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Yahoo Watch: Rep. Paul Broun

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Congressman Paul Broun, R-GA, is sticking by a tweet he sent out after the State of the Union. He wrote that the President does not believe in the Constitution, he believes in socialism.
There is nothing new about rightwingers launching the charge of socialism at progressives, Democrats and, you will recall, Dwight Eisenhower. The John Birch Society considered Ike a communist dupe. The charge that someone doesn't "believe" in the Constitution, however, is of more recent vintage. The choice of verb is interesting, no? Does anyone "believe" in the Constitution? Is it a subject of belief? More importantly, what I suspect Mr. Broun means is that the President does not share his interpretation of the Constitution, but that is something different, and such distinctions are not unimportant. I do not share all of President Obama's interpretations of the Constitution, most obviously regarding Roe v. Wade. But, I do not doubt the President's commitment to the Constitution and it is yahoo-like to do so.

Marty Peretz & The New Republic

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Yesterday, the New Republic announced that Marty Peretz is officially stepping down as editor-in-chief, a title he has held since 1974. I never worked for Marty directly, but I am proud to count myself among those whose careers as a writer Marty encouraged. In my case, that encouragement came rather bluntly, as many things that came from Marty's mouth did. When I complained about a particular article in the pages of his magazine he said, "Well, you do not choose to publish your opinions." My first published essay appeared in the pages of the New Republic a short time later.

The Boston Tradition

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Walter Russell Mead has a fascinating essay, and a blessedly concise one too, on the Boston tradition of investing the state with moral import and significance. Mead goes back to the Puritans, through the Abolitionists, and up through the Kennedys in his analysis, showing how each group invested government with the mission of articulating, and furthering, the moral good of society. This essay is a fine rebuke to one of the commentators on my post yesterday about the National Catholic Register's article regarding the children of same sex parents attending Catholic schools. A "John F" expressed faux shock that "New England" should be so unconcerned with morals and truth. Alas, John F has it all wrong.

Phoenix: What if an H.E. Gets Sick?

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Among the things I learned this week, attending the inauguration of John Garvey as President of CUA, was that this year's annual scholarship fundraiser, the "American Cardinals' Dinner," is scheduled for early May in Phoenix. At these events, all the American cardinals come together in a different city for Mass and a $1,000 a plate dinner that raises money for scholarships. They are very festive occasions. I am sure that Phoenix was chosen because the owner of the Arizona Cardinals is a large contributor to the university.
Of course, such decisions are made long in advance, and the officials at CUA could not have known about the controversy that would soon engulf Phoenix because the bishop decided to de-Catholicize St. Joseph's Hospital. They are no longer permitted to reserve the Blessed Sacrament and no Masses can be held at their chapel. So, I have a question. What if one of the cardinals at the CUA dinner takes ill and has to go to the hospital? Can one of the Eminences say Mass at St. Joseph's?

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.

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