Friday Linkaround

Quiet today. After gabbing and watching videos through the night, we put Buster on a plane headed back to school early this morning, then went to mass and – since it was offered – took the opportunity to go to confession, and then came home and promptly fell asleep until the early afternoon. Can’t remember the last time I’ve done that. Felt kind of good, actually!

So, here is a link around to stuff you may or may not be seeing elsewhere. It’s a long post, but stick with it; I don’t think you’ll be bored!

Oh, but first, have you been voting? Please take a second to vote for the Anchoress (if you’re so inclined) and for Happy Catholic, who says she if feeling like the Jamaican Bobsled Team in her category. My thoughts on other categories are here. I wasn’t actually going to plug the awards any more – I figure everyone who is interested is already engaged – but I’m being told that some “lefty” sites are trying to co-ordinate to defeat me since I am – quite surprisingly – currently in the lead. That always cracks me up; it’s so schoolyard. No matter what I still get my nifty “finalist” button, and I much prefer looking at the “awards” as good-natured fun, and not some absurd cut-throat matter.

To cheer you up if you’re feeling bleu!: This is pretty cheesy and the comments are even cheesier.

I loved the babies at this age, and miss it: but ummm…no.

Prayer in times of economic woe: All Shall Be Well?. Yes, eventually. But we’ve had nary a downturn since 9/11, and this one will be sustained, it seems. My Elder Son, discovering his degree is not helpful in the current job-market and having trouble finding work, is heading back to school to retrain himself. I’m getting lots of email asking for prayers from people who are either afraid of losing their jobs or having trouble finding work. I’m happy to pray for everyone, but please pray for us, too…we’re in precisely the same boat!

Meanwhile Ed Morrissey, who I trust more than anyone in the blogosphere, gives some needed perspective:

Job losses in 1945 were catastrophic for a nation of 132 million people. We have over 300 million today, and we have increased the workforce by a much larger factor as women have entered the workplace. Total employment in December 1945 was 39.111 million Americans. Total employment in December 2008 was 138.078 million Americans.

For the mathematically challenged, the difference between 2.6 million jobs lost in 1945 and in 2008 is that the former represented a whopping increase of 6.2% in unemployment, while the latter represents a 1.89% jump. It’s bad, but it’s not even in the same ballpark as 1945. And it’s worth noting that the US bounced back nicely in 1946, with unemployment below 4%, and managed to do that without massive new deficit spending by the federal government.

Furthermore, it’s hardly unprecedented. We had more than a decade from 1975 to 1986 when the average unemployment was higher as a percentage than it is now. Three of those twelve years had unemployment higher than 8%, and two of them (1982-3) at almost 10%. In those years, the US had over 10 million people unemployed, worse than now.

Read his whole post, and how we came out of that recession. I remember Carter. Things are nowhere near what we lived through in the ’70’s, when we had 15% interest rates on mortgages, unemployment over 10%, gas lines, hostages in Iran…oh yeah…they hated us then, too, remember? Not just since “evil Chimpy” came along.

Hoaxing the Media? Can people actually do that? I thought the guardians and gatekeepers were too clever, sophisticated and cynical for that? This is CNN.

Body language: Some bloggers are having fun analyzing a photo. Althouse likes this photo, but I happen to like this picture better. I note President Bush and President-elect Obama have similar taste in ties. Also, apparently in CIA Deputies.

Another Bush “scandal”:
that wasn’t.

The press had decided: Obama is always at first down!

Obama’s Mother-in-Law: is moving into the White House, probably to help keep an eye on Oprah, who wants to live close by! Clinton had his Streisand, Obama’s going to have his Winfrey. And maybe he should worry about this woman, too.

All kidding aside, I think it’s probably a very good thing
for his daughters, to have Grandma nearby while Dad is busy being president and Mom is busy ummm…saving the fashion industry or whatever role the media is assigning her. I don’t know it seems sort of sexist to me. The woman is a lawyer – or she has a law degree, at least – and the media acts like suddenly a smart, educated female lawyer in the WH should be off baking cookies or you know, doing “girly” things. Mrs. Bush, who has a graduate degree in Library Science must have felt like she couldn’t win. If she wasn’t doing something “smart” she was compared to Mrs. Clinton. If she’d tried to assert herself, she likely would have been denigrated for that, too. Mrs. Obama should be allowed to chart her own course as first lady, without the press deciding that her role is “new fashion icon.”

