Now This

This blog is now read by more machines than humans: RSS robots, spam-laying insectopoids, echoes of blog-gathering .edu projects. This essentially is the state of affairs that all human activities w

Cleaning Up the Nation

Austin Bay:

If Air America were a conservative radio network its corrupt funding trail and cynical abuse of a poverty program would be front page news at the NY Times and full-time mega-scandal at

Rank Materialism

Freedom. I am now the proud new owner of a Gateway 6020GZ laptop, perfect for students and others with limited means. I can now go into a Starbucks or a Barnes & Noble and look like I'm doing some

Fallujah Fonda

Uh-oh. From the Telegraph comes this exciting news:

Jane Fonda is returning to anti-war activism and embarking on a cross-country tour to call for an end to US military operations in Iraq.

Acros

John Pilger: Partner in Terrorism

In an outrageous piece of terrorist propaganda appearing on the cover of today's New Statesman, John Pilger puts the blame for the 7/7 London attacks not on the terrorists, but rather on Tony Blair:

Pope Talk

So John Paul II has passed on. The media is airing the reports that they've been working on for some time. Actually they've been airing them for several weeks now.

I was raised in the Catholic Church, as you might assume from my egregiously ethnic name, albeit raised in it somewhat half-heartedly. But the Pope's death doesn't have much significance for me. He was a great and important figure in the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and will be remembered for that. But his later years as Pope have, in my view, somewhat undermined that accomplishment. His non-action in the child-rape (no euphemisms from me on this) scandals which rocked the American Church is a huge black mark on his papacy, and there's no getting around that.

Further, the Church's refusal to accept sexual equality is a gambit that has endeared it to many in cultures that aren't exactly "ready" for that sort of thing, and where the Church has, not coincidentally I think, seen much growth. But for us Westerners, and for everyone else, ultimately, this is a backwards idea that will eventually have to be pushed out. Sexual segregation is one of the primary criticisms of Islam after all, and for good reasons. It's hypocritical for the largest Western religious institution to hang on to this, even in a lighter form. The bottom line for me is that sexual discrimination is a form of evil, if I may use language that the Church has used from time to time. Rationalizing it with talk about the apostles' sexual demographics is not a reasonable defense.

Many have pointed to this as a good thing, a return to conservative Christian roots and away from the liberalism of Vatican II. Bah. I'm not a social conservative and don't believe that discrimination should be a part of traditional values that ought to be continued. In short, my view of this Pope is a mixed one.

As for the next Pope, I recall some discussions about the possibility of an American Pope. But for the same reaon we won't see an American UN Secretary General, we won't see an American Pope. A Pope from Latin America is frequently discussed, but the Church, while it certainly sees the inroads Protestants have made in converting Latin Americans, still perceives the region as their territory, and therefore pretty safe. Africa and Asia are the regions where a home town boy could do the most good for recruitment. These are high growth areas for Catholics. I predict, for what it's worth (that is- nothing), that we'll have an African Pope within the next few weeks. Though practically speaking, I couldn't care less. As long as it's not another Italian.

Update: More in this vein from BoiFromTroi and, naturally, from Christopher Hitchens (via Environmental Republican).

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The problem with the Catholic Church is that it has homosexual priests (it's always boys they abuse isn't it).

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