Our Ruling Classes and Reality Management

Well, it's been an exciting week and a half. On Mercy Sunday, we dispatched Osama bin Laden without mercy, and most people weren't too broken up about that -- including me. I'm a Just War kinda guy, and all the initial reports made it sound like we killed a knave in clean combat as he [...]

The First Catholic President — Almost

Most people know that John F. Kennedy, elected in 1960, was the first Catholic president of the United States. Many are also aware that Al Smith was the first Catholic to run for the presidency, in 1928. Very few, however, know about the Catholic Civil War general who almost became Abraham Lincoln's vice-president and would [...]

Ron Paul soon to announce decision about 2012

Texas Rep. Ron Paul will decide this month whether or not he'll run for president in 2012. According to the Alex Jones Show, he will probably join the South Carolina debate between potential presidential contenders without necessarily making a commitment to run for president. Former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura recently said he would "join [...]

American Timidity?

America's founding documents -- the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers -- are, when read, potentially lethal. Debates about American exceptionalism abound. Writing in the Wall Street Journal before the bombings in Libya, Daniel Henninger brought these currents together in the context of present Arab world turmoil as they relate to Chinese [...]

Corporal punishment in Catholic schools

An interesting debate is unfolding around a Catholic school in New Orleans: St. Augustine's, a historically African-American boys' prep school, is apparently the last Catholic school in the country to use corporal punishment on students. In February, Archbishop Gregory Aymond called for an end to the practice, which he said "institutionalizes violence, runs counter to [...]

Irony Alert: President to be honored for “transparent government.”

President Barack Obama will be interrupting a day filled with closed-to-the-press meetings to receive an award for his "deep commitment to an open and transparent government." Matt Negrin of Politico wonders what the president will say when he accepts: [H]e probably won’t mention that his administration acted on fewer requests for information last year even [...]

A Safe Place

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, once the foremost abortionist in the United States and then perhaps abortion's most effective opponent, died on Tuesday at age 84. The Washington Post obituary mentioned that his 28-minute film, The Silent Scream, released in 1985, "became a sensation, widely distributed by antiabortion groups and screened at the White House by President [...]

President Obama: Administration will not defend DOMA

Big -- but perhaps not surprising -- news from the White House today: President Barack Obama has ordered the Justice Department to drop its defense of a central part of the 1996 law that bars official federal government recognition of same-sex unions - a long-sought goal of gay-rights activists. Attorney General Eric Holder sent letters [...]

1943: The Ides of March

The radical social commentaries of the United States' vice-president, Henry Wallace, would lead to a tense exchange with Winston Churchill in May, but Wallace had already stirred controversy with his leftist reduction of international relations, and war itself, to an economic dialectic. As chairman of the Board of Economic Warfare in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's [...]

New AMU president on Catholic higher education

Ave Maria University announced today that Tom Monaghan, AMU's founder, will be stepping down as CEO, and Jim Towey will be taking over as president of the university: “This is a huge win for Ave Maria University,” [Chairman of the Board of Trustees Michael] Timmis said. “We retain the vision and experience of our pioneers, [...]

SOTU reactions the morning after

I wasn't able to catch last night's State of the Union address, so I've been poking around this morning to see what I missed. (I might start with reading the full text of the speech here. Apparently there was something about salmon...?) The Wall Street Journal sums up what I've been seeing in a lot [...]

My New Year’s Wish for President Obama

At a restaurant in Jerusalem last August, I listened incredulously as two prominent Israeli journalists explained to me that President Obama did not care about a second term. Obama, they told me, was going to forge ahead toward an Israeli-Palestinian agreement with total disregard for any political fallout. It was Obama's nature, they each asserted, to put [...]

‘The Night Is Advanced, The Day Is at Hand’

Imagine yourself sitting at home watching your favorite evening program on television. Suddenly the screen goes blank. An unseen announcer says: "We interrupt this program for a special announcement. We take you to the White House in Washington." In a moment you are watching the president. Sitting in the Oval Office, he announces an international [...]

Hillary Clinton’s last public role?

CBS news reports that Hillary Clinton's role as Secretary of State will be her "last public position": At a town hall meeting appearance in Manama, Bahrain on Friday, Clinton denied intentions to run for either president or vice president on the ticket with President Obama, who defeated her in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. Some experts [...]

Duelling Christmas billboards in NYC

Recently, the American Atheists put up this billboard along the route to the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City: David Silverman, the president of American Atheists, confuses me with his explanation for picking this particular battle now: “Every year, atheists get blamed for having a war on Christmas, even if we don’t do anything,” he [...]

Getting to know the new VP

The surprise results of this morning's elections for USCCB president have had the blogging community in uproar. Most Catholics are already familiar with the new president, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York City; but his vice president -- Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville -- hasn't had quite as high a profile (though surely that's about [...]

BREAKING: Archbishop Dolan is new USCCB president!

In what can only be described as a sea change, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has just been elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He won in a runoff, beating out controversial frontrunner Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas. It's the first time since the 1960s that the sitting vice president didn't [...]

The Kicanas Problem

When the Catholic bishops meet in Baltimore this week, they will elect the next president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Usually, the chatter among Catholic punditry about who will be elected is minimal, given the longstanding tradition of elevating the vice president to the president's job. This year is different: Bishop [...]

A Thumb in Leviathan’s Eye

Pundits are still analyzing the outcome of last night's elections, and it will take months to figure out what Americans' votes will mean in terms of policy. Myself, I'm actually relieved that Republicans didn't win both houses of Congress; since the economy (corrupted by bad investments encouraged by cheap money from the Fed) isn't likely [...]

“Lose the Idiot Boards!”

During the last Presidential race, I remember watching with wonder as oceans of ink were spilled over the extraordinary oratory powers of (eventual) President Barack Obama. Somehow, despite the repeated insistence of media commentators, political analysts, and any number of acquaintances, I could never get around the "tennis match" aura that his heavily-Teleprompted speeches conveyed. Perhaps it was the result [...]