Rod Dreher has a very balanced look at the recent burning of the Koran by a crackpot pretending to be a minister of the Gospel. Dreher correctly notes that the mob who killed the UN workers in protest over the burning of their sacred book are fully responsible for their crime. But, he also points out that pseudo-pastor Jones bears his share of moral, and specifically religious, culpability for the violence. Desecrating what someone else holds as sacred is inhumane.
E.J. Dionne has this analysis of the politics of the Ryan budget proposals, along with a plea to the President to engage in a little "class warfare" to confront Ryan.
Tiffany Stanley has penned a very smart and very moving defense of continued funding for AmeriCorps. What is ridiculous about this fight over the continuing resolution is that small programs that do a lot of good are being cut mercilessly while the bloated Pentagon budget is immune to the budgetary knife.
Last night's national championship was not, as almost all commentators are saying, an "ugly" game. The game showed what basketball looks like when you play defense, and both teams played defense so well, the game was low-scoring indeed, unlike an NBA game in which, unable to spell ythe word defense, they regularly score more than 100 points.
Of course, UConn did what it has done throughout the tournament: It found a way to win. Where did that baseline game in the second half come from? Never saw that before. Alex Oriahki stepped up big time to dominate the paint: Butler did not score a single point in the paint through the entire first half! And, of course, Kemba Walker had just enough of his magic, and the youngsters Lamb and Shabazz came through at key times, and UConn pulled off another national championship.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is introducing his budget for next year today. Compared to the fight over the continuing resolution that is going on still, Ryan’s proposals would change the direction of government in significant ways and they are the most serious proposal to address the nation’s long-term debt problem we have seen from any politician of either party.
It is easy to oppose the draconian cuts the GOP is seeking in the continuing resolution. They are trying to wring billions of dollars in savings out of the small sliver of the budget that covers domestic discretionary spending. It is like trying to cut your grocery budget, making all the cuts in the produce section: You will get scurvy. Rather than tackle defense spending and the tax code and entitlement reform, the Tea Partyers insisting on more cuts in the continuing resolution are proving themselves to be unserious.
Mark Silk, at Spiritual Politics, has the story of GOP House Majority Leader B.J. Bettencourt calling N.H. Bishop McCormack a "pedophile pimp," which is not exactly how I would put it, Bishop McCormack's involvement in the sex abuse cover-up in Boston notwithstanding. Now, Bettencourt has apologized, sort of, but still fails to draw the kind of distinctions that we more liberal Catholics get chastized for all the time.
In the event, Bishop McCormack is 75 now and will be retiring very soon. Mr. Bettencourt, who is only 27, should be encouraged to think about early retirement.
So long as our nation suffers under the idolatry of the market, and the superstition that higher taxes on the rich will harm the economy, we are destined to see cuts in government programs that help the poor. Over at the Tablet, Terry Philpot looks at how the Church in England and Wales is dealing with their government's budget cuts to such programs.
The University of Notre Dame has announced that this year's Laetare Medal, arguably the most prestigious award in the U.S., will be given jointly to Sister of Mercy Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon for their ground-breaking work as the founders of Project H.O.M.E. ministries in Philadelphia. H.O.M.E. stands for "Housing. Opportunities for Employment. Medical Care. Education." In short, this ministry stands for Matthew 25.
At a time when many are casting unfounded aspersions on the work of religious women, and when the church in Philadelphia has been wracked with controversy because of the misdeeds of its hierarchs, how wonderful it is to see Notre Dame hold up the great work of Sr. Mary and Ms. McConnon.
Over at The Atlantic, they have an interview with former Congressman Bart Stupak, the pro-life Democrat who was at the heart of the negotiations over the final language on abortion in last year’s health care reform bill. It shows why it is mistaken for some Catholics, and some bishops, to say that abortion is the most important issue in politics: The people they are addressing, the legislators on both sides of the aisle, certainly do not see abortion as the most or the only important issue.
I had seen reports that Donald Trump was dabbling in Birtherism, but I had missed the fact that he recently linked that particular conspiratorial zaniness with Islamophobia, another psycho-political affliction of today's right wing nuts. But, according the the Center for American Progress, Trump recently suggested that the reason Obama does not want his birth certificate to be seen is that it might indicate his religion as Muslim.
As they say, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.