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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits: Why Joe Biden rocks, WAPO Wonder bread, power and sex in the church and another broken bone

Why Joe Biden rocks
I've been a fan of Sen. Joe Biden's for one simple reason: he is a no-nonsense guy unafraid to speak his mind. It's a shame his presidential run didn't get very far ironically in part because of his forthrightness. If you missed his op-ed in last Friday's Wall Street Journal, I suggest you give it a look. There's also a video bit on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program below. Biden for veep? Secretary of State?

He does a nice job of talking about the current administration's squandered opportunities. There's this:

At the heart of this failure is an obsession with the "war on terrorism" that ignores larger forces shaping the world: the emergence of China, India, Russia and Europe; the spread of lethal weapons and dangerous diseases; uncertain supplies of energy, food and water; the persistence of poverty; ethnic animosities and state failures; a rapidly warming planet; the challenge to nation states from above and below.

Instead, Mr. Bush has turned a small number of radical groups that hate America into a 10-foot tall existential monster that dictates every move we make.

And this:
Terrorism is a means, not an end, and very different groups and countries are using it toward very different goals. Messrs. Bush and McCain lump together, as a single threat, extremist groups and states more at odds with each other than with us: Sunnis and Shiites, Persians and Arabs, Iraq and Iran, al Qaeda and Shiite militias. If they can't identify the enemy or describe the war we're fighting, it's difficult to see how we will win. (Bold is mine.)

Wonder Bread at WAPO op-ed
Last week was one of those weeks when I was working in triage mode getting through various deadlines so I missed getting some things posted that caught my eye. One was WAPO ombud Deborah Howell's look at the complexion of the paper's op-ed pages.

I love the Post, but I have to agree that its op-ed pages are so vanilla that I tend not to read them very often. The old tucks have been holding court so long (and vociferously) that I'm sure there's a "why bother" mentality of some would-be contributors.

But the answer to why bother is that this nation desperately needs to hear new voices. It's the only way to ensure our democracy, which frankly feels "less than" these days. And that's partly because we've been living under an administration that labels citizens as unpatriotic for having a difference of opinion. I saw a bumper sticker on a car in the Bay Village Library today that said, and I'm paraphrasing: Dissent is the truest form of patriotism. If you know anything of Bay Village, you know that it just warms my heart to know that there are few others like me in this town.

A variation of the same could be said of the Catholic church.

Power and sex in the Catholic church
On Thursday, June 5, Cleveland-based FutureChurch welcomes Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson who will speak on his book, "Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus." Father Donald Cozzens, who used to be a frequent celebrant at my church and is now teaching at John Carroll University, wrote the forward. The public lecture will be held at 7 p.m. at 3430 Rocky River Drive.

This is one of only 10 stops on his U.S. tour. He's been banned from speaking on church property in some places and word is Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon is not pleased with his appearance here in Cleveland, but (at least for now) is allowing it to take place.

Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese banned him because he believes his work is counter to doctrinal teaching. I wonder if Mahony has even read the book. Here's what he wrote to Robinson.
I have come to learn that you new book is being investigated by the Australian Bishops' Conference because of concerns about doctrinal errors and other statements in the book contrary to Church teaching.

I have also learned that His Eminence, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, has urged you to cancel your visit to the United States.

Consequently, I am hereby requesting that your cancel you visit to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles now set for June 12, 2008. Canon 763 makes it clear that the Diocesan Bishop must safeguard the preaching of God's Word and the teachings of the Church in his own Diocese. Under the provisions of Canon 763, I hereby deny you permission to speak in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

What are they so afraid of that they would seek to deny someone's opportunity to have a voice? More to the point: WWJD?

Another broken bone
My little Mikey broke his wrist on Friday while riding his bike home from a friend's house. A very kind mom drove him and his bike home and I wish I knew who she was so I could properly thank her. (I was at my neighbor's and she had left by the time my older boys found me.) Today he is sporting a royal blue cast that goes above his elbow and is already filled with signatures from his friends and teachers. He wouldn't let me sign it first because he didn't want me to spoil the clean look. So I signed after school in very large lettering on the under side of his arm, "LOVE, MOM (smiley face)."

Fortunately, we are only looking at a total of four weeks for this injury and at most, some lost baseball games, a week or two of three-on-three summer hoops and some pool time.

My baby must have been on my brain because I had one of those bizarre dreams in the early dawn today where I was getting everyone off to school—high school and middle school—when a 2-year-old version of Mikey came around the corner and said, "Hi, Mama." And a surprised me said, "Hi, Baby Boy." It was so real that I could see and smell his little toddler face, with his precious little cheeks, his chubby bare feet and his long, fluttery eyelashes.

It was the very best kind of sweetness. Unfortunately, at a beefy 9 years old, there's no way I could balance him on my hip these days.

Word of the day
Manichean: a believer in religious or philosophical dualism
Example: "You're either with us or against us." — President George W. Bush


Jill said...

We didn't even TALK today and look what you wrote about!?

You do know that Biden was my top choice? I'm still angry with myself for not doing something about that fact when I could have.

But better yet - you will love this - I wrote Deborah Howell and she said that by all means I should be submitting to them - THAT MEANS YOU TOO DEARIE! :)

Wendy A. Hoke said...

Hah! Birds of a feather, eh? I've always been a fan of Joe Biden. I just appreciate his intelligence.

And of course I thought of you when I read Deborah Howell's column.