The Radical Meaning of “Gay Marriage”

Sixty-five years ago Richard Weaver wrote about the destruction caused by the triumph of nominalism, the denial of the reality of transcendentals such as the good, beautiful, and true. He wanted to reverse it, and insisted on the importance of the right to private property, calling it “the last metaphysical right.” The point was to … Read more

Is Michelle Obama Bad for Kids?

  Will Michelle Obama’s efforts as first lady help or hurt American children and the nation in which they live? When speaking about her “Let’s Move!” program to fight childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama often explains her vision of government as parent — the Big Mother who will teach children the important things their derelict real … Read more

The Importance of Place

“On the whole, it would appear to be for the best that the great majority of human beings should go on living in the place in which they were born.” So wrote T.S. Eliot in Notes Towards the Definition of Culture. Like much of Eliot’s cultural philosophy, it is a thoroughly contrarian, even atavistic notion, … Read more

Good Things

Life has many good things. The problem is that most of these good things can be gotten only by sacrificing other good things. We all recognize this in our daily lives. It is only in politics that this simple, common sense fact is routinely ignored. In politics, there are not simply good things but some … Read more

How to Kill the Housing Market

  And you thought things couldn’t get worse on the housing front. The U.S. housing market is in the worst shape since the Great Depression, and now the Obama administration’s solution is to impose new rules that would banish 60 percent of current homebuyers from the market. The proposed Mortgage Qualification Rules are the result … Read more

Government Decisions Versus Private Decisions

Two unrelated news stories on the same day show the contrast between government decisions and private decisions. Under the headline “Foreclosed Homes Sell at Big Discounts,” USA Today reported that banks were selling the homes they foreclosed on, at discounts of 38 percent in Tennessee to 41 percent in Illinois and Ohio. Banks in general … Read more

Susanka on “Departures”

I was pretty swamped this past week, so I missed Joseph Susanka’s Patheos column on Yojiro Takita’s Oscar-winning 2008 film, Departures. If you haven’t seen the movie, Joseph’s column will make you regret your sad mistake. It tells the story of young Daigo Kobayashi, an aspiring concert cellist, who finds himself forced to return to … Read more

‘The Organ Wagon’s On Its Way!’

Given my usual tendency to (over)indulge in a bit of “tin-foil-hattism,” it’s hard for me to read this sort of thing without freaking out: A special team will monitor 9-1-1 calls about people in danger of dying and they will travel directly to a person’s home without being summoned. … The team — composed of two … Read more

Not Nearly Enough

When I accepted a job as an activity director in a nursing home, I had grand ideas of what I would accomplish with the residents there. Fresh out of college, sporting my shiny new bachelor’s degree in sociology, I felt ready to change the world. Real nursing homes, I quickly found out though, are nothing … Read more

Death Comes to the McMansion

Even in Texas, they’re building them smaller these days. The era of the McMansion is ending, and I can’t say I’m disappointed. Whether you call them McMansions, Starter Castles, or Faux Chateaus, these 3,000 plus square foot homes — which were often cheaply built on tiny plots of land — were in high demand across … Read more

On Handguns and the Constitution

On June 28, in the case McDonald v. Chicago, the United States Supreme Court held that cities and states cannot interfere with the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. The city of Chicago had tried to ban handguns, but Chicago resident Otis McDonald challenged the law, arguing that it made him less safe. … Read more

France’s burqa ban: Good idea? Bad Idea?

I can’t decide where I stand on the ban of the burqa (full veil) in France. I want to be against it — on the grounds of religious and personal freedom — but I see the challenges the niqab (face veil) poses to national security. It’s one thing to cover the top of your head, … Read more

Is There a Gay Agenda?

Well, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance certainly thinks so, having recently released their Agenda for 2010. Among their priorities for the city of Washington, D.C., are maintaining gay marriage, increasing rights for the transgendered, decreasing bullying (finally, one I agree with!), protecting “red light” (strip club) districts, and legalizing prostitution. …other people’s personal choices … Read more

Swallows of Capistrano leaving the church of their fathers

Man, church attendance is down everywhere. The famous cliff swallows who nest every year at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California have bypassed their traditional home for something a little more modern: Instead, they found graceful lodging in the eaves at the year-old Vellano Country Club. The private community boasts a golf course designed by … Read more

Sewage Detox

It had already been a harrowing spring for me and my family. Two weeks before, my daughter was walking our family pet, an eight-pound terrier, on a leash, when they were rushed by a big dog that grabbed ours by the neck and shook him to death. My wife was devastated; the little fellow had … Read more

Ethnic violence escalates in Nigeria

The number of estimated dead from the horrific attacks outside of Jos in Nigeria this weekend has reached 500, officials say: The dead were Christians and members of an ethnic group that had been feuding with the Hausa-Fulani, Muslim herders whom witnesses and police officials identified as the attackers. Officials said the attack was in … Read more

‘Old technology never dies; it just fades away’

As the blog’s resident “harbinger of doom,” I couldn’t possibly let this story pass by unnoticed: Nothing lasts forever. So it will be said about the University of Michigan Library’s card catalogs when they are removed from their home in the bowels of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library on March 8. Twelve and a half million … Read more

Sloth in Drag

It would be easy — too easy — to toss off Sloth as a sin that only afflicted the lazy. My initial instincts in writing about this deadly sin led me to do just that. But friends pointed out to me that there’s another and subtler form it takes, which occurs among the busiest workaholics. … Read more


Decades ago — nearly four of them, I think: around 1971 — I was reading an account of the problem of homelessness in Boston. It was a study done by clinical psychologists, and it contained one interesting factoid that remains in memory to this day. The investigators found that 95 percent of the street people … Read more

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