Archived Posts August 2005 - Page 10 of 13 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcouretas
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

In this week’s Acton Commentary, Dave Phelps looks at the case of Susan Torres, a woman who gave birth while reported to be brain dead. The case was considered by some to be a miracle. Others with a more material bent looked at her as merely a corpse, kept alive by advanced medical technology to incubate the child.

Phelps’ commentary points out that a great many physicians, schooled in the sciences, retain a belief in God. A “surprising” poll indicates that doctors attend church more regularly than most Americans and a majority believe in some sort of afterlife.

Should we really be surprised? Religious faith is capable of making room for God-given talent such as medical healing, as St. Basil the Great pointed out in the fourth century in his Long Rules:

Each of the arts is God’s gift to us, remedying the deficiencies of nature, as, for example, agriculture, since the produce which the earth bears of itself would not suffice to provide for our needs … The same is true, also, of the medical art. In as much as our body is susceptible to various hurts, some attacking from without and some from within by reason of the food we eat, and since the body suffers affliction from both excess and deficiency, the medical art has been vouchsafed us by God, who directs our whole life, as a model for the cure of the soul, to guide us in the removal of what is superfluous and in the addition of what is lacking …

So then, we should neither repudiate this art [medicine] altogether nor does it behoove us to repose all our confidence in it; but, just as in practicing the art of agriculture we pray God for fruits, and as we entrust the helm to the pilot in the art of navigation, but implore God that we may end our voyage unharmed by the perils of the sea, so also, when reason allows, we call in the doctor, but we do not leave off hoping in God.

Read the full text of “Miracles of God and Miracles of Science.”

Dr. Samuel Gregg appeared on Kresta in the Afternoon on Ave Maria Radio yesterday to discuss the public outrage over the recent Supreme Court decision that allowed the taking of private property through eminent domain for private economic development reasons. You can listen to the interview by clicking here (3.3 mb mp3).

In a recent post, Jordan Ballor highlighted the efforts of Mr. Armen Yousoufian, who has been seeking public disclosure of records relating to the financing of the new stadium built recently for the Seattle Seahawks largely at taxpayer expense. Mr. Yousoufian has responded to Ballor’s post with the following comment:

In reply to: “They picked on the Wrong Armenian”, which is about my successful and landmark Public Disclosure Act violation lawsuit here in Washington state, thank you for the coverage. The case goes to court again on August 19 for determination of penalties and the amount of legal fees I am to be awarded for my two successful appeals of the original verdict (that will be the 4th round in over 8 years, after I won every step of the way and all the way to the state Supreme Court). If you or your readers would like more information, please visit my website: or my blog: Lots of material, including trial briefs at all four stages of the litigation. Or email me at with something in the subect line referring to this comment left at this site.

Armen Yousoufian
Vashon Island, Washington

Those are some websites that are probably worth keeping an eye on.

This Wired News article looks at the practices of various companies committed to reducing manufacturing and industrial waste. Cutting waste makes good economic and environmental sense.

“Anything that’s waste is an inefficiency in the process, and inefficiency is lost dollars,” says Patricia Calkins, vice president for environment, health and safety at Xerox. A cost that is often overlooked is that associated with waste management. “Skyrocketing landfill costs during the late 1980s and early 1990s” helped push companies toward minimization of waste.

Carpetmaker Collins & Aikman, after initiating a carpet recycling program in its plant, reduced its costs for shipping waste to landfills, which “has saved the company an estimated $1 million. It has saved several million dollars more by reducing the amount of raw materials it buys.”

Of course, reducing inefficiencies at any point in the system reduces waste overall. This reality is behind what Hewlett-Packard’s change in “the design of its plastic molding tools, for example, to eliminate a lot of the plastic material that was used between parts as runners.”

“That was all scrap that just went to the floor,” says David Lear, HP’s vice president of corporate, social and environmental responsibility. “The biggest win is not recycling, but engineering the material out of your system so you don’t need to worry about landfilling it.”

The whole phenomena of waste reduction points to the dynamic compatibility of economic and environmental concerns and runs counter to conventional wisdom. Good stewardship of the environment need not be at odds with good economic stewardship.

Blog author: jspalink
Tuesday, August 9, 2005

On August 9, 1945, 60 years ago today, the second atomic bomb named “fat man” was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Total casualties from the bomb are estimated at about 100,000, many dying from the effects of radiation following the dropping of the bomb.

The bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, which was a secondary target, at the perimeter of the city near strategic military targets. Nagasaki, located in the midst of hills, suffered much less damage than Hiroshima, bombed three days earlier with the first ever wartime atomic bomb.

Nevertheless, the bombing of Nagasaki is generally looked upon as an act of mere cruelty by United States, because the power of the American arsenal had already been demonstrated. In addition, Russia’s declaration of war was made on the previous day, and there was a lack of time given to the Japanese government to reassess their strategic position given the events of recent days.

In any case, Nagasaki now stands as a reminder to the world, along with Hiroshima, of the effects of atomic weapons, continually calling for their elimination and for the promotion of world peace. Nagasaki is today a vital port city supporting industry throughout Japan.

Before and after “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki.

From my personal experiences visiting there, Nagasaki now is a nice city to visit and you might not even know that it had ever been hit with an atomic bomb were it not for the city’s outspoken opposition to nuclear weapons, its museum, and its park marking ground zero. Street cars are still used for transportation, the city has a thriving tourist industry (as well as shipping) and also an active nightlife. The city is also remembered as a center of historial importance, as it was the gate into Japan for the western world (mostly the Dutch who were allowed onto a small man-made island for trade purposes) during the Tokugawa shogunate (from 1603-1868), the location of the Shimabara rebellion, and a site of persecution of Japanese Christians.

Hopeful signs are emerging for the future of economic prosperity in Europe despite some serious opposition. The European Parliament recently moved to scrap the ratification of an informal agreement reached last year by EU member states and supported by the European Commission, that would have made important strides forward in the legal recognition of intellectual property rights.

The Computer Implemented Inventions Directive (CIID), which would protect intellectual property and standardize EU software patent law, now appears dead. This leaves in place a patchwork of national patent laws that effectively stifles a common set of laws and regulations in Europe.

These sorts of delays and backsliding by the Parliament represent serious threats to European economies and could add to a dangerous precedent in light of the EU’s ruling against software company Microsoft. The 21st Century has ushered in the Information Age; computers and software represent the field with perhaps the greatest potential for innovation and wealth-creation in developed nations.

If you’re inclined to praise GE for its “green” makeover, featuring cutesy ads like the one in which the baby elephant dances playfully in the rainforest, William Baldwin has some practical suggestions in a piece in this week’s issue of Forbes.

“Should you show your support by buying a few shares of this ecologically hip company? There are better ways to help the environment,” he contends. These include: opposing windmill subsidies, buying hormonal milk, and not recycling newspapers.