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The Totality Index: Notes from Our 2017 Eclipse Adventure

These are my observations of what, I believe, will live in our collective memories as one of the signature events for the summer of 2017: the travels of a large number of people to the path of totality for a solar eclipse. This path was visible over a large swath of the United States, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. My hope is that the eclipse will overshadow, in a happy fashion as respite, the political turmoil of early 2017. But only time will tell on that.

By way of preface, I am compelled to a confession: I wasn’t enthused about this “eclipse adventure.” This trip was entirely planned by my spouse. She first indicated an interest in the late summer of 2016, and took the initiative of finding a campsite, making reservations, and working to increase family enthusiasm. The last proved most difficult. Late summer scheduling and workflow complications (for me), for this year, made efforts to rouse our passion more tricky. And then it became apparent that we’d be camping during a heat advisory, with felt temperatures near 100 F due to humidity. The heat index would not be our friend. But we persisted. We loaded the camping gear and piled into the car anyway. It was the path of totality, or bust. Read more…


On Pragmatism and Democracy, Via A.J. Muste

Courtesy of Andrew Hartman, I’m reading Leilah Danielson’s American Gandhi. I’ll be contributing to a #USIH round table on the book in September. But I have a few preliminary observations: Read more…

MacIntyre, Dreher, and *After Virtue*

After many years of delay, I think I’m ready to read Alasdair MacIntyre’s *After Virtue*.

The only other work I’ve read by him is *Marxism and Christianity*. I found it interesting but somewhat underwhelming—not the kind of synthesis I craved. As an aside, I might be getting more of that synthesis in Leilah Danielson’s *American Gandhi*.

Returning to *After Virtue*, what sealed its addition to my the reading list was a review of Rod Dreher’s *The Benedict Option*. Read more…

Shabby Opportunism by the Archdiocese of Chicago

The Archdiocese of Chicago has inserted its voice into political discussions about education funding in Illinois. Cardinal Cupich has met with Gov. Bruce Rauner to discuss a new tax scholarship scheme that could support Archdiocesan schools (along with other religious schools). This helps Rauner in that it promotes “school choice”—a ploy, and play on words, used nearly everywhere to diminish public schools.

This is shabby opportunism and crisis exploitation by the Archdiocese. Read more…

Capitalism Doesn’t Care

Capitalism doesn’t care about your morals, ethics, elections, history, laws, culture, conspiracy, collusion, or your Constitution. All of that is a mere “soap opera” to the system’s managers. That system cares only about extraction of material and labor resources for the growth of its companies. On the last, in these times, it means funneling profits upwards to executives. Today capitalism means feeding the desires of the one percent. Everything else is window dressing. – TL

On Trump’s Partisan, Inappropriate Speech at the BSA National Jamboree

Speaking as an Eagle Scout and former scouting enthusiast, and as a dad with a son in Cub Scouts, these responses to parts of Trump’s speech at the BSA National Jamboree are despicable. If Donald Trump is now a role model for some segment of Scout leaders today, then it’s no longer the organization that helped me, as a youth, find better moral paths. Read more…

Reflections on the La Civiltà Cattolica Essay

This La Civiltà Cattolica essay is an important denunciation and refutation of American-style Evangelical Catholicism. I have three thoughts, or reactions, that I’m sorting out: Read more…