14 November 2009

Links for a Saturday Night

Are you a novice doing laundry on a Saturday night?  If you are, here are some good reads.

The New Republic delves into health care reform.  Quite frankly, it's the first time I believe the issues have actually been explained slowly, lucidly and calmly.  Perhaps one may not agree with its conclusions, but one must admire the way the potential reforms are described and the suppositions on how they might work. 

John Allen of The National Catholic Reporter pens an even-handed review of the current abortion debate in Spain.  Then, he describes the political realities facing both Spanish and American Catholics.  No wonder Allen drives both liberal and conservative Catholics bonkers: both want to claim him as one of their own.

One of the many points Allen makes in this article worth considering:
Underlying all this is a basic axiom of political life, almost as invariable as the laws of thermodynamics: Where the political left is open to the pro-life argument, Catholics will be able to do business with all parties, and the church will end up looking fairly balanced. Where the left is a closed shop -- as in Spain, where one of Zapatero’s ministers has actually asserted than abortion carries no greater moral significance than a breast enlargement -- the result will be a radicalization of Catholics, both among the bishops and at the grassroots.
And most importantly: 97 days until pitchers and catchers report.

In politics, as in most everything else, the genetic disposition of Catholicism is to seek the sane center. When the church careens away from the center, it’s often because external circumstances have shoved it in that direction -- a point Spanish Catholics are now learning the hard way.

It is not, in other words, an “American problem.”
In case you missed it, David Brooks of The New York Times introduced the world (again) to Senator John Thune (R-SD) on Friday.  I can count on my right hand the number of national politicians currently in office that I have met.  John Thune is one of them.  A buddy of mine in college worked on his election campaign when Mr. Thune unseated then Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.  My buddy got a job with the newly minted senator and scored presidential innauguration tickets for my girlfriend at the time and me.  We met Mr. Thune at a breakfast he held before the innauguration at the Phoenix Park Hotel.  I remember that Mr. Thune was very tall, very welcoming and decidedly unoily in his manner.  If we're to believe Brooks, John Thune is still that same man.  And for that: Hurrah.

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