Some calls in politics are tough. Should the President pursue a stripped down version of health care reform or move on to something else? Should we continue the fight in Afghanistan with more troops or scale back our commitment in the face of frustratingly small results?
Some calls are not tough and one of those is whether or not America should loosen its immigration procedures to allow more Haitians to come here. Yes, we should. In the short term, fewer mouths to feed and fewer souls to provide shelter for will make it easier to take care of those who remain. Haitians who have relatives in America would have a home to welcome them and a family to help them so we are not transferring a refugee crisis from their shores to ours.
In the long term, Haitians will need to be repatriated, of course. The prognosis for rebuilding Haiti will not be improved by inviting some of its residents, especially those with skills and talents, to stay in America forever. Their skills and talents will be needed in Haiti. But, it will be a long time before teachers are more needed than construction workers on that island.
From time to time over the next few months I’ll be posting here the stories of some of the guests who visit us at the Holy Family Catholic Worker House in Kansas City, Mo. Many of these friends have little in the way of possessions or worldly success, but each has a unique story to share. And each of these stories shows an endurance of spirit which is simply incredible - and certainly worth considering at length.
The names of each guest will be changed to protect privacy. Certain personal details will also be edited slightly.
Ronnie walks through the door slowly. As he crosses the threshold a smile lights up his overly-freckled face. He ambles toward the middle room of the house, looking for the person selling bus tickets at half price. Finding her, he reaches into the torn pockets of his slightly soiled khakis and fingers two quarters and six pennies.
“Let somebody else who can’t afford bus passes today use these,” he says as he hands the coins over.
Wallis suggests to Stewart that bank executives send their massive bonuses to Haiti. In the book, he argues that the solution to the economic crisis is for Americans to regain their moral compass, especially around issues of consumption and consumerism.
He's a strong moral voice worth listening to--and reading.
Mark Twain wrote that his masterpiece Huckleberry Finn was a hymn set down in prose to give it a more worldly air. Besides being a wonderfully entertaining tale of a boy's odyssey down the Mississippi River in the pre-Civil War era in America, the book is also an illumination, a wise vision with a depth and mysteriousness that adds greatly to its appeal.
A few pages into the story and we realize we're in the middle of masterfully interwoven texture of character and event. Taken as a whole the book is like a hymn -- a celebration of life's comedy and tragedy and of the natural world. It easily infects us with reserves of enthusiasm.
No one fails so pitifully to live up to the expectations of respectable society as Huck Finn. Yet there beats within him a heart filled with compassion. Huck sends help back to two would-be murderers who are stranded on a wrecked steamboat. He feels pity for two swindlers who have been caught and punished by an outraged town. His love for his companion on the river, Jim, knows no bounds.
The Burmese junta is hinting that Aung San Suu Kyi will be released from house arrest in November and Tin Oo, the vice chairman of Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy, could be released in February.
Tin Oo is 82 and has been in prison or under house arrest for more than a decade. Suu Kyi has been detained for 14 of the past 20 years.
The junta has an election scheduled for this year, though no date is set. It needs participation from the National League of Democracy to lend the election a semblance of legitimacy.
The Financial Times of London has released its 12th annual ranking of business schools in Europe and the United States. To be eligible, the schools must be part of an accredited university, with full-time Masters of Business Administration degrees.
The London Business School is ranked No. 1. On the Catholic front, Georgetown University comes in No. 38, Boston College No. 47, Notre Dame No. 71, and University College Dublin No. 98.
Here's one for college age students looking for some great work experience:
Pax Christi USA has announced in a press release that they are accepting interns at their Washington, DC office for a new year-long program.
The organization, which calls itself 'the national Catholic peace movement,' is looking for college-age students who will help with outreach to students and young adults.
“Interns will work out of our D.C. office, but their presence will go well beyond that,” said Dave Robinson, executive director of the organization, in the press release. “They also are living in community, overseeing Pax Christi USA’s internship house, and offering hospitality and communal witness as part of the program.”
If you're interested, it's definitely worth a look. Click here for the full release and contact info.
Here's something to look into:
These are questions that will be seeded Jan. 28-31 at the 29th annual Guelph Organics Conference (www.guelphorganicconf.ca), one of the largest such gatherings in North America. There, CEOs of multi-million-dollar organic food companies will share food and reflection with small-scale local organic farmers in a harvesting of concerns and ideas, as the organic food business, once perceived as a hippie-esque pastime for "granola-crunching" bohemians, has grown into a burgeoning multi-billion-dollar industry.
Last week I noted that the City of Springfield, Mass., unanimously voted to create an historic district thereby preventing the demolition of a beautiful church. The diocese then sued the city.
Now we have the same dynamic playing out in Cleveland, according to a story in today's Columbus Dispatch:
"The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland says it doesn't want the city to grant landmark status to its churches.
Cleveland's Landmarks Commission is recommending that six Catholic churches be designated as historical city landmarks, which would give them some protection against demolition or structural changes."
The diocese is considering closing four of the six churches because of a priest shortage. If they're declared historic they could be difficult to sell.