Saturday, March 10, 2007

In the news

First things first - for those of you who may be readers of this blog that serves as a "daily" update for our convent, a word of explanation. I am now a staff writer for a podcast on itunes. The site averages about 13,000 hits per month, and being a writer for a podcast that is on the front page of Itunes in its category has been keeping me someone busy. I will not, however, abandon this blog.


One of the things I do each morning, time and duties allowing, is go through the morning paper. The actual news section. For most people this may be a "so what" sort of thing. For me it is a big change of pace. The time was, when I first became a nun, that I didn't read anything that was a book about spirituality of some sort - that and the comics section of the newspaper. Then Mother Superior asked me to go back to writing a book I had worked on (which she is now reviewing to submit for publication).


Here are some interesting items "in the news" where our convent is located...

President Bush Those of you who have read this blog before have some inkling on me views of current presidential policies. The latest effort of our president to spread democracy is a "good will tour" of South America (instead of trying to spread it at the point of a gun like he usually does). One of the chief detractors of President Bush, in South America at least, is the President of Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez. When Bush was asked about what President Chavez, Bush, had this to say - "I bring good will of the United States to South and Central America. That's why I am here." In the mean time President Chavez was addressing a soccer stadium full of people in Buenos Aires, while Bush arrived in Monteverideo, Uruguay. President Chavez had this to say about President Bush:

"The U.S. president today is a true political cadaver, and now he does not even smell of sulfer any more," Chavez told a raucous stadium crowd, alluding to Bush's waning years in office. "What the little gentleman from the North now exudes is the smell of political death, and in a very short time, he will be converted into cosmic dust and disappear from the stage."
- Associated Press, May 10, 2007

Meanwhile, back in Washington D.C. The Associated press today reported in an article entitled "FBI broke laws" reported "The FBI's transgressions were spelled out in a damning 126-page audity by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine." My first reaction was, of course, "The FBI broke laws? Wow there is a news flash." Okay, time for the Native American side of Sister Julie WhiteFeather to come out. We are talking here, about the same FBI that kidnapped a Native American woman named Myrle Poor Bear and forced her to swear false testimony against Lenord Peltier to get him extradited from Canada. The FBI told her they would take her children away from her. More, they threatened her with death. Here is what Myrtle Poor Bear herself had to say:

"According to Poor Bear, what ultimately led her to capitulate was a grisly display engineered by FBI agents. She was shown autopsy pictures of Anna Mae Aquash. Aquash, an Indian activist, had been found on the reservation with a bullet fired into the back of her skull. Supposedly for identification purposes, Aquash's hands were sawed off and sent to FBI labs. These pictures were shown to Poor Bear as well.

'They showed me certain parts of her body that were decomposed. They said that's how I was going to end up if I didn't co-operate with them. They said they could kill me and get away with it. I was very scared. I got to a point where I believed they would do it.'" (source:

So the associated press article from Today's paper reported that Inspector General Glenn A. Fine "found that agents sometimes demanded personal data on people without offical authorization, and in other cases improperly obtained telephone records in non-emergency circumstances. the audit also concluded that the FBI for three years underreported to Congress how often it used national security letters to ask businesses to turn over customer data. The letters are administrative subpoenas that do not require a judge's approval."

Closer to Home - The paper today also has a headline reading "will Chicago bet $500 million on Olympics?" Friends, Chicago, for those of you who may not know, is the hub of the same Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, unable to balance the budget recently proposed demanding public defenders work only four days a week where as of February 2007 there were 495 people in jail awaiting trial for more than 2 years and more than 100 of them waiting for more than 4 years. (source: Yet this is the same county where Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daily wants to guarantee the Olympic games against financial loss to the tune of $500 million dollars.

And on a historical note: It turns out that the idea for Daylight savings time came from none other than Benjamin Franklin himself. Apparently, he came up with the idea in 1784 but it wasn't until 1883 that the United States even had a standard time (boy wouldn't that have made getting to important meetings on time - "but general we were supposed to fight the British at noon, and the sun hasn't reached the church steeple in town yet). In 1918 daylight savings time was enacted, but repealed in 1919. Then, in 1974, Richard Nixon signed daylight savings time into law. Thank you Richard Nixon, at least there is one thing we can thank him for - I love daylight savings time.

God Bless You All
Sister Julie

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