Pope Benedict XVI Elected
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected to be the 465th Pope (but only the 463rd man to hold the job) today, the first German Pope in almost 1000 years. Benedict is said to be one of the most conservative cardinals, responsible for recent crackdowns on dissent within the Catholic Church as relates to womens' rights, abortion, sex, and so on. He was a former Hitler Youth as a child, but reports say he didn't enjoy it. It will be interesting to see what he does as Pope. He should probably have a good 10-15 years, as long as he stays healthy. People can surprise you, and sometimes it's the most unlikely people who can make the needed reforms. In 1865, who would have guessed it would have been the Democrats championing Civil Rights? In 1975, who would have guessed George W. Bush would be telling you to stay off drugs?
Jim Gilchrist is "Bored"
Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the "Minuteman" project to line the Mexico-Arizona border with volunteers to prevent illegal immigrants, has announced plans to leave Arizona early, probably tomorrow. Why? In his words, "We're bored to death." Sorry you find National Security so boring, Jim. I guess maybe the Border Patrol was doing something right, after all? I mean, anyone can come out for 2 weeks with tons of manpower and enthusiasm, but keeping an eye on the border for 81 years is a little tougher. Not all is lost, though. He's been invited to talk to Congress next week about immigration reform. Look for him to have a promising political career in the near future.
The odd thing he said is that he claimed to have accomplished in 10 days (how long Minutemen lasted) what lobbyists couldn't do in 10 years. Someone enlighten me what role lobbyists have in securing our border, first of all. Second, guarding the border is like holding back a proverbial dam. You never "finish" the job. You can't pull your finger out of the hole and walk away claiming "Mission Accomplished" as water pours out behind you. The second you walk away from that dam, you've failed, no matter how good of a job you did while you were there.
10-Year Anniversary of Oklahoma City Bombing
I just wanted to comment on something a coworker said today on the way to lunch (I work with the most inappropriate coworkers - they spew the most political and religious things at work - things that you'd think twice about before saying in front of friends and things that look more at home on a blog). Vice President Dick Cheney and former President Bill Clinton were in Oklahoma City to speak at the ceremonies. One coworker says, "I can't believe [Clinton] would dare show his face in Oklahoma since he didn't even try to find those responsible when he was President." What?? OK - I get it, you don't like Clinton. In fact, during the 2004 election, I would have sworn it was Clinton v. Bush by the way you talked. But wasn't the bomber Timothy McVeigh caught and executed? And Terry Nichols sentenced to life?
Church Expels Members for Disagreeing
In a little bit of local flavor, I thought I'd share this story - the Atlanta Unity Church in Dunwoody, GA revoked the membership of 8 congregants because they opposed church plans to demolish a 1920's era building. Their crime? They belong to a preservation group called "Save the Mansion". I generally favor conservation efforts - too much of our history is paved over to become shopping malls and subdivisions. And of course the church has the right to control its own membership without outside interference. But my opinion of this (as an outsider) is that the church is overreacting and is acting inappropriately (there's that word again). People join churches and synagogues for a place to pray, for a sense of community. They don't join, as far as I know, so someone else can tell them who to associate with. Thankfully the people in question aren't cowed by the church's act. They're saddened, but they're sticking to their guns. I guess this is just another story of "You're either with us or against us".