Archive for May 2008
The Vatican announced today that any female priests, as well as bishops who ordained them, will be excommunicated from the church. The Vatican states this rule was formed because Christ chose only male apostles, but some aren’t buying it, saying that that was the social norm for the time, and now the rule is outdated.
Is the Vatican taking things too seriously? Is the rule outdated? Should women have the right to be priests?
MSNBC reports that the Texas Supreme Court has upheld an appellate court ruling forcing the return of 300 or so children to the polygamist sect.
The court cited the DA’s lack of evidence pointing to immediate danger, but that is not the only problem:
The children were taken into custody after someone called a hot line claiming to be a pregnant, abused teenage wife. The girl has not been found and authorities are investigating whether the calls were hoaxes.
Question: Did authorities have the right to take the children in the first place?
Credit: © BananaStock/SuperStock
“Accidents involving teen drivers cost more than $34 billion in ’06.”
By Doug Newcomb:
Ask any parent who has just added a kid to the family’s insurance policy and they’ll tell you how expensive it is to have a teen behind the wheel. But the overall cost of teen driving is as tragic as it is staggering. According to a recent report from AAA, car accidents involving drivers 15 to 17 cost society more than $34 billion in medical expenses, property damage and related costs in 2006.
This massive figure includes $9.8 billion related to fatal crashes, and double that amount ($20.5 billion), connected with non-fatal crashes, while property damage losses made up the remaining $4.1 billion. But there are, of course, more heartbreaking and incalculable losses behind with these numbers.
More facts from the same article:
-According for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. teens, accounting for 36 percent of all deaths in the age group.
-The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group, and per-miles-driven teens ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
—IIHS statistics show that 16- and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.
-According to teensafety.com, 1 in 3 teenage drivers has an accident in the first year of receiving a license, and a teenager is injured in a car crash every 55 seconds and killed every 6.5 minutes.
QUESTION: What is the solution? More practice time? Should teens have to wait longer to get their licenses? Or do you feel these reports are inaccurate?
Canadian police recently arrested a couple for attempting to sell their week-old daughter on Craigslist for the equivalent for $10,100.
This is the second time in just as many weeks that someone has been arrested for trying to sell their baby over the internet. In Germany, a couple was arrested for trying to sell their seven month old son for 1 euro on eBay, the US equivalent of just over $1.50. Both couples said that it was a hoax, but police aren’t believing it. For one, the German couple posted that they were looking for serious offers only (a little bit ironic, if you ask me).
The couple in Germany could face up to 5 years in prison if found guilty of child trafficking. No one offered on the babies, but people who saw the ads called police.
Here are both links:
Reuters reports that:
Russian Communist Party members condemned the new “Indiana Jones” film on Friday as crude, anti-Soviet propaganda that distorts history and called for it to be banned from Russian screens.
“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” stars Harrison Ford as an archeologist in 1957 competing with an evil KGB agent, played by Cate Blanchett, to find a skull endowed with mystic powers.
“What galls is how together with America we defeated Hitler, and how we sympathized when Bin Laden hit them. But they go ahead and scare kids with Communists. These people have no shame,” said Viktor Perov, a Communist Party member in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg…
“Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett (are) second-rate actors, serving as the running dogs of the CIA. We need to deprive these people of the right of entering the country,” said another party member, Andrei Gindos…
“Our movie-goers are teenagers who are completely unaware of what happened in 1957,” St Peterburg Communist Party chief Sergei Malinkovich told Reuters.
“They will go to the cinema and will be sure that in 1957 we made trouble for the United States and almost started a nuclear war.”
Get the full story here.
Does the party have a point, or will Russian moviegoers regard Indy as fiction?
If there’s one thing I want to deal with as a blogger, it’s the issues:
Don’t be touching those monkeys…
Photo: Kevin Moloney for The New York Times
COLORADO SPRINGS — In their floor-length gowns, up-dos and tiaras, the 70 or so young women swept past two harpists and into a gilt-and-brocade dining room at the lavish Broadmoor Hotel, on the arms of their much older male companions.
