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Bringing Back Mass

Bringing Back Mass

July 1, 2020 (693 words)
Now that early attempts to “re-open” the original shutdown States have been met with a rise in COVID-19 infections, we are confronted with the fact that face masks may be part of our outdoor attire…

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Why the Tap Dance?

June 26, 2020 (1,385 words)
Talk about beating around the bush… It seems the only people who speak or write seriously about the social teaching of the Catholic Church do so in such an ephemeral and theoretical manner it’s hard for the…

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Perverting the Aim of Government

June 19, 2020 (1,374 words)
A few weeks ago Marc Thiessen devoted one of his Washington Post op-eds to the success of the recent SpaceX launch on May 30. It marked the first time in history NASA astronauts launched…

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Moderation Is The Key

June 12, 2020 (641 words)
I had a couple of aunts on my mother’s side of the family that both lived well into their nineties. They never really got sick, and they never put on weight. Their life-long motto was “moderation in all things.” I didn’t pay much…

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Floundering with the Flavor of the Month

June 9, 2020 (1,693 words)
All contemporary political and social commentary misses the mark. It fails to get at the heart of the problem it sets out to address. How can that be? The fly in the ointment, it seems to me, is how we have…

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The Company One Keeps

June 2, 2020 (322 words)
Just so we’re clear, the Catholic Church is as corrupt as any institution around. There is no denying it. When your organizational chart is filled with flawed human beings, you can hope for the best but should prepare…

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The Missing Link

June 1, 2020 (371 words)
My slow-but-steady march through Rich People Things: Real Life Secrets of the Predator Class, a book of social criticism originally published by Chris Lehmann in 2010, and followed the next year with an…

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Happy Birds

May 29, 2020 (116 words)
You may have heard of Angry Birds, a popular entertainment which started in 2009 as a casual puzzle video game, inspired by a sketch of stylized wingless…

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Sharing With Others

May 25, 2020 (3,429 words)
As if by design, after not watching the streaming service Netflix for a while I flipped it on again to find the movie Trumbo at the top of my queue. Turns out this 2015…

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Manchester By The Sea

May 20, 2020 (996 words)
It turns out we had a copy of this November 2016 theatrical release kicking around the house, so i didn’t need to rent it on Amazon Prime Video in order to watch it again…

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Finding Something to Watch

May 18, 2020 (1,433 words)
After two months of trying to flatten the curve, medical personnel are probably pretty stressed out. Those not employed in an “essential” industry, or not able to work from home, are no doubt feeling…

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Rich People Things

April 20, 2020 (1,384 words)
Here we are, just a few weeks into the coronavirus stay-at-home order, and already I’ve started the once every ten years, clear-out-the-attic, no holds barred, major life…

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Just Trying to Help (part two)

April 15, 2020 (3,352 words)
My ire has often been directed at prominent conservative Catholics, many of whom are highly-compensated commentators working for lavishly funded private foundations, who I believe avoid or willfully misinterpret…

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Holy Week in the Pandemic

April 12, 2020 (3,979 words)
Well, this has certainly been a Holy Week like no other. As a kid the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil was not something our family participated in. Despite my attending…

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Step Forward, Oh Great Ones

April 10, 2020 (851 words)
When the NBA suspended the remainder of its season in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, professional basketball player Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers announced on March 12 he was donating $100,000 to…

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Wasted Years?

April 5, 2020 (909 words)
Last month’s directive to stay home and shelter in place to help combat the spread of the coronavirus has finally forced me to check out the world of YouTube videos…

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New Found Fame

April 3, 2020 (3,956 words)
Today’s story concerns the new found fame being enjoyed by one E. Michael Jones, PhD. He was born in Philadelphia in 1948, and has been toiling in relative obscurity as an author and journalist since starting his first magazine on…

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Just Trying to Help

March 28, 2020 (1,753 words)
Many fine people of my acquaintance, and many worthwhile social commentators, continue to strut and fret over what they see as a dire trend in society today: a rising segment…

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Once the Pandemic Passes

March 23, 2020 (1,240 words)
Early in what proved to be an anti-climactic debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders on Sunday, March 8, Mr. Sanders claimed the COVID-19 outbreak exposes flaws in our healthcare…

