Bishop John Wester, of Salt Lake City, has issued his first pastoral letter, commending the kind of resistance to the encroachment on Advent by the commercialization of Christmas about which I blogged yesterday. Kudos to Bishop Wester.
This week at Q & A, we are looking at the prospect of a presidential candidacy by Sarah Palin. We are not the only ones doing so.
In a blistering op-ed at Politico, Joe Scarborough takes on the former Alaska Governor, saying in public what most establishment Republicans are too timid to say in private: Palin is a bad choice for the GOP.
I am having a tough time getting my head around the idea that the release of a bunch of diplomatic cables is "news." These documents are the stuff of historians and, even there, normal diplomatic channels are not what they once were. The White House takes the lead in most crucial foreign policy assessments, not the State Department. Ambassadors still play vital roles on issues like trade, but the hot button stuff is decided in the White House Situation Room. So, I doubted the cables being leaked would reveal much of any significance, the perturbed, angry protests of "wise men" like David Gergen notwithstanding.
Of course, politicians the world over, are notoriously thin-skinned and they may not appreciate the candid assessments the cables contain. But, pride has so thoroughly consumed the souls of most politicians, will they protest the indiscretions when such protests will only amplify and repeat the offense? I doubt it.
Yesterday, I mentioned the danger of allowing consumerism to swamp the true spirituality of the season and the need to actively resist that consumerism. Today, I want to expand on that a little.
For the discerning holiday shopper, a new DVD set that explains why enivormentalists, aka the "Green Dragon," are evil.
Tony Perkins et al. should be ashamed of themselves. You would think that people who are so eager to teach "creationism" in the public schools would be a little more solicitous of Creation. But, you would not be thinking like a modern day conservative politco, would you.
This week, at Q & A, we will look at the prospects of a Palin candidacy. I asked a group of experts to handicap her chances. Is she going to run? What is her greatest asset? Her greatest liability? And, what are her chances? First up, we hear from Colin McEnroe, host of the always entertaining WNPR talk show, "The Colin McEnroe Show."
Colin McEnroe: During the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Connecticut, I decided -- are you listening, Nate Silver? -- that we need a new term of art in polling analysis: the ICIT number. The acronym stands for I Can't Imagine That, and the number represents the percentage of voters who simply cannot wrap their minds around the idea of that job-seeker in that job. These people are unpersuadable by positive or negative advertising. They are not moved by debates or news developments. They haven't made a decision so much as rejected out of hand the idea that the candidate in question could ever hold that post.
The Congress has a large agenda for its lame duck session that begins today. But, of all the many things the Congress needs to consider, from tax cuts to the START Treaty ratification, none is more important than passing the DREAM Act that will permit those who were brought to this country without proper immigration papers as children, but who now wish to attend college or serve in the military, to become citizens. It is the right thing to do. It speaks to the "American exceptionalism" that the right always likes to crow about, a perfect example of the American Dream at work. It is an act of justice. It is a step towards resolving our scandalous immigration laws. And, for someone like Sen. Harry Reid, whose re-election was secured by the votes of Latinos, it is a a matter of political necessity.
It is Advent. Time to become a stiff-necked Christian. Seriously.
I do not share Bill Donohue’s seemingly boundless capacity for anger, righteous or otherwise, but I admire his campaigns to retain phrases like “Merry Christmas” and to resist the more anodyne “Happy Holidays.” I think most of the crèches you find on public property are poorly made and uninviting, but I think our First Amendment jurisprudence has gone overboard when it finds such displays unconstitutional unless surrounded by Santa, reindeer, a menorah, and Frosty the Snowman. I have never liked secular Christmas Carols, not any of them, not “Jingle Bells” or “Jingle Bell Rock” or “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” I was visibly upset when the local grocery store began putting out Christmas ornaments the week after Halloween!
Former Congressman Tom DeLay was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He could face life in prison and he should, but not only because he laundered money. He laundered money with the objective of influencing politics, of subverting the democratic processes by which the rule of law is given its legitimacy.
Recently, Congressman Charles Rangel was found guilty of violating House rules and now faces a censure from the whole House. His variety of corruption was the most pervasive, but the least dangerous, to our political culture. He did not play by the rules, failing to report income, and he used his congressional office to raise money for a chool that bore his name. In other words, he had the sense that the rules did not apply to him, but he did not seek to frustrate the electoral system nor to make a lot of money by trading on his name or influence.
My article on the election of Archbishop Dolan as president of the USCCB for The New Republic, has been posted here.