I had the gift of two unusual blessings last week. The first was a moment to greet Pope Francis in Rome after his Wednesday, September 18, general audience. We had met and served as delegates to the 1997 Special Assembly for America. Sixteen years have passed, but this Pope has a remarkable memory to match his generous spirit. He recalled a friendly conversation we’d had in great detail, and the events of those days that helped shape both of us as young bishops.
Looking back into history from the vantage point of 2013, it actually seems strange that it’s conservatives that need to be convinced to support gay marriage recognition. Simply describing the relationship between conservatives and libertarians and the government indicates deep resistance to allowing federal, state or local officials dictate what we can do in our home. The right to have control over what our children are taught and to select schools (or teach them ourselves), the right to protect our homes and property, the right to control what we do with our own property, the right to not have to
The White House today released a report on the costs of Obamacare for most Americans, heralding their interpretation that 95 percent of the nation will be able to buy health insurance premiums below “earlier projections.” But note the words “earlier projections.” That doesn’t mean that the insurance Americans will have to buy, or be fined, under Obamacare will be cheaper than what they pay today, before Obamacare kicks in. (Snip) Today, a 27-year-old man in Memphis can buy a plan for as low as $41 a month. On the exchange, the lowest state average is $119 a month-a 290% increase.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) carried his marathon protest against ObamaCare into a second day after speaking through the night and into the waking hours of Wednesday morning. Cruz (R-Texas) passed Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) filibuster time earlier Wednesday morning. Paul had held the record for current senators by speaking for more than 12 hours and 50 minutes in a floor speech about military drones. Cruz began speaking on Tuesday afternoon at 2:41 p.m. and, by 10:41 a.m. Wednesday, he surpassed 20 hours of talking, aided on occasion by fellow conservative Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee
By all indications, the conservative gambit led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on defunding the Affordable Care Act through the continuing resolution is doomed to fail. But Cruz´s battle has diverted attention away from another battle that Democrats wanted to fight through the continuing resolution — sequestration. It´s something that House Speaker John Boehner has taken advantage of, masterfully putting Republicans in position to come out of the government-funding fight with a win and with future leverage on the sequester. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill to avert a government shutdown. Boehner gave into demands from the
TRENTON — The odds that state Sen. Barbara Buono, the Democratic nominee for governor, will pull off an upset against the popular Republican incumbent, Gov. Chris Christie, are getting ever-slimmer, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning. The poll of 1,249 likely voters shows Buono trailing Christie by a stunning 34-point gap, 64 percent to 30 percent. “There’s no silver lining for State Sen. Barbara Buono in the cloudy outlook for her campaign,” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said. Buono supporters had expressed hope of a revived race last month after a Monmouth University poll found Christie’s
Can anyone fill Janet Napolitano’s shoes? It’s been two months since the Homeland Security secretary announced her plans to resign, but the White House still isn’t close to settling on a replacement, according to administration officials familiar with the search. At least two potential candidates have rebuffed their advances. One of those is Michele Flournoy, a former deputy secretary of Defense who is deeply respected for both her policy and management skills. It’s unclear why Flournoy wasn´t interested in the position (she was traveling and did not respond to a request for comment) but one possibility is that Flournoy, who was
Princeton, NJ -- Barack Obama´s job approval rating among Democrats, his core supporters, has averaged 78% so far in September after being at or above 80% each month since December 2011, including a recent high of 91% in December 2012. The 13-percentage-point decline in Democrats´ approval rating for the president since last December exceeds the nine-point drop, from 53% to 44%, among all U.S. adults over the same time. Democrats´ approval rating of Obama has either declined or held steady each month this year. It last showed an increase in November 2012. Obama´s low point for monthly approval among Democrats
