Links: 'Pandora Papers'; wealthy donors interfere; the race in Virginia


U.S. dollars are seen in this illustration photo. (CNS/Reuters/Rick Wilking)
U.S. dollars are seen in this illustration photo. (CNS/Reuters/Rick Wilking)

In The Washington Post, the "Pandora Papers" investigation reveals the ways in which the global elite hide their profligacy from tax authorities and others. More wood for the populist fire. Why are the Democrats not raising taxes on the wealthy?

From "The First," the online journal of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, theologian Suzanne Mulligan from Maynooth University discusses the treatment of migrants in Ireland, specifically the "Direct Provision" housing that was intended to be temporary but in which migrants are sometimes left for 12 years. Mulligan explains why it needs to change and points the way forward by relying on that most essential quality of Irish identity, Catholicism!

In The New York Times, a disturbing account of interference by wealthy conservative donors into a program at Yale University. Historian Beverly Gage resigned as director of the Grand Strategy program when donors complained she would not bring in Henry Kissinger, among other difficulties they perceived. Universities need to establish a rule of thumb: You can give money for a specific purpose, but once it is given, it is not your money anymore. You might call the document Ex corde pecuniam. Administrators need to remind donors that professors should not, and cannot, be beholden to the whims of the donor class.

In Politico, Sabrina Rodriguez looks at the efforts by Virginia Democrats to woo Latino voters ahead of next month's statewide gubernatorial election. Trump improved his numbers among Latinos in 2020, and Democrats have been trying to figure out how and why. The key to winning Latinos is, in part, to recognize how much they are like other voters in that they care most about the economy and the pandemic. They also tend to a more aspirational view of the country and sometimes Democrats turn them off with the politics of grievance that emanates from too many putative spokespeople for the Latino community, especially those in academic life. Latinos are now 11% of the population in the Old Dominion and it is one of the most purple states in the land.

From the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas, Jim Henson looks at the early redistricting proposals as well as some other issues, e.g., Trump's favorable and unfavorable ratings in the Lone Star State are tied at 46%. Hensen's verdict on the redistricting — "there isn't a fig lead big enough to hide the naked self-interest on display" — will be apparent in other states also, but few redistricting proposals are as consequential as Texas because of its population growth and because it continues to inch towards magenta territory.

In The Washington Post, Harry Stevens looks at redistricting plans in three other states: Oregon, Indiana and Colorado. Unfortunately, but predictably, the state legislatures, filled with aspiring members of Congress, are intent on drawing more noncompetitive districts in which one party is virtually guaranteed a victory. This is terrible for democracy, serving only to strengthen the extremes in both parties. Any plan that increases the number of competitive districts earns my support — and should earn the support of those concerned about the future of democracy.

The 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 were appropriately somber but there was a bright spot – literally. The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas at ground zero, designed by Santiago Calatrava, was lit for the first time, a beacon of holy light at the spot that, along with Gettysburg, is now America's most hallowed ground. And it is stunningly beautiful. Designboom has the pictures.

Michael Sean Winters

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

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