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Archive for March, 2012

For Palm Sunday

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Today is the last day of Lent; the Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic tradition does not consider Holy Week part of Great Lent, even though the fasting intensifies.

It was a strange Lent; the first three days were the hardest, then it became routine and passed quickly. And I must admit that as a great sensualist I have found some very savory vegan things to eat . Until this last week, that is. Suddenly food that I would not ordinarily eat- Big Macs, cheap Little Caesar’s pepperoni pizzas- sounded delicious.

Roman Catholics who announce that they “love Lent” crack me up. “Of course you love Lent,” I think, “You gave up freaking chocolate.”

 Not that Latin Catholics never practice austerity; my friend Maclin gave up coffee. I mean, really. I can do without meat, but I don’t like it. Abstaining from dairy? Even harder, but doable. Marital relations? Hardest of all, given my bride’s great beauty and sweetness. (And no, these are not matters of great asceticism).

  But coffee? No way.

 I stand in awe of Maclin’s asceticism.

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“It may not be the revolution’s dawn, but it’s certainly a glint in the darkness. On Monday, this country’s largest industrial labor union teamed up with the world’s largest worker-cooperative to present a plan that would put people to work in labor-driven enterprises that build worker power and communities, too.

Titled ‘ Sustainable Jobs, Sustainable Communities: The Union Co-op Model,’  the organizational proposal released at a press conference on March 26 in Pittsburgh, draws on the fifty-five year experience of the Basque-based Mondragon worker cooperatives. To quote the document:

‘In contrast to a Machiavellian economic system in which the ends justify any means, the union co-op model embraces the idea that both the ends and means are equally important, meaning that treating workers well and with dignity and sustaining communities are just as important as business growth and profitability.’

It might not sound like big news to members of their local food coop but it’s revolutionary stuff in the context of industrial production. The United Steelworkers represents some 1.2 million members; the average steel plant requires millions of dollars of investment, and there’s history here when it comes to worker ownership—some of it painful.”

More here and  here.

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March 29 (LAGER LAKE, WI)   Speaking before 5 supporters in an elementary school cafeteria in this small Wisconsin town, Newt Gingrich vowed to stay the course in his floundering presidential campaign. Despite dwindling finances and the laying off of half his staff, the former Speaker of the House declared his intention to “see this thing to the bloody end.” When a reporter asked if this was realistic, given his single digit numbers in the polls, Gingrich answered “Realistic? My friend, for a World Historical Figure, Reality has a different dimension than for mere mortals. Did Lincoln veer from his course when circumstances were daunting? Did Napoleon consult poll numbers? Did Churchill? No, my friend, I live in a different Reality. When you ask why I don’t bow out of the race, I can only cite Density. Er, Destiny.”

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Doing a Dylan song:

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“Today, Christians make up about a tenth of Syria’s 22 million people. Half of these two million souls belong to the Orthodox Church of the Patriarchate of Antioch, the preeminent Christian institution in the country. As many as 500,000 people belong to the Syriac Orthodox Church, and another 125,000 belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. Catholics number around 400,000 people and belong primarily to the Armenian and Melkite Greek Catholic churches.”

More here.

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Romney Gets Real

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney today announced that he is a regular guy. “I am not wearing suits any more because, gosh darn it, I am just more comfortable in blue jeans”, he said. “What’s more, I will wash them in the sink of my Motel 6 room.” Romney also said that he had gotten rid of his plush tour bus. “I bought a ’68 Rambler, and that is what I am going to use in my campaign travels. I just want to hit the open road and meet other regular Americans.”

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