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Revisiting The Abortion Debate

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In the post-mortems for the narrowly averted government shutdown, and the negotiations that enacted a compromise on the rest of the fiscal year’s budget, another piece of evidence has emerged that Republican politicians are willing to be disingenuous when it comes to abortion legislation.

In Sunday’s Washington Post, Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican Congressman from New Jersey who is a leader in the pro-life movement. Cong. Smith was one of those who led the effort to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, a proposal that did not survive the negotiations after Democrats insisted that the funding not be removed. “You would think this is about women’s health care,” Smith told the Post. “It’s about abortion.” As evidence, he noted that Planned Parenthood provides nearly one-quarter of all abortions performed in America and, according to the article, Planned Parenthood’s “services for women were minimal compared with community health centers that focus on helping the poor.”

Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood?

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I understand that women's rights organizations that support Planned Parenthood are a critical part of the Democratic Party's base. But if, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insists, the GOP desire to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood is the last outstanding issue in negotiations to avert a government shutdown, Reid and President Obama should agree to the cut-off in aid and keep the government going.

Donald Trump is Now Pro-Life?

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I really don't care why someone changes their position from pro-choice to pro-life or, better to say, I am just always delighted when someone becomes pro-life for whatever reason. But, in an interview with David Brody, Donald Trump explains why he is now pro-life: A man he knows got his wife pregnant and he didn't really want the baby but they had it anyway and now Donald's friend just loves being a Daddy. Q.E.D.
Now, far be it from me to underestimate the power of a good story to move people to change their views, but it did jump out at me that Trump's tale barely mentions the happy mother.
It is difficult not to expect that the more proximate reason for Trump's conversion has to do with his wanting to be taken seriously as a GOP contender. Then again, by embracing the birthers, maybe seriously is not the best adverb to use when writing about Trump.

Jack Smith's Doug Kmiec Obsession

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We bloggers have to entertain at least a few obsessions. But, Jack Smith, the editor of the Catholic Key blog, which is the official blog of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph seems to have a particularly unhealthy obsession with Ambassador to Malta Doug Kmiec.

Smith has a post up that the makes a molehill out of a molehill. He notes that the State Dept. gave Kmiec a spanking because he has embarked on a variety of activities that are seemingly unrelated to his official duties as the conduit for bilateral relations between the United States and Malta.

Mind you, Kmiec is a man with a fertile mind and Malta is a country with a little more than 400,000 people, so I am sure the bilateral relations are not all that time-consuming. But, Malta has a rich history as a crossroads of civilizations, so Kmiec's work on inter-religious dialogue is better characterized as a deepening of his official duties, rather than a straying from them.

The Moral Authority of Bishop McCormack

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I posted earlier this week about New Hampshire’s House Majority Leader, D.J. Bettencourt calling Bishop John McCormack of Manchester, New Hampshire a “pimp.” And, again yesterday, I called attention to the fracas between Bettencourt and Bill Donohue. I was surprised a bit by the comments, many of which said, in effect, well, Bettencourt may be a blowhard but he is right after all. No, he is not.

Clete Kiley: The new labor priest

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It is not often that the words of a Catholic priest go viral within the progressive blogosphere, but this invocation at a labor meeting by Rev. Clete Kiley is getting a lot of attention, and rightfully so.

Just yesterday, I noted the need for the left to find its moral, ideological voice. Father Kiley, who carries on the tradition of Msgr. John A. Ryan and Msgr. George Higgins, has certainly found his voice. Pass it on.

Too Nutty for Fox?

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You know the old expression, "He is as nutty as a fruitcake!"? Well, I have never eaten a fruitcake, so while I understand the metaphor it never really resonates with me. I suspect there are many other non-fruitcake eaters out there. Well, now we have a better metaphor: Nuttier than Glenn Beck.
Beck is so nutty, he has been cut from Fox News' line-up. Think about that for a moment. You have to really try to be too nutty for Fox. They allow birthers to air their inane charges. They had Michelle Bachmann on to say, without being asked for any information to support the claim, that the entire U.S. Navy was being redeployed for President Obama's trip to India. On a nightly basis, Sean Hannity picks and chooses from his slim understanding of history to make tendentious points. Fox is Fruitcake Central.
But, Mr. Beck is evidently too much. I wish we had access to the internal memos. Was it the charge that both Presidents Bush, and their respective Joint Chiefs, declined to bomb "ancient Babylon" because of its role in the re-establishment of the Caliphate? Was it his attack on churches that preach social justice? Who knows. But, in the event, good riddance.

Catholic League vs. NH GOP

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As noted in the Morning Briefing, Catholic League President Bill Donohue has gotten into a verbal shoving match with a couple of GOP state legislators in the Granite State after Donohue attacked House Majority Leader David Bettencourt called Manchester Bishop John McCormack a "pimp." Betten court backed off but two of his colleagues piled on. The Catholic League took umbrage.
Forgive me the schadenfreude, which I know is a sin, and I promise to go to confession, but folks: This is like the Iran-Iraq war. You almost want it to go on for a bit.

In Congressional budget debate, ideology returns

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The budget proposals put forward by GOP Congressman Paul Ryan attest to a fact that has been somewhat obscured in our nation’s political life: Ideology is back.

The reason I say this fact has been obscured is that the Tea Party has not exactly been the kind of intellectually coherent movement the word ideology suggests. The ideology of the Tea Party has been “No.” It is now clear that the people standing behind the Tea Party do possess a coherent ideological stance and that stance has a name: Social Darwinism.

Cohn Takes on Ryan

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Jonathan Cohn at the New Republic explains the significance of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposals for the way we provide health care, especially to our elderly. Cohn is, as regular reads know, the smartest commentator on health care policy in the country. And, he sees the forest for the trees in Ryan's plan: This is not about improving health care costs. This is about letting the rich get richer and letting the vast majority of Americans fend for themselves. It is social Darwinism.

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