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Issues

After the Disaster: Back to the Family and Localism

After the Disaster: Back to the Family and Localism

The rules of capitalism are being re-written. Banks are being nationalized. Governments are pouring money and incentives into the economic system. Interest rates are being lowered towards zero. Consumers are being asked to buy more in order to re-start the cycle of consumption-driven production, while Barak Obama gets on with saving the planet. Writing in the Guardian in August, Tory adviser Philip Blond explained succinctly that “the crisis of contemporary capitalism results from the congruence and culmination of three dominant trends:… READ MORE >


Issues

Why Prop 8 Won: TV Commercials Based on Reason, not Fear

To understand why Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned gay marriage, won in California, watch the campaign’s TV commercials at the What Is Prop 8? website. Not only were they well-made, featuring a multi-ethnic cross-section of very normal, quasi-hip, young to middle-age Californians, the commercials were models of serious, rational political argument. While anti-Prop 8 commercials resorted to showing Mormon missionaries conducting Gestapo-like home invasions of same-sex households, the “Yes on 8” commercials went out… READ MORE >


Politics

After Obama: Why Catholics should open a ‘second front’ in the Democratic Party

After Obama: Why Catholics should open a ‘second front’ in the Democratic Party

I have a commentary in this week’s National Catholic Register entitled “What Now? Will New Voters Refashion the Democratic Party?” I argue that the election had a silver lining for Catholics: the same voters who turned out in large numbers for Obama—blacks and other minorities—voted strongly for California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative which amended the state constitution to ban gay marriage. (Gay marriage bans also passed in Arizona and Florida). I cite that example to make the case that it’s time for Catholics… READ MORE >


Business

Thinking Catholic: European leaders blame crisis on “speculative capitalism”

Thinking Catholic: European leaders blame crisis on “speculative capitalism”

Europe’s financiers were seduced by the lure of easy subprime mortgage profits, just like everyone else, and they’re suffering now, just like everyone else. But give Europe credit for one thing: Thanks to its Catholic roots, Europe’s leaders understand that the financial crisis wasn’t caused by some vague form of “greed”; it was caused by greed purposely channeled into useless financial speculation, rather than into productive investment. This difference was clearly recognized by European leaders when they met Saturday to deal… READ MORE >


Issues

The Right’s Hypocritical Crusade against Wall Street

The Right’s Hypocritical Crusade against Wall Street

I almost never agree with First Things on economic policy, but Robert T. Miller was right last week when he warned that “those on the political right need to make sure that the Republicans in Congress do not through ignorance or stupidity misunderstand conservative economic principles and so lead us into economic disaster.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Republicans in the House did today when they tanked the President’s $700 billion financial bail-out bill and sent the stock market plunging to its biggest one day loss ever.… READ MORE >


Issues

They’ll Believe in Anything: Study says atheists are more irrational

They’ll Believe in Anything: Study says atheists are more irrational

A new Gallup study, “What Americans Really Believe,” suggests that if anti-religious crusaders Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins want a more rational, less superstitious world, they should encourage people to go to church.  A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that, according to the study… “…traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations,… READ MORE >


Culture

Adam and Eve make a stand in California

Adam and Eve make a stand in California

You connect the dots: A California couple refuses to submit to the state’s new “gender-neutral” marriage license that replaces bride and groom with “Party A” and “Party B.” Buried within a Scientific American article on storytelling and the brain (cited by John Murphy below) is a fascinating discovery made by “literary Darwinists” about the universality of romance and sex roles: “The idea of romantic love has not been traditionally considered to be a cultural universal because of the many societies in which marriage… READ MORE >


Science/Tech

Secrets of storytelling

Secrets of storytelling

Having just read a collection of masterful short-stories by Tobias Wolff, the issue of what makes storytelling such an intrinsic, necessary part of the human condition has been at the forefront of my mind. An article in the most recent issue of Scientific American approaches this age-old question from a left-brained perspective: “Popular tales do far more than entertain. Psychologists and neuroscientists have recently become fascinated by the human predilection for storytelling. Why does our brain seem to be wired to enjoy stories?… READ MORE >

(5) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    brain | cognition | empathy | love | storytelling

Politics

The Democrats are Blowing the Election—and the Catholic Vote

The Democrats are Blowing the Election—and the Catholic Vote

The best thing about how the Democratic Party is kicking away what should be an easy victory in the November presidential election is that it might force them to finally reassess their support for abortion and gay marriage, positions that are unpopular with working class voters, their natural constituency. A subplot here is how the Dems were actually making inroads among faithful Catholics fed up with George Bush—until Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden opened their mouths in public about Catholic moral theology. A front pagearticle in today’s… READ MORE >


Business

The Church on the financial meltdown: Usury and speculation are to blame

The Church on the financial meltdown: Usury and speculation are to blame

If there’s anyone in the mainstream media willing to listen to the Church these days (I doubt it), they’ll discover that centuries of Catholic teaching about the sinful practices of usury and financial speculation can explain why Wall Street is tumbling down. (For the best technical explanation, read The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash, by Charles Morris, a Catholic, and frequent contributor to Commonweal). Put very simply, usury is lending money at punishingly high interest rates,… READ MORE >


Politics

David Brooks explains the Republican Party’s Catholic problem

David Brooks explains the Republican Party’s Catholic problem

In a NY Times column today called “The Social Animal,” David Brooks pinpoints exactly why so many Catholics hold their noses every four years as they vote Republican for president merely because of the party’s stance against abortion and gay marriage.   As any Catholic who’s watched a Republican convention knows, the GOP is about individualism—“the stout pioneer crossing the West, the risk-taking entrepreneur with a vision, the stalwart hero fighting the collectivist foe,” as Brooks describes it. We’ve heard… READ MORE >


Movies

Alfred Hitchcock: Mistaken Identities

Alfred Hitchcock: Mistaken Identities

The Times Literary Supplement just ran two reviews of recent books about Alfred Hitchcock, the iconic filmmaker whose morbid Catholicism bled into the edges of such classics as Vertigo, I Confess, and Shadow of a Doubt. His movies—popular entertainments in their own time, snubbed by critics and award-givers—have since become the subject of exhaustive theoretical analysis, picked over by feminists, queer theorists, postmodernists, Catholics, and students of film. Paula Cohen, the reviewer, writes: “He (Hitchcock) was able to make… READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    guilt | hitchcock | suspense

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