Real money: By one estimate, the war in Iraq may eventually cost the United States $2 trillion. Which raises the question: how else could we have used this money? According to Nicholas D. Kristof (New York Times, October 24), it is four times the amount of money needed to stabilize the Social Security system for the next 75 years, and it is four times the amount needed to provide health care insurance for all uninsured Americans for the next decade. Every minute we stay in Iraq costs another $380,000.
Gotcha—take one: When member of Congress Lynn Westmoreland (R., Ga.), who cosponsored a bill to display the Ten Commandments in the U.S. Capitol, appeared on The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert asked him to name all ten. Caught off guard, Westmoreland had trouble naming three (Chicago Tribune, October 22; interview appears at youtube.com).
First Pluto, now limbo: The Catholic concept of limbo is about to be put out of business. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to disavow the place where unbaptized babies and those who lived before the time of Christ were thought to live for all eternity—on the limbus of heaven; that is, on its border, according to speculation by St. Augustine (Philadelphia Inquirer, October 6).
Take this to court: People who think the Ten Commandments should be displayed in public places have a new option: having them tattooed on their arms or other visible places on their bodies. Check out the religious tattoos at www.religioustattoos.net.
Knit together: Jacqueline Novogratz tells the story of a favorite sweater that she wore for years. When she was 12 she finally donated the sweater to Goodwill. Then, 12 years later, she was jogging in Rwanda and saw a small boy wearing a sweater. She ran up to him and took a look at the collar: her name was on it! For Novogratz, the experience confirmed the interconnectedness of the human family (Atlantic Monthly, October).