Over at The New Republic, Simon van Zuylen-Wood gives a minute-by-minute look at how CNN's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin set off a media frenzy last week. Toobin has long seemed to me to be more interested in journalistic spin than in judicial accuracy, a talking head who wants, above all, to keep himself in front of the cameras, but last week he outdid himself, arguing that oral arguments don't really matter and then explaining why oral arguments mattered, all within a matter of minutes. Stunning.
Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Dominican Archbishop of Vienna and long-time confidant of Pope Benedict XVI, seems to have a knack for creating controversy, but, in this case, also an evident knack for being a human being.
The GOP Veep stakes have begun. As Mitt Romney appears likely to sweep today’s primaries, especially in the critical state of Wisconsin, all eyes have begun to shift from his battle for the nomination to his November fight with President Obama. And, the first “presidential decision” a candidate makes is to choose a running mate.
The choice is always important because it can allow a candidate to jump start his or her campaign and few candidates need more of a jump start than Romney. Given the negative campaign he has run, the primaries have only served to lower Romney’s favorable ratings. And, given the nature of the GOP base, the primaries have forced Romney into ever increasingly uncomfortable positions, further to the right than he would have liked to be sure, but also positions at odds with his own record. And while his campaign strategists may think the electorate is like an etch-a-sketch, many voters, aided by Youtube videos, have longer memories than can be offset by a quick hit of the reset button.
Tom Rosshirt has posted what we hope will be the first of many op-eds at Creators.com, a website with which I was previously unfamiliar. But, I was familiar with Rosshirt, a man whose prose I have long envied and whose thoughtfulness I have long cherished. In this first posting, he exposes the idea that Sen. Santorum is immune to the kind of "moral gerrymandering" that the right habitually accuses the left of performing. Well worth the read.
On Friday, the USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief, supporting the Obama administration's efforts to overturn an anti-immigrant law in Arizona. The USCCB opposes the law on the merits - arguing that it ignores the fundamental human dignity of immigrants and that it also subverts one of the goals of a well-constructed immigration policy, namely, keeping families together.
But, what is really interesting is that the last part of the brief objects to the Arizona law because it infringes on the religious liberty of the Church. The brief states: "The Catholic Church’s religious faith, like that of many religious denominations, requires it to offer charity—ranging from soup kitchens to homeless shelters—to all in need, whether they are present in this country legally or not. Yet SB 1070 and related state immigration laws have provisions that could….criminalize this charity… [or] exclude from that charity all those whose presence Arizona and other states would criminalize."
I always try and give a bishop the benefit of the doubt. They make mistakes. I make mistakes. But, bishops are successors of the apostles, and I am not, and that status alone makes it incumbent upon the rest of us Catholics to take their words to heart even if, in the end, we find ourselves reaching different conclusions. Always, we should respect these men and the office they hold, not from us but from Christ, and treat their words and their deeds with similar respect. But, the decision of Bishop Robert McManus to forbid Vicki Kennedy from giving the commencement address at Anna Maria College makes it really, really hard.
Leon Wieseltier has an essay posted at the New Republic that serves as an invitation to everyone to think more clearly about the stakes involved with Iran's effort to gain a nuclear weapon. And, he makes some fine points about the limits of rationality along the way.
TNR recently announced that they were removing the firewall that had previously left some of their content, and all of Wieseltier's essays, available only to paid subscribers. I hope readers will avail themselves of this new, free resource. I can't say I always agree with Wieseltier but I can say that he always makes me think more deeply about any issue he addresses. And, his writing is the gold standard for editorial journalism.
This morning's Washington Post has an article on the debate in the UK about gay marriage, specifically the fact that the issue is being pushed by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.
“I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative," Cameron recently said explaining his position. Those are words one is unlikely to hear from, say, Rick Santorum or other U.S. conservatives anytime soon.
Unless you live in Nigeria, or take a special interest in that nation’s politics, you probably had never heard of Boko Haram until last Christmas Day when the group bombed several churches killing some 41 people. On the day when Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, Boko Haram intruded with sectarian violence of the ugliest kind, premeditated and indiscriminate, the planned killing of women and children when they were harming no one.
At Catholic University next month, a symposium will be held to examine Boko Haram and the challenge the group poses to Nigeria’s national unity. I asked the symposium’s organizer, Fr. Aniedi Okure, O.P., how “Boko Haram” translates into English. “Western Education is Sinful,” he replied. "Actually, the word 'abomination' is closer to the meaning they intend."
If it's springtime in DC, with the weather changing daily, or even hourly, guess who is going to come down with fever and chills! I am getting back into bed but we'll see how the day goes. Hopefully, I will be feeling up to posting later. For now, hot tea, which I hate, lots of juice, which I like, an the homemade chicken stock is defrosting.