Daily Archives: July 1, 2010

NPR: Can Your Genes Make You Murder?

Immediately, [defense attorney Wylie] Richardson went to forensic psychiatrist William Bernet of Vanderbilt University and asked him to give Waldroup a psychiatric evaluation. Bernet also took a blood sample and brought it to Vanderbilt’s Molecular Genetics Laboratory. Since 2004, Bernet and laboratory director Cindy Vnencak-Jones have been analyzing the DNA of people like Waldroup.

They’ve tested some 30 criminal defendants, most of whom were charged with murder. They were looking for a particular variant of the MAO-A gene ”” also known as the warrior gene because it has been associated with violence. Bernet says they found that Waldroup has the high-risk version of the gene.

“His genetic makeup, combined with his history of child abuse, together created a vulnerability that he would be a violent adult,” Bernet explains.

Over the fierce opposition of prosecutors, the judge allowed Bernet to testify in court that these two factors help explain why Waldroup snapped that murderous night.

“We didn’t say these things made him become violent, but they certainly constituted a risk factor or a vulnerability,” Bernet says.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Theology

Zenit: Prelate Protests Abortion in US Military Hospitals

The U.S. bishops’ conference pro-life committee chairman is urging lawmakers to uphold current policy prohibiting U.S. military hospitals, and other federal health facilities, from performing abortions.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, stated this in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. senators.

He asked that the lawmakers, when they review the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011, would “remove from the bill a misguided committee amendment” that authorizes abortions at military hospitals both in the United States and worldwide.

The prelate backed Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, who also sent a letter to the senators on June 17, “urging congress not to impose this tremendous burden on the consciences of Catholic and other health care personnel who joined our armed services to save and protect innocent life, not to destroy it.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Episcopal Church suffers procedural setback in Fort Worth lawsuit

A local group representing the national Episcopal Church has hit a legal snag in its attempt to take control of the property of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The 2nd Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the group’s attorneys, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of “The Corporation” and “The Fort Worth Diocese,” cannot represent those entities because the entities are also associated with Bishop Jack Iker, the defendant in the lawsuit.

The appellate court noted that there is only one corporation and diocese, which both sides are staking claim to.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

CBO says debt will reach 62 percent of GDP by year's end

The national debt will reach 62 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of this year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Wednesday.

The budget office said the debt will reach its highest percentage of GDP since the end of World War II. The jump is driven by lower tax revenues and higher federal spending in the recent recession.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

NPR: Not So Neighborly Associations Foreclosing On Homes

Capt. Mike Clauer was serving in Iraq last year as company commander of an Army National Guard unit assigned to escort convoys. It was exceedingly dangerous work ”” explosive devices buried in the road were a constant threat to the lives of Clauer and his men.

He was halfway through his deployment when he got a bolt from the blue ”” a frantic phone call from his wife, May, back in Texas.

“She was bawling on the phone and was telling me that the HOA [homeowners association] had foreclosed on our house, and it was sold,” he says. “And I couldn’t believe that could even happen.”

Caught this on today’s morning run–I had no idea this could happen. Read or listen to it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues

Do-It-Yourself Downsize: How To Build A Tiny House

The only thing tiny about the tiny house movement is the size of the houses themselves. There are a slew of websites devoted to the scene, and tiny house evangelists based in California and Vermont are busy traveling around North America helping people build these little homes.

“I’m just a freelance, insane guy working out of his backyard building stuff for people when the need arises,” says Derek Diedricksen, 33, a tiny house enthusiast who lives outside of Boston.

Diedricksen’s backyard resembles a junkyard with piles of unlikely building materials and a handful of already-completed structures. His web video series, Tiny Yellow House, might be described as Wayne’s World meets This Old House.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market