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Great Minds Dept.

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William Galston has an article up at TNR today urging the President to embrace comprehensive tax reform as a signature issue for his re-election bid. In the event, I suggested precisely this two days after the midterm elections. I differ with Galston in his claim that this is the "only" way for Obama to survive in 2012. But, Galston is right to point out that Democrats must find a way to engage on this issue which, as we just saw, is not their strong suit.

A Conservative Voice In Favor of the DREAM Act

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Rick Garnett will be familiar to regular readers. A professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, Garnett also is the intellectual force behind the blog "Mirror of Justice" where he has penned a fine, conservative rationale for support of the DREAM Act, which passed the House yesterday. Glad to see someone on the right standing up to the crazy hatefulness that is being spewed at immigrants.

Abortion Battle in Iowa

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The Des Moines Register reports on efforts to pass a law in Iowa that will make it more difficult to perform late-term abortions and which could send the issue back to the Supreme Court.

Late-term abortions should be banned anywhere and everywhere. To be clear, I support the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human life in its entirety, but I can see why those who do not share our faith feel no particular sense of identity with, nor need to protect, a zygote. But, a six-month old fetus is a baby. I understand that the situations in which late-term abortions are even considered are tragic situations. I understand that a woman facing a risky continuation of her pregnancy, who might have one or more children already, would feel that she must have a late-term abortion to avoid the risk of her own death. But, I also have to say that there are tragedies in life for which the "remedy" is unacceptable, there are problems that cannot be surmounted.

Is GOP Keeping Kosher?

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The incoming GOP leadership in the House, like President Obama two years ago, has to assess how much their victory was an endorsement of their platform, and how much of it was simply a vote for indeterminate change. And, the people who will be watching most closely are not the Independent voters who tended to be seeking change at any cost, but the Tea Party activists who want very specific types of change. This ambition, alas, runs up against the ways of Washington.

To wit, the incoming Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Cong. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, has earned the sobriquet "Prince of Pork," over the years, requesting more than $246 million in earmarks over the years. Rogers has abided by the recent earmark ban the GOP imposed on its members,but you know where his heart lies.

To be clear, Rogers also represents Kentucky and there are parts of Kentucky that benefit greatly from an infusion of federal cash. Think of the TVA, for example. One man's earmark is another man's economic development plan.

DREAM Act Passes House & Heads to the Senate

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act last night by a vote of 216-198. I hope NCR readers not only know what the DREAM Act is about, but called their congressman to urge support for the measure, but essentially, the bill provides that children who were brought to America by their parents and are currently entering the military or college can follow a path to citizenship that does not require them to leave the country, wait for a visa, etc. It is almost impossible to imagine a bill that is more coherent with Catholic moral principles.

Last week, in his capacity as co-chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, Coadjutor-Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez wrote in a letter to Congress, “There are times when a proposal should be enacted because, simply put, it is the right thing to do. This is one of them. The DREAM Act represents a practical, fair, and compassionate solution for thousands of young persons who simply want to reach their God-given potential and contribute to the well-being of our nation.”

Yahoo Watch: Serviam's CINO Award

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CINO, like RINO, is meant as a call for a particular variety of orthodoxy. The letters stand for "Catholic in Name Only" or "Republican in Name Only." The blog Serviam is having a contest to pick this year's CINO Award winner and I am profoundly honored to recognize that NCR has made the list of finalists, along with Nancy Pelosi, Doug Kmiec, Joe Biden and America magazine.

I am tempted to go and vote for NCR. This is the same crowd that wanted to deny Sen. Kennedy a Catholic funeral and said Cardinal O'Malley spit on Christ for participating in that funeral. This is the same crowd that got out their red and gold pens to write off what the Holy Father said in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate. And, most recently, this is the crowd that thought Pope Benedict was "self-indulgent" when he made his remarks about condoms.

The Catholic Church is many things, but it has never been hospitable to this kind of Jansenism, this "faithful remnant" mentality.

Happy Feast USA

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Yes, Americans, this is our feast day. The Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States. But, there is a problem and we should recognize it and address it. Today may be a holy day of obligation, but it is not, as in Rome, a public holiday.

As John Allen points out in his column, many RCs do not even know that the Immaculate Conception applies not to the birth of Jesus without stain of original sin but to the birth of Mary without that stain! But, more importantly than any of these, there is the fact that today's feast day is entirely overshadowed by the festivities coming for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

So, a modest proposal. Rescind the decree that named the Immaculate Conception the patroness of the United States and place our nation, along with all the rest of the hemisphere, under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe and, at the same time, work to make the Immaculate Conception undertsood as the patroness of the universal Church.

Tax Cut Compromise or 2010 Stimulus?

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While liberals are weeping in their beer because the President agreed to a two-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts, they should take a moment to look at the rest of the deal. Because, the deal as a whole sure looks like a Stimulus Bill to me and, if the GOP wants to sign on to a Stimulus Bill, that's fine by me.

True, $79 billion is going to the super-rich, but $280 billion is going to middle class tax cuts. Additionally, there is $56 billion in unemployment benefits.

Tales From the Goofie Left: Michael Lerner

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If it be true of public men that they have a moral obligation to be intelligent, this is an obligation Michael Lerner has spent a career ignoring. Lerner is the rabbi-editor of the magazine Tikkun, who published an article in the Washington Post this past weekend arguing that the way to stiffen President Obama’s spine and move him further to the left is for progressives to find and fund a primary challenger. This, we are told, will actually save the Obama presidency by giving it a direction Lerner thinks it now lacks.

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April 11-24, 2014

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