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E.J. Dionne Calls for Some Democratic Spine


E.J. Dionne's article this morning points to a central problem facing the Democrats: They seem scared of their own shadow and the Republicans have succeeded in winning the narrative about tax rates and their economic effects.

Here is the problem. Remember "voodoo economics?" That was what George H. W. Bush called the supply-side theories that have come to dominate Republican Party economic thinking. That was 1980. Now, in 2010, no one has seriously challenged the acendency of this point of view. The reason is simple: Democrats hate talking about taxes on the theory that if you go into the ballot box thinking of yourself as a taxpayer, you are going to vote Republican. If you go in the voting boot thinking of yourself as a worker, you are going to vote Democratic. Ergo, Dems should talk about workplace issues and wages and not about taxes. But if you let the other side do all the talking, you can't change the narrative.

Condomania Continues


Okay, the conservatives who once championed Pope Benedict XVI - and labelled journals like NCR "dissenting" or "unorthodox" and "cafeteria Catholics" - well, those conservatives are now in full meltdown.

Sandro Magister's latest article details the anger and hostility directed towards the Pope by people who have evidently forgotten the fact that the old line about being "more Catholic than the Pope" was always intended as a joke.
To wit, this from Ave Maria Univerisity's Luke Gormally: "It seems to many people I know that it is both irresponsible (because it creates confusion in the general populace about the exercise of the papal magisterium) and self-indulgent; self indulgent because it is a case of the Pope retreating to his ‘comfort zone’ of writing and talking while neglecting urgent tasks of governance."

Can you imagine what the comment section would look like if anyone here at NCR called Benedict "self-indulgent"?!!!???

Advent & the New Evangelization


I had not intended to spend the week speaking about Advent, but I have warmed to my theme. Monday, I argued in favor of Christian resistance to the commercialization of the Christmas season in part by focusing on the Advent theme of expectation, about which the Holy Father spoke so beautifully at last Sunday’s Angelus. Tuesday, I discussed the ways our commercial culture corrupts our souls in ways that make the celebration of Christmas impossible. And, yesterday, I looked at the distinctive Marian quality to the Advent season. Today, I wish to examine how the spirituality of Advent is uniquely suited to understanding what the “New Evangelization” means.

Hometown Boy Makes Good


Ben Smith at Politico is reporting that Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is going to head the Democratic Governors Association. O'Malley is my governor, so I feel some pride of place in his rise to national prominence. Additionally, he is a fellow alumnus of the Catholic University of America. If he is not yet on your shortlist of presidential candidates for 2016, he should be.

Q & A: Mark Silk on Palin-palooza


We continue our examination of a potential presidential run by Sarah Palin with comments from Mark Silk, a professor at Trinity College and author of the blog Spiritual Politics that has become daily reading for those of us concerned about the estuary where religion and politics meet.
Mark Silk:
No one should judge the likelihood of a major political figure running for president without visualizing that person getting up in the morning, peering into the mirror, and murmuring, “I could be looking at the next POTUS.” Based on such a visualization, I’d say Sarah Palin’s running.

Farewell to Sen. Dodd


Yesterday, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut gave his final speech on the floor of the Senate, where he has served for thirty years, following his father who served Connecticut as its senator for twelve years.
Dodd's storied career included principal authorship of such important pieces of legislation as the Family and Medical Leave Act, permitting family members to take time off after the birth of a child or during a major illness without fear of losing their job. He helped shepherd the health care reform law through the Senate after his great friend Sen. Ted Kennedy took ill and died. He has been a champion of aid to our brothers and sisters in Latin America throughout his career, starting with hiw own service in the Peace Corps.

Advent: Mary's Hour


Advent is the season in which the attention of the Church focuses most naturally on the Blessed Virgin Mary. In our own country, the seasonal focus on Mary is furthered by the coincidence of our nation’s patronal feast, the Immaculate Conception, falling within the Advent season. As well as the most observed feast of the year in the United States, Our Lady of Guadalupe, lands in Advent too: In my neighborhood, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the only feast commemorated with fireworks and they go on for a good fifteen minutes after the close of Mass.

Advent is the season of expectancy as the Holy Father said during his Angelus talk Sunday, and we all await the birth of the Savior, but Mary was the only one who was “expecting.” She was free from the stain of original sin, but not from the emotional or the hormonal or the social or the psychological anxieties that attend childbirth, and hers was an age when childbirth was a dangerous moment for both mother and child. This act in the human drama that we call Christmas can be seen in many ways, but it must always be seen first in a very practical, historical way, as a recollection of the birth of that child by that woman.


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