Russia

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Anatomy of a Mythical Boogeyman

Gay activists frighten each other telling stories about the monsters prowling about in the dark, waiting down lonely paths, behind bushes and trees, ready to pounce, to slay them and then to gnaw on their bones. Chief among the midnight monsters they whisper about is a man named Scott Lively. You’ve never heard of Scott [...]

Blood on the Red Star: The Martyrdom of Grand Duchess Elizabeth

Described at the time as the most beautiful woman in Europe, this is the story of a princess who was to know both public adulation and private sorrow before spending her last days in the service of the sick and the poor wearing the plain garb of a nun. Having been born into privilege and [...]

St. John Paul II and the Future of Ukraine

With Divine Providence, nothing is left to chance. On the Sunday of Divine Mercy, the Universal Church recognized what God had already ordained—solemnly declaring Pope John Paul II a saint. Almost twenty-four years earlier, this nascent saint made it possible for my future wife and I to meet in the Eternal City. It was to [...]

The Ukrainian Struggle: Freedom with Dignity Over Corruption and Power

In 1998 my family returned to the U.S. from our first home leave overseas, for what eventually ended up being twelve years living and working in Ukraine—including experiencing first-hand Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. News reports in recent days have rekindled memories of our Ukrainian experiences. My own personal recollections lead me to believe that what Ukraine [...]

What Sochi News Coverage Can Tell Catholics

American journalists are ungracious whiners. That was my original conclusion based on the torrent of gripes about substandard accommodations in Sochi. I understand that Americans are grossed out by yellow water and toilets that don’t flush paper. But for people whose job is to keep us all informed, the reporters seemed surprisingly unaware that these [...]

The Girl Who Dreamt of Theater Street

A classic American story plays itself out even now at a place called Theater Street in St. Petersburg, Russia. The story begins 17 years ago when a little girl in Northern Virginia watched a grainy documentary narrated by Princess Grace of Monaco about the most famous ballet academy in the world. Keenan Kampa was transfixed [...]

Gay Panic Over New Russian Laws

A psychiatrist of the early 20th century coined “homosexual panic” to describe an overreaction by heterosexuals who have been hit on by a gay guy. Now it’s the gays turn to panic, in this case by any public criticism, imaginary or otherwise, or legal restriction on their proselytizing. Gay writer Jonathan Capehart published a short [...]

Russia is Sick and Dying

For those of you who regularly read my blog, congratulations! Aside from the warm glow inside that comes from the satisfaction of a job well done, you’ll also know that we have in the past mentioned that Russia’s demographic future is not particularly rosy. I want to share with you a review article by a Master of [...]

The Endgame Begins in Syria

We have entered the endgame in Syria. That doesn't mean that we have reached the end by any means, but it does mean that the precondition has been met for the fall of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. We have argued that so long as the military and security apparatus remain intact and [...]

Obama, the Russians, and Missile Defense

President Obama has caused quite a stir with a private comment made to Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. In discussing missile defense, Obama suggested he would be prepared to yield to Russian demands after the November election. “This is my last election,” said Obama, not knowing his words were being picked up by an open microphone. [...]

Peace Through Vigilance

With breaking news of a U.S. Navy SEAL team successfully rescuing two hostages from pirates in Somalia, military pundits are quick to note how the deployment of small, elite units will fit in with President Barack Obama’s vision for modernizing the U.S. military. Yet, while small, elite units are indeed crucial to the modern military, [...]

Who Commissioned Us to Remake the World?

  U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, Obama's man in Moscow, who just took up his post, has received a rude reception. And understandably so. In 1992, McFaul was the representative in Russia of the National Democratic Institute, a U.S. government-funded agency whose mission is to promote democracy abroad. The NDI has been tied to color-coded or [...]

The Implausibility of Nuclear Terrorism

 Editor's Note: Steve Chapman is on vacation. The following column was originally published in February 2008.   "Death tugs at my ear and says, 'Live, I am coming.'" Were Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. alive today, he might ascribe that line not to death but to nuclear terrorism. Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, [...]

Marco Rubio vs. Rand Paul

  In August 2008, as the world's leaders gathered in Beijing for the Olympic games, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, hot-headed and erratic, made his gamble for greatness. It began with a stunning artillery barrage on Tskhinvali, capital of tiny South Ossetia, a province that had broken free of Tbilisi when Tbilisi broke free of Russia. [...]

Fall into Chamber Music

A chill in the air, crackling leaves, and a roaring fireplace put me in mind of chamber music for some reason -- perhaps because it is an interior art. Is it the cold that prepares one for a period of introspection? Chamber music is the art of introspection in sound. In any case, it is [...]

Solutions for the ‘Tax Gap’

In 2010, there was a “tax gap” -- i.e., the difference between federal taxes owed and those actually paid -- of $410-$500 billion. Some of the gap stems from the complexity of the tax code. Much of it, though, is deliberate­­: self-employed individuals working for cash, table-servers under-reporting tips, taxpayers claiming unauthorized credits and deductions. [...]

The Disappearing Russian Family

  Is there any nation as contrary in its demographics as Russia? While the world’s population police obsess about the ongoing “explosion” of the human species, Russia is on a depopulation slide and in danger of imploding. Again, while the world’s conscience is stirred by Asia’s 163 million missing females, Russia has a gender deficit [...]

On Earthquakes and Upheavals

The tragic 6.3 magnitude earthquake which hit New Zealand’s largest city on February 25th added an eerie element to the series of man made upheavals in north Africa. In short order, the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and imminently Libya, fell as a spontaneous and explosive wave of street protests forced out their long time rulers. [...]

Friday Free-for-All: October 8

Time for some Friday morning links: A woman has been arrested in Colorado for attacking a blasphemous piece of art with a crowbar, saying that it "desecrate[d] my lord." The artist responded to the attack by saying, "I don't expect people to agree with me but let's have a civil discussion, you know." Somehow I'm [...]

From the department of fabulous ideas

I sometimes think that Russia just sits around thinking, "Is there any way we can be just a little more grim today?"  According to NPR's Morning Edition, a subway mural project is stirring up some controversy: The Dostoevskaya station — which opened this summer in memory of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky — met a fair [...]

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