Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Different Kind of Episcopal Spine

Bishop Manuel A. Cruz is a new auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Newark and a Cuban expatriate. He's also a former hospital chaplain and he's not buying the party line about Cuban health care:
Fleeing communist Cuba at a young age, Msgr. Cruz is proud of his title as "refugee" and believes that living through the experience has strengthened him and deepened his faith. He recently arranged for medicine to be shipped to the island for a sick young woman. "The medicine is expensive and hard to get in Cuba. This situation really put things in perspective for me. You ask yourself 'Why am I here? Why am I so different?' As a refugee, you realize that everything you have is a gift."

Friday, September 12, 2008

He's no Louis

King Mswati III of Swaziland is under fire again, this time in the New York Times:
...Swazis have enjoyed decades of peace and are proud of their culture. But poverty has entrapped two-thirds of the people, leaving hundreds of thousands malnourished. And these days death casually sweeps away even the strong. The country has one of the worst rates of H.I.V. infection in the world. Life expectancy has fallen from 60 years in 1997 to barely half that now. Nearly a third of all children have lost a parent.

“How can the king live in luxury while his people suffer?” asked Siphiwe Hlophe, a human rights activist. “How much money does he need, anyway?”

That question was as confounding as it was impertinent. In the government’s latest budget, about $30 million was set aside for “royal emoluments.”
Now it is the New York Times, but even so, the Queen of England manages to get by on £40 million or roughly $72 million dollars.

Now that's more than twice what Swaziland's King gets, but the Monarchy costs Britons only 0.003% of their nation's $2.137 trillion gross domestic product.

However, the King's emoluments are 0.5% of Swaziland's $5.63 billion GDP. Swazis are comparatively getting hosed, paying 167 times as much as a percentage of GDP. So it's not surprising that they're angry:
The rowdiest of the demonstrators flung rocks, looted goods from sidewalk vendors and even set off a few small explosions. Others made impromptu placards with torn up cardboard. “Down with 40-40!” read one, while another demanded, “Democracy now!” A few protesters chanted things meant to make rich people feel guilty: “My mother was a kitchen girl. My father was a garden boy. That’s why I’m a Socialist.”

The angriest of them went so far as to insist that the nation had little to celebrate.
It's a useful reminder that not every king is a Saint Louis.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

To The King

A Wall Street Journal column defends the Whig view of history, but not with particularly brilliant reasoning:
"William of Orange's 'Declaration,' then, was an honest document, as his benevolent rule -- and that of his wife, Mary -- would prove. ... They founded the Bank of England, greatly increased trade and stayed out of war with France until Louis XIV rashly recognized James Stuart, James II's son, as England's rightful king."
So how did they keep England out of war? Louis XIV recognizing James Stuart is just maintaining the status quo. It's William's invasion that shakes things up. If he hadn't invaded England and tossed out James II in the first place, there would have been nothing rash about recognizing James Stuart.

Rich Leonardi also has a good post on the piece. Don't miss the commentator who's wandered in to point out that the Glorious Revolution was indeed glorious because it "ended the pernicious influence of the Papists in English history and freed England from being just another lackey of Louis XIV's France."