This day starts with potential controversy. The 911 emergency tape calls from Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting a year ago may be released to the media today. But whether media should broadcast the sound of a mass murder in progress is a news ethics debate. Rachel Maddow at MSNBC suggests news organizations should hold back. USA TODAY marked the anniversary of the Newtown shootings by looking “Behind the Bloodshed” at mass murders. Among the findings, one in three victims were children. Scholar/author Diana Butler Bass suggests on Facebook #prayfornewtown.
What happens now that the first four participants in “Fast for Families” — activists for the cause of immigration reform — have broken bread? The cause lives on, writes Lauren Markoe. While the original fasters have begun to recover, new fasters including political and pastoral celebrities took up the hand-fashioned wooden cross necklaces and began their fasts Tuesday night.
The Vatican is trying to quash rumors that Pope Francis secretly slips out to help the poor. Darn! I liked that rumor. But he wouldn’t be the first pope to evade the Swiss Guard for the streets of Rome. David Gibson tells of other popes who went off the grid.
America’s self-appointed personal protector of Christmas and enemy of all Winter Holiday Pageants, Bill War-in-Christmas O’Reilly, is back on task. However, there is that pesky U.S. Constitution to contend with. So if you need help organizing a Merry Happy Inclusive Diverse Holidays event or décor for your public school child, the Anti-Defamation League is promoting a guide to constitutional celebrations.
Brian Pellot examines the ways state-funded religious-based public schools appear to be segregating Britain into enclaves segregated by religion, class, even level of church participation. A state-funded Roman Catholic school attended by the sons of Tony Blair, former prime minister, was recently forced to stop basing admissions on how involved parents were in helping the church.
With all the celebrating in December, the pain of absent loved ones can be acute, says blogger Jana Riess. In recalling her mother’s last year of cancer, she found comfort in creating a “liturgy” — rituals for marking significant dates with actions that honor the person. Riess writes: “On her birthday, I took the day off work and went to a museum she loved.”
Who gets efffing mad on the phone? According to “The Atlantic,” Ohio is the state with the swearing-est (is that a word?) consumers. They were recorded launching f-words and bodily functions and damned-if-I-know what else on phone calls to businesses at a rate of one curse per 150 calls. Washington State was most mellow at a rate of curse per 300 calls.
It could be an unhappy new year for municipal pensioners now that a federal judge has ruled that Detroit’s public pensions are not untouchable in the cuts required to financially stabilize the city. That’s possible bad news for pensioners in already bankrupt Stockton and San Bernardino.
Need a lift? Two inspiring videos should do it. A Nigerian man was rescued after three days trapped in a sunken boat. And disabled people see themselves as “perfect” in fashion mannequins modeled on them. Or, if you have some spare millions, buy yourself a Norman Rockwell. Seven of his works, including “Saying Grace” and “Walking to Church” paintings, go up for auction today.
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