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Praying for the President's Death

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Nick Sementelli, at Faith in Public Life, has the story. The Speaker of the Kansas House has finally found a Bible verse he can use to pray for President Obama. The only problem? Psalm 109 is a prayer for the death of an oppressive leader.

This is just so wrong. And coming so soon after the one year commemoration of the shootings in Tuscon, it is really, really beyond the pale. But, hey, as I keep warning folks, this is not your grandpa's GOP.

More GOP Anti-Immigrant Nastiness

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If ever, in a moment of weakness, I was tempted to swim the Potomac and become a Republican, I would only have to re-read this article posted at Politico yesterday to remember why I am not and never can join the Grand Old Party. In searching for a way to pay for extending the payroll tax cut, the GOP has come up with a novel suggestion: Deny the child tax credit to immigrant families that do not file federal tax returns with a Social Security number.

For months, congressional Republicans have balked at the prospect of paying for the payroll tax cut extension by crafting a surtax for those earning more than $1 million per year. And, remember, with our progressive tax system, this higher rate, or surtax, would not apply to the first $1 million of income, only to income above that number. But, the GOP is committed to its mantra – never raise taxes – and Grover Norquist serves as a modern day Torquemada, enforcing the no-tax-increase orthodoxy on his congressional minions.

Romney: \"I'm Pro-Life\"

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According to Politico, Mitt Romney has begun to assert his pro-life credentials which have recently come under attack from Newt Gingrich.

The problem with his assertion is this: His decision to include taxpayer funded abortions in his health care overhaul, and his decision to award Planned Parenthood a seat on a health care advisory board the overhaul established, came after, not before, Romney's conversion on abortion. Campaign spokesmen have said that Romney had no choice regarding taxpayer-funded abortions given a string of Massachusetts court rulings. But, I am not sure that would have satisfied the position articulated by the USCCB when it opposed Obama's health care plan. The USCCB, you will recall, said that the guarantees against taxpayer funded abortions in the Obama health care reform were insufficiently airtight. In Romney's health care law, there were no such guarantees at all. If the price of extending health care means extending taxpayer-funded abortion, that is a price the USCCB clearly would not have paid.

Romney: \"I'm Pro-Life\"

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According to Politico, Mitt Romney has begun to assert his pro-life credentials which have recently come under attack from Newt Gingrich.

The problem with his assertion is this: His decision to include taxpayer funded abortions in his health care overhaul, and his decision to award Planned Parenthood a seat on a health care advisory board the overhaul established, came after, not before, Romney's conversion on abortion. Campaign spokesmen have said that Romney had no choice regarding taxpayer-funded abortions given a string of Massachusetts court rulings. But, I am not sure that would have satisfied the position articulated by the USCCB when it opposed Obama's health care plan. The USCCB, you will recall, said that the guarantees against taxpayer funded abortions in the Obama health care reform were insufficiently airtight. In Romney's health care law, there were no such guarantees at all. If the price of extending health care means extending taxpayer-funded abortion, that is a price the USCCB clearly would not have paid.

Austerity: Does It Work?

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This weekend, an economist with whom I speak regularly so he can enlighten me on a subject I find confounding opaque, said that he thought the U.S. economy would continue to improve provided the European economy did not tank. "It's a mess over there," he said ominously. Then, he said something prescient: "Austerity programs never work."

I say prescient because yesterday morning, on the front page of the Washington Post, I found an article entitled, "In Greece, austerity path cast into doubt."

Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in the case Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC is a resounding defeat for those who seek to deny religious groups their free exercise rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The mere fact that the decision was unanimous should give pause, great pause, to those who argued here – and who argue in other contexts - that religious groups should be treated like any other social group. In a word, the court’s decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, proclaims to those who have forgotten it that the First Amendment means what it says.

RCs Applaud White House Appointment

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Progressive Catholics are praising President Obama for naming Cecilia Munoz as the new Director of the Domestic Policy Council. This is a high-powered, albeit out-of-the-spotlight job. Munoz previously worked at the White House on inter-governmental affairs and on immgration policy. Before joining the administration she worked at the National Council for La Raza and for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

"Catholics and people of faith have a true ally with the appointment of Cecilia Muñoz to head the administration's Domestic Policy Council,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United in a press release. “Cecilia has a long track record of working effectively with the faith community and comes to the work with a deep set of personal convictions. By selecting someone of Cecilia's character and background, the Obama administration has signaled how important the faith community is to their governing agenda.”

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December 5-18, 2014

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