Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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Nice Folks, Those Insurance People – BOOOOO CIGNA!

On Thursday, the family rallied supporters online and staged a protest at Cigna’s Glendale office with about 150 people, including many members of the local Armenian community and the California Nurses Assn., which had released statements supporting the family’s cause.

Later in the day, Cigna released a statement approving the transplant payment.

“Although it is outside the scope of the plan’s coverage, and despite the lack of medical evidence regarding the effectiveness of such treatment,” spokesman Wendell Potter wrote, “Cigna HealthCare has decided to make an exception in this rare and unusual case, and we will provide coverage should she proceed with the requested liver transplant. Our thoughts and payers are with Nataline and her family at this time.”

Nataline died about 6 p.m.

Family blames HMO for teen’s death – Los Angeles Times

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Are You a Perennialist?

Perennialism rejects a modern world that has slipped off the rails. Yet it also embraces all variations of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith, as well as Asian religions and indigenous schools of thought. Perennialists believe that all religions are part of one great religion; that all wisdom makes up a great river of truth that all modern people should return to for what the Gospels call “living water.”
Faith Without Borders

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Ask Pamela Gayle White about Tibetan visualization practice. The noted translator and dharma teacher will be taking questions until December 21.

Buddhism emphasizes the emptiness of all phenomena and does not posit a personal god. Does that mean that Buddhism is amoral and nihilistic? Read Joseph Goldstein‘s answers from our most recently featured Q&A here.

Can you teach your child about death? Read Family Dharma: The Elephant’s Footprint. Beth Roth writes about helping our children understand death.

On Generosity: Gifts That Keep Giving. Joan Duncan Oliver profiles some of the better options for compassionate gift-giving this holiday season.

And keep an eye on our Editor’s Blog where we report on books, Burma and all Buddhist issues of the day!

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I was just thinking… by Bill

There’s a lot of stuff going around the Web, the conservative talk shows and blogs, and the Christian right-wing press about how Christianity and The Church are being badmouthed, demonized and otherwise mistreated by those terrible atheists and other unbelievers of whatever stripe. To hear them tell it, they’re beleaguered on every side, and unless all True Christians stand up and be counted — hopefully at the polls — the Will Of The Lord is in danger of being contravened, all that is Good toppled, and the Reign Of The Serpent will be upon us.

What’s that all about, anyway? Continue reading

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Bush Wants Control Over Military Lawyers

Washington- The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions
of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed
attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House’s policies
toward prisoners in the war on terrorism.

    The administration has proposed a regulation requiring “coordination”
with politically appointed Pentagon lawyers before any member of the Judge Advocate
General corps – the military’s 4,000-member uniformed legal force – can be promoted.

    A Pentagon spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the reasoning behind
the proposed regulations. But the requirement of coordination – which many former
JAGs say would give the administration veto power over any JAG promotion or
appointment – is consistent with past administration efforts to impose greater
control over the military lawyers.

Bush Wants Control Over Military Lawyers

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Listen To The Supremes

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Sentencing Commission took aim at the disproportionately harsh sentences meted out for crack-cocaine offenses, suggesting that Americans and their democratic institutions might finally be waking up to the gross racial disparities haunting our prison system.

State Prisons: Listen To The Feds


How Important Are Good Manners?

Explore the Johns Hopkins University Civility Project. Its purpose was to learn what influence these old conventions retained in modern society. What is the effect of politeness and respect in the work place, and in more tightly closed aggregations like the military and prisons? What are the consequences of their absence?

Johns Hopkins Civility Project makes peace person to person, then nation to nation |

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Priests are happy without wives

I never have been able to understand lay folk who are obsessed with the abolition of celibacy. It may well be an appropriate modification of the church in a time when most American young men do not find the priesthood an attractive way to spend their life. However, a cursory reading of the research literature on the personal and professional satisfaction among the clergy and reports from the spouses and children of Protestant (and Greek Orthodox and rabbinic) clergy indicates that family relations are an enormous problem for many of them. In addition to the usual problems of spouse and children to which all humans must respond, married clergy are subjected to pressures from their parishioners (who often assume that the spouse is an unpaid member of the parish team) and ecclesiastical authority who often assume that ministerial families must be like Caesar’s wife — beyond reproach in every way.
Priests are happy without wives :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Andrew Greeley

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From The Environment News Service


By J.R. Pegg
WASHINGTON, DC, December 6, 2007 (ENS)
A Senate
committee approved a landmark global warming bill Wednesday night,
calling on the nation to cut greenhouse gas emissions some 70 percent
by 2050. Although the measure faces an uphill battle in the full
Senate, proponents say the vote signals a growing consensus within
Congress and among the American public that the United States needs to
take more aggressive action to tackle global warming.


