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Maciel traveled incessantly, drawing funds from Legion centers in Mexico, Rome and the United States. Certain ex-Legionaries with knowledge of the order’s finances believe that Maciel constantly drew from Legion coffers to subsidize his families. For years Maciel had Legion priests dole out envelopes with cash and donate gifts to officials in the curia. In the days leading up to Christmas, Legion seminarians spent hours packaging the baskets with expensive bottles of wine, rare brandy, and cured Spanish hams that alone cost upward of $1,000 each. Priests involved in the gifts and larger cash exchanges say that in hindsight they view Maciel’s strategy as akin to an insurance policy, to protect himself should he be exposed and to position the Legion as an elite presence in the workings of the Vatican. –“Money paved way for Maciel’s influence in the Vatican,” Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter
Justin Martel whispers “hello” as he tiptoes into the Prague film studio of William Higgins, 67, an American producer and “dean of gay porn” who moved to Prague right after communism ended to corner the gay sex market, arriving around the same time two other bearded vanguards of capitalism — Santa Claus and Colonel Sanders — showed up to monopolize Christmas and fried chicken. All three have found fertile ground here.
Higgins likes to recruit men who have typically never done porn or had sex with men before and market their inexperience as an asset, not a drawback. To this day, he enjoys filming the first-timers, especially if they don’t really like it. He zooms in on their faces clenched in pain. It makes it real, Higgins says. He also prefers working with straight guys because they are not as picky about with whom they have sex. “If they are willing to do it with a guy, they’ll do it with any guy. It’s a job,” he says. “We have one gay guy who always dictates who he’s going to do it with. I’d much rather work with straight guys.” –“Gay-4-Pay in Prague,” Iva Skoch, GlobalPost
Gerald Boyd was recruited for a management position in the 1980s by Max Frankel, then executive editor. By that time, Boyd had already established himself as a top-of-the-line reporter. … Frankel told him that the Times “severely lacked minorities to promote to management,” that it was hard to find “suitable candidates,” that increased “diversity” was not just one of his own priorities but one of Sulzberger’s too, and that Boyd’s “help toward the effort would mean a lot.” The message did not require a decoder: thanks to the paper’s “diversity” policy, Boyd was being offered a chance to climb the executive ladder. He did not need much persuasion to abandon the reporter’s life and join the executive chase for glory. He acknowledges that his race gave him an advantage in the incessant bureaucratic struggles for advancement that afflict the Times newsroom, but declines to display any bogus humility about it. He is obviously aware that a generation earlier his race would have made it hard to get any Times job more elegant than slicing salami in the cafeteria. –“A Bad Morning at The New York Times,” Russell Baker, The New York Review of Books
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. “There was a ‘woof’ sound,” said a witness, “like falling on your face into your pillow.”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”