November 2007 Archives

Spe Salvi


The Pope today released the second encyclical of his pontificate: Spe Salvi, which translates as "Saved in Hope"

More to come!

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Russia blogging

  • The Economist: on the new Russian mythology and on the upcoming sham elections (1, 2).
  • James Wood takes on the new War and Peace translation, covering a suitably vast amount of territory. (Aside: Wood's jump from The New Republic to The New Yorker was much heralded a few months back. Judging from his reviews so far, Wood himself seems to have deemed the move momentous. So far for The New Yorker, Wood has reviewed Phillip Roth's latest sandwiched between translations of the Psalms and War and Peace. Where does one go from there?)
  • Putin's Power Grab - Sakhalin Island, a former gulag off the coast of Siberia, sits atop one of the world's largest known deposits fossil fuels.
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What Rod Said...


...about Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee. Except I'm leaning even more towards Paul because he was the only candidate to vocally oppose preemptively nuking Iran in the June Republican debate. The only real problem I have with Paul is that he's a little too isolationist for my taste (though admittedly, the absurdity of nearly every single foreign policy statement from both parties' candidates gives Paul's position more and more credibility).

I'm glad to see the Democrats taking up the concerns of the working class, but they remain the party of The Unlimited Abortion License and the Unrestrained, Government-subsidized Libido. The Republicans, on the other hand, can't decide whether they want to be the party of Pillage and Burn Capitalism or the party of Killing All the Damn Arabs We Can. Paul is the only candidate who avoids both of the unconscionable extremes. That doesn't mean I favor legalizing prostitution or that I'm a gold-standard fanatic*, but the harm Paul can do where I disagree with him is far outweighed by the fact that voting for him doesn't mean I have to determine which is "better": nuking Persia or the more than one thousand abortions permitted in our country every day.

* - Even here, I think most people don't understand Paul's position -- he doesn't say the gold standard is the single best money we can have, but that we should have our government backed by something besides... er.... nothing, and that unless we amend the constitution, that something has to be gold or silver.

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Because I can


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When Gramma Webb asks....


....Gramma Webb gets.


More here.

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Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI created 23 new Cardinals. The liturgy was especially notable for being the public debut of the Pope's new Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, Guido Marini, who aided some flair with an old-school cathedra and some luscious vestments. For Catholic Nerdalicious coverage, check out Rocco, Fr. Z (liturgical commentary), Zadok, John Allen, the Vatican's homepage for the event (presumably English translations will be available there soon), Zenit (for unofficial -- and faster -- translatons), and a blog by the hometown newspaper of one of the new Cardinals: Daniel DiNardo, Archbshop of Galveston-Houston, Texas.

Here's a snip from one of Allen's posts:

Probably the most moving scenes of the evening came in the Hall of Blessings, where the longest and most emotional line was drawn by Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly of Iraq. In a consistory without any obvious superstars or slam-dunk new papal candidates, Delly in some ways was the man of the day. He was the only figure singled out during the morning ceremony by Pope Benedict XVI, who said the nomination of the 80-year-old Chladean patriarch was a way of signaling the pope’s concern for Iraqi Christians and his desire that peace may swiftly come.

While people typically joked with most of the new cardinals, or simply expressed their good wishes and posed for photographs, those who took Delly’s hands were often in tears, pouring out their concern and expressing their solidarity. Delly was gracious and consoling, but also obviously moved by the experience.

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Things that might make your eyes well up...

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...when you're all alone on a Wednesday night with no work the next day and you're trying to watch all three extended version Lord of the Rings movies:

  • Boromir's last battle
  • Gandalf and Eomer appearing on the hilltop on the morning of the 5th day
  • Merry and Pippin parting ways
  • "...and Rohan will answer! Muster the Rohirrim!"
  • Deeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaath!
  • "I go to my fathers, in whose mighty company I shall not now feel ashamed."
  • Eomer's anguished scream when he discovers Eowyn fallen on the battlefield


So, um, this should be a fun drive to catch up with the family for Thanksgiving.

