The Thinking 

Dear G.I. Jane

March 4, 2015

Female Marines Take On Challenges in Afghanistan

TWO YEARS AGO, on the occasion of Pentagon approval of women in combat roles, a writer at Family Security Matters wrote about the “elephant in the room:”

Oh, by the way – you and your girlfriends do plan on registering for the draft on your eighteenth birthday, don’t you – just as your male peers do? If you insist upon the privileges associated with military service, you have to assume the risks, too. So, get yourself down to the post office and register – and be quick about it. Up to now, you and your feminist pals have been skimming the cream off the top – demanding the best billets for yourselves (fighter pilot, submariner, etc.) but often bailing out when an inconvenient deployment or a war came along. Pregnancy and “female issues” certainly make handy excuses, don’t they? Well, that won’t fly anymore. Don’t feel like deploying or going to war? Too bad; you’ll go anyway – just like the men do when they are called up. Welcome to the war, baby! Read More »


The Collapse of Standards in a Feminist Military

March 4, 2015

PETE F. writes:

Regarding your feature, “Girl Soldier,” on women in the U.S. Army Ranger program – where does one begin? Not so many years ago, such a tragicomic effort as trying to make Army Rangers out of women would have been the stuff of satire, but present-day reality has grown so strange that effective satire is now rather a difficult undertaking.

When I was a boy back in the 1960s and early 1970s, the suggestion that women belonged in the infantry – let alone an elite unit like the Ranger regiment – would have been seen as something so ludicrous that only a child (or a comic fishing for laughs) could suggest it. Today, that world has been turned upside down and those who believe that women do not belong everywhere in the military are the ones seen as lunatics. As a society, we have well-and-truly stepped through the looking glass.

Read More »


The Branch that Saves the Tree

March 3, 2015


SVEN writes:

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of going to the Washington or Oregon coasts (equally enjoyable in the winter or the summer, in my opinion), you will certainly be awed by the giant Sitka spruce that grow right up to the edge of the beaches. The fierce Pacific storms that assail the coast during the winter throw sea spray into the forest, making the soil somewhat saline. The Sitka spruce has a single branch where it sends all salt so that the rest of the tree can flourish.

It reminds me of how there were once specific areas of the country, like San Francisco, where outrageousness was tolerated. Saint Aquinas said of prostitution “Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain evils be incurred: thus Augustine says [De ordine 2.4]: If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust.'”

Small enclaves of sin are no doubt necessary for running large civilizations. But we have allowed these sacrificial branches to take over the whole tree.


A Movie on Campus Sexual Assault

March 3, 2015

FROM E. Everett Bartlett:

SAVE, a national organization working to end sexual assault, is criticizing the recently released movie The Hunting Ground for presenting false statistics, offering a one-side portrayal of the problem, and failing to call for greater police involvement in campus sex cases.

Produced by CNN Films, The Hunting Ground purports to be a documentary. In fact, the movie contains numerous factual errors and omits essential perspectives.  The film does not attempt to verify the accuracy or completeness of persons’ accounts.

The film makes the claim that 20% of college women are sexually assaulted, even though the U.S. Department of Justice reports a woman’s risk is under one percent each year. Read More »


Technical Issues

March 3, 2015

STILL working on small problems with this new format. Things should be in order soon.


Quote of the Day

March 2, 2015

FROM A COLLEGE professor writing in response to this piece about trashing college books by Thomas F. Bertonneau:

I have had the privilege, so to speak, to observe the self-destruction of the humanities from the inside. The main characteristic of the products of modern graduate schools of the humanities is that they know exactly what they are supposed to say and how to say it as pretentiously and awkwardly as possible.


Girl Soldier

March 2, 2015



THE INSANITY of placing women in combat is once again illustrated by this recent photo of soldiers in the Army Ranger’s training course, including this woman, who appears quite petite and as if she is just barely holding herself up. Twenty-six women tried out. Five passed.

In any normal age, this would be considered female oppression. In ours, it’s emancipation. Read More »


Ego Amo Te

March 2, 2015

THE Prayer of St. Xavier, sung here, describes the love of God at its highest:

O Deus, ego amo te,
O God I love Thee for Thyself
Nec amo te ut salves me,
and not that I may heaven gain
Nec quod qui te non diligent,
nor yet that they who love Thee not
Æterno igne pereunt.
must suffer hell’s eternal pain.
Read More »


March 2, 2015

NOTE: On some operating systems, such as Androids and iPads, this new format is appearing without the full margins. We are working on the problem. In the meantime, you might try viewing it on another computer if you are having difficulties.


H-1B Visas and the Tech Industry

March 2, 2015

FROM a report on the displacement of Americans by foreign high tech workers in Sacramento:

“Hiring younger H-1Bs instead of older Americans means you save money,” [Computer Science Professor Norm Matloff] said.

“It doesn’t matter whether an H-1B takes the job here that you would have taken or, on the other hand, if the job is sent overseas. Either way, you as an American programmer or engineer, [don’t] have that job,” Matloff said, comparing the visas to the controversial practice of outsourcing American jobs to other countries.

