07 Feb 2015

Here’s What’s Behind the Criticism of Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast Remarks

President Obama’s remarks at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast have certainly stirred up the right wing. (See Charlie Pierce for a sampling, or simply plug “reaction Obama National Prayer Breakfast” into your favorite search engine.) On the surface, the criticism is over Obama’s use of the Crusades and the Inquisition as examples of violence perpetrated in the name of Christianity, when the Right would prefer he speak more harshly of Islam.

But the deeper anger coming from the Right is about something no one seems to be taking note of in his remarks, and we’ve seen the anger from the Right boil over on this very same thing emerge before. Can you say “Jeremiah Wright”? Sure you can . . .

31 Jan 2015

Of Twits, and the Brilliance of Romney’s Withdrawal Announcement

Theodore Worthington Ichabod Tumblington, known as “Twit” to his chums at The Club, is rather pleased with Mitt Romney for putting the Lessers in their place.

24 Jan 2015

Arthur Laffer is Not Laughing at Sam Brownback’s Budget

An anonymous tipster called me on a burner phone, and directed me to a row of round hay bales in a field outside Topeka. “Walk down the row, and when you find a pile of manure, look for an envelope. I think you’ll be very interested in what’s inside.”

Curious, I pushed back a bit. “Lots of things might interest me. What’s in that envelope that’s so special that I should go looking for a pile of manure?”

The voice on the phone laughed, hard. When it calmed down, the voice said “What’s in the envelope? Two things. I won’t tell you what the first one is,” — the voice snickered — “but the second one is a bill submitted to the State of Kansas from Arthur Laffer.” . . .

17 Jan 2015

South Dakota District Court Takes 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to School over Marriage Equality

It’s not often that a federal district court takes on an appellate court of a different circuit, but that’s exactly what happened earlier this week in South Dakota over state bans on marriage equality. Judge Karen E. Schreier of the South Dakota District Court ruled in Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard that South Dakota’s ban was unconstitutional, and in so doing, her opinion deftly took down the logic of the ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned a similar opinion in favor of marriage equality in DeBoer v Snyder coming out of Michigan.

It’s truly a thing of beauty.

10 Jan 2015

Oscar Romero, Martyr; Lovers of Authoritarians, Nervous

After years and years of delay for “prudential reasons,” a panel of Vatican theologians has declared that the late Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez of El Salvador is a martyr, killed for his faith while standing at the altar saying Mass. If Francis is looking to lift up a bishop who is a shepherd that smells like the sheep, he couldn’t find a much better example than Romero, and that has to make the lovers of authoritarians (inside and outside the church) nervous.

03 Jan 2015

Mario Cuomo, Pope Francis, and Not Preaching to the Choir

The obituaries of Mario Cuomo are filled with words about his 1984 speech at Notre Dame on religion and politics, but they seem to miss the fact that Cuomo’s approach of separating in-house debates of what is and isn’t moral from debates over how to act politically in the world has not only penetrated the thinking (and actions) of his conservative opponents, but also is the same approach being carried out by Pope Francis.

27 Dec 2014

One Hundred Years Later, We Still Haven’t Learned

The massive defense appropriations act included a tip of the hat to the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, declaring it to be the National WWI Museum and Memorial. It’s beyond ironic to appropriate billions for the making of war and in the same breath, honor the “war to end all wars”. Maybe a visit to the Liberty Memorial might help, with a little musical accompaniment from John McCutcheon.

20 Dec 2014

A Proportional Response

Yesterday’s remarks about North Korea at Obama’s press conference were nice, but something more is clearly needed. ?A well-placed source provided FDL with a document purporting to be a memo from Obama to his senior staff, drafted yesterday after the press conference. I have been unable to independently confirm its authenticity, as trying to do so would reveal my source — and we all know how well the WH likes leakers. The memo’s goal is to take the fight to North Korea in a new and different manner than has been done before. “People want a proportional response? Fine . . .”

13 Dec 2014

A Parable Comes to Life in Washington DC, Elizabeth Warren Edition

There are a lot of members of Congress who say they love a certain old storyteller, but after watching them at work these last few days, they sure don’t act like they love him — or hist stories.

06 Dec 2014

The Wisdom of Nobel Laureates on the Streets of Ferguson, Cleveland, and NYC

In 1953, George Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in part for the visionary economic program to rebuild Europe after WWII that bears his name. In 2006, Muhammed Yunus was given the same honor for his work to fight against poverty through microlending. In their Nobel lectures, both point to the limits of military force when it comes to creating a lasting peace.

When I look at Ferguson, Cleveland, and New York City, it’s clear that too few people share their beliefs.