Arthur Laffer is Not Laughing at Sam Brownback’s Budget

By: Saturday January 24, 2015 10:00 am

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.” . . .

 

Oscar Romero, Martyr; Lovers of Authoritarians, Nervous

By: Saturday January 10, 2015 10:00 am

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.

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

By: Saturday January 3, 2015 10:00 am

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.

LIVE: President Obama Delivers Remarks on Shift in US Policy Toward Cuba

By: Wednesday December 17, 2014 8:54 am

President Barack Obama is making a statement on a shift in United States policy toward Cuba. The shift comes after US Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross and three members of the “Cuban Five” were freed from Cuba and the US in a prisoner swap. The Associated Press reports, according to unnamed US officials [...]

“Let’s not get ahead of the 19th century here or anything…”

By: Monday October 20, 2014 1:30 am

For those of you who’ve been mildly surprised with the almost modern reign of Pope Frank, the week started out pretty well.

Breeding Despair and a Culture of Separation in Gaza

By: Saturday August 2, 2014 9:20 am

In 2007, Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land spoke of the dangers of the wall of separation built by Israel: “This wall does not provide security, it breeds despair and a culture of separation. And it cannot contain the hatred and resentment that are building every day.” Fast forward to 2014, and the thoughts of the former head of Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, on the situation in Gaza only confirms Younan’s wisdom.

Pope Estimates 2% Of Priests Are Pedophiles, Questions Celibacy Requirement

By: Monday July 14, 2014 2:25 pm

Pope Francis marched into one of the Catholic Church’s most prominent scandals of the last generation, priests molesting children. Pope Francis compared pedophilia in the Catholic Church to leprosy and claimed that it had infected the Church. He went further to offer an estimate, provided in consultation with his advisors, that about 2% of the clergy are pedophiles.

Pope Francis Reminds Us That Capitalism Has an Ugly Face

By: Sunday June 15, 2014 10:30 am

We should be listening to Pope Francis. He’s looking at the forest, while we aren’t even able to talk about trees.

Francis Takes Action to Rein in Vatican Bankers — Will Pedophile-Enabling Bishops Be Next?

By: Saturday June 7, 2014 10:01 am

On the way home from his trip to the Middle East, Pope Francis gave a press conference that hinted about some big future shakeups. The first came out on Thursday, as Francis has put the old guard of Italians who ran the Vatican’s financial operations out and brought in folks with considerable financial expertise who understand — and support — international financial transparency rules. At the same time, Timothy Dolan, the Bishop of Wall Street, tried to dial back some of Francis’ pointed comments about exploitative capitalism (with some help from Larry Kudlow), but experts in Catholic ethics and social teachings took Dolan’s work apart in short order.

Could action on that other scandal be next? Let us pray . . .

Netanyahu, Pissed at the Pope for Praying at the Apartheid Wall, Attempts to Humiliate Francis. Twice.

By: Tuesday May 27, 2014 7:24 pm

A pontiff who appears to be the most humble in generations might be hard, almost impossible to humiliate. That didn’t keep the first foreign leader to star in political ads opposing a sitting American President’s re-election efforts from trying, though.

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