Chart of the day

Via Wonkblog.  Time to unplug my fridge and live off the land.  Wow.

Electricity consumption - Todd Moss

Photo of the day

Okay, it’s not that interesting a photo, but it is from the Planet Money tumblr as they trace the journey of their Planet Money t-shirt (yes, I’ve ordered mine).   It’s impossible to say where the cotton in any particular t-shirt comes from, but I love that they went to my former home of Lubbock, TX to visit cotton fields.  Cotton is huge out in Lubbock.  I still quite distinctly remember my Lubbock real estate tour during my interview (part of the TTU hook is showing you that you can buy a nice 1400 sq ft, two-car garage house in a nice neighborhood for $76,000 in 2000).  The realtor stopped by a cotton field and we got out and got some cotton.  I brought mine home as a souvenir and had it for years (probably till I moved to Cary– I have no idea what became of it).  Anyway, here’s your Lubbock, TX cotton photo.

Lubbock, Texas - Here’s another shot from the cotton test field we visited to learn about the the first steps of making our shirt.  Plant sex: successful.  (Katie Hayes Luke/NPR)

Lubbock, Texas – Here’s another shot from the cotton test field we visited to learn about the the first steps of making our shirt.  Plant sex: successful.  (Katie Hayes Luke/NPR)

I heart Pope Francis

I was optimistic when Pope Francis became pope, but damn has he far exceeded my wildest expectations.  I’m totally fine that I disagree with him on matters of contraception, abortion, and gay marriage because– unlike the vast majority of the Catholic hierarchy in recent years– he totally gets that these things are not at the core of the Christian faith, but peripheral issues (if you doubt that, just see what Jesus actually talks about in the gospels– it’s called social justice).  Here’s the NYT story on his latest interview:

Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis sent shock waves through the Roman Catholic church on Thursday with the publication of his remarks that the church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he had chosen not to talk about those issues despite recriminations from critics…

Francis told the interviewer, a fellow Jesuit: “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

“We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

The pope’s interview did not change church doctrine or policies, but it instantly changed its tone…

The new pope’s words are likely to have repercussions in a church whose bishops and priests in many countries, including the United States, have often seemed to make combating abortion, gay marriage and contraception their top public policy priorities. Francis said that these teachings have to be presented in a larger context.

“I see the church as a field hospital after battle,” Francis said. “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”

Yep.  With all the poverty, suffering, and injustice still in the world today, it is truly unconscionable to focus so much attention on homosexuality as somehow the paramount moral issue of our times.

Meanwhile, I love this quote a formerly Catholic friend (formerly modifying the Catholic, 🙂 ) posted from the interview.

“If one has the answers to all the questions — that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. “

How did such a genuinely thoughtful, spiritual, and wise man ever get elected Pope from today’s Catholic hierarchy?  I have no idea, but I’ll take it.

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