In Defense Of Pope Benedict

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

I have been quite troubled by the endless stream of abuse that has been directed at Pope Benedict XVI over the course of the last year.  Now it may be reaching new lows. A friend of mine sent me this link to a German news site that tells of a mock “trial” in a “virtual courtroom” to be held for Benedict over his alleged role in the deaths of millions from AIDS, as well as his alleged support for anti-Semitism. Unfortunately my friend did not include a link to the translation, which he only copied into the text of the email. Here are the highlights:

“In the second hearing, the top Dutch lawyer Gerard Spong was less fortunate. Three indictments were levied against his “client” Benedict XVI. In addition to his responsibility for the spread of AIDS, the Pope also “legitimises anti-Semitism” – because he did not immediately distance himself from the Holocaust-denier and Lefebvrist Bishop Richard Williamson distances – and finally was also charged with discrimination against women and homosexuals. The indictment was supported with pictures of the Pope in front of a swastika, as well as pictures of concentration camp prisoners and dying Africans.”

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Make America Safe Street By Street – Here’s How

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

Here is something I wrote over at Facebook’s “Dads Protecting Daughters”- Joe and I traded some comments there, and I thought I would open it up to the American Catholic society! Here goes:

A Safer World For All Children

We have touched upon some of the cultural issues relating to the protection and nurturing of our daughters (and sons- really this Facebook cause “Dads Protecting Daughters” directly relates to boys and girls). Now I want to bring up something on the literal street level- this is a political and economic area of concern. I am a huge “root causes” guy- the Catholic social teachings and Hierarchical commentaries are constantly saying in effect- “be courageous, look at the root causes of violence, of terrorism, of war”. I take this very, very seriously.

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EconTalk

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

For something over a year now, I’ve been enjoying the EconTalk podcast, something which Blackadder of Vox Nova turned me on to. EconTalk is a weekly, one hour podcast put out by the Library of Economics and Liberty. It’s hosted by Dr. Russ Roberts, a professor of economics at George Mason University and regular National Public Radio commentator on economics, and the format is usually one of Prof. Roberts interviewing an economist about his/her recent book, or about an topic of current interest. And generally it succeeds in pursuing that fascinating middle ground of being accessible to the general listener while not shying away from discussing highly technical/academic topics.

I was inspired to post on them at this point because this week’s podcast was of a different format than usual, consisting of an extended interview of Prof. Roberts by a journalist on the difference between wealth and income, and what it means to say that we have “become much less wealthy” over the course of the recession of the last 6-9 months. Roberts also discusses the inexact nature of economics as a science and how the uncertainties of interpreting data play into policy debates.

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Krugman’s Foundation

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

This Newsweek article about Nobel Prize-winning economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman contained an interesting biographical detail:

Krugman says he found himself in the science fiction of Isaac Asimov, especially the “Foundation” series—”It was nerds saving civilization, quants who had a theory of society, people writing equations on a blackboard, saying, ‘See, unless you follow this formula, the empire will fail and be followed by a thousand years of barbarism’.”

His Yale was “not George Bush’s Yale,” he says—no boola-boola, no frats or secret societies, rather “drinking coffee in the Economics Department lounge.” Social science, he says, offered the promise of what he dreamed of in science fiction—”the beauty of pushing a button to solve problems. Sometimes there really are simple solutions: you really can have a grand idea.”

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Priest of Andersonville

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

union-prisoner-liberated-from-andersonville

father-peter-whelan

I normally take great pride in being an American, but there are passages in our history which all Americans should be ashamed of.  During our Civil War in many prison camps, both North and South, POWs were treated wretchedly with inadequate shelter, clothing and food.  The worst by far was Andersonville.

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