I first read of Archbishop Ncube’s adultery scandal with sadness: Yet another blemish on the Holy Mother Church, Who has in recent years endured so much at the hands of sexually deviant clerics. Now, I read it with a new sadness. Various parties in Zimbabwe assert that Ncube, who denies, wholeheartedly, the allegations against him, has fallen victim to tyrant Robert Mugabe and his thug “securicrats”.

For Ncube and the Church, this, obviously, is an ugly situation. He has lost a seat from which, so far as the author has discovered, he served his faithful well. Perhaps, though, more than Ncube, the country suffers from this tragic course of events. No longer speaking from his chair, Ncube, undoubtedly, loses some of the gravity with which he criticises the corruption of Mr Mugabe, whose responsibility for the downfall of the nation’s economy virtually no one can deny.

The people of Zimbabwe, whatever their religious stripe, have been denied a leader whom they desperately need. I suspect Ncube’s reinstatement to be quite unlikely, for various reasons. One hopes, nevertheless, that he continue to speak out until some nation or rogue individual grows courageous enough to assassinate or otherwise incapacitate

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Southern-fried Reagan enters race; I’ll stick with Texan cuisine

After what surely amounted to nothing less than complete anguish (Certainly, D.A. Arthur Branch proved to be a much better source of income.), former Tennessee senator/actor Fred Thompson has announced that he will, in fact, compete for the Republican nomination for the presidency, joining an already crowded field of dignified hacks looking to keep the Oval Office in the hands of the G.O.P., hoping they can ride on the coattails of Mr Bush.Mr Thompson’s decision disappoints for two reasons. First, his entrance only further pushes Mr Paul, the Constitutionalist Republican who represents the Fourteenth District of Texas, out of the limelight, thereby lessening the already unfathomable likelihood that he might receive any attention from the Fourth Estate. All of the internet polls and support groups in the world will not successfully spread his message to the general public, who might actually then realize that he, the (relatively) anti-Establishment candidate, is a worthy choice.

More frustrating, though, is that a city such as New York likely will see the return of a full-term district attorney who fails to realize the unfortunate natures of both Roe v. Wade and the designated hitter.

No sarcasm here

The world has lost a great performer, a high-culture standout in an increasingly low-brow world. Rest in peace, Mr Pavarotti.

GM enjoys sales growth; we’re still pretty trucked, though.

A bit of good news comes out of Motor City (No, the Tigers will not catch the Indians.), as General Motors reports increased August sales, relative to the period in 2006. Whether this indicates an upswing in the market, or simply a one-time aberration, remains to be seen, but surely it brings some comfort, even if only fleeting, to autoworkers and stockholders of the company.

Less certain is whether or not this news really is good for the United States, the world even. GM credits sales in trucks and SUVs for the increase; even with continued fuel efficiency and cleanliness improvements, this still threatens us environmentally, as well as economically. One needn’t be a Kunstler-esque doomsday prophet to understand that something must change with regard to our consumption of fossil fuels.

Success in Detroit should concern us beyond these issues. As Peter Griffin notes to his biological father whilst they compete in the game of drink, obesity is one of our greatest health care issues. We must be careful not to place all of the blame on any one source, as many come into play, but our obsession with the car, and the subsequent auto-centric urban design that we have employed over the last half-century, unquestionably has led to the great American paunch. (I could say plenty more about urban design, architecture, and planning here, but would inevitably find myself on a never-ending tangent, and as such will reserve such commentary for numerous forthcoming posts.)

Economic upswings are always nice to see, at least in the short term, particularly when they occur in sectors that still occasionally provide good jobs. We should, nevertheless, be vigilant and willing to question the long-term benefits of strengthened growth in Detroit.

I won’t Mattel if you won’t.

For the third time in a month, Mattel announces a sizable recall of many of its fine, handcrafted children’s toys, most, if not all, of which provide endless hours of meaningful, educational entertainment to children across the country, and world, except, I assume, the children responsible for making them, who, more industrious than their toy-loving American counterparts, already climb up the ladder to success.

The most recent problem has prompted the call for an inspection of all toys that China exports to the States. Aside from being, I have to imagine, astronomically (not literally, of course) costly, either to the financially struggling toy and shipping companies, or, more likely, to the American taxpayer, such a notion smacks of immoral, highly unnecessary statist interference with the same free-market mechanism that has created so many jobs, and a freer country, for hundreds of millions of Chinese factory workers. They’ll suffer first should the American government intervene here, and then so, too, will American children who stand to grow so much intellectually and emotionally from Barbie’s breasts and Sarge of Cars (I’d prefer Mr Ocasek, personally.) fame.

Perhaps, rather than costly inspections, someone ought call for a reevaluation of our not-materialist-enough economic system, and the slavishly educational means by which we allow our children to play.

Tree-hugging treason from Peter’s Chair

On Saturday, 1 September, His Holiness Pope Benedict betrayed conservative followers everywhere, declaring the next day to be “Save Creation Day”

Benedict touched on issue of  decaying family values, and lamented the “failure of love”, encouraging the crowd on hand that they can, nevertheless, overcome these pitfalls of the modern era and, in fact, make marriage succeed.

However, for most of his talk he strayed from core values, speaking of the importance of preserving the environment, even going so far as to have passed to all in attendance recycled-plastic knapsacks containing sundry environmentally friendly items. 

We find some relief, though, in his free-market approach to some of this liberalism: He is paying for a forestry project in order to offset the Vatican’s carbon emissions, following in his predecessor’s footsteps by showing through actions that neither the free market nor statism alone holds the answers to the worlds problems, be they legitimate or environmental.

The conservative American Catholic must now wait to see if his political leaders, particularly Sen. Brownback, who runs for president presently, will follow in the Holy Father’s footsteps, or will hold on to their orthodoxy.