Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Tuesday Post: Interesting Bits of News, Inane Bits of Commentary

What's this? A Tuesday Post on Tuesday? Go figure. I remembered my notes this time.

I'll start out with a few things from around the world that caught my eye or ear today.

First, Canada's Conservative Party wins national elections. Prime Minister-elect Stephen Harper wants to do a lot of the same things that US Republicans like: Lower taxes, strengthen the military, and make sure nothing unwanted gets through its southern border. Honestly, I don't blame them. Mr. Harper also wants to repair relations with the US that were strained since the 2000 election. Well, when Canadian chattering class members decided to pitch a hissy fit over the elction of George W. Bush it didn't endear a lot of Americans to them. When the 2004 election occurred, it got really annoying to hear someone tell you that you voted incorrectly. At least Paul Martin went out with grace, unlike Al Gore or John Kerry. I hope the US and Canadian governments can work to solve a lot of common problems and find solutions that benefit both our nations.

Next, The Irish Government maintains its current definition of marriage after a multi-party discussion on whether or not to expand it to include unmarried and same-sex couples. If Ireland did allow marriage rights for same-sex couples I can see the Irish government doing so less as an attack on the Catholic Church and more as a way to show that they're just as progressive as other non-religious nations. The only way I can really see allowing same-sex marriage in a nation is if it's done in a way to not require recognition by religious groups. What I found odd was a militant party like Sinn Fein, long known in the US media as "the political arm of the Irish Republican Army" wanting to expand the definition of family. It strikes me as a little odd.

Wrapping up our look at the world, Pope Benedict XVI talks about love in his first Encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" ("God is Love"). Europe is full of surprises today as the Holy Father talks about the place of Eros, or physical love, in a relationship that follows Catholic moral requirements. There will also be discussion about compairing Eros with the "physical degradation" that he says passes for love these days. I will have to admit, this seems kind of weird to me, but this may be the most objective treatise on love and sex in the Catholic home ever published. This is Pope Benedict's first encyclical of his reign. Our German priest has a huge act to follow in John Paul II. I hope he's up to the task.

Nationally, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved sending Samuel Alito's nomination to the main chamber for a vote by the full Senate. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says he's voting no. So, Dick, is this because of your non-Catholic stance on abortion? Smart money says that's Durbin's hang-up on a "yes" vote. And to think this guy used to go to my old parish in Springfield. If my old pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Father Cassidy, were alive today he'd grab Durbin by the ear and take him to his office for a good verbal thrashing. I can also see Father Chester Fabisiak, God rest his soul, debating Durbin on the issue of abortion as well. Father Chester was another priest in our church, a Polish Jesuit who survived the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp. I think he'd know a thing or two about issues of life and choice.

And in the state, Governor Rod "Ol' Blaggie" Blagojevich wanted to add keno to gambling establishments supposedly to provide school funding. Let's see: Keno is a game where you pick numbers 1 to 64 on a ticket, and the more numbers you get, the better your chances of winning some part of the prize. The Illinois Lottery has games where you pick from multiple numbers on a ticket and the more numbers you get, the better chance of your winning some part of the prize. In other news, the director of the Illinois Department of Redundancy Department of Illinois said he felt useful, as if he had a use in the state government. We already have enough gambling in Illinois, Governor, let's now try shrinking the state government and bringing in more non-government jobs to build revenue. You know, with all of these soon-to-be-unemployed skilled auto workers in Illinois, maybe you could try getting another car manufacturer to build or take over plants in the state? Where Ford goes, Hyundai or Toyota or Honda might have an opportunity.

An interesting business thing I heard on the radio today: SuperValu stores bought Albertson's, the parent company of Chicago grocery institution Jewel-Osco. The numerous freestanding Osco Drug stores are going to be switching names to SuperValu's CVS Pharmacy. I'm sure the Walgreen's board of directors in Deerfield is going bonkers over this decision. SuperValu is selling off its Cub Foods stores so as not to create any kind of monopoly situation. Hey Walgreens bosses: buy the Cub Foods Stores and play SuperValu's game. It couldn't hurt to diversify a little more.

Well, that's it from here. Have a good week, all.

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