Christmas trees in September?

A few tidbits for a Tuesday:

1. In a Village Voice report on how much New Yorkers make, we learn that Archbishop Dolan’s official salary is $23,500. I always wondered what an archbishop makes (but not enough to remember to ask).

2. When I watched a bit of the Detroit Lions winning their first game in a very, very long time on Sunday, I found myself wondering if new Lions head coach Jim Schwartz might be Jewish. Apparently, he’s not.

3. I heard that there are Christmas trees up in Macy’s and other department stores. It’s September, one month removed from August. So much for the War on Christmas.

4. I came across a short piece that Father Thomas Reese, the oft-quoted Jesuit, wrote about, of all things, the Roman Polanski case. He writes:

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Imagine if the Knight of Columbus decided to give an award to a pedophile priest who had fled the country to avoid prison. The outcry would be universal. Victim groups would demand the award be withdrawn and that the organization apologize. Religion reporters would be on the case with the encouragement of their editors. Editorial writers and columnist would denounce the knights as another example of the insensitivity of the Catholic Church to sexual abuse.

And they would all be correct. And I would join them.

But why is there not similar outrage directed at the film industry for giving an award to Roman Polanski, who not only confessed to statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl but fled the country prior to sentencing? Why have film critics and the rest of the media ignored this case for 31 years? He even received an Academy award in 2003. Are the high priests of the entertainment industry immune to criticism?

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Fine point, Father Reese.

5. Check out this artful AP photo (by Biswaranjan Rout) at a Hindu festival in India, where believers dress like the gods Ram and Hanuman:

APTOPIX India Hindu Festival

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.