Hillary Clinton, in her first interview after leaving the State Department, offered a wise metaphor about the current state of presidential election madness. “This election is more than three years away, and I just don’t think it’s good for the country,” she told New York magazine, referring to the fevered speculation about her possible candidacy. (Snip)Clinton is perhaps the first presidential candidate of the modern age who needs a Rip Van Winkle strategy—a disappearing act that removes her from the witless swirl of speculation and gossip that preserves her presidential options. But what is this strategy? Does she go on
John McCain’s former senior adviser Steve Schmidt says he has “deep regret” for helping to create a “freak show” wing of the Republican Party when he had a hand in bringing former McCain running mate Sarah Palin to the national stage. Schmidt said Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball” that it’s time for the GOP to stand up to the “asininity” embodied by Palin and others. “For the last couple of years, we’ve had this wing of the party running roughshod over the rest of the party. Tossing out terms like RINO, saying we’re going to purge, you know, the moderates out of
President Barack Obama is viewed more unfavorably than favorably for the first time in his presidency, according to a new poll. In a Bloomberg poll released late Tuesday, 49 percent viewed Obama unfavorably compared with 47 percent who viewed him favorably, the first time he has seen a net unfavorability in Bloomberg’s polling during his presidency. While the Republican Party is still viewed more unfavorably than Obama, 56 percent to 34 percent favorable, more people blame Obama for pursuing the wrong policies than Republicans for stymying the economy, 32 percent to 28 percent. Thirty percent of those surveyed said the
Sen. Ted Cruz stood for hours on end Tuesday and into Wednesday this week making the case for defunding Obamacare. It´s a compelling case because Obamacare increasingly appears to be converting America into a nation of part-time workers, crushing the opportunity of businesses to expand and create new jobs, robbing millions of families and individuals of the doctors and health insurance President Obama promised they could keep, stifling medical innovation that could someday save countless lives, compromising the financial and medical privacy that was before sacrosanct, and in countless other ways subverting a private sector-based health care system that draws the
A crazed gunman kills 12 at a Washington Navy Yard. And though this is not the first episode of senseless violence President Obama has had to publicly address, on this issue we are still leaderless. Gun violence, he said in a national address after the shooting, “ought to be a shock to all of us, as a nation and a people. It ought to obsess us. It ought to lead to some sort of transformation.” Indeed, “some sort of transformation.” But what kind? The anti-gun crowd will assert that the number of violent tragedies we’ve confronted in recent years is reason enough to
In any other context, this would be political satire. Instead, it’s a tragedy for religious liberty and just plain old common sense. A group of Catholic nuns dedicated to social service — and, needless to say, chastity — had to file a lawsuit in Colorado to block enforcement of the HHS contraception mandate on their organization: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finalized a contraception mandate that ignores the fact groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor are religious organizations, according to a lawsuit filed to protect them against fines for refusing to comply with an Obamacare mandate. “We cannot
Beirut - Thousands of Syrian rebels have broken with the Western-backed coalition to form a new Islamist force that may pressure President Bashar al-Assad but also undermine the West´s hopes of putting its friends in his place. Ever more divided on a battlefield where Assad´s better armed troops have been gaining ground, allies of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were among 13 disparate rebel factions to disown the exile leadership and support an Islamic alliance that includes the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, commanders said on Tuesday. Details of the numbers of fighters involved and of how they would cooperate remained
Sen. Ted Cruz has been speaking on the Senate floor for almost 19 hours, as of this post. The talk is not technically a filibuster -- he can´t actually block the Senate from going about its business -- but symbolically, it´s more or less the same thing. The point is to show one´s opposition to something through a demonstration of physical will. Which is why you can forgive conservatives for being upset with the mainstream media´s coverage of the Cruz affair. When a Democrat like Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibusters against abortion restrictions, she is elevated to hero status,
At least one parent in a California youth football league is throwing a flag at the new enforcement of a $200 fine and possible suspension of a any coach who allows his team to win a game by 35 points or more, KCRA.com reported.