By Lisa J. Wolf
CRESCENT VALLEY, Nevada, December 6, 2007 (ENS)
32nd Annual American Indian Film Festival presented Western Shoshone
grandmother Carrie Dann with the Eagle Spirit award for best overall
contribution in American Indian cinema at an awards ceremony November
27. “Our Land, Our Life,” the film that shows the Western Shoshones’
determined struggle to maintain their way of life, won the festival’s
Best Documentary award.


NUSA DUA, Bali, Indonesia, December 5, 2007 (ENS)Adaptations to
climate change that are working for farmers in the Sudan and China,
flood-prone cities in Argentina and Uruguay, and Caribbean islands at
risk of dengue fever, among others, were presented in a new report at
the United Nations climate conference now underway in Bali. Hosted by
the government of Indonesia, the conference brings together
representatives of more than 180 governments.


WASHINGTON, DC, December 4, 2007 (ENS)One of the most intact and
biodiverse rainforest regions on Earth, located in the Upper Amazon
Basin on the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border, is now threatened by imminent
oil development, warns a conservation organization based in Washington
with close ties to its counterpart groups in South America. Known as
the Napo Moist Forest ecosystem, this remote region is home to
uncontacted indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation.

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An Atheist Reponds to Mitt Romney’s Speech on Religion

As an atheist and a father of three young children, the speech Mitt Romney delivered at the George H. W. Bush presidential library today shocked me to my core.

If this is the drift of this country, towards a politics that explicitly excludes my standing as a worthy citizen because I do not believe in one of the major monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism or Islam, then I seriously do not know what I will do to sustain for myself, and instill in my children, the strong sense of belonging that I currently feel as a citizen.   An Atheist Reponds

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Prayer and humor hold a combat trauma unit together in Afghanistan

First comes a chirping alarm over the PA system, then a woman’s lilting voice wafts over this dusty military camp: “Attention on the FOB, Attention on the FOB. Mustang blue. Mustang blue.” The tone belies the seriousness of the matter, which is that casualties are incoming and the Army’s 396th Combat Support Hospital team – “the Mustangs” – should be ready. The number of victims are color-coded: red for one, white for two, blue for three, and black for mass casualties.

US medics, nurses, doctors – and a chaplain – converge in interlocking tents that form the hospital, preparing for the arrival of three Afghan National Army soldiers injured when their vehicle rolled over an improvised explosive device. … Military chaplains

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Not Pissed About the Sub-prime Crisis Yet? This Should Do It.

An analysis for The Wall Street Journal of more than $2.5 trillion in subprime loans made since 2000 shows that as the number of subprime loans mushroomed, an increasing proportion of them went to people with credit scores high enough to often qualify for conventional loans with far better terms.

In 2005, the peak year of the subprime boom, the study says that
borrowers with such credit scores got more than half — 55% — of all
subprime mortgages that were ultimately packaged into securities for
sale to investors, as most subprime loans are. The study by First
American LoanPerformance, a San Francisco research firm, says the
proportion rose even higher by the end of 2006, to 61%. The figure was
just 41% in 2000, according to the study. Even a significant number of
borrowers with top-notch credit signed up for expensive subprime loans,
the firm’s analysis found.  Subprime Debacle Traps Even Very Credit-Worthy –


U.S. Endangered Species Program Burdened by Political Meddling

WASHINGTON, DC, November 29, 2007 (ENS) –  A top Bush administration appointee at the U.S. Interior Department could have benefitted financially from a decision she was involved with to remove a California fish from the federal endangered species list, according to a new report by the agency’s inspector general….

…Although MacDonald was not involved in the initial decision by Fish and
Wildlife Service officials to delist the species, she was “involved
extensively and intimately” in the editing of the final decision. Her
edits were “voluminous,” including changes to the statistical analysis
of Splittail population data, the inspector general wrote in a report
released November 27. … U.S. Endangered Species Program Burdened by Political Meddling

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Stop the epidemic of rape in Congo

Every single day, women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo
are being brutally raped, beaten and killed in epidemic proportions.
Congress has a chance to positively impact this catastrophic situation
by passing the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). Before
another day of violence goes unanswered, please sign CARE’s appeal now, telling Congress to pass this legislation immediately.