“It’s not any different than what illegal aliens have done to construction workers,” said Kim Berry, the webmaster of two sites that almost exclusively address the influx of foreign workers in the U.S. IT job market. “Why hire an American to do the roofing when you can have a truckload of illegals do it for $30 per day each?”


Feminist Girls

March 2, 2015

SOPHIA writes:

In a way I’m sorry to share this with you! I got it through about 50 seconds of this video with the volume down very low. There appears to be some feminist organization called “FCKH8″ that got little girls dressed as princesses to cuss repeatedly while lamenting inequality. I’m really without words to describe how disgusting it is. Perhaps you already heard about it, but here it is. Read More »


The Man Who Made Notre Dame Anti-Catholic

March 1, 2015


Theodore Hesburgh presiding over the Protestant-Masonic rite falsely known as the Catholic Mass.


After a long life, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh died on Feb. 26; he was 97. From 1952 through 1987, Fr. Hesburgh, a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Cross, served as President of Notre Dame University, whose football heroics once garnered the name “the Fighting Irish,” although the number of Hibernian Americans on the team was small and increasingly smaller with each year. After leaving as head of the university, he still exercised a great influence not only on Notre Dame, but on the path other Catholic universities and colleges would follow.  In short, although he would probably object to the title, Fr. Hesburgh became something of an icon to many in the Church. Whether or not that sobriquet is deserved I cannot say, but what can be said beyond cavil was that in seeking to change Notre Dame, he reflects the post Vatican II clerical mindset: the Church must be brought up to date; the Church and its institutions of higher learning must be modernized.

Read More »


March 1, 2015

NOTE: On some computers, this new format is appearing without the full margins. We are working on the problem. In the meantime, you might try viewing it on another computer if you are having difficulties.


Crying Angels

March 1, 2015



ONE WINTER NIGHT, about thirty years ago, I stood in The Pen and Pencil Club in Philadelphia, listening to a man in his thirties tell me stories of his childhood.

A woman we both knew walked by, smiling, and said, “Are you listening to tales of Chester?”

I laughed. “As a matter of fact, I am,” I said.

I can’t recall what episode I was hearing for the first time that night. I think it might have been about Jonesy, who went to the store in fairly good health to buy his funeral suit and died a week later. Or maybe it was the time Buttons was almost arrested for killing a Persian cat while on vacation at the Jersey shore.

I can’t recall which true story it was, but I pretty much decided that night I wanted to marry that man.

Listening to his memories was like standing by a burning hearth. The warmth penetrated me, the room and the world beyond it. I figured anyone who could so love the flawed and idiosyncratic people of Chester could possibly love me too. For a long time. Through thick and very thin.

I married Anthony Wood and, for 27 years, I have lived by the warmth of that fire.

Compared to the human landscape in a depersonalized suburb, the people of this industrial city on the banks of the rat-gray Delaware River, living with us intangibly all this time, are brimming with personality. They are exotica. Eccentricity and its sharp singularity seem to be among the fruits of economic hardship and God’s sanctifying graces.

Though the industrial and social microcosm of my husband’s Chester is long gone, almost completely demolished and replaced with a hulking casino, vacant lots, crime-ridden streets and government offices, his stories evoked something permanent and undying. Chester was alive still.

Enough from me.

Here is Part II of my husband’s own recollections, “Tales of Chester.” For Parts One and Two, you may go here and here.


 Crying Angels

When day broke that morning, Renner was sitting in my father’s easy chair, his legs propped over the arms, smoking a corncob, a bowl of cold oatmeal on the coffee table.

“Terrible thing to lose your home,” he said.

No doubt it was. To me, though, the loss of his home was the best consequence of the fire. Since he had lost his home, he would have to stay with us. I wouldn’t have to visit him; he would be right here. More immediately and excitingly, we had become the central figures in a high drama. A neighborhood legend had lost his house in a fire that everyone would be talking about. We were giving him shelter.

School that day was endless. How could the tedium of learning decimals and fractions and penmanship compete with the excitation of being a star of such a drama? When at long last school ended, when the dismissal line finally approached my house, I burst into the front door to resume my starring role and to comfort the neighborhood legend who had lost his home.

Renner wasn’t there, to my immeasurable disappointment. I went to find him at his brother-in-law’s tobacco shop on Eighth Street.

Read More »


A New Look

February 28, 2015

Computer programmers are geniuses. They have minds with lots of secret passageways. You open up a door and all this code comes tumbling out, like gold coins and jewels stored away in a castle. I don’t get it how they navigate between everyday existence and all that code, but I attribute it to their genius. Thanks to a generous and extremely smart reader who is a web designer, there is a new look at The Thinking Housewife. I am very grateful to the reader who has worked on this site for his time and expertise.

There are still a few tweaks that need to be made. I ask for your patience as we get it going. I think you will find this new theme and the Merriweather font much easier on the eye.