The Falklands: Not This Again!

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner knows how to choose a sore subject:

"The sovereign claim to the Malvinas Islands is inalienable," she said in a speech marking the 26th anniversary of Argentina’s ill-fated invasion of the islands, located 480 kilometers (300 miles) off shore.

The April 2, 1982 invasion prompted then British prime minister Margaret Thatcher to deploy naval forces to retake the Falklands, known as the Malvinas in Spanish.

The short, bloody conflict led to Argentina’s surrender on June 14, 1982 after the death of 649 Argentines and 255 Britons.

Historians saw the invasion as an attempt by Argentina’s ruling military junta, which was then in power, to divert attention away from domestic problems.

The last point is important: Bill Clinton used the Kosovo invasion to "wag the dog" and deflect from his troubles with Monica Lewinsky.  Looks like she’s reading the same playbook that Clinton and then Argentine dictator Leopoldo Galtieri used:

The comments came as Kirchner faces her own woes, battling against farmers who have barricaded roads in a protest against a stiff tax hike on soybean exports.

Choose Life

This week’s podcast takes us to inner city Chicago, where Peter Scholtes put together one of the most interesting (if not the most polished) productions of early post-Vatican II Catholic Music.  The song featured is Choose Life, with a decidedly "African" sound.

It comes from the album They’ll Know We are Christians By Our Love, the title track of which is, IMHO, the theme song for the "Contract on the Episcopalians."  That notwithstanding, you can tell that Scholtes and his inner city congregation had a lot of fun with this album, inclusing the "Missa Bossa Nova," which I remember using in college.

The rest of this album is at The Ancient Star-Song.

It Does Matter Where You Go to College

Bowdoin’s admissions director hasn’t figured out what’s really happening out there:

“I know why it matters so much, and I also don’t understand why it matters so much,” said William M. Shain, dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin. “Where we went to college does not set us up for success or keep us away from it.”

But that’s not the country we live in any more, at least from a political and governmental standpoint.  Let me repeat this, from a post in early 2007:

The 2008 Presidential campaign has been underway since 2004, but only now has the list of candiates begun to congeal.  So how to winnow things down?  We’ve griped about the fact that Ronald Reagan was the last President that wasn’t a product of an Ivy League school, either as an undergraduate, a graduate, or both.  So it makes sense that candidates that are have a significant advantage.  Let’s see who these might be.

The Republicans start off at a disadvantage; of the major candidates, only Mitt Romney fits the bill (as one would expect a Governor of Massachusetts to.)  Although we have grave reservations about nominating him, doing otherwise will put the party at a handicap. That includes a “ring knocker” like John McCain.

The Democrats are in a better position with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Kerry.  (So much for the “Breck Girl!”)

We need to ask why, in a country as diverse as ours it, this is so.  We believe there are two reasons for this.

The first is that the selective admission process–bolstered by the long line of people to get in–will inevitably include a disproportionate portion of high-achieving people.

The second is that the Ivy League presents to its students–especially those in law and business–a view of the world that is decidedly closed and orderly, and on top of that gives them a chance to view that world from a high perch.  Reprojecting this to the American people is actually comforting to the latter, especially with the daily uncertainties they face.

The problem with this is that the U.S.’ main power challengers–the Muslim Arabs, a “closed circle” of their own–are people who play by an entirely different set of rules.  The Cold War, a relatively set-piece business, for the most part could be managed by people with an Ivy League mentality.  This one can’t, which is why we’re stuck with two unworkable alternatives to solve our problem in Iraq and no Plan C.

Electing Ivy Leaguers is like eating “comfort food:” it tastes good and fills us up, but our health goes downhill all the same.

The Breck Girl is gone, as is Mitt Romney.

In the construction industry, we say about bidding, “When you seal the envelope, you seal the verdict.”  That’s the way it is with college admissions, and not just for the applicant, but for everyone.

It’s scary to think we live in a country where college admission personnel and committees in effect determine the future of the nation, but that’s where we’re at.

Why People Shouldn’t Become Orthodox

Every now and then, I get inquires (especially from Anglicans) on whether they should become Orthodox.  My usual response is to refer them to this, the Life of the Archpriest Avvakum by Himself.

I’ve missed it on this one: the Mystificator from Romania has 275 reasons why one shouldn’t become Orthodox.

The remaining time, amounting to about seven months, is, obviously, comprised of such insignificant little time-units we call weeks … which weeks consist, obviously, of seven days, out of which two are Fast-Days: Wednesdays and Fridays; and two are Feast-Days: Saturdays and Sundays … which leads to more than half of this remaining time-frame being forbidden to the two spouses for fulfilling each their respective duties towards each-other. (emphasis mine)

So, in conclusion, a little math: 12-5 = 7; 3/7 * 7 = 3; 3*30 = 90; 365-90 = 275. Hence, also, the name of this article.

My church has a large presence in Romania, and I always wondered why.  Now I know.

This is the mirror image of the problem described here.