That is the question posed today by Ruth Marcus in an op-ed at the Washington Post. Marcus decides it is better to be a panda and I agree, not least because King Fu Panda was my favorite movie of the past several years. There is a histrionic quality to the cries for deficit reduction. These out-year deficit predictions are not the stuff of alarmism. Ross Perot built his candidacy on the issue in 1992, and he garnered a significant percentage of the electorate, but of course it was Bill Clinton who got the nation's finances in order, and he achieved that without resorting to the kinds of drastic cuts being talked about by the Tea Party and their congressional allies.
University of Pennsylvania Professor Marie Gottschalk has a wonderful essay, reviewing a new book about the death penalty, that is well worth the read.
It remains a scandal that America continues to indulge this barbarism. Gottschalk helps explain why and what can be done.
So, House Speaker John Boehner could not corral enough Republican votes to pass the continuing resolution, and so avoid a government shutdown, after 54 Republicans, all of them taking marching orders from the Tea Party, refused to vote for the CR. He had to turn to the Democrats to provide the votes needed to pass the measure.
As America winds down its war in Iraq and tries to figure out what to so in Afghanistan, what are the moral principles that should guide us? As Egypt considers the corruption of its newly deposed regime, questions of restitution and justice must be faced, but how? And, in Libya, the situation grows desperate and one of the things that keeps the West from effective action there is the fear that we can’t control the outcome, that the chaos that might follow the deposition of Gaddafi might be worse his tyranny, but is that fear capable of bearing the moral weight we are putting on it by failing to help civilians who are being slaughtered by a madman?
This article by Peter Montgomery details how some evangelical pastors think God is four-square against taxes. Who knew? The article would be funny except that it is so frightening.
John Gehring is a gifted writer and policy analyst who has made the Faith in Public Life website a must-read. Here is a fine post on immigration that he recently penned.
The Paulus Institute had planned to host a Traditional Latin Mass next month at the National Shrine here in Washington. Last year, you may recall, they had invited Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to celebrate the Mass but he declined at the last minute after letters emerged in which he had praised a bishop for not cooperating with civil authorities regarding their investigation of a priest-predator. Bishop Slattery stepped in at the last minute and presided at the Mass. It was beautiful in its way, not my cup of tea anymore than a folk Mass is my cup of tea, but, hey, it's a big church.
This year, Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was supposed to celebrate the Mass but he, too, at the last minute had to withdraw for what the press release from Paulus Institute termed "changed circumstances." Now, the Paulus Institute has cancelled the Mass entirely. Thus, began a flurry of activity at certain conservative blogs and the start of a conspiracy theory worthy of Oliver Stone.
Amidst all the crushing concerns of the world, from the earthquake-tsunami tragedy in Japan to the fresh outbreak of sex abuse cover-up in Philadelphia, to the normal ups-and-downs of quotidian existence, it is good every once in awhile to find something that lifts the human spirit. That something, this time of year, is known as March Madness.
College basketball is simply the best sport going in America today. The level of competition is unlike that found in any other sport. On any given night, any of the top twenty-five or even fifty teams can beat any other team. For something like eight weeks in a row, the team ranked #1 in the nation lost the following week and someone else claimed the top spot, only to be bested in turn, and bumped in the ratings the following week.
Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League for Civil Rights, has offered an apologia for the meltdown in Philadelphia, complete with the requisite fear-mongering about Muslims. This is not, as Donohue suggests, about the constitutionally protected rights of the clergy. The situation in Philadelphia is about the Cardinal-Archbishop's willingness ot ignore the Dallas norms adopted by the US Bishops in 2002.
I almost feel sorry for Donohue this is so lame.
Politico has a great piece today on the fact that the health care reform law enacted last year remains a source of great contention among the electorate.
The Obama Administration has done a very poor job promoting the new law.
They need to put a face on this reform. They need to find a five year old who had been denied coverage for a pre-existing condition but who now has that coverage because of the law. As I have pointed out previously, when America was introduced to Ryan White, the entire debate about AIDS funding changed. The Obama Administration needs to find their Ryan White for this new law. Not five faces. Not policy explanations. Not out-year deficit projections. A Human face.