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The Real Health Care Fight


Jonathan Cohn knows more about health care, and the health care reform law, than just about anybody. He gives a long, detailed, and frightening analysis of how the legal efforts to attack the new law have a real chance at crippling it, unlike the Kabuki-vote that will happen in the House later today.
It is worth noting that his article appears in the New Republic, which has published most of Cohn's writings on the subject. Back during the debate over the Clinton plan to reform health care, TNR ran a scathing, and it turns out largely unsupportable, article by Betsy McCaughy that attacked the Clinton plan and was widely credited with helping doom the legislation. It was TNR's most irresponsible moment. Cohn's fine work has redeemed the magazine.

Camelot's End


There is nothing I can add to Colman McCarthy's beautiful tribute to Sargent Shriver. It seems fitting, however, that Shriver went to his heavenly reward just days before the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's inauguration as President.
This past weekend, while flipping channels, I came across a rebroadcast of Kennedy's Inaugural Ceremmony on C-Span. How different the temper of the times were then from today! The call to sacrifice and service has vanished from our political speech. The sense of national possibility and purpose is a rare commodity. This is the first Congress in more than fifty years in which no member of the Kennedy clan is serving in the U.S. Congress and although the heirs to Camelot, too, lacked the forceful vision of JFK it is sad to think that this family which personified public service is not represented in either chamber of our national legislature.

USCCB Writes To Congress


The USCCB yesterday released two letters to members of Congress. The first from newly installed USCCB President Archbishop Timothy Dolan outlined the conference’s objectives for the upcoming Congress. The second letter, sign by Cardinal DiNardo as head of the Pro-Life Committee, Bishop Stephen Blaire, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Archbishop Jose Gomes, chair of the Committee on Migration.

Dolan’s letter certainly breaks no new ground, although the inclusion of an entire paragraph dedicated to Internet access was curious. The letter perfectly shows how most bishops prioritize their socio-political agenda: They lead first with their concern to protect life, followed closely by their concern to defend traditional marriage, and then they take up a variety of concerns about social justice and the poor that range them more on the political left than the political right. The most disappointing aspect of the letter is that immigration comes near the very end, as if it was not a real priority for the bishops and a pressing issue for the country, more than, say, internet access.

Canonist Says Deacons Must Refrain From Sex


I will say one thing for Canonist Ed Peters, he is not afraid to cause a dust-up. He has posted an article in which he argues that canon law requires married deacons to refrain from sexual activity with their wives once they are ordained. He also suggests that the canons would make a similar demand of the newly ordained ex-Anglicans in the Personal Ordinariate set up in the UL and soon to be established in the United States.
Peters may be right about the canons, but that only shows why we, as a Church, turn to the canons when we must and no sooner. I am all for "continence," but the entire class of current deacons were ordained with a different understanding of their obligations from those Peters suggests the canon law requires. Surely, this is an instance when it is best to let sleeping dogs, and sleeping husbands, stay sound asleep.

Catholic Charities Bestows Its \"Keep the Dream Alive\" Awards


Yesterday, at a Mass at St. Aloysius Church here in Washington, Catholic Charities USA had a Mass at which its annual "Keep the Dream Alive" Awards were bestowed. The recipients were: Joshua DuBois, head of President Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Marguerite Harmon, CEO of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona; Maria Odom, Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network; and Jean Hale, parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Peace parish in Washington. Bishop Leonard Olivier, retired auxiliary of Washington, presided at the Mass.

Abp Dolan on Immigration & Politics


In a letter sent to his priests, New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan was clear as clear can be about the Church's position on immigration. Dolan also indicated that he perceives the danger - a danger some of his advisors do not recognize - of the Church appearing to have a one-issue, or one-party, platform. As the President of the USCCB as well as Archbishop of the media capital of the world, Dolan is the face of the American bishops and, as I predicted when he was elected USCCB president back in November, Dolan will prove to be the kind of balanced, thoughtful leader the bishops need as they navigate the rough political waters here in the States as well as the ad liminas that begin in November.
Here, thanks to Rocco, whose post also includes Pope Benedict's remarks on immigration, is what Dolan said on immigration:

Obama's Problem


President Obama has a problem: According to a Washington Post poll released this morning, 78% of all Americans approved of his handling of the Tucson shooting, compared to only 12% who disapproved. Why should that be a problem? 78% is a pretty high number, no?

The problem is that President Obama earned those high marks because in the wake of the killings in Tucson, he was called upon to play the role of a head of state, to appear not as the spokesman for a partisan position or a political point of view, but to speak for the nation. And, he did it masterfully. The difficulty is that the modern presidency does not offer that many opportunities for Obama to act exclusively as head of state. Most times, he is also called upon to be the head of government as well, the leader of a political party involved in an often bitter struggle with political opponents.

Yahoo Watch: Washington Times


Over at USAToday, Cathy Grossman calls attention to an editorial by the Washington Times that defends Sarah Palin from her critics regarding her unfortunate, and historically feeble, use of the term "blood libel" to describe those who have criticized her polarizing language. Hard enough to defend her use of the term, given the fact that a few bad days of press coverage does not compare with the murder of Jews for which the real blood libel served as an excuse. But, the editors say that Palin has been subjected to a "pogrom" another historically loaded term linked to persecution of the Jews. To be clear, Jews were murdered in pogroms. Jewish women were raped in pogroms. Jewish property was vandalized or destroyed or confiscated in pogroms. Being chided by Keith Olbermann is not the same thing as a pogrom.

Gay Groups' Myopia


Several gay rights organizations are upset that the Justice Department has filed a brief, a somewhat lukewarm brief but a brief nonetheless, in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). They note, correctly, that as a candidate, President Obama opposed DOMA and advocated for its repeal. But, a campaign promise is not an oath, and the President's oath of office requires him and the Justice Department to defend federal laws. Gay rights groups are free to argue that DOMA should be repealed, although given the outcome of last year's election, I do not imagine the new House will put such repeal at the top of their to-do list. But, criticizing the President, who just went to the mat to repeal Don't Ask; Don't Tell, is bizarre and myopic. Do they really want to set the precedent that a President can choose which laws to enforce and which to ignore?


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