Daily Archives: January 20, 2010

Dazed Democrats rethink entire strategy

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) told a local reporter, “It’s probably back to the drawing board on health care, which is unfortunate.” Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) told MSNBC this morning he will advise Democratic leaders to scrap the big bill and move small, more popular pieces that can attract Republicans. And Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said his leadership is “whistling past the graveyard” if they think Brown’s win won’t force a rethinking of the health care plan.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who now might draw a challenge from Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), said the party needs to rethink its entire approach to governing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

George Will and Donna Brazile on Nightline on the Mass. Senate Election

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Michael Barone–Little guy sends message to Washington: Drop dead

….the Massachusetts vote is a loud and clear signal that the American people hate this legislation. Barack Obama came into office assuming that economic distress would move most Americans to favor big-government legislation. It turns out that’s not so. Not when Democratic bills would take away the health insurance most of them are content with. Not when it’s the product of backroom deals and blatant political bribery.

But Scott Brown’s victory was not just a rejection of Democrats’ health care plans. Brown also stoutly opposed the Democrats’ cap-and-trade legislation to reduce carbon emissions. He spoke out strongly for trying terrorists like the Christmas bomber in military tribunals, not in the civil court system where lawyers would advise them to quit talking. He talked about cutting taxes rather than raising them as Democrats are preparing to do.

Brown’s victory represents a rejection of Obama administration policies that were a departure from those of the Bush administration. In contrast, on Afghanistan, where Obama is stepping up the fight, Brown backed Obama while his hapless left-wing opponent Martha Coakley was forced (her word) to oppose it to win dovish votes in the Democratic primary.

Democrats will be tempted to dismiss Brown’s victory as a triumph of an appealing candidate and the rejection of an opponent who proved to be a dud. But Brown would never have been competitive if Americans generally favored the policies of the Obama administration and congressional Democratic leaders. In that case, even a dud would have trounced the man who drives a truck.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Brian C. Mooney: Angry Massachusetts voters sent Washington a ringing message yesterday

Voter anxiety and resentment, building for months in a troubled economy, exploded like a match on dry kindling in the final days of the special election for US Senate. In arguably the most liberal state in the nation, a Republican – and a conservative one at that – won and will crash the Bay State’s all-Democratic delegation with a mandate to kill the health care overhaul pending in Congress.

It is difficult to overstate the significance of Scott Brown’s victory because so much was at stake. From the agenda of President Obama and the legacy of the late Edward M. Kennedy to a referendum on the Democratic monopolies of power on Capitol and Beacon hills, voters in a lopsidedly Democratic state flooded the polls on a dreary winter day to turn conventional wisdom on its head.

Brown, an obscure state senator with an unremarkable record when he entered the race four months ago, was a household name across the country by the end of the abbrevi ated campaign. Running a vigorous, smart, and error-free campaign, he became a vessel into which cranky and worried voters poured their frustrations and fears, ending the Democrats’ grip on a Senate seat the party has held for 58 years, nearly all by two brothers named Kennedy.

Voters were demonstrably unsentimental about keeping alive the spirit of the late Ted Kennedy in electing the next senator. His widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, tried to bolster the sagging candidacy of Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley in the closing days, to little effect.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

LA Times–Senate defeat means Democrats need a new strategy

The Democratic Party’s defeat in Massachusetts on Tuesday — the loss of a single, crucial Senate seat — will force President Obama and his congressional allies to downscale their legislative ambitions and rethink their political strategy.

The most immediate challenge facing Democrats after Republican Scott Brown’s victory is how to salvage healthcare legislation now that they no longer have the 60 votes needed to break GOP filibusters.

But even as Massachusetts voters streamed to the polls to anoint Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s successor, Democratic leaders showed no signs of standing down.

“We’re right on course,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said after meeting with her leadership team. “We will have a healthcare reform bill, and it will be soon.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

NY Times: G.O.P. Senate Victory Stuns Democrats

Scott Brown, a little-known Republican state senator, rode an old pickup truck and a growing sense of unease among independent voters to an extraordinary upset Tuesday night when he was elected to fill the Senate seat that was long held by Edward M. Kennedy in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts.

By a decisive margin, Mr. Brown defeated Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, who had been considered a prohibitive favorite to win just over a month ago after she easily won the Democratic primary.

With all precincts counted, Mr. Brown had 52 percent of the vote to Ms. Coakley’s 47 percent.

“Tonight the independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken,” Mr. Brown told his cheering supporters in a victory speech, standing in front of a backdrop that said “The People’s Seat.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Senate

Boston Globe: Republican trounces Coakley for Senate, imperils Obama health plan

Republican Scott P. Brown pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Massachusetts political history last night, defeating Democrat Martha Coakley to become the state’s next US senator and potentially derailing President Obama’s hopes for a health care overhaul.

