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First Things

June 8, 2021 (4,084 words)
First Things has always been a classy journal featuring quality contributions from orthodox scholars and academics. Father Richard…

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Conversion Stories

June 7, 2021 (282 words)
Many adult believers have a conversion story to tell, of how they came back to the faith after a period of doubt or outright rebellion. Now that they have returned to the fold, many exhibit a new appreciation for the strictures…

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Affluent and Bankrupt

June 6, 2021 (49 words)
These two terms would seem to be mutually exclusive, yet they can both be applied to us. Large swatches of our society are undeniably affluent, positively swimming in disposable…

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Honest Thief

June 3, 2021 (88 words)
Honest Thief, an October 2020 theatrical release now available to stream, is an enjoyable, well-made piece of entertainment. It’s labeled an “action/thriller” since it does…

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Managing Personal Expectations

May 30, 2021 (217 words)
I have always considered myself the active and outdoorsy type, but maybe not as much now as before. On a recent trip to Sedona for a family wedding, my 22-year-old daughter and I decided to tackle one of those…

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A Market Disrupter meets the Common Good

May 29, 2021 (370 words)
The goal of any responsible journalist is to shed new light and increase understanding. Along those lines my own particular interest is trying to get friendly readers to reconsider their most cherished liberal or conservative…

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A Vortex of Hate

May 26, 2021 (170 words)
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. At some point the woman I made a lifetime commitment to made her own conscious decision not to be happy with her lot in life. This extended to no longer being in love with me, and not wanting to be married…

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Sordid Family History

May 23, 2021 (246 words)
Many years ago my father fell under the spell of and married an Italian woman. I am told it was a brief courtship, no doubt the result of some romantic voodoo caste by this vixen on a poor, unsuspecting Irishman. They managed to have a…

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The Spectrum of Mental Health

May 22, 2021 (258 words)
Each of us have our own unique pathologies to deal with in this life, which seem to have been assigned at birth. The lucky ones are able to recognize some of them as time goes on, actively engage the thorniest problems in a constructive manner, and occasionally…

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Two Sisters

May 17, 2021 (611 words)
I started with two sisters, but lost one to melanoma in 1998. She was 34 at the time, the youngest of the litter, and our family’s glue. She was in charge of parties and reunions…

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Foolish and Wise

April 30, 2021 (16 words)
When speaking extemporaneously I often feel foolish. When I write, I am able to…

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Individuals and the State

April 3, 2021 (1,210 words)
Catholic teaching on social justice is a slippery thing in many respects, hard to figure and difficult to pin down. To our modern way of thinking it flip-flops between sticking up for what it refers to as the dignity of the individual, and calling on the state to play a vital role in sorting out what can…

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Some Practical Application

March 20, 2021 (1,075 words)
Catholic teaching on social justice is a system of thought that seeks to integrate law, politics, and economics. But there is nothing particularly ‘Catholic’ about it. The implementation does not require you to recite special prayers, observe the feast day of saints, or be proficient…

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Catholic Social Teaching to the Rescue

March 12, 2021 (1,734 words)
A recent feature story in a mainstream publication shouts the following question from its title block: “Can Catholic Social Teaching Unite a Divided America?” What a completely unexpected…

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Are Hedge Funds Evil Incarnate?

March 1, 2021 (1,734 words)
Not that anybody is paying attention to this sort of thing, but the corruption of the Catholic mind over the course of the last sixty years has had a distinctly economic…

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Confronting Economic Unworthiness

February 20, 2021 (807 words)
Those who scoff at the term “social justice” cannot all be dismissed as callous and crusty. The disdain is not always a sign of hard-heartedness. Deep down…

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Play It Forward

February 14, 2021 (37 words)
After being together almost forty years a thought just occurred to me. My commitment…

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Rethinking Return on Investment

February 8, 2021 (1,274 words)
Any home-grown small business person knows how to stay in the game over the long haul. It starts with a hardy constitution impervious to minor ailments. It usually involves a…

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Socialists Should Cheer Up

January 20, 2021 (784 words)
For some reason every critic of capitalism seems like a sourpuss. As if they are never able to get a good night’s sleep, or their sciatica is always acting…

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Philanthropy: The Easy Way Out

January 12, 2021 (1,742 words)
Many of our prominent civic institutions rely on generous donations of private wealth for a vital part of their funding stream. While the term “philanthropy” can apply to the hundred bucks you throw at…

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Wages: Expense or Investment?