The girls, ages early grade school to college, had come with their fathers, stepfathers and future fathers-in-law last Friday night to the ninth annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball. The first two hours of the gala passed like any somewhat awkward night out with parents, the men doing nearly all the talking and the girls struggling to cut their chicken.
But after dessert, the 63 men stood and read aloud a covenant “before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity.”
The gesture signaled that the fathers would guard their daughters from what evangelicals consider a profoundly corrosive “hook-up culture.” The evening, which alternated between homemade Christian rituals and giddy dancing, was a joyous public affirmation of the girls’ sexual abstinence until they wed.
“Fathers, our daughters are waiting for us,” Mr. Wilson, 49, told the men. “They are desperately waiting for us in a culture that lures them into the murky waters of exploitation. They need to be rescued by you, their dad.”
Other highlights from the article:
The same article says studies say close relationships between fathers and daughters “can reduce the risk of early sexual activity among girls and teenage pregnancy. But studies have also shown that most teenagers who say they will remain abstinent, like those at the ball, end up having sex before marriage, and they are far less likely to use condoms than their peers.”
QUESTION: Do you think events like purity balls encourage abstinence? What about purity pledges and other similar promises?
cartoon by Steve Benson, Arizona Republic
As we have been advertising, we are currently taking applications for next year’s staff.
We need writers and photographers, and we also need a cartoonist.
Next year’s Vox editor in chief, Conor Wigert, and I recently attended a conference where Pulitzer prize winning cartoonist Steve Benson of the Arizona Republic said that editorial cartoonists are the type of people who start a bar brawl and then stand back and watch the fight.
We want one of those…
So if you think it’s you, apply! See here for details.
I found this website called greatnewsnetwork.com. Essentially, this site gathers happy or inspiring news stories from all over the world and puts them all in one place.
With all of the destruction going on all around the world lately, this site is a nice change. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of our successes as human beings (even though those do not seem to generate ratings).
Here’s the story. Educate yourself if you feel so inclined.
A letter being auctioned in London this week adds more fuel to the long-simmering debate about the Nobel Prize-winning physicist’s religious views. In the note, written the year before his death, Einstein dismissed the idea of God as the product of human weakness and the Bible as “pretty childish
So by the looks of things this article has been around for a little while, so why the fact that it’s being sold now adds significantly to the debate is beyond me.
Regardless of it’s relavence to the debate about Einstein’s particular belief’s is the debate about science vs. religion. For me it’s never been too much of a debate, since I’ve never found too many scientific theories that have much of any friction with my religious beliefs. But what I find interesting is this part of the above article:
“Like many great scientists of the past, he is rather quirky about religion, and not always consistent from one period to another,” Brooke said.
Many would condemn such eccentricity of theology, but if we acknowledge that they’re smarter than us, then why do we think they’re wrong when they do something we don’t understand?
Here’s a favorite quote for mine from the “stein”:
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
With that theory, does creationism have a case for being taught in schools? Has anyone ever come up with a solid arguement for it being taught in schools? If he’s so smart, why doesn’t he know what a comb is?
There’s so much discussion nowadays over whether teens are overloaded and overwhelmed with school and preparation for college, I thought I would just remind you all it could be worse.
SEOUL, South Korea — It is 10:30 p.m. and students at the elite Daewon prep school here are cramming in a study hall that ends a 15-hour school day. A window is propped open so the evening chill can keep them awake. One teenager studies standing upright at his desk to keep from dozing.
Kim Hyun-kyung, who has accumulated nearly perfect scores on her SATs, is multitasking to prepare for physics, chemistry and history exams.
“I can’t let myself waste even a second,” said Ms. Kim, who dreams of attending Harvard, Yale or another brand-name American college. And she has a good shot. This spring, as in previous years, all but a few of the 133 graduates from Daewon Foreign Language High School who applied to selective American universities won admission.
Both schools seem to be rethinking their grueling regimen, at least a bit. Minjok, a boarding school, has turned off dormitory surveillance cameras previously used to ensure that students did not doze in late-night study sessions. Daewon is ending its school day earlier for freshmen. Its founder, Lee Won-hee, worried in an interview that while Daewon was turning out high-scoring students, it might be falling short in educating them as responsible citizens.
