20th century and their compatibility with religion.

Located within the Vatican garden, Casina Pio IV is a 16th century villa that houses the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Located within the Vatican garden, Casina Pio IV is a 16th century villa that houses the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

The scientists are members of the Roman Catholic Church's papal advisory council known as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Pope Benedict XVI praised the achievements of modern science. He said that the Catholic Church "both encourages and benefits from" scientific research and told his audience that people must neither fear science nor hold it up as a panacea capable of answering all of our deepest existential questions.

But some scientists present said the Catholic Church must do more to convince people that it is not anti-science.

The existence of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, however, allows the Catholic Church to interface with modern science. Set up originally by Roman prince Federico Cesi in 1603, the academy was reinstated in its current form in 1936 by Pope Pius XI to ensure that the Catholic Church is kept up to speed with modern science and briefed on topics of particular interest to the Vatican. 


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Muslim condemnation of violence against Christians

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Attacking a place of worship and targeting people during their celebration of God is in direct contravention of the message of the Holy Qur-aan, is anti-Islaam and inhuman. The Prophet (pbuh) has condemned such behaviour in the strongest possible terms when he said: "indeed the blood, honour, possessions and life of another are sacred and therefore forbidden to violate". Hence such people cannot be Muslims.
Muslims must repudiate the fanatics, and must repudiate those who seek to manipulate Muslims into giving fanatics tacit support by being silent in the face of their atrocities. I call upon all Muslim leaders of the world to speak up in the face of injustice, whether it is injustice against Muslims, Christians, Jews or any other community.Read more at

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Biden rallies Delaware Democrats ahead of election

200 people?

That's how many people I had in my house to watch the game last night.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Vice president Joe Biden is urging fellow Delaware Democrats to get voters to the polls for the midterm elections.

Biden headlined a Democratic rally in downtown Wilmington on Monday evening that drew about 200 people.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Materialism and genetics

I published this brief article today

Abstract: Advances in genetic science is one of the most exciting developments of our time.  There arises from this great hope to cure many crippling maladies whose quiddities have eluded us so far.  But, so long as these advances occur in an environment of scientism and materialist reductionism, progress in the study of genetics will continue to carry clear and substantial social dangers.

Lawson puts the potential horrors of this materialist reductionism in plain view in a mad pendulum swing across two short paragraphs:

The notion of homosexuality as genetic destiny won plaudits among those who thought that described the origins of their own sexual identity; but the discovery or belief that there is a simple and identifiable genetic cause of certain behavioral traits can have deeply unpleasant consequences.

In 1997 Professor James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, declared: “If you could find the gene which determines sexuality, and a woman decides she doesn’t want a homosexual child, well, let her [abort].”


Materialism and genetics

Materialism and genetics

This article is about genetic research, its potential good and potential danger