Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Libraries at the Crossroads

John B. Horrigan reports on a recent survey at the Pew Research Center.
"even as the public expresses interest in additional library services, there are signs that the share of Americans visiting libraries has edged downward over the past three years, although it is too soon to know whether or not this is a trend."

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Francis effect

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Speedrail wreck of September 2, 1950

Jack Butterworth's son posted his father's home movies about the accident that spelled the end of rail rapid transit in Milwaukee, the head-on collision of two special trains of attendees at the 15th annual National Model Railroad Association convention.

Joe Russ posted his article on the wreck, with links to other website's photos of the wreck and of Speedrail, and to the video.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Raising the Wrecktory

"And, we should remember, Milwaukee is at odds with the vast majority of dioceses around the globe. In almost all places in the world, priests still live in rectories. The twenty year period of priests moving out of rectories in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is more likely an historical aberration than a trend for the future."
Our now-Pastor Fr. Aaron Esch so wrote in his column in last Sunday's bulletin (page 2) to answer another of the 'Rectory/Outreach Building—Frequently Asked Questions'.

Seems reasonable, considering this from the Code of Canon Law.

"Can. 533 §1. A pastor is obliged to reside in a rectory near the church. Nevertheless, in particular cases and if there is a just cause, the local ordinary can permit him to reside elsewhere, especially in a house shared by several presbyters, provided that the performance of parochial functions is properly and suitably provided for."
That was not how closing the Rectory came about at St. Alphonsus, see The once and future Rectory?

So how has the proposal to return to the Rectory as priests' residence been received?

The 'Rectory/Outreach Building Survey Results' in the July 19, 2015 parish bulletin(page 2) say that out of 410 respondents given five options, 343 (83.66%) favored "renovate existing building".

The 'Rectory/Outreach Building Survey Results' in the July 26, 2015 parish bulletin (page 2) say respondents supported "a capital campaign for debt reduction and renovation of the rectory" 406 to 42.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Would WFB Do?

James Taranto on 'Robert Welch, Donald Trump and the urge to purge', yesterday in Best of the Web at The Wall Street Journal, which links to William F. Buckley's essay "The Question of Robert Welch" (National Review, February 13, 1962, p. 83).

Sunday, August 9, 2015

An alternative to consensus?

Adam Bryant interviewed Kevin E. Lofton, C.E.O. of Catholic Health Initiatives, a Colorado-based health system, in the Corner Office feature at The New York Times.
"What’s unusual about the culture of your current company?

"In our senior management meetings, we appoint a designated devil’s advocate, as we call it. So if we’re discussing a critical issue, we’ll appoint someone — and the role rotates — to be the devil’s advocate, no matter what their personal point of view is. That helps you avoid groupthink."

In case it's needed, here's some background on that term at Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

I'm glad you asked that question

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Akhmatova on Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani as recalled by Anna Akhmatova, Bol’shevo 1958-Moscow 1964, translated by Djemma Bider, at The New York Review of Books

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A plaque on both your houses

That was the title of a notice for Beth Schuler's 50% off ceramics sale, in the Sales and Bargains column, by Emily Fischer, at New York magazine.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Law seeks answers on high school grads who need remedial classes

Alan J. Borsuk with some commentary on recently passed 2015 Wisconsin Act 28, at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What is the scope of the problem?

"In December 2013, UW officials released a report that showed that almost a quarter of students systemwide were required to take remedial courses. About 20% were assigned to math remediation and a bit under 10% to English remediation (the numbers overlap because some need both).

"The math figure was at 20% in 1990, but it trended down to about 10% by 2000 before heading back up to the one-in-five mark by 2007. It stayed there in following years.

"At some campuses, and for graduates of some high schools, the remedial percentage is surely lower. And for some it is much higher. The 2013 report showed the remedial rate at UW-Madison was less than 1%. For UW-Milwaukee, it was almost 37% and for UW-Parkside, it was over 65%."

A parent had asked State Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) how a kid can graduate in good standing from a Wisconsin high school yet need remedial classes upon entering the state university.
"Jagler has an additional question: How come so little is known about this? UW officials have compiled reports on remediation, and they have detailed their work dealing with it. But the issue gets little attention, the data is not widely known and results haven't improved much."
One might think this would get the attention of administration and faculty in UW Schools of Education. If they're teaching people to teach, why do so many kids need remediation? And if they're not teaching people to teach, do they have a plan to improve?
"Jagler became the lead sponsor of a little-noted bill that was approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed a few days ago by Gov. Scott Walker that calls for UW administrators to determine which public high schools (including charter schools, but not private schools) send into the UW system more than six graduates in any given year who need remedial math and/or English."
(I would have looked at putting this in terms of percentages of a high school's graduating class and its accepted students.)
"The new law calls for UW to send a report on what schools make that list to appropriate legislative committees and to the state superintendent of public instruction. (Department of Public Instruction officials asked during the legislative process to be included in the law since they, too, wanted to see the list.)"
Better late than never.
"Over the last several years, many schools altered their goals to say they wanted to get students ready not only to get into college but to succeed in college."
That the former did not mean the latter comes as a surprise.

Monday, July 13, 2015

'In 2005'?

John L. Allen Jr. at Crux
"In 2005, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina wrote a foreword to a book [Una apuesta por America Latina (A Commitment to Latin America)] by a Vatican official from Uruguay named Guzmán Carriquiry, in which the future pontiff argued that Latin America has a pivotal role to play in the major ideological battles of the early 21st century.

"Drawing on Argentina’s Peronist heritage, Bergoglio said that Latin America can lead the way towards a 'third position' between Communism and free-market capitalism."

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

‘Everyman’ coming to theaters

Michael Gorra at NYR Events,
"It’s running in London at the National Theatre, but this summer it will also be simulcast to movie houses in the United States: the late medieval miracle play Everyman, updated by Carol Ann Duffy, directed by Rufus Norris, and with Chiwetel Ejifor in the title role. Or in other words, playing us. The staging looks at once minimalist, and wild, Fellini crossed with Wilson. July 16;

"Rebroadcasts vary from theater to theater. For more information, visit ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Six Flags Adds Sleeper Cars To Its Roller Coasters For Passengers Who Prefer More Restful Ride

Reported at The Onion.

On the other hand, wouldn't it actually make sense to replace the old-timey perimeter railroad with steam engine, like the Scenic Railway at Six Flags Great America, with a roller coaster along the lines Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Journal Sentinel responsive, but less so than Rip Van Winkle

"The Milwaukee Journal retired the Green Sheet in 1994. Readers have been calling for its return ever since.

"You talked. We listened! The Green Sheet is coming back on Monday, May 25th!"

So says a full page ad, on white newsprint but with green background, on the back page of section A of today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Here's the Green Sheet's Wikipedia entry.)

There was also an article attempting to explain the revival.

"'Our readers have never stopped asking us to bring the Green Sheet back, even after 21 years,' said Journal Sentinel Editor George Stanley. 'Many readers, including some in their 30s, told us they learned to read through the Green Sheet; they wrestled their brothers and sisters over it; their parents read it with them before they could read on their own. Many also missed the lighter side of daily life the Green Sheet offered.'"
So why was it dropped? My impression is the editors regarded the Green Sheet as too provincial, too Milwaukee in a Laverne and Shirley sense. I suspect they'd also hear this from staff and subscribers who had moved here from elsewhere. All the Green Sheet had going for it was that it was popular with subscribers and readers who grew up with it, which wasn't enough since the paper regarded them as too Milwaukee, as well. [Update: see my earlier post on GS editor Wade Mosby.]