06 November 2009

Friday Bustello

Rest in peace, Tom O'Malley, SJ.

From one of his confreres:

At my sister’s graduation from Loyola Law School, he was waiting on the steps of the chapel at LMU before the baccalaureate mass, and approached the ushers. “How many of those people inside,” he asked, “do you think are Catholics?” Less than half, we guessed. “In that case,” he replied, “I will give my redneck sermon.” What’s that? we queried. “‘We welcome those of you not of the Roman communion, and we regret your exclusion from God’s grace’.”

When I told him once that I would be spending a month during the summer in Italy, he asked, “have you the Italian?” No, not a word of it, I replied. “No worry,” he said, “you have the Latin. Just get very, very drunk and speak in the ablative.”

One Sunday he was presiding at the LMU student liturgy, and his homily took a sudden geological detour into a long and detailed explanation of the many millennia of riverbed soil that had formed the bluffs of Westchester on which LMU was built. “In other words,” TPOM continued, “Ours is a house built on sand, pace the New Testament example.”

He once called me onto the carpet my senior year, when I was working on the student newspaper, for some criticism of his administration he considered unfair. “Profit by the words of Nietzsche, young James,” he said, “‘they vomit out their gall, and call it a newspaper.’”

Read the entire post from America here.
Read David Brooks today, please.  The opening punch:
Liberals and conservatives each have their own intellectual food chains. They have their own think tanks to provide arguments, politicians and pundits to amplify them, and news media outlets to deliver streams of prejudice-affirming stories.

Independents, who are the largest group in the electorate, don’t have any of this. They don’t have institutional affiliations. They don’t look to certain activist lobbies for guidance. There aren’t many commentators who come from an independent perspective.

Independents are herds of cats who find out what they think through a meandering process of discovery. Right now, independent voters are astonishingly volatile. Democrats did poorly in elections on Tuesday partly because of disappointed liberals who think that President Obama is moving too slowly, but mostly because of anxious suburban independents who think he is moving too fast. In Pennsylvania, there was an eight-point swing away from the Democrats among independents from a year ago. In New Jersey, there was a 12-point swing. In Virginia, there was a 13-point swing.

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