ActBlue, which bills itself as a nonprofit clearing house and fundraising organization, was reporting at 4:20 pm Eastern time today that 11,574 people had donated a total of $414,663, most in the last 18 hours, to Congressional candidate, Rob Miller, running against Republican Joe Wilson. Wilson, of course, is the congressman who yelled, "you lie" during President Obama's address yesterday.
You gotta love those South Carolina Republicans. First, Governor Mark Sanford took the most famous hike in the history of the Appalachians, which in his mind included Buenos Aires. Now, Congressman Joe Wilson is being roundly ridiculed for shouting out “You lie!” in the middle of President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress last night.
I wish to come to Mr. Wilson’s defense.
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
São Paulo, Brazil
tArchbishop Raymundo Damasceno leads the Aparecida archdiocese in Brazil, home to the famed Our Lady of Aparecida sanctuary visited by Pope Benedict XVI in May 2007. A former secretary general of the Brazilian bishops’ conference, he is now the President of the Latin American Episcopal Council, or CELAM, which opened its fifth General Conference in Aparecida with the papal visit.
tAll this makes Damasceno a fairly big deal in Latin American Catholicism, even if in person he’s actually fairly short and unassuming.
tDamasceno, 72, spoke today at a seminar on church communications in São Paulo. He ticked off a six-point program for communications which, he said, a Colombian journalist had once offered to CELAM:
1.tOvercome the idea that the means of communications are themselves communication. In other words, building TV networks, radio stations, and web sites is all well and good, but if you don’t have something compelling to say, building new and better ways to say it won’t accomplish much.
It was the conclusion of President Obama's address on health care that truly moved me. I heard strong echoes of Catholic social justice teaching, in both the words of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and in Obama's own embrace of the philosophy of the "common good."
Obama quoted a letter written in May by Sen. Kennedy reminding him that health care "concerns more than material things." "What we face," he wrote, "is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country."
President Obama yesterday called healthcare a "moral issue" only once, at the end of his speech before a joint session of congress. He did it, citing a letter he had received from the late Senator Edward Kennedy.
Here is what the president said:
NASA released this image yesterday, taken by the refurbished Hubble telescope:
For more photos click here:
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tMore than four years into the papacy of Benedict XVI, analysts have repeatedly pulled his track record apart and put it back together again, raising provocative questions about where the pope comes from and where he might be going. In that vast forensic exercise, however, one question often seems to loom above the rest.
Has Ratzinger changed his spots?
tThat is to say, has the lion of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the infamous “Panzer Kardinal” who polarized opinion like few other Catholic figures for the better part of 20 years, really metamorphosed into the lamb of Benedict XVI – seemingly a kinder, gentler, more optimistic figure? Or is such talk an illusion?
tTypically, those who answer “yes” mean it in terms of the categories of secular politics – that Ratzinger the archconservative has given way to Benedict the moderate. Today, however, one senior church official offered a version of the case for “yes,” but from a very different angle.
In the sphere of spookdom, nothing compares to "666" as a creepy portent, but today's date, 9-9-09, ain't too shabby. Futurists and apocalypticists are no doubt conjuring such matters even as I type. As in, how might it portend the nature of Obama's speech?
The President has many tasks in his speech tonight. But, the most obvious is that he must finally articulate his own plan for reforming health care. For much the past few months, people have spoken about “the President’s plan” and “Obamacare” when, in fact, what was being debated were a variety of bills being drafted by different committees in both the House and the Senate. Tonight, the President must make a compelling case for those parts of the reform effort upon which he is willing to stake the prestige and power of his office.