Mick Mulvaney, then chief of staff for the Trump White House, speaks April 23, 2019, during the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)
In The Washington Post, columnist Dana Milbank looks at Koch Industries' decision to continue doing business with Russia, despite sanctions and the decision by most corporations to refuse to do anything that might support the regime pursuing an evil aggression against its neighbor. Milbank, as is his wont, delivers one of the best ledes of the year: "Give Koch Industries credit for consistency: It's aiding the foes of democracy at home and abroad." Bravo, and scary.
Also in the Post, columnist Greg Sargent writes that Donald Trump's handpicked candidate for the Georgia governorship, former Sen. David Perdue, is lagging behind incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp. Kemp refused to help Trump steal Georgia's electoral votes in 2020. "If Perdue loses, it will be a comeuppance for one of the sleaziest political hustlers we've seen in some time," Sargent writes. "Perdue's argument basically amounts to pitching himself as more willing than Kemp to debase himself and corrupt our democracy for the Trumpist cause." You do not have to be a fan of any of Kemp's conservative positions to hope he defeats Perdue, and that other Trump-backed candidates lose in the upcoming primaries. Conservative Republicans may try to buy elections, but they do not try to steal them.
In The Guardian, a report that Russian troops are booby-trapping homes as they retreat from the suburbs of Kyiv. This is not surprising as it is standard KGB tactics, and it was something the retreating Soviet forces did in Lithuania when they left in 1990. The Russians also continue to obstruct the efforts by civilians to evacuate Mariupol. "We are running out of adjectives to describe the horrors that residents in Mariupol have suffered," Red Cross spokesperson Ewan Watson told The Guardian. It is all too horrible but, whatever else we do, we must not avert our eyes.
From National Public Radio, a look at Chris Smalls, the head of the Amazon Labor Union, who was fired two years ago and then led the effort at the company's Staten Island, New York, warehouse to form a union. Amazon even had him arrested for trespassing at one point. Last week, that warehouse became the first Amazon workplace to vote for a union, an important and hopefully seminal victory.
At Politico, the inimitable Jack Shafer, senior media writer, brings a bit of perspective to the hoots and hollers against CBS for hiring former Trump aide Mick Mulvaney. Best line: "While I wouldn't hire Mulvaney to fish the moldy leaves out of my eaves, if the co-president of CBS News thinks a man of such low repute will help him capture some scoops, well, that's journalism." As always, Shafer gives a brutally honest take on the media and its pretensions.
At the Sacred Heart University blog on church reform "Go, Rebuild My House," Orbis Books publisher Robert Ellsberg offers a powerful reflection on the canonization process for Dorothy Day. He examines her famous statement, "Don't call me a saint; I don't want to be dismissed that easily," and what it might have meant, if indeed she actually said it. Ellsberg hits on a key theme, one that theologians should consider developing at some length: What is the relationship between idealization and holiness? Are not "ordinary" people called to, and capable of, holiness?
At Business Insider, a new poll, conducted by a higher education advocacy group and a progressive communications firm, found that 45% of likely voters in key swing states would be "somewhat or much more likely" to vote for President Joe Biden if he forgave $10,000 in student loan debt. As one wag noted on Twitter, "Let me see the numbers on giving everyone $10k." If you really, really want to anger working-class voters, forgive student loan debt and watch the backlash. I can't think of a single proposal that would be more likely to get Trump back into the White House.
The University of Notre Dame's new football head coach, Marcus Freeman, is reintroducing the game day Mass. Bravo! At the end of the day, any discussion about Catholic identity ends pretty quickly if there is no attendance at Mass.