Some Thoughts on Vatican II, Part 1

This is not a post on the documents or formal results of the Council, but more on how things changed in a day-to-day way in the wake of it. I asked my mother (aged 83) once about what she remembered about the pre-Vatican II Church, and she said, “I remember going up to Father before [Read More…]

The Verdict of Future History

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from [Read More…]

A Unique Remedy for Under-Served Communities

ONE IDEA I’VE BEEN MEANING TO WRITE ABOUT is a proposal to provide banking services to under-served communities — typically poorer neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color — through the U.S. Postal Service. As a practical matter, the only financial services now available in those under-served communities are payday lenders and check cashing joints. For those [Read More…]

“Thank You For Your Service”

GIVEN THE IMMENSE SACRIFICES of our military men and women over the last 14 years, it is customary for civilians, both prominent and ordinary, to say “thank you for your service.” It is fitting and proper that we should do so. The sacrifices they have made, in blood, pain and sanity, ought to entitle them [Read More…]

A Desert, In Two Senses

I RECEIVED NEWS RECENTLY that an old friend has had some health issues, so I trekked to Las Vegas to see her and catch up. I hadn’t seen her for almost five years, and I found much had changed with her — and in Vegas; my friend because of her illness, and Vegas because the [Read More…]

Some words about Dr. King, Part 1

MONDAY WAS THE 86TH ANNIVERSARY of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., so I thought I would share some thoughts about his life and legacy. My first encounter with Dr. King’s reputation as a public figure was as a student at my predominantly black elementary school in Richmond, California. I was 6 years [Read More…]

Further Thoughts on Torture

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. This is what he said when host Chuck Todd asked him about detainees who were tortured and later turned out to be innocent: CHUCK TODD: Twenty-five percent of the detainees though, 25 percent turned out to be innocent. They were released. DICK [Read More…]

Some Thoughts on the Torture Report

ON TUESDAY, SENATE DEMOCRATS RELEASED DETAILS of the torture program authorized at the highest levels of the Bush administration and perpetrated in the early years of last decade, in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C. and New York in September 2001. I downloaded the report from the Web and have not [Read More…]

Normandy Thoughts For Veterans’ Day

ON THE MORNING of our last full day in France, we took an intercity train from Paris out to Normandy. For this journey, we were not on the TGV, France’s futuristic high-speed train system. We were on an intercity express train, which, despite not being a proper bullet train, still moved with dispatch out of [Read More…]

Notes from My Trip to Europe, Part 1

I recently returned from a trip to Europe – Italy, Swizerland and France. I’ll be posting a series of posts about what I saw there. Rome, the Eternal City, has me bewitched. Our first full day there, we awoke early and started at St. Peter’s Square, basically getting the lay of the land before we [Read More…]