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A Not-So-Quiet Woman

March 17, 2020 (362 words)
What a young Maureen O’Hara conveys with her eyes and facial expressions as Mary Kate Danaher in…

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Drowning My Sorrows

March 16, 2020 (1,228 words)
Last night’s big one-on-one debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders turned out to be a big disappointment. At least the first half-hour or so was, after which I turned…

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Knee Deep In Mud

March 6, 2020 (1,085 words)
Decorum prevents me from describing the substance restraining our gait with the colorful term of my…

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Calling Names, Throwing Stones

February 28, 2020 (2,388 words)
There are those who say my commentary suffers from being simple-minded. It’s true, these days I do favor clean lines and straightforward explanations. But in chasing a concise thought one should avoid…

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Creativity

February 21, 2020 (16 words)
Every day is an opportunity to find new ways of expressing our current level of understanding.

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The Wrong Reasons

February 18, 2020 (1,838 words)
We are all entitled to our opinions, and we tend to take great pride in them. Unfortunately the vested interest we show in our present level of understanding is what stands in the way of improving…

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Pro-Life Presidents

February 15, 2020 (1,646 words)
There was a surprise guest at the March For Life in Washington, D.C. last month, a boisterous rally held annually on the anniversary of the…

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All Sorts of Divides

February 9, 2020 (182 words)
It’s hard for men and women to really talk to each other. It’s difficult for a 65 year-old to easily converse with a 25 year-old. Or for folks who wear blue jeans at…

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Superstitious and Credulous Citizens

February 8, 2020 (1,105 words)
The last weekend in January presented me with an interesting juxtaposition of ideas. On that Saturday morning The Wall Street Journal featured a review of a new book on one of my favorite…

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Chasing Our Tail

February 1, 2020 (600 words)
At last month’s Golden Globe Awards (January 6) the actress Michelle Williams won a prize and caused a stir with her acceptance speech. By way of full…

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A Hidden Life

January 31, 2020 (697 words)
Terrence Malick has a new movie out, a three-hour opus entitled A Hidden Life. The last such production of his I dragged my entire family to was The Tree of Life, back in…

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Hiding in Plain Sight

January 30, 2020 (1,328 words)
I’ve managed to reach retirement age without ever coming in contact with To Kill a Mockingbird. Not the book that was published in 1960 and won the…

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Inadvertent Humor

January 23, 2020 (738 words)
There’s a guy at work who considers me a radical left-wing socialist, because he sees that I sometimes read…

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Effective Communication

January 20, 2020 (829 words)
Combativeness is not the best way to communicate. It does, however, have the advantage of getting the juices flowing and invigorating the participants, making them feel more alive in the heat…

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Moral Superiority

January 10, 2020 (1,710 words)
It’s only natural to feel sorry for those who are less fortunate than we ourselves are. And the natural response is to try and help in whatever way we…

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Intrinsic Joy

January 6, 2020 (500 words)
At this late stage in life, some of us older folks find ourselves with a modest amount of disposal income on our hands, something we couldn’t have imagined during our challenging child-rearing…

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Sorting Things Out

December 25, 2019 (5,697 words)
I’ve just started reading the economist Joseph Stiglitz’s latest book, People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent. If his name doesn’t ring a bell with you, be advised this Mr. Stiglitz…

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Recent Polling

December 20, 2019 (306 words)
I managed to stay awake for the first hour of last night’s Democratic presidential debate. Since I haven’t been following the fortunes of the twenty-odd announced contestants in the race, I was surprised…

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A Day in the Neighborhood

December 15, 2019 (426 words)
It seems as if the things I most enjoy in life are all dying a slow death and on their way out. Like newspapers, magazines, and going to the movies. But I will continue to frequent all three for as long as they’re still around…

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Missionaries of Gratitude

December 15, 2019 (514 words)
When the long-time pastor at the small, neighborhood parish where I now attend Mass reached retirement age in 2015, the Archdiocesan office had no one to send us in his stead. So they imported a couple of young priests from South…

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The Last Word

December 8, 2019 (380 words)
When it comes to human affairs, it’s hard for any of us to claim the last word. No matter how highly developed our sense of discernment may be, there is always some perspective that escapes our notice, some angle…