The stunning, come-from-behind victory caps a dramatic surge in recent days as Brown, a state lawmaker from Wrentham once thought to have little chance of beating a popular attorney general, roared ahead of Coakley to become the first Republican senator elected from Massachusetts since 1972.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Brown had won 51.9 percent to Coakley’s 47.1 percent. Independent Joseph L. Kennedy received 1 percent.

Coakley called Brown to concede a little more than an hour after polls closed, and the Brown campaign party erupted into jubilant cheers soon after.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Senate

Open Thread: Your Thoughts on the Massachusetts Special Senate Election Results

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Senate

Richard Handle: Faith in the time of earthquakes

Humans are meaning-seeking creatures. We search for patterns and, if we don’t see them, we imagine them. We put all sorts of pieces together, whether by instinct, sentiment or scientific evidence.

Now, the biggest pattern of all ”” God ”” has come within our scientific purview.

Neuroscientists such as Andrew Newberg are telling us that we are “wired for God.” That belief is part of our brain structure, which is an often heard but still controversial point of view.

There’s even a term that has been invented for this type of researcher: neurotheologians.

They are St. Augustines with medical degrees and brain scanners. They take religion seriously, as a research project.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti, Religion & Culture, Theology

Chris Castaldo–Catholics Come Home?

Over the last week several friends have inquired into the background of a marketing campaign now airing on television networks called Catholics Come Home. Perhaps you’ve seen it. If so, you were likely impressed, or even intrigued. And maybe, like me, you even paused for a moment and wondered, “Why did I leave the Catholic Church again?”

The Catholics Come Home campaign was founded by its president, Tom Petersen. Twelve years ago Tom returned to the Catholic Church following a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ at a men’s retreat. Sensing God’s call, Tom consecrated his 25 years of experience in the advertizing field to the task of promoting spiritual renewal among Catholics. This “apostolate” (or what evangelicals might call a parachurch ministry) is dedicated to reversing the tide of lapsed Catholics, calling them, with the warmest intonation and most technologically savvy forms of media, to “come home.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

BBC’s ”˜marginalisation’ of religion to be criticised by Church of England’s governing body

Bishops, clergy and lay members of the General Synod will vote on whether to demand that the state broadcaster explain why its coverage of Christianity on television has declined so steeply in recent years.

Output has fallen from 177 hours of religious programming on BBC television in 1987-88 to 155 hours in 2007-08, while the number of general programmes has doubled.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:11,12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Independent: Key debate on women bishops delayed

A key debate on women bishops has been delayed until the summer after the Church of England received an “avalanche” of submissions about the subject, it was announced today.

The Church said more than 100 submissions had been received by a legislative drafting group working on the issue of women bishops.

It had been hoped that the legislation could be debated by the General Synod, the church’s ruling body, meeting in London next month but this will not now take place until it meets at York in July.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

Shami Chakrabarti: Freedom must apply to all faiths and none

Today Liberty returns to court. After the victory last week of personal privacy over blanket stop-and- search powers in the Court of Human Rights, we go to the Court of Appeal to protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion from unjustified intrusion and prejudice.

You may remember the story of Nadia Eweida, the British Airways check-in worker who was banned from wearing a small cross on a chain. This modest manifestation of her faith was as important to her as a turban or hijab to other workers. Yet the airline accommodated these other items without, perhaps, embracing the underlying values that would have protected Ms Eweida and anyone else from the blundering assertion that “rules is rules is rules”.

After a public outcry that included secular, religious and political voices from across the spectrum, the airline modified its uniform policy. But not before Ms Eweida had been off work for months without pay, and crucially, without accepting the ethical and legal principle that would protect her and others of all faiths and none in the future. Worse still, BA instructed an international law firm strenuously to resist her claim of religious discrimination.

What followed was an extremely disappointing employment appeal tribunal that found no discrimination, because “Christians generally” do not consider wearing a cross as a religious “requirement”. This fundamentally misunderstands the idea of individual rights and freedoms, which do not depend on how many people agree with your conscience or speech. It also opens up secular courts to lengthy arguments as to what is a theological necessity. Making windows into men’s souls is as pointlessly complex as it is dangerous.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Pew research Center–New Economics of Marriage: The Rise of Wives

The institution of marriage has undergone significant changes in recent decades as women have outpaced men in education and earnings growth. These unequal gains have been accompanied by gender role reversals in both the spousal characteristics and the economic benefits of marriage.

A larger share of men in 2007, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of demographic and economic trend data. A larger share of women are married to men with less education and income.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family