Links for 08/10/17

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Puerto Rico Capitol
Puerto Rico's Capitol building is seen in San Juan May 4. An oversight financial board filed paperwork May 3 allowing Puerto Rico to begin to restructure its $72 billion debt. (CNS/Alvin Baez, Reuters)

Some evangelical leaders who support President Donald Trump want to meet with Pope Francis, according to a report at Time magazine. I will have more about that tomorrow. But one of the evangelical leaders, Rev. Robert Jeffress, followed up with an announcement that God has given Trump "authority to take out Kim Jong Un." Now, I am the first to admit I would have no idea how to respond to the provocations from North Korea, nor do I think Presidents Barack Obama or George W. Bush did either. But, hey, announcing God has decided to get involved in the mess and has designated Trump as his agent? Yikes. 

The last thing Puerto Rico needs is austerity measures of the kind that crippled Argentina and Greece. But, the second-to-the-last thing Puerto Rico needs is the kind of libertarian economic "solution" proposed by Ryan Ellis at Forbes. It is interesting that the right wingers are now criticizing the financial oversight board even while the left wingers continue to do so as well, as exhibited in this piece at HuffPost. I will have more on the Puerto Rican crisis later this month.

If at this stage of his presidency Donald Trump had made himself known as the infrastructure president, he would be cementing not only some roads and bridges but a political realignment in the industrial Midwest. Instead, he is known as the crybaby-in-chief and it is our neighbor to the north that is moving ahead with infrastructure projects: The crumbling of the empire, literally and figuratively, continues.

At Commonweal, Rick Garnett evaluates the Supreme Court decision in Trinity Lutheran and concludes that "the decision's implications and impact remain uncertain." Agree or disagree with Garnett's analysis (and I mostly agree), you have to tip your biretta to anyone who manages to write "a cryptic footnote that commentators have been puzzling over like haruspices contemplating entrails." I am confident the number of Google searches for "haruspices" set a record.

At Crux, Austen Ivereigh writes about the apparent controversy I sparked by commenting about how tired I was of converts telling us the pope is not Catholic enough for their tastes. I am always delighted to have ignited a controversy: "Journalism" and "controversy" cling to each other like "bleak" and "Buffalo." (h/t to Auntie Mame) I am even more delighted when that controversy produces an elegant essay like the one Ivereigh has penned.

[Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]​

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