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!
I don't usually blog on the weekends, but I was provoked.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The American Life League has a new video out, touted on the website American Catholic, that offers one of the more bizarre interpretations of why the health care reform bill passed earlier this year. The culprit? The USCCB.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh has an interesting post up at the USCCB’s media blog. Someone asked her if the Church’s child protection efforts were going overboard, requiring even church ushers to be finger-printed.
Sister Mary Ann’s post brought to mind an incident that happened here in Washington. A priest was removed from his pastorate after credible charges emerged that he had sexually abused children. A new pastor was appointed and he was greeted with great hostility by many of the flock who refused to believe the charges and wanted their old pastor back. None of us wants to believe the worst about people we have grown to love. But, that normally commenable human instinct must give way before the evidence of sex abuse.
As important as it is to enact policies designed to protect children, the goal of those policies is to change the culture that permitted the abuse in the first place. The whole Church – the hierarchy, the clergy and the laity – must recognize that there is no such thing as going too far to protect children.
NPR’s “Morning Edition” had a great segment today on the Euro and efforts to unite Europe more generally. It noted that national traditions persist, but that the economies that use the Euro are now so intertwined, there is no going back. The issues engaged are profound and, as is typical of NPR, well considered in the segment.
But, my memory registered a less profound complaint against the Euro. It used to be so much fun buying things in Italy because the Lira was denominated in such a crazy way. Roasted lamb at a restaurant was 45,000 Lire. A new leather jacket was 2 million Lire. The difficulty in figuring out how to translate the price was hugely and happily off-set by the thrill of ordering something that cost 2 million of anything.
This week, we have been discussing the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Today, we hear from Tony Yang, a lecturer at the University of California at Riverside.
The question: What is the bestreason to vote to confirm, or not to confirm, Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court?
As I was working out at the University of California, Riverside’s Student Recreation Center, a large crowd of students, thirty or so, gathered around the television at 6 o’clock on a Thursday evening. Everyone waited with breathless anticipation as “The Decision” was announced, and LeBron James shook the basketball world by announcing his intention to join the Miami Heat. While I too was engrossed in the drama of the NBA off-season, I felt a twinge of conscience.
Almost since the end of the Inaugural Parade, liberals have been carping that the Obama Administration was not doing enough, not pushing through sufficiently progressive policies, not enacting the “change” these same liberals thought they were voting for.
Yesterday, the Congress passed an overhaul of the financial sector that can only be considered historic. Obama has already signed health care reform into law, a goal that has eluded previous Democratic presidents, and one Republican, Richard Nixon, for more than fifty years. He enacted a stimulus bill that not only saved millions of jobs, it played a key role in stopping the free-fall the economy was in last year, showing that the government would do what it takes to confront the crisis. There is still hope that this year the President will sign climate change legislation and immigration reform. What more do liberals want?