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Political Accountability

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In this morning's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne points to the screams that came from the right when President Obama proposed a bailout of the auto industry. But, those critics have been strangely silent now that the bailout has demonstrably worked, with, for example, GM posting increased revenue and profits when it was facing bankruptcy just two short years ago.
The idea that government can only make things worse is a false idea, but the conservative anti-government idolatry is impervious to a little thing like facts.

Olmsted: Shoot the Messenger

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Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix was upset about the results of a survey, conducted by one of the most respected researchers in the business, former CUA professor Bill D'Antonio, that indicated most Catholics in the diocese of Phoenix thought Olmsted's on-going fight with St. Joseph Hospital was misguided. The local paper reports: "During a news conference Friday afternoon in Scottsdale, Olmsted, who serves on the board of Catholic University of America, dismissed the survey findings, saying the surveyor no longer works for the university.

He also said those who participated in the survey were probably influenced by the secular press' coverage of the matter and don't 'know the situation' of the case."

USCCB To Senators: Protect the Poor

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Writing on behalf of the USCCB, Bishop Stephen Blaire, head of the committee on domestic justice and Bishop Howard Hubbard, chair of the committee on international justice and peace, sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate urging them not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. The forceful letter harkens back to the early day's of the bishops' conference, when Msgr. John A. Ryan boldly articulated the Church's social teaching in defense of the New Deal. Last week, I had the chance to meet both Bishop Blaire and Hubbard at the Rerum Novarum conference and came away very impressed by their commitment on these issues. You can read the text of the letter here.

Pakistan & Augustine

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If you are a generally optimistic person, if you find the glass always half full, and share either an acute belief in divine Providence or an Enlightenment confidence in the human mind’s ability to solve the riddles of the world, think of Pakistan. It will make an Augustinian out of the most cheerful of souls.

Most people deploy the adjective “Augustinian” to suggest a dreary, depressing way of thought, the capacity to miss whatever silver lining exists in a cloud, the knack for expecting the worst, a dark vision of human nature. This is not entirely true, I think. I recall a brilliant theologian once explaining to me that when St. Augustine writes that even the marital act, open to procreation, between a husband and wife who could not be more in love, even that act is not unstained by concupiscence, Augustine is really telling us something very liberating. When I finished laughing, I realized that the scales had fallen from my eyes and I have never used the adjective “Augustinian” since without thinking of that story.

Goofiness From the Left

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I am never shy about calling out goofiness when I discover it on the right. Michael Moore characterized the raid that killed bin Laden as an "assassination" and said that the event tole some of America's soul.
I suppose it is easy when you make movies for a living to second-quess a group of Navy SEALS, deep in a foreign country, facing the world's most famous mass murderer, in a room with a bunch of weapons, about the modeus operandi. Easy and wrong and beastly.

& You Thought Palin Was Funny....

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Herman Cain trashed President Obama last night during the GOP debate for being "weak" and even for "jeopardizing" the mission that successfully killed bin Laden last Sunday. Here is what he said: "
"He sat on the [Afghanistan] surge decision for months," Cain said. "We don't know how many men and women might have been killed while he was waiting. We don't know how much it jeopardized this latest mission to get bin Laden because he waited 16 hours to make the decision. When you've got a mission that is that precise, down to every little detail, a president that procrastinates puts people's lives in jeopardy."

Sec'y of Labor Marks Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

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This year, the calendar kept us from celebrating the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. It fell on Divine Mercy Sunday, the day the Church beatified Pope John Paul II, which seemed fitting given the late pontiff's commitment to labor.
But, the Faith & Politics Institute nonetheless held its annual St. Joseph the Worker Breakfast at which Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis gave the following speech:

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis
May 5, 2011
The Faith & Politics Institute
St. Joseph’s Breakfast

Thank you, Robert. For your work here at the Faith & Politics Institute—and all of your efforts to promote democracy around the world.

Thank you, Rev. Farr. For 14 years, your organization has brought together important national leaders to celebrate the dignity of work.

The St. Joseph’s breakfast is such a special event, because it unites political leaders, business leaders, faith leaders and labor leaders for a morning of insight and reflection.

I am so encouraged to see the labor movement unified and ready to fight together for economic justice.

Today, we remember 9/11 as a wake-up call to do more to protect our homeland.

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