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Willie Pep

Willie Pep's Journal
Willie Pep's Journal
August 3, 2018

Death penalty declared inadmissable in the Catholic Catechism.

Mark Shea has two good blog posts on the recent changes to the language of the Catholic Catechism that declares the death penalty to be inadmissable. I am sure conservative Catholics will be freaking out over this.



August 3, 2018

More Americans are living in their vehicles due to lack of affordable housing.

I see this sometimes where I live in the Midwest but it looks like the problem is worse on the West Coast. My cousin just returned from Seattle and he said that he saw many people living out of their cars.

The number of people residing in campers and other vehicles surged 46 percent over the past year, a recent homeless census in Seattle's King County, Washington found. The problem is "exploding" in cities with expensive housing markets, including Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco, according to Governing magazine.

Full article: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-americans-are-living-in-their-vehicles-amid-high-housing-prices/
July 27, 2018

Downward mobility among the white-collar middle class

I thought this was an interesting article on the issue of downward mobility and increasing precariousness among white-collar Americans.


One thing I have to say, though, is that a lot of middle-class Americans were fine throwing poor and working-class Americans under the bus in the past when times were better for the white-collar middle class. I recall many of my white-collar friends and family members complaining about unions and saying that factory workers should have gotten an education in response to plant closings. There was little sympathy for poor and blue-collar Americans. Now that many of the same problems are starting to hurt more affluent Americans some of them are changing their tune although I still hear a lot of nasty comments whenever fast food workers or other low-wage workers try to organize or get a raise in the minimum wage.

I am all in favor of solidarity between all American workers but this should be a good political lesson. Never, ever punch down and never assume that you are untouchable because you will be next on the chopping block. After the powerful demolish those at the bottom the middle and upper-middle will be next.

July 24, 2018

9th Circuit rules that the 2nd Amendment protects open carry.

Interesting ruling today.

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the 2nd Amendment protects the right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Hawaiian officials had violated George Young's rights when he was denied a permit to openly carry a loaded gun in public to protect himself.

Full article: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-gun-carry-ruling-20180724-story.html#
July 23, 2018

"'People Are Literally Being Poisoned": How Sewage Problems in Alabama Got So Bad

This is pretty depressing coming from a wealthy country like the United States. Apparently sewage problems are not just confined to Alabama but exist in other states as well.

Alabama’s Lowndes County, which lies between Selma and Montgomery, has been coping with basic sewage problems for decades.

Most residents of this rural county, who are predominantly poor and black, live too far from cities to attach their homes to sewer systems. So they rely on septic tanks. But installing and maintaining those septic systems is difficult -- not only because they're so expensive but also because they have to be specially designed to work in the region's clay-rich soil.

As a result, many people who live in Lowndes County have open pits of human waste in their yards or raw sewage backing up into their homes after heavy rains. Neither the county nor the state seems to be in any position to help, and at times, they’ve arguably made things worse.

Full article: http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-alabama-hookworm-sewage.html
July 18, 2018

Critique of the Prosperity Gospel

La Civiltà Cattolica has published an interesting critique of the Prosperity Gospel.

The “prosperity gospel” is a well-known theological current emerging from the neo-Pentecostal evangelical movements. At its heart is the belief that God wants his followers to have a prosperous life, that is, to be rich, healthy and happy. This type of Christianity places the well-being of the believer at the center of prayer, and turns God the Creator into someone who makes the thoughts and desires of believers come true.

The risk of this form of religious anthropocentrism, which puts humans and their well-being at the center, is that it transforms God into a power at our service, the Church into a supermarket of faith, and religion into a utilitarian phenomenon that is eminently sensationalist and pragmatic.

The article focuses on the history of the Prosperity Gospel movement, its origins in the United States, its spread around the world and its relationship to a certain interpretation of the American Dream. Highly recommended reading in my opinion.


July 16, 2018

Why did Ronald Reagan switch from a Democrat to a Republican?

I have been reading a bit about Ronald Reagan and I was surprised to find out that he was a Democrat in his younger years. Reagan was a big supporter of FDR and the New Deal and was very pro-union. Regan was even president of the Screen Actors Guild. But Reagan would eventually become a Republican in 1962 and supported Barry Goldwater in 1964.

I have read all sorts of reasons for Reagan changing parties, everything from making more money and getting hit with higher marginal tax rates to his stint working as a spokesman for General Electric.

Why do you think Reagan changed parties and ideology?

June 8, 2018

Suicide rates up 30 percent since 1999 according to the CDC.

I am not sure if this has been posted yet but it seems significant in light of the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

According to the CDC suicide rates have increased 30 percent since 1999.


June 6, 2018

Was Jimmy Carter the most underrated president in history?

I thought this was an interesting article in the NYT. It is a review of a book about the Carter presidency by Stuart E. Eizenstat, Carter's White House domestic policy adviser. Eizenstat argues that Carter's presidency was more consequential than is typically thought.


I thought some DUers might find this interesting.

June 2, 2018

The Roseanne show without Roseanne? ABC is considering it.

It looks like ABC might be considering continuing Roseanne without Roseanne Barr.


I have to admit that I felt bad for the cast and crew when I heard that Roseanne was cancelled. It was unfortunate that other people had to lose work due to Barr's stupidity. Apparently there is talk of refocusing the show on the Darlene character.

Any thoughts? Would you watch a Roseanne spin-off without Barr?

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