The phrase "fog of war" describes perfectly the difficulty military leaders have in ascertaining the facts on the ground. It's certainly at work in Libya. Conflicting reports detail who is advancing and who is retreating, where the bombs are falling and at whom the tanks are shooting. But the thickness of the fog is not a mere consequence of battle. It is a consequence of politics. The fog in Libya stems primarily from the fact that the goals of the military operation are themselves shrouded in uncertainty.
The idea of Temperance has a long and proud and important place in Catholic teaching. But, that place must leave exceptions and one of those exceptions is the time around St. Patrick's Day. But, that is when Catholic University scheduled a panel discussion on Temperance. Bad idea. Only fifteen people showed up. You can read about it here. But, be prepared to laugh really hard.
The White House has released a new "fact sheet" that looks at some pressing issues relating to women's health issues and how the Affordable Care Act will help to address those issues.
The more people learn about the actual law - not the overheated caricature of the law found on certain right wing sites and at Fox News - they are going to see the value in it.
Still, the administration has to understand that for all the good policies in the law, their sales effort needs a human face. They need to find the five year old with a pre-existing condition who had previously been denied coverage and let him become the face of health care reform. Let him do for health care what Ryan White did for AIDS funding. And, not unimportantly, then make it seem like the GOP is not attacking this proposal or that, they are attacking that little boy.
George Weigel's weekly - and weakly - column is posted at InsideCatholic today. His topic: Unions? My topic: What planet is Weigel on?
He writes: "The right of workers to organize to advance their interests is not in question." Well, actually, George, that is precisely what is at issue in Wisconsin and Ohio and a host of other states where the Tea Party has sunk its teeth into the GOP. The new laws in those states strippes unions of their right to collectively bargain. That is why workers organize themselves in the first place. They do not organize to throw a party. They organize to protect their rights and promote their interests, and they achieve that through collective bargaining.
Jonathan Cohn knows more about health care than any other five journalists put together. Over at TNR, Cohn looks at the Affordable Care Act one year after it passed.
Friday will mark the 100th anniversary of the tragedy at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, in which 146 people, mostly poor immigrant Jewish and Italian women, including a fourteen year old girl, were killed in a fire at a sweatshop in Greenwich Village, New York. That is not exactly right. Just as it was not Hurricane Katrina but the failure of the levees around New Orleans that caused the flood in that great city, at Triangle, the problem was not just the fire, but the fact that the fire escapes were inadequate and the additional doors to the building were locked from the outside to make sure none of the workers could exit with any pilfered fabric. In the event, they did not exit at all. The workers died.
BBC has a report out on a new study that predicts religion will become extinct in nine countries. The study applies mathematical models to human behavior. Hmmmm.
In the Good Book, we read in the story of Nicodemus, that the Spirit blows where it will, and that like the wind which moves the leaves of the trees, we know not whence it comes or whither it blows.
But, in the modern research university, the Spirit cannot be measured mathematically and so we get reports like this. The editors at the BBC, I presume, are like most news reporters and editors. They consider the Church to be the Easter Bunny with real estate. But, me thinks there is more than a little evidence of the tooth fairy at work in studies such as this. Reductionism, even mathematically precise reductionism, is an affront to human knowledge, not evidence of that knowledge at work.
Fox News suggested that CNN's Nic Robertson and other reporters had been used by Lubyan dictator as a "human shield." This is, as Robertson has replied, nonsense. Robertson goes on to note that he sees the Fox News reporter at breakfast but not on tours of the capital city.
How many more lies does Fox have to perpetrate before they lose their right to be considered a news outfit?
As always, the supple and penetrating mind of Professor Mark Silk looks past the headlines to raise important question about the role of religion in culture. He asks what the armed intervention in Libya means for the theology of jihad in a post today at Spiritual Politics.
The Public Religion Research Institute this morning released a new survey of polling data regarding Catholic attitudes towards same-sex issues. The report indicates that Catholics are more supportive of same-sex marriage and other gay rights than other American Christians.
According to the report, which was based on several surveys, 43% of Catholics support same-sex marriage and another 31% support civil unions, while only 21% of Catholics oppose all legal recognition of same-sex unions. By comparison, 16% of white evangelicals, 23% of black Protestants and 36% of mainline Protestants support same-sex marriage.
The survey also found that if the pollsters specified that same sex marriage would be defined as a civil marriage (“like you get at city hall”), support among Catholics increases to 71%. As well, the survey indicates that Latino Catholics, the fastest growing part of the Catholic population, are even more supportive of gay rights than their Anglo co-religionists.