Monday, March 17, 2014

Since You Asked, Somechop

A funny thing happened on the way to a serious discussion about Catholic beliefs and American politics.  It disappeared into cyberspace.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hanging By A Thread

A week ago, I thought I had things under control.  My blog post was up on Monday and I’d jotted down thoughts for another two; my upcoming classes with senior executives were planned; my beard was trimmed.

On Tuesday, I ate lunch with a friend I’ve been out of contact with for a while.  He gave me inscribed copies of his two most recent books, which I started reading that day.  Then, it all changed.

We brought our eight year old, Jopa, to the MD’s office that afternoon.  She’d been showing signs of what we thought was an infection.  We were wrong.  It was Type I diabetes.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Throwaway Children

Despite misgivings, the L.A. Times is in favor of allowing the euthanasia of terminally ill children.  It approves of Belgium’s new law establishing protocols for the practice, and wants a similar regime instituted in California.

At first reading of the decision, the editorialist gasps, but recovers his breath upon realizing that the idea of helping children die only seems incredibly cold and barbaric.

It’s actually dignified for a variety of reasons, you see.  First, it’s humane to stop pain and suffering.  Secondly, “aid in dying” is empowering, as it honors the choice to end life on one’s own terms rather than nature’s.  Third, we’ll have tightly controlled circumstances and legal protections--airtight, I presume--to avoid abuse.  Fourth, logic compels it.  Really.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Unequal Distribution


“What do you think of Evangelii Gaudium?”

Not having read more than a few snippets, and having avoided the brouhaha that followed its release last November, I didn’t know what to say.

“Well, I know the Pope's a faithful son of the Church, which rules out his being a Marxist.”

My friend persisted.  “But, what do you think about his economics?”

“I haven’t read the document in toto, and I won’t think anything about them until I do.”

Now, having read and prayed over it, the first thing to say is that the document is not about political economy.  It “is not a social document” (184).

Friday, February 7, 2014

Immigrant Son (II)

You probably know the parable, the one about the vineyard workers (Mt. 20:1-16). 

The landowner picked workers throughout the hot day, starting in the morning.  At day’s end, he paid them all the same regardless of what hour they’d started. 

Naturally, the laborers picked in the morning were burned, in more ways than one.  They were upset at working harder for a lower hourly wage.  They thought they’d been treated unfairly.

The landowner rebuffed their grumbling.  They’d gotten what they’d bargained for.  Further, he asserted his right to do what he wanted with his money: in this instance, to pay everyone the same amount regardless of when they’d started.

“Are you envious because I am generous?” he asked.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Immigrant Son (I)

The meme said: “Rewarding illegal aliens with citizenship is unfair to immigrants who followed our laws and waited their turn.”

The reply came quickly: “Are they envious because America is generous?” (Mt. 20:1-16)

I’d like to answer that question for two reasons, neither of which is that I'm inclined to dive into the fray over immigration reform.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Not Birds Of A Feather

It was funny, you have to admit. 

No sooner had Pope Francis prayed for peace in the Ukraine, and released two white doves from his Vatican window, than a crow and a seagull swooped in for the kill.  Feathers flew, the thousands in St. Peter’s Square gasped, and the suggestion that God was saying something must have entered even the most skeptical of minds.

But, saying what? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Society of Fallen Men

Occasionally, something not directly related to the topic of the book I’m reading grabs my attention.  It happened the other day while reading Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System (2011, p. 10), by Barry Eichengreen.

The topic was money, or, more accurately, currency.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Adventures in Fatherhood

“What did I tell you about that yesterday, sweetie?”

My eight-year-old Jopa (short for Johanna Paulina) stared at me blankly with her big blue eyes.  “I don’t know.”   She was cutting up an entire avocado, throwing it into a bowl to mix with a full can of tuna and a mountainous blob of mayonnaise.  Breakfast.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Whither the Consumer?

“Did anyone fill Mr. Torres’s prescriptions?”

The pharmacist looked with a slightly bothered mien behind the wall of separation to her two colleagues and the cashiers gathered in the back.  They ruffled through some bags and shrugged.

The pharmacist I’d asked checked through the drawer of filled prescriptions as if to upturn the final stone.  Lo and behold!  There they were.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sport As Moral Teacher

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has taken to repeating Malcolm X’s slogan, “by any means necessary.” The other day his star linebacker, Patrick Willis, echoed it in a press conference, so the motto has obviously taken hold in the locker room. I imagine that if I still lived in San Francisco, I’d be hearing it from my friends.

That’s because sport is pedagogical as well as entertaining, even for onlookers. It teaches as it entertains us.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Catholics and Wealth

“How do people get rich?”

