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Getting older, feeling mellow, feeling good.

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Americans 65 and older are among the most content in the nation and, in large part, this is the result of a government-run health care system.

Yes, that system is called Medicare. It has proven effective and it has shown that our government can improve the quality of U.S. health care. It already has!

This is worthwhile remembering when all those private insurance companies came at you, trying to bamboozle you into thinking that if the government gets its foot in the door U.S. health care quality will fall.

UN offers deposed president a platform

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General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann sat next to deposed Honduran President José Manuel Zelaya today as he spoke before the assembly and vowed to return to his country on Thursday, despite warnings that he could face arrest. But he said that a number of other leaders had offered to escort him, including D’Escoto, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador and the secretary general of the Organization of American States.

The average day of a parish priest

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I just read an article at the CNS blog about what the average day of a parish priest looks like and how that does, or does not, comport with the sketch provided by the Holy Father in his sermon opening the "Year of the Priesthood" or with a typical day in the life of the Cure d’Ars. The article shows a priest who loves his people, is actively engaged in their lives, and who discovers Christ in his daily work. "The challenge is to remember that 'God is in the interruptions' and that a priest, like Christ, must always be kind," Fr. Kenneth Doyle writes, articulating a beautiful insight into what we might call the spirituality of the quotidian.

Ponzi schemes threaten charities with more than lost investments

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This is an important article for any charity, large or small, Catholic or not. Here is an excerpt:

"With last year's collapse of perhaps the largest Ponzi scheme in history, Bernard Madoff's, many people, including charities, became aware that trustees or receivers of failed companies can bring lawsuits to "claw back" distributions of fictitious profits to help offset losses by other investors.

Don't look back

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"Don't look back." Gen 19:17

Baseball legend Satchel Paige probably didn't know he was quoting scripture when he offered this famous tip for staying young: "Don't look back, something might be gaining on you." But he lived the truth of it by outrunning and outliving the long shadow of racism in American sports. Regarded by Joe Dimaggio as the best and fastest pitcher he had ever faced, Paige was welcomed into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.

In today's Lectionary reading from Genesis, Lot's wife failed to follow Paige's advice and was turned into a pillar of salt. Avoiding salt might have been another of Paige's tips for staying young, as anyone on blood pressure medication knows. He did warn people off red meat, which, he said, "angrys up the blood."

'Digging in our heels' against Obama won't work, New Orleans archbishop says

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Rome

Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who will formally be installed as the new shepherd of New Orleans on August 20, has long been considered a rising star within the U.S. bishops’ conference, and a leader of what might loosely be called its “moderate” wing.

Aymond was in Rome this week to receive the pallium, a band of woolen cloth symbolizing the duties of his office and his bond with the pope. On Tuesday, he sat down at the North American College for an interview. Highlights include his reflections on lessons learned from the sexual abuse crisis, including a strong defense of the “zero tolerance” policy but some ambivalence about disclosure of sensitive documents, and his non-confrontational approach to the Obama administration.

The full text of the interview is here Interview with Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans

Obama hasn't chosen a church

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Contrary to reports yesterday, this is on the Religion News Service wire:

White House denies report that Obama won't pick D.C. church

WASHINGTON (RNS) -- The White House on Monday (June 29) denied a report that President Obama has decided to make the Camp David presidential retreat his church home.

"The President and First Family continue to look for a church home," a White House spokesman said Monday. "They have enjoyed worshipping at Camp David and several other congregations over the months, and will choose a church at the time that is best for their family."

Time magazine reported Monday that White House aides had said Obama opted for Camp David's Evergreen Chapel, a nondenominational church, so that he could worship more privately.

Bubbles

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Since his unexpected death late last week, a lot (probably too much) has been written about Michael Jackson – much of it focusing on “the bubble” in which he lived his life: sealed off from real human experience in a world of his own, a world where any number of unusual things were deemed quite normal.
There has been much wringing of media hands about this bubble, and society’s role in shaping and maintaining it for the troubled singer and pop culture phenomenon.

Are we to blame, commentators ask, for Jackson’s early demise?
The question is worth asking, if it compels us to re-examine our cultural obsessions and the damage they can do. But a bigger point may have gotten lost: we all live in our own bubbles. Michael Jackson’s was just much more public.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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