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On the Bishies


Cardinal George is elected! John Allen is filing regular reports (I'm sure he'd hesitate to call it live-blogging, but well... there's that URL again)

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Why Social Security is doomed


Look at this map (second item down the page) entitled "Projected Growth of Senior (Age 65+) Population by State 2000-2030)."

Note that the range of expected growth starts at less than 100%, with that lowest rate encompassing less than half of the states. So in the next 22 years, most states will have at LEAST twice as many seniors as they did at the turn of the millenium. As a wise man once said, a good way to prepare for retirement would be to have lots of kids then tell them to get the spare room ready 'cause you're movin' in.

Alternate title for this post: "Why a National Sales Tax is Coming"

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Catholic nerdy stuff


Some Catholicish stuff from around the web:

  • NCR's John Allen previews next week's meeting of the American bishops, where they are expected to elect Cardinal Francis George as president of the conference (Woo Hoo! let sociology majors everywhere be cheered!).
  • Spengler on the Catholic Church as the west's "indispensable institution," featuring an interesting take of Vatican I vs. Vatican II and Catholic theology in general.
  • It's a shame that Greg Popcak had to waste precious time rebutting what has to be one of the worst op-eds ever written, but kudos to him for doing it.
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Molecular Christology

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Schools in the Trib

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This weekend's Chicago Tribune Books section was dedicated mostly to books on schools and the challenges of teaching. Here are the three reviews: 1, 2, 3.

An excerpt from the second review:

A half-hour away via subway, in the South Bronx, a 22-year-old with a famous writer's name, Dan Brown, graduated from New York University in 2003 and took a job teaching 4th grade in, "The worst class in the worst school in the worst neighborhood" in New York City. The school was P.S. 85-Great Expectations School, and many of Brown's students required individual attention for learning disabilities, language deficiencies and behavior issues. Despite his intelligence and good intentions, the sensitive Brown never had a chance. Two months into the job, he tells us in "The Great Expectations School," he found it had transformed him into an unsmiling, unstrung screamer:

"I lifted cackling Tayshaun Jackson's desk above my head and wham! smashed it to the floor. 'SHUT YOUR MOUTHS!' My voice shook with convulsive intensity. The room went dead silent and motionless at my paroxysm, like a record scratching to a halt in some terrible game of Freezedance."

The school, which "looks like a prison," demanded that Brown prepare his 9-year-olds for systemwide tests that would help determine the school's funding. Teaching a history lesson, he discovered his students didn't understand that George Washington, having led the Revolutionary Army in 1776, must now be dead:

"I explained that very few people live to be a hundred. When only Sonandia and Seresa could tell me that 1904 was one hundred years before our current 2004, I realized . . . that these kids did not understand elapsed time, be it in minutes or decades. As a litmus test, I asked what time it would be sixty minutes from now. No hands. What time will it be sixty minutes from now. No hands. What time will it be one hour from now? Four volunteers. Thus, my hopes for in-depth, history-based lessons were banished to make way for my new, deceptively simple-seeming campaign for 'Time.'"

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  • From The Walrus - A Russian Tragedy - on the death of the Russian village. It's approved by Mama-Lu, the real Lu-family russophile.
  • On Point: radio interview with translators of new War and Peace edition. The NY Sun says it's too late to read the book, catch the movie instead. Also (via TSO), Newsweek (which has a snazzy new design, more compact and much more visually appealing than the old one): asks and asnswers the question: "Why do we need another translation of War and Peace anyway?" Also, the NY Review of Books calls it a triumph for the Russian language, "Tolstoy's Real Hero."
  • Chronicles runs an article on Russian foreign policy from the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs that the journal Foreign Affairs wouldn't run without severe editing (the article is less than 2500 words).
  • Former Russian political prisoner and curret opposition candidate for the State Duma Sergei Kovalev tries to explain "Why Putin Wins."
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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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