December 27, 2020 (2,022 words)
Try to imagine a scenario in which a big, successful, publically-traded company – say a tech giant such as Amazon, for example – might decide on its own to pay its low-wage workers…

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Faith and Politics in America

December 13, 2020 (7,751 words)
I.
We just elected a Catholic as President for only the second time in our history, yet during the campaign hardly a mention was made of the candidate’s once-taboo religious affiliation. Some will say that’s…

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Controlling the Information

December 4, 2020 (774 words)
The printing press made the Protestant Reformation possible, once the Catholic Church could no longer control information. This may not be a new theory, but lately it seems to be popping up in places I frequent for information…

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The Art of the Possible

November 27, 2020 (811 words)
Politics, as we know, is not about identifying the right thing to do, which is a basic concept parents impart to their young children. Instead it’s about recognizing what you can actually get done. This pragmatic approach…

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President Boring

November 25, 2020 (309 words)
After a four-year roller coaster ride with Donald Trump at the wheel, a notable portion of the American electorate – some 80 million strong – has decided Sleepy Joe Biden as President may…

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Heart and Mind

November 23, 2020 (30 words)
It’s all very well to have your heart in the right place. As long as your head is along for the ride, and is willing to work out the…

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Trashing Democrats

November 18, 2020 (877 words)
The problem with trashing Democrats as thoroughly as social conservatives do is it leaves us with only one viable political alternative: Republicans…

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Let Him Go

November 8, 2020 (135 words)
And now a word of praise for those veteran actors and actresses – like Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, and Lesley Manville – lucky enough to find good material they can really grab hold off, even this late…

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A Pendulum of Political Despair

November 7, 2020 (796 words)
This morning the presidential election was officially called for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The incumbent had an early lead in many crucial states once the polls closed on November 3. But that lead was…

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Democracy’s Achilles Heel

October 31, 2020 (888 words)
Manipulating the emotions of the general public is how our nation’s business is conducted on a daily basis. Then comes election season, when the fear-mongering ratchets up to a fever…

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Keep It Simple, Stupid

October 23 2020 (316 words)
Okay, so now it’s come to this: As one exits the northbound New Jersey Turnpike, where the Lincoln Tunnel leads into midtown Manhattan, there is a massive billboard dramatically lit against the…

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A Breath of Fresh Air

October 15, 2020 (532 words)
Amy Coney-Barrett was said to have “sparred” with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, during the two days they spent questioning her nomination to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat…

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Sowing Discord and Strife

October 8, 2020 (613 words)
Going to bed early is my stock-in-trade, so i only caught the opening salvos in last night’s Vice-Presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris. That was enough for me to regret…

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Another Errant Guide

October 4, 2020 (983 words)
Walking into the back of church this morning I was greeted by an imposing stack of “Catholic Voter Guides” almost two feet high, sitting on a small table in the vestibule. What a colossal waste of ink, I couldn’t…

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Answered Prayers

October 3, 2020 (414 words)
What was your immediate reaction when you first heard President Trump tested positive for COVID-19 the other day? Not many of us want to go on…

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Loving Our Constitution

September 28, 2020 (1,000 words)
Legendary Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died on Friday, September 18, at the age of 87. On Saturday, September 26, President Trump announced his choice to fill the vacancy her passing leaves…

