NCR Today

Ted Forstmann, Wall Street legend and critic and philanthropist, dies

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From The Associated Press:

Theodore J. Forstmann, a longtime Wall Street financier who was a major player during the wave of corporate takeovers in the 1980s, including the battle for RJR Nabisco in 1988, died Sunday at the age of 71.

The cause was brain cancer, according to a statement from sports marketing giant IMG, where Forstmann served as chairman and CEO.

A pioneer of the buyout business, celebrity bachelor and free market proselytizer, Forstmann cut the figure of a swashbuckling risk taker. But in buying companies, he tended to be more careful and conservative than did rivals. Famously, he backed down from buying RJR Nabisco in the late 80s when the price got too high. His instincts turned out right. The winner, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, struggled for years to wring profits from the company.

In 1988, Forstmann made clear his distaste for deal making greased by junk bonds. The AP quoted him as saying "Today's financial age has become a period of unbridled excess with accepted risk soaring out of proportion to possible reward."

A way to chart military spending

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Last year, the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, we, the United States, spent one trillion, one hundred billion dollars on the military.

Actually it was more, $1,100,446,000,000. The $446 million was just too long to spell out.

My source is American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Their analysis of the US budget can be found on the website oneminuteforpeace.org.

AFSC had developed an amazing graphic, a yardlong strip of paper dividing up the president's 2012 discretionary budget, the parts that must be voted on each year. Sixty percent of the budget is allocated to the military. Last year it was 58 percent.

Sixty percent. The strip of paper has six folds. You keep opening it and all you see is red for the first three and a half folds. Everything else is squished onto the end of the strip -- health and human services; education; aid to states; housing and urban development; justice; agriculture; NASA; energy; labor; treasury; interior; and more.

Roberta, the sister I live with, looked at the strip and said, "Interior. Is that where the parks are? One percent!"

A further word on \"Obama's Choice\"

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As much as I’ve recently voiced skepticism over the bishops’ new “religious liberty” initiative, I also think colleague Michael Sean Winters has put it as plainly as possible that the Obama administration has a significant choice to make, and if it goes the wrong way it could be costly in the Catholic world.

By way of the new and vaunted “religious liberty” effort, I think it is a thinly disguised – and potentially very costly in multiple ways -- effort to reclaim the credibility that has profusely leaked in recent decades from the episcopal culture. The point to be made in that instance is that the bishops are receiving a great deal of the pushback from Catholic politicians and the Catholic public. The problem is that the bishops have not made a persuasive case in the sex and gender issues they find most disturbing. And while they may point to relativism, secularism, a hyper-sexed society and whatever other ills they perceive lurking about, the fact o f the matter is they have mostly themselves to blame for their decreased standing in the general culture.

California diocese to buy Crystal Cathedral

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The iconic Crystal Cathedral, built by the Rev. Robert Schuller and made famous as the site of his "Hour of Power" television show, is set to become the cathedral of the Diocese of Orange in southern California.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Kwan announced Nov. 17 that the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries had selected the diocese as the preferred buyer for the cathedral and its 31-acre campus, which had been the subject of complicated bankruptcy proceedings.

The diocese will pay $57.5 million for the Garden Grove property that includes the 10,000 glass-paned cathedral, an adjacent glass tower and chapel, several large centers, a school (pre-K through high school), an arboretum and a memorial garden.

The CCM board chose the diocesan proposal over a competing bid of $59 million by Chapman University, saying it wanted to ensure that the campus would remain the site of worship and outreach ministries.

Cardinal Law updated

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The Associated Press is reporting:

Former Boston Archbishop Leaves Rome Post

VATICAN CITY – Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned in disgrace as Boston's archbishop in 2002 after the priest sex abuse scandal exploded in the United States, has left his subsequent job as head of a major Roman basilica.

The Vatican said Monday that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the 80-year-old Law's resignation as archpriest of St. Mary Major basilica and had named as Law's replacement Spanish Monsignor Santos Abril y Castello.

Read more.

Pizza is a vegetable

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In the ongoing debate about food in the United States, Congress outdid itself Thursday by siding with the french fry and pizza industries and declaring, or reaffirming, pizza as a vegetable because it has two tablespoons of tomato paste per slice, thereby securing its place on the school lunch menu.

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March 24-April 6, 2017

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