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Dionne v. Alter

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Last Friday night, while assessing the President’s inability to translate his legislative victories into political capital, Jonathan Alter said that he thought the problem was that the President is not just incapable but downright allergic to the kinds of soundbites that would translate his complicated policy proposals into something the average voter can understand.

Yahoo Watch: Patrick Madrid

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Patrick Madrid is one of those “Catholic apologists” who would make me run as far from the Church as possible if I believed for a minute that his reasons were the best reasons to be a Catholic.

He has posted, evidently admiringly, an article about the incompatibility of yoga and Catholicism written by the late Father John Hardon, S.J. In the event, I know one U.S. bishop who performs an hour of yoga every morning before his morning Mass. In addition to the spiritual benefit, it helps with his bad back. Had Madrid taken the time to do a little research, he would have learned that some seminaries in India teach yoga, and as well all know, the curriculum of a Catholic seminary is approved by the Holy See.

Q & A: Kevin Appleby of the USCCB

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This week, we are discussing immigration reform. Our first interviewee is Kevin Appleby, the Director of Migration Policy and Public Affairs at the USCCB.
The question: What needs to be done to get immigration reform passed, and what are the prospects for passage?
Kevin Appleby:
Among the many issues confounding lawmakers and eluding bipartisan
support on Capitol Hill these days is immigration, perhaps one of the
most controversial topics in the country. Our elected officials in
Washington have avoided it like an unwelcome neighbor knocking at the
front door. Problem is, the knocks keep getting louder and louder.

The latest flashpoint in the debate is the recently passed Arizona law
SB 1070, state legislation which, among other provisions, under certain
conditions permits law enforcement to inquire as to an individual's
legal status. Whatever one thinks about the substance of the law, it
certainly has re-ignited the national debate and, most particularly, has
highlighted congressional dithering on fixing the nation's broken
immigration system.

For several years now, the U.S. Catholic bishops have advocated for

George Will Gets It Wrong on Puerto Rico

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George Will had a column on Sunday in the Washington Post about how Republicans can use the issue of statehood for Puerto Rico to bolster their standing with Hispanic voters. The article was dumb with a capital “B.” It read like a press release from the island’s pro-statehood governor.

The issue of statehood for Puerto Rico is enormously divisive on the island. As Will noted, in the three most recent plebiscites on the issue failed to garner even a plurality even favor of statehood. He notes that the pro-statehood governor and his party won a resounding election victory two years ago, but is evidently unaware that the issue of corruption was the dominant concern, nor is he aware of the deep, and vicious, divisions within the pro-statehood primary.

Don't Miss...

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I don't usually blog on the weekends, but I was provoked.
Saturday, I posted on a breathtakingly good essay in the Tablet by Tracey Rowland entitled "Raztinger the Romantic."
Sunday, I posted on a breathtakingly ridiculous essay by Maureen Dowd in yesterday's New York Times.
I hope both postings will stir the pot a bit and provoke some powerful comments from readers!

Planned Parenthood Attacks Obama

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Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, sent out an e-mail letter last weekend attacking the Obama administration because it re-stated explicitly that no federal funding could be used to cover abortions as the new health care bill is implemented, except in those cases permitted by the Hyde Amendment, namely, rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is threatened. She addresses the issue of high-risk pools being set up in all 50 states and about which I wrote on Friday.

MoDo's Latest Inane Screed

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Maureen Dowd is back in her pulpit. But the once glamorous and sharp-witted writer is now a tired and un-illuminating peddler of invective and stupidity. Her latest column, “Rome Fiddles, We Burn” is, as the title indicates, off-key. Ms. Dowd: if you go to Rome, you can visit the catacombs where the actual victims of Nero’s anti-Christian persecutions are buried. Benedict is not Nero, and Dowd is not an early, or latterly, Christian martyr. Martyrs suffer and it is we who suffer Ms. Dowd’s prose, not she.

Ratzinger the Romantic

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When I grow up, I want to be able to write an essay as lucid, thoughtful and incisive as that penned recently by Tracey Rowland, Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, and published in last week’s Tablet. The Tablet, which graciously allowed me to reprint the essay here at NCR, always offers some of its content on-line for free but it is worth getting the subscription so you can read it all. I confess my bias – I frequently write for them – but, in addition to their provocative essays, they have a commitment to strong writing that always makes it a joy to read and distinguishes it from most magazines.

Blast From the Past: FDR & Financial Reform

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Earlier this week, we had a quote from FDR’s first inaugural address. This is from his 1936 speech accepting the nomination of the Democratic Party for re-election. With President Obama poised to sign the financial reform regulation, it is good for Democrats to remember our roots:

“Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital – all undreamed of by the Fathers – the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service…The privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control of government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor and their property…Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of the Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what is was. The election of 1932 was the people’s mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.”

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September 12-25, 2014

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