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.