It was an innocent enough question coming from a young boy overhearing the conversation I was having with his grandfather.  We’d talked about the Fed, banks, quantitative easing, cronyism and more.  The boy was naturally curious.

What happened next is what prompts this post.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Espousing Heresies

It is easy to get disoriented when events continually run contrary to one's every belief, and opposition to the zeitgeist suffices to get one labeled as a member of the flat-earth society, a wearer of tin-foil hats or simply an enemy of the human race.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Comedic America

I don't ordinarily laugh at the picture of a surgical glove being readied.  But, I do when the picture accompanies a headline regarding ObamaCare.  That's because we all know where the finger is headed, and the subliminal connection is startlingly funny.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

At An Earlier Stage Of The Culture War

This week's Supreme Court hearings on gay "marriage," and recent Facebook posts of a brave young man at Hillsdale College have encouraged me to share something I wrote over 20 years ago.

It involved a magazine at Harvard, Peninsula, which was started by (mostly) Cathlo-conservatives at the College to combat the overwhelmingly Leftist tilt of campus publications, the faculty, the student body, in short, the cultural milieu.  I was there at the beginning.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

2016: Obama's America

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lent, After Pentecost

I  began this post on notes taken during a Lenten retreat but never completed it.  Browsing through unfinished work I saw it and thought it sufficient to stand on its own, even after Pentecost.  Thank you  Father John W., and all the profound, eloquent priests whose wisdom I have benefitted from over the years.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Privilege is All Mine, Mrs. Terry

The grieving woman with AZ Governor Jan Brewer is Mrs. Josephine Terry.  Her son, border-patrol agent Brian Terry of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), a division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), was killed by Mexican drug thugs in December 2010 with weapons they'd obtained through a merdicious ATF program entitled Fast and Furious.

The idea of the program, we're told, was to allow straw purchasers in border states, e.g. Arizona, to walk guns across the Mexican border where they would be traced back to drug lords' nests.  To that end, resistant gun sellers were induced by ATF agents to make illegal sales of assault weapons, e.g., AK 47's.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Germany v. Greece

The Euro Cup has provided superb relief against the dramatic backdrop of a collapsing Euro and decaying social-welfare model--the kind we're rapidly emulating in the US.  This article from the NY Times--a decidedly Greek-friendly paper under these circumstances--concerns the recent match between Germany and Greece won by the Germans 4-2.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Procrustean Constitution

Justice Anthony Kennedy has reminded me yet again of the Court's default setting in culture-war cases since the 1960's.  His legal reasoning can be summed up as heads-the-Left-wins, tails-the-Right-loses.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Phrenology for the Smug

Andrew Ferguson has authored a penetrating and very funny analysis entitled "The New Phrenology" regarding Democrats tendency to denigrate conservatives from behind the pretense of science--social psychology mainly though not exclusively.  That's a field absolutely stuffed with people on the margins with issues.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Chile's Cautionary Lesson for the US


Mary Anastasia O'Grady writes about communist stirrings in prosperous Chile, the poster child for Chicago-style liberalism.  That's university-of-Chicago style, not Mayor-Daly-like-Chicago style.

Chile's Presdident, Sebastian Pinera (pictured above), is channeling his inner compassionate conservative much to his country's detriment.  He saps the nation's moral and material resources while failing to placate his insatiable critics.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mambo Gallego

Pictured above are Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas, and Desi Arnaz, Jr. from the 1992 film "The Mambo Kings."  I loved the movie for its music, scenes of the Palladium, fine acting, tortured love triangle and sheer stylishness, but had to fast forward through too many pointless skin scenes to recommend it.

It nevertheless features my favorite movie dance.  Set to Tito Puente's "Mambo Gallego" (Galician Mambo) it is sultry without being trashy, and dynamic without being flashy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Impressions of Miami

Years ago, I thought I'd discovered paradise on earth in Locarno and Lugano, Switzerland, which enjoyed the benefits of Italian culture and Swiss efficiency.  Beautiful people rode trains that ran on time.

I experienced something similar last week in Miami, which is considered the capitol of Latin America.  Happily, it is in the United States where things mostly work correctly, and opportunity (traditionally) abounds.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In Praise of Statism

You'll never here it from me.  I fall on the liberty side of the private-public divide--the private side, which includes civil society to care for those who fall through the cracks through misfortune, injudicious use of liberty or any other reason.

The title is merely a pretext for sharing an amusing video that's gone viral.  It is a Reagan-Obama encounter that teaches a lesson delivered often, but evidently never enough.