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The First Thanksgiving

November 28, 2019 (989 words)
My friends the social conservatives usually have their heart in the right place, but their automatic adoption of the economic and political worldview promoted by their distant cousins, the fiscal conservatives…

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History

November 25, 2019 (16 words)
There are many different stories in this world, and they are all being played out simultaneously…

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Civilizing America

November 17, 2019 (1,204 words)
At the fall of the no longer Holy Roman Empire, the western territory had been laid waste by Visigoths and other barbarians, and found itself in pretty bad shape. The ravaged, war-torn landscape…

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The Warren Way Is Wrong

November 10, 2019 (1,876 words)
Most everyone I know or rub elbows with on a regular basis thinks Elizabeth Warren is a crack pot. There was a guest editorial in The New York Times the other day (Nov 5) that concisely expresses the conventional wisdom regarding the senator from Massachusetts…

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Trading Places

November 4, 2019 (186 words)
When I was younger and in my prime, encounters with older guys who were starting to go to seed and turn a bit feeble all went pretty much the same way. They didn’t warrant much attention from me one way or the other, beyond my registering how they seemed a beat slow…

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Parental Discretion

October 31, 2019 (133 words)
Being the parent of young adults in their twenties is matter of modulation. One has to learn when to speak up and offer advice, and when to keep quiet and allow your no-longer-young charges to figure things out on their own…

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A Music City Reunion

October 15, 2019 (2,130 words)
There were six of us little ones growing up, four boys and two girls. Our younger sister, MaryAnne, was the proverbial baby of the family, and over time she proved to be the glue that held the rest of us together…

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Helping or Hurting?

October 10, 2019 (1,986 words)
Our youngest has just started his freshman year of college, and while visiting him last weekend I attended Mass at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, in Williamsport, PA…

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Seeing the Forest

October 3, 2019 (773 words)
There’s nothing better than a good epiphany. And one of the best I’ve had in recent years occurred to me in December 2013.

It came via the unexpected backlash to Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”)…

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Apples and Oranges

September 28, 2019 (1,559 words)
There are some 50,000 employees of General Motors who are currently out on strike. They are all members of the United Auto Workers, the same union that represents similar employees at Ford and Chrysler.
The contracts between each of the Big Three…

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The Welfare State

September 12, 2019 (3,585 words)
The idea of a “Green New Deal” has recently been floated by certain members of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, which has received an infusion of new blood via the November 2018 election.
One of the most outspoken proponents of this audacious concept…

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The Standard Send-Off

August 30, 2019 (1,236 words)
When the billionaire philanthropist David Koch recently died at age 79, he got the standard send-off from The Wall Street Journal. It praised his well-known faith in free markets and limited government…

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Justification or Atonement

August 23, 2019 (4,217 words)
It’s not uncommon for young, headstrong people to make poor choices and bad decisions while in their halcyon teens and 20s, and sometimes even into their 30’s and 40’s…

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Cooperation and Conflict

August 15, 2019 (2,116 words)
Upon turning 75 a little over a month from now, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput will be obliged to submit his resignation to Pope Francis. He has been a faithful bishop, a good man, and an engaging writer. No doubt he will continue to be all three, even in retirement…

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The Prancing Prince

July 30, 2019 (379 words)
Some actors hit the ground running and are enjoyable to watch from their very earliest film roles right on through to the end of their careers. William Holden comes to mind…

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Bad Parenting

July 29, 2019 (409 words)
I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but all three of our sons have turned out to be libertarians. (They also wear black socks with their sneakers, but I can only deal with one heresy at a time.)…

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Leaving Well Enough Alone

July 19, 2019 (151 words)
A lot of popular music is over-produced, isn’t it? You especially notice this when an old song you like comes on the radio. (Remember the radio?) Or when one of your grown children streams…

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Changing the Words

July 14, 2019 (615 words)
That rascal Pope Francis is at it again. This time he is recommending a revision to one of our oldest prayers, the Our Father

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All Is True

July 5, 2019 (1,210 words)
Every art form has the power to move me, and usually does. But the one that consistently engages my sensibilities and tugs at my heart strings is drama. Stage or screen, there is something about seeing a good story unfold that always…

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It Pays to Notice

June 29, 2019 (1,007 words)
My kind no longer does manual labor to make a living, the way our grandparents did. And we don’t go in for the rather pedestrian civil servant or middle-management positions that were the pride and joy of our parents…