The ObamaCare fight is turning hot and heavy. House Republicans have made an implausible threat to shut down the government to defund ObamaCare, but a plausible motive is to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (which already exists in abundance regarding ObamaCare) during the crucial sign-up period that begins next month. On the flip side, the administration´s last-minute decision not to require income documentation in the first year can only do wonders for enrollment. A handy Kaiser Family Foundation calculator shows how: A single person who estimates his 2014 income as $33,000 would get a measly $6. Change the estimate to $30,000
All the dirty laundry about Ponzi villain Bernie Madoff’s sex-crazed office antics — including a bizarre “love triangle” he was enmeshed in with employees — is now fair game in court, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday. Judge Laura Taylor Swain denied a motion by the feds that jurors be barred from hearing the dirty details of what went on at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities when the Ponzi king’s longtime secretary and other former key staffers head to trial Oct. 7 for their roles in the epic scheme. In bombshell legal papers filed in August the feds had revealed that Madoff
The intriguing possibility that Lois Lerner might turn John Dean is on the table. Patrick Howley of The Daily Caller has tracked down what seems to be going on behind the scenes. IRS scandal figure Lois Lerner is negotiating through her lawyers with Rep. Darrell Issa´s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about possibly gaining immunity to testify again in the committee´s investigative hearings.(snip)Because it appears she was less than truthful in her testimony, Lerner has a lot to lose. She just retired and now reportedly is getting paid $50 large a year until she dies as a parting gift
So in the end President Obama did not let the Navy Yard tragedy go to “waste.” He finally addressed the nation last Sunday to explain why the deaths of a dozen innocent victims on September 16 should mean more power for him and the government, and less freedom for millions of innocent, law-abiding citizens across America — who are actually reducing gun violence (and much more effectively than Obama and the Democrats). Obama recounted in his September 22 remarks, “As president I have now grieved with five American communities ripped apart by mass violence: Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and
Among influential U.S. political tweeters, President Barack Obama is the undisputed king of the fake followers. A MailOnline analysis ranks his sizable Twitter following as the most deceptive total among the 21 most influential accounts run by American politicians: More than 19.5 million of his 36.9 million Twitter followers are accounts that don´t correspond to real people.
On Sunday evening, we discussed the debate on defunding Obamacare – specifically, whether Senate Republicans were being disingenuous in their claim to support defunding. While arguing that Republicans were engaged in sleight-of-hand, I conceded that the GOP’s calculation that avoiding a government shutdown outweighs defunding Obamacare is not “frivolous.” Ramesh proceeded to inflate this concession, paraphrasing me as having described this calculation as “perfectly honorable.” That is not what I said. Non-frivolous and honorable are not synonyms, and there is nothing honorable about the ongoing political game of posing as an ardent defunding supporter while voting in a manner that guarantees
In what may have been the most widely awaited speech at the United Nations, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, preached tolerance and understanding on Tuesday, decried as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and said nuclear weapons had no place in its future. Mr. Rouhani, whose speech followed President Obama’s by more than six hours, also acknowledged Mr. Obama’s outreach to Iran aimed at resolving more than three decades of estrangement and recrimination, and expressed hope that “we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences.” But the Iranian leader also asserted that the
NEW YORK - Michelle Obama says Harlem is a "quintessentially American" cultural gem. The first lady made the remarks Tuesday during a New York City luncheon she hosted for the spouses of foreign dignitaries. Mrs. Obama spoke to about 50 spouses of chiefs of state and heads of government who are attending the UN General Assembly. They were gathered in the main gallery of The Studio Museum in Harlem. Mrs. Obama lauded the many cultural luminaries who once performed in the upper Manhattan neighborhood, including jazz musician Louis Armstrong and poet Langston Hughes. She said Harlem is a "thread that
Pick your version (I like the Steve Alaimo original) but the chorus is the same: "Everyday I have to cry some Everyday I have to cry some -Dry the water from my eyes some Everyday I have to cry.." Everyday, we learn something new about Obama Care and "everyday you want to cry some". POLITICO adds another article to the growing list of daily surprises about the law that no one read. I´m convinced that most Senate Democrats voted for this law hoping that The Supreme Court would kill it. How do you explain responsible legislators voting for this law?