The Great Experiment – NY Times

Anybody can form a perfect Norway, a nation of five million people. But there is no country on earth with our size, our racial diversity, our mix of religions that is close to bringing most of its citizens the rights and comforts of the modern age.

The overall view of the column is more positive than I tend to be, but this is a wonderful line and quite true.

The Great Experiment – NY Times

David Brooks – Rules for Craftsmen

The governing craftsman has to be able to know how many votes each side possesses. He has to avoid the narcissistic question: What do I want? He has to ask instead: Given this correlation of forces, what is the landscape offering me?

Read the whole thing; this is the essence of governance, nearly all of the time.

David Brooks – Rules for Craftsmen

How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans

The CIA was in chaos when Tony Mendez arrived at his desk the next morning. People dashed through the halls, clutching files and papers. Desks were piling up with “flash” cables — the highest-priority messages, reserved for wartime situations.

Not a caper movie, but a real movie caper.

How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans

Benedict on Vatican II: “I remember I was a young professor oftheology…”

One sometimes forgets the power of simple phrases such as “I remember…” for opening and sharing an experience.

Benedict on Vatican II: “I remember I was a young professor of theology…”

Paper of record or church bulletin of the left?

This is one of the wonderful things about a mainstream press. It can help promote civil discourse, rational thinking and an improved society (I thought this recent debate led by a New York Times religion writer was a good step in the right direction). When the paper of record becomes a particularly virulent propaganda arm for one side in the culture war, those things don’t happen — and I hope we can agree no matter which side we take on hot-button cultural issues.

Paper of record or church bulletin of the left?

Sunday comics line of the day

Rob: It’s trendy.
Bucky (the cat): Really? It’s trendy to look like the guy who got fired as the village idiot at the Renaissance fair due to hygiene issues?

Nineteen Sixty-four: Spot the difference…

Deconstructing the economic incompetence of The Economist when it comes to understanding the Catholic Church. TL;DR is “The Church is not Wal-Mart.”

Nineteen Sixty-four: Spot the difference…

The church’s deep pockets, the butler did it, and myths about atheism – John Allen

John Allen’s column at NCR is a fairly significant proof for the theology of the saving remnant. Essential Friday reading, every week.

The church’s deep pockets, the butler did it, and myths about atheism – John Allen

The New York Times’ embarrassing error

I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I have a new Exhibit A for when I tell my students that mainstream media know nothing of religion or theology. Click the link.

The New York Times’ embarrassing error

Matt Ridley: When Bad Theories Happen to Good Scientists

The origin of our tendency to confirmation bias is fairly obvious. Our brains were not built to find the truth but to make pragmatic judgments, check them cheaply and win arguments, whether we are in the right or in the wrong.

Matt Ridley: When Bad Theories Happen to Good Scientists