Pope Benedict Says Condoms OK…..Sometimes

 Modernity one step at a time.   (Link from New York Times…..Wordpress has ‘issues’ so no link is provided.)

Pope Benedict XVI has said that condom use can be justified in some cases to help stop the spread of AIDS, the first Vatican exception to a long-held policy condemning condom use. The pope made the statement in a series of interviews with a German journalist, part of an extraordinary effort to address some of the harshest criticisms of his turbulent papacy.

The pope made clear that he considered the use of condoms a last resort and not a way to prevent conception. The example he gave of when they could be used was in the case of male prostitutes.

That should make some in the Vatican more relaxed this weekend.

Russia And United States Move Forward On Missile Defense Cooperation

Good news. (WordPress has ‘issues’ so the link that should have been able to be clicked would let you know this came from Bloomberg news.)

Russia agreed to cooperate with NATO on a missile-defense system, expanding cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries as President Barack Obama pushes the U.S. Senate to ratify a nuclear-arms reduction treaty.

“Today we have not only buried ghosts of the past that have haunted us for too long,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen after alliance leaders met today with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the end of a two-day summit in Lisbon. “We have made a fresh start.”

NATO is trying to turn the anti-missile system — initially opposed by the Kremlin — into a fulcrum for cooperation with Russia as part of the U.S.-driven “reset” of East-West relations. Russia and the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization will create a “working group” on missile defense, according to an official Russian fact sheet.

Alaska’s Joe Miller Supports Activist Judges

I thought teabaggers were opposed to activist judges.  (WordPress has ‘issues’ so this link came from Wall Street Journal titled Judge Won’t Rule On Alaska Election.)

A federal judge in Alaska declined on Friday to rule on Senate candidate Joe Miller’s lawsuit over how the state counted ballots in his race against fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Scott McAdams, saying the matter should be resolved by a state court.

The judge delayed the state’s plans to certify the election as long as Mr. Miller sues in a state court by Monday.

Ms. Murkowski’s campaign manager, Kevin Sweeney, said in a statement, “We agree with Judge Beistline that if Mr. Miller has a question of interpretation it belongs in a state court. But we still don’t know what Joe hopes to gain. Even with all of his challenges, Lisa defeated him by more than 2,000 votes.”

A spokesman from Mr. Miller’s camp didn’t immediately comment.

Indeed, Ms. Murkowski appears to have won the race even if a judge eventually throws out misspelled ballots. Not counting the ballots that Mr. Miller has challenged because of misspellings and other imperfections, Ms. Murkowski had a 2,247-vote lead over Mr. Miller at last count.

America Is Changing…And Fast

Geek alert.

This is the starting point of how elections get decided.  This stuff fascinates me.  (Since WordPress is having ‘issues’ today let me alert you that this article came from The Economist, November 20th, and is titled “One Nation Divisible.)

America’s young and old are differentiated not just by region but by race. Hispanic immigrants in particular are helping to swell the ranks of the young. The decade saw America’s foreign-born population grow by 24%, or about 7.4m. In 2009 Hispanics comprised 21% of those younger than 25; those 65 and older were 80% white and only 7% Hispanic.

But this divide—what William Frey of the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, calls “the cultural generation gap”—is very much wider in some states and cities. In Arizona, for example, 83% of the elderly are white and 42% of those under 25 are Hispanic. This can lead to divergent priorities, such as the reluctance of the old to pay for education, or even a political eruption. This year Arizona’s anti-immigration ordinance sparked protests far beyond the state’s borders and a lawsuit from the federal government.

Such conflict may well be replicated as other places welcome (or fail to) new residents. Immigrants are increasingly dispersed, settling in areas unused to outsiders. South Carolina’s Hispanic population expanded by 116% between 2000 and 2009. South Dakota, Tennessee and Alabama also saw big jumps.

In the long term, these immigrants or their children may become local economic stars. In the short term, tension is mounting. Mr Frey found that many of the new magnet states attract immigrants unlikely to speak English or to have completed school. Voters in such communities may view immigration rather differently than do those in San Francisco or Pittsburgh, hubs for skilled, foreign-born workers.

There is also a range of subtler shifts. In his 2008 book “The Big Sort”, Bill Bishop argues that communities are differentiated not just by demography but by the way people live. In the 1960s and 1970s communities on the whole grew ever more alike. But since the 1980s they have diverged on a range of indicators, from the age at which women have children to the age at which residents die. The most powerful “sort”, however, may be the slow concentration of educated workers.

America as a whole is becoming better educated. In 2000 24% of those 25 and older had a bachelors degree or more. By 2009 28% did. But this rise is not uniform across ethnic groups—blacks and Hispanics are lagging—or throughout the country. In the 1970s America’s college graduates were distributed relatively equally among cities. Since then, however, the skill-level of metropolitan areas has diverged. Brookings ranks the 100 biggest metropolitan areas by rate of educational attainment. The gap between the most and least educated cities was 26 in points in 1990. By 2009 it had widened to 34 points.

These trends, if they continue, will surely affect regional prosperity. From 1999 to 2009 median household income rose in only five states, and in four of these the gains were driven by soaring commodity prices. The biggest drops in income were all in states that depend on low-skill industries: Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

Saturday Song: Sonny James “My Love”, “A World Of Our Own”, “Little Band Of Gold”