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Joseph Bottum is the former editor of First Things.

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Cuba Libre

From First Thoughts

Through the negotiations of Cuba’s Cardinal Ortega , the Cuban government has just agreed to release 52 political prisoners —about two-thirds of the prisoners known to have been seized in the 2003 government campaign against political opposition. During John Paul II’s 1998 visit to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Unborn

From First Thoughts

” Saving nature’s unborn from Gulf oil disaster ,” the headline at CNN reads. Hard to know how the oil spill threatened them, but the subject looked interesting. So I clicked on it, to find that it was a feel-good story about efforts to relocate clutches of sea-turtle eggs to . . . . Continue Reading »

Venue Hire

From First Thoughts

Looking for a place to hold your next convention? I know, how about the house of the Lord? Check out this at the website of the Liverpool Cathedral : Venue Hire From classical concerts to sophisticated dinners, Liverpool Cathedral is a venue with a difference. Fanfares, fashion, cocktails . . . . . . . Continue Reading »

The Signpost at the Crossroads

From Web Exclusives

A special preview of The Public Square, from the new issue of First Things, the August/September issue, just being sent to subscribers and newsstands now:

You head down the road of public life in America, and you run up against religion. From the conversations in the barber shops and the coffee klatches, through the aldermen’s offices and the town halls, the school boards and the zoning commissions, the campaigns and the columnists, and eventually to the state houses and even, perhaps, to that white-domed Capitol building, far off in Washington”somewhere along the line you come to the crossroads where religion cuts across your path… . Continue Reading »

Freighted with a Richness

From First Thoughts

The Library of Congress has announced that W.S. Merwin will be America’s next poet laureate. About his poetry, there is something to say—but less, perhaps, than you might think, given the prizes he’s won. Still, you remember poems like his one about the expatriate who realizes . . . . Continue Reading »

The Days Gone By

From First Thoughts

In my inbox today, a press release about a new documentary , Huxley on Huxley , which is being released on July 26, the anniversary of Aldous Huxley’s birthday. Huxley was a force, of course—but who now reads such novels as Crome Yellow or After Many a Summer Dies the Swan ? He was a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Court Rules

From First Thoughts

The Supreme Court delivered its ruling in the Christian Legal Society case today. At first reading, it looks pretty bad—and so our friend Rick Garnett writes : The Court handed down its opinion in the Christian Legal Society case this morning. By a 5-4 vote, the Court upheld a rule requiring . . . . Continue Reading »


From First Thoughts

Oh, my. It’s the thirtieth anniversary of the movie Airplane! And what shall we say, except that genius comes as it will, and you can’t take it apart to find out how it works without destroying it. Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? . . . . Continue Reading »