Tag Archives: National Catholic Reporter

Blind over Iraq

In my father’s final years his macular degeneration progressed to the point that he was no longer able to read. When that happened, we signed up with a remarkable books-on-tape program offered by the socialist Library of Congress; a special tape player was shipped to him along with a thick socialist catalogue of book titles with detailed descriptions from which to choose. This catalogue of new books came every two months. For a few years, he and I went over each issue together, choosing his reading for the next two months. Eventually I did it alone. “You know what I like” he said. I placed his orders on the socialist organization’s website and the tapes began arriving immediately. Each title came in a rigid plastic case, which we faithfully dropped back in the socialist mailbox for return as soon as it was were finished.

Besides books – history, religion, fiction, true crime – there were news magazine in his mail very week and The New York Times weekly summary of the news. (His secret pleasure was People magazine and until this moment no one but me ever knew that.)

His favorite newspaper, the twice monthly National Catholic Reporter, was not avialble on tape. So I began to read it to him.

That how it came to be that I – the most secular of people – became such a fan of NCR that I made sure the subscription was redirected to me after his death. It offers fresh and thoughtful perspective on global issue. So, like I said, I’m a fan.

The April 29 issue has a powerful editorial on our forgotten war in Iraq. It’s not online, so no easy cut and paste or linkie. Here’s an edited summary with the gist of it:

. . . the Iraq war is as real today for millions of displaced Iraqis as it was the evening we launched cruise missiles over Bagdad . . . in this country of only 30 million people up to two million of them – the best and brightest – have fled to Jordan and Syria. Most will never return. Another two million have been uprooted internally . . .these mostly impoverished millions scramble for basic necessities – jobs, apartments, food, health care. It’s as if the residents of New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania had to leave and go to Canada.

The effects of war linger far beyond the battlefields of conflict. It took 20 years to settle the two million Vietnamese ‘boat people’. That war had complex roots, but the roots of the Iraq war are traceable right to the Bush White House. The United States then, carries unique responsibility for the displaced Iraqis. We cannot shirk our moral responsibility.

This is as good a time as any to mention that we’re in the ninth year of the war in Iraq and today is the 213th day of the tenth year of the War in Afghanistan. We’ve spent $1.2 trillion and lost 6000 troops. Casualty numbers are enormous as well.

Antonio, Antonio, was tired of living alonio*

Here cometh Justice Scalia, that brilliant misogynistic father of an astonishing number of  offspring, a Catholic-too-far, friend of Opus Dei, king of the hill.

There’s a great deal to admire about a man of such stature: a good husband, a loving and supportive father I’m sure, a famous wit, a lover of opera and best friend of Justice Ginsberg – a solid citizen in every way. He worked hard to learn the law and became one of the best 19th Century constitutional minds in the country and  he is a disaster on the Supreme Court of America in 2o11.

Oh – did I say he is, all too often, a genuine misogynist? Yeah, I did. But can’t say that enough.

The Washington Post reports on Scalia’s interview with Catholic Lawyer. (Can’t wait to see what the National Catholic Reporter has to say on this.)

But  I’ve never heard him actually go this far before!

Scalia: Constitution does not protect women against discrimination

(He thinks anti-discrimination is not a constitutional matter, that it’s better that  fickle legislatures take care of little things like equal rights – according to however those legislators might be feeling or moved in any cultural moment. State by State.  He believes that only male rights (white male I’ll assume) are actually embedded in the Constitution and all those pesky Amendments weren’t necessary.)

The man himself speaks: “In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation . . . “

*child’s poem, here.