Emily Letilla designed the birth control pill? Who knew? Now, it’s “never mind”!

Eighty five year old Carl Djerassi the Austrian chemist who helped invent the contraceptive pill now says that his co-creation has led to a “demographic catastrophe.”

In an article published by the Vatican this week, the head of the world’s Catholic doctors broadened the attack on the pill, claiming it had also brought “devastating ecological effects” by releasing into the environment “tonnes of hormones” that had impaired male fertility, The Taiwan Times says.

The assault began with a personal commentary in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard by Carl Djerassi. The Austrian chemist was one of three whose formulation of the synthetic progestogen Norethisterone marked a key step toward the earliest oral contraceptive pill.

Djerassi outlined the “horror scenario” that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that in most of Europe there was now “no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction.” He said: “This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete.”

He described families who had decided against reproduction as “wanting to enjoy their schnitzels while leaving the rest of the world to get on with it.”

A serious issue which we should be seriously talking about, but the conversation is mostly taking place within the Catholic church and it’s mostly being discussed “amongst the choir.”

And in a totally unserious segue, I must say we were in Vienna in January ’07 (I would return to that beautiful city in a heartbeat) this was the place for schnitzel!

But more seriously, birth control affects demographics, and demographics can help predict some of the future. Israel’s demographics show them being out-born compared to their neighbors.

In Galilee: “Dead” baby comes back to life. The force is strong in that one. The will to life is, generally, I think. How badly does Israel want to live is an interesting question. But more and more societies seem to need to ask themselves that question.

Strange lights, strange sights: I have a post up over at Inside Catholic that covers things you’ve either never seen, are not used to seeing, or perhaps never thought you’d see again. From UFO’s

to Brides with Shorn Hair.

And the taking of Vows

If you remember
these gals with the terrific CD of mostly new music, you’ll be interested in these fabulous photos as one makes her first vows and four receive their habits.

Monasticism: it’s not going away: Indeed, the trend appears to be growing, and growing. And growing. Maybe it’s the coffee!

Consecrating a Church: I have never seen this rite performed before. You must scroll down a bit to find a 32 photo-sequence of photos wherein an old church, which had been de-consecrated shuttered* mid-20th century, is restored and re-consecrated as a parish dedicated to the Traditional Latin mass (TLM). (You have to hit “older posts” at the bottom of the page to continue the sequence).

It’s really quite gorgeous. I am not “all for” all the old trappings, but I must admit, this is very beautiful and meaningful in a way that a post-Vatican II consecration I once attended simply could not approach. And when I saw the picture of the newly-installed altar rail, I admit, I ached a little. We DID throw away too many babies with the bathwater after VCII, and some things are being reclaimed, but slowly. I personally would love to see us return to “the old way” of receiving communion, both for the reverence, and in order to protect the Holy Eucharist from abuse.

is a hotbed of vocations, and the reclaiming of the TLM. I guess that’s “what’s the matter” with it. I wish other bishops (like those in New York) would raise their heads and perhaps try to do what successful bishops are doing, but we’re still largely stuck in the “feel good” 1970’s over here, with mostly unattractive churches, bad diocesan television, and zero visibility of young, active, lively religious congregations that can entice others. It appears that Gregorian Chant is making a comeback, even in California, but in New York? Moribund would be apt.

We have nothing like this and nothing like this, or even this which most would find “less extreme,” and I do believe the whole society suffers for it.

Society suffers, too
when art is narrowly taught

She was a doctor who focused on patients
without medical insurance, and would often spend an hour with a single patient. Difficult to do on her own. So difficult, she stopped, found new doctors for her 500 patients and will try to do in community what was so difficult to do alone. Brava.

Roman Catholic, Eastern Rite: I concur with everything Amy says here. Do go to a Divine Liturgy sometime. It’s wonderful.

Rare Confluence: Time Magazine echoes Mark Steyn.

I would like one of these: I mean, a that’s a gorgeous piece of furniture, too, but my wee house hasn’t much room to create such a focused place, and I’m pretty untidy, sometimes.

*See information in comments here for details.

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