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Alms and Charity

June 24, 2019 (385 words)
The full title of the Cross Catholic Outreach official who led our little traveling party of American visitors in Guatemala last week is “International Vision & Mission Trips Officer.” He told us that…

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The Depths of Love

June 23, 2019 (934 words)
To a large and vocal contingent of conservative American Catholics it remains “open season” on Pope Francis. In their eyes his transgressions are ongoing, and continue to mount…

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The Triple Bottom Line

June 22, 2019 (657 words)
Profit is the bottom line, as we all know. But how many of us are familiar with the Triple Bottom Line? It consists of Profit, People, and Planet. Though the term is said to have been coined way back in 1994, I only just heard about it this week, from an official with Cross Catholic…

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Difficult Subjects, Forgotten Teaching

June 21, 2019 (1,544 words)
One good thing (among many) about belonging to a universal church is the way it naturally and organically responds to every local culture known to man. Another good thing is how it has encountered every human condition down through the centuries, and developed the teaching to address…

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Why Welfare Doesn’t Work

June 20, 2019 (940 words)
We all know that welfare doesn’t work, and we all know why. Government hand-outs create a feeling of entitlement, and encourage a culture of dependency. The recipients fail to take ownership of what they are given, and feel no responsibility for their…

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Arguing with Success (in four parts)

June 19, 2019 (2,521 words)
Part One
The economic discussion has gone stale. It has fallen into a bit of a rut. And the average successful American doesn’t generally give the subject much thought, beyond a perfunctory checking…

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A Mountain of Corn

June 18, 2019 (429 words)
The phrase “true grit” has iconic overtones. To movie audiences of a certain age, the term may conjure images of an older John Wayne, circa 1969, in the role of Rooster Cogburn, a crusty, broken-down…

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The Speed of Light

June 15, 2019 (436 words)
Wendell Berry is now 84 years old. The poet, novelist, essayist and gentleman farmer is a well-known dissenter from nearly every aspect of modern life. He was born, raised, and still lives in Kentucky, maintains a healthy distance from any major metropolis, and does all his writing in longhand, with…

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Do You Play?

June 12, 2019 (134 words)
Can you be considered a musician without actually being able to play an instrument? Random sounds and bits of conversation have always elicited a musical response from me…

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Okay, You Win

June 10, 2019 (581 words)
That a fertilized female egg can be considered not a human entity but rather an alien presence to be disposed of when found to be unwanted by or inconvenient to the aforementioned female, is a bizarre…

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Comic Book Heroes

June 9, 2019 (495 words)
You may be familiar with the popular catch-phrase “you had me at hello,” a line uttered by the female lead of a successful “summer movie” from some twenty years ago. It was part of clever script that combined…

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Love’s Austere and Lonely Offices

June 5, 2019 (1,002 words)
While there are certainly historical antecedents for both the sexual revolution and women’s liberation, the post-WWII boom of the late 1950s into the 1960s saw these movements really hit their stride and go…

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At a Loss for Words

May 23, 2019 (24 words)
It seems the most important realizations we experience in life are beyond the power of words to express. But it’s still fun to try…

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Haphazard Men

May 19, 2019 (1,017 words)
Whenever David Brooks riffs on our wayward culture in the op-ed section of The New York Times I am always at full attention. (His political commentary, offered on television as a guest panelist for various cable news outlets, is less captivating from my perspective.)…

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Passport Photo

April 30, 2019 (883 words)
My passport recently reached its ten-year expiration date, and being the world traveler that I am it was absolutely imperative to have it renewed immediately. So last week I sauntered into the local post

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Crisis at the Border

April 13, 2019 (1,855 words)
The other day I was startled by a front page story in The New York Times that announced the U.S. border could be at a breaking point. Then driving home from work yesterday I listened to National Public Radio…

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Democracy In Action

March 24, 2019 (76 words)
Democracy allows us to have an opinion about everything, without necessarily giving much thought to anything in advance. No need to investigate or educate ourselves on…

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Finding A Home

March 19, 2019 (3,431 words)
When the book Why Liberalism Failed by Notre Dame associate professor of political science Patrick J. Deneen was published by Yale University Press in January 2018, it was immediately reviewed in all…

