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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 >


Politics

Sarah Palin Meets Woody Allen, Across the Great Divide

If you’re feeling down about the ever-widening gap between blue-state and red-state America (and the even wider gap between blue and red Catholics), you can find hope in Sarah Palin. Ironically, the woman who’s been blamed for single-handedly re-igniting the culture wars is showing signs that she can appeal across the cultural divide. This past weekend she pulled off a smooth performance on Saturday Night Live, and now she’s inspired Radar Magazine to put together a video mash-up of Palin and Woody Allen, with scenes from Annie Hall,… READ MORE >


Issues

Sarah Palin blasts Obama’s radical abortion policies

If you want to extract information from suspected terrorists, force them to listen to an endless loop of Sarah Palin speeches. I guarantee it would work. (Fortunately, John McCain is against torture.) Yet despite her grating voice and her muddled syntax, Palin managed on Saturday to pull off an effective pro-life speech that artfully strung together every substantial talking point available against Obama’s “unconditional support for unlimited abortions.” If only it weren’t all true, but it is. You can watch for yourself Obama’s… READ MORE >


Business

Alan Greenspan, Ayn Rand and the Libertarian God that Failed

Alan Greenspan, Ayn Rand and the Libertarian God that Failed

In today’s NY Times, Peter Goodman’s excellent profile of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan confirms what I’ve been writing, that it was a specific “structure of sin”—financial speculation—rather than mere human greed (or bad home loans) that created the credit crisis. I’d always wondered how a rigid anti-government libertarian ideologue like Greenspan—an Ayn Rand disciple, no less—managed to get appointed to the most powerful economic post in the world. If he had been running the Food and Drug Administration,… 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 >


Politics

Politics and Words

Politics and Words

Image Journal’s website features a blog by Brian Volck on the slippery nature of words; more specifically, the language of this election season, and key words like “change.” Both parties claim to be the agents of change. What does it mean? How does a word or expression change in a given context? In politics, are words used to clarify or obfuscate? Can spin doctors contort and distort words to a shadow of their former meaning? “Perhaps that’s one reason,” Volck observes, “why the political silly season… READ MORE >

(5) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    change | george orwell | language

Books

The Archbishop of Canterbury Reads Dostoevsky

The Archbishop of Canterbury Reads Dostoevsky

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, has recently written a book about Fyodor Dostoevsky, author of Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. The book—Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction—has drawn some controversy, not so much for its content, but for the question of whether it should have been written in the first place. Some object to Williams taking time off his duties as Archbishop (when the Church of England faces difficulties on its home turf) to pen his reflections on a long-dead Russian writer. Why bother about… READ MORE >


Movies

Waugh’s Unlikely Champions

Waugh’s Unlikely Champions

In the New York Review of Books, Daniel Mendelsohn demonstrates a supple understanding of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited—its themes and ambitions. Many have criticized the latest film version of the classic Catholic novel for playing fast-and-loose with the source material, but Mendelsohn is one of the few critics to analyze with depth and clarity (and with reference to the novel’s deep-seated Catholicism) exactly why the new film fails. The reason has less to do with faithfulness to the original story (or lack thereof)… 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 >


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