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Catholics for Biden

September 23, 2020 (992 words)
While I believe Catholics who identify as “conservative” in the practice of their faith should untether themselves from the Republican Party, I don’t think the…

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Peggy Noonan’s World

September 13, 2020 (1,134 words)
The toughest part of being a name-brand commentator who gets published in the prestige press on a regular, weekly basis is that it can be hard to come up with worthwhile subject matter…

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The Smell of Abortion

September 12, 2020 (1,048 words)
Did you know abortion has a smell? This provocative question is posed by one Abby Johnson, who spent eight years working for Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas. She started in 2001 by escorting women into the…

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Reverse Racism at Yale

September 7, 2020 (728 words)
What am i missing? Here we are, smack dab in the middle of a “transformative social justice moment,” with every organization from acting troupes to tech firms loudly proclaiming its support for diversity…

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A Unified Vision of Reality

September 6, 2020 (1,359 words)
So the other day I’m watching a short little video from Cross Catholic Outreach that landed in my in-box. It features a man identified in a caption as Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini of Guatemala, a guy who…

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The Philadelphia Statement

September 5, 2020 (710 words)
There’s been a lot going on lately, so you may have missed the big, August 11 signing of the Philadelphia Statement. Named in recognition of the pivotal role that city played in the founding of the…

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Once More unto the Breach

September 4, 2020 (754 words)
Here we go again. With another presidential election looming partisans of all stripes are once more treating us to raw, visceral appeals designed to by-pass logic and…

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We All Must Be Accountable

September 3, 2020 (534 words)
There is certainly a lot that both the average white citizen and the white power structure has to answer for when it comes to the thorny state of race relations in this country. The playbook for the change…

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The Looting of America

August 31, 2020 (643 words)
Another irony is that the financial institutions whose CEOs are now taking a kneel in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and pledging $500 million over four years to combat these issues in the communities…

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A Hue and Cry across the Land

August 27, 2020 (542 words)
It seems every organization in America, from acting troupes to tech firms, has felt compelled to issue a statement in recent weeks condemning racism and supporting diversity…

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A Lack of Skills, and Confidence

August 23, 2020 (523 words)
Of course not every black man of limited means is violent, or traffics in criminal activity. But there is a generation of law-abiding African-American…

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Why do Blacks fill our Jails?

August 18, 2020 (301 words)
This summer’s “day of reckoning” kicked off with the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, while in police custody. It was the latest such incident in recent years – flagrant examples…

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Personal Habits and Success

August 15, 2020 (475 words)
A lack of cognitive ability, or possession of a lesser degree of cognitive ability, can be an obstacle to securing viable employment. But this condition – like the blessing of inherent…

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Education is the Key, Right?

August 12, 2020 (321 words)
There is a broad consensus that improving educational opportunities is the answer to the current unemployment problem, among blacks and whites alike. We have to start training young…

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Marginalizing Lesser-Skilled Workers

August 8, 2020 (390 words)
How to ameliorate the present suffering? Activists will continue to debate the best way of deploying housing subsidies and distributing welfare payments. And whether to continue and even expand existing…

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A Lack of Empathy

August 3, 2020 (341 words)
The big noisy discussion we are currently having about systemic racism needs to happen. Since it’s a major reason so many blacks are stuck on the outside looking in, even after all these years, and…

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A Helping Hand

August 1, 2020 (339 words)
Little kids like to learn new things. And adults in their general vicinity usually take pleasure in helping them make a new discovery. Then time passes, the kids are no longer little, and this happy dynamic…

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An Honest Conversation About Race

July 24, 2020 (4,517 words)
The national examination of conscience we are engaged in this summer on the thorny subject of race relations has me thinking in a slightly different direction than the wise commentators who have weighed in…

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A Turn for the Worse

July 9, 2020 (1,984 words)
Oh, my. State populations that thought themselves immune to the COVID-19 outbreak in March are now experiencing a surge of infections. While other states, on strict lockdown for months, are registering an…

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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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