Today’s Themes: Gallows Humor and Vodka

A round-up of what I've been reading."Missouri Considers Lifting Lifetime Food Stamp Ban for Former Drug Felons." Missouri is one of 10 states that currently has a lifetime ban on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for anyone convicted of a drug-related felony, but they could soon be amending their policy.The harsh ban was part of the welfare reform effort of 1996, but most states have since modified or completely removed the lifetime ban. However, the Missouri Senate … [Read more...]

Squid Video, Vaticanomics, Francis vs the Doctors, African Fiction: Four Friday Things

The things I've been reading. This week's theme is "Things I Know Little About."Inebriate Me: "The Real Problem with Vaticanomics." Our critique of Vaticanomics must start with its being unimaginative and—I will even say—boring.Say about it what you will, but when Jesus instructed the rich young man to give all his money to the poor and talked about camels and needles, it wasn’t boring.I am being provocative, but here’s why it actually matters.The first one is that economics is a … [Read more...]

“18th Century Fox”: Helen Rittelmeyer Is Hilarious

in AmSpec, on Burke-era popular conservatism: TWO THINGS ALL  conservatives love are narratives of decline and talking about conservatism. Put those together and you have the popular argument that conservatism ain’t what it used to be. The chart of that supposed decline, if you were to draw it Ascent of Man style, would start with Edmund Burke looking intelligent and walking upright, followed by William F. Buckley as Australopithecus, slouching. The present age would be represented by some knuc … [Read more...]

‘Cause You Just Can’t Do Things Your Blogwatch Wasn’t Meant To

or, stuff I've been reading.The trust gap between working- and middle-class young people (related to my review here).Helen Rittelmeyer on "A Not-Quite-Recovery Memoir from 1813": "In his circle he was always the normal one."Timothy P. Carney: "Childbirth Made Me Love My Wife's Body More." Lovely.Interview with Dan Barden, whose very fun and insightful recovery-noir The Next Right Thing I reviewed here. … [Read more...]

Addictions and Corrections to the Minutes

See what I did there?Anyway, I have a whole lot of random notes or clarifications about that earlier post and no real organizing principle for them, so I will just throw them out here in a list.* I think I expressed myself poorly earlier, since some people seem to have read the initial post as saying, "With some addictions you need to treat underlying physical or emotional factors first, so that you can point out to the person that their real needs are spiritual." This isn't what I meant … [Read more...]

The Twelve Steps and/as/vs. Religion

There is no way I will regret writing this post!Anyway, Helen Rittelmeyer has a provocative piece called "The Language of Addiction Takes Over," which makes a bunch of great points despite an underlying framework I think may be wrong. Some of the great points: "The religious novel is in eclipse, but the recovery memoir has never been more popular. Recovering addicts show up in high-brow shows like Enlightened, middle-brow shows like The West Wing, and low-brow shows like Prison Break, almost … [Read more...]

“David Foster Wallace and Samuel Taylor Coleridge Had a Lot in Common”

Helen Rittelmeyer: The biggest difference between Samuel Taylor Coleridge and David Foster Wallace is that by the time cardiomyopathy took Coleridge’s life in 1834, at the age of sixty-one, the consensus was that he had died too late. It’s not that no one engaged in rueful speculation about the masterpieces that would go unwritten, it was just that they’d done it years before, when it became clear that addiction and lack of professional discipline had made further serious literary output from Co … [Read more...]


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