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The Perriello Lesson

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The Washington Post this morning has an article by Rosalind Helderman entitled “Jobs-bill vote may put senators in tight spot.” Tonight, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on President Barack Obama’s jobs plan and while the Democrats know they do not have the votes to overcome a Republican filibuster, it is also unclear if they can get all the Democrats on board.

Democratic senators, especially those facing difficult re-election prospects, may be unwilling to vote for a bill that is not going to pass anyway if the end result is that their opponents next year can paint them as too close to Obama, whose shrinking popularity has many Democrats worried. On the other hand, if they vote with the Republicans, these wavering Democrats make it impossible to run against the Republicans as the obstructionists. As Helderman writes, “That is likely to be a dynamic that will prove problematic for Obama and Senate leaders in coming months.”

Kissling Is Wrong Again

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Frances Kissling may be my least favorite co-religionist. She has made a career vaunting her credentials as a courageous woman, challenging the hierarchy of the Church, seemingly unaware that in a culture that is already fiercely anti-authoritarian and which champions dissent in any form, her stance is not precisely one that merits the adjective courageous. The fact that her moral views track so neatly with the ambient secular culture's views suggests that any claim to a prophetic stance is also beyond her reach. She has become, to borrow a phrase from Cardinal George, a chaplain to the status quo.

Say What?

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This morning, at the corner store, I noticed phone cards for sale, one of which read: "CABAL - CentroAmerica."

"Cabal" is a uniquely British word. It started as an acronym for a group of British Lords who were determined to bring down the government of the Earl of Clarendon. Clifford (a Sir, not a Lord), Ashley, Buckingham (a Duke), Arlington and Lauderdale were the leaders and lent the first letter of their names to the word we now use to suggest any secretive conspiracy...or Central American phone cards.

Religious Bigotry & Mitt Romney

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I have been warning this would happen. Over the weekend, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and a leading light in the Southern Baptist Convention, disparaged former Gov. Mitt Romney on account of his religion, saying that Mormonism is a cult and that Christians should vote for fellow Christians instead of for Mormons. Jeffress made his remarks after introducing his buddy, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit, which was organized by Tony Perkins and his Family Research Council.

But Was He a Witch?

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FreedomWorks, the Tea Party group that supported a series of challenges to incumbent GOP senators in 2010, has disclosed that intends to back the campaign of Richard Mourdock against incumbent GOP Senator Dick Lugar. Lugar ran afoul of the Tea Party because of his votes to confirm Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as well as his decision to vote for the TARP legislation that President Bush proposed as the financial crisis hit.

GOP Takes Aim at Health Care for the Poor; CHA responds

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Yesterday, Politico reported that GOP Congressman Denny Rehberg thinks the "Super Committee" charged with closing the federal budget deficit should cut two provisions of the Affordable Care Act in order to meet their savings' goal. Rehberg suggested that Medicaid not be extended to cover more people and that the committee nix the subsidies to help poor people buy insurance.

Mystic Chords of Memory

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All week, events have conspired to pluck the mystic chords of memory, and each pluck reminds me of how unreal is the cultural and political sensibility that values only human autonomy, celebrates “self-made men,” and enjoys re-reading Ayn Rand. I use Cardinal Newman’s favorite derogatory expression, “unreal,” because it seems so apt: This hyper-individualism of our day does not bear any resemblance to the actual lives we live.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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