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Creating (Crummy) Jobs

March 11, 2019 (2,212 words)
Many a member of my once-dominant post-WW II “baby boom” generation (b. 1946-1964) began life with decidedly liberal tendencies. But we were mugged…

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Loopholes and Deductions

March 1, 2019 (1,103 words)
Nobody likes to pay taxes. Very few of us ever call our friendly neighborhood accountant and say, “You know, Larry, this year let’s make sure I hand over my fair share.” This inbred aversion to taxation…

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Because They Can

February 24, 2019 (692 words)
I live and work in a well-off suburb that is a Republican stronghold, with “Democrats Need Not Apply” signs posted prominently at most every polling place come election season…

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High Stakes Petulance

February 20, 2019 (914 words)
Amazon is no longer going to locate a new $2.5 billion HQ facility in Long Island City, Queens (NYC). The prickly press release was made public last Thursday morning – Valentine’s Day…

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Anytown, U.S.A.

February 14, 2019 (928 words)
On any given day of the week, you can stroll into a bar or diner of your choice and be treated to a variation of the following exchange, being bandied about over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer. The bleeding heart …

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Framing the Argument

February 12, 2019 (355 words)
Despite my recently noted reservations about the methodology used for his economic prognosticating, there is an initiative American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks is currently promoting…

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American Catholicism, American Power

February 9, 2019 (1,367 words)
Arthur Brooks and Andrew Cuomo are the same type of Catholics. This may come as a surprise to most readers, since each man operates from opposite ends of the political spectrum. But then…

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A Treasure

February 7, 2019 (45 words)
Our only daughter is getting her own place and moving out. She is a treasure, and now it’s time for us…

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Under Development

February 3, 2019 (1,264 words)
As president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) since January 2009, Arthur Brooks has spent the last ten years working with political, intellectual, and business leaders in Washington, D.C. and…

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Rainmaker Extraordinaire

February 2, 2019 (444 words)
Somehow I missed the March 2018 announcement that Arthur Brooks will be stepping down in June 2019 as president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank…

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Singing to No One

January 26, 2019 (499 words)
I happen to be a big fan of any sort of live music. It can be a jazz trio, a symphony orchestra, or a high school marching band. There is something about people making beautiful…

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An Economics of Justice and Charity

January 23, 2019 (418 words)
This Christmas I received a book as a present from one of my considerate children, who shall remain nameless. (But she knows who she is.) I have started reading this book from the beginning, which…

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Living in Fear

January 21, 2019 (543 words)
We all have our preferred sources of news and information that contribute to our comfortable routines. In the January 11 edition…

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Dénouement

January 17, 2019 (31 words)
Once we are finally finished with acquisition, our thoughts turn naturally toward absolution. Of everyone…

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Unconfessed Sins

January 6, 2019 (640 words)
(The following is reprinted from the Letters section of the December 2018 issue of Culture Wars magazine, as contributed by Lise Anglin of Toronto, Ontario.)…

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Doctors of the Church

January 1, 2019 (343 words)
The term “Church Fathers,” or “Early Church Fathers,” or “Fathers of the Church,” describes those men of the first two generations after the Apostles of Christ, and for that reason are often referred to as…

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Religious Intolerance

December 28, 2018 (808 words)
Let’s review the facts of the case: Separation of church and state is the best thing that ever happened to us. It allowed early American colonists to leave the religious strife of Reformation…

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A Brand New Day

December 25, 2018 (167 words)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwell in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them …

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Business Owner as Teacher

December 21, 2018 (1,004 words)
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime. While this is undeniably true, it’s still a lot easier to just hand over a cod filet and leave it at that, since teaching…

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Taxation without Representation

December 16, 2018 (1,248 words)
Our youngest is a senior in high school this year. He is studying the War of 1812 in History, and writing about it in English. The other night we both found ourselves standing in the kitchen, waiting…

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Why Must Everyone Be So Mad?

December 3, 2018 (1,168 words)
I seem to be out of step with just about everything these days. The most recent trend to have passed me by is “Catholic Outrage.” Any serious practitioner that…

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Prosperity Happened

December 1, 2018 (55 words)
Toward the end of his life my father developed a pithy, two-word answer to the question that continues to vex us. How did the culture go…

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