08 November 2009

Sunday Morning Bustello

Sure, it costs six dollars, but the Sunday Times is still the best deal in town.

It seems the Yankees only win the World Series when Democrats are presidents. 

Thomas Friedman once again seems to be the only person who possess something close to a clue when it comes to the Middle East:

If we are still begging Israel to stop building settlements, which is so manifestly idiotic, and the Palestinians to come to negotiations, which is so manifestly in their interest, and the Saudis to just give Israel a wink, which is so manifestly pathetic, we are in the wrong place. It’s time to call a halt to this dysfunctional “peace process,” which is only damaging the Obama team’s credibility.

If the status quo is this tolerable for the parties, then I say, let them enjoy it. I just don’t want to subsidize it or anesthetize it anymore. We need to fix America. If and when they get serious, they’ll find us. And when they do, we should put a detailed U.S. plan for a two-state solution, with borders, on the table. Let’s fight about something big.
Read Friedman's take in its entirety here.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has, at the very least, gotten the Grey Lady's attention.
An interesting read, it seems.

And another.  This one from Barbara Ehrenreich.  A snippet from the review:

This mystical positivity seeped into the American megachurches, as celebrity pastors became motivational speakers in robes. In one of the great untold stories of American religion, the proto-Calvinist Christian right — with its emphasis on sin and self-discipline — has lately been replaced by a stitched-together faith known as “prosperity gospel,” which holds that God wants believers to be rich. In my favorite scene of the book, Ehrenreich pays a visit to Joel and Victoria Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, now the nation’s largest church. She arrives a week after a court has dismissed charges against Victoria, accused of assaulting a flight attendant who failed to deal promptly with a stain on her first-class airplane seat on the way to Vail. One would think, Ehrenreich suggests, that the largely working-class, multiracial crowd might sympathize with the working stiff on the plane who happened to be African-American. But no, Joel is shown dabbing his eyes on the video screen, and Victoria crows about the “banner of victory over my head” as the crowd cheers.

“Where is the Christianity in all of this?” Ehrenreich asks. “Where is the demand for humility and sacrificial love for others? Where in particular is the Jesus who said, ‘If a man sue you at law and take your coat, let him have your cloak also?’ ” Ehren­reich is right, of course, in her theological critique. But she misses a chance to dig deeper. I have spent some time in prosperity churches, and as Milmon F. Harrison points out in “Righteous Riches,” his study of one such church, this brand of faith cannot be explained away as manipulation by greedy, thieving preachers. Millions of Americans — not just C.E.O.’s and megapastors but middle-class and even poor people — feel truly empowered by the notion that through the strength of their own minds alone they can change their circumstances. This may be delusional and infuriating. But it is also a kind of radical self-reliance that is deeply and unchangeably American.


Anonymous said...

"we should put a detailed U.S. plan for a two-state solution, with borders, on the table"...wasn't this done already? How about the Bush administration's "Road Map to Peace"?

Chris J

mtjofmcap said...

Point well-taken.

Friedman's point, I think, points to an American disengagement from the situation. In other words, he believes it's currently counterproductive to attempt to bring two petulant parties to negotiation. American Presidents have become nothing more than photo opportunities.

I tend to agree.

Anonymous said...

It may be quixotic, but i stll think peace is possible there, but unfortunately there are groups on both sides that don't seem to want peace. i certainly can understand his point, but with the implications of this conflict reaching globally, i'm not sure we can afford not to try.

chris j