Last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law that does not require proof of citizenship for residents of California to obtain a driver's license. This is a common sense measure, obviously. Immigrants, documented or otherwise, will be on the roads and everyone has a vested interest in them going through the same driving skills test that others must go through.
Dan Balz is one of the most thoughtful commentators on DC politics and he had an important, but depressing, essay in yesterday's Washington Post pointing to the sources of polarization in American politics and why they are here to stay. Well worth the read.
The annual Red Mass in Washington, D.C. was held yesterday, as always, on the Sunday preceding the start of the Supreme Court's term. Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas gave the homily in which he retold the story of the Tower of Babel and contrasted it with the story of Pentecost. He went on to say:
In this morning's Washington Post, Meghan Clark and Nichole Flores explain who gets hurt in a government shutdown: women and children in need. Of course, the House of Representatives earlier voted to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) so perhaps we should not be surprised. But, the point must be made again and again - the political theater that is Washington today has real world effects.
The National Catholic Bioethics Center does important work, but I fear their latest statement betrays a bias against the Affordable Care Act that has colored their judgment. This issue is whether or not Catholic institutions can serve as "navigators" or other facilitators for the implementation of the new law, helping to get poor people to understand the new law and to "navigate" through their choices to find the policy that will best serve their needs and the subsidies that will permit them to pay for it. The NCBC says Catholic institutions should not help in this way.
Gar Alperovitz’s book What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution is the worst book you really should read.
In an article for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' "Life Issues Forum," Richard Doerflinger seeks to set forth "the facts" about abortion coverage under the Affordable Care Act. To be sure, Doerflinger, the point man for the bishops' conference on pro-life issues, is exceedingly knowledgeable about these matters, and his commitment to the pro-life cause is as admirable as it is obvious. But knowledge and commitment also require a sense of perspective and balance, without which you get a tendentious article like the one he wrote.
There is much that is praiseworthy in the pastoral letter of the bishops of Colorado on the issue of immigration reform. But, at times, it seems to be challenging the previous statements of the U.S. Bishops' conference and trafficking in conservative, largely discredited ideas, about the health of society.
As Melinda Henneberger notes in her column at the Washington Post, some of the most incisive comments about Pope Francis during the discussion "The Francis Factor," which launched John Carr's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown Tuesday night, came from David Brooks, who is not a Catholic.