America needs its daily newspapers

It is an American tradition to start the morning with a cup of coffee and the daily newspaper. What is happening to our country’s way of life?

In many of our major cities newspapers are folding up, and with their demise an American custom is disappearing.

Some argue that because of the Internet future generations will not miss the daily newspaper. Others argue we are in a new age, and as with all new ages, customs move on.

But there is reason to be concerned about the disappearance of the daily newspaper. A newspaper is more than paper, print and stories. It is a community of reporters, journalists and thinkers.

You might call a reporter a researcher too. Journalists are forever looking up facts and figures, conducting spot checks and examining material that pertains to their stories.

As a columnist, I can’t count all the times my editor called me to check the correctness of information in my column. Nor can I count the times we would go back over an issue to clarify it better.

Tough times: opportunities for growth

Think about many families, many homes within many subdivisions. Likely there are two or three newer model cars in the driveway. There is probably some combination of a country club membership, name brand athletic equipment and workouts at an elaborate fitness facility. Children play on numerous teams and take private lessons to improve their talents.

Multiple computers, digital cameras, iPods and a full complement of cable channels are necessities. Then there are high school and college tuition, annual vacations, home renovation and 401K contributions. Somehow spurred on by credit cards, house appreciation/refinancing and a steadily advancing stock market, we thrived in this environment for more than two decades.

Through all of this, we found our religious comfort zone. Our children were baptized and were raised Catholic. We contributed to the Church without real sacrifice. Our practice of the faith was somewhere above the mandatory minimum but far short of the zealousness asked for by Christ.

Now suddenly the music has stopped. What started as the bursting of a West, East and Gulf Coast housing bubble has spread nationwide and been followed by a national and, in fact, global financial crisis of unequalled magnitude. I used to wonder why our life was one of steadily improving living standards. Now I know I confused years of relative ease with a continued life of prosperity.

The bottom line is we have no idea what the next year will bring. Maybe international leaders will save a teetering global economic community without immense suffering. Regardless, we are in for an extended recession and, at best, only a very gradual return to personal financial well-being. There will be no tide of good times to raise all boats. There will be hardship on the long road to recovery.

Morals shifting from sex to food

George F. Will calls Mary Eberstadt "intimidatingly intelligent." George must be easily intimidated these days, because Mary is one of the nicest (and funniest) people I know.

She’s also our premier analyst of American cultural foibles and follies, with a keen eye for oddities that illuminate just how strange the country’s moral culture has become.

In mid-2008, Mary penned the "The Vindication of Humanae Vitae," the best defense of the encyclical written on its 40th anniversary. (You can read it at

Now, in Policy Review, she’s written "Is Food the New Sex?" a brilliant dissection of culinary puritanism and bedroom libertinism that includes the greatest subhead in recent magazine history: "Broccoli, Pornography and Kant." But don’t let the invocation of the Sage of Koenigsberg put you off your feed, so to speak; the article is quite accessible to those who last encountered The Critique of Pure Reason via Cliff Notes.

Mary Eberstadt’s argument is neatly conveyed by her fictitious, but telling, tale of two women. Betty is 30-year-old Jennifer’s grandmother.

Syndicate content