In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
I'm not a big fan of Adele's music, but this week I'm a huge fan of her as a human being. Bob Geldof was assembling a bunch of celebrities to relive that "Do They Know It's Christmas?" glory 30 years later, but for Ebola this time. Never mind that a lot of people in Europe and North America have gotten a little more self critical in recent decades about things like paternalism, white-savior complexes, and the fact that Africa isn't one big country of backward horribleness.
Last night, Congress came within a single senator's vote of passing legislation to authorize a major crude oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico that would pump more than 830,000 barrels of high-polluting tar sands oil a day and carry and emit 51 coal plants worth of CO2 (pdf)—despite the fact that U.S. oil demand is falling and, you know, the planet is burning up—in exchange for 35 whole permanent jobs. I'm sorry, I buried the lede: what I meant to say is that the runoff Senate race in Louisiana hasn't happened yet.
Last week while I was away, Tobin Grant linked to something interesting: new research, based on 40 years of General Social Surveys, that echoes Grant's own parsing of Pew's Religious Landscapes Survey.
One reason I haven't posted in a while is that my role as the Century's webmaster has sort of taken over my job in recent weeks, as we've made what ended up being a pretty bumpy server move. Another reason is that my train commute—aka "when editors actually write something"—has lately been dominated by the MA thesis I'm working on for my seminary degree.
I like Michael Gerson's writing, and sometimes I even agree with the things he says. This week he wrote a sensitive and heartfelt column about one of the houses in the DC-area L'Arche community—a place I feel some small connection to, as my wife was once part of a different house in the same community.