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Tea Party Troubles

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Bad week – actually bad month – for the Tea Party. Not so long ago, their members were standing triumphant, having brought down conservatives Senators who were not conservative enough, like Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, and moderates like Rep. Mike Castle. In Kentucky, Florida, Wisconsin, and Utah, their Senate candidates won the general elections, although in Florida the movement had to split the GOP to do it. They were storming Capitol Hill, intent on shaking things up.

Then came the shooting in Tucson. It was not that the violent rhetoric or imagery had incited the gunman to his acts, as I argued at the time. But, the tragedy showed the nation precisely what a “second amendment remedy” looks like. Sharon Angle did not incite or invite the Tucson killing, but her original statement was crazy on its face, and should have precluded her from serious consideration as a candidate, because violence in politics is ugly, profoundly ugly and the Tucson shooting reminded us all of just how ugly it is. The discussion that followed Tucson left the Tea Party’s favorite Sarah Palin with a black eye as well.

Abp DiNoia's Homily at CUA Patronal Feast Mass

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As part of the festivities surrounding the inauguration of John Garvey as Catholic University's 15th president, today, the university community celebrated a Mass in honor of their patron, St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day is tomorrow. The homilist was Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Here is the masterful text:

Consumed by the Holy Mysteries of this Great Sacrament
+J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P.

Ephesians 3: 8-12 / John 17: 11b-19

In his premiere biography of St. Thomas, Gugliemo di Tocco wrote of the saint that “he celebrated Mass every day, his health permitting, and afterward attended a second Mass celebrated by one of the friars or some other priest, and very often served at the altar. Frequently during the Mass, he was literally overcome by an emotion so powerful that he was reduced to tears, for he was consumed by the holy mysteries of this great sacrament and strengthened by their offering.”

2 Daddies? How about 2 Capitalists? 2 Protestants?

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The National Catholic Register has an article about Cardinal Sean O'Malley's eminently sane decision to adopt a non-discriminatory policy for admission to Catholic schools regarding the children of same-sex parents. They repeat many of the arguments given by Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput who reached a different conclusion last year.

My favorite part of Chaput's argument was his point that "if parents don’t respect the beliefs of the Church, or live in a manner that openly rejects those beliefs, then partnering with those parents becomes very difficult, if not impossible." Well, the Church has many beliefs. Does Archbishop Chaput ask the parents of students at Catholic schools if they harbor any racist attitudes? If they are businesspeople, do they pay a living wage? Of course, Protestant and Jewish children are permitted in our schools, but they do not go to weekly Mass. Surely, this unwillingness to worship the Christ shows an open rejection of the Church's beliefs, no?

Blizzards and Computers

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Dear Reader - We did not get a great deal of snow last night, but we got a very heavy snow, heavy enough to evidently interfere with the delivery of electricity to my now quite cold and internet-less home. I am writing this morning from a nearby coffee shop with free wi-fi. Gonna head back and see if the electricity is back on and let the dogs play in the snow a bit so blogging may be erratic today.

Tough Choices? What Tough Choices?

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It is not a good sign when even the words politicians use to dodge issues are not merely cloudy, but deceptive. Both the President and those who have been responding to his State of the Union address have adopted the language of “tough choices” facing the nation.

These impending “tough choices” will only become more prominent as the news sinks in that the federal deficit is now projected to be even higher next year than previously thought. The Congressional Budget Office, yesterday, announced that with the lame duck session of Congress’s agreement to extend all the Bush tax cuts, the federal deficit this year is projected to be a whopping $1.5 trillion. That’s a big chunk of change.

The Real Problem with Bachmann's Speech

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All of Washington is abuzz with the fact that during her response to the State of the Union, Michelle Bachmann was looking at the wrong camera. This was indeed disconcerting.

But, the real problem was that when we turn into to watch Bachmann, we want her to be off the charts crazy and last night she was only mendacious. She twisted the unemployment numbers to make it look like they were the result of President Obama's policies, neglecting to mention the Wall Street inspired economic meltdown, a meltdown that was arrested first by George Bush's massive bailout and later by Obama's much maligned Stimulus Bill.

But, I wanted her to defend the statement she made the other day that the Founding Fathers did away with slavery, or her claim from a few months back that the Navy was dispatching dozens of ships to India for the President's visit there, or to at least offer some serious reservations about whether or not Obama was really born where he claims he was.

Or, maybe, just maybe, she could have dressed up as a George Washington impersonator? Maybe an Abigail Adams impersonator? What good is having a Tea Party response if it is only lame and not full-blown crazy?

Hats Off To Boehner and Lieberman

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Regular readers will know that I do not usually agree with the policies advocated by Speaker Boehner and that, as a native Nutmegger who has known Sen. Joe Lieberman for twenty years, I have little in the way of good feelings about him either. But, both men get high marks for their effort to revive the D.C. Opportunity scholarships which give much-needed tuition assistance to D.C. parents who send their children to private and parochial schools. I believe, and believe firmly, that government has a primary responsibility to educate the nation's children and that investment in education is money well spent. But, for a variety of complicated reasons, the D.C. schools are a mess, and until they are better, no child should be made to suffer a bad education if we can find them something better at a private or parochial school.

Obama Gets a \"B\"

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I had hoped the President would break the mold for State of the Union speeches a bit more than he did last night. Shorter would have been good. And, the coherent moral argument I was looking for did not appear. Yes, as the President said, we want America to “win” but “win” is, like “hope” and “change” a little too vague and amorphous for my tastes, to say nothing of the political demands of the moment.

Through much of the debate, the president side-stepped the essential differences between his party and his opponents. When he says that “we must innovate” there is some discussion about to whom the “we” refers. The Republicans think that government is not a partner with the private sector in the effort to innovate, or educate, or create jobs, or anything else, but a hindrance to the private sector. Perhaps, Obama’s use of the word “we” with such imprecision touched the moderate chord he sought but I am not so sure. At the end of the day, elections are about choices and the person who defines those choices best tends to win.

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April 11-24, 2014

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