- Pat Buchanan and Sid Blumenthal - These articles and authors form a nice layout of several of the debates surrounding the Pope's death and the state of the Roman Catholic Church in America. I tend to agree more with Blumenthal in reminding that there was (and is) a great tradition of progressive thought in the American church, represented best by former Archbishop of Chicago Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. Cardinal Bernardin is gone in person and as a representative of these traditions of progress with deliberation. Buchanan seems to mourn the passing of a Catholic reality in America that will never exist again. American Catholics are not and will never be the same as they were in the 1950's. The face of the church is changing and the old guard cannot hold. In my estimation, American Catholics have trouble with defining who they are and where they stand in regards to the Vatican. The Vatican stonewalled the American Church for years...will it be any different now?
- Eleanor Clift in Newsweek/MSNBC - You want to see a Chief Justice that will make William Rhenquist look like a progressive? Wait for George Bush to appoint Antonin Scalia to the job, most likely later this year. I think Clift is a bit off in claiming that this dosen't change the lib/con balance (even Rhenquist could think independently on occasion). She is dead on that the real change will happen when these justices age and retire. That is our next chance for real change. Until then, hold on.
- Christopher Hitchens - An excellent requiem for Saul Bellow. Bellow captured all that makes urban life in America valuable and meaningful. Chicago, for him and many others, represent the real expression of urban life in 20th century America. Or at least it did. Chicago seems to be slowly changing to become another just someplace else. A lot of that character seems to be slipping. We need to read the works of Saul Bellow, Nelson Algren, Mike Royko and others and recapture that old spark.
- Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post - Kinsley is a real sap for that dog-and-pony show/tourist attraction that is the British royal family. A scion of an irrelevant monarchy marries an old lady. Big deal. Kinsley (and a lot of other Americans) get all moony-eyed over the mention of the romance and pagentry of the British royals (all invented in the 19th century, but who ever checks?) I guess they are hamstringed by a system that dosen't allow you to marry who you want, but so are people in other parts of the world who have much less money and power. If you must have a monarchy in this day and age, take the examples of the Spainsh or Dutch royal families. They are given a decent salary, knock around in old buildings and pose for coins and postage stamps while real people try and run things. They are an amusing side show not an international embarrassment. Check out this site about King Juan Carlos I and his family. They seem like nice people.