In the US, do you think high school students are overworked and overscheduled? Is there too much competition surrounding the college process?
Also in this month’s Vox, East Valley High student Sarah Radmar writes about a lawsuit against the East Valley School District for $1, over students’ rights to pray at school.
From the story: Click here for file
“We want everyone to have the ability to meet and pray. We don’t care if you’re Buddhist, Muslim, Devil Worshipper, whatever: students should have the right to pray on their own freewill with a group,” Way said.
According to the story, a group of students were praying on campus and another student who overheard them singing “Amazing Grace” complained. Said the student who complained to admin:
“Public school is a place of education, not religious activity. If they allow religious activity, they should be providing [it] for all religions.”
QUESTION: Do you agree or disagree with the lawsuit? Should students be able to meet on campus to pray?
MAYA BLACKMUN The Oregonian Staff
TIGARD — Teachers and administrators at Twality Middle School have seen something in the trash bins that has them worried: increasing numbers of empty energy drink cans.
Some teachers became so concerned, they e-mailed parents Friday pleading with them not to send their students to school with energy drinks. Administrators followed up with a letter Tuesday to all families in the 880-student school.
“The result is that some students are literally drunk on a caffeine buzz, or falling off a caffeine crash,” the e-mail said. While many energy drinks have the same caffeine, ounce for ounce, as strong coffee, the teachers wrote they found some students exchanging and accumulating cans and drinking as many as five cans a day.
“Many energy drink consumers have already developed caffeine dependency, and on some days we get to witness 14-year-old caffeine withdrawal (You know how you get when you haven’t had your cup of coffee),” the teachers wrote.
The rising popularity of so-called energy drinks is drawing concern among school administrators around the nation, with principals in other states also urging parents not to send their students to school with energy drinks. In mid-March, four eighth-graders in Broward County, Fla., were hospitalized after sipping energy drinks and then complaining of sweating and racing hearts.
QUESTION: How many energy drinks a day do you consume? Do you agree there is a problem with teens drinking too many?
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I don’t even know what to say to this one:
Your odd news of the day!
And while on the topic of sex ed, this from a brief in yesterday’s S-R:
Chlamydia rates are rising in Spokane County, prompting health officials to urge more sexually transmitted disease screening.
Women may develop pelvic inflammatory disease from chlamydia. The disease is often undiagnosed, said Stacy Wenzl, communicable disease prevention program manager at the Spokane Regional Health District. Antibiotics are available.
Wenzl said the 422 cases reported in the first three months of 2008 are worrisome when compared to the 274 reported during the same span last year.
Prevention of chlamydia can be achieved through limiting sex or having a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected sex partner.
Carolyn Campbell, a senior at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, accepted an unusual invitation to the prom from fellow senior Kristoff Wennersten. Photo by: ELIYAHU GURFINKEL, THE ANN ARBOR NEWS
Kristoff Wennersten figured his prom proposal had to be one-of-a-kind if it would have any chance of being accepted.
But the Huron High School senior never imagined it would result in a suspension for himself and 12 of his varsity lacrosse teammates, whom he recruited to help spell out the message at a school soccer match via their derrieres.
The players displayed the question, “Will You Go To The Prom With Me? Yes or No?” on their posteriors while mooning Huron senior Carolyn Campbell at a game.
All 13 players were suspended for a undetermined number of games and ordered to complete 20 hours of community service.
Campbell, who accepted the prom invitation by patting the lower back of the player displaying the word ‘Yes,’ described Wennersten’s method as “cute” and said she wasn’t upset by the manner in which she was asked.
“People get pretty creative with prom. Anyone who’s done anything has been pretty outlandish,” Campbell said. “This is pretty epic, I would say.
“I didn’t think it would become this big of a deal.”
And from a parent:
Karen Van Eck, whose sophomore son, Forrest, plays for Huron’s junior varsity lacrosse team, wasn’t among those upset. But she said she saw the need for punishment.
“Some very nice kids made a really bad choice,” Van Eck said. “I think it all boils down to respect. Who wants a bunch of boys with their butts hanging out (representing the school)? They had to do something.”
QUESTION: Was the suspension deserved? Also, did you go all out to ask someone to the prom?