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Get Angry About Taxes

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According to an IRS study, the top 400 adjusted gross incomes in the nation, that is the super-super-rich, have seen their tax payments drop from 26 percent of their income in 1992 to 19 percent today.
So, the next time you hear some conservative bloviator complain about how we shouldn't even think of raising taxes on the super-rich, remember this: Your taxes and mine have not plummetted in the past two decades. Before they cut Medicare, why not make the rich pay what they owe, eliminate the loopholes that allow them to dodge taxes, and see if that doesn't go a long way towards closing the federal budget deficit!

The Coherence of Sarah Palin?

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Normally, the Anchoress provides thoughtful commentary on the issues of the day. I often find myself in disagreement with what she has to say, but she is not usually bonkers. But she has a post up in which she commends former Governor Sarah Palin for her "coherence" during a speech she gave in Wisconsin defending that state's Gov. Scott Walker. The Anchoress believes Palin evidences "wit, clarity and coherence." Watch the video and you be the judge.
I will say this. Palin certainly evidences sincerity, but she is sincere in the sense that she is the first to believe her own propaganda. When she stated that Gov. Walker "is not trying to hurt union members" she is simply lying. Aren't union members in a better position to assess what does and does not hurt tham than the man who is busting those unions?
If this is coherence, I am a Lutheran.

Holy Week

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Usually, my larger morning post focuses on politics or at least the estuary where politics and religion mingle. But, this is no usual week. This is Holy Week. And, so, I shall begin the next few days with religious reflections and make what I would consider more broadly cultural points, rather than strictly political ones.

Doug Kmiec Resigns

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U.S. Ambassador to Malta, Douglas Kmiec, has resigned. His resignation will take effect on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, allowing him to conclude several projects, including the opening of a new embassy compound this summer.

Kmiec's resignation comes in the wake of a report from the Office of Inspector General that claimed Kmiec was spending too much time on writings and speeches unrelated to bilateral relations. My colleague Joe Feuerhard has already dissected that report. It now appears that the "friendly fire" aimed at Kmiec was not that friendly after all.

Abp DiNoia: Thomas Jefferson & Thomas Aquinas

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As part of the festivities inaugurating Teresa Sullivan as the new President of the University of Virginia, Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship gave a talk at an inter-faith prayer service held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlottesville. Of course, at first blush, we might think that Thomas Jefferson, who founded UVA, must be rolling over in his grave at the prospect of a Catholic leading his university, even more so at the idea of a Vatican Archbishop coming to Charlottesville to participate in the festivities! But, as Archbishop DiNoia demonstrates, the fraternity of scholars crosses the ages and many other, and lesser, boundaries in his remarks "Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Aquinas: An Imagined Encounter."
Here is the text:

Imagine if the great Dominican theologian and philosopher Thomas Aquinas were to come here to Charlottesville to meet another great thinker whose given name he shared. What if the two Thomases, Aquinas and Jefferson, were, through some suspension of time, to dine together?

Maryland Does Right By Immigrants

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At a time when many states are busy enacting laws that seek to punish undocumented workers, the Maryland legislature this week passed a law that grants the reduced tuition rates for state residents to students who are not documented. Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to sign the law as early as today. How refreshing to find political leaders who are not scapegoating undocumented workers but seeking ways to integrate them into American society, allow them to get an education and become more productive, engaged citizens, and to simply do the right thing. The Washington Post has the story.

Boricuas in Florida

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There is great diversity within diversity and Florida's Hispanic population illustrates that fact: While Anglos tend to lump all those who speak Spanish together as "Latinos" or "Hispanics," there is great diversity within the Latino community and some of that diversity has political consequences.
In an article at Politico this morning, Molly Ball explains that much of the growth in the Latino population in the Sunshine state comes not from GOP-leaning Cubans in Miami but from Democratic-tending Puerto Ricans along the I-4 corridor that runs from Tampa to Daytona. She notes that Puerto Ricans are citizens, so the immigration debate does not directly impact them as it would Mexican immigrants or Salvadorenos, but the often racist language that some of the GOP electorate uses to address the issue of immigration speaks powerfully to Boricuas as well.

Fighting Against Facts

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The late great senator and public intellectual Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously said in debate, “You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts.” Facts are stubborn things or, at least, once they were. But, now they seem to be continuously used in such a highly selective fashion to make an ideological argument, it is hard to recognize the truth at times.

Garnett on the \"Ministerial Exception\"

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One of the most controversial church-state issues facing the country is how to apply laws that protect civil rights to religious organizations that have First Amendment rights to be free from government interference. Notre Dame law professor Rick Garnett, who is arguably the most thoughtful conservative Catholic scholar in the United States today (and I would make that argument), in an essay at Liberty Magazine, looks at the "ministerial exception" that allows churches to choose whomever they want as their ministers, free from any legal constraints imposed by the government.

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September 12-25, 2014

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