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Bruce Springsteen's Big Man

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When I was a kid, you didn't see many white and black musicians sharing the glory of an album cover. Clarence Clemons broke all that down.

The saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen (who dubbed him "The Big Man"), died this weekend at age 69, after a severe stroke. Obits will remember his talent and on-stage stamina, along with the trademark saxophone wail that punctuated several of Springsteen's best song.

But I'll always remember that album cover.

On this day: St. Alban

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Alban, Britain's first Christian Martyr.


"He was yet a Pagan, when the cruel Emperors first published their edicts against the Christians, and when he received a clergyman flying from his persecutors into his house as an asylum. Having observed that his guest spent whole days and nights in continual praying and watching, he felt himself on a sudden inspired by the grace of God, and began to emulate so glorious an example of faith and piety, and being leisurely instructed by his wholesome admonitions, casting off the darkness of idolatry, he became a Christian in all sincerity of heart.

Single-sex dorms won't stop drinking or 'hooking up'

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My colleague, Heidi Schlumpf, wrote this past week about John Garvey, Catholic University's new president, and his decision to return the campus to single sex dormitories.

Mr. Garvey argues that this step will curb binge drinking and "hooking up."

Laura Sessions Stepp disagrees.

Stepp is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, formerly with The Washington Post, who specializes in the coverage of young people. She has written two books: "Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both," and "Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence."

According to Stepp:

Summer intern discovers new Lincoln documents

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David Spriegel, a rising senior at St. Mary's University in Minnesota, made a discovery of a lifetime just two weeks into his internship at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

He [Spriegel] turned up two previously unknown documents written in 1844 by then-up-and-coming lawyer Abraham Lincoln in Springfield.

“I have to say that this discovery has piqued my interest in Lincoln as an individual and in his early career,” said Spriegel, who will is interning at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield this summer. “This will give me new purpose to explore the life of a great man.”

Spriegel was organizing a four-inch tall stack of documents in the library’s manuscript’s department when he made the discovery. The intern had noticed the previously overlooked small inscription on the documents that read: “The above memorandum is in the inscription of Abraham Lincoln. — M. Hay”

What to do about all those prisoners?

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Great blog post over on Commonweal: Fear-mongering from the Bench by Malcolm C. Young

Few recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have been more vigorously contested, or hold more ominous implication, than Brown v. Plata [pdf], announced in May, in which the Court affirmed a ruling requiring California to release prisoners in order to reduce overcrowding in its prison system. ...

These hellish prisons were the fault of irresponsible legislators—legislators who chose to ignore the warnings of at least a dozen official reports over two decades—and the Supreme Court acted correctly in requiring California to correct such conditions. ...

Yet the narrow, 5–4 ruling was in fact anything but a slam dunk; and while those of us who agree with the majority may have won a battle, the war remains very much in question. Especially when you survey the weapons the other side deployed.

Read the full article.

On this day: St. Botolph

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On this day, Roman Catholics, the Anglican Communion, and the Orthodox Church honor St. Botolph, the 7th-century abbot for whom Boston in Lincolnshire and Boston in Massachusetts are named.

Botolph and his brother Adulph were sent by their Saxon parents to the continent to study. They became Benedictines, and Botolph returned to England to found a monastery. "That Botolph really did build a monastery at Icanhoe is attested by an entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 654: Botulf ongan thæt mynster timbrian æt Yceanho, i.e. Botulph began to build the minster at Icanhoe."

--from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Ten reasons why Alabama immigration law is unjust, unconstitutional

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The state of Alabama has passed a draconian and unjust immigration law, HB 56, that goes even beyond Arizona’s notorious HB 1070, which a federal court has ruled for the most part unconstitutional.

Alabama joins several other states such as Georgia that have also recently passed anti-immigrant laws aimed at undocumented workers and their families. But, at the moment, the Alabama law surpasses all of these others in its viciousness and callous disregard not only for constitutional rights but human rights and a sense of human justice.

The Constitution? I can just hear my right-wing critics raising their blood pressure. Yes, the Constitution! The Constitution protects not only the rights of U.S. citizens but also all “persons” living within the country, even the undocumented.

Here are some of the key provisions of the Alabama law and some of the problems with them.

    On this day: Ulysses

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    On this day in 1904, Leopold Bloom, the main character in James Joyce's Ulysses, made his way around Dublin. The entire novel takes place on June 16th. Bloomsday!

    A new adaptation of Ulysses, "a serialized electronic comic book", called Ulysses Seen, is being written by Robert Berry. Two Episodes are complete: "Telemachus", in which we meet Buck Mulligan and Stephen Dedalus, and "Calypso", in which we meet Bloom. Explore the web site by clicking tabs at the top and sides. Ulysses in Five Minutes is great.

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